Let’s Knit a Hat
If you are knitting your way through the collection with us you have already completed (or nearly completed) your first scarf or blanket! Next we will make a hat (or a cowl). While knitting the Barley Hat you will learn to knit in the round on circular and double pointed needles, and how to decrease.
If you prefer to make the Oats Cowl, all the same rules apply, except you get to skip the decreasing and the double points.
So download the pattern for Barley (or Oats) and let’s get started! Following the directions for your size and using your 4mm 16″ circular needle cast on 66 (72, 78, 84, 90, 96) stitches, place marker, and join for working in the round. Don’t know how to cast on? Check out the tutorial here.
::: Ribbing :::
Now you are working in the round! Following the directions for your size work in 1×1 ribbing for 1 (1, 1, 1.5, 1.5, 2) inches. You will notice that you are knitting the knit stitches and purling the purl stitches creating a ‘stack’ of knits and a ‘ditch’ of purls. Measure your knitting from the bottom of the cast on.
::: Body :::
You will now be changing to larger needles AND working the set up round. To change to larger needles simply ignore the right hand needle you have been working with and start working the next round with the larger needle.
The set-up round establishes the garter section of the hat (which is 1/3 of the total sts) and the stockinette section (which is the other 2/3). Following the directions for your size k22 (24, 26, 28, 30, 32), place marker (it helps if this marker is a different colour from the beginning of round marker) knit to end of round The garter stitch portion of the hat will be between the beginning of round marker and the second marker.
Now you will be working the body of the hat.
Round 1: purl to marker, knit to end
Round 2: knit
Repeat these two rounds until your hat measures 4 (5, 6, 7, 8, 8.5) inches from cast on for a snug beanie style hat. For a slouchier hat, work in pattern for an additional inch or so before proceeding to decrease.
::: Decreases :::
To shape the crown of the hat you will work a series of decrease rounds. At first you can work these on your circular needle, but soon it will become too tight (your stitches won’t reach all the way around the needle) and you will have to switch to double pointed needles.
Set up round: k9 (10, 11, 12, 13, 14), k2tog, PM around
This means you are knitting 9 (10, 11, 12, 13, 14) stitches then knitting 2 stitches together, then placing a marker. These markers should be a different colour from the beginning of round marker to avoid confusion.
What a k2tog looks like in the purl section:
Now that your work is all set up, you can continue with your decreases as follows (remembering that you will have to switch to double pointed needles when you have too few stitches to comfortably go around your circular needle):
Round 1: purl to second marker, knit to end
Round 2: (knit to 2 stitches before marker, k2tog) around
Repeat rounds 1-2 two more times. There are now 42 (48, 54, 60, 66, 72) sts total, which is 7 (8, 9, 10, 11, 12) sts per section.
::: Switching to Double Pointed Needles :::
Changing to double pointed needles is a lot like switching to the larger needles, like we did after working the ribbing. You simply work your stitches with a new needle instead of your current right hand needle. The difference with DPN’s is that you will be using 4 needles (sometimes people use 5 but that’s a story for another day). Your knitting will be distributed over 3 needles and you will use the 4th to knit with. Read ALL of the instructions for changing to double points before you proceed.
::: A note on distributing your stitches and markers :::
You can put any number of stitches on any of your double pointed needles but I have a favourite way to do it for this hat. You will work the garter section on the first needle, pick up your second needle and work 1/2 the stockinette section, pick up your third needle and work the last 1/2 of the stockinette section – this will bring you back to the beginning. This way you will have a marker in the middle of each needle and you can treat the end of each needle as if it had a marker on it (you can’t actually place a marker on the end of each needle because it would just fall off). The beginning of your round is at the beginning of the garter section.
Next round: [purl to 2 stitches before the marker, p2tog] twice, [knit to 2 stitches before the marker, k2tog] to end.
Next round: (knit to 2 stitches before marker, k2tog)
Repeat these last 2 rounds until you have 6 sts left. Finish your hat as follows:
::: Finishing :::
1. Cut your yarn, leaving a 6 inch tail.
2. Weave the tail through the remaining 6 live stitches.
3. Move the tail to the inside of the hat and secure it.
This tutorial is part of The Simple Collection – our 100% free learn-to-knit series. Check out the 8 fabulous free patterns sized from baby to big, and get started making modern seamless knits for the entire family! Like our work? Get our email updates and we will let you know about new patterns, tutorials, and events.