Fringe Hatalong No. 2: L’Arbre by Cirilia Rose

Fringe Hatalong No. 2: L'Arbre Hat by Cirilia Rose #fringehatalong

Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads by Cirilia RoseThank gawd today is here because the suspense has been killing me! Finally I can tell you that the hat pattern for Fringe Hatalong No. 2 is Cirilia Rose’s L’Arbre Hat — from her beautiful book “Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads” — which I’ve been wanting to knit since I first laid eyes on it. (You can see the full range of patterns included in this book on Ravelry.) Major thanks to Cirilia and the fine folks at her publisher, STC Craft, for making the hat available to us for the knitalong.

Click here to download the free pattern. Be sure to post your progress here, there and everywhere with hashtag #fringehatalong. And for newer knitters, see my two-part How to Knit a Hat tutorial: Part 1. Anatomy Lessons and Part 2. Gauge and size.

“Arbre” is French for tree and the hat features a stitch pattern called Little Tree, which is just knits and purls and — now that I’ve swatched I can say this for certain — so much fun to knit! As I mentioned in the preview post last week (which contains yarn suggestions and a discount code for the recommended yarn, so if you missed that go look) you will definitely want to swatch for this hat — both to get the hang of the stitch pattern and to measure your gauge, because if you’re working this stitch tightly at all, that will affect the outcome. You’ll also want to block it because it does create a sort of corrugated fabric that relaxes when blocked, so measuring without blocking will give you a deceptive measurement. Below you can see the difference in my swatch before and after blocking. (For the record, this swatch is knitted with Purl Soho Worsted Twist from my stash — Purl sent me several colors awhile back and I’m debating! But I’m exactly on gauge.)

How to swatch for the L'Arbre Hat #fringehatalong


The pattern is written for a heavy-worsted/aran weight yarn, and the stated gauge is 18 sts over four inches. (Recommended needle size is 5mm/US8, but you should use whatever needle size gets you the correct gauge.) And gauge is given in the Little Tree pattern stitch, so that’s what you need to knit your swatch in. You will need to “swatch in the round” — here’s a good tutorial if you haven’t done that before. And be sure to knit your swatch with the same needles you’ll be knitting the hat with. Your gauge will be different if you switch from bamboo to metal, etc.

You need your swatch to be at least 4 inches wide in order to measure it correctly. This particular stitch pattern is a multiple of 8 stitches (k5, p3, repeat) and we know the pattern says 18 sts is meant to be 4 inches. So we need to cast on a multiple of 8 that is greater than 18 to be sure we’ve got four inches of knitting. In addition to edge stitches being messy and unmeasurable in an in-the-round swatch, you won’t be able to work this stitch pattern from the first stitch with this method. To be really safe, cast on 36 stitches: 32 for the stitch pattern (4 repeats) plus two extra stitches at each edge, which I’ve just worked as knit stitches. So knit the first two stitches, work Row 1 of the pattern stitch four times, then knit the last two stitches. Proceed to work through the four rows of the pattern stitch, and repeat those four rows until you have several inches of knitting. Ideally you would swatch at least four inches high as well to measure row gauge. I’m trying to conserve yarn so am taking my chances and will measure row gauge on the actual hat once I get to four inches.

Once you’ve got a big enough swatch, bind off and block it, then lay a ruler across the middle four inches and count the stitches. A stitch pattern like this makes it really easy to count, because each 5- and 3-stitch section is easy to see and add up. Even in my photo above where the ruler is not directly on the swatch, you can see there are 18 stitches between the 0″ and 4″ marks on the ruler — 5+3+5+3+2.

How to knit the L'Arbre Hat by Cirilia Rose #fringehatalong


Like I said, this pattern is just knits and purls but there is one nifty, simple little maneuver that creates the “tree” pattern. On Row 2 of the stitch pattern, you slip five knits with your yarn in front — so it’s sticking out the front of your work five stitches over — then lay the yarn across those five stitches, moving it between the needles and to the back of the work in order to knit the next stitch. If you pull that strand too tight, it will cause your stitches to cinch or bunch up in the final fabric. So the trick is keeping the width of that strand loose and even. My advice is to spread out the five stitches on your right-hand needle to their natural width, then lay the yarn across them so they accurately determine the width of your strand, as pictured above. If the stitches are bunched up on your right needle, chances are your strand will be too short, and vice versa.

Then on Row 4 of the stitch pattern, you’re told to “work the loose strand.” All you do, when you get to that stitch, is insert your right needle under the strand and then into the next stitch on your left needle, as pictured here. Wrap the yarn around the needle as usual, and pull it back through both the stitch and the strand, letting the stitch drop off your left needle. And voilà, the strand is now behind the stitch you just knitted. Magic!


Whether you’re working from the book or the PDF here, note that there is one small error: Under SHAPE CROWN / RND 1, where it says “k4” it should say “k1, p3” — that will preserve the garter stitch section correctly on that row.

