I got my ha finished…Yay… So naturally, it is raining. Oh well, I know the cold will come.
Rub, rub, roll, roll. You know the drill. once it shrank enough I popped it onto a hat form to see how it was doing size-wise. It is very hard to photograph because it is so dark and the silk by and large disappears once it is wet.
Top view, it looks a bit raggy around the brim but it isn’t. It has silk wrapped around it and it has shrunk up making wrinkles. Except for one spot at about 11:00. I will have to sew or needle it down.
Side-ish view, You can just see the silk colour.
It is on my high dome block. It is much too tall but I like the slope of the crown on this one better. the height I want is the block in the back but it is much flatter on top. It is loose on the block too. So more rolling. It didn’t take much rolling to get the right size around but quite a bit to get it short enough.
and then it was time to roll the flower
I pinned it in place so it will dry rolled up nicely.
…..two days later and it’s dry. I am taking pictures quickly because I need my table to wrap presents. I have tried to brighten them on the computer so you can see them better.
It looks good but trying it on it’s a bit tight. Then I realize why, my high dome is a 22 and my other one is a 23. I need the 23 to allow for my braid. So I turned on the steamer and got it hot and stretched it out to 23 using the right size block. Now it fits properly.
here’s the inside or underside however you look at it. again the dark colour is hard to see but I think you can see the texture of the silk with the Nuno felt.
the felting is finished but I think I will shave it to see if I can bring up the colour of the silk more. I still need to make a couple of leaves out of this felt and sew the flower so it stays rolled up.
I hope that for the next post I will have something else to show you but also the hat with the leaves and maybe even on my head.
I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday. It has been great to be able to stay connected to you all through the internet. It has really helped keep me sane through this stressful year of the pandemic. I will see you in the New Year.
I finally started my new hat. first I had to make the template. I started with one I had then changed one side.
I was down to the last of my purple so I decided to use black for the middle layer. the purple is so dark black seemed the best choice. Now I will have enough of the purple to make some mitts after the hats done.
For some reason, I decided to fiddle with the silk for the inside next. It would have made more sense to do it after laying out the wool. the silk sticks out past the bottom. this is sow I can fold it back over the edge of the wool along the bottom. so the bottom will remain open.
Having done this first I had to leave it on because it wouldn’t go back on properly If I took it off. If I had wet it, it would stay without the clothes pins but I don’t like layout out on top of wet stuff.
So onto the laying out of the wool.
All done and ready to assemble.
After wetting it down and wrapping the sides around I added the silk lap.
That’s it for now. I am hoping the open bottom works. I haven’t made a hat that way in years. I should be able to tell you next week in my next post.
I have been quandering what to make for the third quarter challenge for some time now. I had thought about making a coat for our new dog Edgar but he is so rough and loves to chew everything, so I wasn’t sure it would last long. I don’t wear wraps, scarves, hats or mittens much so I kept putting it off. But it’s getting down to the wire so I decided I would use my layout and differential shrinkage methods on making a hat. I’m not a hat wearer. I always think that hats make me look silly plus I have a really big head. But up in my closet, I have several hat blocks (from Hat Shapers and Frank’s Cane and Rush Supply – I have no affiliation with either of these companies). I thought I should try using things I have learned in my prior experiments to see if I would enjoy the process of hat making more than I have in the past. Plus I had a suggestion for using my leftover prefelt in a way to look like a brain. Doesn’t this sound like a recipe for disaster?
I started out by laying out two layers of red wool. I did the same layout that created a nice bowl shape here. The inner part of the circle is laid radially and the outer edge is laid around the circumference. Normally when I make a hat, I use a resist. But here I just started with a flat circle of laid out wool. I then added the cut prefelt for the “brain” idea. I covered the prefelt with another two layers of red wool. I then started felting and made sure it was all holding together.
Once the piece was at prefelt stage, I got out the Hat Shapers Shaping Dome. I worked the felt around the circle to get it to shrink and fit the dome shape. Once it was fitting that shape a bit better, I switched to the final Hat Shaper.
This one is called Flanged Brim Cloche. I soon realized that my circle wasn’t big enough and also that my ring of circumferential fiber/wool should have been larger. I worked and worked on getting it to shrink down, but it was done shrinking and very stiff. Perhaps I should have just turned it upside down and called it a dish at that point!
So what to do? I put it on the Frank’s Rush and Cane Supply high dome hat block. I just started playing around with different ways to decrease the circumference where the hat sits on your head. So I ended up with the back looking like a bonnet from Little House on the Prairie (a television show in the 1970’s for those of you who aren’t in the US). But I took a problem and made it into a design feature. I did stitch the back together after the hat was dry to keep the folds in place.
And here it is after I dressed it up with a felt flower that was hanging around the studio. And remember the yellow prefelt? It hardly made much difference in the shape at all. I didn’t double it up like I had in my previous experiments, nor did I stitch it down. So it gave just a small bit of shape and color to the end result. You can see the yellow best in the hat photo from above. And guess what? The hat doesn’t fit me, it’s too small and very shallow so it sits on the top of my head and looks ridiculous. It was so bad, I didn’t even take a photo. You’ll just have to imagine it. Anybody need a hat?
