Quite wonderfully, I dramatically switched up my routine over the past few days. I took off from teaching yoga and ventured up to Cornwall, Connecticut, to look after my friend Frances Boswell’s fantastic girls -- Plum, 8, and Sophie, 10. Actually, Frances, who has a vivid imagination, sometimes watched me when I was a girl. Something I’ll never forget are the excursions we took to the shores of the south fork of Long Island with my aunt’s dogs, where we concocted an elaborate menu of repulsive items, such as dog slobber soup.
As you can imagine, Frances consistently nurtures her daughters’ imaginations and adventurous spirits. As one of the better cooks I know, she’s also passing on her culinary expertise. The girls are impressively skilled in making far more appetizing dishes than ones demanding canine drool. In fact, they might be the best young sous chefs I have met. In addition to cooking, swimming at the nearby lake, running around, and reading From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler together, we’ve been crafting away. Sophie taught me something she picked up from her aunt: the art of needle felting.
Something I’m grateful for is that I grew up with an incredibly creative mother who, like Frances, always encouraged arts and crafts. Therefore, crafting with Sophie has left me pleasantly nostalgic and appreciative of the meditative processing ground hands-on projects provide. The fact that this 10-year-old is an exceptional teacher made it possible for me to dive right into the art.
If you’re unfamiliar with needle felting, it’s a craft in which forms are made out of wool fibers. The crafter uses single or small groups of barbed needles to sculpt the wool into 2-D or 3-D forms. Unlike other felting methods, no water is used in the shaping process. The needling process is quite cathartic. Likewise, it’s awesome how strands of wool transform into clear forms.
While I’m not necessarily suggesting you take up felting this week, I am inviting you to switch up your routine and do a hands-on project. If you have children, create something together. If you’re like me, you might find it quite meditative.
Feel free to share your projects here, and get some felting ideas at MarthaStewart.com.