"Hats are a great antidote to what's going on.
It's really their purpose to put a happy face on a sad world."
~ Stephen Jones, Milliner for his exhibition
Hats: An Anthology at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Blocked hats are created on antique/vintage/new wood blocks to form the shape of a hat using fine millinery wools, straws and other fibers. These are stretched and shaped on the wood hat blocks that give the hat its contour and personality. Then, it is trimmed, finished and adorned. There are almost unlimited ways to work, design, tweak, adorn, and blend crowns and brims together.
I've searched high and low in the back corners of antique stores and closets for beautiful furs to adorn winter hats. The crown may be knitted or blocked, and the fur fits snugly down over the ears for protection and warmth in an exotic style.
Please note: I do not support the fur trade: what I do is salvage older pieces and bring them back out into the world in all their glory.
I hand-knit each hat, then felt it using hot water to shrink and bind the natural fibers. I use the very best combinations of yarns: alpaca, wool, llama, cashmere, mohair, silk, angora, and usually a little surprise as well. The result is a hat that is warm, rich, colorful, classy, fun, soft, flattering and versatile. Many will tolerate rain and snow, mostly dependent on the adornments. Knitting is a wonderful art form, full of promise, and felting brings out the richness and mystery of the yarns.
Using fine millinery materials and techniques, the contours and flair of these beauties are created by sculpting, shaping, folding, lifting and manipulating them into their one-of-a-kind, full-of-personality forms.