Old Yoroi Hat – an introduction to felting

Finished Objects, Hats


This is the hat I wear all the time in the winter. When it gets cold, the winds get downright vicious sometimes and this little baby sees most of it off.

  • Pattern: none – I winged it.
  • Yarn: Noro Yoroi, shade 4 lot A, 185 grams approx (most of 2 skeins)
  • Needles: 40cm 5.5mm circular and pair of 5.5mm straights, smaller than recommended.
  • Finished measurements: 23 in circumference, after unintentional felting.

I wanted a dense fabric, so I chose needles that were slightly smaller than the smallest recommended, then cast on 96 stitches or thereabouts and started knitting in the round. I kept going until I had about 9 in of hat, because I wanted a turn up. To shape the rest of the hat I did something like K2tog SSK at the start of every 3rd or 4th row, until I couldn’t keep it on the circulars. (I hadn’t discovered magic loop at that point.) I transferred to straights and knit back and forth continuing with an SSK at the start and K2tog at the end of each 3rd/4th row, until I had 6 stitches left. I knit an extra 4 rows and cast off. I sewed up the short seam and attached a small tassel made from 4 strands of yarn doubled over. To finish, I wove in the ends and cut an angle into the tassel ends to stop it looking like a startled hedgehog.

I loved the finished result. It was warm, fluffy and certainly kept a lot of the wind out.

Then came its first encounter with the washing machine. In my naivety, I thought it would be ok on a wool cycle… How wrong I was. It came out partly felted, a lot shorter than it went in. The main part of the hat was no longer long enough for a turn up, and the edge’s tendency to curl had been set in place. Oh yes, and the long tassel was now a felted bobble!

Thankfully it was still wide enough, so I wore it again after teasing out the tassel a little, and I got caught in heavy rain. When I got home, I was really surprised to find the outside of the hat was sopping but my head wasn’t. Happiness!

Subsequent washings felted it a little more, and now it’s at the point where it’s safe even on a normal 40 degree cycle – I still don’t tumble dry it. It’s pretty windproof too, with the only problem area being ears. High winds can sneak under the brim right next to em, which leaves me tugging it further down as I’m walking along.

This hat is a couple of years old now, and I still love it to bits. I’ll carry on wearing it for a long time yet. However, now I’ve seen what felting can do for a decent yarn, I want to try making a planned version, with swatching beforehand and everything…


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