Freedom and cables – free hat pattern

It might still be bloody cold, but NEVER FEAR. This easy hat with dense squishy cables will knit up quickly and keep your ears warm all the way through the cold months until Spring finally pitches up. If you’re an experienced knitter then you’ll knit this up in no time, and if you’re a beginner then it’s the perfect pattern to introduce you to cables and working in the round. Enjoy!

YARN:

  • For STRIPED version: approx 160 yards of main colour (MC) DK weight yarn and approx 120 yards of contrast colour (CC) DK weight yarn. I used John Lewis Merino Blend Double Knit (1 50g skein each of MC and CC). This allows enough CC yarn to make a pompom.
  • For SINGLE COLOUR version: approx 260 yards DK weight yarn. I used 2 x 50g skeins of Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK. You will probably need a 3rd skein to make a pompom.

NEEDLES:

  • 4mm (US 6) 50 cm (20 inches) circular needles for ribbing (or whatever length you feel comfortable using for knitting in the round – this could be DPNs if you prefer)
  • 4.5 mm (US 7) 50 cm (20 inches) circular needles for main hat (or whatever length you feel comfortable using for knitting in the round – this could be DPNs if you prefer)
  • 4.5 mm (US 7) DPNs (to complete the crown)

GAUGE:

  • Exact gauge is not crucial on this pattern – the squishy cable rib pulls in enough for small (adult) heads and stretches enough for larger ones. However, my stitch gauge is approximately 30 stitches over 10 cm/4 inches on the cable pattern, unstretched (ie with all the cables touching each other). My row gauge is approximately 30 rows (6 full cable repeats) over 10cm/4 inches, unstretched.

CABLE ABBREVIATIONS:

  • C4F = Cable 4 front. Slip two stitches from the left needle purlwise onto a cable needle and hold at the front of your work. Knit the next two stitches from the left needle, then knit the two stitches from the cable needle. This makes a left-leaning cable.
  • C4B = Cable 4 back. Slip two stitches from the left needle purlwise onto a cable needle and hold at the back of your work. Knit the next two stitches from the left needle, then knit the two stitches from the cable needle. This makes a right-leaning cable.
  • C5XB = Cable 5 crossover back. Slip two stitches from the left needle purlwise onto a cable needle and hold at the back of your work. P1, k2 from the left needle, k2 from the cable needle.
  • C5XF = Cable 5 crossover front. Slip two stitches from the left needle purlwise onto a cable needle and hold at the front of your work. P1, k2 from the left needle, k2 from the cable needle.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Using 4mm needles, cast on 120 stitches in CC yarn
  • Join to knit in the round, PM for beginning of round (BOR)
  • Round 1 – k2, p2 around
  • Rnds 2-8 – continue as set for ribbed brim
  • Rnd 9 – switch to MC, purling every stitch on this round
  • Rnds 10-12 – k2, p2 around
  • Rnd 13 – switch to CC, purling every stitch on this round
  • Rnds 14-21 – k2, p2 around
  • Note: On the rounds where there is a colour change, you are deliberately purling the whole first round with the new colour (then reverting to k2p2 from the subsequent rounds) – this is to keep the colour change ‘clean’ on the other side (which is the side that’ll be visible when the brim is folded up – at the moment you’re knitting on the wrong side)
  • Rnd 22 – switching to 4.5mm needles, p1, k4, p1 around
  • Rnd 23 – switch to MC, p1, k4, p1 around
  • Rnds 24-26 – p1, k4, p1 around
  • Rnd 27 – (p1, C4F, p2, C4B, p1) x10
  • Rnds 28-74 – Carry on as set, cabling every five rows. Work 9 further sets of cable repeats (10 cable repeats in total), finishing 2 rounds after a cable round
  • Remove BOR marker, p1, PM for new beginning of round

Crown decreases:

  • Note: Switch from circulars to DPNs when needed
  • Round 1 of crown – (k4, p2tog) x20 (20 stitches decreased, 100 stitches remaining)
  • Rnd 2 – k4, p1 around
  • Rnd 3 – (C4F, p1, C4B, p1) x10
  • Rnd 4 – (ssk, k2, p1, k2, k2tog, p1) x10 (20 stitches decreased, 80 stitches remaining)
  • Rnd 5 – k3, p1 around
  • Rnd 6 – (ssk, k1, p1, k1, k2tog, p1) x10 (20 stitches decreased, 60 stitches remaining)
  • Rnd 7 – (C5XB, p1, C5XF, p1) x5
  • Rnd 8 – p1, k4, p1 around
  • Rnds 9-11 – repeat round 8
  • Rnd 12 – (p1, C4B, p2, C4F, p1) x5
  • Rnd 13 – (k2tog, k2, ssk) x10 (20 stitches decreased, 40 stitches remaining)
  • Rnd 14 – (ssk, k2tog) x10 (20 stitches decreased, 20 stitches remaining)
  • Rnd 15 – k2tog around (10 stitches decreased, 10 stitches remaining)
  • Rnd 16 – k2tog around (5 stitches decreased, 5 stitches remaining)
  • Run yarn through remaining 5 stitches. Pull tight and fasten firmly on the inside of the hat

Finishing:

  • Weave in all ends.
  • Wash and lightly block according to your yarn’s instructions. Do not stretch while blocking – you want to keep the hat fitting snugly. (Unless you want a slouchy hat, in which case stretch away.)
  • If desired, create a pompom with CC, and affix tightly to centre of crown (or, alternatively, there’s a wide range of faux fur pompoms available – make sure you get one which is genuinely fake fur though).

OPTIONS FOR ALTERATIONS:

  • This works just as beautifully in a single colour as it does with stripes.
  • The ribbed brim can be as long or as short as you like.
  • For a crisper ‘fold’ between the brim and the cables, knit all the stitches on the last round using the smaller needles (round 21), which is also the penultimate round before you switch to MC for the cable pattern – this creates a round of purl stitches on the right side.
  • For a slouchier hat, go up a needle size or two and also knit two more cable repeats before you start the crown shaping (or, as described above, be a bit more vigorous when stretching out the hat during blocking).
  • If you are worried about running out of yarn (I know that some DK weight yarn isn’t as generous as the John Lewis or the Sublime), you can:
    • knit a shorter brim;
    • knit one less cable repeat in the main body of the hat (which makes a tighter beanie – and might work better anyway for the very small-headed!);
    • skip the pompom.

The Ravelry link for this pattern is here – please drop me a comment if you knit your own, I would LOVE to see a bunch of these out in the wild!

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Lots of love to my brilliant friends Katie and Ellie for being pressed into service as my beautiful hat models!

If you liked this pattern, please check out my other designs!

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Now that you’ve got your post up, I’ll get mine up! I’ll work on it sometime today 🙂 Thank you so much for letting me test knit this beautiful hat. I’ve already gotten tons of compliments!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whoop whoop! Thank you for being my test knitter extraordinaire! xx

      Like

  2. Marguerite Leonard says:

    I love this hat!!! Would it be possible to make it into a messy bun hat? Maybe adjusting between rows 13 and 14? Thank you very much!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, I’m so glad you like it. I think you could easily turn it into a messy bun hat, yes – I would suggest casting off after round 14 of the crown decreases (when you have 20 stitches left). I haven’t tested it yet but instinctively that feels about right. If you try it, please let me know!

      Like

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