Playing With (Making) Toys

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A while ago, a friend sent me an email asking how I would go about making finger puppets like these.  While mine are a little goofy compared to those pictured, this is my answer.  I cut up some old sweaters, sewed on bits of felt where it suited my fancy, and then sewed them into finger-like shapes.

I thought about giving them eyes and mouths and stuff, but it made them a little creepy.  I prefer the faceless monster look.

Another recent foray into toy making?  A pair o' felted bouncy balls.  

They were inspired by this knitting pattern, but rather than taking time to knit them, I felted them instead.

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I bought some regular bouncy balls at the store--these are about as big as a baseball--and covered them with wool.  The blue one is wool roving, the purple one is some leftover wool yarn.  (If you use yarn it really needs to be 100% wool--none of this super wash stuff, or it won't felt right.)
Knit1Once the balls were adequately wrapped, I put them into a pair of old hose, tying knots in between each ball.  An old towel will work for this too--it's just something to hold them together and keep the fuzz out of your washing machine.

Knit2Then into a hot washer they went, then to the dryer, then back to the washer--and so on and so forth for I don't know how many times.  I washed these the first time by themselves because I was afraid the purple would bleed, but once I was sure it wouldn't I just put them in with our regular laundry for a couple of weeks.

I had to do just a little bit of hand-felting and needle-felting at the end to really get a nice round shape and tack down a few loose bits.  The bounce is very nice though.  Enough unpredictability and spring to be fun, but not so much that they're scary to play with inside the house.