We loosely followed the recommendations in this article to create our own Shooting Stars this week for Handwork.
The first job at hand was to prepare some dye. Toucie gathered goldenrod which is very abundant around our home right now.
In an old stockpot, we covered Toucie's goldenrod (she had filled about half the pot with flowers) with water and let it simmer all day long . Then we packed our supplies and a picnic and headed to one of our creek hangouts to do our work.
First we hunted for the perfect rocks in the creekbed. These add heft to the finished toy so that when you throw it into the air it is heavy enough to fly high.
Its suggested that the rocks be rounded and about the size of a cherry...these are a tad large, but they will do!
So here are our assembled materials: stones, wool roving, and a jar of hot water with a squirt of dishsoap in it.
We began wrapping the stones tightly in wool roving, building up to a nice tennis ball or orange sized sphere.
As this is an almost fool-proof craft, I let Toucie work on her own...
...to do her best work.
Here's mine...a bit neater that Toucie's, but you'll soon see that it makes no difference.
Next we saturated the wool balls with hot, soapy water from our jar and began gently squeezing and rolling them in our hands...this is called felting.
To break up the monotony (because you need to work for a while to felt this into a nice tight ball), Toucie and I traded our balls back and forth, working on our own and each others' . This is where our balls began to look very similar to each other...when we were done, the only way to tell the difference was that mine was larger (I'd used one of the big rocks!).
Then it was time to give them a good rinse and take them home. I soaked them in alum-water overnight to prepare them for dyeing.
The next day, into the strained goldenrod dye they went! Then out again (after about 30 minutes) to dry overnight. We saved the dye for another project.
Once the balls were dry, I tacked on ribbon tails, and they were ready to go.
We've been having fun with them ever since!