Last weekend during our trip to Hanging Rock State Park, Finn shed his socks and shoes and waded out into the chilly waterfall stream in search of rocks. Rocks have been prominent in his life lately with Elizabeth's study of rocks and landforms in school, and her renewed interest in collecting rocks.
When wading into the stream, Finn immediately began identifying rocks that "Sissa" would like and a couple of rocks he'd like to put in his basket for himself. When I asked him if he'd like to bring some rocks home to make "soft rocks", his term for felted rocks, his face lit up. We have a few felted rocks that we made on our vacation to the mountains last summer. Finn was napping during our last rock felting session so he was delighted to be able to make his own "soft rocks".
We set our rocks out to dry after rinsing them thoroughly, no need to felt mud in there as well, then carried them home to cover them in soft felt. We decided to try to find some felt that would match the autumnal leaves and uncovered a few scraps in my stash that fit the bill. I found some naturally-dyed yellow and brick red from Colors of Nature that while they needle-felt beautifully, the color apparently runs during wet-felting. Good to know! I also found a autumnal multicolor wool that made a very sweet felted rock.
I started off by wrapping the rocks with thin layers of wool going different directions until there were at least 2 layers of wool in each direction. This is important so that the wool doesn't slide too much causing a thin spot or hole exposing the rock. Then I needlefelted the wool very loosely just to make it stay together when dipped into the water.
After gathering our dish soap and a bowl of warm water, we dipped our rock in the water and squirted a generous amount of soap onto the wool to lather and help the wool fibers lock together into felt. Then Finn and I passed the wool-covered rock back and forth between us, each rubbing and scrubbing the wool for a minute or two. We would say, "may I please have a turn?" and "would you like a turn?" each time we passed. What a fun game to collaborate on wet felting while practicing our manners!
Our finished product is now sitting in the window sill catching the warmth of the sun. Finn can proudly tell you which rock we finished first, second, and third and which rock he's claimed as his own. He has traced them on paper, played hide and seek with them, carted them in his dump truck and used them for mountains for his animals.
What imagination and creativity from just a piece of rock covered in a bit of wool!
Rockstacking becomes a new challenge when soft fluffy wool interferes. The balance is quite different this way!