When I teach people to knit, the first project I teach them is a hat. Hats are quick and small, easy to haul around, and teach people how to cast-on, knit, purl, decrease and finish. My first knitted project was a hat, a horrible shapeless shallow thing made out of Caron Simply Soft. This was my first encounter with Gauge, in that I Did Not Have It. My second project was a scarf, then a bikini (all out of that same skein of Caron Simply Soft!), and then I went back to hats. Hats are my knitting popcorn; when I want to knit something without any real commitment and without a pattern, I cast on a hat.
Mind you, I don’t wear hats. When I do, I lose them. So every Christmas, I bring all the hats I’ve knitted back home, and at my friends and families’ Christmas parties, I lay all the hats on a table and people can choose the hats they want. Everyone I know lives somewhere colder than I do, so there’s always demand.
And there’s the square-topped hat and the Christmas beanie, which never quite got to photograph-stage, and all the others that I don’t even remember now. Hats are great!
Some facts about the hats, in order:
- 100% wool, from Wisconsin. It has a friend from the Wisconsin trip knit up in a lace pattern, but I’ve already lost that one.
- Ribbed hat made with my own personal handspun. Probably the first hat I’ve knit that is actually long enough to be really useful in the cold.
- A beret made from Artfibers Alfabeto. I still have the rest of the two balls I bought, but it’s so gorgeous I can’t quite bring myself to knit with it.
- A lovely houndstooth pattern! The Curmudgeonly Hat is a favorite of mine.
- Spiral Hat, with every stitch being cabled every other row. NOT popular with other knitters.
- Seafoam Hat from SWTC Karaoke, a 50% wool, 50% bamboo blend, combined with a $1 novelty yarn from Target. I am in love with the garter-stitch brim.
- GO HUSKERS!!
- Do not do slip-stitch in alpaca. Alpaca slips too far and everything looks gappy. Also a brutal introduction to the concept of contrast.
I do a lot of design experimentation with hats– they’re the perfect place to try a new technique. I think my next hat will be a beret (still haven’t gotten the hang of designing berets) with a picot edging (never tried that!).
All the hats pictured here are my own design, with the exception of the beret, which is knitted from Ysolda Teague’s Urchin pattern, with modifications for gauge.