Fringe Hatalong No. 3: Hermaness Worsted by Gudrun Johnston

Fringe Hatalong No. 3: Hermaness Worsted by Gudrun Johnston (free pattern)

The Shetland Trader Book TwoI’ve mentioned not once but twice how much I admire and want to knit Gudrun Johnston’s Hermaness hat, from her beautiful collection The Shetland Trader – Book Two. When I thought about how much I wanted us all to knit a quick and simple lace hat this summer, Hermaness was all I could think about, but it’s fingering weight. So I asked Gudrun what she thought, and she generously worked up a worsted-weight version and has made it available to us as a free pattern for Fringe Hatalong No. 3! Just click to download the Hermaness Worsted pattern PDF.

I ADORE it at this chunkier gauge and hope you’ll love it as much as I do. As I mentioned in the preview, this is very simple lace, so if you’re a seasoned lace knitter you can do it in your sleep. If you’re a lace first-timer, it’s an absolutely perfect place to start! And if you don’t believe me, try swatching it — it’s important to swatch anyway, and it’ll be good practice before you start in on the real hat. I’ve got lots of how-to advice below, and the whole Hatalong community will be happy to help if you have any questions or trouble along the way!

If you prefer the fingering-weight version, you can buy that one individually at Ravelry or buy the book. You’re welcome to knit either Hermaness or Hermaness Worsted for the knitalong. Remember to share everywhere with hashtag #fringehatalong.

Fringe Hatalong No. 3: Hermaness Worsted by Gudrun Johnston (free pattern)HOW TO SWATCH FOR

Gauge for the pattern is 22 sts per 4 inches in the lace pattern, and it’s an 8-stitch repeat. So if you cast on three repeats [3×8] that’s 24 sts, which should get you 4 inches of knitting to measure. You do need to swatch “in the round” and you’ll need a couple of stitches on either side of the lace to keep it intact and measurable. So I cast on 30 sts: 3 in stockinette, 24 in the lace stitch, and 3 more in stockinette. Target row gauge is 29 rounds per 4 inches, so I worked 30 chart rows: 1-20, then 1-10 again. Block before you measure since lace, of all things, changes once it’s resting.

As far as how to measure this one, Gudrun’s advice is to pick an identifiable spot in the lace to measure from — either a yarnover or a psso — and measure to a spot that is 8 or 16 or 24 sts away from that. For instance, if I measure from the left edge of the left-most yarnover in my swatch to the equivalent yarnover two repeats away (16 sts away) I get 3 inches. 16 sts divided by 3 inches is 5.33 sts per inch. Multiplied by 4 inches is 21.32 sts, so my gauge is slightly bigger than Gudrun’s 22 sts. The body of the hat is worked over 120 sts — at 5.33 sts per inch, that’s a 22.5-inch hat, so I’ll need to go down one needle size. Make sense? Ask questions below if not.

(For further thoughts on the why and how of swatching, see How to knit a hat, part 2: Gauge and size.)

How to knit from a chartHOW TO KNIT FROM A CHART

A chart is simply a picture of the right side of a piece of knitted fabric, with each stitch mapped out. They can be infinitely easier to mentally process than long strings of written-out instructions, and yet charts can seem intimidating when you’re new to them. I think the most important thing to keep in mind right off the bat is that we only knit one row at a time, so if you only look at one row, it will seem instantly less scary! It’s a good idea to use a post-it note or piece of washi tape (or the thousand other really great suggestions people will make in the comments) to track which row you’re working on. Some people stick it below the row they’re working; some stick it above. Do whatever makes the most sense to your own brain — there’s no right or wrong. I’m a post-it-below person, but for the sake of reducing the chart to just Row 1 for you, I stuck it above for this photo. See how much more digestible that is? Go ahead and print out the PDF or have it open on your screen so you can see the whole thing and the legend while we talk about how to work it.

We knit from right to left and each new row is created on top of the one before it, so you’ll see a little number 1 at the bottom right corner of any chart — that’s where you start. Generally speaking, an empty square is a knit stitch, and a square with a black dot in it is a purl stitch, of which there are none in this particular chart. For any symbols you don’t recognize (you’ll memorize the basic ones the more charts you use), there’s always a legend telling you what each symbol means. I classify this as a simple chart for three reasons: 1) it’s only 8 stitches wide, 2) there are only three kinds of stitches (knits, yarnovers and that broom-looking thing we’ll get to in a minute), and 3) there are only three different stitch sequences. At least in the main chart.

