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

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Felt rooster swap

When I attended the Violette Amendola workshop in Belgium last year I met a lovely Dutch felter called Henny. We were working on adjacent tables so we got chatting and we had dinner together in the evenings.

Henny is a great lover of British culture – she’s an avid fan of Great British Bakeoff and Masterchef, and has been to felty events such as Wonderwool Wales. She also organises a twice yearly felt swap between a group of British felters and a group of Dutch/Belgian felters. Each person in the group makes something in felt that they send to someone in the other group – the pairings change for every swap.

So I was pleased to be asked to join at the end of last year. Each felt swap has a different theme, and I usually enjoy the challenge of trying to come up with something to fit the brief.

The theme of my first swap, in April, was “rooster”, the current year in the Chinese zodiac. This proved to be more of a challenge than I expected, as making cute felt animals is not really my thing. 🙂

But then at a vintage fair I saw a ceramic egg holder shaped like a chicken – my mother used to have one of these.

As the swap was scheduled for April, when Easter fell, I thought I would make one of these in felt and fill it with chocolate eggs.

Originally I thought I would make the base and the top in one piece, but then I remembered a previous experiment with Russian dolls, and decided to make the base separately, with more robust wool (a Steinschaf and merino blend). The main body of the rooster was all merino.

My swap partner, Françoise, who runs Vrouwolle (where I did the workshop with Violette) took a more abstract approach, which I love.

It also arrived beautifully packaged, in a suitably nest-like box.

Thank you Françoise!