Monday, April 18, 2016

New from HeartFelt Silks - Felting Tools, Silk Supplies, and More

It's a beautiful spring day here at HeartFelt Silks, and with spring come new inspiration, new plans, new ideas. We have been busy creating new artwork, felting tools, and all kinds of fiber art supplies to use in our studio, and to share with HeartFelt Silks friends and fans around the world. We also have been hard at work on something exciting -- new video felting tutorials! The first one, the project many of you have been asking for, is coming very soon! In the meantime, here are just some of items new to our Online Shop:

Hand Dyed Silk Hankies for Felting, Spinning, Knitting - from artist Robbin Firth

Hand Dyed Silk Hankies for Felting, Spinning, Knitting - from artist Robbin Firth

Hand-Dyed Silk Hankies -- Dyed in small batches, with acid dyes, by fiber artist Robbin Firth, in vibrant and unusual colors. This is 100% Silk Fiber known as Mawata. Silk hankies are silkworm cocoons that have been stretched over a frame into a square, 'hankie' shape. They are beautiful to work with, and can be felted, spun, or knitted or woven as they are.

Eco-Printed and Eco-Dyed Silk Scarf by Artist Robbin Firth

Eco-Printed and Eco-Dyed Silk Scarf (Detail) by Artist Robbin Firth

Eco-Printed and Eco-Dyed Silk Scarf by Artist Robbin Firth

Eco-Printed and Eco-Dyed Silk Accessories and Garments -- the studio has been filled with the scent of eucalyptus and other earthy scents, as I eco-dyed and eco-printed a storm of scarves, tunics, shirts, ties. They sell quickly at our HeartFelt Silks studio at Seasons on St. Croix Gallery, and usually we don't have a chance to put them up online, but after a few requests from overseas clients, a small selection of Eco-Printed Scarves is now in our online shop.

DEEP Palm Washboard Felting Tools (patent-pending), designed & handcrafted by HeartFelt Silks

Felting Wool Locks and Merino with DEEP Palm Washboard Felting tools (Patent-Pending) from HeartFelt Silks

Deep Palm Washboard Felting Tools -- an important and very useful addition to the Palm Washboard family of felting tools, we began offering the Deep Palm Washboards to our customers a few months ago but have not had a chance to highlight them on the blog yet. The Deep Palm Washboard has deep grooves, and it is designed specifically for the purpose of combining wool locks with a merino base but can be used for your other feltmaking needs too.

With love from HeartFelt Silks -- Special Edition Heart Palm Washboard Felting Tools
We offer a wide range of felting tools, for all your varied felting needs. The Round Palm Washboards are great for hats and vessels, the Edge Palm Washboards are especially useful for working ruffles and seams, the Mini Palm Washboard is great for small objects (and small/children's hands). Throughout the year, we also release some special edition Palm Washboards, like these lovely heart-shaped Palm Washboards.

Original Scarf Felting Kits from HeartFelt Silks featuring hand-dyed fabric

Original Scarf Felting Kits from HeartFelt Silks featuring hand-dyed fabric

Scarf Felting Kits -- each season brings a crop of new felting kits to the HeartFelt Silks Shop. Each of our kits is unique -- I hand-dye the fabric (silk or cotton gauze) to include in the kit and then hand-select fine wool and embellishing fibers to add to the mix. If you follow my work and enjoy my color palettes, you will love the felting kits I put together. Don't these colors just sing spring and summer?

Inlaid Wood Buttons handcrafted by Harry Firth and Al Firth for HeartFelt Silks

Inlaid Wood Buttons handcrafted by Harry Firth and Al Firth for HeartFelt Silks
Wood Buttons handcrafted by Harry Firth and Al Firth for HeartFelt Silks

Handcrafted Wood Buttons -- the HeartFelt Silks wood-shop is as busy as our retail & teaching felt studio, with my husband Harry Firth, and father-in-law Al Firth, making limited edition creations out of sustainably harvested local woods. The latest series of beautiful wood buttons is perfect for your next felted, knitted, crocheted project, or for switching out the buttons on your favorite jacket or cardigan, for a fresh look.
Innovative sculpting tools for wet felting exclusively from HeartFeltSilks

Innovative sculpting tools for wet felting exclusively from HeartFeltSilks

NEW Sculpting Tools for Wet Felting -- these are brand-new and each is one-of-a-kind. These innovative tools are great for working very fine detail and texture on your felted objects, including garments, accessories, and sculptural felted objects. Each of these sculpting tools is unique, some feature inlay elements, and these tools are currently available via special order only, so please get in touch via email if you would like to reserve one or more for yourself.

