Hat Felting Workshop
Class materials will be provided at no additional cost to you. Meals at the Nome Schoolhouse will be included in retreat price. If you are interested in staying at the beautiful Nome Schoolhouse check yes during checkout and you will be contacted to set up booking. We have 11 guest rooms as well as rooms for you to hang out and work on projects.
Introduction: This workshop can be taken with no previous experience in wet felting. It is designed to
teach basic skills in laying out structural felt, how to use a flat resist for a 3 dimensional object, and how
to create a functional strong hat in several basic shapes.
Prerequisites are sufficient physical capacity to stand a good portion of the day with rest breaks, enough
upper body strength to rub and roll felt (which can be done with breaks), and no major joint
inflammation (because felt making is physically demanding with repeated motions).
Technique: This is a wet felting course. Notably this process involves no knitting, washing machine, or
dryer component. Knitting a hat and “felting” it by washing machine is a different process. We
will also not use a premade felt hood, although some skills used in that process will also be used
in this one. We will use both typical fibers (merino wool) and less frequently used wool breeds
from the Shave’Em to Save’em conservation Priority List.
Goals: Participants will learn to assess wool felting as it pertains to making a semi rigid article.
Participants will make two hats over the course of the workshop, with the ability to do finish
work on at least one of the hats, learning options for sweatbands, hat bands, brim binding and
wiring, and other embellishment options.
Day 1 – Introduction to basic concepts
Measuring your head circumference and learning to make a flat resist
Wool measurement and felt layout, wetting out
Rolling and rubbing, felting the hood
Day 1 hat is set out to dry
Recap, discussion of problems, comparison of wool breeds.
Day 2 – Wool measurement and layout for second hat
Felting the hood
Final shaping of Day 2 hat and setting out to dry
Day 1 hat start finishing work or fix problems if needed
Presentation of finishing techniques – sweatbands, Hat bands, brim binding and brim wiring
Presentation of technique for making a separate brim and crown and joining them
Day 3 – Alternative methods – needle felting, using different shaping methods
Problem solving, choosing wool to felt for a rigid item, sourcing, further educational resources
Day 2 finishing work
Discussion of hat care, stiffening agents, how to care for everyday hats
Ellen Sakornbut is a retired physician and practicing fiber artist who has based her fiber business on US small farm fiber. She is an active contributor to the Shave”em to Save’em program by the Livestock Conservancy, helping to promote the use of rare and endangered breeds by fiber artists. She was a teaching physician with a long history in adult education teaching procedures in medicine.