Basic Knitted Hat Pattern
First choose your yarn. It is most important to start with the yarn though you may have a basic idea of how you want your hat to look in the end- it all depends on the yarn. You may want a chunky hat with a cable but first you must know your yarn so you may base your math and needle size from the yarn. Next, using the needle size suggested on the ball band, knit a 4 in. by 4 in. swatch. Once complete, take a good long look at your swatch. Does it give the stitch definition you are looking for? Is the fabric thick enough? Will it give you the look you want? If the answer to any of these is no, consider switching your yarn. A smoother yarn will give better definition- essential for cable and textured stitches. If you fabric is not thick or dense enough go for a smaller needle. Next, count your gauge and multiply it out to the circumference of your head or the head of the hat wearer. My head is 22 in. around, for example, and with a chunky yarn giving me 12 Sts over 4 in. means I must cast on 66 Sts for a hat.
Now if you have a chosen stitch pattern that you want to incorporate you must accommodate this into your cast-on. Say, I want to use a lace pattern that repeats over 14 Sts. I start by dividing 66 by 14 and get 4.71. Rounding up to 5 means that I will have 5 repeats of the pattern if I cast-on 70 Sts. Adding the extra 4 Sts will only increase my hat circumference by roughly 1 in. If this is an issue you can always add on a ribbing with a smaller needle before starting the lace. The ribbing knit with a smaller needle will make the hat a little tighter along the bottom edge.
Knit until you reach the crown of your head (for me this is 7 in.) and then it is time to start your decreases. I prefer to make mine even across the stitch count and widely spaced so it will not distract from the patterns. A k2tog decrease gives a nice dome shape that will fit your head very well. To determine where to place your decrease you must divide into your stitch count and determine the highest number available to fit your pattern. Given the example above, I could divide 70 by 10 which would give me 7 decreases or I could divide by 14 which would give me 5 decreases. I would choose the 5 decreases since it would blend in with my lace pattern which has 5 pattern repeats. I would then *knit (in pattern) 12 sts, k2tog and repeat from * to the end of the round (12 sts plus the 2 in the K2tog gives 14). The next round would be knit in pattern without decrease.Each decrease round subtract 1 from the knitted stitches: 2nd decrease round knit 11 sts then k2tog, 3rd decrease round knit 10 then k2tog, etc) Decreasing and then skipping a round gives a nice gradual crown that fits the head smoothly and comfortably. I would repeat these 2 rounds until I was k2tog the whole round. Then, you break the yarn leaving an 8 in. tail. Using your tapestry needle, weave the tail though the remaining loops following the direction of knitting and pull tight. Turn your hat inside out and weave this tail into the hat to secure the end.
Your hat is now finished! You can use this basic hat pattern to make any number of hats in any design or fashion. It is a trusted and true pattern that has served me well. Pass it on!
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