Bunny, Kitty, and Bear by Hillary Lang from her Put-Together Book #1
Hillary Lang and her blog Wee Wonderfuls need no introduction — I’m sure she’s responsible for at least one of your needlework or crafting addictions. Her unique and original point of view is evident in everything she creates, from quilts to kids clothing to to embroideries to zakka. But we’re here today of course to discuss her work with wool felt — she has created scores of dolls, animals and other creatures using felt as her primary medium. Several of these are available as sewing patterns, and we can look forward to her first book in the latter half of 2010. She has written specifically on working with wool felt and where she gets it, but I had my own questions for her about it — and felt week wouldn’t be complete without her!
How did you get started with wool felt? What was your first project — how did it turn out?
That seems like forever ago now. I think it was this robot. I wanted to stitch up a robot for Tim’s desk at work and that’s when I discovered hand sewing with wool felt. It worked like a dream! I really enjoy working without seam allowances. It’s so freeing. I can sort of cut the pieces out as I go. It’s got a much different vibe than regular sewing.
Most of your soft toy patterns use wool felt. What sources do you recommend?
Online, I order it from Child’s Dream Come True and in real life I always try to pick up a few colors when I’m at a quilt store. It’s not something you can really run out and get at the last minute so it’s good to try to have a supply on hand.
Are there any artists/crafters who work with wool felt whose work you especially admire?
I very much love Alicia Paulson’s Christmas ornaments. They’re so retro. I love the sequins.
What kind of wool felt is your favorite? Is the wool-rayon blend OK to work with, or will only 100% do? I know you also like to work with felted/fulled/whatever thifted sweaters. Have you ever tried woven wool?
All my felt is mixed in together, the 100% wools and the blends comingling, and really, I don’t notice much of a difference. Yes, I use woven wool a lot too. I love it for stuffed animals and doll bodies. I like to hit the fabric store after Christmas when all the wool suitings are on sale. And I used to buy Moda wool bundles from eQuilter but they don’t seem to carry them anymore. I loved those. Also love Weeks Dye Works! Their herringbone and plaids are always on my wishlist.
Lots of your stuffed toy pattern are on my to-do list. I have made a couple of your Hand Sewing for Fun guys though … a turtle and a bird. I just love those patterns, and I can vouch for hand sewing being fun. But I’ve never machine-sewed with wool felt. Does it take any special handling? What kind of thread and needle?
Oh dear, I’m the wrong person to ask. I just about always use the same needle and thread no matter what I’m sewing. I haven’t had any trouble though. The only tricky part for me with machine sewing felt is turning out teeny tiny doll arms that have been sewn in thick felt. That drives me bananas but it’s my own fault for being overambitious. That’s why I tend to save the thicker felt for the hand sewing projects.
Hand Sewing for Fun Bunny by Hillary Lang
You just finished writing a book — congratulations! Are you allowed to say anything about its contents yet? Will there be lots of wool felt goodness to look forward to?
Thanks! It’s a book of toys — stuffed animals and dolls. And yes, lots of wool felt goodness, both on the machine and sewn by hand. One of the best parts of writing the book was having an excuse to shop. I was a very happy girl when a rainbow of wool felt came in the mail. I think of all new supplies, wool felt might be the most satisfying. Thanks for featuring it, such a fun idea! Just another reason to love True Up!
Aww shucks, Hillary. Thank YOU!