Did you read Anne of Green Gables as a child? I remember her describing friends as kindred spirits. I learned yesterday that a kindred spirit who I never met died this past winter- Beverly Galeskas, owner of Fiber Trends and designer of so many clever knitted and felted patterns.
Years ago, very soon after I learned to knit, Laura bought me one of Bev's patterns for a felted hat. I remember figuring out how to knit with circular needles so I could make the bright red hat. My gauge was a bit off and so the hat turned out too small, but it was my first taste of knitting and felting and I was hooked.
Our public library had a copy of her book Felted Knits and I read it cover to cover, absorbing the whys and hows of felting. I purchased her seminal pattern for Felted Clogs and knit many pairs for family and my kids. I knit a pair for myself too- from superwash wool! I still don't have a pair of those clogs, but I loved knitting simple, floppy shapes and sculpting them through the felting process to make something new and beautiful, a special kind of alchemy.
So I guess it makes sense that when I began designing toys for my sons, I decided to make things that were knitted and felted. I soon learned how tricky it is to figure out how to knit something so it will felt up just right. Making Dusty and Satchel was my first big project and I knitted and felted many, many malformed horses with long necks, stumpy legs and odd bellies! Felting was a gamble because if a pattern "draft" didn't work out, you couldn't rip out the yarn and start again.
But I love felting knits because of resultant smooth surface and firm, seamless shape. I like the dense fabric that felting creates and I enjoy the ability to shape pieces as they are felted. Knitting and felting was and is my first love in designing and this is largely due to the incredible body of work by the talented Ms. Galeskas. I am sad that I never had the opportunity to meet her and let her know how much I appreciated her focus and interest in this absorbing craft.