Also, the PDF includes the coordinating mitts pattern (bonus!), but it’s missing the instructions for completing the thumbs after the stitches have been set aside. If you’ve knitted mitts before, you won’t have any trouble figuring out how to finish them!


There is one abbreviation in the crown decrease section that’s in the back of the book and didn’t make it into the PDF. Here’s how to work it: “Slip the next 2 stitches to the right-hand needle as if to knit 2 together, k1, pass the 2 slipped stitches over.”


As I’ve mentioned before, part of my goal for this Fringe Hatalong Series is to highlight worthy charities that take hat donations. You may be planning to knit this hat for yourself — totally cool! — or you may be one of those knitters who deliberately knit more hats than you can use, with the intent to donate them. For this installment, I’m featuring Halos of Hope, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide hats to cancer patients. With the density of the textured stitch in this pattern and the incredibly soft recommended yarn, I think L’Arbre seems like a great “chemo cap.” So if you are inclined to donate your hat, give Halos of Hope a look. You can find a donation location here, and I believe they’ll also be at Stitches South next weekend, as will we!

DOWNLOAD THE L’ARBRE HAT PATTERN and remember to share your progress with hashtag #fringehatalong wherever you post. I’ll be on the lookout for photos everywhere, and will be answering questions posted in the comments below. (Sorry, I’m not able to reliably answer questions across multiple platforms!)

Happy knitting!


PREVIOUSLY in the Fringe Hatalong Series: No. 1 Audrey by Jessie Roselyn

77 thoughts on “Fringe Hatalong No. 2: L’Arbre by Cirilia Rose

  1. Great surprise! A deja vu for me because, except for the ribbing, this hat looks identical to Citadel by Beata Jezek, which was posted on Ravelry on Feb 2013—where it has racked up 213 project pages and garnered plenty of praise and lots of helpful tips.

    Citadel (also a free pattern) has the same 5/3 slip stitch and four-round repeat. Beata’s ribbing elegantly flows into the main stitch pattern. Her hat pattern is designed for DK yarn and can be lined or unlined. Perhaps you could add Beata’s pattern to this hatalong. I’m guessing she’d be amenable. She runs the lovely and has produced some great patterns (all free) to support her yarn. (Check out her blog and Instagram feed. She’s an excellent candidate for Our Tools Ourselves.)

    Having knit Citadel several times, I can tell you this stitch pattern is pleasantly elastic and addictively fun to knit. I’ve made it in DK and worsted. For those who don’t like to swatch (you know who you are!), I suggest going a little smaller than you think you need. The garter stitch panels are add quite a bit of stretch.

    • Hi, Monica. I did see the hedgehog fibres version of this hat recently, after seeing Cirilia’s. As I mentioned in the preview post, this book was several years in the making, so even though it published last year, the patterns were written quite some time ago, photographed a couple of years ago, etc. It’s not surprising that more than one person thought to use this lovely stitch pattern on a hat — someone on Instagram this morning mentioned that it’s also been used by Antonia Shankland on a cowl. Such is the way when there’s a beautiful stitch pattern out there begging to be used!

      • Oh, wait — I just went and looked at Citadel and it’s not the one I was thinking of! I have seen that lovely hat, and didn’t realize the stitch was the same, but it looks like there must be at least three people who’ve used this stitch for a hat in recent years. I can’t find the other one I was thinking of at the moment.

        Anyway, great minds with great taste in stitch patterns.

        • I was walking by the Purl Soho store today, and went in to check out the yarn you are using — I was like, did you see the Worsted Twist hat Karen Templer posted on her blog today? That’s what I’m making! Instead of the Purl Worsted, I ended up deciding to use Brooklyn Tweed Shelter — which I’ve never used before. Hope it isn’t too coarse for a hat.

          That is a funny coincidence about the similarities in hats. The good news for me is that although I’m an avid reader of the Fringe Association blog, I hadn’t heard of EITHER Cirilia or Beata, so now I have not one but TWO new designers to check out on Ravelry :)

    • Citadel’s publication predates L’Abre’s by 21 months. That’s quite a bit of time.

      For people who want to knit with a different yarn/gauge, the math has all been done for you if you check out the various iterations of Citadel. One of the challenges with this stitch pattern if you don’t get gauge is that it’s an 8-stich pattern. Cutting out 8 stitches makes a big difference, no matter what yarn you are using. The elasticity of the garter helps though.

      • Karen’s point was simply that this book was a years-long project – literally, YEARS. While the book was published fall 2014, the photoshoot took place in spring of 2013 (I know, because I took part in it). The patterns and samples were obviously complete prior to that. This is definitely a great-minds-think-alike case and nothing more! It happens a lot. Personally, I prefer Cirilia’s heavier-weight version because I love how the texture stands out in a heavier yarn, but Beata’s version looks lovely too, especially with that lining!