Row 1 of this chart tells you to knit the first two stitches, then that broom-y thing (consulting the legend plus the abbreviations list if needed) means “sl1kw (slip 1 stitch knitwise, or “as if to knit”), k2tog (knit 2 together) and psso (pass the slipped stitch over),” then knit two more stitches, yarnover (wrap your yarn once around your needle), knit one, yarnover. You can totally handle those eight stitches — just take them one at a time — and then you simply repeat the sequence until you reach the end of the round. Row 2 is all knit stitches! And then you’ll notice Row 3 is exactly the same as Row 1 — nothing new to learn. In fact, all of the even numbered rows are just knit every stitch, and the odd rows 1 through 9 are all the same. Then the odd rows from 11 through 19 are the same three stitches just in a different order. So like I said, there are only three different stitch sequences in the whole body of the hat, one of which is just knit every stitch. Plus the whole chart repeats, as indicated by the red border. (In some cases there might be stitches on either side of the chart that don’t repeat, but there’s none of that here.)

The other reason this is a great first lace or chart project is that a hat is knitted in the round, which means every row/round is worked from the right side. Since we’re never turning the work and working a wrong-side row, we never have to imagine ourselves behind the chart, like you do when you’re knitting flat. We’ll tackle that some other time! For now, just take pleasure in working every chart row from right to left, exactly as pictured in the chart. By the time you get to the Crown Shaping Chart, you’ll have chart-reading licked.


Stitch markers are your friend. I’m a perfectly competent knitter but I have a very short attention span and I also watch TV while I knit (sometimes with subtitles!) so I find it very helpful to place a marker between each repeat. In other words, when you get to row one of the chart, work the 8 stitches of the chart, count that you have 8 sts on your right-hand needle, and place a marker. Then work the 8 sts again, pm, etc, all the way around. Make sure your Beginning of Round marker is different in size, color or something so you know where your round ends and a new one begins. And then be careful, in this case, that the yarnover next to a marker doesn’t try to pop over the marker.

As is counting. Now as you work your way through the chart, if you ever find yourself with more or less than 8 sts between your markers, you’ll know right away that you’ve done something wrong.

Those knit rounds are saviors. If you do make a mistake, just take a deep breath and look at what you’ve got between your markers as compared to what the chart says you should have. Tink back as needed and straighten it out. And if you can’t figure it out — or you spot a mistake in an earlier row — rip back to a knit round. If you rip out a lace round, the one before it will have been all knit stitches, which are much easier to put back on your needle so you can start again. No need to panic about trying to put lace stitches back on your needles!

A lifeline might help you sleep. I think the knit-stitch rows are really all the safety net you need in this case, but some of you might like a lifeline just for good measure. To create a lifeline, you simply thread a length of smooth waste yarn (cotton is best) onto a tapestry needle and run it through a full round of stitches on your needle, being careful not to split your yarn in the process. Why would you do this? If you need to do a big rip, you just rip back to the lifeline and it will hold that row of stitches safe for you to slip your needle back into. So perhaps you want to place one after every five or ten successfully completed rounds. Then just pull it out when you’re all done.

Fringe Hatalong No. 3: Hermaness Worsted by Gudrun Johnston (free pattern)

DOWNLOAD THE HERMANESS WORSTED 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!)

I can’t wait to see your hats!

And make sure to save/fave it on Ravelry: Hermaness Worsted


PREVIOUSLY in the Fringe Hatalong Series: No. 2 L’Arbre by Cirilia Rose

78 thoughts on “Fringe Hatalong No. 3: Hermaness Worsted by Gudrun Johnston

  1. It’s a lovely hat. I have about 126 yards of Malabrigo Rios left, I do hope it is enough. Casting on today, will post on Instagram.

    • I’m pretty sure the sample weighed out at 126 yards, so it will depend on whether your stitches are exactly the same size as Gudrun’s! You’ll definitely be cutting it close!

