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Ready to Learn Something New? We’ve Got a Hat for That!

December 31, 2020
yellow and teal colourwork hat

Another year is ending, and a new one is about to begin. New Year’s is my very favourite time of year because I LOVE making lists and goals — and dreaming about all that might be in the coming year. It’s fitting, then, that our theme for Tin Can Knits right now is Next Stitches, as we continue to learn and to grow, both in knitting and in life.

If your New Year’s goals include some next stitches, too — perhaps learning a new knitting stitch or technique — well, we’ve got a hat for that! Hats are the perfect little projects for practicing new skills. Here are some of our favourites…

Embers hat pattern

Learn to knit cables

Our free Antler toque and our free Northward hat are perfect for learning cables! We also have an in-depth Antler toque tutorial and an in-depth Northward hat tutorial to support you along the way, stitch by stitch. Once you’ve caught the cable bug, you’ll want to check out all our cable designs!

Antler Hat pattern
Ayanda is wearing an Antler toque. Download the free Antler hat pattern now!
Northward Hat Pattern
The free Northward hat pattern knits up quickly in chunky yarn, and it uses the most basic of basic cables, which is ideal for beginners.

Learn to marl

Marl is definitely a verb, right?! Combining yarns to create marled fabric effects is very easy and very joyful. The Snap hat is perfect for playing with this technique, and we also have a couple of useful tutorials that cover how to knit marled projects by holding yarns together and how to knit with more than one yarn strand.

Snap hat pattern
snap hat pattern

Learn to knit lace

The simple and satisfying lace pattern for our Whitecaps hat is both charted and written out, so you can compare notes! Or if you prefer, the sweet Penny hat has a delicate lace pattern with a beautiful crown detail. If it’s your first time working with lace, you’ll definitely want to check out our posts on How to Knit Lace and How to Read a Knitting Chart.

whitecaps hat pattern

Learn to knit slip-stitch colourwork

Slip-stitch colourwork is an easy, effective method for forming colourwork patterns in which you’re only working with a single colour in any given round. You can learn this technique by knitting our popular Bumble beanie. It’s a crowd pleaser, and can be worked and worn several different ways.

bumble beanie pattern

The gallery below shows just how many different effects can be created using the same slipped-stitch pattern by working the project in a single colour, in one-round stripes, or in two-round stripes. You may even prefer the ‘wrong side’ of the hat, which has a very cool texture, too!

Learn to knit stranded colourwork

Is this the year you’ll learn, re-learn, or perfect your stranded colourwork skills? We suggest starting with something easy peasy, with fairly short floats. We love our new Embers hat pattern for this, but there are a number of others that fit the bill too; the Cartography hat and the Prism hat are excellent alternative choices!

Cartography hat pattern
The Cartography hat looks fabulous in a simple two-tone palette like this one.

Obviously I just can’t hold back my love of our colourwork hat patterns! Here are a couple more I’d suggest if you’re learning (or want more practice) stranded colourwork: the Mountain Mist hat, Twisp hat, Fleet hat, and Ridgeline hat and mittens.

Learn to design and select colours for stranded colourwork patterns

I had to throw this suggestion in for those ‘extra credit’ kids looking for their next-level skill. (You know who you are!)

Anthology pattern
Using the free Anthology hat and cowl pattern, you can design any number of lovely colourwork designs!
If you’re looking to deepen your skills in selecting and applying colour to stranded motifs, check out our in-depth tutorial. Our Week Of Colour series, which breaks the problem down into a set of of colour strategies, may also be useful.

The free Anthology hat and cowl pattern is a recipe that allows you to use the yarn weight you prefer (sock, DK, or worsted/aran) and select patterns of your choice to design a unique hat, cowl, or tubular cowl. Read our tips on applying colour to stranded colourwork motifs, and then get right to the joyful experimentation!

Strange Brew Yoke Recipe pattern
Soon after you design your first colourwork hat, I’d be willing to bet that you’ll move on to designing a colourwork yoke sweater using our Strange Brew recipe pattern!

Learn to knit short rows

The Beloved bonnet uses short rows to create its perfect face-framing fit. Knitting this joyful little number would be a gentle introduction to short rows, and we have an in-depth Beloved Bonnet tutorial to guide you through, step by step.

Beloved Bonnet Pattern
Beloved bonnet tutorial

Learn to knit twist stitch patterns

Twist stitch patterns are essentially teeny-tiny cables, in which the stitches are worked out-of-order and move across the fabric to form beautiful patterns. Knit the Sitka Spruce hat and mittens pattern to learn this beautiful technique.

Sitka Spruce Pattern

Learn to knit smocking stitch

What’s smocking stitch?! I know, this one is a bit obscure! Smocking stitch looks a little like cables, but it is worked in a different way. It looks intricate, but it’s actually not too tough. Check out our smocking stitch tutorial and then hop over to get the Gather hat and cowl pattern. It’s a really fun little knit!

Gather Hat Pattern

Learn to knit stripes

Am I stretching now? Stripes are pretty easy to figure out for oneself, but Alexa and I DO love to stripe things up. The Prism hat is an excellent pattern for this; it includes a striped hat, a slip-stitch dotted hat, AND a stranded colourwork triangles hat. You can practice all three techniques with this one, single pattern!

Prism Hat pattern
There are so many ways to work with stripes! These Prism hats are knit with delicate, little, single-round stripes.

Next Stitches

As I mentioned, the theme for Alexa and me this year is Next Stitches (we wrote about our personal and knitting goals back in September). Now, as the year turns over, my personal focus areas remain the same: centering antiracism, improving my Español, and being more present with my kids… with a side of trying to buy more local and organic food. On the fibre side, I’m considering a spinning project to explore the different properties of different British sheep breeds, continuing to play with colour, and very much looking forward to my new Electric Eel Wheel arriving this spring! Alexa and I are also designing up a storm, so stay tuned!

We’d love to hear about your 2021 goals, too, so be sure to leave us a comment!

~ Em

A laid flat sweater yoke with a child's hand
The Embers sweater I’m working on for my little Neve matches her nails!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Montse permalink
    January 19, 2021 2:00 am

    Para autodidactas como yo vuestra página es una gran ayuda, gracias y seguid proporcionando tutoriales estupendos. Un abrazo desde España.

  2. January 14, 2021 11:24 am

    What a great resource! Only problem…when will I have time to add another project? Which one will I choose!? What yarn in my stash is just begging to become a hat? Is there a new to me process? haha! Thank you for all you do for knitters, new and experienced alike!

  3. January 14, 2021 9:27 am

    Thanks for that page.
    Exactly what I needed. A smalll project for a new technics. One of my goal this year is is to learn and incorporate fair isle in a pattern.

  4. Kathi permalink
    January 14, 2021 8:52 am

    w00t! on the EEW. I have the nano and can’t wait for the big one to arrive this spring. so much easier to control the speed which makes spinning spider spit so freaking easy.

  5. irmoknitter permalink
    January 14, 2021 7:08 am

    Awesome collection, for everyone and every skill level.

  6. December 31, 2020 7:54 am

    This is such a brilliant collection – going to share it with all of my #eduknitnight crew, many of whom are looking for next steps this year! And I’ll be incredibly excited to hear about the Electric Eel Wheel adventures. Another friend is waiting for his as well.

    Thank you for always making your process transparent. As a teacher, I find it incredibly helpful to have examples to show when asking my students to do the same in their procedural writing!

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