I love blog feedback, and I’m always curious to hear what readers would like to hear about. So, when a customer came in recently and said that she always likes hat suggestions, I listened. I have boundless enthusiasm for hats: wearing them, knitting them and talking about them. My current hairstyle involves putting on a hat and not thinking about what my hair looks like, so I’m relying on hats a lot lately. Plus, knitting hats is one of my favorite knitting diversions. If I’m in the trenches on a long project that feels tedious, making a hat is a reliable diversion that allows me to jump back into that tedious project with glee. Plus, hats are a great way to dabble in techniques without going in too deep. If I’m knitting nonstop stockinette stitch for a sweater or a poncho, a cabled or color work hat gives me a thoughtful break from that sea of stockinette. We have a small stretch of winter ahead of us, and a hat happens to be a perfectly sized project to get us through this last stretch of cold.
I have a bevy of hats for you to read about this week. If there’s one thing they all have in common, it’s that the designers have put some thought into their construction and versatility. Keep reading to get your hat fix for the rest of winter!
Kelbourne Woolens is putting out one hat pattern each month for 2019 – all free – and are published on the 3rd Tuesday of each month. February’s hat is called the February Hat (how clever!) and it caught my attention for its interesting brim construction. This hat begins with a provisional cast-on and a deep brim is worked in ribbing so that it can be folded over on itself. I’m not going to go into details on its construction since the pattern is free and it’ll be easy for you to explore this on your own, but I love this brim construction. It makes for a very polished looking ribbed brim that also happens to fit really nicely I loved the motif worked throughout the hat in a combination of knits and purls, but this brim construction could be easily added to any favorite hats! The February Hat is knit up in a straightforward worsted-weight yarn, so pick your favorite, whether it be Kenzie, Shepherds Wool, Shelter, or Falkland Aran to name a few.
The Oslo Hat from Petite Knits has a similarly interesting brim construction. This slouchy beanie has a really substantial look to it, and its folded brim once again gives it a really polished look. The Oslo hat doesn’t require anything like a provisional cast-on, you just create that tidy folded brim with a seam. One thing I love about this hat is that it’s made using a fingering weight held double (at a tight gauge so it’s a dense, warm hat). I love the look of Petite Knits sample in a solid, saturated color – but imagine all the fun you could have combining yarns. I am thinking about working with two colors of Loft or Peerie for a clean marled look. Or how about mixing one of those straightforward yarns with a hand-dyed like Tosh Merino Light or Baah’s La Jolla? Or mixing Shibui’s Birch with Pebble? This last combo is one of my favorite yarn combinations since I made a sample of Odessa for the shop. Depending on what yarn you choose, you’ll need 1 or two skeins of each color, and you’ll get an incredibly unique and warm hat!
My hat enthusiasm over the last several days has been coupled with an enthusiasm for Stephen West patterns. I’ll be talking about his designs more in the next several weeks, but I’m going to take this opportunity to talk about his hat pattern called Cablage. This past week I downloaded 8 West Knits patterns and read them like a gripping novel that I couldn’t put down. His patterns are written a forgiving nature that the best knitters understand, and a respect for fibers and other designers that is absolutely endearing. Cablage caught my eye as it mixes a few things up. First of all, it’s written for a combination of Brooklyn Tweed’s Quarry with a fingering weight yarn. His sample is shown with a fluorescent yellow accompanying Quarry. I love the idea of this odd coupling of yarn: brights with Quarry’s rustic earthiness. Cablage is also a combination of cables and a honeycomb stitch pattern, giving you texture to spare. This hat is meant to be a dense, warm fabric – but West reminds us that we can use a slightly lighter weight yarn to sub for Quarry if you want something that’s a little looser. Taking a cue from West, I’m ready to knit up one of these with a skein of Quarry mixed up with a bright from Tosh Merino Light or Baah’s La Jolla. However, Shibui’s Birch or Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft and Peerie would couple nicely with Quarry for this project. If you want a looser fabric, take a look at Queensland’s Kathmandu or Blue Sky’s Extra for its base.
Another cabled Quarry hat that has long been on my queue is Burnaby. This straightforward hat has cables, a seeded-tree pattern and a half-twisted rib. It’s written so that it’s easy to lengthen it and customize the fit: it’ll suit the preferences people who prefer tight beanies and slouchy hats alike. One other great quality of this pattern is that it’s written for a bulky-weight yarn like Quarry AND a dk-weigth yarn (specifically, Arbor). Burnaby has versatility galore, and it’s quite an attractive hat!
Kristen Johnstone writes a wide range of knitting patterns with incredibly thoughtful, clever construction. Her XO hat caught my eye several months ago. This unisex hat is written with two crown constructions: one has a striking “X” motif knit into the crown, while the other is round like an “O.” Adding to its versatility, its written for all ages from newborn to a large adult size! XO is written for a worsted weight yarn like Falkland Aran, Sueno Worsted, Shepherds Wool, Kenzie, and Shelter.
One more hat I have to mention is Gnomeland Security. First of all, it’s called “Gnomeland Security” which is hilarious, and on top of some fun color work, it has gnomes on it. I’m going to come right out and admit that I love gnomes. This adventure in color work has cool, corrugated ribbing for its brim and a bright pompom. There’s a lot to love here. Make up your own whimsical gnome hat using a fingering weight yarn with lots of color options like Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft or Peerie. Sublime’s Cash Merino Silk DK and Sueno are great options for soft yarns that will be comfortable for those with super sensitive skin.
I hope these hat projects have left you feeling inspired! Whether you find something here or among the thousands of patterns on Ravelry, there is no doubt a fabulous hat pattern for you to knit for a diversion, skill-building, for fun or to stay warm!