Monday, November 3, 2014

Hat #1: Three-Hour Ribbed Knit Hat

Ahhh, November is here. I'll be honest - I kind of hate November. It's not so much that bad things happen in November. Thanksgiving is awesome, and I have some good friends who have birthdays during this month, but overall it just has always been kind of a blah month for me. Too far from Christmas to start getting excited, and Halloween and the excitement of fall starting have already passed. It's one of those awful "in between" months where it's just kind of cold and nasty outside.

Fortunately, cold and nasty outside means I get to knit!

I haven't actually picked up a pair of knitting needles in a long time. I used to knit feverishly, constantly, effortlessly, every day. I knit while watching TV. I knit before bed. I knit while stopped in traffic (not really because that's DANGEROUS). But lately? I don't know. I lost some of the fire. I wanted to get it back.

No better way than to get it back by knitting up my quick-and-easy almost-always-improvised knit hat - a perfect celebration of impending winter (eww) and my hopeful foray back into the world of the great and powerful fiber arts!

I wrote a (kind of) tutorial for this post. Click "Read More" for that tutorial and some other fun stuff!

I had some time to kill today. Or rather, my fingers had some energy to kill. I had three hours worth of YouTube lectures on the basics of computer networking to watch. Knitting while watching YouTube lectures is a favorite past time of mine, so I broke out my stash...

(This isn't even all of it.)

...picked out a lovely blue shade of Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn, a brand I love for the quality but hate for the politics, plucked out a circular needle, and went to it.

And sure enough...

Three hours later...

Oh look it's a hat! :)

This hat was not for me, but I like the way it looks. I'd keep it for myself (BWAHAHAHA) except I have another hat planned for me, complete with a beautiful locally-made alpaca yarn and a bunch of fun short-row shaping to give it a classic sort of 1920s cloche vibe.

Here's how I made this hat:

  • less than 1 skein (I dunno maybe 100 yards?) of your favorite worsted weight
  • size 11 circular needles (I used KnitPicks Interchangeables Acrylic with a 24" cable)

The size of the needles is the part that makes this so quick to work up. I make them extra big so they don't stretch too much - once they go over your head, if they over-stretch, the large needle size will make them look holey and might not give you the coverage and warmth you want. Also I should point out that I made this hat for a REALLY big head. I cast on 72 stitches to start. I cannot imagine a hat needing to be any bigger than that. It's even kind of big on the recipient's head, but he likes it.

It's super baggy on me and while it stays on, I would make one for me a wee bit smaller. To make a smaller one, you'll want to keep your initial cast on at a multiple of FOUR. So for me, I'd probably cast on 52 or even as many as 60 stitches.


Start by casting on 72 stitches using this cast on. The video there is for English knitters ("throwing" the yarn) but if you're a continental knitter ("picking" the yarn) there's a video for that too. I love this cast on because it is super easy and nice and stretchy.

Join to work in the round.

Place a stitch marker if you want.

Work the first 7-8" like so:

K2, P2 all the way around, forever.

Once you get to a length you like, start decreasing like so:
  1. K2, P2tog all the way around (so you're knitting all the knits and purling the purls together).
  2. K2, P1 all the way around.
  3. K2tog, P1 all the way around (so as above, except you're knitting all the knits together)
  4. By now you should be having considerable trouble keeping the hat stretched around the whole circular needle, so you can either switch to DPNs or you can use my favorite trick: find the middle point of your stitches (so if you have 18 stitches left, the mid-point is between the 9th stitch and the 10th stitch). Grab the bit of cable in between those two stitches and pull it slowly outwards. Your stitches should start to gather together on either side - half on one side and half on the other. Bunch them up a bit and line your needles up next to each other and you'll see that your hat is, essentially, now flat. Your next stitch should be in front, with the yarn hanging off the back needle. Bunch up the stitches on the front half onto the needle and slowly and carefully pull the back needle outwards until all of those stitches are on the cable. You can now use the needle from the back to continue knitting on the front needle. When you reach the end of the first half of stitches, turn your work, bunch up the second half onto the needle, and pull the back needle out again. You can essentially work in a "back and forth" manner like this while still knitting in the round.
  5. K1, P1 all the way around.
  6. K2tog all the way around.
  7. K all the way around.
  8. K2tog all the way around.
  9. Cut your yarn, pull the ends through your remaining stitches, and pull until the hole at the top is closed.
  10. Weave in your ends!

3 hours of uninterrupted time or one full day of leisure knitting - easiest hat ever! The best part is, even though there isn't anything really special about this hat, it's okay because if it gets lost, trampled, stepped on, thrown out a window, or someone spills coffee on it, it's really no big deal. Your recipient doesn't have to worry about "taking care" of a hat that only took you 3 hours to make!

Well, happy impending doom season, winter. :)


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