I must have gone a little crazy- I started making hats and couldn’t stop! I made so many mistakes, many of them were ripped out 3 times. So, here are some things I learned about how to wing it on a hat.
Lets start with the easiest and most mistake free, the braided cable hat.
The reason this is easy is because you work back and forth in a strip for the brim which will be wrapped around your head (see photo below). So, no need to measure, you just wrap it around your head and stop when it fits. (Fit should not be made too tight, you won’t want to wear it if it gives you a headache.)
I’ve done one like this before, the Blue Wavy Winter Hat. This time I wanted to try braiding a cable. I’d never seen instructions in a pattern for a braid (not to say there aren’t any, I just hadn’t happened across them), so I wanted to see if I could just do one without. I found it is really quite easy and just follows logic.
How to make it
For my brim, I cast on 20 and used Red Heart white yarn and size 6 needles.
You’ll want to have the braid section in the middle which has a number of stitches that is equally divisible by 3. I used 12 for my braid, so I have 3 sections of 4 stitches, and those 3 sections are braided just like hair is braided. (If you don’t know how to braid hair, knowing this would be very helpful to you for this cable – you may want to look up how on the net, or get someone to show you.) On the right side on the first row, I did: 2k, 2p, 12k, 2p, 2k. (The 12 in the middle are where the braid goes.) The 2 knits on each end make nice edges and the purls provide an indented background so the braid stands out more. On the backside, just reverse, all the knits are purls, and all the purls are knits. Only one strand of this braid crosses at one time, and this always happens every 6 rows (on mine it does, you can vary. If you make it an even number, this will allow you to only cable on the right side, which might be easier. I’d suggest not using less than 4 rows between cables or your cable will be very tight).
So to braid, you follow logic. After you work a couple of rows as stated above, and you are back on the right side, you are ready to cable the right-most strand of 4 stitches to the left (move it over towards the center.) Put the first 4 of the to-be-braided stitches on a cable needle, let it hang in the front, knit 4 stitches from the left needle, then knit the four from the cable needle. Your last section of 4, just knit last, as they are. You have moved one strand to the left. Then do 6 more rows with no crosses in the same way as stated above.
If you don’t like counting rows, you can always know when you are at the 6th row by counting the stitches below the yellow arrow on the picture below (which means right above your last cable cross). When you are on the right side, and there are about 6 stitches there (or whatever number of rows you chose to skip), its time to cable.
For the next cross, cable the left-most strand towards the right. This is a little less logical than the first cross, so I included a map. This shows what the braid looks like when you are ready for this step. You are doing this on the right side of the work, so knit the 4 stitches under the yellow arrow, then put the 4 stitches under the green bar on a cable needle and let it hang to the back. Knit the 4 stitches from the left needle (the ones under the pink arrow), then knit the 4 stitches from the cable needle. You have now crossed to the right, and are ready to work 6 more rows before crossing to the left again. Repeat all of that until your braid wraps around your head comfortably, then seam it in the back. Start seaming at the bottom edge of the brim so you make sure that edge is lined up evenly.
I’m sure I’ve made it sound harder than it is just to include enough how-to, but once you get going on it, you’ll see its very easy.
After you’ve got your brim seamed, pick up stitches on a circular size 6 needle and work upward. For me, I picked up around 110 stitches. This number was chosen because I’d done the other hats below before so I knew that would fit approximately. I never really know how to decrease to get the hat to lay flat, so for this hat, I decreased extremely randomly just to see what happened. Starting at about 5 inches, I knit 2 together in only 3 places around the hat, making 3 places where there are lines (one of these is visible in the first photo near the back of the top of the hat, you can see stitches that look like they go under a row of stitches). This rounded the hat, so I was happy with that. then later, at about 6 inches of hat height, I decreased every 6 stitches, then every 5, then every 4, etc. each row until I only had 4 or 5 stitches left. (You can leave one knit only row between decrease rows if you find you need more rows to make your hat fit). Then I ran the tail of the yarn through those last 4 stitches, pulled it tight to the inside and tied it off. I just keep sticking it on my head as I decrease to get a feel for what needs to happen. If you put it on your head, and pinch the 2 sides together (of the hole on top of your head), and it pulls the hat too short, you know you need more rows up there.
