So, I wet felted a beret, now it was time to make another hat. I had purchased Complete Feltmaking by Gillian Harris and thought I would try making the cloche hat in her book. As is my usual thing, I did not make the hat according to her direct instructions. I had some small samples of Merino wool that I purchased from World of Wool. You can buy bags in color groups. I thought that would be useful for making paintings, and it is, but not so useful when making hats as you don’t get enough of one color to make a hat.
One of the ladies at my Guild showed me how to hand lay out wool for making art bats. Usually, one would use a drum carder or a blending board for this, but having neither, she kindly showed me the next best thing. This technique is usually used for those who want to spin wool. I just wanted to try it to use up wool in colors I wouldn’t normally use and to stretch out my supply. Unfortunately I don’t have any to show, but you can see the effect it made on my hat.
I mixed up some vibrant and calm pink together for the inside and then used purples for the outside. I then made up the template for the hat. There is one you can enlarge in the book. Did you know that you need maths for making hats? So you better do well in maths if you want to bake, sew, knit, or make pretty much anything. Making the hat was like making a vessel, except the template shape is different. I made my hat the way I made my vessels and not according to the instructions in the book. I am learning that there are many ways to wet felt things and that some instructors have very specific ideas about how to felt. This is why I read a lot and watch a lot of videos about how to do things. I then pick and choose the aspects that I think will work for me. People even felt items in the washing machine and tumble dryer. I think there could be some merit in that, but while I still have use of my hands, I will work old school.
I am not 100% satisfied with the outcome of my hat. It is still a bit fuzzy on the outside where the wool didn’t stick as well as I would have liked. I probably could have fulled it more, but I didn’t want it to shrink too much. Every make is a learning experience. The upside is that the hat is reversible! Here is a tip: Sometimes laying out the decoration first will give a better result as you won’t get a seam and it tends to felt really well and smoothly. I will most likely take a razor to it to get rid of some of the fuzzies. Gillian Harris has a shop in Dorking and an online store. I purchased a small hat form from her. I used this form to make the hat. The hat form is actually quite a bit deeper than my head so I had enough to fold up the brim. This hat fits over my ears, is very warm and fits me perfectly. It is also super light. I was going to make a pin for my hat, but I didn’t have time. Though I did buy a pretty one from one of the ladies at the Guild exhibition last weekend. She had a stall. The colors match perfectly. 🙂
Gillian Harris also does workshops and I’ve signed up for her hat making class in November. Thankfully, Dorking is not too far from where I live. I’m looking forward to actually taking a class with real people for a change and learning something new!