August 9, 2013


'Chili Pepper' ~ wet felted with merino wool

If you read my previous post in July you'll know I set myself up for a colour challenge which was intended to force me to break out of my comfort zone and give my favourites a rest!  Here you will see four new hats and absolutely NO pink or purple (or green, yellow, red or even orange).  I'm on a roll and I've enjoyed working with "other" different colour combinations but these colours are not ones I naturally gravitate to.  Here you will see browns, blues, rusts and various shades of gray. 

These new hats are mostly beret style which I make over a 14 or 16 inch round resist pattern.  It's the shaping in the end (as always) that sets them apart and they are all unique one of a kinds.  In fact, I'm not sure that I could repeat any of these hats as each one takes on its own style and persona as it emerges from the fulling process.  The end result is always an exciting surprise! 

'Chili Pepper' ~ side view

'Cowhide Wedge' ~ wet felted with merino woll and silk

'Cowhide Wedge' ~ top

Megan in 'Cowhide Wedge'

'Indigo Earth' ~ wet felted with merino wool

'Indigo Earth' ~ back view

'Indigo Earth' ~ inside

Some people have asked me about hat sizing and whether I make hats in different sizes.  I do have hat blocks in several sizes including 21.5 inches, 22 inches and 22.5 inches but I usually make my hats on a 22.5 inch block.  This is a very average size head and my hats fit most people.  The measurement is taken with a tape measure around the head just above the eyebrows and over the bump at the back.  Every now and then I come across someone with a 21.5 inch head, which I equate with a size small and a slightly more often I find others with a 23 inch head which is a size large.  In that case, at 22.5 inches, I would say my hats are a generous size medium. 

My lovely cousin Megan, modelling the wedge cap above, was just here visiting from Vancouver Island and I jumped at the opportunity to have her model some of my hats. The first thing she said was, "I have a big head" and sure enough, it's 23 inches. The 'Cowhide Wedge' fit her but the others were tight and would have been uncomfortable for her to wear.  In a situation like this, when someone loves a hat, I am often able to stretch the felt using a wooden hat stretcher I was lucky enough to find in a great little antique shop in Almonte, Ontario.  As it turns out, 'Silver Star' below would have fit her too but it was too wet to try on at the time. 

The thing with sizing felt is that it is possible to make a hat slightly larger with stretching or slightly smaller with more felting, BUT... when cutting the head opening in a beret... it is important not to make it too big.  A diameter of 5 inches is the rule of thumb and although this seems small for a 22.5 inch opening, it's important to remember that the hole is cut before the hat is completely fulled and it stretches as the work continues.  Too big is just plain too big and no amount of felting can make it smaller.  In that case it might have to become a beautiful vessel instead of a hat.

My fantastic antique hat stretcher

'Silver Star' ~ wet and nuno felted with
merino wool over chiffon gauze

'Silver Star' ~ top view

'Silver Star' ~ dark side

'Silver Star ~ light side

 are a few more projects just finished along with some dyeing I did this week at Lise's with the amazing County Spinners.  Such incredible colours including a pink and purple (but for later!) and the blue...oh what a blue.  Cerulean blue, like the Mediterranean Sea from the top of Santorini.  It makes you want to fall into it.

Fingerless gloves ~ hand knit merino wool

Wristlets ~ hand knit merino & silk in Mag's
pretty lusterware bowl

Balls & skeins of wool & a silk chiffon scarf
that I hand dyed at County Spinners 

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