Every year I make Mr. Man a new hat. Usually it’s not done before Christmas. Last week, I finished his new hat.
But I sort of have to say that it’s not my fault. I’ve known which hat I’d knit him since well before Lovebug arrived. There were even several occasions when I wanted to cast on for the hat. The problem was the pattern. It wasn’t available yet. There’s nothing mind-blowing about any of the stitches, or decreases. It’s my kind of pattern – simple. I probably could have figured it out myself and had the hat knit before the pattern was even released.
But why re-invent the wheel, right? Heather, from the Fiberista Files & Highland Handmades designed and knit this hat for her husband. She wanted to make him something that would be super warm, cover his ears and keep out the cold and wind. All things my husband likes in a hat.
Sometime between when Lovebug was born and Christmas, I realized the pattern was available. I cast on for it a few weeks ago and I’ve slowly been working away when I had a few minutes.
So what makes this hat special? Out of ALL the patterns on Ravelry, why did I choose THIS particular hat and wait so patiently for the pattern? Because of one design feature.
It has a hidden lining. You’ll notice that the brim of the hat isn’t ribbed, but instead stockinette. You’ll also note that the edges aren’t rolling up. Everyone knows that plain stockinette rolls up on itself, so techniques like seed, garter or ribbed brims are traditionally used to keep that problem at bay. Instead, you start this hat with about an inch of ribbing, then you transition to stockinette for awhile. After you reach the desired length, you place a purl row, after which you continue on with a stocinette again. That one little purl row allows everything knit before it to fold to the inside of the hat, creating a second layer. And now you have a lined hat!
I know, I know…probably many of you have thought of this before, and I’ve thought of it too, but never acted on it because I never put too much thought into what that design would look like. So someone else did the work for me and I was just able to enjoy knitting and reading along with the pattern.
(Oh yeah - did I mention that the hat closes with kitchener stitch instead of pulling the yarn tail through the remaining live stitches?! Love this!)
You’d be amazed at the difference that lining makes in a hat. Mr. Man took it to work with him the morning after I finished it. It hadn’t been off the needles for even 12 hours yet! That’s the sign of a good hat. And I keep putting it on because it’s cozy. I WILL make one for myself. And one for each of the kids, I think.
Which brings me to another point, this hat could be knit for any person at any age as long as you can do simple math.
I sort of feel as though his hat has a neat little secret, that if only other people knew, they’d be amazed. Silly how some things just make you that happy, right?
I would recommend knitting this in a true worsted weight yarn, or perhaps even aran weight (a little heavier than worsted). That will give your hat a nice, dense, quality fabric that fits snugly on your head. It will keep out wind and cold, and then you’ll be in on the secret too!
Just a few more items I want to note. I knit this version with Spud & Chloe Sweater in Penguin & Beluga. (LOVE 1000) The black is a true, saturated black and the gray has depth I was surprised, but pleased to find. It was worth it spending the few extra bucks.
Second, I knit the stripes with an idea in mind, but I’m not 100% sold on how they turned out. Each stripe decreases by 1 row. So after the purl row, I knit 9 rows in black, then 8 in gray, 7 in black, 6 in gray, and so on until I had 2 rows of gray. I then switched to black to finish off the hat. I only used 1 skein of each color, but I came close to running out of yarn. I only had 3 grams of Penguin left when I was done. Somehow, to me the stripes look as though they suddenly got smaller, I was hoping the effect would show a more gradual decrease. My guess would be that the eye is drawn to the lighter color and so the black isn’t really seen. We know it’s there but pay it no attention. Oh well. C’est la vie.
Finally, I’m considering ways to incorporate the knit lining into future hats. If I eliminate the ribbing on most hats, it could easily be done, even those hats that have textural elements different than stockinette. As long as they are a beanie-type design, this would work, I think.
We’ll see. We’re moving out of hat season so I’ll likely only be making one more round of hats for the family and then moving on to other things, like shawls and fingerless mitts, and crocheted squares and toys and things. Yes, people. I have plans.