Introducing the Fringe Hatalong Series

Introducing the Fringe Hatalong Series of mini-knitalongs

Because I’m so focused these days on filling in my sweater wardrobe with handknits, I’ve been knitting fewer total items, which means trying fewer patterns and techniques and also knitting with fewer yarns. My closet might be benefiting, but what about my range of knitting experiences? How will I ever get around to all those intriguing hat patterns I’ve been stockpiling for ages? And how will I ever make a dent in my copious stash of single skeins of delectable yarns? Plus I love the feeling that comes with finishing things, and those moments are farther apart when you’re knitting sweaters. So I decided to make a pact with myself to knit some hats in 2015. I’m trying to resist the urge to be overly organized and formal about this — to just pick a hat and a yarn that I’m itching to spend time with — and I’m asking you all to knit along with me on these. Ergo, the Fringe Hatalong Series. I’m thinking of doing one roughly every other month (we’ll see!), and I’m thinking hats because they’re instant gratification and don’t generally take a lot of yarn, but more important, they offer the opportunity to try out lots of different skills in the form of lace, cables, colorwork, unusual construction methods, etc. Which means who knows what we might get into along the way.

I’m always saying I think a hat is a great first knitting project, but certainly it’s a great way to get past rectangles (scarves and washcloths) and pick up life-changing new skills. Future selections will bring other tricks into the mix, but the first hat I’ve chosen for the Hatalong series also happens to be a great first hat, period. So I’m hoping some of you who’ve never tried knitting in the round before will join in. The only thing you’ll need to know is how to knit and purl in the same row — we’ll cover the rest together. And if you don’t know how to purl, here’s a video for you!

Leading up to the first Hatalong, tomorrow I’ll have a post on how to knit a hat — meaning not just how to join for working in the round, but how to assess a hat pattern and decide if you want to make any modifications to it along the way. And then I’ll have another post about whether hats require swatches (pros and cons) and how to knit and measure a swatch. I’ll be referring back to those two posts for the entirety of the Hatalong series. Then on Thursday, I’ll announce the first hat selection by publishing the pattern here on the blog, but I’ll tell you in the meantime that the recommended yarn is Tolt Yarn and Wool’s Snoqualmie Valley Yarn, which I have in my stash and have been dying to get to, and which can be ordered from Tolt. If you want to substitute with something from your stash, you’ll need at least 175 yards of ideally 100% wool, DK (or light worsted) yarn with good stitch definition. So you want something plied (preferably not a single-ply or roving yarn), and in a solid, heather, semi-solid or tweed — something that will be well showcased by a very simple stitch pattern, and that won’t compete with that simple stitch pattern. Gauge for the pattern is given as “5 stitches and 10 rows = 1 inch in Garter Stitch,” so feel free to start swatching if you’re into that kind of thing. ;)

The hashtag for this series will be #fringehatalong, and I’ll be encouraging you to share your knitalong hats, your questions and comments once we get officially rolling on Thursday.

Are we excited?


PLEASE NOTE: There is currently no way to take a picture of hats I haven’t knitted yet, so the photos at the top of this post are of hats I have knitted in the past. They are merely decoration for the post and are not meant to be indicative of the specific patterns that will be included in the Fringe Hatalong Series. If you’re curious what they are, though, clockwise from top left they are: Gentian, Stadium Hat (free pattern), Heel Stitch Hat and Gorro Montanhac.

36 thoughts on “Introducing the Fringe Hatalong Series

  1. Hmmm…this may be a good time for me to try hats again. I have never been able to find a hat pattern that I like and wear in the end. Living in the cold north, I need a hat that is snug up against my ears to keep wind and snow out. I also need one that the wind can not penetrate. Our hill side farm gets wicked wind. Seems every hat I knit does not seem to keep me warm. I would love to know which hat pattern you would recommend.