At least I have an entry for the third quarter challenge and now I remember why I don’t make hats.
Did you think I had forgotten it was my time to post again? I didn’t I have been running around like crazy getting things ready for the Guilds Sale and Exhibition that starts Saturday. But as I am co-chair of the committee running it I have lots to do and set up is Friday at 4:00. And of course, as per my usual operations, I am not ready to be in the show yet either. Not to worry its only Tuesday, Lots of time… Right?
So, yesterday I was working on hats. I had pinned them to dry 2 days before. This one is black, with a blue silk cap stretch over ti. I am really happy with how the silk looks. I will try to get a picture of it off the block but no time right now.
This is the redo of the one that was shapped oddly at the midway point.
I shaped and pinned and after it was dry tried fiddling with the curls. I didn’t like them. I decided they needed to be curling the other way and be tighter.
I wet them down and rolled them up again in the other direction and on smaller little crat tubes. They need to dry again.
Lastly was the purple one. I cut the elongated edge into strips and wove it together again and pinned it in place to dry.
Yesterday while waiting in the car I trimmed it and sewed it into place. Not the best background for a picture but it was better than my messy computer desk.
All in all I am quite happy with them. Next time I hope to have pictures with no pins for you to see. I will probably have to take them at the show. Where did the time go?
I got my dryer balls and my soap done and it is now up at the museum store. the dryer balls have information on how to use them on the back and the tag explains them as well.
A few weeks ago a friend at the guild was selling off left over yarn he bought to do a project that was now finished. I bought these. They are all singles form Brigs and Little. Some are solid and some are heathered.
I decided to use the yellow to make the design on a dark purple hat. I had to partially felt the hat before wrapping the yarn around it. it would have been to difficult to do it sooner.
I am quite happy with how it turned out. the sides dip a bit but I think it looks ok anyway.
I have been working on a new “pillbox” type of hat. I got this great lattice yarn and wanted to use to add some interest to the hat. I got this yarn at Value Village, a big chain second hand store. They had over 100 bags of 4 skeins each for $3.99. It was all new with the labels on them. the black/grey is what I used on the wonky hat wonky hat and the green/purple/orange is what I used for this one.
This kind of hat is made in 2 pieces.
I used a nice orange wool that isn’t to bright for the base then I added the lattice yarn. It worked much better when the wool and the lattice were wet.
After the usual rubbing and rolling and whatnot they are done.
Checking the fit before sewing them together is important, can you guess ow I know? LOL
And here is the finished hat. The top is sewn to the bottom.
This hat works inside out too. It would need steam ironing to make the top seam fold properly.
People in class and on line often ask if they can leave a piece of felt over night or a day and then finish it. The answer is yes most defiantly. I have left pieces over night many times but these 2 hats just did not seem to want to be made. I started one 4 weeks ago and the other 3 weeks ago I think. Every time I went to work on them I ended up with about 15 min. So they just got rerolled and tossed back in the dryer for a 10 min roll/tumble and then they would be ignored for another few days.
The first is sort of a fairy hat. This is the resist shape
When I folded over the wool of the first side I added in two rolled flowers at the top.
Then some leaves and throwsters waste when I added the second side of the hat.
This is what the throwsters waste looks like.
It finished up pretty well. Mostly I am just happy it is done.
I used some of the mesh yarn. It is like lattice but in a tube. I got several colours form them second had store. They seemed to have received a large quantity of it. It seemed to be new rather than someone stash. This is not a good hat. It will not be for sale.
The mesh yarn did not stay strate. Probably me being to enthusiastic with the rubbing or not being careful enough laying it out in the first place. I put it to high on the outside which would have been fine it is was even. I also put it to low on the inside so I had to make the hat taller or have an uneven line of white wool and yarn along the bottom edge, when I folded it up. Then to top it all off or the first time ever the marker I used to draw the resist pattern blead into the wool and stayed after all the soapy water and rinsing. I will toss this into the cut up bin. I think I may save the yarn for a different style hat.
So this week I managed to finished the hat in my last post.
I left you with this picture:
Next I covered it and rubbed it for a while. then rolled it up and into the dryer with no heat for 10 min. while I was waiting for that I started to lay out another hat. After the first tumble I took the hat out flipped and rotated it and rolled it up again. you can see the other hat I am working on under the bundle.
After a few turns in the dryer I cut the hat open and shifted it so I would not be felting in the seam crease.
I continued to roll it in the dryer shifting the hat on the resist each time. Once is had shrunk some, I continued to full it by hand. This is what it looked like still wet and in need of a rinse.
and this is after it has been rinsed reblocked and dry. not really much different. the close up picture is a truer picture colour wise. it is a light silvery grey with pink and grey accents.
I like it, it is simple but interesting. I think I will leave this one the way it is. the next on in this style may be more embellishment after there fact. I need to dye more silk hankies.
