Do you want the luck of the Irish in your needle felting journey? Eager to make some charming new creations? Sorry, couldn’t resist! St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, as is spring itself (finally!) This season is all about growth and renewal — especially this year — so even if you’re not Irish, St. Patrick’s Day is a time to celebrate.
In the United States, this has gone beyond a Catholic holy day to become a full-fledged affirmation of Irish culture, legends, and an overall spirit of luck and prosperity.
St. Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland, recognized for converting the Irish to Christianity and establishing many schools and places of worship throughout the country. Catholics named the anniversary of his death, March 17, to be his feast day. In Ireland, this day was a time for honoring St. Patrick’s legacy.
Irish immigrants in the U.S., though, were often marginalized and mistreated. They needed something to affirm their history and culture. And so, St. Patrick’s Day became a secular holiday, where the Irish could share their traditions, cuisine, and mythology (such as the shamrock being an object of luck and divinity).
As you may know, the shamrock is a type of clover, which is also Ireland’s national plant. St. Patrick thought that its three leaves could represent the Holy Trinity. The shamrock was also cherished for its medicinal properties. Plus, it’s pretty!
So, if you’re in the spirit to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with some fiber arts, read on… let’s create our own heart-felt version of a shamrock! Grab your green beer and unwind with some needle felting…
- Get a shamrock-shaped cookie-cutter, which should be no problem this time of year.
- Place the cookie cutter on your felting cushion, and stuff your green wool into it.
- Begin felting with a 36 gauge needle, getting as close to the edges as possible. This needs to be firm, so progressively add more wool.
- Flip the wool regularly to make sure you felt both sides.
- Refine the edges of the leaves to help them get that distinctive clover shape!
- If you wish, once you’ve made several shamrocks, you can make a garland: thread a bit of yarn through several shamrocks, alternating with felted green beads. Hang and enjoy!
And while St. Patrick is said to have expelled the serpents and dragons from Ireland, I won’t tell if you want to make yourself a little green companion this spring. This one is a friendly, palm-sized dragon!
If you’re looking for more inspiration for your spring felting projects, be sure to join my Needle Felting Academy.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!