Introduction: Tactical Bob (paracord and Fishing Line Survival Upgrade for Your Knit Hat / Beanie)

About: designer + inventor of things that other people don't make

So why's it got a bob on anyway?

Well, it turns out it's just a cover up for knitters who couldn't find a neat way to finish off the round knit of a hat. I'm not into carrying pointless weight. I'm all about self efficiency... let's make it a useful bob.

So I was thinking, what would the A-team be able to do if they were locked in a storeroom full of bob winter apparel? Well, not much apart from stay warm.

Ok then, what would MacGyver do to make this use of his bob in one of those scenarios the unlucky fella kept finding himself in?

Hmmmm, well maybe if the bob was made out of something useful.......

So , ladies and gents, here I present you the tactical bob. A useful and stylish adornment to any knit hat or replacement for existing pointless bobble.

Step 1: Things You'll Need:

- 1 knit hat/ beanie/ bob hat whatever you call it where you come from

- 4m ( 12' ) of paracord

- thick wool ( at least 12m or 36' )

- card/cardboard

- fishing line and small fishing hook with its own line pre attached

- scissors

- tape measure

Right, so we're just making looks a big bob or pom pom, with a difference.

Easy business. I was about 3 years old when I first made one with my grandma.

Step 2: Size Up Your Tactical Bob...

Despite this kit really being for the worst case scenario of saving your life, it needs to look good in the mean time cos you're hopefully never going to need to use it.

Luckily, bobs improve the aesthetic of your head knit, so with some good colours of paracord it will only enhance the appearance of your bonce. (If you only use paracord for the bob it looks a bit ropey, so pick some wool that also matches your hat (or you could even use hi vis wool for an extra layer of usefulness)).

I'm using 4 m (12ft) of paracord. I've got some nice 3mm black and white that'll go nicely with my bobless Guy Martin Proper beanie. I've found you'll need at least 4x that length of wool/yarn, depending on the thickness of your wool. Thinner wool needs more length.

Rather than the usual circular card template that I used when I was a kid making pompoms, I'm going to use a rectangular template. (The reason being this is easy to remove before you start cutting the wool loops).

I want a 10cm (4") bob on this hat.

The paracord will be loops rather than open, cut ends so this means you need a template of a bit wider than 10cm to wind up your paracord.

Step 3: Wind Up Your Bob

It saves a lot of time if you double up your cord and yarn a few times.

Here I made a lot of 1m (3') lengths. (This means you're not winding up the whole thing one yarn at a time).

You might find that your bob is going to look sparse but you can easily add in more wool , like I did with the red/white mix.

Be careful not to wind too tight so you can easily slide it off the template.

Step 4: Secure Your Bob With Fishing Line

Cut about 20 cm (8" (or as long as you like really)) of your fishing line.

Tie it up properly tight around the centre, wrap it round a few more times and tie again. You could use a reef knot so that if the time ever comes that you really need to call on your tactical bob, it's not too difficult to untie...Leave the open ends so you can find them when you need to.

(When the time comes you might be freezing/terrified/starving etc and will probably have shaky hands, in which case you'll probably bite the fishing line if you haven't already cut it with a knife).

If you want to hide a fishing hook in your bob, do it now. Hook it into the centre of the bob so you've no chance of if getting stuck in your fingers, and wrap the hook's line around with the fishing line loop you just tied and tuck it in to the tied loop to secure it.

Now, being very careful not to cut your paracord loops, cut your wool loops. The fat wool ends splay out and make you bob look good, and disguises your survival gear from the enemy.

Trim your open wool ends and fluff it up to make it as neat as your mum would do.

Step 5: Fix It to Your Hat

I used a cable tie (zip tie, whatever you call it in your house) to fix it to my hat. (Cable ties can be very useful, so are good to add into your survival kit).

Poke the tie end through the fishing line loop you just tied to hold the bob in place.

It makes sense to loop the cable tie round in your bob a couple of times. This way you have as long a cable tie as possible, should you ever need it out in the wilds.

It should be tight in the centre so you won't be able to see it. When you have just enough cable tie left to fix it to your hat , push it through the seam at the top of your hat , then back out an inch along the seam the other side of the centre.

Fix on the first couple of zip click , then trim off the leading end of the cable tie.

Step 6: Try It on for Size...

Tactical bob mission accomplished.

Have fun and make stuff!

ps I'm sure some of you out there can improve on my process , so please tell me and also instagram your pics tagging me @nick_rawstudio and #tacticalbob

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