Are you ready to knit a cabled hat?! In this tutorial we will go step by step through the FREE Antler Toque pattern. This is 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.
Knit a Cabled Toque in 6 Simple Steps
Ready your supplies:
- Download the FREE Antler Toque pattern. For more information on reading a multi-size pattern check out our pattern reading tutorial here.
- Yarn: 125 (150, 175, 200) yarsd worsted / aran weight yarn (in this tutorial we are using Malabrigo Rios in ‘water green’). For more information on yarns check out our yarn tutorial here.
- Needles: US #6/ 4mm 16″ circular needle, US #8/ 5mm 16″ circular needle and double pointed needles (DPNs) OR a long circular needle for the magic loop method.
- Notions: cable needle, stitch markers, darning needle.
- If you happen to have a surly bearded man around for modelling that’s great, but optional.
Choosing a size:
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. So if, for example, your head is 22″ you would choose the Adult S size, giving you 1″ of negative ease. 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)” from cast-on.
With your smaller needles, US #6 / 4mm, you are going to cast on the number of stitches for your size. Lots of cast on types will work, here I’ve used a long tail cast on, but a knitted cast on will work well too. If you have never cast on using circular needles before, check out our tutorial here for casting on to circular needles. Try to cast on a little bit loosely, as this hat has to go over a head.
Once you’ve got your stitches cast on you will place a marker (PM), letting you know where the beginning of your round is going forward. For more informations on markers and how to place them, check out our marker tutorial here. Now you are ready for ribbing! If knitting, purling, or ribbing are new to you check out our tutorials here: how to knit, how to purl, basic stitches. Once you have completed your ribbing your toque will look like this:
A little adjustment:
Adult S (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!
Time to cable!
All sizes: change to larger needles.
Set-up round: [k16, p3 (5, 3, 5)] around
To change to larger needles you will have the smaller needle (the #US 6 / 4mm needle) in your left hand. In your right hand you will pick up the larger needles (the US #8 / 5mm). Proceed by working the stitches off of the smaller needle onto the larger needle. At the end of this round you can put down the smaller needles and remember to re-place your beginning of round marker.
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 stitches for your size. If you are knitting the baby size, for example, you will work [k16, p3] around, the child size is [k15, p5] around etc.
Next you have a choice to make, will you use the chart, or the written instructions? Charts can seem intimidating, but if you haven’t used one before give it a try. Since this pattern has both a chart and written instruction you can easily verify you’ve got it right! For more information on reading a chart check out our chart tutorial here.
If using chart: Baby and Adult S use chart A, Child and Adult L use chart B.
Work chart rounds 1-6 a total of 5 (6, 8, 9) times, then proceed to decreases.
If using written instructions: proceed as follows:
Round 1: [k4, c4b, c4f, k4, p3 (5, 3, 5)] around
Rounds 2, 4, and 6: [k16, p3 (5, 3, 5)] around
Round 3: [k2, c4b, k4, c4f, k2, p3 (5, 3, 5)] around
Round 5: [c4b, k8, c4f, p3 (5, 3, 5)] around
Work rounds 1-6 a total of 5 (6, 8, 9) times, then proceed to decreases.
No matter which method you are using, you will be working the 16 stitch antler cable with 3 or 5 purl stitches in between.
The chart is read from right to left, bottom to top. Why do charts work that way? Because that is the way 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 on the circular needle it’s time to switch to double pointed needles (DPNs) or a long circular needle for the magic loop method. 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.
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. You will need to work your stitches onto at least 3 DPNs (or 4 if you prefer).
When I distribute my stitches on DPNs I like to put about 1/2 the stitches on the first needle and about 1/4 of the stitches 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.
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! Want a fancy 2-tone pom? Check out our advanced pom pom technique tutorial here.
More Antler goodies from Tin Can Knits