October 21, 2018

FELT HANDMADE





Nuno felted wrap perfect for a winter wedding. 



















felt handmade! A new name and a new look for the felted wearables I have been making this year. I'm still making CakeTin Hats but I have found an inspiring new focus in clothing. This includes hand dying, botanical printing and stitching which I have found quite captivating and a little addicting to be honest. There is so much to learn and so little time. I have been neglecting my blog because it has become so fast and easy to post on Instagram. You can find my work there @felthandmade. I think this post will have to be a bit of a catch up for 2018. I am teaching one last hat felting workshop for 2018 next Saturday October 27th at Rosehaven Yarn Store in Picton which I am really looking forward to. 











One of my newest hats with some simple stitching using silk threads. 






A new Nuno felted hat using some lovely indigo dyed cotton and silk with hand sewn beads. 





The vest was also felted using indigo dyed silk and rovings that I dyed with the help of @mags_kandis of indigo + rust. I didn't have a chance to take official photos before it was sold at The Prince Edward County Fibrefest last May. 
















Earlier this year I began teaching myself to felt clothing and to dye my own silks for nuno felting. Then in the summer and fall I had the opportunity to take two amazing workshops with master instructors. In order to benefit fully from these it has been important to put the skills and knowledge I learned into practice. With every new piece that comes off my felting table I continue to learn something new. I've also learned that it's absolutely thrilling to make garments from felt! 





It was a challenge to design and create the pattern for this tunic before taking a garment making workshop but it worked out and actually fits me perfectly. I won't be able to part with this one!  











This is the woodland nymph vest modelled by Mags. 




The first workshop I took, taught by the amazing and lovely Charity Van der Meer from the Netherlands, was a felted coat. The workshop was four full days with about four days of preparation to select and dye all the materials needed! This was a very intense and physical felting experience and not for the faint of heart but it was also a fantastic experience. At 50% shrinkage can you imagine the size of the initial layout before felting? The span from wrist cuff to wrist cuff was eight feet. In the end I was thrilled with the coat I made. Here it is being modelled by my lovely sister-in-law. 


















The second workshop I took, taught by the wonderful Eva Camacho from Massachusetts, was a three day botanical printing session. I had taken a Boro scarf felting workshop from Eva last year and found her to be a great teacher and an accomplished artist in her own right. For the botanical workshop I decided to prepare some plain white felted items to print on. This proved to be challenging from a time perspective but the greater challenge, I discovered, was plunging the beautiful pristine white felted pieces into rusty iron water, covering them with plant material, bundling them up with tightly tied string and then immersing them in a boiling dye bath of logwood or avocados or black walnuts or weld for a couple of hours. EEEK!

This seemed like a lot of wear and tear on something so soft and delicate as wool and silk. Amazingly the finished pieces turned out to be just a soft and delicate as when they first went into the pot! This serves to confirm my notion that wool and silk are wonder fibres. No wonder humans have been making clothing using wool and silk since time immemorial. 






Felted vest before..... 






Rusty old iron water! Yikes! 





Then into the boiling dye pot....













Two hours later. Still steaming wet right out of the dye pot!





And after.
















Botanical printing on a felted vest in a logwood dye bath. I was too busy with my bundle and neglected to take more pictures of the process.  





Felted scarf before.





All tied up with eucalyptus and peony and red and yellow onion skins! 





The weld dye bath which is a very vibrant yellow,





The final dip into indigo and her's what happened ....





Felted scarf before and after. This was cooked in weld and them immersed into organic indigo.











Another before and after. This felted scarf came out of an avocado dye bath and then into Pakistani indigo. 





This silk is ear marked for a felted tunic which I am designing the pattern for. Stay tuned! 





January 16, 2018

LEARN TO FELT 2018








Registration is now open for my 2018 felting workshops.

This spring and fall I will be teaching a series of wet felting workshops in the felting studio at Rosehaven Yarn Store. Classes include basic hat felting (3 classes offered on different dates), advanced Nuno hat felting, flower felting, felting a phone case or iPad/tablet pouch, advanced Nuno bag felting, slipper felting and felting small vessels. Each class and all its details are listed under events at www.rosehavenyarn.com

Workshops always take place on a Saturday and are scheduled during February. March, April, May, October and November. 

To register please call the shop - 613-476-9092 between 10 am and 5 pm Monday through Saturday. The shop will be open again on Sunday beginning in the spring.

