As I have been on a bit of a hat binge lately, I thought I might add this next level of complexity to my series on “So you want to be a knitter”. I actually think that a hat is not a bad option for a beginner’s project. It looks much more complicated than it actually is. You will need to learn only one additional stitch for this project, knit two together.
What you will need:
- 1 set of double pointed needles (DPN’s) in US#8 (5mm) size
- 1 set of 16″ circular needles (circs) in US#8 (5mm) size (while this is optional, I highly recommend this as you will find your project goes quicker and easier)
- 1 stitch marker (optional, but I prefer to use with circs, you can use a piece of scrap yarn or a fancier type)
- Approximately 150 yards of worsted weight yarn (I used madelinetosh Vintage and it takes about two thirds of a hank for an adult sized hat)
The pattern that I like to use for a basic hat can be found for free on Ravelry. I have found that the “woman’s” size works well for most adults, I just adjust the length of the hat before beginning the decreases.
If you need help casting on, please review Lesson 3: Casting on in the round (and starting your project!)
For this pattern and yarn, I like to cast on 100 stitches and work in 1×1 rib for 8 rows for a ladies hat and 10 rows for a mens hat. It is completely up to the knitter, adjust to your heart’s desire!
Then its stockinette (only knit stitches) stitch until you get to your decreases. I typically knit until the piece is 5.5″ from the cast on edge for a ladies hat and 6″ from the cast on edge for a mens hat.
Once you have your project the length you want before starting to decrease, its time to start making the crown of the hat. We do this by knitting two stitches together at regular intervals. The pattern alternates a decrease row and then a knit plain row until you reach the final few stitches.
Knitting two stitches together is done exactly as it sounds. Instead of inserting your needle in the next stitch on your working needle, you insert it into the next two stitches on the working needle (from left to right) and finish the stitch as you would normally.
Part of becoming a more experienced knitter is looking at your work and learning to “read” your knitting. This allows knitters to see where they are in a pattern and helps them to find and fix mistakes.
The way this pattern works, the decreases end up looking like they are stacked.
Usually I find that the stitches are too stretched out on the needles after I finish about half of the decreases, that’s when you want to switch your project over to the double pointed needles. You can do the whole project on double pointed needles if you wish, I just find it much quicker to use the circulars and it helps reduce the chance of having a little jog where you switch to the next needle.
Alas, the Christmas brain has struck and since I was in such a rush to finish this project for gifting, I forgot to take the last two photos I intended to include, so I will be using photos from different projects to illustrate my final couple of points. Just trying to avoid some confusion!
How better to illustrate when using dpn’s are helpful, than on a teeny tiny circumference of a baby sock! You don’t need to have EXACTLY the same number of stitches per needle, but I do so whenever possible as it makes me happier!
And last, but not least, you have finished your final round of decreases and are now ready to finish your hat. How do we bind it off? Well, in this case, we have about 10 stitches left and the pattern explains what you need to do. Cut your yarn, leaving a good 6-8″ of tail., using a blunt ended tapestry or darning needle, carefully slip the remaining stitches off of the needles using your darning needle purlwise and then draw it tight like a drawstring.
Weave in your ends and you are done! Congratulations, you just knit a hat!
Bonus Picture: Baby socks!