Felting workshop for beginners at KHY

I spent yesterday in the gorgeous working space of Know How You (KHY) in Beckenham, with 10 enthusiastic students who had never felted before.

I’d brought along lots of felt samples and books to show the versatility of the medium and get people inspired, highlighted in this great photo from KHY’s Instagram feed.

khy beginners workshop 5

We spent the morning working on a flat piece of felt to learn the principles of pulling wool tops, layering, wetting down and adding adornments.

khy beginners workshop 4

It was tricky to get some of the bamboo and silk fibres to stick, but persistence paid off!

khy beginners workshop 2

In the afternoon we worked with resists to make a 3D object. Most people made pots, but a couple tried their hand at a phone cover. Helped by the splendid Bakewell slices provided by Amanda, founder of KHY, time passed very quickly. Just managed to get a quick photo of the happy group!

khy beginners workshop 1

And here’s Amanda with her lovely work (also from Instagram).

khy beginners workshop 3

I’m hoping to run another workshop on felt corsages at KHY in a few weeks – watch this space for more details!

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Felting with old sweaters — feltingandfiberstudio

This is a guest post I wrote for the Felting and Fibre Studio blog. There’s a lot of interesting content on the site and associated forums – worth checking out!

I’m a great recycler, as I suspect many textile lovers are. Much of my business is based on scouring charity shops and jumble sales for items that other people have discarded and transforming them back into desirable objects. Some old scarves get used for nuno felt; others are overdyed with indigo or overprinted. Recently I […]

via Felting with old sweaters — feltingandfiberstudio

Galapagos-inspired tablet cover

When we were on holiday in the Galapagos, S, one of the other passengers on the boat admired the felt tablet cover I had made for Ever Supportive Partner (ESP). So I agreed to make her one when I got back.

I was delayed working on this because of all the Christmas markets and other activities on my return, but while ESP went back to work between Christmas and new year I finally had the time and headspace to think about it.

S hadn’t expressed any preference about colours, leaving it up to me, so I thought it would be good to make a piece inspired by the Galapagos. Looking back through the hundreds(!) of photos of the trip prompted various ideas, but I finally went for the landscape around Lake Darwin, on the largest island of Isabela.

Lake Darwin is a seawater lake in the caldera of an old volcano. The surrounding lava folds and ridges are covered in incense (palo santa) trees, with ghostly silver bark (in the wet season, a few weeks after we visited, they would burst into leaf, transforming the landscape).

Other trees were covered with beautiful lichens of grey, bright orange and pale mint green.

And here is the tablet cover inspired by this scenery.

I started with two layers of orange merino (to represent the volcanic interior). Then came two layers of grey Norwegian wool, to provide robustness, then two layers of Finnish wool (blue at the bottom for water and brown at the top for the lava). I laid pieces of darker brown yarn on top of this to represent the lava folds. There is also a faint strip of yellow between the brown and the blue.

The tree is made up of two layers of prefelt (white on top of grey), plus prefelt lichen in orange and very pale green. Using prefelt also gives a more textured effect more like bark. Let’s hope S likes it!

Felting get together

Every few months my partner Woman of the Cloth, Carol, organises a felting day with a few friends where we all bring a pot luck dish for lunch and catch up with news and gossip (and occasionally manage to make a bit of felt in between!).

I used the opportunity to make myself a new phone case, as my last one was wearing through. You can see it here in the centre, along with a nuno felt case made by Carol (above).

felt phone case

Happy new year to everyone!

A felty December

With the short cold days, the indigo vat has gone into hibernation and there are few leaves around, so the emphasis this month has shifted to felt. Here are some of my felty highlights.

Felt Matters

Felt Matters

I was very proud to be featured in the latest issue of Felt Matters, the quarterly magazine of the International Feltmakers Association (IFA). The theme of the issue was “blue”, so they seemed to think that my work with indigo would fit the bill. 🙂  In fact, there was quite a lot about indigo in the issue, including a piece by one of my indigo heroes Rowland Ricketts and an article about indigo dyeing in Kutch, India.

The IFA is a great organisation, with lots of groups in the UK and round the world who meet up for workshops and exhibitions and do a lot to promote feltmaking. Membership includes annual public liability insurance as well as four issues of the magazine, so it’s a great deal.

Felted soap is a thing…

felted soap

Who knew? For my Christmas markets I decided on the spur of the moment to make some felted soaps as stocking fillers. At the first market people looked at them but weren’t sure what they were or how they worked, so I got my felted soap elevator pitch down to a fine art:

  • easy to grip when wet
  • good for exfoliation
  • no more yukky mess on the soap dish.

Essentially, all those first world problems with soap solved in one go!

At the next market I added a little notice listing these benefits and they sold out within two hours. Important marketing lesson learnt. 🙂

…and so are felted pots

Anita Thorpe of Diverse, who has a Makerhood showcase of local makers in her shop every Christmas, saw some of my felt pots on Instagram and said she’d be interested in including some in the showcase this year.

felt pots

And with a selection of succulents they look rather nice and have sold unexpectedly well. Important visual merchandising lesson learnt!

Felt tea cosy

Just thought I’d bung this in because it was a commission from a friend for her aunt.

felt tea cosy

Felt swap

Finally, the theme of the second felt swap of the year was “A taste of winter”. I sent my felt swap partner, Oliva, a felt icicle that had been dip dyed with indigo (one of the pieces featured in the Felt Matters article above).

Ombre icicles

Oliva sent me what I thought was a foaming beer mug in front of a wintry window – but it was actually a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream! I’m sure that says more about me than about her work – thank you Oliva!

felt hot chocolate

RHS London Autumn Garden Show

RHS Autumn Garden show

Next week I’m taking part in my first RHS show in London. A lot of my customers are keen gardeners, so I thought this would be a good event to try.

As well as my ecoprinted and indigo upcycled scarves and garments, I’m going to try selling some felt pots. I really like making felt pots, and when I first had a market stall I tried selling them. Although people liked them, the most common question I was asked was “But what would I do with it?”.

Then recently I ran a felt pot making workshop at Brixton Windmill harvest festival. After the workshop, I sent one of the sample pots I made to my friend and festival organiser Magdalen. She promptly posted a photo on Instagram of two pots I had made for her, containing some succulents.

Felt pots
Image: Magdalen Rubalcava

This prompted a lightbulb moment – show, don’t tell! So I’m hoping that by showing people how they can be used, this will inspire them to think more creatively.

felt pot and succulent felt pot and succulent

I will also have a couple of the abstract seedpods to see if they attract any interest.

felt seedpods

Wish me luck!