Saturday, February 4, 2023

A Classic Pin Loom Felted Winter Hat

Ann H. is a fellow Minnesotan who shared the story of her long involvement with pin looms, including all the details for making this very classic (double-layered reversible felted) pin loomed hat. You will find a diagram and complete directions for making the hat below. 

Ann has been working in fiber, including deep dives into natural dyes and various forms of weaving, since the 60's. She noted that her pin loom hat came from a magazine at that time. 
She decided to make the hat using some of her incredible selection of naturally dyed wool samples. As you can see she still possesses a whole wreath of samples, each tagged with the dye and mordant that she used to create them.  

As a side note, I believe that I should get a few extra "good life" points for not being tempted to grab the wreath of samples at the end of the interview and run away. Okay, I was a little bit tempted... but I didn't do it. 

Ann noted that she has worn her reversible, felted hat each winter for at least 40 years. It's very warm and comfy and just doesn't wear out. 
I believe that this is the grail of pin loomed hats, the fabled pattern that I have heard about over the years and could never find. 

Here are the important pictures for recreating this classic hat. It is completely reversible, you are seeing both sides of the hat. The two ends of the hat are constructed differently. The blue end consists of six 4x4 squares stitched into a star and tightly felted. The red end consists of twelve 2x2 squares topped with a 4x4 square. 

This classic pin loom hat is made with 49 large squares and 18 small squares. Choose a yarn that will felt well. 
  • The hat is made with 49 - 4x4 wool pin loom squares and 18 - 2x2 wool squares. 
  • Join the squares (I would suggest using the double overcast stitch) to create a tube with the right side out. 
  • Join the squares at the ends of the tube to close the ends as shown in the pictures above. 
  • Fold the closed tube in on itself to create a very large double-sided, reversible hat. 
Now comes that essential step of felting the hat. Ann noted that before she started the felting process, she went through her cupboards and tried a number of different mixing bowls on her head, finally finding one that best fit her head size. These days we also have the option to use a foam mannequin head as a form for the hat. 

Ann felted the hat by hand, using hot water and Woolite. She noted that the felting took quite a while because it was essential to put extra work into the ends in order to shrink them down to a tight, rounded shape. She turned the hat both ways in order to work both sides evenly. Every so often she would stop and try her hat on the mixing bowl, finally stopping when the hat fit snugly over the mixing bowl. 

And here it is, the classic pin loom hat. Now that I have a handle on the pattern I am definitely going to make one. I realize that I could make the hat using just one of the styles on the ends, but I think that I am going to be so curious about the hat that I will want to recreate the two different ends. 

My hat won't be made with hand dyed natural colors, that's beyond my skill level. But I am going to think about what colors I would love most...

Because, let's face it, this hat could last another 50 years!

Please let me know if you are tempted to create this classic hat, too. Or if you already have one in your weaving collection. 

Happy weaving!
Margaret Stump