Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Needle Felted Hat

Sooner or later, no matter what kind of fibre manipulation technique I am doing, I end up seeing how it will work for hat making. I have a bit of an obsession interest in hats. And socks. I have a drawer full of each. But, you know, there's always room for one more.

I've been thinking about a needle-felted hat for some time now. When Bill took advantage of a going-out-of-business sale earlier this year and bought a bunch of roving, 'hat' was the first thing to come to mind when I saw the balls of mauve-ish and blue-grey and mauve-ish and light brown that were a mix of merino and mohair. Before that I'd gotten some scraps of roving that he'd found online, some of which were beautiful mixes of colour which would also work well as part of a hat.

One of the things I love about needle felting is the abstract felt I can create with it. I like a lot of abstract art and collage and that kind of thing and this allows me to work that way, by layering and 'mark-making' (with fiber instead of paint, graphite, crayon, etc) but with the added quality of softness. It begs to be touched. That's one reason I work with textiles. I don't think I was always so aware of the importance of touch in what I do, but last year we went to an art exhibit that had a lot of abstracts and some textile work. I liked the abstracts well enough, but when I got to the textiles, I felt connected somehow. Then I walked over and looked at a framed print of one of the textile works I'd just been admiring and it left me cold, sitting flat behind the glass. Of course, I did not touch the original work, but I could imagine what it felt like. I learned something about myself that day and came away with a new understanding of how softness and texture play a big role in my creative process. The squish factor is more important than I knew!

So the other day, I sat down with a pile of various colours of roving, my foam pad, and my felting needles and I started stabbing. I randomly built up a rectangle, adding bits of this colour here and the other colour there until it was sturdy enough to hold together and long enough to fit around my head. I felted the ends together to form a tube and felted some more all over to get rid of any thin spots. I finished that last night and then this afternoon, I did an oval for the crown, felted it and the tube together, and then used a different needle to smooth things a bit to finish.  Here it is from different angles and on my head.

I had a lot of fun making this and am thrilled with how it turned out! It's so squishy, warm, and soft and it'll be great in the rain!

When I started this post, I was thinking that while I've crocheted, knitted, needle-tatted, and now needle-felted hats, I've never cross-stitched a hat. Aida cloth wouldn't really work well for that kind of thing. Then I thought, 'Ah, but you could make a hat using Tunisian crochet simple stitch and cross stitch on that!' Hmmm.

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