Sunday, November 25, 2012

Deborah Connolly of Te Adora Knits

Charlottesville resident Deborah Connolly of Te Adora Knits makes hand-knit, hand-felted bags and accessories. Her one-of-a-kind pieces are made with 100% wool yarn.

She loves "the amazing transformation it makes when knitted wool meets hot water and agitation. The results are always exciting and unpredictable."

Here, we asked her to explain the felting process (a mystery!) and to tell us more about her art. Read on for Deborah's insights on wet felting, wristlets, and the calming power of knitting.

I knit and hand-felt handbags, totes, clutches, wallets, wristlets and other accessories using wet felting techniques. I love the stages of creating my bags, first knitting a very loose, over-sized version of a bag, then turning to the felting process to watch the wool fibers shrink and bind together to create the sturdy fabric of the finished bag. I wait several days for them to dry before I  add the finishing touches - a stunning button, sometimes a lining, sometimes embroidery. No two bags are the same. 

My customers know that no one else will ever have the same bag as them as I never repeat an item. Giving excellent customer service is extremely important to me, as is my customers’ satisfaction with their handmade purchase. I am also very happy to work with anyone on custom items.

I taught myself to to knit in 2005 and my craft has evolved over the years. I discovered felting (or fulling) quite by accident but fell in love with both the process and the end result.  Recently, I taught myself how to embroider and added some embroidered embellishments to one my bags. I’m really pleased with the results and will add it to my repertoire of finishing techniques. 

I’ve been working on a collection of wristlets that combine my felting skills with a past beaded jewelry-making hobby. I love the contrast of texture between wool and sparkly beads, and they're a fun way to bring your  essentials for a night on the town. I make them in a variety of colors and sizes. 

I prefer to work early, but lately I've been working in the evenings after my 13-month-old daughter goes to sleep. I like to work with a cup of tea and just get lost in my thoughts. Knitting can be very repetitive and soothing.

Deborah's work is can found on her Etsy store, where you can also contact the artist about custom work. Be sure to stop by her booth at the Cville Holiday Craftacular and get your fix of playful knit accessories!

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