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Third Quarter Challenge – Felt Hat

Third Quarter Challenge – Felt Hat

hat view 1

I found this delightful free pattern for a reversible wool hat, and with the kind permission of the author, Daniela Gutierrez-Diaz,  here is a LINK to her pattern and a photo of her hat.

original hat

First job was to print the pattern and stick it together to try it for size.  I discovered that I needed to reduce the size by 12% – easily done on the print settings.


Then I could work out the size of felt fabric I needed to make.  I used 4 layers of mid-green merino wool to make a rectangle then topped it with a pattern of diagonal stripes of open-weave fabric, yarns and nepps.  The dry layout was 100 x 60cms (40″ x 24″).

felt fabric

I got the idea for the pattern by looking down at my skirt!

pattern inspiration







I had to make a few adaptations to the pattern because the felt fabric was thicker than the fabric used in Daniela’s pattern.

Instead of folding the fabric over itself into a tube then flattening it with zig-zag, I cut the straps in half widthways, backed them with thin cotton fabric then zig-zagged around the edges.


The hat was designed to be made from two layers of fabric then ‘bagged out’ but the felt wasn’t suitable for that, so I applied an adhesive web to a piece of thin green cotton fabric then ironed it onto the felt fabric to form the lining.

I cut away the excess cotton fabric…


…then neatened the bottom edge with zig-zag stitch.

The crown of the hat is formed by joining together the points.  I butted the edges of the felt together and sewed them shut with zig-zag stitch.

stitiching top together

first top seam

The first one was easy but it became progressively harder as more felt bunched up under the machine.

stitching top together 1

But here it is finished…

hat view 2

…and the view of the top.

hat view 3

With all the lovely weather we’re having this year, it’s hard to imagine it being cold enough to wear this hat!


2020 Third Quarter Challenge

2020 Third Quarter Challenge

This year’s theme is ‘Personal Items’ so the third quarter challenge calls to all felters, spinners, weavers, stitchers, knitters, crocheters and mixed media fibre artists to think ahead.

With apologies to our forum friends in the southern hemisphere who are looking forward to spring, we need to think about the coming cooler months.

All the shops have their summer sales now so that they can clear the way for the new autumn/winter stock that will be on sale by the beginning of August.

So the challenge is to make something that will keep you warm!

Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

Josie (forum member) is knitting a lap quilt…

challenge blanket

…Arlene (adventures in felt) has just made her first pair of mittens…

challenge mittens

…and last year Judith (koffipot) showed her woven scarf on the forum…

challenge scarf

…and if you’d like to make a hat but don’t know how, then Teri Berry is running an online class via the Felting and Fiber Forum. The class will run in July / August and registration opens on 2 July 2020.  The price for this four-week course is £50 GBP (approx. $66 US, $85 Canadian, €56, $88 AUD, $97 NZ) and the number of places will be limited to 30 students.

The first felting tutorial will be posted on 16 July 2020 with another tutorial posted in each of the following 2 weeks. The class forum will remain open for you to share your work and ask questions until 27 Aug 2020.

Here are a couple of her hats…

challenge hats

So get your thinking hat on.  What can you make, in your favourite medium, to help keep you warm this autumn/winter?

Please post your photos on the Felting and Fiber Forum in the studio challenges section.


Felt Parasol for Sunny Days

Felt Parasol for Sunny Days


Ta-Dah!  I finally finished my parasol.  If you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about, please see this blog post

I made a paper pattern of the segments of the umbrella then I cut out the felt panels.

I stitched the panels together using the wide zigzag stitch that worked so well on my sample.  The thread I used (top and bobbin) was ‘The Bottom Line’ by Libby Lehman – it’s almost ‘invisible’ and the colour of the felt showed through the stitches.

I was worried about how I could ‘pin’ the panels together for stitching, but as the felt is thin and firm thanks to the fabric between the fine layers of wool, it was easy to sew by just butting the edges together just before the pieces went under the needle. The parasol shape became obvious after only stitching 2 panels together.

1. stitching the panels together

I cut a hole in the centre so that the cover would slide over the central pole. To reinforce the hole, I found an old metal key ring that was the exact size.  I glued it in place, then stitched it with perle embroidery thread.

