1 April 2006

a wall hat

A couple of weeks ago at the local hippie market, Son #2 became enamoured with some exquisite felted hats. Being a thrifty, crafty Waldorf child he decided he would not dig into his pocket money and purchase one, but would make one himself.

That afternoon we assembled the necessary ingredients.
Washed fleece
Liquid soap/detergent
Bubble wrap
Old net curtain
Plastic bag

Now, I have felted one or two items myself, but they were flat, not shaped. Son #2 was not the least bit daunted. We can shape it over a bowl, or a balloon, Mum. It’ll be easy.

It was not easy.

We photodocumented proceedings.

felt before

The assembled fleece, ready to go. Note the coloured fleece all to the edges, as he wanted the crown of the hat to be plain, with colour all round the brim.

felt after

All done!

But try as we might, we could not manage to shape it into a hat.

felt wallhanging

Never mind! It can be a wall hanging for my bedroom! says he.

There is something hugely satisfying about felting.
You take a bit of fleece from a sheep, wet it, soap it up, bash it about a bit (#2 loved the bit where you shock the fibres by throwing the felt violently to the ground fifteen times) and voila, you have made a piece of fabric.

It gives me that same feeling of safety that having a pantry full of homemade chutneys and preserves gives me. That knowledge that if the apocalypse comes, I can still feed my family.

Now if the aliens land, I can clothe my family too.


Jan said...

Here's the info you need!


Jan said...

Sorry...the link got cut off. Check the Archives for the January 13, 2006 entry.


blackbird said...

bravo to him - industrious boy!

I've never felted, no less attempted a hat...though I've seen people doing it with lots of steam and wooden head moulds and odd tools.

I think I'll go look at the link.

String Bean said...

I've never tried felting to make a hat. The felt does add wall-appeal though. Very eclectic.

herhimnbryn said...

Hallo from WA,
Have just caught up with yr blog and reads all that I missed.
Oh you have made me laugh (yr Ma has great wit!) and refreshed me!

Kim said...

I would LOVE to do felting. Along with quilting and a growing urge to knit cute furry little critters.

I am so scared of this part of my psyche I don't know where to begin.

Basically I know myself enough that I won't ever finish any of what I start.

And that is just plain irritating.

doubleknot said...

Felting - it has been a year now since I started a felted bag project in crochet - things just kept going wrong - wrong hook size, not enough wool yarn - and trying to find more was next to impossible. I think I have all the things I need assembled now but baby blankets and Xmas got in the way.
Too bad you didn't get a hat but I like the wall hanging idea.

sueeeus said...

Is the plastic bag for the shocking part? What about the bubble wrap? The finished product is quite stunning. An artistic son, is he. :)

In the only felt hat conversation I've had, the hat seems to have been knitted first into a huge hat form using those circular needles, then felted after that so that it shrunk into the normal hat size, and perhaps also left to cure/dry on a rigid form like a bowl, to coax the shape. I know nothing though. I've never knitted. The hat was gorgeous though, and I nearly bought one, but it was outrageously expensive (although in retrospect it was a steal if one considers the time and wool that went into crafting it).

Elizabeth said...

He can always knit one first, extra large and then wash it in hot water. This is the only way I've felted and I love it. It's one of those things I'd never thought I'd try and yet now I'm addicted.

Joke said...

I am so woefully unprepared in the event that aliens land and millinery becomes a survival skill.


BabelBabe said...

You all would be clothed in wall hangings...just like the von Trapp children in The Sound of Music.

Suse, if the aliens land and you are clothed in wall hangings, remember that the aliens do NOT like the goatherd song.

Suse said...

Sueeeus, the bubble wrap is to lay the fleece on and provide 'agitation' to full the felt. You can use those matchstick bamboo blinds/placemats also, but I had lots of bubblewrap so used that. The plastic grocery bag is used scrunched up to glide over the felt when you start the process. Later your bare hands can take over, but initially it's easier with a bag.

Jan, I am going to check out the link now, thanks!

Elizabeth, I guess we could knit one first and then felt it by washing, but ten year old boys are into instant gratification. This took about 2 hours total!

Babelbabe, I LOVE the goatherd song. It's my favourite from the whole film. The aliens will just have to suffer it.

Joke, I haven't forgotten about the March 31st list of required reading. I'm working on it still. Off to see yours now.

shellyC said...

Have always wanted to try felting!! Very impressed with his art work though.

--erica said...

what a cool kid~

daintee said...

can't remember how i found your blog...through someone else's side bar, no doubt. whatever the case, i'm happy to be here now :)

steph said...

I'd be so proud of him! What a wonderful attitude. I think the wall hanging is great, but keep trying at the hats, too! There's good advice floating round but I have none, myself. felting a simple ball was all we attempted.

dani said...

this story speaks volumes about the incredible philosophy of waldorf education. your son sounds very cool.

i keep wanting to felting and just wouldn't have a clue where to get everything. seeing this photographic tutorial has inspired me again.

it's really sweet as a wall hanging too.

Surfing Free said...

I hear ya Kim! Back in the day I started lots of crafty projects and hardly ever finished any of them ... and that just pisses me off. I'm a great started, not such a great finisher. Wish I could change it those.
I love felted things - a friend made a divine felted pillow cover once that always consider stealing when ever I am at her place. Seriously.

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

Of course, you have to hope the aliens leave you at least one sheep...

capello said...

I have a felted hat (that was purchased for me). I think the lady knitted a hat for a giant and then felted it. So you never know what size you're gonna get.

He has an awesome attitude. I should act more like your son.

Di said...

I see Jan's already given you a link for Moth Heaven's tutorial. it's a strange sort of process, creating a 3D felted item. It starts out as a flat pocket, but ends up shaped. I've just posted about a Japanese felting book that makes amazing round bags the same way.

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

Hey Suse - I know you love them so just letting you know I've got a birth story up tonight...

be warned, it turned out to be terribly long and I'm feeling I could have actually had a fourth child in the time it took me to get this done today!