Fringe Hatalong No. 6: 1898 Hat by Kristine Byrnes

Fringe Hatalong No. 6: 1898 Hat by Kristine Byrnes (free pattern)

Have you ever heard of Christmas at Sea? When DG and I were manning our Fringe Supply Co. booth at Stitches South last spring — back when the Fringe Hatalong Series was brand new — I kept seeing him chatting up these two really cool women who had a nearby booth. Their sign said “Seamen’s Church Institute” and I couldn’t figure out what that could mean, much less what it had to do with knitting. Well, it turned out to be a really interesting story! The Seamen’s Church Institute is a centuries-old advocacy organization for mariners — all those men (mostly) who work on the countless cargo ships that make our way of life possible. It’s a life of dangers and difficulties most of us have never thought about, and SCI provides job training and free legal aid and interfaith chaplains and … Christmas gifts! Every year every mariner who enters a US port gets a present, many of which contain hand-knitted hats and socks made by who-knows-how-many charitable knitters. To that end, SCI has developed knitting and crochet patterns that they know to be what the mariners need and want — free of worksite hazards like pompoms! — including this really cool earflap hat called the 1898 Hat (the year Christmas at Sea began), which was the result of a design contest a couple of years ago sparked by the men’s repeated request for ear flaps.

I loved the story almost as much as I love the hat! And since I had planned to feature a hat charity with each installment of the Hatalong, I was extra thrilled that this one was built in. Thankfully Paige, who runs the Christmas at Sea program, was on board (no pun intended) with the idea of featuring it as a Hatalong pattern.

You can download the free 1898 Hat pattern here.

Backstory aside, there’s a lot to love about this hat – and it’s a great gift hat, whether you give yours to a mariner or a loved one: it’s perfectly unisex, despite its origins; incredibly warm with its double-thick brim and flaps; and is constructed in an intriguing way that will make it fun to knit! You might be thinking it’s all short rows and I-cord, but nope — none of that! It starts with the garter-stitch headband part, which is knitted sideways. The earflaps are shaped with simple increases instead of short rows, and a slipped-stitch ridge along the center of the piece becomes that beautiful thick lower edge once the band is folded in half. It’s brilliant! So that gets folded together, you pick up stitches all the way around, and from that point upwards it’s a basic stockinette cap.

If you do want to donate yours (or one of yours) (I’m guessing there will be lots of multiples with this one) make sure you read through the Christmas at Sea guidelines with regard to yarn and color choice, and where to send it. And if you don’t donate your hat, I hope you’ll consider making a small donation of some kind — from money to toiletries — as a thank-you to SCI for the great free pattern.

Remember to share your progress with hashtag #fringehatalong wherever you post. Also be sure to fave/queue the pattern at Ravelry. I’ll be on the lookout for photos, and will be answering questions posted in the comments below. (There’s no way to guarantee I’ll see it if you post it elsewhere.)

I can’t wait to see your hats!


PREVIOUSLY in Fringe Hatalong Series: No. 5 Seathwaite by Kate Gagnon Osborn

50 thoughts on “Fringe Hatalong No. 6: 1898 Hat by Kristine Byrnes

  1. Awesome choice! As someone who studied and worked in the maritime industry, I appreciate SCI very much for all they do.
    Thank you for all the Hatalongs this year. Its been so much fun participating. Happy Holidays!

  2. Karen, I signed up on Ravelry for the pattern, queued and faved it. I also added the tag. What I cannot find is your group or forum on Ravelry. OR do you only house it here on your site? Thanks

  3. I love this. I love it not so much for the hat – which is great – but also for an awareness of an organization that I did not know existed. I look forward to knitting and maybe sewing some gifts to make these special individual’s holidays warmer and nicer.

  4. LOVE that! just trying to figure out if I have time to knit up a couple for the holidays – great design!

  5. Let me just say that I love and look forward to your postings! Having just discovered Fringe Association I now look forward to it everyday. As Debbie mentioned above, how great to learn of an organization I had never heard of. Hoping I can find time for this, but if not this year then next for sure.

  6. Thank you for letting people know about SCI, Karen! Our knitting retreat made this very pattern and it is great fun. Some of us toured SCI at the Port of Oakland and I was impressed by their good work. I had just read Ninety Perecent of Everything by Rose George. It is about the container shipping industry and how we all benefit from people who do his difficult work. A great read that dovetails nicely with your slow fashion, make it/mend it. The book and the tour opened my eyes. Thanks again for this pattern and post!

  7. What a way to end a wonderful year of hatalongs! And what a great group! I live in a place where cargo ships go by everyday from around the world but never thought about the needs of the crews. Ok… now to tuck into my yarn stash – can’t wait to see how that beautiful brim works.

  8. Fantastic! What great charities there are out in the world. Perfect, darling, functional pattern!

  9. I have several “goofy” ear flap hat fav’d on Ravelry – this is a beauty. Nice article on this group in a recent Interweave Knits. Thanks

  10. Oh my, I absolutely love this month’s choice! Will definitely participate. I instantly pictured the hat with a big tassel, so I had to chuckle when I came across the phrase about “worksite hazards”… tassels would probably be a hazard for those awesome guys.

