Saturday, January 26, 2013

Some of my crochet hat styles

Here are photos of some of my crochet hat styles. Most , but not all, of these are sold but I like to keep photos of past projects. Click on any of the 3 layouts below to open a larger image. Which are your favorites?

Layout 1

Layout 2

Layout 3

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Eco-Friendly Abundance in my Studio

I live in a 1.5 bedroom house. The .5 bedroom is for storage so that leaves only the kitchen, which is fairly large, for studio space. Actually it is an open area that would be kitchen & dining area. I have taken over the dining area.

I prefer to use recycled fabrics and embellishments in my designs for two reasons. Cost is one, but the other is I'd rather keep the old stuff out of the landfills AND unless you are buying Peace Silk, the process of harvesting silk is quite brutal. I am amazed at the amount of natural fabrics I find at yard sales and thrift stores. Beautiful rayon, cotton, silk and linen are very abundant. By scrounging materials in this way I can keep my costs down and pass the savings on to my customers. It does however, tend to create a cluttered studio.

My solution is this great storage space. I am attempting to keep the materials somewhat color coordinated but already need another row of squares! I am working towards a studio space separate from the house. How do my hip boots wind up on my felting table?? Well, it is in the center of house activities. A studio, a real, separate, private studio. It's on it's way - that much I am sure of. In the meantime, I will put the hip boots away, install another row of storage space, smile at my abundance and hit another thrift store. Wheeeee!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

TADA! Hand Sculpted Felt Cloche Complete

Here it is - the moment you have all been waiting for! The completed hat. It is being delivered today and I hope the recipient is thrilled with it.

What do you think? Was it fun or interesting to see a glimpse of the process? I really enjoyed documenting it for you and hope to add more posts of the creative process. Please share your thoughts with me. I am posting these not only for myself but to share in the fun and magic of the process that is Felting.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hand Sculpted Felt Cloche - the rest of the story...

I was very excited to get busy completing the cloche today, but couldn't get to it until 3:30 this afternoon. Whew, am I tired! To start off, I decided that my flat felt from yesterday was too thin. I decided to trim it a bit bigger than the form and then add another layer to it, while adding 4 layers to the outside so it would be consistently thicker. There's a lot to be said for doing a test swatch and measuring the wool. Next time... maybe.

Trimming the flat felt I made yesterday - too stinking thin - ugh!

Adding 1 more layer to yesterdays felt and 4 layers to the outside.
 I then had to repeat the wetting, rubbing, sanding, rinsing, kneading and throwing from yesterday. Once that was all done, the new and thicker piece of flat felt was centered on the hat block. I squirted it with soap, poured on some hot water, and started rubbing. And rubbing. And more rubbing. Whew - it takes quite a while...

Rubbing vertically on the folds.


     And rubbing some more

Rubbing with my knuckles

Now it may be hard to believe, but a piece of flat felt can be sculpted to the shape of a hat form - with enough rubbing. It's amazing to watch it take place under your hands. So, now that the folds are all gone and it's got a snug fit to the form it's time to trim and work the brim. After giving it a rough trim I secure the crown with an elastic band and then set to work on the brim. I am rubbing it with the handle of a wooden spoon to save the skin on my hands. For as soft as it is, it is quite exfoliating. That's why felted soaps are so great in the shower!

All smooth and ready to trim

Rough trim, elastic to hold it in place and rubbing with a wooden spoon handle.

 Once the brim is nice and smooth I did a final trim on the brim and then rubbed the cut edges to seal them. Holy cow - it's done! Into the sink for a rinse then to sit by the wood stove to dry overnight. Man, I'm tired, but that was Awesome!!!!

Sealing the trimmed edges

Rinsing - this takes a while too!

Drying by the wood stove

Completed flower & lace hat band

I added some red lace to the flower but I'm not sure if I really like it. I'll include it anyway but let her know if she doesn't like it I'll make her another one. I really do like the lace hat band though. So pretty!

Come back tomorrow when I take the hat off the form, add the flower and hat band and present to you the finished product all together and beautiful! I am happy to answer any questions you may have and really do appreciate your comments. :D

Can you help? and Hand Sculpted Felt Cloche continues

Can you help? I have created an on-line portfolio in the hopes of winning an arts grant. The more supporters I have, the greater my chances. If you can spare a minute to go to my portfolio here,, and click Support in the upper right, it will help greatly. There is nothing to sign up for, but it will ask you to post a link on your page of my portfolio. I would appreciate it so much if you could help spread the word about the work I am doing. The more people that are aware of the sustainability and environmentally friendly process of felting, the more our artists will succeed as well as bringing new artists on board.

Stay tuned for more of the exciting adventure of creating a hand sculpted Felt Cloche. The journey completes today with more photos of the process and the completed hat. Thanks for coming along! 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hand Felted Cloche Begins

Today I started making the cloche that was a custom order. I took some photos along the way to show some of the steps. It's not a complete tutorial but if you are already familiar with felting then you will get the idea. If you have no felting experience or would like to use a really nice, step by step tutorial, HandiCraftKate offered one on Craftsy. You can get in touch with her to see if its still available. It is awesome!! So, here goes...

