A Simple Hat

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Not so long ago I posted pictures of a simple hat. No pictures for this post–just lots of words on how to make your own! Eventually I’ll get pictures of that hat I made for A, and list instructions for how to add the earflaps on that his has.

For a simple hat, you won’t need but about 200 yards of worsted weight yarn. This naturally will vary if you decide to go up or down in yarn weight, but let’s assume you will be using worsted weight, as that’s what I use for my simple hats.

You’ll also need a 16″ circular needle and possibly some double pointed needles in the same size. I say possibly, because once the circumference of that hat gets small you can just pull some of the cable of the cicular needle out at one point and keep knitting; I prefer to switch to doublepointed needles. Pick a size between US 6 and 8 (I use 7). Now you get to knit a swatch!

There are two ways to knit a swatch. Firstly, you can cast on what should be roughly four inches of stitches according to the yarn label and knit across. Without turning your work, bring the yarn loosely behind and knit from the start once more–at no point should you turn your work. Do this for 4 inches. Once done, cast off. I do not block my hats, so I do not block my swatch; if you do want it blocked, then make sure to block your swatch before taking gauge. You’ll need to cut the extra strands along the back of the work to get it to lie flat.

I prefer the second method, which has you knit in the round. Use a provisional cast on to cast on 2 inches to each side. Knitting in the round, knit for four inches. If you aren’t blocking, you can leave it on the needles and get the gauge, then rip back the swatch. If you are, cast off in preferred method, block, and then take the gauge.

To get your gauge, get a measuring tool handy. Count how many stitches across for two inches in at least 3 different places. Average these numbers together–that’s how many stitches to two inches you get. If you divide it by two, that’s your stitches per inch–keep that number handy. If you want, you could take the rows per inch; the simple hat doesn’t require it though.

Now, measure around the forehead of the person who the hat is for. I’d suggest taking a half inch to an inch off how many inches you get since that hat will stretch (unless you’re using a nonwool, as plants dislike stretching much). Multiply that total number of inches by your st/inch; for example, my simple hat came out with 112 after I multiplied by stitches per inch by 23″. You will want whatever number you get to be divisible by 4. Add or subtract the least number of stitches that gives you a multiple of 4, and this is how many you will want to cast on.

After you’ve cast on, place a marker so you know where the beginning of the round is. If you want a rib so the hat doesn’t curl up, then any rib that can be done over 4 stitches is suitable. In the hat I did, I would knit 1 and purl 3. The rib should be about an inch long. If you don’t want a rib, just knit an inch plain.

After you’ve done your cuff, be it plain or a rib, knit for the next 6 inches.

After you’ve knit for six inches, divide the total number of stitches you have by 4; we’ll call this number Y. Knit until you get to Y, then k2tog with Y as the first stitch of that. On the next round, you’ll need to knit till Y-1, since you’ve decreased 4 stitches total. Keep knitting like this, making sure to decrease one stitch earlier each time since you’re decreasing 4 each round.

While not necessary, you can add another set of 4 decreases after a few rows; just be sure whatever total you’re on is divisible by 8.

Once your down to eight stitches, cut off a long tail. Thread this tail through each of the remaining stitches, and then pull it through the top of the hat. Bind it off inside the hat so it won’t come loose. Weave in the tail from where you cast on.

Voila! You now have a simple but warm hat.

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