My son took a picture of a hat he’d seen in a shop window. We’ve been struggling a bit to get the right yarn for a sweater he wants so the hat idea is a really good interim, and of course makes an excellent seasonal gift. This is the hat he saw..
Aand this is him getting up to the kind of thing he gets up to. Maybe it would be an idea to line it with kevlar.
The picture at the top is my finished hat, unblocked. It is currently wet blocking with a small roll of towels inside the crown. Fairisle always looks better for wet blocking, it evens out the stitches beautifully.
My snowflake is different, yes! I wanted to chart something to make it unique. You could knit the same chart as mine, or chart your own, it’s not difficult. All you need is a pencil, some squared paper, and essentially a nice soft eraser. The snowflake pattern needs to fit in equal divisions around the crown, so if you were to say cast on 100 stitches, you could make a chart 20 squares wide, and knit that 5 times.
We at Artemis Adornments are big fans of Kemps yarn shops, and both yarns used here are heavily discounted. The blue is Wendy Merino DK and the creamy white is Stylecraft’s Ethical Twist, an alpaca mix dk. Your own bricks and mortar yarn shop will be able to advise you of substitutes: please do support them if you can.
To make the blue hat, this is what you need:
Two balls, approx 100g of blue (or red, or black, or grey) merino dk yarn.
One ball, or a small amount of white dk yarn. About 10g will be enough, less if you omit the bobble.
DPNs or a circular needle size 4.5mm.
A large round-ended needle for sewing in the ends.
Some scrap card or thin plastic for making the bobble template.
Tension and sizing:
Bearing in mind the recipient of my hat has a 24″ head, measure your own or your recipient’s head and if you’re lots smaller, go down a needle if you need to! I am no Woolly Wormhead, so I can’t provide lots of sizes or technical advice about gauge, but as we always say, do a test swatch in the rib, to see how your needle and yarn combination is working.
NB: It is important with hats that you knit the brim at least 2″ smaller all around than the head size. This is called negative ease. It’s what will keep the hat on the head in all Alpine, Nordic or even Arctic gales.
This is what you do:
Cast on 96 sts and join to start working in the round. Place marker to show the beginning.
(96 is a multiple of 6 x 16sts for each snowflake pattern)
Use your favourite cast-on. I used a cable cast-on, but long tail knitted is fine too. Just remember that whatever cast on you use, it will appear in a prominent place on the hat, so it needs to be neat.
Continue in twisted rib: K1tbl (knit one through the back loop), P1 to end for a lot of rounds, maybe 6” to give good turned-up brim.
This is the meditative part. Twisted rib is laborious, especially if you’re thrower. If you’re in a big hurry, you can just do ordinary K1 P1 but it won’t be nearly so stretchy. The twisted stitch makes for lots of bounce in this section.
If you’re knitting for a smaller head, do fewer rounds of ribbing. 4″ or 5″ might be enough.
The blue hat has a 6″ brim which is 32 rounds of twisted rib.
Knit 4 rounds in stocking stitch. When knitting in the round, stocking stitch is all knit stitches.
If you want to make your own fairisle snowflake pattern, here’s the time to get out the graph paper. Or you can use mine:
Click and you’ll get a large version that you can download and/or print. If you like, you can use that basic design to recreate your own.
The chart comprises two elements: a ric-rac pattern which is simply knit one stitch in each colour in round one, and alternate the colours in round two, and the snowflake pattern itself.
The blue line through the chart marks the repeat. Most charts start at the bottom and work from right to left. Upper and lower halves of this chart are the same, and the repeat is also symmetrical, so you can work from the top or from the bottom, but start either from the blue line and work left, or from the right hand edge. I know it’s not the way traditional charts are written, but it’s more intuitive to me to work from left to right and from top to bottom.
If you prefer to start at the bottom right, please do so.
When following the chart, it might help to use a highlighter pen or a sticky-note, or simply fold your paper along a pattern line as you go. I tend to follow patterns online. I use a new browser window and shrink it laterally to fit to my place in the pattern. We all find our own ways to do these things. Pick the one most comfortable to your own unique knitting style.
There are several places in the pattern where you can make the hat bigger or smaller. After the ribbing and before the chart starts is one place. After the first ric-rac part of the chart and before the snowflake is another, and after the snowflake and before the final ric rac is the third. If you want a closer fitting hat, knit fewer rows, if you want more slouch, knit more rows.
My blue hat has 5 rounds before the ric-rac, 3 rounds after, and 4 rounds between the snowflake and the last ric-rac chart at the top. You could do 4-4-4 or 3-3-3 or 2-2-2 or 4-2-2 or any other combination you like.
There are two places in the chart where you have to carry the blue yarn across the back of 9 white stitches in each pattern repeat. It is a good idea to twist the blue yarn around the white at least once here, so you don’t get a long thread in the back, which could potentially snag in a ski pole when it’s put out to dry in the Alpine breeze after a tough day on the slopes.
If you’ve knit this far, be happy. Especially if it’s your first fairisle pattern, and be even more happy if you charted your own snowflake. Here – take a big hurrah from us, and get yourself at least one glass or bar or slice of a favourite treat. You’re talented.
Most women’s hats, and many beanies have nicely graduated decreases across the crown. You could do that if you wish, but this one has a gathered look, where lots of fabric is left in the upper part to add extra warmth.
This is another place where you can add or subtract length.
Knit 10 (or more or fewer) rounds in blue.
Start the decreases:
Round 1: knit 2 together, repeat to end.
Round 2: knit all stitches.
Round 3: knit 2 together, repeat to end.
Round 4: knit all stitches.
Round 5: knit 2 together, repeat to end.
Leaving a longish tail, cut yarn, thread through remaining stitches and draw together, then fasten off on the inside. Fasten off firmly.
This is an essential part of the hat. The decreases just lend themselves to a pompom. If you don’t like pompoms, you will probably want to make a more tailored crown. But I’m sure you’ll agree that the pompom really makes this hat come alive. There are lots of instructions out there for making pompoms, but this is one of the best:
Use two strands of the blue and white yarn to make the dual-coloured pompom, or of course you can make a solid colour blue or white as you prefer. You can save time by cutting a slit in your circular templates from side to middle, so you don’t have to poke it through that small hole, and you can leave your yarn on the balls. Obviously you might not need a CD as your template. A small cup, maybe expresso cup or yoghurt pot size, will be fine. My pompom is 3.5″ across.
Good trimming is the key to a great pompom.
Thread your sewing needle with the long yarn from tying the centre of the pompom, and sew through your hat at the top of the crown, several times. Make sure it’s firmly attached. There may well be plenty of occasions when this hat is pulled off by its pompom. Try it on and see if you can take it off without pulling at the pompom. It’s like donuts and sugar, you can’t resist licking your lips!
Sew in all ends. Give your pompom a final trim.
Soak the body of the hat (you can leave the pompom out of the water) in a bowl of warm water with a little splosh of hair conditioner added. Drain out the water and squeeze gently all over, then pull gently into shape and roll in a towel with the bobble sticking it. Squeeze the towl hard to wick the water out of the hat and into the towel.
Dry flat away from a heat source, with a small rolled up hand towel inside. Be careful not to stretch the brim, instead, squeeze it gently together. Turn several times, until it’s dry. Might take overnight in this weather.
If you are making hats for people who have to live outdoors, this one would be absolutely perfect. May I suggest that for every hat you make for a gift for someone who has a snuggly warm bed, you make another one for the lovely people at Big Issue in the North: it would make a great hat for their seasonal gifts project.
January 2011 variation published with added reindeer and trees: HERE!