Wet felting-My first project!

I have made it to the stage of finally having some processed wool to make something with!

I have cleaned, carded and dyed my raw wool. Now it is ready to make a finished project!

I decided to make my first project a small wet felted item that I could use.

After much deliberation, (there are sooo many things that I want to make!) I decided to make a wet felted hat.

I read a ton of different techniques and watched many tutorials.

I found out that there are basically three ways to make a felted hat:

One is knitting a hat with wool yarn, then washing it to felt & shrink to size in the washer. Another is wet felting over an inflatable ball used as the mold, and lastly and the one I chose to start with, is making a template/resist.

I found a calculation for making a template for my head size.

The template is much larger due to the estimated shrinkage of wool during the felting process.

Although this technique worked for my first project, my wool did not shrink as much as the template was made for, so I did some adjusting at the end.

Next time I will reduce the size of the original template by about half.

 

 

The process for wet felting using a template/resist by hand is lengthy.

This is the highlight design that will appear on top of the first layer and is on top of my template.

I added a contrasting dark brown along the bottom edge.

 

 

 

This is first layer going on top of the highlighting colours.

The basic technique is covering the template in overlapping layers on both sides using soapy water and friction which slowly felts the fibres together.

 

 

 

 

I wanted to make a reversible hat; mossy green on one side and brown on the other.

 

 

 

 

 

I felted two layers of green and one layer of brown on each side and found a technique to add a pattern on the inside, though I did a pattern of swirls showing off some of my plant dyed colours on both sides.

 

 

 

 

I also landed up mixing two techniques together near the end.

Instead of continuing felting by hand until the hat was fully felted, I rolled the hat up in a wet towel, tied it tightly and tossed it into the dryer on air dry for about 30 minutes, checking every 10 minutes and switching the direction of the roll on the hat.

The hat felted beautifully and was much quicker than trying to complete it by hand.

I had made a mold of my head, using a plastic bag and duct tape for the initial shape, then filling the cast with sand.

 

 

 

 

 

I placed the wet hat over the mold, and kept the brim down with a snake shaped sand bag that I whipped up when I realized it was needed.

I let the hat sit over night, though it did not seem to shrink much and was still huge!

I adjusted my mold, and after a quick google search, simmered the hat in hot water and let it cool on the mold. But by the next day it still hadn’t appeared to shrink much.

So I rolled it up and put it in a mesh washing bag and tossed it into the dryer.

 

I started with air dry but after an hour it was still huge, so I took the leap to turning the temperature up to the low setting…but still there was not much of a change in size. So the heat got turned up again to medium.

The shrinkage was still very low.
This is when I realized the calculation for my template was way too big.

I decided then to take the plunge, and turned the heat setting to high; testing every 10 minutes.

 

 

About an hour later I finally got it to a comfortable size!

 

Stay tuned~

The project I am working toward, is a seamless wet felted jacket and vest!!

 

Click to see my post about naturally dyeing raw wool

Click to see my post about working with raw wool

 

 

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