Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Unisex Fishermen's Hat

I love a basic wide brim cloche like this. This is the hat you grab for everyday wear, although any of my hats will stand up to constant wear. With the extra wide brim this hat will keep the rain off your face and neck. One of my favorite wools to work with is fishermen's wool. This one is made of that wool. If you are just beginning to make hats, this is an inexpensive wool to begin with and it is so easy to work with. I can get about 3 hats out of one skein and the price of the yarn is only about $10. That's $3.oo per hat!

Washing instructions for beginners: Wash the hat in mini load in your washing machine. Settings: regular hot wash, cold rinse. Throw in a pair of jeans and about 1/4 cup liquid laundry detergent. Only wash for 4 minutes to begin with, you can always send it through again for a couple of minutes. You need to get the feel for how quickly your washer felts the knitted hat. The art is in the stretching and forming. First find a long fairly narrow cylinder to stretch the lenghth of the hat. They tend to go short and fat, but not to worry. They are stretchable as long as you do it as soon as you take it out of the washer. (Don't put them in the dryer!) I use a spagetti canister to do the initial stretching. I stretch it as much as I can into a long skinny hat. Then I begin forming it on hat forms. You can get the width back, while maintaining the length this way. Do get a good hat form if you can, otherwise you can do the final shaping on your head. I go around each brim and stretch and straighten it. It's really easy when you get the hang of it. But, remember, once it is dry you cannot reform it. Even if you put it back in the washer for a minute, it will just shrink smaller; you will never again have the chance of doing these important stretching and forming steps. Good luck!

Gatsby Chic

Two flowers come with this hat, each a pin. The large flower is cool on the has with the small one as an accent piece, but I think most people would wear it as shown in the picture. This basic cloche is marbled in shades of purple and turquoise. It is a cozy warm hat; the wool is luxurious. You can wear this one without the flower for a great casual look. It's versatile. My Etsy Store, TheHatTrick, has several more views of this hat.

For my knitting/felting friends, there are just so many things you can do with a cloche. Add a couple rows before reducing to the main body of the hat to get the longer brim. I started with 90 stiches and reduced to 75 on this one after about 8 rows. Experiment. Every hat is a pleasant surprise! Try different flowers. I liked these two so much I just had to include both with the hat.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Funky jO Couture

The Funky jO is a basic pill box hat with a twist. In fact it has an entire twisty fringe look. This hat is just so much fun! It can be worn in the style shown or with the brim down as a cloche. The flower is a pin, so it can be worn on the hat or on a sweater or scarf as a coordinating piece. Go to my Etsy store (The Hat Trick--link in my last post) to see the different ways this hat can be worn. Put a little pizzazz in your life with this one.

If you want to make a shat like this one, use a basic cloche style and extend the brim a little. Add the fringe yarn in with your regular wool yarn at the hat band for 4 to 6 rows. After washing, shape this hat over a bowl with a flat bottom to get the flat top. (I included washing/felting instructions in an earlier post.) Make sure you use a bowl that results in the right size hat to fit your head. Roll the brim at the fringe line for the look shown here. Flowers are easy to make and there are many patterns on the internet and in books for them. I don't follow a pattern as a general rule. Once you have made a few flowers you will find yourself experimenting to get the look you want. I added beads to this one after it was felted.

Funky Chic

The Funky Chic is a new fun style that combines a classic style and color with just a bit of whimsy. This hat features a large flower that has been knit onto the crown of the hat rather than at the hat band. The deep dome and off-white color create a striking, almost western look. It is a little on the larger side, making this the hat that wont mess with your hair-do. I enjoy making one of a kind hats that make a statement about the wearer's style. You definitely wont see yourself coming and going in this one! It's perfect with a beige, black or off-white coat, but will compliment any color of sweater or coat you wear. For more picture of this hat visit my Etsy Store at


What is The Hat Trick? Make one hat + sell it = one night of shelter for a homeless family. Now that's the best hat trick I know!

Getting back in touch

Hi folks! I've had a really busy spring and summer this year. We moved, as I mentioned before, started new jobs, had a houseful of family many times, went to the beach, went to the mountains, and generally had lots of fun. Well, that is except for the week Mike, my husband was in the hospital with Congestive Heart Failure. That wasn't fun, but he is well now, and it was a great wake up call for him. All along the way I've been making hats. Now I need to start sharing them with you. I'm loving my new creations; hope you do too. This is a basic derby style hat with a cluster of one large and two small flowers permanently attached. I've learned that sewing the flowers onto the hat before felting is a great way to make it lay the way I want it to. I still like making the separate hat pin flowers that can be removed. That gives the hat more versatility. However, I've not quite figured out how to make it lay up against the hat as nicely as these that are sewn on. Perhaps I'll try adding more than one pin, or attach it to plastic canvas. I'll let you know my progress as I continue to try new things.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

