So, as I said before, I firmly believe that hats are the way to begin knitting. I really think that if I had started with scarves, I would not be a knitter today (I have actually seen this happen, people knit a couple of scarves, say ‘is this all there is? I’m bored.’ and never touch needles again!). I have literally only made 2 and 2 halves and 3/4 scarves (there are 3 scarves on needles right now [one of which is years old], I get bored easily with scarves), unless you count a couple of neck wrap things I’ve made from a pattern that was supposed to be a head wrap! On the other hand, I have made …here we pause while I count on my fingers… at least 8 hats, one of them twice because it didn’t turn out quite like I expected (wish I had pictures of the original hat to post so we could talk about it!). Yes I know that that is not extremely prolific, but I never claimed to be fast, just a knitter…and we haven’t discussed any of the baby blankets and sweater pieces and other random stuff I have knit.

Anyway, last week I totally punked out on telling you how to make this vaguely homely, but very easy, hat. So I figured, that maybe a beginning hat knit-along might be in order. I will knit a 2nd hat of that same style, and using a similar weight of yarn, and show you, step by step, how to do it. This week we’ll cast it on and start working in the round, and next week we’ll do decreases, and the dreaded double pointed needles.

For this hat you will need a size 10.5 16 inch circular needle and double pointed needles, a yarn needle, a couple of stitch markers (nothing fancy, I’ve used well washed o-rings from a tool box before) and 1 skein of bulky yarn. Here is what I’m planning to use:

the supplies for my new hat - click to see bigger

the supplies for my new hat - click to see bigger

That is a skein of Reynolds Lopi in Grey Tweed and a little bit of some dark teal I might use that is leftover from another project (I like stripey hats). It can be a bit itchy, but its very warm, because it is 100% wool, and it felts really nicely if you want it to. If you have a local yarn shop, I recommend supporting them before using a big online store, plus you can feel the yarn first, so you will know how itchy it is and make another decision if you can’t deal with itchy. I have been toying with the idea of adding a flannel lining to make these hats less itchy for the wearer, but sewing is not my forte, so if you try it, let me know how it goes!

My beardie, in full-on run

My beardie, in full-on run

And that colorway (the knitterly term for yarn color or colors if it is variegated) reminds me of my puppy who still lives with my parents. See?

To begin, we will use the circular needles to cast on 64 stitches. My favorite cast on is the knitted cast on – which for this hat, I modified to casting on 2 stitches knit wise and 2 purl wise. Don’t worry if this sounds confusing, here is what I mean for purlwise (I use the method from the link for knitwise):

Hope this helps!! Otherwise just cast on knitwise and it will be fine!

Hope this helps!! Otherwise just cast on knitwise and it will be fine! click to make bigger.

If you are up for a challenge, you can try either taking a picture of your own hands knitting (phew!) or try a long-tail ribbed cast on, but I actually didn’t learn such things until very recently, so I usually use my old reliable knitted cast on unless a pattern specifically says not to.  So keep casting on 2 knit and then 2 purl stitches until you have 64 stitches. A quick hint for counting – if you put a stitchmarker in after every 20 stitches, you can count more easily, and won’t have to recount each individual stitch 35 times.

Now you will join the knitting in the round – being careful not to twist the stitches. Get used to reading that one, it is in every pattern ever written for knitting in the round. So here is what not twisted stitches look like:

note the bumps are all around the outside of the needle circle

note the bumps are all around the outside of the needle circle

Note that the bottoms of each stitch stay in a line, and don’t go all roller-coaster spirally around the needle. Put a stitch marker on the needle in your right hand, to mark the beginning of the round.

 

 

Now just start knitting the knit stitches and purling the purls, like so:

a few stitches into the first row.

a few stitches into the first row.

 

Every time you get to the stitch marker, just slip it to the needle in your right hand and keep going. Keep working on it until its long enough to roll up, or not, depending on what you like. Feel free to add stripes if you want to (just start knitting and purling with a 2nd color at the beginning of a row, cut the 1st color to about a 6 inch tail and tie the tails of the 2 together). We’ll do decreases and bind off next time!

I know not everyone knits the way that I do, so, as always, your mileage may vary – and let the record show that that yarn is the least cooperative for pictures ever! I will interview the potential yarns much more vigorously next time!

For the 2nd part of this tutorial, click here!

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