2. reinforced hole for centre 1

3. reinforced hole for centre 2

I trimmed the bottom edge, then using the same red thread that formed the flowers, I secured the cut edge with blanket stitch. It’s a very bright red – I’d describe it as neon because it almost glows!

Compare the zigzag stitching in the photos above and below – one looks blue the other looks yellow, but it’s the same pale grey thread described above.

4. blanket stitch and bows

The ends of the spokes of the umbrella have plastic caps with large holes at the back so I secured the cover to the end of each spoke with thread bows.

5. attaching bows to underside

Ann (Shepherdessann) expressed an interest in what the parasol would look like inside, so here it is on its back (the under layers of wool were plain colours – baby blue and canary yellow.

6. underside

The summer cover is quick to fix in place and just as quick to remove, and fold away, for the winter.

7. easy to fold to pack away





I decided to make a small bag from handmade felt to carry a sketchbook and a few pens out and about with me.

a. Finished_Bag_Side_1

I didn’t make a plan or measure anything. To start with I just laid out a piece of felt with some randomly placed small pieces of bubble wrap to make pockets then I figured I’d work with what I ended up with to cobble a bag together!
I thought it would keep it more spontaneous (and be less effort if I’m honest!)

b. Laying_Out

c. Wet_Down

d. Felted_Close_Up

In one way it was easier because the layout was carefree, then in another it was hard work because I realised I put the initial attempt at “lining” fabric (some scrim) on the wrong side and also the spacing of the pockets was completely wrong for utilising all the felt fabric I had made.

e. Testing_The_Pockets

However, it means I’ve got a piece of felt leftover for a future project and also the bag miraculously ended up OK!  I cut 2 pieces out incorporating 2 pockets then ironed some interfacing on to each piece to make them more sturdy.  I reinforced each pocket with a line of machine stitch.
Then I decided to neaten the top edges by folding over and machine stitching then trimming away the excess.
I sewed round the edges of the two pieces with right sides together then turned it out to make the basic bag shape.  I realised at this stage I was not going to get away with not lining it as it looked a bit shabby inside with the interfacing on show.
So I cut some thin cotton navy fabric and made a pocket lining to sew inside.  That was a palaver!  But I got there in the end and it looked surprisingly neat!

f. Making_The_Lining

Lastly, I just needed to figure out a handle.
I found some yellow webbing and sewed that on before realising I had forgotten to topstitch round the outside of the bag so I did it afterwards.  I think it worked out OK.

g. Finished_Bag_Side_2

h. Detail_Of_Stitching

I mostly like to make felted artwork so this was a nice change to make, and definitely a challenge! 🙂


I have a plastic umbrella that I intended to cannabalize to make a felt parasol, but I wondered how I would control the spokes once the plastic had been removed.

1. Umbrella

So I decided to take the easy way out and leave the plastic in place.  Originally I planned to make a felt cover then stitch it to the plastic, but after a bit of thought I decided that if I made a detachable felt cover, I could have an umbrella AND a parasol.

I would need to make some felt that would be fine enough to be lightweight yet strong enough to cut and stitch, and it would need to be firm, not stretchy.

I had an idea that nuno felt, with the fabric sandwiched between layers of wool, would work.  I needed to make a sample!

I used some very fine net, plain yellow merino wool, a mini-batt leftover from another project and some 2 ply wool.

2. items used in sample

The sample is a ‘sandwich’ made of two fine layers of yellow merino wool, a piece of net, one fine layer of yellow merino wool topped with one fine layer of blended yellow/orange merino wool.  I added a 6″ (15.25cm) square made from 4 lengths of 2-ply wool to make the shrinkage estimate easier.

3. Sample with shrinkage square - pre felting

I used tepid water and gentle rubbing then rolling to felt the sample. Here it is after drip-drying.  You can see that although the net has gone frilly around the edge, it didn’t buckle the felt at all – the felt is flat.  The shrinkage was 17%.

4. Sample post felting

The felt was thin, lightweight and strong.

My plan was to sew panels of felt together to make the removable cover, so I experimented on the sample.

