Felted Baseball Cap
Hand-felt wool into a baseball cap.
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Materials and Tools:
9" inflatable ball
3 pairs of control top panty hose
carded wool batting, two colors
wool roving in a contrasting color
empty coffee can
wide-mouthed container (plastic flower pot)
source of steam*
baseball visor board
baseball head sizing strip, a.k.a. cap strip
thread to match hat
* Use a hat steamer or a kettle.
1. Inflate ball.
2. Tear wool into 6" x 24" strips.
3. Peel wool strips into fine layers (figure A).
4. Peel roving into short, thin strips and roll them between your fingers (figure B).
5. Place ball on an empty coffee can for support.
8. Layer two strips of wool in an X-shape, with the crossing point being at the top of the ball (figure D).
9. Fill in the remaining bare spots with wool.
10. Layer wool in a downward swirl, starting at the top. Add a final layer in the same X pattern as before.
11. Cut the legs off the pantyhose, turn the panty part inside out, and stretch it over the opening of the wide-mouthed container (figure F).
12. Lift the ball off the coffee can, and press it, top down into the pantyhose forcing the control top to encompass the wool-covered ball (figure G). Repeat this process with the other two pair of pantyhose, being careful not to line them up the same way.
13. Add soap to the covered ball and wet the ball with hot water.
14. Bounce and manipulate the ball for about five minutes on a work surface.
15. Remove the pantyhose and deflate ball. You now have loose felt.
16. Rub felt on a washboard to begin the fulling process (figure K). Occasionally run felt under hot water. Gently squeeze excess water out of the felt. Press the felt in a towel to eliminate additional water. Trim the edges even.
17. Hold the felt over steam for a minute, fold it under an inch, and then pull it over the hat block. Let it dry overnight.
18. Repeat fulling steps to make a bill for the hat.
19. Hold the felt over steam and then pull it over the visor board. Let it dry overnight.
20. Add soap and hot water to a small wad of wool and begin to roll it in your palm for the decorative piece to be stitched to the top of the hat. Continue manipulating it until it is the desired size. Press to flatten.
21. On the visor, leave about 2 inches of felt on the inside of the visor, trim the rest. Sew the visor board to the felt (figure L).
22. Remove the felt from the hat block. Cut a semi circle shape into the back of the cap allowing enough room for a ponytail. Sew the cap strip into place (figure M).
23. Attach the bill to the front of the crown. Stitch the flattened ball to the top. Enjoy your felted baseball cap!
Denise Shea, from Maynard, Mass., has been a hat wearer and collector for most of her life. She doesn't know why she's so drawn to hats but each morning, she starts her day by standing in front of her hat rack and picking the perfect hat for her mood. She loves converting people into hat wearers, helping them to get over the idea that they might look silly in them. Today, she makes a hand-felted baseball cap using an inflatable ball and wool roving.
Artist Karen Dreyfus inserts computer-generated photos into bottle caps and attaches to a wood framed mirror.