An unblocked Hudson Hat (click for pattern link)
(Not pictured) A tassel maker which I will show you how to make.
Before you begin
I like to attach my tassels prior to blocking so that the tassels will get a good soak and look their best through the blocking process. I also prefer the look of the same colorway being used on both the ties and a second colorway for the top of the hat. You may prefer another look and there are no rules here – have fun with your Hudson Hat and try new things!
Before attaching your tassels to the ties, prepare them by knotting the cast on tail and hiding it within the tie. For the most seamless look, use your darning needle to thread the tail through the bottom of the tie, leave a loop and run the tail through the loop and pull tight (do this twice for added security). This way you will not ever see the knot.
Then tie a single knot at the bottom of each i-cord tie. Now you’re ready to get started.
You are going to make a tassel making device out of cardboard. Keep this as I’ve only had to make two in seventeen years – no kidding!
Cut two pieces of corrugated carboard in an approximately 3.5×3.5in square and tape them together. You will then cut a roughly 0.5×0.75in piece out and cut three 0.5in slits as outlined in the photo below. Keep the tape to the sides as you will need the space between the two pieces open at the bottom of the tassel maker.
Cut a piece of yarn that is 12-15in in length when doubled over. Doubling the yarn adds strength to your tassel. This piece of doubled yarn will be attached to slits 1 and 2 on your tassel maker. This will be the top of the tassel that attaches to the tie.
Next attach the center pull yarn from the yarn ball to slit 3 at the bottom.
Begin wrapping the yarn around the tassel maker while supporting the top portion of the maker to keep the tassel straight. How many times you wrap is up to you. More wraps = a fuller tassel. I like to do 22-25 wraps. The tassel shown here has 23.
Note that I am holding the top securely so that as I wrap, the top right of the tassel maker does not “droop” and create an uneven tassel. The 23 wraps are all nice and tidy.
Now remove the doubled yarn from slits one and two and even them out above the tassel.
You will then tie three very tight knots in the top. If you have a more fragile yarn, be careful not to pull so tight you break the yarn. If the yarn is strong, pull that sucker as tight as you can for a long-lasting tassel. If you are having trouble with this step, try bracing the tassel maker between your knees to secure it before tying your knots.
Create another doubled piece of yarn that is 12-15in in length. Wrap this yarn around the tassel neck using the notch you cut in the tassel maker to feed it through.
Center the doubled yarn and then tie a knot. Wrap it to the back side and tie another knot. Bring the yarn back to the original side and tie a double knot. Bring it to the back again and tie another double knot.
This may seem excessive, but this is how you create an heirloom Hudson Hat that will not lose its tassels! The last part of this step is to use your scissors to cut the tassel free. This is one of the reasons we doubled the cardboard. You can slide your scissors between the pieces and easily cut the yarn to finish your tassel. (the little scissors pictured were not strong enough, but are shown to illustrate where to cut).
Before we attach the tassel we need to hide the yarn the “ponytail”
Simply use your darning needle to tuck it inside as shown in the photos. At this point you can clip the ends so all your tassel pieces are same length, or you can wait until the end.
Position your tassel and tie as shown in the photo.
Using your darning needle, thread the right-hand tassel piece through the tie over to the left. Do the opposite with the tassel piece on the left. Then use the same knot tying method described for the neck of the tassel in step 4.
By attaching it in this way, the tassel remains centered below the tie and will have a balanced and symmetrical look to it.
The final step is incorporating the last two tassel pieces. Use your darning needle to thread one through the top of the tassel and then through the neck-tie of the tassel. Repeat with the second piece. This allows them to seamlessly incorporate into the tassel. Trim the ends so they are the same length.
Just look at the beautiful tassel you have made and attached to your Hudson Hat! There are no unsightly knots or cut ends and it hangs beautifully centered below the tie – great job!
Attaching the tassel to the top is far simpler, but I will give some tips. Run both tassel tie pieces through the top of the hat. Cut the loop on the one piece so you have four “free” strings. Tie them together in numerous knots switching ties for each knot. Do this 6-8 times. Then tie a knot holding two pieces at a time a few times. Then finish it off by tying all four into one big knot. This criss-cross method adds strength to the attachment, and I have yet to have one come off!