The felt cut beautifully – the cut edges were firm.

5. Experimental cut of sample

First I tried a plain seam.  The felt travelled under the needle effortlessly and smoothly.

6. Sewing the sample

The plain seam looked good but was too bulky, so I cut the sample again, butted the cut edges together and joined them with a wide zig-zag stitch.  Perfect!  It made a strong, flat seam.

7. Seams

I thought a test was needed on the zigzag seam so I gripped it firmly between both hands and gave it several sharp tugs.  It held fast – probably thanks mainly to the layer of net.

Sorry the photo below is a tiny bit blurry – I put the camera on a tripod then set the shutter timer for 10 seconds.  I yanked and yanked on the felt until the photo was taken so it’s an action shot!

8. Testing the zigzag seam

I would need 8 triangles of felt to make the removable cover, so allowing for shrinkage each triangle would have to be laid out 45cm (18″) wide at the base and 65cm (26″) high.

I decided it would be daft to lay out a triangle exactly – it could mis-shape during felting – so I made a paper template to the correct size, to use as a guide during layout, then ‘squared off’ the point of the triangle.  After felting, the triangle could then be cut accurately from the larger piece.

10. layout

My colours and pattern for the parasol would be an hommage to Annie’s ‘Flowers on Coverack Beach’ but in a very, very minimalist style using just 3 colours.

9. pattern inspiration

I carded a batt of blue blend merino wool and a batt of yellow blend merino wool…

11. yellow and blue blends

…and found some spools of bright red thread in my stash.  I don’t know what it is but it looks like there’s some wool fibres in it.

12. unknown red thread

I expect you’re wondering why I’ve only got half a parasol?

Well … things happened. My time-plan collapsed so I’ve only made 6 panels so far!

13. six panels

I need to make 2 more panels, cut all 8 to shape, then stitch them together.  I’ll post a photo of the finished parasol on the forum soon!


2020 Second Quarter Challenge

2020 Second Quarter Challenge

We think it likely that many people associate handmade felted, knitted or woven items with providing warmth in the darker months, so the ‘Personal Items’ challenge for this quarter is to make something that you could use in sunny weather.

It can be as simple or as complicated as you choose but most importantly it’s a challenge so perhaps try new colours or designs or something just a little different from your usual style.

Don’t take this too seriously though – it’s meant to be fun!

The first thing we all do at this time of year is to try to find our sunglasses so that we can read outside in the garden or on holiday.

This Kindle and these sunglasses could do with handmade cases to protect them and make them pretty and a textile bookmark would be very useful for the paperback.

kindle, book, sunglasses

Hmmm,  how about a lightweight sleeveless top or a delicate shoulder wrap and of course a sunhat is essential.

Annie said she wanted a new sunhat – one that would make a statement – so I made her one.  I don’t think it’s quite what she had in mind though.

Annie's statement sunhat

It would be good to have a pretty tote bag for all those things too wouldn’t it?  A bag could be made from scratch or a simple jute bag could be purchased then embellished with textile panels or hand embroidery.

In January 2013 I embellished a plain jute tote bag with fabric scraps from an old skirt and a bit of rough machining.  The bag is still in use – it’s a bit grubby now but still pretty.

Jute bag

So whatever your skill level please enjoy this challenge and post your photos on the forum for us all to enjoy!


2020 First Quarter Challenge

2020 First Quarter Challenge

The theme for this year’s challenges is ‘Personal Items’.

So here’s the first challenge for felters, spinners, weavers, stitchers, knitters, crocheters and mixed media fibre artists …

…make a piece of jewellery!

We might associate jewellery with metal and glass, but jewellery is just ‘personal adornment’ usually in the shape of a necklace, ring, bracelet, brooch/pin or earrings and they can be made from anything.

This isn’t a competition – there’s no judging and there are no prizes – you just challenge yourself no matter what your skill level and we’d love it if you could post a photo of your jewellery on the forum.

Here are just a few examples of textile jewellery – hopefully they will inspire you to get designing and making!

