July 28, 2014


Vintage Beret with felted flower

I have acquired a collection of beautiful old pure wool felted berets from various vintage stores that I wasn't quite sure what to do with.  I also had a few hand felted flowers left over from The Maker's Hand sale last fall.  They were all sitting in my "what to do with?" basket when it occurred to me that the berets and flowers might be a match made in heaven!  Here is the result after a little hand stitching and some colour inspiration from the garden.

The pink rose below (the real one...not the felted one) was the only rose I have been able to grow in my garden since becoming a rural dweller ten years ago.  I brought most of my favorite rose bushes with me when we arrived and began gardening here.  Sadly, the deer (who seem immune to prickles) ate them all.  Every last one of my beautiful roses.  In fact I haven't seen a rose growing here for years.  Then a few weeks ago I noticed this divine pink rose poking out next to the wrought iron trellis that has long forgotten what it's like to support any kind of climbing vegetation.  It had the fragrance of sweet apples. Luckily I snapped this photo...because the next day all that was left was a chewed off stem.  Imagine that!    

The deer (and we have quite a few here) like to wait until something is in perfect bloom and then with great stealth they attack,  often but not always under the cover of darkness wreaking havoc on the poor garden. We learned the hard way and although we can't fence the flower gardens we did build a seven foot high fence around the veggie garden.  This spares the cabbages but any grape vine that escapes cascading over the fence is fair game. One of the only plants deer don't find tasty is Russian sage.  Maybe that's part of the reason for my obsession with purple!   So to commemorate my lovely, short lived pink rose I put the felted pink rose on the hunter green beret.  That will have to do.

Vintage Beret ~ hunter green with felted rose

The one and only rose

The deer proof veggie garden with 7' fence!

Vintage Beret ~ with felted flower pin

If you would like to learn how to create your own beautiful felted flowers there are still three spots available for a flower making workshop Sunday August 10th at Rosehaven Yarn Shop in Picton. To sign up please call the shop at 613-476-9092 or email Lesley at knit@rosehavenyarn.com

The cost of the workshop including materials is $120 (9am to 4 pm).  You will complete two or three beautiful wet felted flowers using various techniques which you will take home to dry. Click here to see a list of what you will need to bring.

Colourful Noro fingerless gloves

I love this Noro yarn for fingerless gloves

More subdued but still soft and warm!


A few weeks ago Sandra (below) popped in to Rose haven Yarns and much to my delight bought my Alba Rose cloche which looks fantastic on her.  To be honest I think she could wear any hat and look great.  She was so excited about the hat and the felting process that she signed up for a workshop with me last weekend at Rosehaven.  Here are the results of Sandra's very first foray into felting.  She made a simply beautiful black and green cloche with a felted feather embellishment that (of course) looks great on her!  When she was done she was already planning her next felting projects so I know she has been bitten by the felting bug.

Alba Rose being worn by its lovely new owner

Sandra in her felted cloche creation

Love the felted feather

Margaret's layout

Margaret looking beautiful in her unique pleated cloche

Margaret's fabulous finished hat

Colleen (below) is an experienced felter who has taken classes in New Zealand and more recently in Switzerland.  She has felted beautiful garments but wanted to learn the tricks of hat felting which is why she took my workshop and it was great to have her there.  It seems like there are so many unique techniques to make felt around the world that I picked up a few nice ideas from her as well.  Colleen has the cutest little ceramic felting tool that she picked up in New Zealand and she used it not only to heal cut edges but also to rub the felt after wetting.  I usually use bubble wrap or some times screening over top of the wet fibres.  Colleen used a piece of smooth plastic over the fibres and rubbed the plastic with the ceramic tool (photo below).  It's just a different way of achieving the same results and it worked really well.  I tried it out but found the little handle was very small to hold on to and that my hand got tired trying to grip it.

Colleen's layout with a little firestar for pizazzFelting tool in top right corner

Colleen felting with her ceramic felting tool on plastic

The glaze makes this tool smooth but I found it hard to grip

Colleen's fantastic results


Having fun with embellishments

Sue's fibre... three pre-weighed layers for side two

Sue's layout with the green on the inside of the hat

Sue smoothing the seams using a plastic juice lid

Maura laying out her purple fibre

For a beret the head opening is cut part way through the felting process

Maura healing the cut edges

Hand rolling to further shrink the felt

July 10, 2014


'Caroline Reboux' ~ wet felted cloche using merino and silk

Back in May I was inspired by the gorgeous lilacs that cover Prince Edward County for three weeks each spring to make a purple hat.  It's only taken me two months to get it done.  My camera cooperated for these photos and the colour purple is actually purple and not blue as it sometimes falsely appears depending on the light.  The inside of the cloche is a pale lavender colour (since the lavender is so pretty in the garden right now).  Here is a picture of my lovely Mum Norah with the lilacs we picked on our annual spring lilac tour.

My Mum Norah with lilacs (pure purple inspiration!)

