Unblocked felt hat, an experiment with colour, style and texture

I loved the two felt hats that I made recently with Icelandic wool but I really wanted to wear them myself and unfortunately my head is just too small for hats shaped on my hat block!  At the brilliant ‘Pick up your Needles’ workshop on Saturday Irene had a simple but fun crochet hat that I thought could translate very well into felt.  It was really comfortable to wear and I asked her if she would mind me using the design as a starting point for creating a new felt hat, this time not blocked and small enough for me to wear as well! 

Silk and cotton mix fabric felted with Icelandic wool

Silk and cotton mix fabric felted with Icelandic wool

One of the most exciting colours of Icelandic wool that I am stocking in my Etsy shop is a great red (I have always found to date that a decent red is one of the most difficult colours to order batts or roving in) and for the hat I teamed this red with a nice rich deep violet (or purple if you prefer).  I also wanted to play around a bit more incorporating different fabric and fibre into the wool, this time I used silk twists (kind of like hand dyed throwsters waste) and some deep purple crinkly fabric with a surface print in gold.  This silk and cotton mix fabric was actually from an expensive skirt that I bought a couple of years ago and only wore once, now that I have no spare cash for buying clothes I am recycling everything I can to incorporate into my felt where appropriate!  The template for the hat was a simple rectangle and I prepared a few felted cords to jazz up the corners at the top.  One of the design features of this model is it’s simplicity, working a rectangle shape around a resist means that even inexperienced felters could make a successful hat at their first attempt, I feel another workshop in the making!  After weighing the wool I divided the total amount (60g) by four and laid out the first layer on each side.  At this stage I positioned the cords at opposite corners and added a little more soap in these areas to help keep them in place.  After laying the second layer I then added my silk twists and crinkly fabric, checked that I was happy with the design and continued to felt as usual.  Surprisingly enough, I actually found that this hat took longer to make that the ‘Raspberry Ripple’.  The big advantage however is in the easy of process, the fun design and the fact that I just continued to full until I was happy with the overall size in relation to my head. 

The finished felt hat!

I definitely think that this design has possibilities and will now try and make it in a different colour combination with possibly some minor alterations to the shape.  The fact that a hat block is not necessary to shape the hat is also an advantage and I like the way that it sits jauntily on my head!  Unfortunately the sun was very strong today and not the best for taking pictures (although great for everything else!) so I hope to take some more of the hat on Thursday and also get some better images of the wool to put up on Etsy.


5 thoughts on “Unblocked felt hat, an experiment with colour, style and texture

  1. The colours are vibrant and I like the combination with the silk. I agreed with you that to start with this form is very effective. LAst weekend I learned my sister made her first felt around a template-circle. That one also became a hat, an french alpino. Playing with colours and fabrics makes it fun. Need to update my weblog with the results, but I’am to busy with organising my birthdayparty. Dorie

  2. Hi this is lovely ,I too do not use a hat block anymore and now go with the resist method to shape my hats and of course to do all the fancy coils you can add on to your resist,a good measure at the start and knowing the feltmixture shrinkage rate is all you need .You are right the red is lovely in this fibre, a good red is very very hard to find no matter where you go so well done to them too. Got my article sent on Thomas Horst so now working hard on seamless jacket resist templates

  3. Good morning Nicola,

    I love this hat…Can’t wait to see it on you.

    I’m glad that we’re in the same boat. I was looking in my closet the other day and realized that I haven’t bought anything new in ages…Spending all my money on wool and feltmaking goodies. The good news is that while I’ll soon be running around in nothing but my birthday suit soon, I was able to buy a used motorized drum carder last week… Yippeeee!!!

    I’m doing a lot more hat-making using the resist method, too, but I do still use my hat blocks. I’ve bought a few of them, too, in various sizes, since staying out of the clothing stores. But, just wanted to let you know, and you probably already know this, but you have the best hat block with you at all times. Before I ever bought a block, I used my own head for shaping my hats. Now you can’t be claustrophobic to do this, but you just take your damp, soggy hat, pull it down over your head, stretch if needed, and begin to shape. I’ve also used my husband and son’s heads for this purpose, too. They were, as you can imagine, quite happy when I purchased my first block!

    Hope you’re having a great day.


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