The YAAC follows a pattern, I just included it because its done and its nice, so kudos to the girl who made it up! Here’s her site, and her pattern: Delinquent Croissant, YAAC. She also has a link to a “cloche recipe”, which is perfect for anybody who enjoys reading a blog like mine. You make up what you want to do, and just follow a general recipe to help you get the sizing and shape right, here’s her Cloche recipe page
The story of the YAAC – my many many mistakes: I had some difficulty, with the YAAC, but that was really all my own fault. At first, I religiously followed the pattern, casting on 120, using size 8 needles, and my standard Red Heart yarn. Then I got to the eyelet row and did it wrong because I didn’t notice that there was errata and that it had been modified. (Got to read those patterns all the way through first – didn’t do it!) So I took it off the needles to rip it and saw – Waaa! This thing is big enough for an ogre! She did mention it was large without the ribbon. So at that point I wrapped it around my head, counted and saw that I only needed 76 stitches, and that’s where my real problems began. Since the pattern is repeats of 12, I used 72 stitches to make it divisible. My ribbing row was fine, but once I started the cabling, moving 4 stitches over 4 stitches over and over, that really pulled it way tight. Once I got one cabling row done, it was obvious that this hat with 72 stitches was about the perfect size for my cat. So since my cat doesn’t really want a hat, I ripped it out again. Then I cast on 108, and after the eyelet row, I increased to 112, even though it wasn’t divisible by 12. This worked okay, and this is what I stayed with, but in the end the hat fits tight, even though I have a smallish head, and I wish I would have just stuck with the 120 cast on like it said to do. That’s what I get for not listenin’. Below- the mistakes I’ve made. A turquoise hat that fits right around the head, but came out too short, and a cat-sized YAAC. Meow.
The Blue Turquoise Cabled Hat
The Turquoise hat was the first that I’ve tried without a pattern or a sideways band at the bottom to help with fit. That’s why the mistake level is pretty atrocious. As you can see by the photo above, I got all the way to the putting a little tassel on the blue one before I stuck it on my head and said “Hey, this is too short, its not even gonna stay on”. So, if you’re going to make a hat, its really good to try it on once in awhile. Why didn’t I? I just don’t know.
How to make it:
This one is made from Red Heart Shimmer #1503, and size 7 circular needles. I wanted 1:1 k to purl ribbing, so I needed a cast on that was an even number to line up right with that. I also wanted a pattern repeat, and I wanted my knits to cable to be attached to the ribbing knits, so I settled on repeats of 6 stitches. I chose a cast on of 108 stitches – its an even number, and 108 divided by 6 = 18 (so I’d have 18 repeats of 6 stitches each). My 6 stitch repeats are k p p p p p, repeat. The idea was to make a lattice, crossing the cables over each other on a purl background to make a grid. (And that was the cause of one rip out, when I tried an odd number of repeats before that – the last one didn’t cross right, and I found I needed an even number of repeats.)
The knit stitch cables move one stitch every other row, first I headed them toward each other to cross and make an X. (If you need a tutorial on how to make cables go one way or the other, see the Yellow Cabled Sweater post where it says “To make your cable stitches go left” or right).
I found the space of purls between the Xs was too empty, so I started knitting the center of an x (just made knits instead of purls) to move upward toward the other Xs, then once they crossed once, I made a cabled loop at the top of all and ended all of the Xs (meaning after the top cable cross, I just stopped making them knits and made everything purls). Those decreases were coming soon and I didn’t want to have to deal with both cables and decreases. I made it too short the first time, (photo above). Below shows the one that actually fits. I knitted until 6 inches before starting decreases the second time, but I’d recommend 7 unless you have a fairly small head like me.
This hat was made to go with the Elongated Stitch scarf.
And last, the Purple and Black Cabled Hat
For this one, I crocheted an edge (see reference below), then picked up 112 stitches on it with size 6 needles. This is LB Collection Superwash Merino, color #139 Peony. (by staying in this range of yarn size and needles, I don’t need to rip out and guess anymore for sizing at the cast on.) I had originally planned on 110, which was divisible by 10 but changed my mind too late to 112, so my repeats are 10 stitches, and I do have a “seam” in the back, (a place where the pattern doesn’t line up like it would have if I’d stuck with 110). The repeats are k p kkk kkk p k. The 3 knits are cabled over each other about every 6 rows. After this part reached about brim size, I did garter stitch until I had 2 ridges. (Since I was working only on the right side, that meant k a row, p a row, k a row, p a row.) Then changed to black and stockinette, and did a fair isle pattern with the purple to help blend the colors. I chose an infinity symbol, and just put purple stitches where they looked like they should go to make one. If you need help drawing out something like that, you can use graph paper to draw it to help you do it visually. The two color rows above that are just alternating purple and black, then above them black and purple (alternate, no stripes). Once the hat was about 5 1/4″ I started decreasing. I had 10 decrease spots about evenly spaced where I knit 2 together. I did decreases every row for this hat. Again if your head size is not fairly small, you may want to go 6″ or more before starting decreases.
Purple and Black crochet brim reference: The Complete Book of Crochet Stitch Designs by Linda P. Schapper. Lark Books, New York, NY. 2007. Design #493, pg. 347. Since I had limited yarn (the reason for the change of color), I did row 1 and 2 of this pattern, then repeated row 1, and picked up for knitting above that, picking up the back side of the top chain so I would have a decorative ridge in front.