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This week’s project is a fabulous resist felted Berret. So, it just started getting cold here in the NYC and the other day I went to my hat rack to grab my favorite brown berret. To my extreme horror, I discovered something crazy had happened to it and it was all about ruined.
That hat was super special to me. It was my great grandmother Mitchell’s. She used to wear a berret almost every single day, so in honor of my GGma I decided to learn how to felt my own berret.
I researched the internet high and low, learned many things about wet felting but not really much on how to make a berret. Then I found the great website with a bunch of awesome wet felting videos and learn behold one on how to make a berret.
Thanks to Terry of feltinglessons.com. I also video tape my process. Take a look and let me know what you think.
From my hat, I'm using 21 micron brown Merino wall robbing that I picked up at my local yarn store. Once you have your wool, the first step is to make a relief out of corrugated cardboard. This one has a radius of eight inches. It’s going to shrink about 20% when completed.
Next, make two even piles of roping one for each side of your hat. If when you're laying out the wool on the relief you decide you need more at the same amount of wool to each pile.
You also need a piece of small mesh tool and some bubble wrap. If your bubble wrap pieces are small, tape them together with duct tape on the smooth side of the wrap. Okay, time to lay out your felt. Pull drafts from the long piece of roping by gently pulling between your fingers and the palm of your hands. For the first layer, lay the drafts all in the same direction. Then for the second layer, lay the drafts going in the opposite direction.
Let the wool hang over the sides of the relief about two inches and you want your dress to be relatively thin. It’s better to have a bunch of thin layers than a few thick layers. Keep adding layers to the relief changing the direction in each layer. You're finished when you’ve done about six layers but make sure to check for any holes or weak spots.
Now, layer tool on top of the wool, make sure you position it so there’s enough to cover the other side as well. Then lay the bubble wrap on top bubble side down. Use another piece of cardboard to help you flip it all over.
Pull the over hanging wool onto this side of the relief and start adding your other pile of wool the same way as the first side, but don’t let the wool overlap the side this time, just place it right up to the edge.
When you're done adding layers, cover this side with the tool as well. Stay tuned for more from the magical world of welt felting.
Welcome back. Next, heat up six cups of water as hot as you can stand the touch, then add about a fourth of a cup of soap to the water. Get an old plastic container and fill it up with your water mixture. Now, you are ready to start the felting process.
Liberally, apply water to the first side saturated by pressing down on the wool with your hands. You know you’ve added too much water if when you press down, water pulls between your fingers. Just pat it with the towel to rid the extra water. Once the first side is nice and wet, do the same to the other side.
You will start to notice that the wool is a little baggy on the sides of the relief. Gently push the wall inwards so it’s flash with the edge of the relief. There will be wrinkles but don’t worry, just gently massage around them and they will start to disappear. Add more water mixture as needed. Then do the same to the other side. Once all the wrinkles are gone, you can rub with more pressure and a little bit more elbow grease. You're done when both sides passed the tent test. Pinch the fabric and if it forms a tent and doesn’t pull away from itself you are ready to start the folding process.
First, you need some bamboo maps, place the maps on the top of one side and roll everything up. Tie it all together with some stretchy material and roll it back and forth about five times.
Your form will already be starting the buckle when you unroll it. Just change the position of the relief and roll it up again, flip it over and roll some more. It will shrink in the direction it’s being rolled in, so try to do it in all directions so it keeps the chick.
When it starts to buckle too much, it’s time to remove the relief. Use a circle shape with the diameter of five to six inches and cut around it likely with an exact dough knife, but be very careful not to cut through the other side then if you need too use some scissors to cut whatever you missed with the exact dough.
Saturate that rough edge with the water mixture and start massaging with gentle short strokes in the direction of the cut. After a bit, you can start rubbing with the bit more pressure. Then remove the cardboard from the middle. It will be saturated water and easy to bend and take out. Add some water to the inside and massage a bit in there.
Now, you're going to do a little bit more fulling. Again, make sure to do it in all directions and on both sides. To remove that crease, just add water and massage it out.
Once everything is to your liking, add a bunch of more water and handful to hat by rubbing it against itself. Rinse it all out with warm water then rinse it with cold water. Let it soak for about 15 minutes and two quarts of cold water and two table spoons of white vinegar. Once it’s drying, you are ready to rock your new hat.
So, this was my first time wet felting and I really enjoyed it. It’s sad that this technique is the oldest form of textile making, so I'm super excited. I know how to do it now. Again, thanks to Terry for all her awesome videos. Definitely, check them out at feltinglessons.com.
My hat came out just a little too thick and the head hole had to be stretch a lot for it to fit but I think it’s because it was too thick and I may have felted it just a little too much and you also may have notice we’re referring the relief a lot. It’s actually known as a resist but I think relief still works.
Well, that’s it for this week and if anyone knows what it is that happens to my grandma’s hat so I know not to do that again to a hat like that that would be awesome. Just let me know in the comments. Until next time, see you later.