Sometime in 2014 when I first became acquainted with albatross chicks I thought to myself that their body shape would translate well into a knit hat. This may seem like an odd train of thought and I don’t really have an excuse for it. Welcome to my brain.
The process from that first thought to the finished hat was a long one. I started by learning to needle felt because I thought it was a technique that would work well for sculpting the hat’s face and feet. My adventures in needle felting went off in another albatross-related direction but I never forgot my original reason for learning the technique.
I worried over yarn selection. I knew I wanted the hat to be fluffy but I wasn’t sure how best to capture the complexity of the chicks’ down. Ultimately I decided to keep it simple and settled on some eyelash yarn that was sold at a reasonable price point. This hat was going to be an experiment and I was reluctant to work with some of the beautiful but much more expensive yarns out there.
I made up the hat pattern as I went along. I cast on stitches based on the yarn and rough size I wanted for the finished hat and went from there. I have enough experience knitting to know some options for reducing stitches in a row so I used that knowledge to gradually shape the chick hat’s neck and head. I knit the wings separately and stitched them into place. Finally I felted the face and feet, adding button eyes, and stitched those into place as well. Finished!
The only notes I took through this process were on wing pattern since I wanted the two wings to match. I intended the hat to be a one-off, unique item, never thinking that other people would be as excited about it as I was.
In December 2016, shortly after I finished the albatross chick hat (now dubbed TrossHat) I knit it a Santa hat. The hat-wearing-a-hat idea was silly and fun and I wasn’t the only one to get a kick out of it, so I made more and TrossHat’s fame spread.
I decided to make a hat a month for TrossHat for 2017. It’s been a delightful project so far, giving me opportunities to explore additional craft materials and processes. The year isn’t finished yet and I have a whole list of hats yet to make!
During these hot summer months TrossHat keeps me company on my desk or elsewhere around the house, sitting with that stoic albatross patience (and often wearing the latest hat).