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By Harpa Jónsdóttir

Roses is the hat you need when you want to brighten up a cold and gloomy day. It’s very warm and you can control the size and form it to fit your head exactly in the felting process. The embroidery is not nearly as hard as it might look. But it does take some time – as most good things life do.

 

Sizes:

Ladies small, fits heads approximately 20 – 22.5 in. (50,5 -  57cm) in circumference.

Ladies medium/large fits heads approximately 22 – 23.5 in (56 – 59.7 cm) in circumference.

 

The hat in the photo is in the larger size.

 

Important: the hat is felted. Actual size is achieved during felting so you can customize the hat to fit you head exactly. So the hat fit heads both smaller and bigger than in the table above.

 

Gauge: approximately 11 sts and 18 rows = 10 cm (4 inches), in Stockinette Stitch.

 

Materials:

 

  • Ístex Plötulopi: 2 wheels 0484 – forest green (or the colour of your choice)

                Note: 100% new wool. Plötulopi is Unspun yarn, sold by weight as a one-ply, flat round roll, called a "plate".  100 g(3.5 oz) is approx. 300 m (328yd). The Plötulopi is used double in this project.

 

Yarn alternatives:

Any feltable wool that approximately matches the gauge. It is advisable to knit a small sample and felt it,  if you are knitting with a wool you have never felted before. That way you can see how the yarn behaves in the felting process and avoid any “felting disasters”.

 

  • DMC Six Strand Embroidery Floss. One skein of each in the following colours (or your choice):

125

107

48

99

52

121

 

 Note:You can use fewer colours if you like – you can also use more colours.

 Note: Pearl cotton nr. 5 is also very suitable for the embroidery on this project.

 Notions:

6mm (US 10) circular and dpn’s

A tapestry needle

A sharp embroidery needle

A stitch marker

18 safety pins or sewing thread in a contrasting colour

 

 Tips on plötulopi:

 Plötulopi is unspun Icelandic wool, sold by weight as a one-ply, flat round roll. Gently wind the required number of strands together into a ball by taking the end from the centre and the end from the outside of the plate, or plates. Plötulopi is rather fragile to knit. For this project it is best to keep the tension loose and if, or rather when the yarn brakes, simply overlap the ends a bit and continue as if nothing had happened.

 

Preparations:

 Before you start knitting, it’s time for little winding. First you take the strand from the inside and from the outside of the plate and wind a little two ply ball with that.  A ball a bit bigger than a tennis ball should be just about right.  Now you wind the rest of the yarn into a two ply ball

 

A good way to wind a ball with the Plötulopi – or any other yarn for that matter -  is to start with a small bundle of yarn:

Then wind around the small bundle – holding on to it all the time:

When you are done, you can simply pull it from the centre and start knitting.

You can also knit directly from the wheels. If you are knitting from a single wheel, it is easiest to take the inner and outer strand (shown in the picture above)  and knit them together.

 


The Hat

 You start with the bigger two ply ball. With 2 strands of wool, cast on 77 (88)sts and join them in the round, being careful not to twist the sts. Place a stitch marker in the beginning of the round.

Now you take the second two ply ball and knit 2 rounds with 4 strands of wool. Break the yarn from the smaller ball. From now on you knit only with the two ply ball.

Knit  27cm (29cm) – 10.6( 11.4) in .

 The decrease:

When the circumference becomes too small for the circular needle, switch to dpn’s.

 Next round (1st dec round): * K9, k2tog*.

Knit 1 (2)  rounds.

Next round (2nd dec round): * K8, k2tog*. 

Knit 2 (2)  rounds.

Next round (3rd dec round): * K7, k2tog*. 

Knit   2 (2)  rounds.

Next round (4th dec round): * K6, k2tog*.

Knit 2 (2)  rounds.

Next round (5th dec round): * K5, k2tog*.

Knit 2 (2)  rounds.

Next round (6th dec round): * K4, k2tog*.

Knit 1 (2)  rounds.

Next round (7th dec round): * K3, k2tog*.

Knit 1 (1) round.

Next round (8th dec round): * K2, k2tog*.

Next round (9th dec round): * K1, k2tog*.

Next round (10th dec round): * k2tog, k2tog*.

 

The top:

Knit 7 rounds. Thread the yarn through the stitches and pull carefully. Hide the ends on the wrong side.

 Now the hat is  big, floppy and unsightly. Don’t worry; everything is as it should be.

