My husband the hat fiend

custom knitted skullcap

My husband Bob loves hats the way I love bags. He owns dozens — ball caps, skimmers, fedoras, more than one straw cowboy hat — and is constantly on the lookout for his next one. We cannot pass a hat store or enter any establishment that sells hats (and bear in mind this could include anything from Target to a Napa winery) without his trying on a few. And yet he owns one knitted hat, and has maintained for the past two years that he doesn’t need another.

That treasured knitted skullcap was made for him by our friend Jo on the same Nashville trip, two years ago, where I learned to knit. Made to his specifications — chiefly that he didn’t want it to cover his ears — it is stockinette with a ribbed edge; it is black cotton; and it has been worn and loved to death. (“Formerly black” would be a more accurate description.) So despite his ongoing protestations (and that recent false start with another yarn), when a colorful bag of Kenzie landed on my doorstep — sent to me by my friend Cirilia Rose at Skacel — containing a ball in his favorite shade of grey, I decided I was making him a new hat.

He agreed it could be ribbed all over instead of stockinette. Then once I was a little ways into it, as he surveyed the other nine balls in the bag — and having liked my Stadium Hat — he asked if he could have a stripe! But even with the ribbing and the stripe, it’s a pretty spare piece of knitting, so I wanted the crown to be very neatly tailored. I bought the Brig pattern from BT, curious to see how the decreases were done, but it didn’t work for me at all. (No doubt the fault was with me and not the pattern.) So in the end what I made is a cross between the Stadium Hat and Brig, with a modification to the decreases.

As for the Kenzie, it’s not a yarn I would have picked out for myself because of the nylon content, which I actually find a little puzzling. It’s merino with a little bit of angora, alpaca and silk noils … and a healthy dose of nylon. But my assumption — and my hope — is that it means this hat will be able to take the abuse Bob will dish out. Although, he’s apparently done being a one skullcap man. He wants several more and has picked out three or four combos from the remaining Kenzie colors. Next on his list is red with an oatmeal stripe.


If you’re wondering how I happen to have this wintery photo of a hat I just recently finished, we were surprised with a freak September snowstorm on our Tahoe road trip this weekend! And yes, I did get a lot of knitting done.


Speaking of real fall-into-winter weather, ICYMI this week is New Favorites: Marie Wallin’s Autumn. I’m still drooling.

20 thoughts on “My husband the hat fiend

  1. At a guess, the nylon is there to stabilise the angora. ‘LAN’ (Lambswool Angora Nylon, often 80/15/5 %) is an industry acronym, so you can see there’s a healthy dose of Nylon: Angora. I am always leary of angora in mass-produced yarns, the conditions and treatment of the rabbits can be truly appalling.

      • It stops it fluffing out and shedding everywhere. Well, not shedding as badly… Someone with a real technical interest in yarn production would know better, but I’m guessing the angora is mixed with the nylon separately before they are mixed and spun with the other component /s fibres. But I am only guessing there. Angora alone is really too hot to wear comfortably in most climates and it sheds all the time.

        • I’ve avoided angora, for the most, my whole life because I don’t like it getting up my nose. Which is another reason I thought of hats when I got this yarn — above the nose line! But I never knew nylon could help with that.

  2. Karen, Bob’s hat looks as though you nailed his specs perfectly! So glad he is on board with receiving more :-) …knit on, friend!

  3. Heh…–muffler

    My husband has a hat collection too… baseball caps of all kinds , one rather flashy red “worker” type cap that he reserves for skiing, and basic beanies like the one I posted. He has some (now vintage) cowboy hats, but doesn’t really wear those. But get rid of them? No way….

    I heard about that freak storm, Karen, Hope it was fun! Oh, and I have a fun winery (baseball) cap for your hubby if he is interested. Schoolbus yellow, or black? ;-)

  4. LOVE it!!!!!
    Bye bye cotton skull hat.
    The decrease is so smart.
    How long was the hat knit before the decrease?
    I see several of these in Don’s future!
    Thanks for the pattern.
    And that snow looks beautiful….

  5. How cute is that! what a neat hobby to have. it could have been sweaters which would take you a wholeeeeee lot longer. at least this one is a manageable one!

  6. I loved seeing your Instagram pics. Looks like you had a lovely place to stay and a great time. I hope you were feeling up to it all. Two years ago I made hats for my son and nephews, and one of them put in hat orders for all of his friends. I made a gazillion. They are satisfying to finish! Your hat looks great!

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