Let’s Knit an Antler Toque
Ready to knit a cabled hat?! In this tutorial we will go step by step through the Antler Toque, a great way to learn about cables, charts, and hat knitting in general. If you are looking for something a little simpler, try our free Barley hat pattern and tutorial from The Simple Collection.
Ready your supplies:
Step one, download the Antler Toque pattern, and gather your supplies. You will need:
- worsted weight yarn (in this tutorial we are using Malabrigo Rios in ‘water green’)
- a US #6/ 4mm 16″ circular needle
- a US #8/ 5mm 16″ circular needle and double pointed needles
- a cable needle
- a stitch marker
- a darning needle.
- If you happen to have a surly bearded man around, it helps for modeling once your hat is done, but that part is optional.
Choosing a size:
sizing: Baby (Child, Adult S, L)
To fit 16 (18, 21, 23)” head
While some patterns include ‘finished measurements’ you will note that the Antler Toque has ‘to fit’ measurements. That is because this hat has a little bit of negative ease built in for a proper fit (negative ease means the hat is a little smaller than your noggin, so the knitting stretches a little to fit snuggly). I’ll be knitting the child size.
Ready to cast on:
Using smaller needles, cast on 76 (84, 96, 106) sts, PM and join for working in the round. Work in 1×1 rib (k1, p1) for 1.5 (2, 2, 2.5)”.
So, start with your US #6 / 4mm needles and cast on. Remember to cast on a little bit loosely, this hat has to go over a head! I will be casting on 84 sts, the first size in brackets. If you have never cast on using circular needles before, check out our tutorial here. Once you have completed your ribbing your toque will look like this:
Next round, Adult S and L only: work in 1×1 rib to last 2 sts, k2tog [- (-, 95, 105) sts]
Why this little adjustment? Because the ribbing must be an even number, but the cable and purl repeat must be an odd number for these sizes, the Adult S and L need a little decrease. You’ll just have to trust us on this one!
All sizes, change to larger needles and work set up round:
[k16, p3 (5, 3, 5)] around
To change to larger needles you simply use the larger needle to start the next round, knitting off the smaller needle in your left hand, onto the larger needle in your right hand. Since I am working the child size, I will work [k16, p5] around.This is a 21 stitch repeat and I will have 4 cables. The square brackets tell you what your repeat is, and the round brackets indicate the number of purl sts for your size. If you are knitting the baby size you will work [k16, p3] around, the child size is [k15, p5] around etc.
Work antler cable pattern following chart A or written instructions.
All Rounds: [work 16-st antler cable, p3 (5, 3, 5)] around
Work rounds 1-6 of antler cable a total of 5 (6, 8, 9) times
You will be working the 16 stitch chart with 3 or 5 purl stitches in between, depending on your size. The chart is read from right to left, bottom to top. Why do charts work that way? Because that is the way your knitting goes!
For the child size round 1 will look like this: [k4, c4b, c4f, k4, p5] around
Never cabled before? No problem! Check out our full cable tutorial here. For the child size, I am working rounds 1-6 of the chart a total of 6 times.
Ready for decreases
The decreases for this hat are fairly straight forward written out line by line. If ssk and k2tog are new to you, click the links for a detailed explanation. For the Antler Toque decreases, just watch out for the cabled decreases. They are the c4bdec and c4fdec. You are decreasing and cabling at the same time.
When your stitches start to feel too stretched you can change to DPNs (double pointed needles). Why the DPNs you ask? You can knit things larger than the circumference of a circular needle, but not smaller, in order to work on the few stitches left in the decreases you will need DPNs. Alternatively you could use a long circular needle and the magic loop method.
Switching to DPNs is easy peasy, just the same as switching from the smaller needles to the larger. You will pick up your first DPN in your right hand, and your circular needle will be in your left. You will work the stitches off of the circular onto the DPN.
When I distribute my sts on DPNs I like to put about 1/2 the sts on the first needle and about 1/4 of the sts on each of the other 2 needles. This way I don’t need the BOR marker, I know the beginning of the round is at the start of the ‘full’ needle.
Break yarn leaving an 8” tail. Thread tail through remaining sts, pull tight and secure end. Weave in your ends and give your hat a block.
The biggest question is to pom pom or not to pom pom. Bodhi went wild with a hot pink faux fur number, but it’s really up to you. If you are looking for a tutorial on how to make a pom pom, we have that too!
More cabled knits from TCK