This week I decided to try a new style of hat. As it’s the first one and I don’t know if it will work I am making it fairly plain.
To save time I started with a template I already had. I traced around it so I would have the nice round part in the right size all ready to add the new part.
This is the final shape.
Next, I added some silk from silk hankies. The hankies are gray and pink. I stretched the hankies out long so I could wrap them around. They are hard to see, you can see them sticking out the sides.
After I wrapped the first side around, I added another hanky going the other way as well.
Here is how it looks with the first side of wool wrapped around.
And lastly where I had to stop. On the outside of the hat, I added more of the gray and pink hankies. They are very hard to see, on the wet felt they pretty much disappear. I am hoping the pink and gray on the light gray wool will make it shine nicely. It is a very conservative hat but this is a government town so that would work ok.
And here are some of the reasons I haven’t got back to it yet.
The red light is a heat lamp. It has moved to another pen now. They just needed it the first night as it was very cold. These 2 moms and babies are not much trouble but these three below take a lot more work. It is not a great picture but to get a picture of them not moving, standing in front of one another or showing the camera their tails is quite difficult.
It is almost a year to the day that I gave up my day job of setting up clinical trials of new drugs for hospital patients to pursue my dream of making felt full-time.
A post on FB this week, prompted me to reflect on why I made that choice. One year in to my new adventure and the start of a new year, this seems like a good place to pause and take stock.
The post on FB asked us to choose the 3 main reasons why we chose to use our creative talents to go self-employed because lets face it, most of us don’t do it for the financial rewards, if economic security is top of your agenda, going self-employed in the creative arts is likely to be low on your list of employment choices.
This is the list of values to choose from but you are welcome to add your own, they came from Shannah Kennedy’s book: Simplify, Structure, Succeed.
Which 3 did you choose?
Freedom and Health: being self-employed means I can go for a 2 hour run or a long walk in the middle of the day if I want to, being able to down tools and go outside when the sun is shining has made me far more physically active and the psychological benefits of spending more time outside, in our beautiful British countryside, means I am far less stressed. This also relates to biophilia (see below) which is also supported by working with wool.
I also love that I don’t have to get up a silly o’clock in the morning to sit in traffic jams with thousands of other equally miserable people trying to get to the office before 9 am. There’s a lot to be said for home-working!
Order/stability : I found working in the corporate world could be incredibly stressful, every 2-3 years we would have a new VP, none of them could ever accept that the systems installed by their predecessor worked just fine and so felt they needed to restructure the entire company in an effort to leave their mark, like dogs peeing on a lamppost. We were constantly working in a state of flux, trying to navigate new processes but never being allowed to do the same thing long enough to get good at it before a new VP would come along and change everything again!
I wouldn’t describe my life as particularly ordered; Einstein summed it up well, “If a messy desk reflects a messy mind, of what does and empty desk reflect?”. I am messy and proud! 🙂 But compared to the corporate world my current work-life does feel a lot more stable, my processes only change when I need them to, not because someone else is peeing on my lamppost!
Of course, one downside to being a self-employed maker is that many of us feel we have to take the work when it comes, this can lead to working 18 hour days but that is my decision to work long hours (not due to some arbitrary deadline set by a faceless manager) and if I don’t want to work that many hours, I can always refuse a commission or only accept it with an extended delivery deadline. There’s nothing to say you have to take on every piece of work that is offered to you, in fact I think there are some things you should always say no to, but that is a whole other post!
Biophilia: Not on the list I know, but I think it is very relevant for most of us. Those of you who make felt on a regular basis will understand the deep connection with nature and the past that it brings, taking natural fibres and thousands-year-old techniques to create beautiful works guided only by your imagination and what the materials want to do.
I recently discovered this connection with nature and the desire to surround ourselves with natural materials has a name; biophilia. It seems to be something of a trend in textile studies at the moment but of course felt-makers have been familiar with the concept (if not the name) for centuries 🙂
One of the respondents on the FB page also talked about how isolating it can be to be a creative working from home, she described how she has changed from an assertive, confident woman to feeling like a timid mouse. I felt so sad reading that but I can easily relate to where she is coming from. Working on your own, 7 days a week can be tough, even for introverts who are comfortable with their own company, I can only imagine it must be an impossible challenge for extroverts.
For me, while designing and making are where I find the most fulfilment in my work, I realise that attending fairs and teaching are what keeps me sane. I need that social interaction, while Pickle (my cat) is very chatty, his conversation is hardly what anyone would think of as intelligent.
If you mostly work alone, how do you find it? Do you have strategies for coping with the isolation?
I think we are social animals (even the introverts!), we need to connect with other humans and for me, I am finding I need to collaborate and share with others, Open Studio events and craft fairs are a great way to connect but are quite sporadic so I was chuffed to bits to spend a day with Janine and Nancy making winged vessels in Janine’s studio (she has a studio to die for!). I am already looking forward to our next play-date and hope this will become a regular event in our diaries. I have long admired Ruth’s creative textile gatherings and hope we can develop something similar.