Feed the beast and needle a tiger

A palpable hunger to set to work


A needle-felted tiger created by Sharon Costello.

In our offices this week, Liz Good and I were talking about how at this time of year, as the holidays approach and the air gets really chilly, we get a burning desire to make things. It is a yearning for creating that I can feel through to my core—a palpable hunger to set to work. However, it is also the time of year when I'm pulled in a million different directions.

Suddenly everyone I know has invited me to a party, my daughters' classrooms each have a host of activities and events that need support and attendance, I have cards to write, and gifts that I want to give, let alone gingerbread cookies to bake, and decorations to put up. Perhaps it is because I am pulled in so many different directions, that I just want to putter away spinning, weaving, knitting, and beading. But there is a way to satisfy that urge to make things and also cross some things off my list (while engaging my children with me! Win-win-win!).


Sharon Costello needle felting on the set of her new workshop video, Needle Felted Animals.

This past fall, Sharon Costello visited our offices to film a number of needle-felting videos, including Needle Felted Animals. Talk about an accessible craft that is easy to take up! Goodness—all you need is a bit of wool (any of you have that laying around?), a needle felting needle, a foam pad, and your imagination and you're off and running.

While I was reviewing the final version of the videos at home, I pulled out our needle-felting supplies and my daughters (ages eight and four) sat down with me and we worked alongside Sharon as she demonstrated the most effective ways to needle the wool into the cutest animals you can imagine. She has all these great tips that make the foray into needle felting that much more successful—like the way she makes the ball of wool tighter by pulling it against the foam mat as she rolls it, or how she adds a "gleam of the eye" to her creations by swirling the wool fibers in around the needle to gather up all the loose strands before she needles them into place.

Something about all that needling proved to be calming, too—it was as if I was poking all those worries about getting things done away. Hannah and Sarah made adorable wooly animals and I made an ornament for a friend's tree. And for a little bit, I didn't feel pulled in a million directions—I felt centered and happy, playing with my children with a bit of wool in my hands.

Happy spinning,

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