This is a step-by-step tutorial on the Beloved Bonnet pattern. You can find the pattern on our website or Ravelry. The pattern lists the supplies you need; yarn, needles, stitch markers, and what gauge to achieve, but to be honest, matching gauge precisely isn’t SUPER important in this case, because babies grow very quickly!
Knitting along? For this tutorial, I made the Beloved bonnet in Swift Yarns Cozy DK in ‘golden panda’.
beloved bonnet construction
The beloved bonnet is knit from side to side; beginning with one i-cord tie, and ending with another. When Neve was a baby, I found the ties were just perfect for keeping a cozy hat on a wriggly little bean who would attempt to tear off every hat and throw it under the buggy, just when I wasn’t looking.
we LOVE this knit!
We designed this pattern in DK weight yarn, but the pattern is very flexible! Alexa made several of the samples using two strands of sock yarn held together, which make a fabric a tiny bit heavier than DK, but it still works. We explain how to knit with 2 strands held together here. You can make Beloved in worsted / aran weight on 5mm needles if you prefer, it will just come out a little larger.
how to work an i-cord
The bonnet begins with the i-cord on one side; see our tutorial on how to work an i-cord.
Once the i-cord is done, you start working back and forth in rows, working one side of the bonnet by increasing two stitches on every right-side row, along the centreline of the piece. This pattern uses both the lifted-bar m1 – make one increase, and the kfb – knit front & back increase.
how to work an i-cord edge
Throughout the bonnet, you always slip the first two stitches of each row. For this pattern you are always going to slip your stitches as if to purl with yarn at the WS of the work. This means if you are working a WS row the yarn will at the front of your work, and if you are working a RS row the yarn will be at the back of your work.
Slipping these stitches creates an i-cord edge. It’s not a genuine i-cord, but it has a similar look. The slipped stitches mean that only half as many rows worked along the edges as are worked in the rest of the piece, which causes the edges to ‘pull in’ in a tidy way that frames the face.
how to work short rows
Once the i-cord and initial increase section is complete, you begin a second method of shaping, which utilizes German short rows.
Does the mention of short rows make you want to throw your knitting aside in disgust?
If so, stop, breathe, and let me walk you through this simple technique! I guarantee if you follow our clear instructions you’ll be fine! Your bonnet is going to be adorable!
Short row 1 (RS): sl2, knit to 1 st before marker, kfb, SM,
kfb, knit to last 10 sts, turn work [2 sts inc]
Short row 2 (WS): with yarn in front (on the WS of the
work), slip the first st from the LH needle to the RH
needle (the last st worked). Next, pass working yarn over
the RH needle to the back of the work, then between the
needle tips, back to the front of the work, ready to purl.
This creates an extra loop over the needle. Purl to last 10
sts, k7, p3
Row 3 (RS): sl2, knit to 1 st before marker, kfb, SM, kfb,
knit to the ‘doubled’ stitch, work k2tog to combine the
stitch with the extra loop over the needle, then k10 to
end [2 sts inc]
Row 4 (WS): sl2, p1, k7, purl to last 10 sts, k7, p3
The steps in detail:
Short row 1 (RS): sl2, knit to 1 st before marker, kfb, SM, kfb, knit to last 10 sts, turn work [2 sts inc]
To work the Short row 1, follow the instruction, working across the row to the last 10 stitches. Instead of knitting to the end of the row, as you would normally, STOP. Then turn the work, so that the WS of the bonnet is facing you, and you’re ready to work Short row 2.
Short row 2 (WS): with yarn in front (on the WS of the work), slip the first st from the LH needle to the RH needle (the last st worked). Next, pass working yarn over the RH needle to the back of the work, then between the needle tips, back to the front of the work, ready to purl. This creates an extra loop over the needle. Purl to last 10 sts, k7, p3
So you slip the first stitch without working it. Then you wrap the working yarn over the needle to the back (RS), then back to the front (WS). Then you work the wrong-side row. Now you’re ready for the next RS row!
Short Row 3 (RS): sl2, knit to 1 st before marker, kfb, SM, kfb, knit to the ‘doubled’ stitch, work k2tog to combine the stitch with the extra loop over the needle, then k10 to end [2 sts inc]
So you continue working in pattern, but when you get to the point where you turned, you’ll see you have a ‘doubled’ stitch. You simply k2tog to combine the stitch with the extra loop, then knit to end!
Short Row 4 (WS): sl2, p1, k7, purl to last 10 sts, k7, p3
Row 4 is just a regular WS row, worked all the way across.
As you continue, the roughly diamond-shaped piece gets larger and larger. Work these rows as many times as stated for your size.
You have reached the centreline of the head, and will switch to decreasing along the central spine. You’re at the half way point, congratulations! Each row will get faster and faster from here to the end!
decrease section with short rows
The short-row shaping which creates a section of fabric along the back of neck which is has half as many rows than the remainder, so it pulls in to cup the back of the head. The pattern of short-rows continues, but at the centreline, either side of the marker, you will decrease instead of increasing.
In order to match the same slightly bumpy pattern created along the increase line, I worked a slip stitch on the decrease side.
So those are all of the complicated pieces of this hat! As you continue to decrease, you eventually come to the point where the stockinette panel of the bonnet is entirely decreased to nothing. A central double decrease, sl2-k1-p2sso, is used at that point to maintain the vertical detail between garter stitch panels.
end with another i-cord
When there are only 4 stitches left, you finish in the same way that you began, with an i-cord! Make it the same length as you did for the other side, weave in the two ends, and voila, you’ve got the cutest little bonnet!
Your mileage may vary, but I found there was a period in babyhood in which my children would rip off each and every type of hat that I tried to put on them. Frustrating! For both Max and Neve, this behaviour stretched over a winter, and I desperately wanted to keep their little ears and heads warm against the bitter cold and rain on chilly Edinburgh days.
I found the i-cord ties very useful. If you’d prefer not to work ties, you could start with a stubby 3-4 rows of i-cord and then attach a cute pom pom on each side! Or add a pom pom on top, can there be too many pom poms?