Conference baby hat

3 minute read

As I already said, last week I was at a conference. In fact, I attended various symposia for four days in a row and sitting on an straight chair for several hours listening to scientific talks is mind numbing. Buffer overflow. Need. To. Knit!

Knitting at a conference is a delicate thing because:

1 - you don’t want to poke your neighbor with the ends of your long straight needles. Solution : knit with circulars.

2 - you don’t want your ball of yarn to roll everywhere on the floor. Solution : choose a center pull yarn or put the ball in your handbag/packsack.

3 - you don’t want to seem uninterested and impolite. Solution : knit something not too challenging so you don’t need a written pattern and can still keep an eye on the power point presentation. Besides, the guy in the row in front of you is checking his emails on his laptop during the talk. How impolite is that?

I came up with this improvised baby hat for my knitting needs. I didn’t bother to much with the size because it’s for charity, and babies come in many different sizes so I am sure that it will fit one of them pretty well. Here it is :

Yarn : soft acrylic baby yarn
Needles : 4 mm circulars (Addi turbo works best for this purpose)

Short and sweet instructions :

Cast on 140-150 st. Work in garter stitch for 3 cm (approx. 14 rows) to form the brim. Reduce the number of stitches in half by working k2togs, which will make the brim ruffle a bit. Joint and continue knitting in the round in stockinette for about 3.5 cm (approx 18 rows). Work 5 evenly distributed decreases every 2 rows to close the hat. Sew the brim with remaining tail. Weave in ends.

Long detailed instructions :

Using the long tail method, cast on approx 140-150 stitches (hey, you don’t have the time to count precisely your number of stitches while your trying to figure out the units on an obscure graph at the same time), leaving a tail of 20 cm (will be used for finishing).

Knit in garter stitch (all knit rows) until the work measures about 3 cm (or 14 rows) . This will form the brim of the hat. Next row (RS), *k1, k2tog* across. Next row (WS), knit across. Next row (RS), *k1, k2tog* across. Next row (WS), knit across.

Next row (RS), joint and knit one row, making sure the right side of the work is facing outward.To knit in the round with one pair of circular needles that is too long, use the magic loop method, as explained here and here. Continue to knit in the round (it will form stockinette pattern) for approximately 18 rows.

Ok, here is a more tricky part; you might want to wait until the coffee break to do it. Count the number of stitches and divide them in 5. Knit that number of stitches minus two, and k2tog. Continue in this fashion to the end of the row. Be aware to distribute these decreases as evenly as possible, so if you don’t have a number of stitches that is a multiple of five, you’ll have to fudge a bit so you don’t end up with a section with a lot more stitches than the others. Take a look at how the right slanting decreases (the k2tog) look like. You will have to recognize them later (because of course you don’t have stitch markers in your bag). OK, you can return to the conference, and be careful not to spill your coffee on that knit!

Next row : knit. Next row : decrease row, so knit until you locate that k2tog you made 2 rows earlier. Locate the stitch corresponding to that decrease, and k2tog that stitch with the stitch immediately to it’s right (because it’s a right slanting decrease; it will look nicer that way). It will form a subtle spiral pattern like this :

Continue to alternate a knit row with a decrease row until you have about 5-10 stitches left. Cut yarn, leaving a long enough tail to pass it through the live loops on you needles. Pull the yarn to shut the hole at the top of the hat close and make a knot.

Finish the hat by sewing the brim with mattress stitch and weaving in ends.

Oh, look who is modeling :

It’s sari yarn! I wonder what it’s next project will be…