Monday, March 9, 2009
Let's Felt a Cat Toy!
Li'l B loves to chase a ball (when she's in the mood, anyway). She especially likes the balls that make a sound. Since she chases, but doesn't yet understand the concept of "fetch", I've made her lots of balls (less chasing for me). Here's one way: You'll need wool fleece or roving, jingly bells, nylon stocking. First, put a handful of fleece in your hand. Place a couple of bells on the fleece. Then place more fleece on top of the bells. Wrap some more fleece around it all, forming sort of a ball and compressing it with your hands. I usually save the pretty, colorful wool for the outer layer. Sometimes, at this point, I'll wrap some wool yarn around the ball, to sort of hold it together. I like to leave a short length of yarn dangling; it will felt up and make a nice tail to hold the ball by. When you've got enough wool squooshed together, hold it tight in your hand and slide it into the toe of a nylon stocking. Tie a knot, enclosing the wool in the nylon. You can make several at once, just keep stuffing the wool in and tying knots in between. At this point, you can either felt it by hand or in the machine. I usually opt for the machine; just toss it in with a load of laundry. To felt by hand, stand at the sink with a bowl of hot water. Dip the wool ball in the water, squirt a small amount of soap on the ball, and start to knead and squeeze it, dipping in the hot water occasionally. Continue to rub and agitate the ball until it is felted the way you'd like it to be. This may take some time to get the ball nice and firm.When your ball is all felted, use sharp scissors to snip and peel away the nylon. If your kitty enjoys catnip, you could do a final soak of the ball in a strong batch of catnip tea, then let it dry. I like to put some dried catnip in a paper bag, place the balls in the bag, and let them infuse with the catnip for a few days. Our favorite family game is me at one end of the house, Rick at the other end, and Li'l B in the middle. We humans take turns bouncing or rolling the balls past the cat, while she jumps, chases, hides, and finally stretches out on the floor to take a nap.