Just a few weeks back I couldn't resist snagging this vibrant wool sweater from the thrift store. I wasn't sure exactly what I would do with it but knew it had potential. So, I packed it up and brought it home along with the matching sequin bracelet sitting next to it in the picture that gave a nice contrast to the wool. It sat on my cutting table awaiting its fate for nearly a month.And then, on the day the town nearly shut down with it's frigid -18 wind chill, it was decided. Baby Chase was going to get a new hat.
I carefully cut the threads that joined the turtleneck to the bodice, separating the two pieces. This left me with the unbound loops from the last row of the knitting which I wove a piece of yarn through and cinched closed to form the top of the hat.
I took a huge gob of wonderful red wool roving that I had ordered earlier from www.yarnpunk.etsy.com and began felting a perfect pom-pom for the top. I experimented a bit with it. I haven't done tons of felting but I knew how to needle felt a ball. Then when it was a nice shape but not perfectly round (because I do so very much like perfection) and not small enough, I turned to wet felting the rest. I'm sure this next part is not conventional but it worked. I held it under warm water and squeezed it and shaped it like play-dough. I thought I'd heard about using soap too so I put a bit of laundry detergent on it and it seemed to smooth the stray fibers if nothing else. Once I had achieved the perfect, compressed sphere (don't panic now) I threw it in the dryer on medium and watched it bounce around and around. I don't know if this really made it much smaller but I was very impatient to finish the hat for the following morning and didn't think a soggy ball would fare well in the cold weather. Could you imagine that big ice chunk on the top of Chase's head?
Well, the felted ball was terrific, even if I did stab myself in the thumb and ended up with a Tetanus shot the next day. Hey, that reminds me to remind you to keep up-to-date on these shots. I have been stabbing myself for years with needles and pins but never really thought about renewing my long overdue Tetanus shot until I started using that charcoal-colored felting needle. It just looked a little scarier than the nice, shiny stainless steel needles I use to sew with. So, don't skip it.
Here is the finished project after attaching the ball with needle and thread and some hot glue (shh, don't tell!)
Cute as a button and there's still so much more I can do with the rest of the sweater! Here are some tips if you have an old turtleneck you'd like to recycle:
1. If you cannot find the thread that attaches the neck to the bodice, very carefully cut it off using a sharp pair of scissors. Be very careful not to stretch it or tug on it which will deform it and possibly make it unravel.
2. My cinching the loops worked great but there is an alternative if you're handy with the sewing machine. Simply flatten the tube (neck piece) measure the open, cut edge and mark it into four even segments. Sew from the edge of one side toward the middle stopping at the first marking. Repeat on the other side. Now fold and flatten the opening in the other direction with your stitched sides running down the middle front and middle back and remaining markings now at the edge of the tube. Sew across the opening. You should have sewn an "X" at one end of the tube which will now become the top of the hat.
3. You can put a store purchased puff, pom-pom or felted ball at the top of the hat to add character or nothing at all!
I know that you're probably thinking "Why are we talking about a winter hat when it's spring?" Well, my friend, spring may be approaching on the calendar but take a look outside. The Easter Bunny may just be making footprints in the snow this year...