    • Hello – I’m enjoying your pattern, but need to know how many stitches I should have after lace sts 1-10; 11-20; 21-30. I keep ripping it out b/c I think I’ve got too many sts but now I’m realizing some inc/dec is probably normal. I see that I should have 120 after increase. I did that…a while ago. Thanks!!! K

  2. This is great! And so Generous of Gudrun! I have the pattern for the fingering weight version but haven’t knit it yet…gonna knit this one and then the fingering weight version. Thank you Karen for such fun kals!

      • The lys a few blocks from where I work carries Brooklyn Tweed…so last week I went and picked up a skein of Shelter in the same grey as the sample. Even though I have many other colors of Shelter in my stash already. I definitely need to forget that this yarn shop exists for a while…and knit from my stash!

    • Lots of German Twisted Cast On videos out there, for sure, but I remember seeing an especially good one after I first learned it — I’ll track that down.

      I’d never seen the two cast-ons combined like this before and am super intrigued by it. Here’s what Gudrun told me about it: “German Twisted Cast on makes a little bump which looks like a purl stitch so using it where the purls will be just makes things look a little more consistent (But it is a small thing and one could easily just do a Long Tail Cast On for all the stitches).”

    • In lieu of the German Twisted Cast On (too lazy to learn!!) I think I’m going to just do a 1×1 twisted rib brim — the hat looks a little wide (?) so figured it would help tighten it slightly and not require anything too complicated. By the way, Karen, I thought of Fringe Association when I was on BART this morning, CRAZY crowded, and there was this girl, standing next to me, knitting away. I couldn’t stop staring at her hands because I knit continental and have really weird form, and she basically did 90% of the work with the opposite hand than me — needless to say, when she got off, of course she stowed her projects in one of your bags :) :)

  3. This is so nice of Gudrun to make this available to us all! My daughter will definitely want this hat for next winter. And the yardage required will be great for all of those leftover balls from larger projects! Thanks so much!

  4. Super excited for this one! This hat has been on my need-to-knit-someday list since I first saw it. A big thanks to Gudrun from us all!

  5. OH YES!! I’m so excited! I love this pattern and its been on my wish list. This will be so fun! I’m diving into my stash right now…

  6. Just gorgeous and how lovely of Gudrun to do this!! Thank you’s to both of you!

  7. I am so excited to give this a try! I really appreciate your thorough descriptions & advice. It makes a world of difference and definitely makes the lace seem a lot less intimidating. ;) I am going to use Brown Sheep Lamb’s pride worsted in Old Sage. Thank you, Karen.

  8. Thank you for hosting another great hat KAL! I appreciate your choices of patterns – worsted weight is so much more doable then fingering weight (when other projects are already in the works). Thanks again!

  9. So very generous of Gudrun to make this pattern available to us! Will be using Anzula For Better or Worsted in gray. I love knitting with Anzula yarns and this one has some nylon in it, so it should be great for a hat. Thanks for putting together another hatalong, Karen – should be lots of fun!

  10. Thanks so much for offering this pattern! I’m still a beginner knitter, so this will be an exciting challenge. I’m a little nervous, but it’ll definitely be rewarding if I can finish it.

  11. This is so great! Thanks to you and Gudrun! Couldn’t be better timing for me– I bough not quite enough of a Jamieson’s Heritage yarn to make this lovely hat a couple of weeks ago, found that I didn’t buy enough, so had to order more (I loathe spending more on shipping than on yarn!), then discovered I didn’t have the right needles. I have been a little distracted lately. But I have the right stuff for the worsted version! And I really NEED to knit a hat right now. Awesome.

  12. This is my first lace project but I don’t feel too nervous , knowing I have all you kind people for support. Thank you for the pattern. Now to swatch all the worsted yarns I have in my stash.

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  14. I’m in on this one! Jennifer at the Sachem Farm enticed me to join in. I will be using my dark charcoal Gotland yarn. I cast on last night! (I have the pattern and yarn to knit Gudrun’s “Little Black Dress”, only mine will be a little red dress, but it will have to wait until this hat is done.)

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  17. I’m working in it with Quince and Co OWL in the color Cement. It’s kind of a grey/brown. thanks for holding my hand through chart reading!