  2. Sure hope my yarn arrives from Kelbourne today! Can’t wait to get started!

  3. This is a happy accident — yesterday, a friend recommended this site to me and as soon as I do, I see this Hatalong on a pattern I’ve been admiring in a book that I happen to own! I bought the book on a whim a few months ago and have been happily flipping through it and daydreaming about which pattern to try first while I finish a few other projects. Looks like it will be this hat. Thanks for the detailed notes on swatching here too – can’t wait to catch up on past posts!

  4. I love Cirilia Rose too! Thanks for your blog and the hatalong! You keep me reaching a little farther out of what I have knitted in the past and always motivated! Maybe a little too motivated, my yarn stash is growing! :-)

  5. I just started reading your blog, Karen, and love what you are doing here! I’ve bought beautiful things from your display at Stitches West, but didn’t know the person behind the beautifully curated items. Okay, now I’m off to raid my stash and join this knit-along.

  6. Hi there! I’m fairly new to knitalongs, so let’s see how this goes haha. I was wondering what your thoughts are on unraveling a blocked swatch to knit with if one doesn’t have enough yarn to use for the pattern once the swatch is complete? I’m a broke student here in Australia and can’t really afford more of the wonderful wool I’ve chosen to knit this pattern with. Would you suggest I change yarns so I don’t have to unravel? Or is unraveling a blocked swatch fine? I’m new to swatching and blocking…even though I’ve been knitting for a year…oops!

    I’m so excited to be taking part in this knitalong, the hat pattern looks positively wonderful.

    Thanks a bunch,

    • Pam Allen suggests soaking your yarn before knitting with it again if you unravel a blocked swatch (same thing if you unravel a finished & blocked knit to knit something new) in a podcast episode. I think it’s at the beginning of this one:

      Soaking the yarn after unraveling it will sort of “reset” it so that it’s fresh, un-kinked, and ready to be knit into new fabric!

  7. Thank you for the lovely hatalong! I received my Road to China yarn today. and am looking forward to starting this weekend. The pattern says the hat uses two hanks, but is there enough in two hanks to swatch with you think?

    • I wish I knew the actual yardage used and will see if Cirilia can tell us.

      It does make me crazy when patterns list the total yardage of the number of skeins required (of that particular yarn) rather than the actual yardage used.

    • Cirilia says the finished hat sample weighs 80g, so you have about 20g to swatch with. If it were me, I would wind up maybe 15g to be safe, and swatch with that!

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  9. Got Road to China yarn yesterday in jade! Was so excited to see the tree like pattern and have a green yarn to celebrate the Spring Greens and Trees in my neighborhood! I only purchased 2 skeins, and was wondering and worrying if I have enough yarn to make a swatch, too! Finished my Audrey Hat on Monday, was motivated to be ready for the new KAL. Love my hat, but struggled using double pointed needles for decreasing, but love having new challenges and trying new yarns! Now want to learn how to add pics on Ravelry.

    • Posting this comment twice to make sure! Cirilia says the finished hat sample weighs 80g, so you have about 20g to swatch with. If it were me, I would wind up maybe 15g to be safe, and swatch with that!

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  11. I just finished my swatch (something I typically skip) and am so glad I followed directions – I am getting 16 sts/4 in. instead of the 18 sts… Thanks for hosting this KAL!

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  14. My grandma taught me to knit this past Christmas and I’ve fallen in love with it. I’ve had some green Purl Soho Worsted Twist sitting around and looks like I will use it for this! One question, as I’m still new to following the patterns, would it be difficult from your experience to translate this into a baby hat? Has anyone tried it in a size other than stated in the pattern?

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  16. Hat is finished and I couldn’t be happier. Thank you for hosting this hatalong-I enjoyed seeing everyone’s choices of yarn and color. Thank you to Cirilia for making the pattern available to us – I’m already looking at more of her patterns! And thank you to Kelbourne Woolens for discounting that scrumptious yarn… Ahhhhhh…

  17. Thank you Karen and Cirilia for bringing us this lovely pattern. I knitted the hat and the mitts and love them both. Can’t afford pure wool right now (very expensive in SA) but really happy with the results anyway. I have had my eye on Cirilia’s Shibuya pattern for ages – wish it was easier to get hold of! – such a gorgeous little thing by such a beautiful and talented designer.

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  27. For row 2 of the little tree pattern, can I assume that the 5 stitches are slipped purlwise?

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  30. Can you clarify the first and second rounds of the decreases? When you do s2kp2 do you slip 2 with the yarn in front? I’m trying to figure out where the loose stitch come from in the second round to WLS. Love this hat, thank you for sharing.

    • Hi, Carrie. The s2kp2 instruction was included in the blog post above, as it was in the back of the book and not in the PDF excerpt:

      Here’s how to work it: “Slip the next 2 stitches to the right-hand needle as if to knit 2 together, k1, pass the 2 slipped stitches over.”

      Always slip stitches with the yarn in back unless told otherwise — so here it is in the back.

      The long strand happens on row 2 of the little tree stitch pattern, which is the last row you work before beginning the crown shaping/decreases.

      • Thank you Thank you! I’m a bit embarrassed that I missed that you end the Tree section on row 2…..

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