Pebble necklace, felt, made by Karen (Lincs in Stitches)

1. pebble necklace by Karen Lane - Lincs in Stitches. Forum member


Flower pins, organza, silk, etc made by Judith (koffipot)

2. flower pins made by Judith (koffipot) forum member


Butterfly pin, felt and beads, made by Pam (Pamd)

3. butterfly pin by Pam (Pamd) - forum member

Close up of bubble bracelet, felt, by Ann (Shepherdess)

4. bubble-bracelet-close

Flower pin, needle-felt and beads by Annie (rosiepink)

5. red needle felt brooch

Cuff, felt & stitch by Annie (rosiepink)

6. JewelCuff

Choker, embroidered felt beads by Lyn (rosiepink)

7. felt beads on a metal choker

8. close up of beads


We’re looking forward to seeing lots of pieces of jewellery posted on the forum!

Colourscape & inspiration from sampling

Colourscape & inspiration from sampling


above: Colourscape in felt

I was fascinated by this colourful photo of Chilhuly Glass.  I love the transparency of the glass and the way the overlap gives a secondary, and sometimes tertiary, colour.

Chihuly glass installation at the Bellagio in Las Vegas

But how to achieve that effect with fibres?

My first idea was to try delicate nuno felt so I cut three circles of fabric (2 are silk and 1 is unknown but it’s open weave) and some lengths of 100% wool yarns that I reduced to one ply.

fabrics and wool yarn

I arranged wool on each piece of fabric then overlapped the circles. I was hoping that gentle agitation would make the wool fibres migrate into all the fabrics and hold them together.

fabric and yarn wetted down

Long story short – it wasn’t successful and it would have been a waste of a photo to have shown the resulting mess.  The thin strands of wool were not ‘loose’ enough to work through the silk but the wool on the open weave unknown fabric was ok.  Also there wasn’t enough transparency with the silk.

My second idea was to try cobweb felt.  I fluffed up a small amount of wool fibres …..

puff of fibres

…  wet it down, then added a spiral using just one strand of wool.

fibres and wool yarn

I made two more puffs of fibres in a similar way then placed them down as shown in the photo.  I felted them very gently.

fibres and wool yarns put together pre-felting

When the felt was dry I picked it up and I liked the effect but I wasn’t sure where I was going with it – should I make a see through piece that needed light behind it or a piece to be mounted onto a stretched canvas?

dry cobweb felt

Eventually I decided to make my colourscape using puffs of fibres and one-ply yarn on a thin base of bright white merino fibres so that I could mount the finished piece onto a stretched canvas.

Sampling may look like a lot of effort, but it actually saves time, frustration and materials!

Sampling also inspires new ideas.

I made circular puffs of fibres in different sizes and decided to just use one line of yarn on some, but not all, of the circles.

My colourscape developed during the laying the down of fibres to become the almost finished piece, shown below, that I trimmed with a rotary cutter when dry.

The trimmed felt is 43x28cm (17″ x 11″) … and yes … it really is that bright!

I have a lovely assortment of commercially dyed wools: vivid fuschia, vibrant lilac, canary yellow, bright orange,  spring green, fluorescent pink etc…

…and the puffs of fibres were see-through enough to imitate the effect of layers of glass.

circles laid down and felted

Then it was time for a bit of pencil-end chewing as I still wasn’t sure of where I was going with it.

I knew I had to keep the circles theme so I sketched out several ideas but none really felt right.

So I put the felt to one side and carried on with other things. The next day an idea formed.  I  picked up some cookie cutters, an air erasable pen then I drew circles of two different sizes on the cobweb felt using the cookie cutters as guides. I cut them out, shuffled them about, put them back, and I liked the result!

I secured the circles in place with a single-sided fusible fabric, ironed onto the back, then,  as this piece so lightweight, I simply applied a thin layer of fabric glue to the fabric backing to attach the felt to a stretched canvas.

Below are some close-ups:

circles 1

circles 2

circles 3

circles 4

Anyone else taking up the fourth quarter challenge?  A colourscape really can be anything at all: wall art, clothing, vessels or perhaps a small piece to put on a greetings card.



