For much of the last month, I've spent most of my spare time making puppets for Sprout using recycled wool sweaters. Once the basic puppet is stitched, I needle felt features onto the puppets to finish them. Ms. Sprout now has quite the growing collection.
I've left several of the puppets at my local fiber shop so that the owner could show them off to her needle felting customers when they come in. To make a long story short, interest in the puppets has been such that I will be teaching a puppet making class at the shop in mid-November. I'm also researching the notion of putting several of the puppets into my Etsy shop. I'm having so much fun making them and Sprout just loves them. She carries on complete conversations with them and gives them hugs and kisses. I love the needle felted eyes because it is so wonderful to have a puppet with no plastic parts. Because the eyes and noses are felted on with a felting needle, they're more difficult to pull free than even the "childproof" eyes recommended for young children.
I'm never quite sure what a puppet is going to be until I've stitched the muzzle shut and played with it for a minute or two. Once I know what kind of animal the puppet wants to be, then I can cut ears, which serve to underscore the identity of the animal. With the ears cut out, I can stitch them into shape and pin them onto the puppet to try to capture the personality.
With the ears stitched on, then it's just a matter of selecting the wool for their eyes and felting on the finishing details. My favorites, so far, are the dogs. There is so much variety available. Whether the sweater that I'm working with is brown, purple, or red, if I can get the ears right, and the muzzle shaped the way that I want it, Sprout has a puppy to play with that doesn't need to be walked or fed.