Saturday, October 10, 2009

Knit a simple ribbed hat

Last week we were in the yarn shop and my son fell in love with Patons Bohemian yarn.  It is super chunky, super fuzzy and super soft.  I hate knitting with fuzzy yarn - it is hard to see the knit vs the purl and most pattern work is lost in the fuzziness.  But my son loved it, so I bought 1 tiny skein (68 yards) and yesterday I set about making him a simple hat.  
Buy Bohemian Yarn Here! *
A popular hat in my area is a ribbed hat.  The timeless Seaman's cap - if you will.  I don't know why these hats are usually navy or black - my nephew is a fisherman and prefers bright orange or yellow in case he falls overboard he will be easier to spot!  Usually these hats are knit with 2 strands of wool yarn on 2 needles - usually a size 8, maybe a 6 - nice and warm and keeps the wind out.  You don't really need a pattern.  Some people like the K2, P2 ribbing, some the K3, P2, others like the K4, P4.  Personally, I think K2, P2 is the easiest because when it gets to the decreasing it is just a matter of knitting 2 of the Ks together and then purling 2 of the Ps together.  No math.  No pattern.  But of course, there are all sorts of patterns and interesting bind-offs!  It really is the knitter's choice.  And they are knit on 2 needles which is easy and fun and you don't have to bother with double pointed needles or cable lengths on those round needles.  And because there really aren't alot of stitches you can even use shorter needles.
My son is 6.  Guess what - big surprise here - a kids' head is almost the same size as an adults.  His head measures 20.5" around and mine is 22.5" around.  From the top of his head to just below the ear lob his head measures 8" and mine is 9".   Trying to evenly push up a hat brim is a bit of a problem so I decided to just knit his hat to fit with no brim, but I still wanted it to cover his ears.  Did I measure before I began?  No, I just kept holding it up to his head, but being the good blogger that I am - I took the measurements for this post!
Using that Bohemian yarn I cast on 56 stitches on size US 10 straight needles. I just used a single strand of yarn and with those big needles it knit up fast!  Because I used the K2, P2 ribbing I wanted my stitches to be in multiples of 4 - that way when I join it together the ribbing continues.  If I had cast on 58 stitches then the ribbing would have been off.  So cast on 52, 56, 60, 64... depending on the size head, yarn thickness and size needles you are using.  I did the ribbing K2, P2 for  5".  My bind off is 3" and I wanted the hat to be 8" so I stopped there.  Next time I make this hat I might do an extra 2 rows of ribbing and even a shorter length of decreasing to get rid of that tiny bit of pointy-ness, but done is done!  If I was knitting this for myself I probably would have knit 6 to 6.5" before starting the decreasing. 
Buy Size 10 Knitting Needles Here!
To start decreasing, the next row  K2 together all the knit stitches and P2 together all the purl stitches.  Just 1 row.  So now I have 24 stitches on the needle (1/2 of the original 56).
Now K the knit stitches and P the purl stitches.  I did this for 3" (just 6 rows on that super bulky yarn!).
Purl a row - or P 1 row, K a row.  I just P 1 row.  You can see this row if you use wool, so purl - but with that fuzzy yarn it doesn't really mater - you can knit it if you prefer.
Next row - K2 together all around - you should have I think 7 stitches left, but maybe 6 or 8 or so depending on how many stitches you had to begin with.  Cut the yarn with a long tail - thread it through the remaining stitches and pull closed - now sew down the seam.  I use a ladder stitch - like stitching a teddy bear shut - to hide the seam. 
I only have a small bit of yarn left over - so if you want an adult sized hat I am thinking that you will need a bit more than 1 skein if you go with the Bohemian.  Here's a photo of me in the hat just so you can see the difference.  My own preference would be another 4 stitches cast on a a bit longer for my size head - I like my hats to cover my ears because it is very windy where I live!  But some other adult would probably just love this hat the way it is. 
I might make a few more, but probably out of wool so you can see the pattern better.  In that case, I might do a K2, P2 ribbing  for maybe 2" and then switch over to the K4 P4 ribbing or switch to a bigger needle just to mix things up a bit.  An even faster way to knit this style hat is to do a ribbing for 4" and then switch to the plain knitting stitch - alternating knit rows with purl rows.  But I like the ribbing all the way to the top because it stretches to fit just about anyone!
Clear as mud?  Everyone always asks me - how did you do that?  I don't know - so I jotted a few notes on a scrap of paper as I went along this time. Of course, I didn't think to measure my son's head - I just kept holding it up to his head until I thought it was good.  Then I remembered I wanted to know a measurement so before I started the bind-off I added a piece of scrap bright blue yarn so I could take a measurement and see how long my decreasing rows really were!   And just in case anyone asks me about copyright - how can you copyright a pattern that has been along for as long as people have fished the sea?  If you want to make this hat go right ahead.  I hope it keeps your head warm!  If you like this pattern - it would be nice if you would link back to me - I like readers!  And if you need to buy yarn or needles, it would be extra nice if you used my links.  Thank you!
If you find a mistake - let me know and I will fix my notes.  It is hard to see mistakes on fuzzy, chunky yarn!  That's a good thing!
Even if there is a better way to do it somehow - it doesn't really matter to me.  The important thing is that my son is very happy with his new hat!


Mama Koch said...

LOVE IT! I could see why he liked the yard and you did a good job knitting it.

Mary said...

I did some knit and crochet hats when I first moved to Minneapolis and found that they weren't too hard but I didn't like the patterns that required me to switch to DPN. They felt very awkward to me.

I've caught up a little on your blog, looks like a lot of traveling. One day I'd like to see some of Europe by train. We taken some short rides in Denmark but that's it so far.