Rosehaven Yarn Store is located at 187 Main St., Picton, ON Canada. Picton is located in beautiful Prince Edward County which is known for its many vineyards and wineries along with the famous Sandbanks Provincial Park and its beautiful beaches. Air BnBs abound in The County and there are many wonderful restaurants, art galleries and music events.  Why not plan a weekend mini vacation around your felting workshop? 


@caketinhats is on Instagram




October 10, 2017

THE FELTING CIRCLE








This hat is the newest in a series of fantasy hats I've been felting this year. Nature and "Middle Earth" have been sending me strong vibes. I've always liked things that are unique and a little bit different. Seeking inspiration through fairies, elves, gnomes, wizards, trees, flowers, skies, water, fields and pure fantasy brings me joy. I find joy in creating something from nothing more than fibre. From the fluff off a sheep's back.  From the threads of a silk worm's cocoon.  All those tiny fibres woven and tangled together to create the fabric of a one of a kind hat or scarf or bag. With my hands. And water and soap. Sustainably. Making something beautiful and practical. To keep people warm. Expressing my creativity. I do it all for me, but it makes me very happy when other people recognize it as something special and love it too.  When people connect to me through my work it completes a circle. And life is a beautiful circle. Felting is my circle. 


















I've made a few pair of baby shoes over the last couple of years just because they are so completely precious.  I also like a new creative challenge now and then. I have been making them free form because baby shoe lasts are as scarce as hens teeth around here. Much to my delight, a lovely friend just gifted me with the most beautiful, antique, wooden, size 2, baby shoe lasts and I am thrilled!  Just look how perfectly they shape the little shoes.  These will fit a 6 to 12 month old tiny human being. 








The baby shoes below are some that I made free form and stuffed with tissue paper to shape. They are cute but don't have that beautifully defined shape of having been stretched over lasts.  Can you see the difference?







































Ahh!  That's better!












This summer I took a felting workshop taught by Eva Camacho Sanchez from Massachusetts. It was a wonderful experience and she is a beautiful felter and a beautiful teacher. I spent a week ahead of time preparing my fibres, selecting my wool colours and hand dyeing my silk and cotton fabrics.  Eva uses a Nuno felting technique based on a traditional Japanese 'Boro' method of patching cloth.  I think the effect is stunning and I have been able to carry it over to my hat felting. The purple fedora is patched with hand dyed silk which is how the various contrasting colours are introduced into the piece.  Boro is originally connected to hand stitching which was the way people patched their clothing when they could not afford new things. Eventually an entire garment could end up completely covered with patches that held the original fabric together. Some of the existing pieces are now treasured works of art. This technique, despite its perceived beauty and the skill of the sewers, eventually went out of vogue as new clothes became more readily available and desirable to people. The art of Boro has seen a revival in many forms of contemporary textile making.  It is the perfection of the imperfect and it partners beautifully with felt.























This is the Boro scarf that I made in the workshop with Eva. I am in love with all those colours. 











This is my lovely friend Estelle modelling the Boro scarf. She was very quick to point out that these were her perfect colours!  I agree but I'm not ready to part with it yet! 







At the workshop someone noticed Eva's beautiful Boro felted bag and so she showed us how to fold a rectangular piece of flat felt to create a long, narrow bag . It was the first project I worked on after the workshop so I would remember how to use the technique I had learned.  I was also anxious to use some of the eco-dyed fabrics I had recently spent a summer's day dyeing in big pots, around a fire with some very talented and creative friends.


















In keeping with Boro traditions I did do some hand stitching on the bag.  Some of the stitching holds the seams together and some is to add design and texture to the surface of piece.  The fringe was from the ends of a vintage wool scarf which I dyed and felted in. I really wasn't sure if I liked it on the finished bag but I took a poll on FaceBook and the fringe won out!  So I put the scissors away. 



















Dyed silk above and below are dyed wool (left) and cotton (right). The rich brown is from walnuts, the coral is from osage and madder and the chartreuse is from avocado and eucalyptus. 







A close up of the organic cotton below. All of these fabrics are incorporated into the wool felt to create the surface pattern design of the bag. 













A few shots from our dye day. Thanks to Terrie MacDonald, Mags Kandis, Dorothy Caldwell and Diane  Howard for a great day around the cauldron! 



























The still wrapped and steaming bundles of pigment!