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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

the world's easiest baby hat

little man at a week old with a roll top hat - so tiny! so sweet!
I went through this phase where I made everyone I knew a version of this hat. I was studying at Oxford and had little pub money, as it were. (Although I did manage plenty of that too) So me and the girls starting knitting. Watching cheesy British soap operas. Beautiful really. The following winter I was newly married and very broke. For Christmas that year EVRYONE got The Hat. My inlaws got The Hat. My fashionable sisters, yep they got one too. And the little sisters. And the brother. And mom.
Throughout the year I kept making them. Anyone need a hat? Especially every new baby. I went around looking for babies to knit for. Your co-worker is having a baby? Totally knitting her a hat! This hat can be made in baby size in approximately 72 minutes. Seriously it’s so easy.

I love knitting baby clothes. They are so tiny and as such they require only a minimum amount of patience. 30 minutes of knitting and you have a sleeve done! I could never ever knit a full person size sweater, on account of this lack of patience. The most I have ever attempted was a three year old size sweater for my son. It felt like it took FOREVER to knit (and then was too scratchy for him to wear, but we were expecting baby dear and out of guilt I felt the need to knit for him too. He seriously wore it twice.). Babies are much more grateful of my effort. Their very eyes light up as they snuggle into my hats (HA.)

little man in a rib brim version of The Hat
My first efforts of this hat were somewhat sad. Huge floppy monstrosities that my husband still (embarrassingly) insists on wearing when its gets down to the single digits here in Minnesota (or the single below zero digits…or the double below zero digits…yikes. Not looking forward to winter right now.)

I actually cut off the sides when I made it too large and sewed it together on a sewing machine to make it the proper size. Pathetic.

I have since made a note of remembering basic sizing and stitches needed to avoid this.

(I think.)

The best yarn for making this hat for babies is a cotton yarn or cotton blend. I have done linen cotton blend which was really nice. I also like a soft wool, cashmere (of course! When is cashmere NOT nice?!) or something like this. I am not big on synthetics for babies. They feel funny to me as an adult so for a baby even more so.

Basically do this:

Size 5 or 6 needles. One ball of yarn will be plenty. It needs to be sport weight yarn, whatever you choose, “regular” yarn weight (not super thin sock weight, not big chunky weight).

Cast on 65 stitches. Maybe 55 for tiny newborn. Maybe 75 for a one year old.

(if you are making this for an adult cast on 70 or 80 and use bigger needles and chunkier yarn)

Knit a row. Then purl a row. This forms a little roll for the brim.

because he is so cute.
If you want a ribbed edge, which I do like too, knit 2 then purl 2 across the first row then switch it up for the next row. Starting with purl 2, then knit 2, and so on. Do this for 6 or so rows until you have a nice little brim. This version is nice because you can fold it up if it doesn’t fit quite yet. Then start knitting a full row, then purling the next row as described.

Keep repeating this until you have maybe 5 or 6 inches of knitting. It goes quick.

While you are knitting stretch out your piece, think of it stretched over your hatee’s head. Does it seem like the right size? If not rip out and try again. I have done this MANY MANY MANY times. MANY. MANY. MANY…..MANY..... You get the point. Your section needs to be big enough to cover your hatee’s head, covering ears and all. I usually make mine longer than I think necessary. A hat that doesn’t cover one’s ears is rather pointless in my opinion. Once you think about the hat on the hatee’s head it’s easy to figure this out.
Then you start reducing the size. So, for the first row (start on a knit row) knit four stitches then knit two together (simple push them together and knit as if they were one) One the next purl row just purl like normal. Do this one more time. Then knit two stitches and knit two together. Then purl. Then do this again. Then knit one stitch then knit two together. Then purl. (This gives you a gradual crown of the head) Then when you have about 20 stitches left bind off your stitches. 
little man in the infamous condom hat and
much too large booties that he never wore
baby booties are cute. i make them.
but they are totally and completely pointless
they never stay on. i make shoes that
do stay on and are super cute.
(another post!)

When I first started making this hat for babies I thought it would be adorable to make a little pointy elf looking hat until my husband pointed out – after making one cream colored version in particular – that combined with the roll brim this looked uncannily like…a very large condom…I obviously cannot make hats like this anymore. 

So then you just turn the hat inside out and stitch up. I like to stitch it by sewing through the second row of stitches rather than the first row, it gives a better looking weave.

And there you have it. HAT!

What did I forget? Questions? Clarifications?


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