My lovely friend Debbie felting her first hat

Yesterday my friend Debbie and I spent the day together felting hats.  Deb is a fibre artist in her own right and spins the most beautiful yarns and knits wonderful woolly things.  She also sews beautifully.  She has a little felting experience but this was her first hat.  I think she is a natural!  After selecting hat colours we decided a treat of the delicious rainier cherries Deb had packed earlier that morning was in order.  When we saw the cherries beside the merino fibres she had  already picked out we thought it was amazing that their stunning colours had subliminally influenced her colour choices for the hat!  What power nature has over us!  

Just look at those gorgeous colours!

My lovely co worker Cheryl

This is Cheryl at Rosehaven Yarn Shop.  She is not a felter but an admirer of felting and you can see how impressed she is with Debbie's layout so far.  I call Cheryl the resident knitting machine and if you want to learn knitting or improve and perfect your skills she is the one you want to connect with.  Mistakes to fix?...no problem.  Cheryl teaches all our knitting classes at the shop.  She has the most marvelous blog called Pearl's Handmade which you really should check out...but only if you LOVE beautiful things!!!  www.pearls-toronto.com 

This August Cheryl is having a sock camp at Rosehaven in Picton.  Knitting two socks at once no less.  To find out more see Rosehaven's workshop calendar.

Here is the one shot I finally took of Debbie using the finishing and shaping technique I like when making a hat.  It works really well to nip in the brim and snug the hat into the right size.  After stretching the hat over the wooden block I use my favorite plastic juice container lid to smooth the seams and and tame the dimples (unless of course you like dimples in felt...which a lot of people do).  Some people also like to trim the edges evenly or into an interesting style line and others prefer to leave then just the way they decide to be on their own.  It's a very personal thing.  That's what makes felted hats unique, one of a kind and it's also why felting makes people smile. 

Shaping and refining the seams with the 'wonder tool' juice container lid


Brim folded and left au naturel finished off the shaping process

Debbie after a long day's work with her fantastic hat!

July 3, 2014


Conrad Beaubien's bow tie ~ Nuno felted merino on silk chiffon

Way back in April Conrad Beaubien asked me to felt him a bow tie.  Here it is...finally finished and he still hasn't seen it He (perhaps unwisely) left the colour choice up to me.  I'm hoping he likes pink and purple!  Given his charmingly charismatic personality I think it will be perfect.  This one's for you Conrad!  Now... I just need to get it to Wellington...

Well, as is so happened, a few days after I wrote this post Conrad came to Picton because he was very keen to see his new bow tie.  Here he is looking tres chi chi at Miss Lily's Cafe.  It certainly turned out to be the perfect bow tie for him and he even loved the colours!  I am really happy about that.  Conrad is an accomplished writer who likes hats as much as I do.  In fact he recently wrote a fascinating article called 'Hat Trick' about the Lanning hat company which is located very close to us in Belleville Ontario. Read it here: http://www.watershedmagazine.com/hat-trick/

Conrad looking grand in his felted bow tie


And here are the fantastic results from the June 29th hat felting workshop I taught at Rosehaven Yarn Shop in Picton.  Once again I spent a great day with six delightful students who worked hard and had fun creating their own unique wet felted hats.  This was the very first time wet felting for four of the ladies who all created very lovely and successful hats.  Everyone made perfect style and colour choices and I hope they are all as thrilled with the results of their work as I am. 

Jodie's robin's egg blue beauty

Love those pleats

Heather's great 'northern lights' cloche design

The other side of  'northern lights'

Marianne's lovely lilac and plum flapper hat

What flair!

This hat has such a beautiful shape

Pat shaping her gorgeous green cloche

Sher bravely cutting the brim of her beautiful earth toned hat

Marlene's photo of her beautiful finished Rosy Cloche

Marlene in her rosy cloche ~ So perfect and pretty

Marlene (working below) took her hat all the way home to Ohio where she added some wonderful finishing touches.  She made the flower from the little bit of fibre she had left over from her hat and found some lovely cord to use as a band.  This is a perfectly lovely hat creation!

Marlene perfecting her fibre layout technique

Jodie and Pat laying out and 'patting the bunny'!

Heather ready to begin laying out side two

Marianne wetting out the fibres with warm water and olive oil soap

Heather's 'northern lights' fibre layout


Once the felting is finished the initial shaping, styling and cutting of the brim comes next followed by a little more felting to 'heal' any cut edges.  The hats are then rinsed in warm water to remove the soap, left to soak in a vinegar and tepid water bath for about 10 minutes and  rinsed one final time in cold water to remove the vinegar.  This is where three sinks come in handy! Then the fun really begins with the final stretching and shaping which can take some time and ingenuity.  Marlene used plastic bags to shape her brim and make it stand out from the base of the hat.  The bags will stay there for a day or two until the hat is completely dry.  Buckets are a great way to safely transport the still wet hats home for drying.

Marlene's elegant rosy cloche 


Jodie's hat drying upside down to hold the pleats in place.

Sher's hat shaped and trimmed and ready to transport.

Heading home with hats drying in buckets!