Sunday, February 8, 2009

Finished Hats - I Wish I Felt Better

Absent blogger I've been, but my excuse is a little bit of a bug and the usual trying to do too much at once while accomplishing far less.

What in the heck have I been doing besides ignoring my blog readers this past week? Well, there have been things finished and photographed. While I was going on and on about "Working in Circles" last month (that should be the name of my theme song), there was actually work getting done and I can prove it!

Lets start with hats.

First up is a fun purple number that got started last year and was finally finished. Alas it is not going in the store because it didn't meet my quality control standards.

This is an ongoing problem with felting. It's so unpredictable. Some days the felting of a hat seems to take forever. On other days, the same darn yarn, knit in the same darn cloche pattern, will felt up before you can say "Yikes!" And then sometimes there is the problem with the hat becoming too small before all the stitch definition gets felted out.

That what happened with this purple hat. You can still easily see the stitch decreasing in the crown shaping but any more felting would have reduced the hat to a size impossible to wear. So this cute but imperfect hat is destined to become a giveaway or something I'll wear myself.

This black hat felted up nicely and I got smart with it by making the flower ornament a removable brooch. That way you can play with the look of the hat by attaching something else. The problem with this hat, which will go in the store, is that it is so hard to photograph black things. There must be a trick with the lighting. If you know what it is, please leave me a comment.

White yarn is supposed to be very difficult to felt. That wasn't the case with this winter white fiber, although the hat did become smaller in the felting process than was planned.

The idea of this hat, which was inspired by Aretha's wonderful hat that she wore to the inauguration, was ceremony.

This is a wedding chapeau with a bow embellished with freshwater pearls. The hat itself is a marriage between a beanie and a cloche. It will have to be a petite bride who wears it because it definitely is a size small.

This split-pea soup colored hat is for me to wear. It is an experiment inspired by Leigh Radford who was at a recent Tigard Knitting Guild meeting with all the samples from her recent book, AlterKnits Felt. This is a wonderful book if you're fascinated by felting, and I highly recommend it. Leigh has done a lot of experimenting and exploring of the felt wilderness, and she shares her findings freely. The projects in the book are artistic and varied in scope.

Leigh was wearing one of the patterns from the book called "Pleated Cloche", and it was totally cool even though I wouldn't call her hat a cloche. The term cloche to me means to be in the shape of a bell which is what the word means in French. Leigh's hat is more of a pleated beanie or cap. Nevertheless it is a very cool design that involves the fun idea of folding or creasing the felt hat while it is still wet.

So I took my cloche pattern, changed the bell-shaped brim to allow for fullness in the front but not as much as usual in the back with some short row shaping, and added a couple of extra unfelted inches in the knitting of the crown so that there would be something to work with. It was a fun experiment that surely will get tried again.

To me a hat needs to look good in all directions before it is acceptable. Both the wedding hat and my folded hat ended up with nice silhouettes in all directions. For an end to today's post, I'll leave you with a backward glance at them. Next post will have some finished scarves.

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