Reviewer ~ Lynda Hardy
Warm and Useful Things, an Etsy shop of knitted goodies by Karen Kyer, fills my needs perfectly and I was very happy when I learned I'd be able to review her handicrafts.
Karen not only knits, she also felts and has created a number of warm and unique felted brimmed hats. Color really alters the personality of these hats, from earthy to vibrant. I was drawn to several of them, but I chose one in purple, my favorite color. When the package arrived, I was excited to see that she'd included a large felted red rose on the hat. She sells these knit flower pins separately, and as you can see, it adds a good deal of color and interest to the hats, but it is detachable and I expect it will find its way to my coat lapel now and then as well.
Karen offered some good guidance on caring for the felted hat, suggesting spot cleaning with a damp cloth and using a dry cleaning service for more intensive care. Because it is felted, it's not intended for wet weather. Even so, they are a jaunty way to stay warm and stylish, and would be a fun addition to the wardrobe of anyone looking for something unique and interesting.
I was also sent a cotton knit French Market bag in blended shades of green and red that I absolutely love - it is lightweight and very sturdy and the design allows the bag to expand to contain items while still providing extra support at the bottom so that it will retain its shape. Because they are cotton, it can be handwashed and layed flat to shape. I deliberately used it to haul some items on the heavy side, and it did a fantastic job, bouncing back with no problem after I emptied it out. These bags are only $14.00 each - a real steal for the quality of the work. These would make wonderful functional and attractive gifts to anyone on your list.
Warm and Useful Things is the sort of small business I love best - Karen, a high school teacher, has taken a love of knitting and other crafts, and used her experience and skill to create a few signature pieces to offer for sale. She continues to knit other things for herself and friend and family, while keeping her Etsy shop focused on these key pieces. While I never learned to knit, I am fascinated and impressed by those that do, and the felting of knitted items is an old and wonderful method I am happy to see being put to use.
If you're looking for hand knitted and felted items done skillfully and with a loving hand, please check out Warm and Useful Things, and pick up something to keep your winter days merry and bright!