In my last visit to Paris in November, I discovered a home goods lifestyle shop Muskhane in the Le Marais neighborhood, just a 3 minute walk from Marché des Enfants-Rouges. The brand’s products I was most impressed by were the felted rugs— how beautiful and ornate they were, and made with such a homely material such as felted wool!
Founded by a French duo, the fondateurs employ craftsmen from Kathmandu, Nepal, to make felted pieces for the home, with a Modern Western twist– soft and muted. Inspired, I knew I wanted to learn to felt beautiful objects myself.
Over Christmas, I received a needle felting tool kit, a large ball of white merino wool (cozy!), and a needle felting how-to book. I finished reading the book over a couple days, and then I set to work.
Initially thinking I’d set about making felted slippers with a stylish pattern, I wizened up to the ambitiousness of such a first-time project and decided instead to make a strawberry.
While the materials used did not pass muster, I was very content and happy with my first attempt at making a tote bag with little to no direction. I am also happy and proud of the fact that I engaged sustained effort (pretty much guaranteed need with hand-stitching) and focus into this (Even a couple years ago, I was not keep my attention on one art project. I had (still have, but less) a hard time focusing, and would always flit about to the next thing before finishing my project because I would get bored after 2 hours). This finished product is a reflection of my progress over the years in improving my ability to focus on one thing at a time.
I did enlist the help of an unused bag; what I did was deconstruct it by its panels, and study that. That must have influenced the success story above.
Learnings from Experience
I understand now why all sewers use thimbles. Sewing with a metal needle for hours on end feels like playing the guitar for hours without any calluses having formed on my fingers. It leads to a unique, unpleasant burn.
I understand fully now why totes are made often with lighter, more thin material, and things that are more structured are made with more durable fabric. It has a lot to do with desired aesthetic.
What I’d Like to Do Better
I would like to start with materials (fabric, straps, colors) that are ideal.
I would like to improve the evenness of my stitching while also getting better on time.