  18. On the last crown shaping row before the i-cord you take away 6 sts from the 9 sts you had … 3 sts remain for the i-cord ;) … happy knitting y’all!!!

  19. Thank you so much for the KAL and helpful blog posts. I echo the others that I would not be brave enough to try this project without your instructions (and I would’ve read the lace chart left to right!)
    I am looking for recommendations about yarn fibers. Are there certain yarns that show and hold the lace design better than others? Any thoughts? Thank you!

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  24. For the increase row, I calculated 44 stitches increased instead of 30. What am I doing wrong? For the repeat, there are 2 stitches increased for every 4 stitches right?

    • Hi, Cynthia. I haven’t actually done the increase row yet and haven’t worked this particular increase before, but it’s actually worked over a 6-stitch repeat, not 4. You’re working the existing stitch as part of each increase, per the instructions in Special Techniques, so six stitches become eight. Hope that helps!

      • I’m still lost. I end up with 133 also. I’m 1/2 a notch above beginner, so please bare with this next part. :) For the increase, I’m knitting 1 stitch below (which is the increase), then knitting the stitch (above the one below) on the needle which is the k1. Correct?
        OR is it: knit 1 below, knit the stitch above the below (which is the increase), then knit 1.

        Does any of this even make sense? I can only see that I’m increasing 4 stitches into 6, not 6 into 8.

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  45. HI There. I had a problem with this, and I’m wondering if I’m the only one? I attempted to do the hat on magic loop, but once the increase row is done and you have 120 stitches, you run into a problem with magic loop. 60 Sts per needle and repeats of 8 in the lace chart don’t work…60 sts gives you 7.5 repeats of 8. Am I missing something obvious? Lovely looking hat, but I just couldn’t make the math make sense on magic loop. Thanks very much, MaryJane

    • Hi, MaryJane. I’m not a magic looper, but if you want to have an equal number of stitches on both needles, that will mean you’re dividing in the middle of the chart. 120 divided by 8 is 15 repeats, so you’d be working 7 repeats plus the first four sts of the chart on needle 1, then the latter four sts of the chart on needle 2, followed by 7 more repeats. Hope that helps!

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  47. I’m looking forward to making this hat and I’m ready to cast on. I did a gauge swatch and am close enough on the stitch gauge but my row gauge is far off. I am getting 3 1/2 inches over 30 rows. Any suggestions on how to adjust? Should I just add additional rows on the ribbing and lace portions?

      • Thank you – casting on now :)
        Adding to all the people who have said it before: Your instructions and tips are fantastic and they turn this project from “a hat” into an exciting learning experience. Really appreciate it!

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  50. Hi Karen (and Fringe Association friends)!

    I’m finally knitting my hermaness worsted hat (thank you for the free pattern!) and I’m running into a bit of trouble in the first crown shaping round. I keep ending up with 8 stitches at the end of my row, and each repetition is giving me 26 stitches, not 22. Any idea what on earth I’m doing wrong?

    Thank you!

    • Do you mean 8 extra stitches after you’re done working the chart? I don’t know how to guess at what you might be doing wrong, but are you sure you’re working the decreases correctly?

      • Yes, I have 4 repetitions of the chart (each 26 stitches long including the yo stitches) and 8 extra stitches at the end. I think it must be related to how I’m doing the decreases, but I can’t figure out what I might be doing wrong.

        I appreciate the help!

        • Hi Mackenzie – Did you figure this out? I’m the exact same issue with the decreases. I must also be doing something wrong with decreases. It would be helpful to know how many stitches we should have at the end of each decrease row.

          • Hi, Kristine — see my reply to Mackenzie, but I’m guessing it’s to do with not doing the double decreases correctly in the crown shaping chart. The chart will show you how many sts are removed from the equation along the way, and the remaining decrease rows have a count at each end. It should all make sense once you’ve got the decreases right!

        • Sorry Mackenzie, I missed your reply before. The crown shaping chart is worked over 22 sts, not 26. (The yarnovers are offset by decreases.) My best guess is you’re missing something with the double decreases, so I would reread that description and give it another try! Unless you’ve figured it out in the meantime …

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