Much more is in the works, so stay tuned for our news in the weeks and months ahead! Follow HeartFelt Silks on Facebook and Instagram for daily updates, wet felting and fabric dyeing adventures, and felting tips and tricks. We'd love to hear what's new with you -- share your felting news with us in the comments below or tag us on FB and Instagram.

Our favorite model, our daughter Kirsten Firth, modeling a Robbin Firth one-of-a-kind merino wool & silk felted cape

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Felting Workshop Recap: Making Ruana Shawls in the HeartFelt Silks Studio

As many of you know, the HeartFelt Silks studio hosts a wide range of one-on-one and small group feltmaking and dyeing workshops throughout the year. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at a recent Ruana Shawl wet felting workshop. Not only were gorgeous shawls made by all of the participants but a fabulous time was had by all!

To find out about upcoming workshops with Robbin Firth, visit our website, or get in touch with us directly to inquire about private and group classes. We also invite you to join our mailing list to receive updates about future events.

Ruana Shawl designed and made by Robbin Firth - Hand-dyed silk, we felted.

Ruana Shawl designed and made by Robbin Firth - Hand-dyed silk, wet felted.

The Ruana Shawl workshop is one of the longest classes I offer -- the latest class took place over a 3-day weekend in February.  Several lovely ladies gathered in the cozy HeartFelt Silks studio, and we were off to step #1 -- the layout.

My hand-dyed silk fabrics formed the base for the Ruana Shawls.

Hand-dyed silk by artist Robbin Firth

 Each of the students gets to select a color palette for their Ruana Shawl in consultation with me.

Ruana Shawl feltmaking workshop with artist Robbin Firth

Ruana Shawl Feltmaking Workshop with artist Robbin Firth
 The layout for this large-scale garment is time-consuming and labor-intensive but the results will be very rewarding!

Now we are ready to create a unique design with more hand-dyed silks (from HeartFelt Silks) and other color-coordinated luxurious embellishing fibers.

Feltmaking Workshop - Ruana Shawl - in the HeartfeltSilks Studio

Feltmaking Workshop - Ruana Shawl - in the HeartfeltSilks Studio
 No two shawls will be alike -- each student gets to put her own creative touches on their Ruana Shawl, as we talk about color, drape, and texture.

Feltmaking Workshop - Ruana Shawl - in the HeartfeltSilks Studio
Once in a while, we stop to admire our progress, take a break, and catch a little afternoon sun.

Feltmaking Workshop - Ruana Shawl - in the HeartfeltSilks Studio
Feltmaking Workshop - Ruana Shawl - in the HeartfeltSilks Studio
We take our time and make our layout as intricate and beautiful as we like. Before long, we'll roll up our sleeves and move on to felting these beauties!

Feltmaking Workshop - Ruana Shawl - with instructor Robbin Firth
When it's time to add hot water and soap, our trusty Palm Washboard felting tools come out!

Wet Felting with Palm Washboard felting tools during a Ruana Shawl workshop
The Palm Washboards speed up the felting process and make it easier on our bodies.

Ruana Shawl Felting Workshop -- using Palm Washboard Felting tools

Here we are, not far from the finish line, working on our edges, making sure things are even, uniform, and gorgeous.
Feltmaking Workshop - Ruana Shawl - in the HeartfeltSilks Studio
Ta-da! All four Ruana Shawls are finished, and it's time for a modeling session! A great weekend was had by all, each of these ladies completed a stunning wool & silk garment, strengthening their feltmaking and design skills in the process! Thank you, Linda, Nancy, Silvana, and Susan, for joining me!

Finished Ruana Shawls in feltmaking workshop with instructor Robbin Firth

To find out about upcoming workshops in wet felting, nuno-felting, and textile dyeing, with Robbin Firth, visit our website, or get in touch with us directly to inquire about private and group classes. Palm Washboard felting tools (original, patent-pending designs handcrafted by Harry Firth for HeartFelt Silks) are available HERE.

Join the Robbin Firth / HeartFelt Silks MAILING LIST.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Photo Report from the HeartFelt Silks UK and Ireland Workshop Tour

As many of you know, HeartFelt Silks made a very special appearance in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Here are a few photos from the many feltmaking workshops Robbin taught, with assistance from the lovely Kirsten, while abroad. Lots of woolly entertainment was had by all, with busy classes in beautiful locations, and many happy students learning new felting skills. We shared many more details on our Facebook page, follow us there for more on these and future adventures. We are grateful to the International Feltmakers Association for hosting our UK workshops.

