Don's knitting: winter hat

My winter hat

I feel that no self-respecting knitter should go about wearing a machine-knit winter hat, so I set about making myself one. The main problem with a straightforward rolled-cuff design is that if I pull it down to cover my ears, my ponytail and scarf and coat conspire to push it back up (especially when I'm riding my bike). Therefore, earflaps were called for.

Having noticed how much warmer my scarf is when I fold it in half (it traps the air better), I decided the earflaps had to be double-thick. Clearly, this indicated double knitting.


Double-knitting is used on the earflaps. This is a technique for two-colour knitting where you k1 in one colour (A) and then p1 in the other (B), forming a two-layer knit fabric.

"Rebar" is a term I've invented to mean a a more general form of a bar increase. If you rebar into the immediately previous stitch, it *is* a bar increase. Normally, to do a bar increase, we knit a stitch and then, without pulling it off the left needle, knit into the back of the same stitch. Well, a rebar will let us pull it off the left needle, but then pick that stitch back up and then knit into the back. Obviously this is redundant for a regular bar increase, but you can pick up an earlier stitch. In the double knitting, when we increase one side we get A B B A, and so in order to get A B A B A we need to be able to knit A, purl B, and then go back and pick up that A stitch to knit into the back of it.

A 3-needle join just means holding stitches on two needles in your left hand, and knitting into two stitches, one from each needle, for each new stitch that goes onto the right-hand needle. A 3-needle join in rib works as follows: insert right needle as if to knit into the next stitch on the front, then on the back needle; pull yarn through and remove both stitches from left-hand needles. Then insert right needle as if to purl into the stitch on the back, then the front needle; pull yarn through and remove both stitches. This makes for a join nearly invisible from the front.


Gauge: on a gauge swatch in St st I got 4 sts/in and 5 rows; on the earflap in double knit St st I was getting 3 sts/in and 5 rows.


Starting and ending with blue (A), CO 7 sts in double-knit cable cast-on.

Row 1: * k1 A, p1 beige (B), rpt from *, k1 A. When turning the piece at the end of each row, make sure that B wraps around edge of piece, either back-to-front or front-to-back, before continuing---this is what will hold the DK together!

Row 2: s1 A, k1 B, rebar B, *p1 A, k1 B, rpt from *, rebar B, p1 A, k1 B, p1 A.

Row 3: s1 A, p1 B, k1 A, p1 B, rebar A, *p1 B, k1 A, rpt from *, p1 B, rebar A, p1 B, k1 A.

For basic earflap, repeat rows 2 and 3 until you have 37 sts (19 A, 18 B). Make two identical earflaps and set them aside on a spare circular needle.

For earflap with buttonhole, modify pattern as follows:


What makes this tricky is that it's in DK, which makes decreasing and increasing a bit difficult. To pull it off, we'll be rearranging stitches a bit; a cable stitch holder or spare dpn may come in handy here.

On a knit-A row (I used row 5), do a bar increase in the middle stitch, making a pair of adjacent blue (A) stitches in the middle of the row: A B A B A A B A B A. Now go back and rearrange the stitches on either side of the middle so that you have a pair of beige (B), then four A, then two more B: A B B A A A A B B A. Finish the row and turn.

The next row (6 for me) had B facing. When you get to the first B B pair, k2tog them together. Purl two A sts, then yo in B, *twice*. Purl the next two A, and ssk the second B B pair together. Finish the row.

In the next row, purl the B stitches as usual, including the yarn-over-ed ones. On the first pair of A A, k2tog them together, then purl a B stitch (from one of the yarn-overs), yo in A, and purl another B stitch (from the other yarn-over). Then ssk the other A A. Finish the row.

In the next row, we wrap up the buttonhole for the beige (B) side. When you get to the sts where the yarnovers were two rows ago, you'll notice the yarn is just hanging loosely. Pick up that yarn and knit into it. This pulls it up out of the way and forms a nice large buttonhole.

Finally, we wrap up the buttonhole on the A side. When we purled into the single yarnover it probably worked ok, but if not you can use the same trick as in the last row to pull the hole into shape.


For the actual hat brim I cast on 100 stitches in cable cast-on.

Start the brim with 7 rows of k1 p1 rib; these will be the inside of the brim. The next row will join the earflaps.

Start with p2. Hold one of the earflaps in front of the brim, with the beige side facing you---the side you want to be the outside when the earflaps are down. Perform a 3-needle join in k1, p1 rib. Purl 23 stitches. Pick up the other earflap and join it in exactly the same fashion. Complete the round with one last purl stitch.

Continue with 8 more rows of k1 p1 rib.

The cable cast-on is now folded up inside the circular needle; the flaps should hang straight down. Use one of the dpns to pick up a few cast-on stitches, starting with the first and continuing to the left. Once again, a 3-needle join in k1, p1 rib, occasionally pausing to pick up a few more cast-on stitches with the dpn.

Do one more regular round of k1, p1 rib---it will be loose because of the bulky join in the previous round. Stop one stitch before the end of the round.


For the last stitch of the last brim round, do one knit stitch in beige (B). The pattern will start at ten stitches wide, with ten repeats.

Row 1: k2 B, k7 blue (A), k1 B (at end of round k1 A instead)

Row 2: k1 B, k4 A, k1 B, k4 A

Row 3: k4 A, k3 B, k3 A

Row 4: k3 A, k5 B, k2 A

Row 5: k2 A, k7 B, k1 A

Row 6: k1 A, k4 B, k1 A, k4 B

Row 7: k4 B, k3 A, k3 B

Row 8: k3 B, k2tog A, k1 A, ssk A, k2 B [8]

Row 9: k2 B, k5 A, k1 B

Row 10: k1 B, k3 A, k1 B, k3 A

Row 11: k3 A, k3 B, k2 A

Row 12: k1 A, k2tog A, k1 A, k1 B, k1 A, ssk A [6]

Rows 13--15: k6 A

Row 16: k1 A, ssk A, k1 A, k2tog A [4]

Row 17: k1 B, k3 A

Row 18: k2 B, k1 A, k1 B

Row 19: k1 B, k3 A

Row 20: k1 A, k2tog A, k1 A [3]

For the next row, knit onto dpns.

Row 21: k1 A, ssk A [2]

Set aside circular needle.

Row 22: k2 A

Row 23: k1 A, k1 B

Row 24: k2tog A [1]

Row 25: ssk B

There are now five stitches left. Cut the beige yarn a foot or so out, and with a tapestry needle, thread it through all five stitches and pull tight.


Needles: a US-8 16" circular needle is the main one; plus another smaller 16" needle to hold the earflaps temporarily (scrap yarn would've worked, but the other needle is easier to knit off of); and size 8 double-pointed needles.

Yarn: The blue is Galway Highland Heather #705, and the neutral beigish colour is Galway Highland Heather #711. Each ball is 100g. I don't have a scale, but of the blue I'd guess about a third or a fourth is left, and of the beige well over half.


My winter hat
My winter hat
Flipped inside-out
Flipped inside-out
Another inside-out view
Another inside-out view
God, what a dorky smile
God, what a dorky smile
Room for the ponytail
Room for the ponytail
There will be buttons eventually
There will be buttons eventually

Don Blaheta /