Cats on Hats: where does millinery inspiration come from?

Cats on hats – why there are cats in my Autumn 2015 collection.

While Cats on Hats will be discussed, there will first be a prelude of how this happened –

Over the summer, I was mostly idle and so were my two children, who had previously accustomed to six week summer holidays in Britain. And oh my! Does an American summer holiday go on and on. THREE Months of it! I had forgotten this part of my US childhood!  No wonder my mother kept me very busy in day camp.  I grew up in the 1970’s and didn’t have the ‘benefit’ of electronic entertainment on tap 24/7. Sadly, this past summer, my children have been the questionable beneficiaries of modern technology. Next summer shall have a lot more structure.

However, there was one exciting summer activity that didn’t consume electricity nor involve staring at screens. We got a kitten! We had already gotten our cat, Kiwi, right after Christmas, on Boxing Day 2014. However, my son really, really wanted a kitten. When a teenager of 16 wants something that is so sweet and not related to computers, we had to consider it.  While at a nearby farm for eggs, we met two adorable kittens and added one of the kittens to our family. While I grew up with cats, it is a bit different having them as a grownup; they are such curious and funny animals.

Why is our kitten named Pickles? One of our favorite books is the The Fire Cat by Ester Averril. Here’s a link to a charming review that discusses Pickles, The Fire Cat.  The Cat Club series was a part of my childhood and this is something that we have shared with our children, especially the story about a young cat, Pickles, who has big paws and is destined to do good things — he just hasn’t been focused onto them yet. Additionally, earlier in the summer we visited the wonderful Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh. Pickles and ketchup and coal and glass are all important to the history of Pittsburgh. <- See, we were’t totally idle.


Pickles Cat and the Heinz Museum Logo - no cats though
Curiosity in Action: Pickles straddles the ping pong net! And our pickle pin from The Heinz History Center (a great museum!)


Anyway, back to the hats.

Had been wondering what my next theme should be for my Fall Millinery Collection.  I especially enjoyed making my Bird Series, and people responded well to it.  But, how would cats on hats compare to birds? It was the movement of birds that captured my imagination. But, watching the antics of Pickles and Kiwi, I saw how the graceful and elegant shapes of cats could be translated into hats. Along with laughing a lot and knowing why there are so many YouTube videos that feature cats!

Here are a few pictures of the Cat on Hats series, also know as the FE_line collection –

Cats on Hats - Red Beret, layout, top stitching and finished

Cats on hats - rolling the felt to tighten and the completed hat with a tiny cat.

Cats on hats series - hat with green brim, showing wool layout and completed cat-less hat.

And finally, the star of the show, who LOVES wool and not in a good way.

Cats on hats - showing making of green cat and completed hat. And Pickles our kitten looking on.

What do you think? Do you like the idea of having a theme that connects the hats?  In addition to cats, there are the subthemes of witches and Halloween.  But, I was aiming to make hats that could be worn beyond the holiday.

Stay tuned to find out my next theme….