Today I’m bringing you an interview with Alex, the talent behind One Raven Knits here on Genderplayful. Alex makes hand-felted hats and uses needle felting to cover them in swirling, organic patterns.
I asked Alex a few questions about One Raven Knits and about coming to Genderplayful:
Could you please tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to Genderplayful?
I live on the Massachusetts/ Connecticut border in the northeast United States with my wife and our dog. My passions are reading fantasy and science fiction novels, knitting, and watching British television. I’m a queer, atheist, introverted, geeky couch potato!
I heard about Genderplayful via tumblr early on when the project was being funded on Kickstarter. The mailing list kept me in the loop on Genderplayful’s progress, and when the site was up, I joined as a seller.
Why did you decide to go into business making hats? How did you learn to make them?
Making and selling hats is a hobby rather than a business for me. I hope this will change in the future.
I used to sell felted hats and other knit items on etsy, but I much prefer Genderplayful Marketplace’s philosophy.
I’m working on perfecting patterns for items other than hats. I want to craft inexpensive breast forms and packers for people who can’t afford — or don’t always need — expensive silicone prosthetics. As you can imagine, getting these products correct in size, look, and feel takes a lot of trial and error. Prototype felt breasts are scattered all over my house!
I’ve been knitting since 2004, when I taught myself because I wanted a Ravenclaw scarf in proper book colors. I learned to felt a few years later using online tutorials and kits from craft fairs and etsy sellers.
I prefer to create accessories rather than garments. They knit up quickly and are easy to vary in style and fit. Hats are perfect canvases for displaying the color and design possibilities in felt.
Do you have any fashion or style inspirations you’d like to share?
I’m not a very fashionable person — my uniform is a t-shirt and jeans — but I do have a background in the visual arts. It think this may be why I took to felting — felt projects can become wearable sculptures. Working with felt feels similar to working in paint or clay; it is a very malleable and forgiving medium.
Do you have any gender philosophies or inspirations you’d like to share?
Gender is also a malleable and forgiving medium.
Thanks for the interview, Alex!
I actually ened up buying one of Alex’s hats the every first time I signed on to Genderplayful. I was drawn to Alex’s work for two reasons: One, I love how the process of needle felting adds texture to the surface of the hat, making the swirls of color look like they’ve been embossed into the hat’s fabric.
Look at that texture. So cool.
And two, I love anything that lets me pick my own colors! I bought a hat in blue, black and green (to match my custom Converse) and after exchanging a few hex codes to make sure the color was just right, here is a process shot I got in my email:
And here’s the hat in action, saving me from freezing as the East Coast gets colder: