If at first you don't succeed, throw the towel ... along with the soggy ball ... into the dryer. Felting, that is. I thought this project was doomed. It wasn't shrinking enough, I didn't have enough dark blue wool to cover the entire surface, and it seemed to be drying lopsided. Good thing that felting, as a craft, is so forgiving. Nothing like a hot dryer to whip that wool into shape.
But oh, we had so much fun making this big ball of wool ... it wouldn't have mattered if the final product came out or not! After my hot water cooled a bit, Finn absolutely loved getting his hands in the water and on the wool.
The ball is large as far as felt balls go - about 4 1/2" in diameter. I've noticed Finn's interest in larger objects, and his very intense desire to move along the floor (albeit backwards, much to his chagrin) and thought a big ball would match his needs both at the moment and well into the future. (Can you picture seven year-old Finn tossing this ball around the house? I swear there are moments, expressions, in which I can see the person he will become through the baby chub and drool.)
I wound the roving round and round, as tightly as I could, until it measured about 6" in diameter, at which time I poured hot, soapy water over it. Finn and I turned, smooshed, submersed, and twisted it until it seemed pretty hopeless, as some of the outer layer of roving wasn't shrinking as it should.
Hot dryer to the rescue! A thirty minute whirl with some towels did the trick. I added the dots with a felting needle.
All in all, this turned out to be a great little project. It got rave reviews from the youngest critic, both for the process and the finished product.