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.