Welcome to my first official post on this blog! I had transferred all of the felting stuff from the old blog to here, so sorry if you have seen them before. Some have been edited as I can go on a bit. Felting is still relatively new to me. I only started in March 2019. I am currently hooked on wet felting. It is less dangerous!
I made some felting batts on my new blending board that the hubs made me. I am learning on the job, so to speak, as there is not enough information on the internet about using the blending board for felting. The blending board was initially developed as a way to make pretty yarn for spinning if you couldn’t afford a drum carder. It uses the same material as on the drum carder, except it is 12×12 inches and you add the wool by hand. As with any new craft, I am also learning a new language! With felting, you lay the wool out in layers, going in opposite directions. This helps the wool adhere together during the wet felting process. You can also lay out your wool like this on the blending board, thus creating a ready made batt in half the time. Also, the blending board batt will not be very thick with fiber as it tends to take up smaller amounts, so you are not using as much wool as you do when laying out by hand.
This is the second hat I made. There are things I love about this hat and things I am not so crazy about, like how some wispy bits went awry. However, it is reversible and very warm! I hand blended the colors. I still had some of these colors, especially the crazy pink colors that came in a pack. I wanted to make another hat in the same colors. I made up some roving on the blending board in pink. Warning: the tutorials on how to make roving from the blending board is basically for spinning and not for felting. I discovered that in hindsight when I spent about an hour laying out two layers of pink on the template! I should have adapted the technique from the Classic Carder video on Blending for Color on a Drum Carder. The demo is at the end of the video and that would have made me some better roving for pulling. I then made two felting batts in the purples. Based on my experience with the batts for the cozy that turned into a hat, I was very careful when laying out this time as I didn’t want any wispy bits on the seams. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of the batts, but here is how my new hat turned out.
You will have to excuse the poor quality of photos due to the dull, grey weather this time of the year. My iPhone camera does not like taking photos in this weather and everything has turned out grainy. I love the shape of the cloche and the rosette on the top and thought it would make a good beanie like the other one. However, when I tried it on and tried to shape the brim, it wasn’t working, so I pulled one side down to get a retro-style look. The hat is made with 100% Merino on the inside and the purple batt is made with Merino, Corridale and sari silk and Angelina for decoration. This hat is also less bulky than my beanie cloche. Another tip: when laying out a batt for a hat, the first side you lay down should have wispy bits all around for wrapping around the first layer of color. The other side you need to be careful with when overlapping any wispy bits over the first batt. I opted not to wrap the wool around the bottom of the hat template as this is where the cut was going to be to remove the resist anyway and I didn’t want to disturb the vertical pattern on the other side with horizontal fibers. I did the same for the top, but I just tucked the fibers underneath and it blended in very well. You really can’t see the sparkly bits much, but this hat does sparkle from the Angelina and there is a lovely shimmer from the silk.
The little spots on the hat are the sparkle from the Angelina. As you can see in this larger photo, the pink has blended more from the blending board than with the hand blending. Also, there has been a little bit of migration from the purple Merino. The original color is the pink in the rosette. One last tip: if you are making a hat, use your specialty fiber, like sari silk, at the end. This way you can make sure everything is blended together first and that will make it easier to add them around the edges of the template so they hide the seams. I didn’t do that! So I had to use a lot more silk than needed and anchor them down with wispy bits of wool. I had also thought that I could have put all of the colors on the batt for inside and out, but then you would get a funny (not haha) pattern on the seams which would not be great for a brim. Would only work if doing all the same color and not a contrast, so it is worth the extra effort to put the contrasting color down by hand or making a separate batt for that in two layers.
So that is how you make a hat with a batt!