My mom was a quilter, and I can remember as a child playing under the expanse of a new quilt pinned into the frames, surrounded by the legs of my aunts and neighbor women as they sat around the perimeter of my fort, talking and stitching. As childhood forts go, they were huge! So many years later, when Heartfelt was forming and beginning to make felted alpaca rugs, it seemed natural to me to sift through the boxes of quilting and applique patterns that I'd inherited from mom. The grey Evelyn's Posy design is named for her, and I like to think that she'd approve of this new use of these timeless designs.
Heartfelt is a small company founded by four women from the American heartland and steeped in the traditions of many cultures. Ancestors of the alpacas raised by Heartfelt's owners were domesticated some six or seven thousand years ago, when the first hieroglyphs were being used in Egypt and Stonehenge was being built in England. Alpacas lived with humans for so long that Incan mythology has alpacas emerging from the caves along with humans. They are also believed to have arisen from the waters, and in some stories are credited with saving humans from the floods.
While the Incans were expert weavers and bred for extremely fine alpaca fleece, Heartfelt's products have roots in other cultures as well. Wall paintings in Turkey suggest humans were felting fiber as early as 6500-3000 BC. Siberian felts date from 600 BC. The Greeks and Romans felted clothing and military gear. Mongolian felts date from the 13th century.