It was not long ago when I got my hands on another Japanese book, called Natural Crochet, which is a collection of crochet hats and bags. My hands were itching to try on a hat, and the one I was immediately drawn to, was the Fedora. I researched yarn options from eBay, to Etsy, to local yarn shops. I managed to locate raffia yarns both online and offline, but their price per item made me think I should look elsewhere, at a different yarn.
That’s why, for my first try, I used a very unusual yarn, but completely inappropriate for this project, Katia’s Sevilla. It is silky smooth, has a great tape yarn construction and wonderful colors. But it does not give any stable structure on the finished result. So no matter what I told myself, the hat I made with Sevilla was not going to work. It did have some shape, but it was mostly floppy and needed constant adjustments. I sewed on diligently a nice ribbon and set it aside, as a mere look at it would make me anxious about what to do with it.
At some point, I finally gathered the courage to tell myself that I would need to remake this in raffia yarn. I changed the design to another hat (.f design in the book), dug deep into my pockets and bought two skeins of locally produced Raffia yarn. I thought 2, no, mostly 3 skeins would do. The first two skeins run out quickly. So did the 3rd and 4th. Every time I thought ‘just one more skein’, until I reached the 5th and the hat was done.
The hat itself does not require much yarn. It took only 250 meters. But each skein was only 50 meters and since it was priced at almost 5 euros each, it was a reason enough to make me hesitate in getting new skeins.
Also, working with this yarn was hard on the hands. It required extra strength on the crochet hook and after a while that resulted in pain on my fingers. That meant that I couldn’t work on it continuously and had to take generous breaks.
Nevertheless, I am very pleased with the result, the color, the shape. It wears well and holds a good structure. The pattern is charted, so it is easy to follow. The shape itself is rather simple, so this was mostly a relax crochet project.
Following my personal trend on modifications, I decided to make some additions to the hat. I took an old silk scarf, cut it in two and sew it on a headband. The headband was eventually placed in the inside of the hat, just as any store-bought hat. This procedure included a bit of machine and hand sewing. The silk scarf was machine-sewn by my trusted seamstress, while the headband was hand-sewn by myself in order to avoid the sewing to appear on the right side of the hat.
The headband is very practical and serves mainly two purposes. First, it prevents friction between the harsh raffia yarn and the skin. Secondly, it provides a stable ‘base-ring’ for the brim of the hat. This way, the brim expands out evenly on all directions, no matter how many times the hat is worn, or is styled.
The scarf adds an unusual style and I am very pleased with how it turned out. Now the hat can be used in a variety of ways, and especially, in photoshoots! 🙂 (Also, the scarf can be tucked in and hidden on the inside of the hat, if needed)
I have shown the hat to a couple of friends and some have asked me, “would you make this again?”. The answer to that would be yes, under one condition: to use a different raffia yarn, or even better, a wool that can felt easily. But since there is no easy access to a variety of raffia yarns at the moment, and I have little to no experience in felting, this whole idea will have to wait for a while. 🙂