Friday, April 1, 2011

Knit and Crochet Blog Week Day 5: And now, for something completely different

Here comes the interpretive dance! Kidding. For something a little different, I wanted to try to answer a scientific(-ish) question about knitwear.

About a year and a half ago, I bought my husband a book about back-country skiing. It included a figure that seemed to imply that wearing a hat with a tassel or a pom-pom on top was advised because the tassel/pom would wick moisture away from the head and evaporate faster than a hat without. Since then, I've wondered if that was really true. The tipping point came when someone, without naming any doggie names, chewed the tassel off of one of my hats.


Was it worth the time to sew it back on? So I present to you the experiment:

TASSELS AND POM-POMS: FRIVOLOUS ADD-ON OR ESSENTIAL HAT COMPONENT?

My first thought was to do some sort of exercise with a tasseled hat and then a tassel-less hat, and see which one was sweatier. But that a) assumed I would be exercising exactly the same, the temperature outside was exactly the same, and a lot of other variables that could change and b) I would have to exercise. So I got a stand-in to wear the hat.


In order to speed up the drying time and simulate movement (i.e. exercise), I hooked up a fan to blow over our set-up.


First, I tried spraying the hat a set number of times (30),


and measured dryness by pinching the brim with a paper towel.


If the paper towel soaked through, it was still 'wet'.


But this actually dried too fast. I decided to try a 1 sec dunk in room temperature water instead.


Then I tested the brim every 15 minutes. I waited.


And tested and waited.


And waited and waited.


after three hours of blowing (both literally and metaphorically) I decided to end the test (when the batteries on the fan died). The brim was still wet, but I would try the same thing with the tassel after the hat dried (and more batteries were obtained) and see if there were any dramatic differences, or if I would feel a qualitative difference.

I gave the hat a 1 sec dunk in the water, and attached the tassel.

Three hours later and the hat was actually, surprisingly, much drier. The paper towel test yielded just a bit of moisture. I was shocked. I truly expected a negative result. One of the most exciting things in scientific research is an unexpected positive result. Who doesn't love a surprise? Well, maybe not a surprise root canal. Or surprise punch in the face. So the results are in: tassels and pom-poms are more than just frivolous flair, but actually serve a big purpose in keeping you warm and dry!

20 comments:

  1. Hmmm... You learn something new every day! Thanks for undertaking such a detailed scientific experiment!

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  2. Wow that was so cool. Science and knitting in one post. It's good to know that there is a real reason for pom poms. Now you need to teat which is more effective pom pom or tassel!

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  3. Haha, brilliant! I don't think I've ever seen a knitting-based scientific experiment before!

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  4. I love mixing science and yarn! Great hypothesis and experiment design too. A fabulous post!

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  5. Cool experiment- who knew that tassles and pompoms actually served a purpose :O

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  6. This is freakin' fantastic!!!! I am going to tell everyone I know, thanks for doing the dirty work!! XO

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  7. Oh you are amazing AC...this is the most original post I have seen...

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  8. I'm going to attach tassels on my hats tomorrow.

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  9. Amazing! Let's hear it for the poor cabbage head!

    I love it when results are unexpected. However, it still won't make me wear hats - with or without tassels or pom-poms. :)

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  10. HAHAHA!!! Who knew? Excellent post btw.

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  11. hmmm, i'm still kinda doubting it! april fools?

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  12. all i can think is "battery-powered hanging fan of SCIENCE!" my inner nye coming out.

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  13. Wow. I totally expected no change at best. Cool. er, Dry and Warm. ;-)

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  14. First off, this post is magnificent. Secondly, I'm extremely happy to find out that my love for tassels, pom poms, and extraneous fluff isn't for naught.

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  15. I really enjoyed this post. Well done for your investigations. I will attach tassels to everything now ;-)

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  16. fabby post! from now on I will attach a pompom or tassle to EVERYTHING I KNIT

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  17. Fascinating! Much cooler than an interpretive dance.

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  18. That was an amazing n funny post. I have more respect for tassels n pom poms now. Good post!

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