Not long ago, on a romantic trip to Ferndale California Jenny (Disguise the Limit owner) and I discovered a very special hat called the Curly Tuque. While traveling, we often look for unique things to stock the shop with. This particular journey gifted us with one of the coolest hats we’d ever seen.
In a historic downtown Ferndale shop we found the “Curly Tuque”. It immediately caught our eye. On the display sat a colorful troupe of several unique and vibrant wool beanies. We smiled and knew we’d found something very special. My partner quickly placed one on her head and it looked amazing. We read the tags and discovered they were made by a local artisan and dyed with Kool Aid to give them their eye catching color. We couldn't stop smiling and knew they were something we wanted to share with our customers. She purchased one immediately and we began to inquire as to who made them. The shop owner mentioned it was a local woman who’s workshop was just around the corner. We asked if we could meet this talented artisan to place an order for Disguise the Limit. To our dismay she was out of town so Jenny and I made a pact to return to Ferndale to meet this mysterious and talented hat maker. Jenny kept the hat on during the remainder of our vacation. Everywhere we went the hat seemed to attract beaming smiles and inquiries as to where she bought it.
A few months later we made a trip back up to Ferndale to hopefully purchase more hats and meet the mysterious woman who made them. The stars all lined up and it finally happened. Our first stop was the store we discovered them. We immediately approached the shop owner about purchasing a large order. She happily sent the woman named Ayala a text to let her know we’d love to meet her. Moments later the talented hat maker arrived. We asked if we could purchase several for the costume shop. She said yes and happily led us over to the place she weaves them into being. She mentioned she had a collection of about 10 hats that were available. We were so excited to see them and where they were made.
We entered her workshop and it was truly the space of a talented artist. There were spools of wool strewn about, empty Kool Aid packets, woven little creatures she created, and photographs of her and her husband, a member of the original lamplighters group at the desert event Burning Man. We learned that Ayala and her husband had been burning man attendees since it’s beginnings. A vintage wooden wool spinner sat in a ray of sunshine near the front of the workshop. Inspiring images adorned her walls. Her little wool spun creatures were in every corner watching us navigate the space. She mentioned a little girl recently stole one of the little creatures from the shop downtown. With sweetness she shared that the girl, about 5 or 6, returned it shortly after telling her parents what she’d done. The little girl offered to “work” at the shop to pay for the creature she was enamored with. Ayala said it wasn’t necessary and happily gave it to her.
As we walked about the shop she shared her inspirations for creating the Tuque. It came from attending festivals like Burning Man, love for the natural texture of sheeps wool and her fascination with fabric. She shared with us that it takes her quite a while to make one and that each is dyed with unique assortments of Kool Aid. No two are alike. For the tufts on top of the beanies she weaves one sheep wool lock at a time. She also shared they’re “alive” due to the fact that the locks respond to all types of weather and humidity. On her tags she thoughtfully includes a little handwritten pamphlet on how to wash, store and care for your Tuque. It’s clear she has a passion for her wool working and just loves making them. We left with 10 to bring back to the shop with beaming smiles that our wish came true.
The hats are now available at our brick and mortar shop in Santa Rosa, CA. They will also be available soon for online purchase on both disguisethelimitsr.com and on our new Etsy Shop Disguisethelimitshop. They are selling fast, so e-mail us if you’d like one and we will ship it to you right away. These hats are perfect to keep you warm for the winter, snowboarding, skiing, or just adding a little more smiles to your life!