Fourth Quarter Challenge 2019 Colourscapes

Fourth Quarter Challenge 2019 Colourscapes

This challenge is inspired by our trip to Mottisfont Abbey where Kaffe Fassett exhibited over 70 glorious items including furniture fabric, clothing and wall hangings.

“I create in palettes of colour because that is my main obsession.” Kaffe Fassett

We were allowed to take photographs of Kaffe’s work at the exhibition – this is one of his wall hangings …

Kaffe Fassett Exhibition at Mottisfont

…and a close up of another.

Kaffe Fassett Exhibition at Mottisfont 1

Please click on the link below, scroll down a little, and you will come to a very short video of Kaffe Fassett talking about and showing some of his work.

So this quarter’s challenge is to make a “colourscape” using whatever fibre media you enjoy working with.  It can be realistic or abstract and any shape or form.

Go wild with this challenge and be as free as you like!

We often use our photos to inspire us, so we’d like to share some with you.

Chihuly Glass installation at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, US

Chihuly glass installation at the Bellagio in Las Vegas 1

Chihuly glass installation at the Bellagio in Las Vegas 2

Bar top in a hotel in Las Vegas, US

Bar top in a hotel in Vegas

A Peacock in Madrid, Spain

Peacock in Madrid

Jellyfish in a Singapore aquarium

Jellyfish in Singapore aquarium

Gaudi mosaic in Barcelona, Spain

Gaudi mosaic in Barcelona

Meadow in Christchurch, UK

Meadow in Christchurch, Dorset

Leaves on the ground at Kew Gardens, London

Leaves on the ground at Kew Gardens, London

Fishing nets in Crete

Fishing nets in Crete

Glass House in West Dean gardens, Chichester, UK

Glass house at West Dean gardens, Chichester

Trees at Mottisfont Abbey, UK

Trees at Mottisfont Abbey

Lego installation in Singapore botanical gardens

Lego installation in Singapore botanical gardens

And finally some blueberry leaves in our garden in the autumn …

blueberry leaves in the autumn in our garden

… and at this time of year, in some parts of the world, the trees and shrubs will be giving a wonderful display of colour!

We hope that you enjoy this challenge and that it brightens this quarter of the year.



Some cities in the UK have evolved over several centuries so that old and new buildings are often knitted together – this gate is in the city of Salisbury.


Councils invest in sculptures, green spaces, floral displays and bunting to make cities more attractive and some individuals will spend time and money enhancing their own small bit of the city.

Yet all this effort is often spoiled by vandals, litter louts and spray-can yobs who deface walls.

My cityscape is mixed media – I chose not to depict a whole city – just one old city building.

I wet-felted a base from white merino wool, then needle felted the building using black yarns of different thicknesses as shown in the photo below.

needle felting with yarn

The bunting is cut from dupion silk scraps and glued in place, and the graffiti is hand stitched using a thick thread.  The finished piece is approx 33 x 23cm (13″ x 9″)


Is anyone else working on a cityscape?

Third Quarter Challenge 2019 – Cityscapes

Third Quarter Challenge 2019 – Cityscapes

This is going to be a real challenge!  We looked for pictures by forum members but cityscapes are as rare as hen’s teeth!

However, we did find this lovely felted picture by Ann (Shepherdess)…


…and Marilyn’s ‘Windy City’ cityscape…


…and here’s a rosiepink cityscape.

Felt and Stitched Sketch of Tower Bridge

Make your cityscape using your favourite felting and fiber technique – or used mixed media – then please show it on The Felting and Fiber Forum

The word ‘cityscape’ brings to mind a view of a large part of a city, but it can be just a small part of a city such as a statue…


or a fountain…


something comical…

something comical

or floral…

flowers in the city

or impressive architecture.


If you choose to depict a large part of a city, will it be day or night?

city at night

Will the view be ground level or from up high?

city from high viewpoint

You could choose a city from history or perhaps part of your city has ancient buildings that still stand.

If you live in a city you might now look at it with new eyes as you consider the possibilities.

Have a look through your holiday photos – all the examples above came from our city trips.

Have fun with this challenge!    Remember that the challenge is not limited to making a picture – a cityscape can feature on clothing, accessories and homeware etc.

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