This hat was truly a perfect beginner hat. What I love most about it, apart from the fact that it fits my daughter beautifully, is that I got to practice some new knitting skills.
1. I got to work with double-pointed needles. I used them the entire project since I don’t own any circular needles. It took me several rows to get the hang of holding my work. The three needles I wasn’t touching kept catching in blankets I had on my lap, or in my sweater. Once I switched out the blankets for quilts, it became much easier. 🙂
2. I got to use stitch markers. I always thought these were supposed to actually go inside the yarn of a stitch. And I guess you can do that if you need to hold a particular stitch. But for the purposes of this hat, they went on the knitting needles between stitches. They made the decrease process so easy. I didn’t have to think as much about when the next decrease was happening. I just did it the last two stitches before each stitch marker.
3. I practiced the “knit 2 together” decrease. This is an easy thing to do. And it’s functional. It was fun to practice it in a pattern.
I used size 6 needles for the ribbing and size 7 needles for the rest. I’m hoping to alter the pattern for an adult-sized hat since I don’t have any bigger double-pointed needles. I’ll let you know how that goes. 🙂
Here’s my totally non-pattern speak rendition of this hat:
(The “pattern-speak” version I used can be found HERE.)
Basically, you cast on 80 stitches, and knit ten rows of k2, p2 (this forms the brim of the hat). Then you knit several inches. A lot of knitting without checking a pattern. Love that! If you know who the hat is for, and can try it on them, you can see how it fits and see when you want to start decreasing at the top.
The actual decrease is simpler than I thought. It’s just a matter of making sure you have the stitch markers in the right spot so you know when to do the decrease stitch. You place a stitch marker every ten stitches during a row of regular knitting. Then you are ready to start decreasing.
For the first decrease row, you decrease every 10 stitches (knitting stitches 9 and 10 together, then stitches 19 and 20 together, and so on), so you end up with 72 stitches on your needles. Then you knit a full row. Then you do another decrease row (this time every 9 stitches), so you end up with 66 stitches. Then you knit another full row.
Each decrease row, you remove a total of 8 stitches by knitting 2 together just before each stitch marker. In between each decrease row, you knit a full row. This continues until you get down to just 8 stitches. Then you cut the yarn about a foot long, draw it through the remaining stitches (using a yarn needle… this was the best $2 I ever spent on yarn craft products… it makes finishing a project and “weaving in the ends” effortless). Then weave in the ends.
And say, “Ta-da!”
Out loud. Like you mean it. Because you do.
I’m looking forward to making one for each of my boys before next winter.