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....
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.
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!