On Monday we had the pleasure of reading an excerpt from Kim Chabel’s MG fantasy BURGHER AND THE WOEBEGONE. When she’s not writing, Kim does amazing crafts with yarn harvested from her own sheep. She was kind enough to provide the directions to a simple craft for making a wooly caterpillar…like the friend Burgher had in the story.
Fuzzy Wuzzy Caterpillars
Guest Post by Kim Chatel
Time to complete: 30 minutes Difficulty: Medium difficulty. Younger kids may need adult help Materials: Purchased goods Age: 6+ Suitability: Suitable for large groups.
As a child, I was fascinated with pompoms. I had hundreds of them, all different colors, all made by hand. Like dolls, I had them sorted into families and each one had a name. I made houses for them, books and furniture. My brothers teased me endlessly about my pompoms. I don’t know why I was so intrigued by them. I think I just loved to make them so much that I had to come up with some use for all my creations. But each one seemed to have such personality, it wasn’t a stretch to turn them into characters.
This craft combines my love of pompoms with another of my favorite things: caterpillars! In my choose-your-own adventure tale, Burgher and the Woebegone, Burgher is a grumpy gnome whose heart is broken when his best friend, Katie the caterpillar turns into a butterfly and flutters away. Maybe making a Fuzzy Wuzzy Caterpillar would cheer up Burgher. I know they have made some rainy days fun around our house.
Fuzzy Wuzzy Caterpillar is made of 5 homemade pompoms tied together. The trick is to tie them before cutting the loops. Experiment with different kinds of yarn for different looks. I used teddy-bear eyes for mine because that’s what I had. Large google eyes or round pieces of felt would work just as well. Hot glue is faster, but you can use white glue to fasten the eyes. Just be patient and let it dry properly.
Finally, you can add embellishments like a hat or antennae. We kept ours simple, because my daughter wanted something to cuddle in bed. With less glue, Fuzzy Wuzzy is very squishy and soft.
Materials: Yarn in two different colors, (I used purple and white. We’ll use these in the example) Large teddy bear or google eyes, Hot glue and glue-gun.
Cut a 12-inch piece of purple yarn and lay it aside. Wrap rest of the purple yarn around your three middle fingers until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Be careful not to wrap it too tightly or your fingers will turn purple too! (see figure 1)
Carefully remove the yarn from your hand. Don’t let it unravel. Tie it firmly in the middle with the 12-inch piece and double knot it. Your ball should look sort of like a figure 8 (see figure 2).
If you were making a simple pompom you would snip all the loops at this point. But don’t snip them yet. We’re not done.
Repeat this process so that you have 3 balls in purple and 2 balls in white.
Start with 1 purple ball. This will be the tail. Use the long strings that are tied around the middle of the ball to attach it to a white ball. Tie it firmly around the middle of a white ball and then trim of the extra purple string. Now use the loose ties from the white ball to attach the next purple ball. Complete the row with the next white ball. Then attach the last purple ball on top of the last white one (instead of in a row). See figure 3. Now you simply snip all the loops to make the pompoms. Give your caterpillar a haircut to even out the strands and then glue on the eyes. Don’t forget to give your fuzzy wuzzy a name!
Kim Chatel is an author, fiber artist and photographer. She regularly visits schools and libraries, bringing her art and books to students and inspiring them to create their own. Visit Kim at Chatel Village (www.kimchatel.com) where you can find books recipes, movies, book reviews and crafts. Kim is also the co-founder of Castelane.com a site that helps authors market there books with trailers, cover designs and more.