This fall, after a week of workshops in Florida, Robbin, Harry, and Kirsten are staying close to home, with a busy season of workshops at our home studio in Hudson, WI, guest-teaching at The Textile Center, and, of course, busy times of making and shipping our Palm Washboard feltmaking tools, and other felting supplies all over the world. We are now working on our 2016 schedule, so if you would like to have Robbin Firth teach in your part of the world or have a suggestion for where Robbin might like to teach, get in touch!

Now, on with the show! The HeartFelt Silks in the UK & Ireland photo show!

Gorgeous Felted Ruffle Wraps on a beautiful summer afternoon. Love the color palettes chosen by each workshop participant -- so different and unique.

The hat feltmaking workshops were a crowd favorite! It was truly great to welcome felters of all ages and levels experience to the classes.

There were lots of technique demos, hands-on practice, and note taking. We worked with resists, perfected 3D shaping, and so much more.

Ruffle wraps taking shape on the felting tables. Each class is a rich experience in group, collaborative learning, with each student receiving individual attention and help from Robbin as well.

Busy hands, lots of colors, beautiful wool, hand-dyed silks -- taking time with your project layout is a very important step in the process. Being patient at this stage in the felting process pays off later. The Palm Washboards are at the ready to take you through to the next step.

Here, a beautiful merino wool & silk hat is taking shape, literally, in Robbin's hands.

It was great to have large, roomy spaces to work in. The best part was having so many friendly, fun, and creative students!

In Robbin's workshop in Ireland, hosted by Anita Marnell, working on a seamless cowl design.

And, after all that hard work, comes the modeling! Love seeing results and love seeing happy students with their new felted garments and accessories.

We couldn't have asked for better weather for our Ireland workshop! Just beautiful!

Our Palm Washboards got a lot of use at the workshops! It is very rewarding to introduce new feltmakers to these marvelous felting tools we developed and continue to hand-make, one at a time, in our Minnesota woodworking studio.

While in the UK, we got to visit with Angela Barrow and her family (Simon and Charlotte) at Woolfest. The Barrows run Adelaide Walker storeour exclusive Palm Washboard distributor in the UK.

Woolfest was amazing! Wool and beautiful sheep everywhere, what could be better!

It was back to work as soon as we got back to the US -- here is a new wool locks wrap in progress on the table, using gorgeous wool acquired at Woolfest!

Follow Robbin Firth and HeartFelt Silks on Facebook for daily updates from our studio, special announcements, and felting tips! See you soon!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

GET YOUR LOCKS ON Felting Workshop with Robbin Firth

This autumn, we are pleased to present a special 3-day Workshop at the HeartFelt Silks Studio. Join Robbin for three days of feltmaking as your study and perfect the art of felting with wool locks. This class is limited to only 6 students, and each participant will receive individualized attention from Robbin, and enjoy learning in a small group setting.

“Get your Locks on” Workshop!
3 Full days of working with wool locks and the Palm Washboards
October 22-24, 2015
Location: 401 Second Street, Hudson, WI 54016  at SEASONS on St. Croix Gallery
phone: 651-263-7275        email: 

Daily Schedule: 10am-­5pm, with a lunch break.                
Cost per person: $325.00 (if paying by check) or $332.00 (if paying via PayPal)
Prior felting experience is necessary for this workshop.
Note: All registrations are done via phone or email and must be prepaid.

Part I: Felted Wool Locks Shawl and Scarf Workshop (October 22nd & 23rd)

IMG_1123.JPGSurround yourself with sumptuous merino wool and Wensleydale or Teeswater sheep wool locks. In this workshop you will create a one-of-a-kind, luxuriously beautiful shawl that combines merino and cleaned wool locks, using the Palm Washboard felting technique. This technique is easy on the body and eliminates strenuous rolling from the felting process. You will learn to use resists and how to layer the locks for a free flowing and elegant look. The first day will consist of a detailed introduction to working with locks, as well as doing most of the shawl layout. On the second day, you will finish the layout and complete the felting stages using Palm Washboards (available from Robbin). At the end of the workshop, you will have a glamorous and unique shawl to take home and enjoy all fall and winter seasons.

Part II: Felted Raw Locks Scarf Workshop (October 24th)


A superfine merino wool will start as your luxurious base fiber; then layer in raw Blue Faced Leicester, Wensledaye or Teeswater sheep locks onto the merino base. Just a small amount of rolling and use of the Deep Palm Washboard, and your wet felting adventure will produce a scarf with a soft texture, but a curly and chunky appearance. Please note: raw locks do have a slight odor.  

Detailed materials/supplies list will be distributed to all registered students.