 

The felting

 There are two schools of thought on this. Those who felt by hand  and those who use a washing machine. Machine felting is much faster, but requires some care as each machine felts differently. So my advice is use a short program, start with low heat 40C /104 F  and increase if that is not enough. You might have to felt the hat more than once. It is a good idea to use a washing bag or something similar to protect your machine and two old towels or something similar increase agitation.  Spin very carefully to avoid creases.  When done you should have a dense even fabric and the hat should be somewhat smaller than you want it to be in the end. It will probably look pretty bad at this stage but never worry – this is the time to mould it to the shape you want. Form the wet hat on your own head, or on the person who is to wear it if at all possible. Heads vary wildly in sizes! Smooth the edges and pull the top up straight. Don’t be afraid to use a little force, the felted fabric can stand a lot of tugging and pulling. Let it dry standing, for example on top of a dryer.


To hand felt you need a basin or a sink filled with hot water. Add a few drops of dishwashing liquid and use your hands to swish the wool around in the water and rub it together. You need quite a lot of agitation so rubber gloves are a good idea. Felting by hand can take a long time so patience is important. When you are done, rinse the hat well, squeeze out as much water as you can, form as described above and dry standing.

 

 

The embroidery.

 There are 18 roses on the sample hat. You can make more roses -  or fewer – whatever takes your fancy. The hat would look stunning with one big rose for example and it would also look very good with lots and lots of roses all over.

 

Before you start, decide how many roses you want to make and mark the spots for them. This is easily done with safety pins, you can move them around, until you are pleased with the distribution of the “roses”. But you can also use rests of sewing thread in a contrast color and make a little stitch to mark the spot for each rose. There is no need no be exact – It is more visually interesting to keep the spaces between the roses a bit uneven and “alive”.

 

The same goes for the actual embroidery. You don’t have to be exact, let the leafes flow, make them your own. There are between 8 – 19 petals in the roses in the sample and they are not all the same shape. The embroidery is more fluid and interesting that way.

 

I have only drawn two roses for you – there is no need for more. Once you get the hang of it, you create you own roses, using the drawing and the close up pictures only as a guide.

 


It’s very important not to stitch all the way through the felted fabric. All ends should be hidden invisibly inside the felted wool and you should only stitch about half way through. Nothing should be visible on the wrong side. That way the hat keeps both  its warmth and softness.

 

The embroidery drawings are in black and white. In the sample there is only one blue rose and two purple ones, the rest is divided more or less equally between the rose and pink colours. The colours stated in the material list are the ones used in the sample. You don’t have to use that many colours and of course you don’t have to use these colours at all.

In fact I would like to encourage you to consider your favourite colours (or the intended wearer’s ). What colour really makes you eyes come alive? What colours make you happy? Those might be the right colours for you.

French knot

Start by securing the floss invisibly inside the felted fabric.Bring the needle out through the hats surface and hold the thread taut. With your right hand twist the needle round the thread three times. Still holding the thread firmly take the needle back into the fabric, a very short space away from where the floss originally came out and insert the needle. Pull carefully to form the knot.

Cast on stitch

 

To make this stitch, secure the floss invisibly inside the hat fabric and bring it to the surface of the hat. Make a tiny stitch but leave the needle in the fabric. In other words do not complete the stitch. Make a loop with your finger and slide the loop on the needle. 

Make 10 loops like this.  Hold the loops with your left hand while you draw the floss through with your right one.  Take the needle into the fabric and pull firmly to create the loop.


 

Single Satin stitch

The leafes are done in a variation of the Single Satin stitch. This simple stitch is made of single isolated stitches, but in this case they are slanted and put together in a row. You start – as always – by securing the floss invisibly inside the felted fabric. Bring the needle to the front and make a small slatned stitch to the right. Bring the needle back to the middle, a little higher than it first came out. Make a slanted stitch to the left. Bring the needle back to the middle as before and make a slented stitch to the left. Contionue until your leaf is long enough.

You make the leafes curve by moving the center line a little to the left or right with each stitch.

 

 

 When you are done look at your hat. Does it need more leaves?  More french knots? Are there any gaps you don’t like?  Fill in with leaves and knots or more roses.

Enjoy your new hat!

About the Author

Harpa Jónsdóttir is from iceland, the land of great contrast and beauty.  She likes to photograph the wonders all around her, walk along the coastline and enjoy the fresh air.  She works a lot with the wool from the sheep she can see from her window, and she loves writing almost as much as her family!