The February hats project (2018 FO-3)

The February hats project (2018 FO-3)

So about these hats I’m knitting this month. I mentioned before that my sister and her family — the Floridians — are going on a ski trip in March, and for Christmas I “gave” them each a promise to knit them a hat. The real fun of it was picking out a pattern with each of them, and yarn to go with, so they’re getting just what they ostensibly want. Of course, hats can be tricky for knitters to make (raise your hand if you like to make a hat and then find a head it fits rather than vice versa) and tricky for most people to wear. As in, what you like and what works nicely on your head aren’t always the same thing. So what seemed like a really simple idea is actually a bit of a high-wire act, especially given the built-in deadline!

I started with my brother-in-law’s, who opted for the Lancet hat above in slate-colored Quarry. In addition to already having the yarn in my stash, I started with this one because it would be the quickest, and having 1/4 done would feel good. I finished it Tuesday night — it was still slightly damp when I took this pic yesterday — and I’m about 40% dubious that it will fit and 60% sure it won’t. He is a tall man with a relatively small head for his size, and I think this will prove to be too tall as is, but too short to roll up the brim. That unfortunate in-between length. And with the nature of this particular chart, if there’s not a tweak that can be made with blocking, I’ll find it another head and him a new pattern! Cross your fingers for me that it magically fits.

Here’s the rest of the plan—

The February hats project (2018 FO-3)

SISTER: We happened to be texting the morning the Woolfolk Wool Elements collection hit my inbox, with at least three hats I thought she’d love, so I sent her the lookbook instantly and she settled on Første by Jessica Gore. I’ve been wanting to knit with Far since my friend Kristin first released it a few years ago, and she kindly sent me the beautiful little pattern book when she heard how much I loved it. So I’m eager to swatch and cast on! (And yes, I’m swatching for this one — I don’t have time for it to come out wrong.)

NEPHEW: Originally said he wanted a ski mask — you know, the full-face stocking cap with eye holes? As an alternative that I would actually be willing to make, I suggested Kristine Byrnes’ 1898 Hat, which I thought might satisfy his concerns about warmth — with its doubled earflaps — and he loved it. Far also comes in several shades of blue he loves, so he’s getting the same yarn as his mother, in this nice denim-ish blue. This one will be good to alternate with the cable hat at moments unsuitable for that.

NIECE: This one is the trickiest. I thought an Andean-style earflap hat would be cute for her, and she liked this simple Purl Soho version, the Top-Down Ear Flap Hat. I’ve promised to add a little bit of colorwork — both to cute it up a bit and to make it warmer, since it’s sport weight — and I’m debating between something really simple like lice stitch or adding a more prominent motif. So this is more hat, at a smaller gauge, with colorwork and tassels — and with its own fit challenges. (Too deep and it risks slipping down over her eyes while skiing, which is why I chose a top-down version, in case it needs tweaking.) Plus I need to find a soft yarn, in just the right canary yellow, that’s also suitable for colorwork. And finish it in time. No problem!


PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: January 2018










44 thoughts on “The February hats project (2018 FO-3)

    • It’s at the top of my list, and I’m thinking I might be able to get away with it if I use something really soft for the (ivory) colorwork, so it’s soft floats essentially lining the hat. She’s obsessed with soft things — stuffed animals, her faux fur coat, etc. So she has a pre-existing softness standard! lol

  1. You may want to take a look at the Thorpe hat for your niece…it was all over the internet several years ago. It also has ear flaps but is knit with worsted weight yarn…a faster knit than using DK weight…just a suggestion – good luck with your deadline!

  2. Great choices! Though it’s tough to squeeze a hat under a ski helmet…but pretty, functional, warm hats are a necessity once the helmet is removed (ugh, helmet hair!) for apres ski chow down at the lodge!

    • This! Thanks for the gently worded reminder that while actually skiing, everyone should be wearing a helmet. AND speaking the truth about the need for a good beanie for apres. :)

      • Also, the silver lining of this is that the beanies can be made from thinner yarn and still warm enough – just enough to get one from the condo to the ski hill and look good while sitting in the lodge!

  3. I am amidst the second knit of my husband’s Christmas hat. I chose Crag by Jared Flood, in Soot, to match the Delaware I made him the year before. No swatching of course because who has time for that for holiday gift knitting. Ignored the tiny voice in my head reminding me that with Brooklyn Tweed patterns I usually go down a needle size rather than up one size as I do with most other patterns to get gauge. Forgot to account for the bloom with soaking as the only other thing I’ve made with Shelter was a shawl (I know, I know! Gah!). You know where this is going. I made a giant hat. Giant Crag has found a lovely home. And now Craig’s Crag lies on the needles. Good thing Shelter is a gorgeous yarn, Crag is an awesome pattern that I now have memorized, and my hubby is supremely knit worthy. What fun, the journey of this craft. All of this to say that I now agree with swatching when one is pressed for time.

    • Oh this sounds familiar! I made my husband that hat, it came out huge. I ripped and re-knitted, that one came out perfect. But, it got lost. So then I made it a third time and that one gets worn daily in the winter!

      (I am wintilivi on ravelry if you’re interested in seeing how I modified it)

  4. The joys of being an auntie! I share them as well. I had a quick thought for if the first hat turns out too big – in the past I’ve added a lining just on the bottom brim part, and seems to help with making it fit smaller. The other thing I’ve done when a hat turned out too big was to lightly felt it, by hand, in the sink.
    Good luck on the rest of them! And by the way, I love love love your blog! Checking it is part of my breakfast routine. So thank you!

    • Agree about light hand fulling for too big hats! (In non-superwash wool, of course) Makes them more windproof, too!