 I began yesterday by choosing my materials and today I started by laying out the roving to make the flat felt that will eventually be sculpted into a cloche, or wide brimmed hat. I laid out 3 layers and then decided it needed a bit of sparkle. The woman who ordered this is an entertainer with very red hair, so I don't think she is going for subtle. Since the fabric I will be using for the flower has gold threads in it I decided to sprinkle some gold Firestar on the roving.

Shingling the merino roving

Firestar sprinkled on top

After it was all laid out I covered it with some netting and rubbed until it passed the pinch test. Then I went to work with the sander. I love using the sander!!!!

Rubbing on the netting with a recycled grocery bag
I love my sander <3

After both sides were sanded it was off to the sink for squeezing, kneading & rinsing in the sink, throwing, then repeat all several times.

Rinsing, squeezing & kneading

Throwing - this part can be a lot of fun!!!
I wanted to harden the flat felt a bit more so I threw it in the dryer with a bunch of felted dryer balls for about 15 min. While it was tumbling I began laying the roving on the recycled lace to make the removable hat band.

2 layers of roving on the back
Rolling the cord that will be the ties

 Now to make the flower. I cut out 2 circles from the shirt and one I cut into petal shapes. I laid some roving, Firestar and kid mohair locks then sanded it together. The other circle has roving laid onto the back only. These aren't the best photos but it will be Fab when you see it all together tomorrow!

Fabric with merino roving, Firestar and kid mohair locks.

The 2 pieces of fabric together. It will look better tomorrow!
 All the pieces I made today are drying and resting, getting ready for tomorrow. I will begin by sculpting the cloche which takes quite a while. It will require a lot of rubbing and shaping with my hands. Stay tuned & I'll post the photos when it's all done. Thanks for tagging along as I make and create with Fab fibers :D

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Starting a new Cloche (hand sculpted wide brimmed felt hat)

A customer recently ordered a custom made felt cloche, and her only request is that the hat be green. She is an opera singer with vibrant red hair and the green hat will look so striking on her. I picked out an olive green merino roving and some off white re-purposed vintage cotton lace for the hat band. I also include a lovely flower in complimentary colors and I am thinking that this green and gold shimmery shirt fabric would make a beautiful flower. Any thoughts? I might add a bit of red to the flower as well - just a touch.

I love making these cloches!! I took an online workshop by HandiCraftKate and it was such an excellent class. It was only $8 and I have lifetime access to it in case I forget anything - thank goodness! Felting is so great to begin with and in the making of these hats I get to utilize my skills in flat felting, nuno felting and sculpting with wool. So much fun! I will be taking photos as I go along and will be posting them here so you can see the process and steps involved. Today I started by selecting my roving and fabrics and tomorrow I will lay out and make the flat felt that will magically be transformed into a beautiful cloche. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Clearing out the old to make room for the new!

I have finally started to clear out my old inventory from the 2012 market season. I've been putting things into my Etsy shop, since I have one. It makes sense to use it if I'm going to keep it. I have so many ideas for new pieces and inspiration is everywhere. I'll let the older things go to make room for the new and exciting. If you see anything in my shop that you just have to have, let me know. If it's a bit out of your price range I am happy to haggle! I want all these pieces to find new homes and get out into the world! Stay tuned, there are many more to come. I add at least one item a day and also post it on my Facebook page.

Celestial Song

A compilation of re-purposed and recycled silks, cottons, rayon, velvet, nylon and polyester. They combine into a harmonious piece of Wearable Fiber Art that can also be used as home decor. See additional photos here.

A wonderful light created by using 3 led tea lights inside a frame that is wrapped by a wonderful piece of merino wool felt. The tree is made from pieces of hand dyed merino silk blend wool. More photos here.

A 400 page hard bound journal encased in a seamless cover. It is reusable with all future journals. It has a wonderful flap and button closure for privacy. Made with merino wool and re-purposed lace. See more here.

I call this wrap Cafe Au Lait because of the wonderful dark coffee and light cream colors. So beautiful, functional and light as a feather. More info can be found here.

Ahhhh, Pixie Dust! That is what I think of when I ponder this yummy wrap. It is made using re-purposed silk fabrics, some hand dyed cotton gauze, lots of silk fibers and throwers waste, merino wool and some Firestar for glint and sparkle. Don't you want to just snuggle into it? Look here for more pics and see how you can even use it as home decor!

 Another wonderful journal and cover! This one is made with shibori dyed cotton fabric, merino wool, firestar and some hemp fibers on the flap. Check it out here.

 A little romance, some Boho and hippie and you are good to go. This headband is a multifunctional piece of Eco friendly Fiber Art. It is made with merino wool and re-purposed cotton crochet lace. See more about it here.

Crochet from 100% super soft Cascade yarn, this granny square hat is so much fun and really warm. It has 3D flowers crocheted into the center of the square and is a lovely soft blue. It's the perfect season for a warm and stylish hat. See more here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Felt Art - "Creation"

A small wall hanging I call "Creation". We are all spiritual beings tapping into the consciousness of the Creator and "creating" all the time. What are you creating today?


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Experimenting with resists

I saw a beautiful textile of folded and pleated fabrics created to look like a waterfall and wanted to try something similar with felt. I only had a limited amount of blue merino roving so I didn't make as many ruffles as I would have like to, but I am pleased with the results.

By laying down long strips of plastic between the fibers I was able to create these dimensional ruffles. I call this piece Abstract Waterfall. I had a couple photos of the process but seem to have lost them :(