Hats Off to Wetfelting

Now that spring is here it would seem a mite misdirected to mount a mission to create woolly garments. However, the direction of  my day is often focused on being the Prima Madre of a clutch of characters who live in cold water. Boats and boards and wet heads that never come out of the waves til they’re blue-lipped and starving. Surf’s up and the chilly Atlantic is their home.

When I visited Shelby at P’lovers a few weeks back I had felted some cool tea cozies. As she is another of the many surfers in my life, her first impulse was to pull one on her head and immediately suggest that my template be modified to be a cozy for her head. With Easter orders to fill it was a long time coming but here’s the first!

"The handy-dandy warm and toasty "after-surf" beanie..."

“The handy-dandy warm and toasty “after-surf” beanie…”

When in Halifax yesterday to visit P’lovers  again,  I met by wonderful friend Anne Rowlings, on a misty street corner. We had two blocks to catch up while we strolled and she loved my hat, a positive review.  At the shop, another critique was in order with Shelby and Martha, her sweet co-worker. . We talked shapes and colors and brim styles to try, flaps, beaks, rolling up the brim or  leaving down like a cloche or a smaller beanie. Brainstorming and “think-tanking” are what help creativity flourish. I loved their input.

The biggest flaw in this one and the reason I will likely keep this “prototype”,  is that the little squiggly heart  accents are obscured when the brim is flipped up.  Easy enough to fix, accommodation duly noted.

Brim down.

Brim down.








Brim down and my squigglies disappear.




The second limitation to felted hats is that the fiber is 95% fixed with little stretch without the process of re-wetting and blocking. Largely, they will have to be “fitted” to the wearers head or a reasonable facsimile. Obviously,  approximate sizes  could be mass produced ( like Teeny-Small-Medium-Large- Watermelonhead ) Realistically though, no two heads are alike so real perfection could be attained if I could do some of the fulling (shaping and and felting/shrinking ) ahead of time and then possible I’d re-wet the piece and custom shape it to a live model..I’ve enlisted my sons’ heads to aid in this cause bribing the rest of their bodies with with dinner when we’re all together again. THIS one fits ME just fine.

025 (2)

Yup, that’s why I can call myself the Salty Hag. ( tho sleepy was the case at the time..)

I’m on fire, itching to try more. ( My brother-in-law  Paul,  my friend Anne and newly acquainted Martha each say I have to try ear-flaps,  ear-flaps with ties says I… )  Matt says he needs one or two for the voyages of Balboa this summer as he island-hops in search of surf.



( Maybe we  need crew beanies like Steve Zissou in “The Life Aquatic”. )  Shelby  wants bright colors with waves and mermaids…For now I have visions of  fuzzy greatness and wool ready for the next chic chapeau.  Maybe, instead of the Salty Hag I’ll be the Mad Hatter.

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