The knitting guild I belong to has a service project making hats for preschoolers in the tri-county early childhood programs. Our annual goal is 600 hats. That’s a lot of hats, even for a guild with 53 members! I’m doing my best to knit 12 a year, or 1 each month. Hats are a fun way to try out new techniques. They’re also a good way to use up the acrylic yarn that appears out of nowhere around these parts.
The most recent hat is also my first attempt at brioche knitting. Brioche isn’t really hard, but I am also saying that from the vantage point of never having done two colors brioche, or shaping, or pretty much any advanced technique beyond brk1 and brp1.
I chose Purl Soho’s “Fluffy Brioche Hat” over 88 sts for my novice brioche project. Their patterns are always very well-written, whether you’re a newbie or an expert, and this is no exception. To use up bits of yarn, I used one color for the cuff and crown and a variegated color for the body of the hat. It was a fantastic game of yarn chicken that left me with less than a gram of the solid blue, and none of the variegated when all was said and done. Yes!
The only thing I don’t care for on this hat is how the crown comes out like a square. If I do it again (and I probably will), I’ll probably add one or more decrease columns to the four called for in the pattern, to give it a “rounder” shape. These were done on size 7 needles for the cuff and size 5 needles for the body and crown (I think the pattern calls for 4s, but I didn’t have 4s in 16″ circs).
Other charitable hats of note are the Sunset Hat, which is a cool but easy colorwork pattern that gradually changes from one color to another. You can use a lot of different combinations of colors for effect. I like using black with a vibrant contrasting color:
That particular hat used a mercerized cotton yarn, which has really crummy stitch definition. Not well-suited for colorwork, either. But it’s very soft, which is important in kids’ hats. Anyway, here is the Sunset hat in another color scheme:
I really like these gradual color changes as an alternative to stripes.
Other favorite charity hat projects are Kitimat, which is similar to the Sunset hat but only uses two colors. I did mine in black and ivory. This picture is before blocking, which is why some of the “V”s are wonky.
I also made the Strib Hat, over 80 sts, almost exactly as written. That’s another well-written pattern, simple but elegant. I used TECHknitter’s 3-in-1 join on cast-on edge, and back-join technique for jogless stripes.
Last but not least, Declan’s hat is a cable-y beanie that works up quickly but looks deceptively complicated. I enjoyed this one a lot. It’s done on size 6 needles over 96 stitches (cables “suck in” your fabric, so they usually take more yarn).
Other patterns I’ve enjoyed for this ongoing project are: