Curly Crown Toppers

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These playful curly tendrils can be added to just about any bottom-up Hat and they make a refreshing alternative to pompoms or I-cords.

To make the tendrils I recommend either the Cable Cast-on or Crochet Cast-on to start with, and the Standard Bind-off to finish.

A cast-on method that can be used at the end or middle of a row is essential here because we’ll be creating them from the last remaining crown stitches. In my experience the different in tension between the Cable Cast-on and Standard Bind-off helps to make them more curly, but the same could be achieved with the Crochet Cast-on by adjusting your hook size.

The depth or length of the tendril us up to you, but you’ll ideally want to make them around 3 inches or 7.5 centimeters long. The example below is from the Pootle pattern which is written for worsted weight yarn with a gauge of 5 stitches to an inch. They could be made longer if your prefer, in which case I’d suggest making the difference in tension between the cast-on and bind-off even greater, as the extra length means extra weight and that could reduce the curl.

If the tendril length is less than 2 inch or 5 centimeters then they’ll likely stick up rather than fall down – which could be a great feature! But just be mindful of this when you start to knit them.

Similarly, the yarn type may affect the curl and drape – soft buttery merinos will hang better than a high twist sock yarn, yet a high twist may curl better. It’s worth trying out different yarn and needle combinations to get the results you prefer.

top view of the Pootle pattern with 8 curly tendrils, worked in worsted weight yarn.

rear view of the Polpo pattern with 8 curly tendrils, worked in worsted weight yarn.

As you come towards the end of your Hat, you’ll have a remaining few stitches – somewhere between 6 and 10 is optimum – and just before the ‘break yarn and draw through remaining stitches, tighten to close’ instruction you’ll work the tendrils.

The decoration will be worked into each of the remaining stitches, starting with the first.

Using Cable Cast-on method, and using the next stitch to start the cast-on, cast on 15 stitches.

Using the Standard bind-off method, bind off 15 stitches and leave the last stitch on a holder.

Starting with the next stitch – which will be the 2nd stitch of the remaining stitches – repeat this process for each of the remaining stitches.

Once you’ve created a curly tendril for each of the crown stitches the decoration is finished. You will have one stitch for each tendril remaining, and it’ll be the same number of stitches that you started the decoration with.

Break yarn and draw through remaining stitches, tighten to close.



Have fun with this finish! If you’ve a question about this technique, pop it in a comment below or visit the forum. I’m unable to offer help with patterns or techniques via email. I’d love to see what you do with this!

This tutorial was updated on 26th November 2021 with fresh photos and new links, and was republished from my drafts.

Woolly Wormhead

Woolly Wormhead is an internationally reknowned knit designer, specialising in Hats, technique and construction. Their patterns and techniques have been used by thousands of knitters worldwide. Join The Woolly Hat Society to be the first to learn of their latest projects and special offers!


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