Friday, April 06, 2007

Flat knit Hats and other Non-Half Dome Hats

It’s some times easy to forget, that half dome hats aren’t the only style of knit hats. They tend to dominate the knit hat scene with the endless variation they present. They are easy to knit in the rounds or flat, suitable to many different yarns, attractive and are what many think of when you say “knit hat”. But there are other hats, both flat knit hats and other shapes that have possibilities that knitters should explore.

Diagonal hats, look similar to half dome hats, and are very easy to knit .

You cast on a number of stitches --your yarn/needles/gauge-- will determine how many-- you’ll want enough to make about 9 inches of knitting. (7 inches for a child’ hat)
Row 1: K1, K2tog, Knit till 3 stitches remain, make 1 (YO) K3.
Row 2: knit every stitch.
Repeat these 2 rows till selvage edge is about equal to desired length, (18 to 21 inches) bind off.
Sew cast on edge to bound off edge.
(Knitters who want to build their skills might want to consider a provisional cast, and grafted bind off, to make a seamless hat)
Make a cord (I like to crochet a cord, twisted cord is an option, as is a knit I-cord)about 24 or so inches long.
Thread cord through YO ‘eyelets’ on top edge. Pull snug, tie cord in bow.
Finish end of cord with pompoms or tassels.

Variation 1
Instead of garter, (knit every row) work in sets of standard and reverse stocking knit stitch
(5 to 7 rows of standard stocking knit, followed by an equal number of rows of reversed stocking knit stitch.) Repeat till desired length. These alternate sets of stitches will create ridges and valley’s.
A bit a planning for this hat goes a long way too.. Make the first ‘set’ of stocking knit of ½ the desired number of rows, end with half repeat too, and hid the seam in the inward curving valley of stocking knit.
--Refine the seam by using a provisional cast on, grafted bind off for fine detail.
Sew cast on edge to bound off edge.
Make 24 inches of cording. (see above)
Thread cord through YO ‘eyelets’ on top edge. Pull snug, tie cord in bow.
Finish end of cord with pompoms or tassels.
Variation 2
Work in sets of standard and reverse stocking knit stitch.
On increase edge, work short rows, (so ‘brim edge of ridge or valley’ has 6 rows of stocking knit and crown edge has just 2 rows of stocking/reverse stocking knit. ) Use a ‘closed’ make 1(not YO)
(Don’t forget to correct decrease/increases to maintain stitch even stitch count !)
Repeat till desired length.
Gather top edge and pull into a tight eyelet, (drawstring style)
Sew cast on edge to bound off edge--or improve with a provisional cast/grafted bind off.
You can see an example of this style hat --the SWS spiral hat (link in free pattern)
Flat knit hats with decorative seams are another option.
The simplest is a rectangle-cast on enough stitches to equal about ½ the width of desired hat. Knit till you have a rectangle about 2 times as long as desired length.

To Finish, folded in half, sew selvage edges together. . (the cast on edge and bound off edge form brim.) The corners of the top edge can be finished with tassels.

Slightly more interesting are flat rectangles that are folded and the top edge (crown) is sewn into 3 or more pleats.
The Cast on is equal to desired diameter, and the hat is knit to desired length (7 or more inches)
The hat is finished by folding into pleats, and top edge (bound off edge) of the pleats are sewn before sewing the seam--
3 pleats will make a “tricorned hat”
4 Pleats will make a + for the crown,
5 pleats will make a star design.
6 pleats will make an different star design.
The number of pleats will be limited by the number of stitches.

Hats knit from chunky yarns might only readily fold into 3 or 4 pleats.
Hats knit at a fine gauge, with fingering weight yarns, have the potential for as many as 8 pleats. The actual number of pleats is a function of the choices you make!

The addition of lace or patterning can make this simple style very attractive hat design.
This style is also suitable for 4 or more ‘panels’ --each a different color- and simple straight line intarsia.

Pleated flat knit hats are an under utilized design. This style works well with many variations,(cabled edge, Intarsia, felted.)
And this hat style is suitable for both men and women. These variation are all made from simple rectangles, but short row shaping of crown or side panels are possibilities, and this style hat would be very pretty in a number of slip stitch patterns.

There are also many style of hats that are knit in the round besides half domes!

The first that comes to mind is the beret
(still on my to-do list, but there are many patterns available for berets)

Pill box hats are another interesting style. Round pill box styles are traditionally feminine, but Nicky Epstein, in The Knitted Hat book, (sadly now, out of print) provides a pattern for a plaid ‘Elmer Fudd hat’ This flat top hat is a very masculine version of a pill box--and its double layer design makes for a warm hat too!

Complex hats like knitted lace hats are vastly largely ignored, inspite of Anne Modisett wonderful creative knit lace hats--there are many patterns available on her web page.

Elizabeth Zimmerman created some interesting hats, with uncommon shapes that work well, too.
While the human head is sort of spherical, (and in theory a half dome is perfect for covering half of the round ball of head) in reality, for warmth, most of us want hats that covers the ears and come right down to the back of the neck (but leave the face and eyes uncovered. )
EZ’s solution was a Zig Zag shaped hats that framed the face, covered the ears, and fits snuggly at the back of the neck--Making a warm, comfortable and surprisingly attractive hat. (Perhaps Meg will unearth this pattern, and revive it for knitters who want a practical comfortable option besides a half dome hat.)
Topless hats or head bands are yet another option when thinking about knitted hats.

Next--Novelty hats

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