  5. One more thing I just remembered, for Christmas I made my nephew a crocheted ear-flat style hat, similar to the last image, and for That one i sewed in a synthetic fleece lining (I cut up an old unused scarf), and it made the hat smaller and super warm, since the crochet left lots of gaps for air to come in. (I live in Montreal, we need lots of warm hats!)

  6. You are brave to knit hats without the victim at hand. My go-to hat for men is Jared Flood’s Turn a Square. I make it in Galway or Cascade 220 (not superwash). Always fits, always looks good!

    • I agree with you about Karen being brave to knit hats without victims at hand. My first hat failure was for my first granddaughter. She LOVES it just the way it is… a little large, and refuses to let me reknit it.

      I’ve not knit with Galway, yet. Despite my feelings about supporting Chinese trade, I like Cascade 220 (not superwash), too. I had read too many poor reviews of newer Cascade, but decided to give it a try anyway. Still pleased.

      Need to win the lottery to give all the great yarns a try. Getting too old to even begin to believe the prices of thing anymore. Shoot, some things are more than a decades old monthly salary was. YIKES!!!

      LOVE anything Jared Flood!!! He is AWESOME!!! And so is ‘Turn a Square’.

      Keep your nose and toes toasty!

  7. Thanks for reminding me of the hat I knit for my son for Christmas 2016 that turned out to be too big but not big enough to be slouchy! I’ll have to rip that out and get started on a smaller or different version. Your family is lucky to have you knit for them!

  8. I have done this for my family. It is extremely difficult to get the size right. You should go with a hat that is able to be turned up at any point. Also, don’t knit it in lace. That is not warm enough. Trust me. I have done that. I live in cold country.

  9. I just finished a Purl Bee Top Down Earflap Hat for my spouse (tassels strongly vetoed by recipient). I found it to be a fun and speedy knit. I recommend starting with a pinhole cast-on (I used Jen Arnall-Culliford’s video, which I found easier to follow than the 2 different sets of written instructions I have in various books!).

    My spouse did not love the flimsy feeling of the rolled brim and curl-inclined stockinette flaps, so I switched to garter stitch about 1.5” before the brim, then did an I-cord bind-off for the edges between the flaps. Has a similar look to the rolled edge, but feels more stable. After finishing the flaps (also in garter), I added applied I-cord to their edges and joined it with the bound-off i-cord edge for a single seamless edge treatment. At the last minute, spouse also vetoed the i-cord ties, but I think they would have looked quite nice with the edging. And I think the edging would have looked equally nice if I’d stuck to stockinette.

    I found that the hat looks good even if the crown is a bit taller than the recipient’s head. The mitered increases give it some body and a nice rounded rectangle shape on top. It doesn’t slip down on my spouse (I made sure to have some negative ease at the brim, and the I-cord edge is nicely grippy).

    If you can’t find a yarn in the right color that’s also the right softness for a young person with itchy hat aversion, I heartily endorse the suggestions to add a lining in a more recipient-friendly fabric (knit or fleece tho, obvs). You can line the whole hat, or just the “headband”/earflaps area. Techknitter has good instructions:

      • That’s a clever idea! I hadn’t grasped that you meant to do all over stranding rather than a band or something. Blips of white against canary yellow would be adorable!

        It’s so hard to know what someone with a “soft” orientation will deem to be soft enough. I feel like it depends on whether their standard for soft is fuzzy-oriented or silky/smooth-oriented. Synthetic plush, unfortunately, seems to set a high silky/smooth bar that natural wool can’t really clear (superwash seems to help, maybe because it smooths down those wool scales?) With people of that persuasion, I’ve found that sometimes only cotton, silk, or rayon will do (but that would be, ahem, *challenging* to strand along with wool!).

        Like you mention above, you could also thrum the hat (I think it might be awkward to thrum just the earflaps… they aren’t that substantial on their own) and if you *really* want soft and warm, nothing beats thrumming with silk hankies!

        Anyway, good luck! I look forward to seeing how it all comes out!

  10. I enjoy your blog so much and this one about hats really hits home. I have knitted so many hats as gifts for family and have a quite splotchy success yield. I love knitting different hat patterns but don’t always love how they fit the recipient. Just last year I determined that I will knit a hat, try to fit it for the intended and if it is not as hoped, gift it to the homeless through a local charity. That way I get my itch to work the pattern out, have a try-on product and a destination no matter how it works out. Do I have to admit it aids in the rejection factor – surely it will fit someone’s head!!

  11. Your nephew is one lucky boy. I have never knitted the full 1989 hat but I have knit it in headband form many times and it comes out so nice and squishy and most importantly warm. But for my head (for the headband) I have to take a few garter ridges out from the back of the hat to make it fit me.
    I don’t know if the lack of top of the hat makes it feel a bit looser but thats what I needed.

    Good luck with your hat knitting.

  12. That’s going to be such a beautiful collection of hats! I just finished an 1898 Hat last month – it was such an interesting construction, and so much fun to make. The band is so satisfyingly cushy and great for keeping out the wind (so I’m told!).
    I did modify the band slightly by adding some extra rows to the earflaps. Mine looked a little pointy when I followed the pattern as written, and the added rows curved them out a little more. As it happens, I also needed the extra circumference so it worked out well!

  13. Yep, they are going to be perfect! Lucky people. (And I agree that helmets must be worn while skiing, so these hats just have to look great while they are eating cookies and sitting by the fire.)

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  19. How old is your nephew? I want to knit the 1898 hat for my 4 year old grandson, but guessing on exact sizing modifications. I have knit so many hats & they tend to end up with other than the intended recipient. Yet to find one that looks good on *me*!

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