So many hats; so little time

And no washing machine!!! We have been moving from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to a little town along the Columbia River in Washington for the past couple of months. It's a long journey for us, all our "stuff", and the four legged family members. We are nearly here. I'm living in one room of a temporarily rented house while my husband is finishing the last minute details on our house, packing up and driving out. Meanwhile, I have knitted hats along the way, albeit not nearly so many as I promised. This picture shows my progress--a basket full of hats just waiting to be "born". Until my washer gets here, this is the way they will have to be for now. And how sad that they are being used as a door stop!!! Oh well, this year I will do all I can, and perhaps next year I'll.....well, I think I'll make that promise when I get closer to it. Tee Hee

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lady Bug, Lady Bug, Fly Away Home

I have always loved lady bugs--that is, I love the kind I grew up with in California. Here in the Blue Ridge Mountains we have Japanese beetles that look a lot like lady bugs, but they aren't and they are pesky. But this hat is inspired by the beautiful bright red ones I used to catch as a child. For spring I am learning to crochet hats. This is my first successful one. I used fabric stiffener on it after it was finished so it holds its shape beautifully. I can honestly say I crocheted a hat a day for the last week, but i only have two hats to show for it. Interesting to note is crocheting a hat takes longer than knitting and felting a hat. Go figure.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Daisy Days

This was a new idea I had to actually sew the flower onto the hat before felting. I think it turned out really cute, don't you? The flower actually goes over the top of the head a little more, but we cocked it a little on the mannequin to get the whole flower. It's in a local shop, as you can see from the background. Valley Finds is a great local store where you can find great furniture, knick knacks, my hats and other boutique items. If you are in the neighborhood, visit Valley Finds on Main Street in Front Royal.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Red Hat That Goes With Purple

Very soon I'm going to perfect the whole picture taking process. This is actually a very red hat with some very purple flowers. It was fun to make. I made up the flower and leaf patterns as I went along. I wish I would write these things down! But, alas, this may be a one of a kind hat! It is a little larger than some of my hats, but not much. I like a hat that is just a little big for my head. That way it doesn't smash my hair.

By the way, please read Charlene's Story. It is a wonderful success story of a mother of four who was dangerously close to being homeless. I'm pleased to say that Hats For Helping The Homeless was able to help her along the way. If you have bought one of my hats, then you have made this success story possible! Thanks! Perhaps I should save this hat for her older days, when all the stress of the past is over and she is ready to wear purple, with a red hat that doesn't go and doesn't suit her.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Classic Cloche

As I was looking through the first few entries of my blog, I realized I haven't shown one classic cloche. This is one of my personal favorites because of the neutral color scheme and the "knit-in" hat band. The flower is actually a pin that can be taken off for the classic look, or left on for the bonnet look. This hat looks great on everyone. The flared brim is about two inches and the hat is a medium size, about 22" around. I start the knitting on the outside edge with 95 stitches, knit 2" and decrease 10 as follows: (k7, k2tog) x 10, then k5. Then I knit another 2" and decrease another 10 stitches: (k6, k2tog) x 10, then k5. That leaves a nice 75 stitches with which to knit the dome of the hat. I knit this for 8". Then I begin the crown by decreasing the next row by 10 as shown above, then knit a row, then repeat. Once you get to 55 stitches you decrease 11 times around on every other row until you end up with 11 stitches. Slip the yarn through the last 11 stitches at least twice and then weave the end in. For the band I used an alternate yarn for 4" immediately after completing the brim. I don't usually follow an exact pattern as I am always making adjustments for yarn, hat band width or other small style variations, so don't be afraid to experiment. Any flower pattern works, because the flower is a separate item. This flower is crocheted. I don't actually follow a pattern for it, but I really do need to write one at some point. Both are felted in the washing machine for 10 minutes with hot water, a little soap and an old pair of jeans. I allow them to go through a cold rinse and the spin cycles. Then it is pull, stretch, and form onto the hat form. (If you don't have a hat form you can use your head or a bowl.) It should take about a day for the hat to be dry and ready to wear. Because different yarns felt differently, always knit and felt a square to see how it shrinks. The primary yarn in this hat is Fishermen's Wool (Cream Color) by Lyon Brand and the hat band and flower are "Iceland Print" (Roses) by Crystal Palace. Remember that making felted hats is not an exact craft. It is an art. Each hat will come out with its own unique personality. Happy knitting!

Monday, January 3, 2011

It's a New Year and a Fresh Start!

Okay, I have been absent for the holidays, but I have been knitting! When I actually have someone following this blog, I'll make sure I update it regularly. So, let's get caught up. I'm designing my personal signature hat now. Currently I'm calling it the splat hat, but as the design gets perfected I'm considering changing the name to "Spot On". It's a fun design that uses any hat pattern. The idea is to knit in stripes and then pick a contrasting color for the spot on the top. Then add a flower in that accent color. I use the basic rose design because it can be made to look a lot like another spot. Here are a few color schemes, including one that isn't striped. What do you think?