Experimenting with hats

A local group is collecting hats for the homeless and working poor in the area, so I’m going to knit a bunch of these up in the next few weeks. It’s hard to think of winter hats when it’s so warm out, but one thing you never forget when you live in Canada is that winter is coming.

These hats are pretty quick to knit – I started one when I put on a movie with the kids, and finished it later that evening after they went to bed. I’ve been playing with different yarns that I have on hand – single strands, and doubling up to get a marled look. Playing with yarns also means playing with needle size and stitch count, so the “pattern” for these is more of a “recipe”.

I find the size of this hat pretty generous – the wide rib means you can fold it up at the front and it stays in place, and the back reaches to the bottom of your neck. There’s also quite a bit of stretch thanks to the tubular cast on. I am firmly convinced that tubular cast ons are the best for hats and mittens, and I doubt anyone would be able to convince me otherwise. The extra step of doing the cast on is totally worth it for the overall comfort and fit of the hat.

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I’ve tried these with multiples of 5 or multiples of 4, and I’ll likely do multiples of 6 as well. The important thing is that it’s an odd multiple – 68 (4×17) or 65 (5×13) or 66 (6*11) all seem to work well for bulky weight yarn and 5.5mm needles. The bigger the multiple, the deeper the decrease section will be, so keep that in mind as you’re knitting.

 

Decreases happen as follows, where x is the multiple

y = x-1

knit 0.5(y)-1, * cdd, k(y-2), * k 0.5(y)-1
knit one round
Each decrease round will have 2 less stitches per section (y) than the previous round.

The CDD (centered double decrease – slip two as if to knit, knit one, pass both slipped stitches over) creates the lines going up the top of the hat. They also work great as markers so you remember where you’re supposed to decrease. Once you get down to 20 sts, decrease on the next two rounds (no knit round in between) to avoid having a pointy head.

Clear as mud?

If you’d like to make some hats to donate, get in touch with a local shelter or soup kitchen, warm hats (and clean socks) are generally always needed. Make sure they’re knit out of an easy care yarn (acrylic is perfect for these hats) and I tend to make them a little bit bigger than I typically would – you can always fold up the brim and it means better coverage at the back of the neck.

 

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