  11. I have already knitted one of these hats for my son and my husband has requested one for him. Really a straight forward knit and a warm hat! Love your choice.

    • I love this hat and was so excited to get started on it. Have my yarn and sat down last night to get started but am very co fused by the set up row and row A And B. Is it correct that the set up row only has you slipping stitches and only 7 stitches total? What about the other 14 stitches? Then in row A and B t looks like you slip the same stickers as you did before. Won’t that leave a big float?

      Mary, Since you’ve knit the hat I was hoping you could help.

      Appreciate your assistance. Cheryl

    • Hi
      I need help with the pattern set up and rows A and B. The set up row appears to only slip stitches and only 7 stitches. What did you do with the other 20 stitches? Then in row A and B the same stitches ar slipped as in the set up row. Doesn’t that leave a huge float? Would appreciate your help.

      • Cheryl– you may have gotten an answer already, but just in case! I’m glad I’m not the only one who got stuck with this. I read over it about 49495 times and finally realized that it’s “slip 1,” not “slip 11.” Hope that helps!

        Now back to my knitting… And hoping I’ve got it figured it this time. ;-)


        • Thanks so much. I was so stumped I ended up going to my local store for help and was so embarrassed when I found out. The l and 1 looked the same. Sveral others at the store read it as I did. I’m on my way with the pattern now though.

  12. Really original construction and clever design, as too often with hand knit hats, the ears are not protected enough. I love it, thanks for sharing this pattern with us.

  13. One of my knitting friends has made dozens of these over the last couple years. It’s an excellent hat pattern. We live in a Great Lakes port so lots of sailors come though. This is a great thing to make for the guys that steer those great big freighters up the river to the docks and make me late for work sometimes. I’ll be casting one on this weekend. What a great idea!

    Hannah @ 8:43, make tassels for the non-mariner hats. Love that idea.

  14. Great to see these being spotlighted. Your comment about the lack of pompom made me laugh out loud. I work at sea and it is soo true. Admittedly I work on a smaller ship than most of these seafarers that these will be given to but the danger factor is still there.
    Last Winter when I was on ship during lay up I did a LOT of hat knitting and tried out their crocheted seafarers hat which produced a lovely and very practical hat. I had to make another for one of the guys I was working with at the time.
    Looks like I might have just found me next pattern, I cant wait to see how the earflaps work out. and if I read the description correctly I might stop the pattern a bit early as a head band with ear flaps…

    • LOL. That looks like someone is going to make 1898 hats, and @ one a week that would take 36.5 years! Guess I’d better get started… #8-D

  15. I really love this story, and this group, Karen. You write so well … it is always such a pleasure to stop in here.

    I like the hat, too. One of my brothers is getting ready to sail (by himself!!) around the world. I should make one of these for him….

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  17. LOVE this pattern. I’m going to start one next week as my dad’s Christmas present! Thank you for sharing it and it’s story with us.

  18. I’m late in reading this blog post. Sometimes in busy times I save your posts to read later and this is exactly what happened with this one. I’m planning on joining local groups and knitting mitts and hats for the impending Syrian refugees arriving shortly in our country. I believe this hat pattern with ear coverage will fit the bill perfectly for people who have yet to experience our cold Canadian winters. Have to say I’m quite excited to start one towards my contribution to a worthy cause! Thank you!

  19. So I finished the headband no problem, but for some reason the decrease instructions are confusing me. The pattern says: Knit 10 k2tog* repeat from * to end of round (77 st). Knit 2 rounds.
    I am confused about that “knit 2 rounds” part. Do I knit the decrease round twice? Or do I knit the decrease round then knit 2 regular rounds? Thanks!
    Can’t wait to finish this as a Christmas present for my dad – he loves sailing!

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  21. I have made 2 of these hats and I LOVE the pattern. I am fascinated by the “engineering” of the flaps –the center slipped stitches cause the bottom of the flap to cup around the ear and close off the usual gaps. Now that my daughter and husband have hats, I am planning to make hats for SCI, to say “Thanks for sharing.” A hint to those starting their first 1898 hat– watch the video with explanations of how it is constructed. A second hint – it is very easy to keep track of the rows in your band because every other row has those 3 slipped stitches in the middle. The slipped stitches cause a series of bars on the wrong side that make counting rows simple — 19 rows of patterns make 9 bars, and you can keep track of the sections by just tying a loop of scrap of yarn through the sets of bars for each section.

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  24. Where is the video please. I am SO in need! Thank you. Have finally found the perfect ear flap cap!!

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  28. I tried to download 1898 hat pattern on seafarers website via ravelry and your link and got just a black screen – has the opportunity to download passed.

  29. Solution found – unable to download 1898 hat pattern as my query at 3:39 pm. My search engine was Safari. I opened Google Chrome and repeated search and amazing downloaded and printed the pattern with ease. I now look forward to knitting this cleverly designed hat. Thank you.
    Kind regards

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