Laura Howard is a designer, maker, blogger and craft writer, whose felt and thread creations are simple, colourful and loads of fun! As Laura's book, Super-Cute Felt has just been re-published, we caught up with her to find out what she's up to and where she gets inspiration for her adorable felt makes...
What is your crafting story?
When I was a kid, if I didn’t have my nose in a book I was almost definitely busy making something. I made all sorts of different crafty projects with whatever I could get my hands on (cereal boxes, old clothes, scraps of wrapping paper, etc.) but I especially loved hand sewing and making things from felt.
Then years later, after University, I rediscovered some of my crafty childhood hobbies and decided to make felt ornaments for my friends as Christmas gifts. I enjoyed it so much that I ended up opening a little online shop selling my felt designs… which gradually turned into a bigger shop full of felt-y things… which then led to what I do now: designing patterns and writing tutorials for books, blogs and magazines. I miss sending out customer orders sometimes, but I love the challenge of working on something different each week!
What do you enjoy most about working with felt?
I love how quick and easy felt is to work with: no fraying edges, no fancy equipment, you just cut and sew! I also love the process of hand stitching - curling up in front of the TV in the evening with a bit of sewing is so relaxing and a great way to unwind after a busy day.
Where do you get your inspiration for your projects?
All sorts of places! Sometimes I’m inspired by the material itself (“what could I make with this gorgeous colour?”), sometimes by something I’ve seen (“ooh, I wonder if I could make that from felt?”) and other times ideas get sparked by projects I’ve already completed – ideas that didn’t quite work become the seeds of new ideas, or I try a technique that I liked and I wonder what else I could use it for. I often think of creativity as a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it gets.
Do you have a favourite pattern in your book, Super-cute Felt, and why?
Honestly it changes all the time but I’m particularly fond of the Cat and Mouse (and Cheese!) Puppets – they make me smile a lot (especially that silly cheese puppet). My family are big fans of the Gingerbread Cookie Garland; at their request I’ve stitched several sets of Gingerbread Cookie ornaments as Christmas gifts!
And finally, what would be your top tips for kids and adults who are looking to try making with felt for the first time?
I definitely recommend buying a pair of embroidery scissors – the small blades make it so much easier to cut out small felt shapes. I have a pair with comfy handles because I use them all the time, but any pair will do.
Make sure to read all the instructions carefully but don’t worry about your first projects being “perfect”, just get stuck in and see how it goes. I hope you’ll enjoy the wonderful world of felt crafting!