My new favourite tools

For some time I was intending to buy a smaller version of felting board. But it was never a necessity rather an additional gadget, so I have never acted upon the issue of what I call a ‘mini felter’. Up untill, I flicked through a book by Anette Quentin-Stoll, called Filz-Play, or Filz Spiel. This is what I saw there:

Annette was basically using this nifty tool to finish hat brim. This has inspired me to start my journey into hatmaking (about which I will write soon!). The tool arrived from Wollknoll.eu (32Eu). It is nicely finished, very well polished and the ridges are smooth. The only downside is the lack of a hole to hang the tool in the workshop. The surface with the ridges is eliptical which enormously has increased the comfort of use. Despite a hefty price (consider felting board from Ashford for 39 pounds) is is a lovely thing to have, nicely balanced and well designed.

Anette herself is a very talented feltmaker. Her first book, Filz – Spiel, in a precise and clean way (very nice photography) presents a set of very simple ideas that allow to built a woolen world of  tactile wonders. For instance her tactile play mat (see wonderful post by Nicola Brown, http://clasheen.wordpress.com/2009/03/25/the-completed-tactile-felt-play-mat/ contained various pleated shapes, just like this one:

I loved the idea of felted finger puppets which she has presented in the book: here is my recreation of it. Her puppets are standing straight, whilst mine are sligtly bent because I have kept the resist up to the last minute of fulling stage.

This book offered wonderful inspiration but limited explanation how to!

So it has very much driven me to try to figure out the ways in which such pleated shapes can be inserted into felted hats for example. The next book released last year, called Filz Experiment (available in German only) provides all answers I was looking for.

Consider this hat:

the basic shape is semi felted and then tied in as in shibori dyeing. A very nifty technique, which allows getting  lasting results without too much hassle. Such tied, prefelted hat can be easilly thrown into the washing machine for 1 or 2 minutes to speed up the process. The newest book presents these techniques, and much much more. Again, a masterpiece in terms of editing and quality of the images. Unlike other books on feltmaking, usually called 34 craft project in felt (etc,.. I am referring here  to a specific type of genre in general) – and which reproduce one image up to 4 times in the same book; which relentlessly describe what is obvious and which present underfelted accessories, this book is proper and certainly worth the price. Shame it is not translated into English but you can figure out the stuff for yourself from pictures. If you are going to ask me which ones to buy I would say both, but otherwise buy the second one.

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