The Four-Hour Hat*
On Tuesday, we planned to go on the Glass-Bottomed-Boat Shipwreck Tour out of Munising, Michigan (more on that later).
When Jim made the reservations, the lady was quite clear that it would be cold, and that we would need to dress warmly.
On Monday evening, Jim relayed this information to me and said, “do we have enough hats for everyone?”
Of course we don’t. And of course I don’t need any notice to rectify the situation.
I have been working on this scarf for a while, wherein a while means a year,
and decided if I had to make a hat on such short notice, I might as well make one that matches.
Plus because my stash is packed and it was either this or another hat-in-progress that’s comprised of fidgety colorwork on smaller yarn, which I could never finish in an evening.
After deciding to knit on slightly smaller needles for warmth, and picking a number out of thin air to cast on, I made this -
*It took me 5 hours, but that is because I made a mistake and it took an hour to fix it. That won’t happen to you.
Yarn: Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande Tweed in Natural and Charcoal
Needles: US 10.5 straight needles for scarf; 16″ US 10 circular needles and US 10 dpns for hat
Cast on 27 (or other multiple of 3)
Row 1: K2, P1; repeat across row.
Row 2: K2, P1; repeat across row.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until the scarf is as long as the recipient is tall, or until you want to stab yourself to alleviate the boredom of knitting a 6 foot long scarf.
Slip the first stitch of each row for a nice edge.
Make random-width stripes by changing colors whenever you get bored. Always change colors on a right side row.
Cast on 72 (or other multiple of 3, depending on the size of the head in question. I used 69 stitches for this hat, which fits me fine, but I think 72 would fit Jim better) and join in the round (well, I join by casting on an extra stitch and knitting the first and last stitches together. So if you do that, cast on 73). Place marker.
K2, P1 for two inches to make ribbing (or however many inches you like. I knit until it looks right)
Change colors and begin stitch pattern:
Row 1: K1, P1, K1; repeat around.
Row 2: K1, P2; repeat around
Continue until hat measures 6-7 inches from cast on edge.
Change colors if desired and begin decreasing. You can decrease however you like. Jim likes a close-fitting hat that comes to the bottom of his ears, so I generally knit to almost the top of his head, then decrease pretty rapidly. I want an almost flat crown. I try it on a lot during decreasing. I also did not try to maintain the pattern stitch for the crown because it was 1 o’clock in the morning, but you could probably do it relatively easily.
Begin crown, switching to dpns when necessary.
Decrease Row 1: K2, K2tog; repeat around
Decrease Row 2: Knit
Decrease Row 3: K1, K2tog; repeat around
Decrease Row 4: Knit
Decrease Row 5: K2tog; repeat around
Decrease Row 6: Knit
Decrease Row 7+: k2tog until 10 or so stitches total remain
Cut yarn, leaving a 12 inch tail, thread a tapestry needle with yarn, slip stitches off dpns with needle, pull tightly to close top of the hat, weave in ends.
I realize these are not awesome crown decrease instructions, and you may decide you need more plain knit rows in between the decrease rows, or to skip Row 6, or you may decide to so a more traditional decrease… whatever. I am the kind of knitter who wings it on everything, so try it on a lot and judge for yourself how the decrease is shaping up.
If it wasn’t 1am when I was doing this, I would have used Jared Floods Turn-a-Square decrease, which I love for men’s hats. To do his decrease on this hat you would place a marker every 18 stitches, so you have 4 markers, then follow his instructions from there (which are basically K2tog immediately after each marker and SSK the 2 stitches immediately before each marker, and knit a plain row in between each decrease row. When there are 8 stitches left between each marker, decrease on every row until there are 8 stitches left total. Cut yarn and close with tapestry needle as usual.)
I love alpaca yarn. It’s so soft and super warm. Everybody but me had a hat; alas that is pretty much the norm for this knitter.