I did my wet felted hat workshop with Gillian Harris in Dorking on Saturday. It took me about an hour and a half to get there and was quite a pleasant journey. I even had time to pop into the coffee shop for breakfast. 🙂 There were only three of us in the workshop. This meant that we had a lot of space to work at. I have to say that I was quite envious of her workroom. I imagine one day…! The cost of the workshop includes a 10% voucher off any purchase in the shop on the day. As I got there early, and I knew what I wanted, I started shopping early. Gillian’s shop is one of two places in the country that I have found where one can purchase hard Styrofoam hat forms and shoe lasts. Fortunately, they had some in. I now have one of every size hat form and shoe lasts for me and the hubs (I had him trace his foot on a piece of paper) and for newborn. I also purchased some Angelina in different colors, a handbag handle, some soles for slippers and a few other items. With the discount and no shipping charges, I got a bargain! The shop is lovely and sells pretty much everything you need for felting and knitting.
We looked at our hat options and as I had been making ladies’ hats lately, I thought I would make one for the hubs for a change. I tried on the slouchy hat, which was a bit big, but it looked good on me, so I thought it would be good for the hubs, as we both have small heads. We had already discussed color options and as hubs has a nice black down jacket, I would look at grays and black.
We measured out our heads and made the template by adding another 20% for shrinkage. Once we had cut our template out, we watched Gillian lay out the fiber for the first side. She only uses two layers. I have never worked with two layers before, so this was going to be interesting. Everyone has their own method of doing things. I was basically making a rectangular shape. I chose my colors, a gray and a black merino, with some silk fiber for stripes. The hat is meant to be reversible, and that is why Gillian uses two layers, so it is slouchy and easy to turn inside out. Now, I must have been having a senior moment, because when I was laying out my wool, I got into a zone and kept laying out the first color and forgot to lay out the second color. It was supposed to be two tone on the inside and outside. I managed it for the outside, but I made another error when laying out the inside for the back. Ideally, the hat should have had a folded brim going all the way around the hat, but due to my error that is not how this hat was formed.
In any event, I managed to full down the lower part of the hat enough so that it would fit. It was still damp and waiting for the final touches when I brought it home. I have to say that my husband is a good sport. He tried on a cold, damp hat on his bald head while I shaped it as you see it above. I bought a fiberglass hat block in his size from a wool store in Germany. With the brim down in the back, it does keep his neck warm. When the hat was dry, he tried it on again so I could work out the placement of the vintage buttons. This means that the hat will not be reversible, but that is ok because of my senior moment!
I think the hubs looks pretty good in his new hat. He, on the other hand, is still coming to terms with it! At least no one else will have a hat like his! 🙂