The 2 beanies I’ve been working on are done. While I first tried my hand at knitting a number of hats a long, long time ago (mostly of my own design and requiring hilarious braided ‘straps’ to keep them on – they were simply too loose), these 2 beanies are my very first attempt at working directly from a pattern.

They were both done on Size 3 (US) needles. The green cap follows Purl Soho’s Classic cuffed hat pattern (minus the pom pom). The brown watch cap (above) is for the beau, and is Melissa LaBarre’s ribbed Icehouse Hat – a great beanie pattern available for free download on Ravelry. The pattern calls for 5 inches of ribbing before shaping the top; the beau asked for a cap with an ample cuff, so I added an additional 3″ to the 5″ = 8″ before shaping the top. I brought this knit with me on the bus and subway. It was an incredibly portable, train-platform-at-rush-hour kind of knit.

Ribbing in the round, started November 11th.


Getting there with my paper clip stitch marker.
Left: Purl Soho’s Classic Cuffed Hat w/o pom pom. Slouchy and relaxed. Right: Melissa LaBarre’s ribbed Icehouse hat. A close-fitting utilitarian watch cap.

Some learnings

After completing my first pair of socks recently, I assumed that these basic hats – tuques as we call ’em in Canada – would be a walk in the park. Not so. Shaping the top of the Icehouse Hat – i.e. decreasing from 120 to only 8 stitches at a pace of 4 decreased sts per row, and on slippy DPNs – required some pep talks. So did keeping the 4 stitch-markers consistently in the right spots, as the decreasing number of stitches seemed to require that they be constantly redistributed across the needles. It was a long and winding knit staircase to the top. I have much to learn (counsel from wiser knitters welcome!).

Also, I’m learning that needles matter. I had not considered the material of the needles relevant before, but after trying to knit on a plastic 16″ circular needle whose nylon/plastic cord had not enough give, I shelled out for the higher quality bamboo. The bamboo needle, I felt, not only held the stitches more securely – preventing stitches from being ‘flicked off’ and dropped under tension – but its cord was more pliant. No need to fight against a rigid cord on every single stitch.

Lessons learned.




6 thoughts on “Beanies

  1. Ah yes – needles make a huge difference. When someone asks me what to start out with, I send them to bamboo because they’re lightweight and stickier than any of the metal (or plastic) needles. Clover needles are great; they’re not too spendy and they’re widely available. When you get more comfortable, look into the Knit Picks needles – they’re inexpensive, but the cords are pliable and the metal is more slippery (and resilient) than bamboo. The hats look great!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much for the valuable info! The Knit Picks needles look so delectable; I am swooning over those interchangeables which do look very resilient and pliable indeed. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your lovely garter stitch ear-flap hat!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the link to the pattern you posted. I love your beanies and I am interested in making one someday (and maybe with the pom-pom which was very cute in the photos on the link). Congrats on completing socks! That seems like a far away mysterious knitting dream for me. I might make one sock (ha!) and just call it good 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I knit the Purl Soho beanie first. I found the pattern very straightforward. No heartache! Interestingly, I wonder if making socks might be a little like quilting – it kind of feels like working on/putting together a series of separate parts. Quilting is also a mysterious dream project to me…One day! Looking forward to more quilting news. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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