Fixing my favourite wool hat

My favourite wool cap has been with me for nearly 25 years. I bought it before my first ever trip overseas and needed something for the -10°C Beijing winter. This hat is made from a blend of possum and Merino wool so it's super warm. This blend tends to fuzz and some people find it a little itchy so often a little silk or rayon is added. I like this hat just fine.

Disaster! I accidentally put the hat through the wash and it shrunk/felted up badly. Here's what I did to get the hat resized and usable again.


STEP ONE: Stretch the hat over a mold and fix in place. Here I use a stainless steel bowl about the size of my head and tie in place with some Paracord. Place hat bowl into a larger bowl Add boiling water into both bowls and leave to cool.


STEP TWO: Leave the hat to dry while maintaining tension.


STEP THREE: The hat has shrunk lengthwise too, so this badge is no longer in a good spot. Carefully, use a thread ripper to remove the badge. If you're a psychopath, you can use a knife instead.


STEP FOUR: Survey any other repairs that need doing and attend to those while you're motivated. In this case there are three holes that need darning.


STEP FIVE: Match the yarn colours as best you can and get the darning needle ready. Darning needles have blunt points so they push through yarns without cutting fibres. These are pure Merino yarns in as close colours as I have.


STEP SIX: Have a darn good time. I tend towards not closing the up the hole, but instead establishing supporting stitches and then weaving new wool over the hole. Keeping stitches running parallel and perpendicular to the existing knit helps maintain the look. Protip: keep the shape of the surrounding fabric and keep an even tension on the yarn.

Done! Hat restored. While I wish the hat hadn't felted, a slightly felted hat has better wind resistence. Pure wool gear is worth the time to repair.

Until next time.