I have Wire and wool, now what should I make for Xmas this year?
Mice!! Don’t mice just scream Christmas to you too? In their tiny little mice-y voices of course.
I had been in Dollerama again ( I am beginning to think this may not be as good a plan as I first intended) looking for floral wire and floral tape for an unrelated felting expedition. I will tell you about that if anything interesting happens. While there, I discovered this is not the time of year for floral wire but if I would like the short pieces of, again un-gauged, wire I could buy up to 3 packages of them. The pieces are just over 5 inches long or just under 13cm. They are a little more flexy than I had hoped for from looking at the package.
I started to make an armature frame for the first mouse. Since the wire was much shorter than I normally work with (I do have to stop putting things in “safe places” so I can find them later!) I made samples of different numbers of wire to figure out what stiffness might work. I found mouse one to be a bit too flexible. I loosely braided the back leg wires together then because I had short wires to work form I entwined the 3 strands I used for the tail and the wires used for the spine through the leg wires. To add more stability I increased the twist on the legs after I had integrated the tail and spine.
To further stabilize the join between the spine/tail and hip /legs I laid in the comb waste from the extra long Shetland. (the same one from the post on demoing at the wool growers co-op and then again for washing fleece – this has been an amazing fleece. It just keeps on being usefull). The comb wasted worked very well for all the core wool and actually made a very nice outer layer to the body.
To wrap the legs I attached one end of the fiber to the body core then wound the fiber keeping it flat against the wire down to the foot loop. I secured the fiber by working through the foot loop end then needled carefully up along the wired legs. I did the same for the tail then started to add a short neck and back of the head.
Next was adding the head and ears. Then back to shape and firm up the general mouse shape.
Mouse 2; I augmented the wire for legs and added wire for the ears. Yes much better. Still a bit thin on the butt. Needs more sculpting. Actually mouse one is a bit tall and lightly butted too. Hmm, better fix that later.
Ok on to starting mouse three, same armature layout as mouse 2 but better buttage.
Glenn noticed my start of a mouse army of invasion and wondered if I could make one an angel mouse for his mom for Christmas? That sounds like a good idea. She has a very extensive Christmas angel collection!
To make an angel mouse I will need wings. Since I would like this to be a mouse dressing up as an angel I need detachable wings and I should really have a halo too. Hmm, wings come in lots of shapes, bats, birds, butterflies. I think the bats would not be as accepted as angelic so that’s leaving birds or butterflies or some sort of hybrid.
I looked for wing pictures on the internet. I feel inspired. Lets make an armature in white wire.
First cover the armature structure with some of the combed long white Shetland. Starting from the bass and using the end loops to make sure the wire stays covered.
I added curls from a baggie (labeled wool curls – very helpful) and then a bit of angora with a gentle crimp to give a bit more lustre. I worked mainly from the visible side of the wings but also added a few wool curls carefully to the underside to make sure the support structure was not visible.
Note I have left the very bottom centre part not covered by felt. This is to allow the belt to be added and the wings tied to the mouse. I added the wire for the halo.
Glenn had originally suggested a gown for the angel. I have a love of lace and have as good collection of different types including a damaged circle of tatted lace just about the right size for a mouse
Interesting but not quite what I was wanting. Maybe she needs a pearl necklace?
Closer but still not quite what I was envisioning. Maybe drop the robe and add some flowers?
Yes much better. Now how to present her? She will not fit in a shadow box frame. Doesn’t Ikea still have a bell jar? Let me think about that for a bit. There is still time before she has to be delivered to Glenn’s Mom.
A few days pass
Most of it melts.
Its time to go visit! We picked the weekend before Xmas, packed up presents to give and presents I was working on and off we went. On Saturday afternoon we declared early Christmas and gave Glenn’s Mom her present. (Glenn’s Dad’s present was saved for Xmas proper.)
I am sure mouse will be very happy with the rest of the angel collection. These are a few from the living room. There are more in the dining room too.
So my Christmas mouse angel has a new home and seems to have found a spot on the coffee table. Glenn’s Mom will have her great granddaughter over on Christmas day. I wonder if she will like the little mouse too?