Plus, another way to fluff up knitted tendrils.
I know—what?? If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please bear with me for a minute.
First, the hat. This is one of Cat Bordhi’s designs, the Arctic Anemone Hat. It just looked SO fun to knit, I really wanted to make one. But I couldn’t see myself wearing it . . . I could see my mom wearing it, though. She loves all kinds of sea creatures, hedgehogs, and plants with unusual spiny pods—so it definitely fits her aesthetic. I had planned it as a surprise, but it ended up being so much better that I told her (when she was thinking about knitting one); I got to ask her what color she wanted, and get her to try it on as I went, and consult her about design details. We decided to make the tendrils a little shorter, more like hedgehog quills, which I think went well with the grey color.
This was such a win-win. The hat was every bit as fun to make as I thought it would be, from the moebius band (yes you can knit a moebius strip—from the inside out) to making the tendrils, it was a blast. And, my mom loves it! It looks so cute on her, too. Actually, it looked really cute on every single one of my relatives who tried it on. I knit this hat mainly on our Thanksgiving trip, so all my relations saw it in progress, and wanted to try it on when I finished. However, Mom hates having her picture taken almost as much as she likes unusual creatures, so I decided to photograph the hat in the natural environment.
The only reason I got it back for long enough to photograph it at all, is that Cat’s directions suggest you use a superwash wool (one that’s been treated so that it won’t felt) and fluff up the tendrils by running it through the dryer. I have a dryer, and mom doesn’t. This definitely worked.
But after fluffing, I began to wonder if there was another way to do it. I’m a fan of untreated wool, and I wondered if I could get some tendrils to fluff up by steaming them. After all, what’s happening in the dryer is: dampness, heat, and agitation. I tried it out on a sample, knit with organic, not-superwash wool yarn. This worked too!
It might not produce quite the fluffiness of the dryer method (keep in mind that the yarn I used was also not as thick), but it wonder if the tendrils would continue to fluff up a bit with washing and wear? I got the best results by using my iron—not touching the tendrils, but holding it above them and putting on lots of steam for a few seconds. Then I picked up the sample, and, holding it upside down, gently scrunched and shuffled the tendrils around. I decided on upside-down because the tendrils tended to wilt downwards with all the steam. It also seemed to help some that were reluctant to fluff up if I sprayed them with a little water from my plant/laundry mister, then steamed and scrunched.
At least with my sample, it would have required a nearly impossible amount of effort to felt anything using the steam, and gentle fluffing. However, wool + water (usually much more than this) + heat + agitation does = felt, so be advised. I would agitate the base of the hat as little as possible while it’s steamy, just concentrate on moving the tendrils around and scrunching them up.
One more note: in honor of knitting more lately, and knitting something that was so fun without even changing the pattern very much at all, I have finally decided to stop lurking Ravelry and using it only as the world’s absolute best pattern search (you can be shocked, I don’t blame you). I’ve gone back and posted some of my favorite knitted projects from the past few years, whatever I could think of that I still had and/or had pictures of, and there are a few more of those still to add. I even posted a few yarns from my stash that might find a better home. If you’re on Ravelry too, come and say hi, I’m FrenchToastTasha.
Even if not, happy making! I suggest making something that’s just plain fun to create, at least every once in a while.