November 28, 2016


'Pendragon' - Nuno felted with merino wool and silk fabric

I have acquired a treasure trove of silk scarves and fabric over the last few years which I use in my felting to create patterns and designs on the wool. The fabrics don't felt but the wool fibres do. The fabric is laid out on top of the wool just before or just after wetting out the wool. As the wool fibres attach themselves to the silk and begin to lock together during the felting process they cause the fabric to compress and ruche on the surface of the felt. The most delicate fabrics tend to melt right into the wool leaving only traces of their colours and heavier weaves leave beautifully textured surfaces and colours on the felt. This technique creates unique designs that are truly one of a kind.  In nuno felting the fabric can be used to cover selected parts of the wool or the entire surface. Several fabrics may be combined into one hat project to add various colours and design features. The final effect is always a lovely surprise. 

The red and orange butterfly embellishment is also nuno felted onto white chiffon gauze. 

'Gypsy Soul' - nuno felted silk on merino wool used to create a 'mad hatter' style hat. This one is made with seamless construction and worked into its final shape using hat blocks and hand shaping. 

'Dotty' - nuno felted silk fabric on white merino with a black brim.

This fabric is black with white polka dots which I applied over a strip of white merino wool.  I used black wool for the brim and crown of the hat. In nuno felting, as the felting happens, the wool fibres migrate through the weave of the fabric attaching it to the surface. This affects the colour of the fabric on the finished piece.  In this case the white wool created a soft cloudy effect on the black background making it appear slightly charcoal in colour. The effect would have been completely different had the fabric been applied over black wool. 

'Dalmation' - I used the same polka dot fabric on white wool making the brim and crown in white as well giving a completely different look.

'Nutmeg' - I used a silk scarf around this hat to create a spotted leopard effect. 

'Dragon Fly' - I used a very fine silk scarf that blended right into the wool leaving only the impression of its colour on the surface of the wool. The texture is smooth and the pattern looks like it was printed on. 
Here you can see the effects created by using different colour wool underneath the silk fabric and how it affects the final outcome of the design.

I have had a busy fall teaching hat felting workshops to many enthusiastic and hard working felters. Some of my students are experienced felters wanting to learn hat making techniques and others are beginning felters who follow a steep learning curve as they learn both felting and millinery techniques at the same time. New felters often come to workshops with various expectations which may not be exactly what they experience in the class. After spending a full day designing, creating, rolling, shaping and styling their own unique hat they leave (usually very tired) with a new found respect for the felting process and a beautiful, completed (but damp) hat. Creating a felted hat by hand is always a magical experience that leaves a lasting impression on the maker.  There is that ... and hats, generally speaking, just make people happy.  I love it that about them (hats and people!).

Knitted fingerless gloves using gorgeous Noro silk garden yarn! 

There is usually some sort of knitting going on in between felting projects these days. I love that knitting is portable and I can do it anywhere. It seems I can't stand to have idle hands. 

The yarn is Puffin by Quince and Co.

Here I used Manos Maxima - a lovely soft hand dyed merino wool.

Greenie Beanie with a fab flower!

This hat is knitted with angora and fun fur and then felted in the washing machine. 

There is more to come very soon as I prepare for Busy Hands! This wonderful annual local artisan show and sale takes place on December 10th and 11th, 2016 in Wellington Ontario.  www.BusyHands2016/

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