March 25, 2012


'Queen of Hearts' ~ wet felted

I'm not sure why I hadn't discovered the textile art of wet felting until very recently because it has certainly existed for thousands of years. Felt was probably discovered by an ancient nomadic sheep herder suffering from frost bitten toes. Stuffing sheared fleece into leather foot coverings for warmth and then chasing sheep for a day or two would be enough to make it all happen.

Moisture and heat combined with pressure and agitation causes the scaly fibres of wool to lock together and creates a very strong and incredibly warm fabric. The only thing missing way back then, besides clean feet, would have been the lovely, pure olive oil soap combined with warm water which modern felters use to help wool fibres open up like the scales on a pine cone and then smoothly connect to each other, forever. 

'Queen of Hearts ~ top

'Pretty Pixie' ~ wet felted
(Design inspired by Maureen Harding,
Dreamspin Fibres, Campbellford)

'Pretty Pixie' ~ brim down

'Pretty Pixie ~ top

Using this wet felting technique to create a hat has been a remarkable and wonderful experience for me. Hat felting has a sharp learning curve and I can see that it will take a lot of practice through experimentation to get where I want to go with it. Beside the fact that my first few attempts consisted of a lot of trial and error, which required creative patience (not my area of expertise!)... I was hooked. Wet felting is magic! 

After beginning on my own using information from books, and gaining inspiration from Marjolein Dalinga (Bloomfelt, Montreal) who did a workshop at Rose Haven Farm Store last summer (where I now work part time)... I met Maureen Harding (Dreamspin Fibres, Campbellford), a lovely and talented teacher not far from where I live. Taking a felting course last fall with Maureen was a revelation. It seems that felting not only connects fibres, it also connects people and she has kindly inspired me with sage advice through email conversations filled with ideas and encouragement for which I am grateful.

'Leonardo' ~ wet felted

'Leonardo' ~ top

Although I have an arts background and studied at the Ontario College of Art (OCA back D for Design until much later!)....textiles and fibre art were never on my radar. Later at York University, I was  motivated to experiment with different mediums by Peter Kolisnyk, a wonderful art teacher and gifted artist...but I still hadn't discovered wool fibre. Through felting I have begun to push myself creatively in different directions which has made me more comfortable with experimentation. I love working in 3D!  Felt, so warm and soft to the touch, is filled with endless possibilities and everyone needs a lovely warm hat.

'Renaissance' ~ wet felted


'Renaissance' ~ top

'Shakespeare' ~ wet felted

'Shakespeare' ~ top

'Airie Fairie' ~ wet feltd
(Design inspired by Maureen Harding)

'Airie Fairie' ~ top

'Virginia Woolf'' ~ wet felted
(Hat design inspired by Jannio - France)

March 18, 2012


'Greenie' Beanie ~ hand knit (Photo by Showna)

Choosing colour and colour combinations is the best part of beginning a new hat project. If something doesn't jump out at me when I go through my stash of gorgeous yarns I usually look outside for colour inspiration. Nature always puts colours together in spring and summer that look spectacular in the garden. Then fall introduces a whole other range of colour possibilities. Even winter with it's monochromatic palette provides inspiration for something different and more subdued.

'Snow Buds' mad hatter ~ hand knit, felted & embroidered

Today is beautiful outside and what scant snow we had this winter has melted away in the warm and long awaited sunshine. Vibrant purple crocuses are poking out through drab ground cover and the grass and mosses are greening up. This promise of spring sends me back to my stash and a frenzy of colour in anticipation of the tulips, daffodils, lilacs, iris, peonies, poppies and lilies yet to come.

'Icelandic Flowers' gnomie ~hand knit, felted & embroidered
(Hat pattern design by Harpa Jonsdottir
with my embroidery design)

'Baby Icelandic Flowers' beanie
~ hand knit & felted

Last years pale purple iris were the perfect inspiration for a flower pot style fringed beret combined with a lovely Irish green hue. Perfect for St. Patrick's Day!  Other orchid and parchment coloured iris inspired a classic beret below.

'Irish Iris' flower pot beret ~ hand knit & felted

'Tambourine' beret ~ hand knit & felted

A nest with a clutch of robin's eggs was the inspiration for this pleated cloche in an irresistible robin's egg blue with a touch of orchid pink.

'Robin's Egg' pleated cloche ~ hand knit & felted

Robin's eggs (Photo by Karen Lammes)

'Robin's Egg' ~ top view

'Plum Bun' pleated cloche ~ hand knit & felted

'Plum Bun' ~ top view

'Fickle Fingers' flower pot beret ~ hand knit & felted

'Icelandic Feathers' gnomie ~ hand knit, felted & embroidered
(Hat design inspired by Harpa Jonsdottir)

Vintage Black & Blue beret ~ felt with hand knit band

Vintage Pink beret ~ felt with hand knit band

Vintage Red' beret ~ felt with hand knit band

March 10, 2012


'Bandeau'  pleated cloche ~ hand knit & felted

Although knitting and felting have been around for a very long time they are fairly new to me. It was by chance that I discovered wool as a medium for expression in textile art and design when a friend and knitter extrodinaire, Erika Mohssen-Beyk (Reachview Organic Farm) taught me to knit.

This was in 2008 after moving to Prince Edward County. One day, while in town, something beckoned me into Rose Haven Farm Store, the local yarn and fibre arts shop on Main Street in Picton. I could not resist the beautifully rich colours and warm textures of the myriad yarns ready and waiting to be shaped by my hands into something! But how? Erika who works at the shop was happy to show me.

We started with socks and I loved the process but It didn't take long to realise that making a second item exactly the same as the first wasn't where my skill level and my creative ambition wanted to take me. Somehow no two socks were ever alike so I decided to make a simple hat and then another and another...each becoming the inspiration for the next.

Recently, and many knitted hats later, another friend, Carol King (C.K. Woolies, Cherry Valley), taught me to hand craft felted hats by using a fulling technique which shrinks and thickens a large knitted piece with an initial structure into a beautifully sculpted hat. Each time the results are different and each hat is unique.

'Clocheness' pleated cloche ~ hand knit & felted


The more I knit and felt the more I have become comfortable with the joy of experimentation. I simply love working with wool fibres and when I discovered wool felting it became the perfect medium for me.

'Over the Rainbow' flowerpot beret ~ hand knit & felted

'Cottage Rose' mad hatter ~ hand knit & felted

'March Hare' fringed beret ~ hand knit & felted

'March Hare' top view

'Cherry Flower' cloche ~ hand knit & felted

'Jamberet' flower pot beret ~ hand knit & felted

'Fringepot' flower pot beret ~ hand knit & felted

'Blaze' mad hatter ~ hand knit & felted
(Leaf motif and design inspired by Cathy Carron)

'Tuxedo' mad hatter ~ hand knit & felted

'Flapper' cloche ~ hand knit & felted

'Flapper' cloche ~ top

'Turkey Tracks' cloche ~ hand knit & felted

'Turkey Tracks' ~ top