Detailed Craftsmanship of Felt Beret

It seems that felting is a complicated craftsmanship. Some skillful craftsman said it is relatively easy. One will addict to the process if he or she has tried. Certainly, I am one person hooked by the interesting but time-consuming work. I have made many felt items in daily life, such as slippers, scarves, table runners and rugs. Nothing could stop such steps if one could access to enough wool.

Home-planted plants could be used to dye wool; one can also purchase commercial dyes to dye wool in a more striking color. Average people could access to roving at online stores or at brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, roving is wool strands having been brushed many times until sitting side-by-side. But such strands are a little fuzzy and will mix with each other when agitated. As an ancient craftsmanship, felt could be used to weave everything, such as sheets, hats, blankets, carpets, tents, etc. In ancient times, those products were produced by matted, condensed and pressed wool. There is also a legend about felt. It’s said that Saints Clement and Christoper stuff sandals with wool to prevent blisters in fleeing persecution. By the end of the fleeing, wool had been transformed into felt. This also reasons of invention of socks.

In general, outer scales of wool will open when they mix with heat and moisture. At this point, an irreversible matter will occur to fibers. All wool will hook together, and they are difficult to fall apart. Nowdays, we mat wool through wet-felting. We clean wool with soap or detergent in warm water. Soaps or detergents enable wool slide, allowing them tangled and hooked more easily. It should note that dried beret will shrink and become smaller than the wet one. In general, the pattern in the process of wet-felting will be 30% larger than the desired outcome.


Large plastic sheet

Tracing paper

Wool Roving

Hat block


Cut a circular template with a 40cm diameter. The template is not only a model of pattern, but also a resist. In other words, it is a barrier creating the interior of the beret. In the center of the template, make a circle with a diameter of 12-15cm. One can also draw another circle in a larger diameter. Then lay the roving in a later step. Lay two piles of roving evenly on each side of the template.

Pull off small pieces from a pile of roving. Do not leave those small pieces chunky and wispy, otherwise fibers could be matted together. Begin with the underside of the template, and lay the first-layer fiber on the resist. Please keep all roving pointing to the center. Add fibers to the template until completing the circle. It should note that do not add too much on it. It’s ok to watch the template through the wool. Then add the second layer, lay fibers in the opposite direction. All firbers will go around the center this time. There will be four layers in total. See more detailed information next time.

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