Process: A New Hat

Please note before continuing on: this is not a hat pattern in and of itself. This is my process for how I want to create a new hat for myself. If you don’t knit, you probably won’t be interested. Then again, this is my process; you might not be interested anyway.



A New Hat

My favorite old hat is … well, it is rat nasty at the moment. It’s not all that old, but the yarn has frizzed and fuzzed and frayed and at times, this poor thing just looks awful. Other times, I don’t look at it, so, it’s fine then, right?

I need a new hat. (never mind I have tons of hats all over the place, ones I’ve made and ones that have been bought or given as gifts…)

I go to some questions to help percolate and generate ideas for a new hat.

What hats do I have now that do work for me?

What hats do I have now that don’t work so well?

What’s working for me in the good hat?

What’s not working for me in the good hat?

What am I looking for in a new hat?

What do I want in a new hat?

What do I need in a new hat?

Colorwork? Colorwork compatible? Plain? Cables? Lace? Cool stitch patterning?

The first thing I look at it: what’s wrong with the old hat?

I love it. I used the Rikke pattern found for free here on Ravelry. I have made this pattern a few times now, in different yarns. Different yarns react in different ways. The red cotton/acrylic version I made of this hat is still in fine condition—although it droops a bit much for my liking.

The bad thing about the hat I am replacing…is the yarn. I used a yarn that isn’t holding up all that well under not much pressure. And no, I am not washing the bejeebers out of the hat. The yarn is simply wearing out, erm, wearing poorly. Since I can’t tell you which yarn I used for this project, only where I bought it from, I shall refrain from naming names at the moment…

I also need to learn how to work garter stitch in the round without the seam-like line running up the back. I know there are tutorials for that…I just have to make the time to find them.

So, cons: the hat looks ratty…and it is not as versatile as I would like it either. Come to think of it. If I fold the brim up…it’s not covering enough where I want it to cover…if I don’t fold the brim up, now especially, it can tend to look goofy.

Now, moving forward…what do I want in a hat?

I want it to be warm. I want it to cover the back of my neck, with extra protection for my ears, since I am fighting a lot of ear issues lately. I want it to look good. And I want it to look good for more than a year or two.

I am in a colorwork mood, so that would be good—however, I want a four-inch foldable brim as well. That much of a folding brim would mean…either I start the colorwork higher…or just do it the way I usually do (2-4 rows up after the ribbing ends) and not worry if the brim covers it or not.

I would like a nice thick fabric when it is completed, but not too thick. I am leaning towards wool, or a wool-heavy blend. I am not sure on what color. Sometimes I move towards neutrals. Sometimes I move towards bright colors.  ANd worsted weight yarn, or maybe even DK if I like it.

The hat can not be tight or form-fitting…I don’t like that…and I need room for my hair—or at least I did when it was longer, so I am going to keep that in mind since I am working on that.

What sort of ribbing do I want? 2X2? 3X1? 4X4? 5X1?

The next thing I will do is…browse Ravelry and all the hat patterns I can manage in a given allotment of time. How much time depends upon the needs of my family and the needs of my body. I may have five minutes to skim. I may have twenty minutes to peruse. I may do this over a day, over a week, or longer…because I already have three projects OTN (on the needles) and I don’t like starting a lot of things that never get finished…it makes me feel defeated. I knit to knit…but finishing things makes me feel better about having plans and having stash for those plans…and it means I can move forward to a new thing.

Whether I decide on a pattern or not, the next step is stash-diving…because I have yarn for hats…for days…I have a lovely heathered grey cashmere wool blend, two skeins of it, that for years has called to be turned into a hat and scarf combo…maybe this is the year. I have many…many…many single skeins of yarn floating around…because buying just one skein means I have a small quick and easy project in my hands…if ever I figure out what to make…it comes in handy making hats.

Right now, I very much want to create my own pattern and work outward from there, even though Ravelry has an incredible number of free hat patterns available – not to mention the paid ones as well.

So, there’s my process.

In the end, I have decided to work a colorwork hat, quite possibly in a deep magenta yarn, with a bright yellow yarn pattern. I want a four-inch brim, and it will probably be 2X2 rib strictly because it is so stretchy…although until I knit it up it is not writ in stone. I found my 2013 Branson notebook, so I have a ton of sketches for colorwork patterns…I will begin looking through them before moving forward.

That’s my process.

Thanks for listening.

Published by

Tabitha Low

Writer, Artist, Journey Creatrix