Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Maisie's Christmas "Orneries"

Back in the early fall when we were making plans for the house remodel, I naively thought I'd be getting SO much extra work done at the Wool House because I'd be hiding out up there while the guys worked (go ahead - insert insane laughter ;-).  I made a list of fun projects I wanted to get done - Christmas cards, felted sheep, wool wreaths and Maisie ornies (slang for ornaments).  As I wrote "ornie" I couldn't help but change it to ornerie :-D.

I finally got the Christmas card painted and off to the printer (aka Saint Tim) Saturday...and again Monday (a long story that of course sort of involves Maisie) and decided that maybe it wasn't too late to think about a Maisie Ornerie.  

The first thing I did was dye a skein of Lamb Camp yarn a rich Christmas red.  Well, at first I dyed it a too purple-y red because I added too much black, but Sheepmom suggested over-dyeing it with some yellow and that fixed it.  Well, the really first thing I did was have some white mat board cut into sheep shapes, so the next first thing I did was find where I'd stashed them ;-).  

Want to make a Maisie Ornerie?  

You'll need a small piece of cardboard, some wool roving, yarn or ribbon for the bow, yarn for a tail and a small brass bell.  A tapestry needle would be handy.  A felting needle is helpful, but not necessary.  A hot glue gun...everyone should have a hot glue gun!  Needle nose pliers will help, too. Oh, and some thread or fishing line for a hanger.

Mat board is good and solid, but poster board would work just fine and will be easier to cut by hand. Sheep are a pretty simple shape.  You just need some legs and a head and a hole about halfway back for a hanger.

The next step is to draft out/thin down (if your roving is fat) some of your favorite wool roving.  I'm using actual Maisie wool so it's very fat ;-D.

Start wrapping around the cut out.  I go around the body horizontally and then around the neck and then around the body vertically.  If you don't like how it looks, unwrap it and start over.  

Sheep are a pretty simple shape - round and fluffy ;-).

If you have a felting needle handy, use it to tuck in any loose ends or straggly fibers.  Felting needles are a special type of needle that have barbs (click to biggify) along the pointy end that catch individual wool fibers as you push it in and tangle them with other fibers as you pull it out - over and over.  

Safety disclaimer - yes, you can push them into your fingers and no, you really don't want to do that. But you will, so they say you should make sure you have a current tetanus shot...which you should anyway.  But still, try to not stick yourself...but you will.  You've been warned ;-).

Here's something interesting you might not know.  Or maybe you do know and I was the only one who didn't...but if I was the only one who didn't know, they wouldn't have posted this really interesting TED talk about tying your shoes (and other bows).  It's very short.  Go watch it.  It will change your life.  I promise.  You'll never tie another crooked/sideways bow again!

For my Maisie Ornerie I added a tail.  Most sheep don't have tails so you may not care to add this extra step.  I used some leftover Maisie sweater yarn and threaded it along the top of the ornerie, just out a bit by the head, removed the tapestry needle and pulled back on the tail until the front of the yarn was hidden by wool.

I used my felting needle to tack it a few times (poke, poke, poke), just to be safe, but as long as your cat doesn't get ahold of it, it should stay pretty secure without the needle.

Run a piece of thread or fishing line through the hole in the middle.

Use needle nosed pliers (just trust me on this) to hold the tiny bell and put a small dab of hot glue on the bell and stick it to the bottom of the bow.

A Maisie Ornerie or another favorite sheep ornie :-)

It's starting to look a little like Christmas around here, but it sure doesn't feel like Christmas.  Yes, I was making these outside on the porch watching the sheep graze on the still pretty darn green grass. It was something crazy like 60 some degrees this afternoon.  Gorgeous. 

I realize it's getting a little late in the game, but I do have a small basket of Maisie Orneries ready to sell.  As I was typing out the directions, I thought I could probably put together a kit to make your own as well.  Any interest?

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Updated - If you'd like to order an Ornerie or kit, just drop me an email thecrazysheepladyATgmailDOTcom and let me know what you'd like and your shipping address and I'll get them right out.

Thank you all for your support!  It really helps :-D.


Alice said...

I would like 5 Maisie orneriness, please. What's the cost per orneriness?

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

What a cute ornament! I'm enjoying reading back over your blog, especially the pictures of the dogs interacting with the sheep! It's an amazing "dance" between sheep and canine.

Michelle said...

Those are awfully sweet.

Lori Skoog said...

Love the Maisie are just too clever! Can I still order calendars? 1 large 1 small...

Henny Penny said...

The 'orneries' are so cute. I think a kit would be great.

Bandon, Oregon said...

I would LOVE to order one and a calendar also... Faith

DianeOart said...

Oh Maisie... those are sooooo cute.

MarmePurl said...

So cute and clever. Thank you for the inspiration on an afternoon activity for my elders. (minus the hot glue gun part!) I even have all the parts right here. No Stunning Christmas Red lamb camp yarn, but we will make do.

Dona said...

These ornaments are darling. I would like an ornament or a kit. With one, I can recreate my flock using my sheep's roving!

Michelle said...

Brian was saying the other day that he's not good at tying shoelaces. I think I'll make him watch that TED talk! Cute ornaments, but I think mine would have to have pert little ears (along with a short tail).

Michelle said...

Well phooey; that's the way I've ALWAYS tied my shoes. I thought I was going to learn something new!

Susan said...

Very cute and interesting and I loved the Ted talk. Must try that. I made a BLACK sheep last year and put it on the present for our Priest ... hahaha

Far Side of Fifty said...

I was following along quite well and then I thought what is she going to do with the head? How about putting two holes in the body across from the neck so you can wrap the head:) Just an idea...they are cute as can be! :)

Lisa Smith said...

I would love to get a couple Maisie orneries (I love your play on words!), either in kit form or already "born", as well as your Farm calendar. (I'll send you an email.....) I saw on your Farm Shop page that dear Comby is "Mr. June, 2016"! It will be hard to wait for June's turn, but since all the months have lovely images it's a win-win!

Regarding the bow tying, I discovered that many years ago when tying ribbon onto handmade ornaments I was giving as gifts. I actually stumbled upon it when experimenting and trying to achieve a straight bow! It reminded me of how I stumbled upon the correct way to make a French Knot. . . for the longest time I couldn't make one properly. Then one evening my late husband and I were having Long Island Iced Teas at home; when I suddenly got the bright (?) idea to give French Knots a go again. Low and behold, perfect French Knots were achieved!

It is so nice to think of little Maisies hanging from Christmas trees all over the country! If she gets wind of it though, she may ask you for a "piece of the action"! Perhaps you could pay her in Cheerios . . . .

Unknown said...

I would like to order 4 of the Maisie orneries. How do I do that???

thecrazysheeplady said...

I'll get them in the mail to you tomorrow :-). Thank you!!!

thecrazysheeplady said...

If you'd like to order an Ornerie or kit, just drop me an email thecrazysheepladyATgmailDOTcom and let me know what you'd like and your shipping address and I'll get them right out.

Thank you all for your support! It really helps :-D.


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