A few nights ago I began to add the irises to the eyeballs I made when I was in Pennsylvania for the big reunion. There are several tiresome reasons why I waited so long, but that night I cleared the kitchen table, placed a plastic rubbish bag over it, and began needle felting. I had originally made 15 eyeballs, and planned to make at least five more. That idea has gone by the wayside. Needle felting sucks, and William, the recipient of this home-made Vitreous Humor scarf had damn well better appreciate it.
I sat down, curious why there would be seven felting needles in a set. I learned quickly, like while I was felting the third eyeball, that the needles break. Easily. When I finally finished felting the next morning, I had only three needles left, and one of them was no longer as sharp as it had been, so really, I have two left. I should also mention that felting needles are very sharp, and along the shaft towards the point, there are small raised bumps, to help with the felting.
I got 12 of the eyes done the first night, when I began stabbing myself. After two stabs in a row, I called it a night and decided to pick it up in the morning. I am a firm believer in the adage, “Tired is stupid,” and I was making mistakes which hurt. Nextr morning I got up, and started to felt the remaining eyeballs. It was at this point that I realised that the needle I'd been using had gotten dull, because the colour wasn't adhering to the eye, and it wasn't felting. I put the needle aside, got a new one out of the pack, and began to felt the little bastard with a vengeance. The colour finally began adhering, and then the needle broke. Undaunted, I pulled a new needle out of the pack, and attacked it anew. It finally worked, and I was able to finish the last three balls.
I was going to try and felt some threads of red alpaca onto the eyeballs, to look like veins, but I think I'm going to forego that. Felting a large patch was hard enough, felting some threads will be nigh on impossible. IF, and it's a big if, I ever do this again, I'll mix a couple of threads of red onto the white roving while I'm making the eyeballs and see if that works. I reckon I could make the basic eye, and before I'm done, add a couple of red threads, and finish felting it. Might work. I'm not sure if I'll ever do this again, though.
I used a Malabrigo merino roving for the irises, in the colourway Azules. This means it's mostly purple and a bit of blue. I tried to make some blue eyes and some purple ones. I have some brown roving somewhere, and should have used that, too, but maybe if I make five more balls, I'll use it on those. I sure hope William has a thing for Liz Taylor, because we've got plenty of violet eyes!
For the pupils, I had thought I'd use some black yarn and needle felt those to the irises. I'm done. Seriously. I'll go to a hobby shop and see if I can get some pretty black beads, flat, and some superglue, and glue those suckers to the eyes. My right thumb is sore from holding the grooved needles' handles, and my left thumb is sore from getting stabbed; sometimes the needle didn't go into the skin, it just rubbed against it, which hurt in its own way. I have a funny feeling I will never be making this scarf again after this first attempt. And if I do, I'm going to charge a hefty fee.
This is my plate of eyeballs. They are drying, and when they're done, I'll attach the pupils. When they are dry, I'll attach them to some pink Malabrigo Rasta.
Since Vitreous Humor is already taken, I think I'll call my eyeball yarn The Eyes Have It, or maybe, I'm Watching You.