Monday, October 1, 2012

Somewhere between "Bucket" and "Cloche"

I have been meaning to try my hand at felted hats.  Felting a knit item almost seems akin to alchemy. You take a big floppy garment, add water, heat, and agitation, and after a while your fabric is solid and unyielding.

Pattern: Felted Bucket Hat by Bonne Marie Burns. (Chic Knits.)
Yarn: Stonehedge Fiber Mill's Shepherd's Wool Worsted in garnet. 1 skein.
Needles: US 10s, US 10.5s
Mods: none.  If I make another one I am going to leave off the turning row at the crown, and maybe play with the brim with short rows to force a more "cloche" shape into the finished hat.  I can honestly say that Shepherd's Wool fulls like a DREAM.  One moment I still had knitted fabric in my hand, the next, fulled perfectly!  And since Woven Art carries every color of worsted, I certainly had a fantastic selection.  Since I have a front-loading washer I decided to felt my hat by hand.

Here are some pointers for anyone else needing to do their felting and fulling by hand.

You will need:

 a clean sink or bucket
 a hot AND cold water source
 a few teaspoons of dishwashing liquid
 a wooden spoon, potato masher, or other sturdy heat-resistent implement
  a pair of latex gloves or rubber dishwashing gloves (optional, but good if your skin is sensitive to high heat.)

  1. Fill your sink with the hottest water that will come out of the tap – you only need enough water so that your project will float free
  2. Let your project soak for about 10 minutes
  3. Pick up your project and squeeze the water out. Add a dribble of dishwashing soap, and knead into the project firmly so that the whole project is foamy.
  4. Immerse in hot water (replenish to keep temperature high) and agitate with hands or wooden spoon for about 5 minutes.  Knead your project like bread dough.
  5. Rinse in cold water, agitating, wringing, and kneading.

Repeat steps 3-5 several times, checking the size and shape of the project as needed.  When project has been felted to the correct size, make sure the soap is completely rinsed out.  Roll in towel and stand on it to remove excess moisture.


For a true “bucket hat” look, accentuate the flat top by blocking your hat around a large can or bottle wrapped in a towel, with brim resting on a flat surface. For a more “cloche” style, carefully ball up dishtowels inside the crown of the hat, balance on top of a container, and don’t allow brim to touch the counter. Pull the brim to get a smooth edge. Pull and tug out any wrinkles that formed. Let dry.


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