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Knitted Hats: The perfect weekend project

Aug 29, 2011

    
Semolina Hat by Carrie Bostick Hoge, from Weekend Hats
Trellis Beret by Courtney Kelley, from Weekend Hats

I'll say it: I have a big head. A really big head. And it doesn't favor hats very well, so I don't often wear them.

I do have one hat, a store-bought variety, that I wear in the winter because it's long enough to cover my ears. I've knit so many hats, many that I intended to keep, but they always end up looking better on someone else so I end up giving them away.

I think I've finally found a hat that'll work for me, though. It's one of the hats in the upcoming book Weekend Hats by Cecily Glowik MacDonald and Melissa LeBarre—the Semolina Earflap Hat, top left.

I love the yellow—it'll brighten even the grayest days. The allover cables create a dense fabric that provides plenty of warmth and the earflaps are perfect for Spokane winters.

    
Semolina, top view
The cable pattern is really pretty, and I like how the hat looks from the top, too (bottom left). Sometimes my hats have a little bump at the top where I've gathered the ends together. Here are some tips from Weekend Hats to help you close the top of a hat so it looks as beautiful as the Semolina Hat.

Closing the Top of a Hat Worked from the Brim Up: A traditional way to work a hat is from the brim up, with stitches decreased at the top. Often this means that you decrease down to a small number of stitches and then cut the yarn, leaving a tail to thread through the remaining live stitches. To close neatly, make sure that when cutting the yarn, you have at least a 6" (15 cm) tail left. Thread the tail through a blunt needle and then thread the blunt needle and tail through the stitches that remain on the needles. I have found that if you thread the tail through the live stitches twice and then pull tight to close, you have a neat finish to the hat.

One shape I haven't tried for myself is the beret. The wideness of it might flatter my basketball head (runs in the family!), and I love the simplicity of the Trellis Beret, at right. The yarn used is an alpaca/merino/viscose blend and it has a little drape, which accentuates the slouched look.

As you know, stripes are one of my favorite looks, and with this hat I could choose some funky color combo like blue and lime green, or even something subtle like light gray and dark gray. Or, and I think I like this idea the best, something metallic!

Working stripes is easy, but when you work them in the round, you get a little jog at the beginning of each round. This happens because knitting in the round is actually knitting a spiral, so the new round starts on top of the last stitch of the previous round, which puts it one row up. You don't notice this very much, if at all, when you're working with one color, but when you're working stripes, it's pretty apparent.

Here's a great method for working stripes in the round and avoiding the jog.

Jogless Stripes: When knitting stripes in the round, one of the downfalls is the jump in color where one round transitions to the next. Knit one round in the new color. At the beginning of the next round, insert the right needle tip into the left leg of the stitch in the row below the first stitch of the round (old color stitch) and place this stitch on the left-hand needle (figure 1). it this stitch together with the first stitch of the next round to raise the color of the previous round to the height of the new round (figure 2). Do this at the beginning of every round that involves a color change.
    
Figure 1 Figure 2

Weekend Hats is full of unique hat designs that will inspire you to try a new shape, too! Pre-order your copy of Weekend Hats now!

Cheers,


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