    • Have you tried knitting in stranded color-work or twined knitting (the former being the easier of the two)? You’ll get double layer thickness of yarn with lofty insulation. I’m knitting a pair of slippers in twined knitting with cascade 220 worsted and they are so thick and warm! …Or double down the brim by starting with a provisional cast on, k in the round for 2.5 inches, then purl one round, switch colors or yarns (or don’t), then k another 2.5 inches, then put the provisional stitches on another needle, fold it under and knit the two layers together. You could even make the whole hat that way. Viola! extra warmth! If you’d like help with that technique, purl bee has a hat pattern called “retro ski hat” that is great.

  2. I’m in too! Since I mostly knit hats as gifts, this hatalong will be perfect for getting the gift list started early. Also would love to try out new yarns and techniques. Looking forward to seeing the first pattern!

  3. This is good motivation for me. I have not had an enormous amount of luck with getting hats to fit me just the way I want them to. I love the idea of them, and the small project-relatively quick completion of them. But my results are rarely stellar. I have just begun a Seasons hats from Brooklyn Tweed, in their yarn. Hoping to have some success this time. So I will follow along, but knitting something different, then maybe join in on your next choice. Great Idea Karen!

  4. I’m in!!! I’m embarrassed to say that I have a terrible time with the fit of hats – big time! I knit a BT hat for a three year old before the holidays, followed the instructions for 19″ size (which stretches due to the garter stitch border), got gauge, knit it twice, and it’s still a bit too small. Why can I knit sweaters and coats and fail with hats most of the time?! I frequently knit them three times and have come to avoid them at all costs! I knit Thorpe more times than I can recall trying to adjust the pattern for young children. I can’t wait for this KAL – many thanks!!!

  5. Be still my heart! Hats are me and after learning cables in 2014, I can’t wait for your 2015 challenges! As you said, hats are a wonderful way to play with all kinds of yarns. My biggest challenge is finding a hat that looks good on me – most end up in our shop. Or for gifts. I also admit that along with my yarn addiction, I can spend … a LOT of time on Ravelry drooling over patters, especially hat patterns. Here’s a big trick I’ve learned over time: well photographed patterns look lovely on beautiful models and sweet babies. In fact, they look just perfect and must-have! Be sure and look at the PROJECTS from those patterns, as well as the ratings. Everyday reality can be a bit different than your dreams. Saves frogging and feeling bummed… ;)

  6. I’m in. I’m sure there’s at least one hat in my “onesies” basket. The “onesies” are single skeins of souvenir or sale yarn that I just couldn’t pass up. So once a year when I toss my stash to make sure no critters have moved in I pick out a few, match them up with patterns on Ravelry, zipper bag them, and they live in a basket by the couch for when I need a quick project for some finishing gratification.

  7. Sounds cool! I love to do hats and they are great for using single skeins. I typically don’t swatch and give the ones that don’t fit away

  8. I’m in! Ordered the yummy yarn you have posted. I liked it because Aspen Hollow Sheep Farm tend their sheep using organic practices, and skillful pasture management. Aspen Hollow Sheep are exclusively grass fed. We raise grass fed beef, so I like those features.

  9. Super! I am virtually, oddly, almost hatless. I’ve been planning on casting on for Brooklyn Tweed’s new Harper hat but I can almost never resist your leadership… I’ll look forward to seeing which hat you’ve chosen!

  10. Oh, I love this idea. Like vtgrandview, I have trouble making a hat that’s warm enough for the Northeast. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that (and thanks to the commenter who already made some suggestions). And every time you post Gorro Montanhac I want to make that, so maybe it’s time!

  11. Hat as swatch is my plan! Elizabeth Zimmerman uses hats as swatches for her sweaters (or at least she does in Knitter’s Almanac). Can’t wait to see what hat is chosen!

  12. Nice! I was just looking at “Quadrifurcus” by La Maison Rililie because a friend of mine is moving to Colorado and I wanted to make a going away present. I like the woven look of the body and the short rows on the brim.

  13. Definitely in! I’m currently knitting up the Purl Soho Heel Stitch Hat in Shelter, so this is an impetus to get it finished quickly so I can join in. I’ve a few different skeins in my stash that i could choose from – looking forward to seeing the pattern you’ve picked to start it all off!

  14. I love this idea, I really like to knit hats since they are relatively quick projects and would love to join in in this knitalong. I need to check if I have suitable yarn here for this first project.

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