Saturday, April 12, 2014

Hat Knitting Steps Part 3 - Top Shaping

Here we are at the final step in your hat knitting, shaping the top!

So far in part 1 we talked about knitting the ribbing, in part 2 we talked about knitting the body, so all that leaves us with is working the decreases for the top of the hat.

To work the decreases the first thing to do is find a number that divides into the number of stitches on the needle. Example, if you have 95 sts on your needle, this divdes by 5.  You will work your decrease rounds like this:
Round 1  *k3, k2tog* (note how these sts add up to 5.)  This will be repeated to the end of the round
Round 2  knit
Round 3 *k2, k2tog* (note how the knit sts has decreased by 1, it was k3 now it is k2)
Round 4  knit
Round 5  *k1, k2tog* (the knit sts have decreased by 1 again)
Round 6  knit
Round 7 *k2tog*

If you are designing this hat you might choose to have a different look to your hat shaping.  These decreases were done quickly over just a few rounds which gives this Knit'n Purl hat a puffy, gathered appearance.  If you were wanting a more gradual, smooth shape to the top of your hat the decreases could be worked over more rows to achieve that look. Example you could divide your 95 sts by 10.  Your decrease rounds would be worked the same as above (a decrease round followed by a plain knit row) but you would start with  *k8, k2tog*. Again, see how these add up to 10.

When designing your hat you would work out how you want these decrease rows to look before you get to this point so you know when to stop knitting the body of the hat. The more decrease rows you will be knitting the fewer rounds you will knit the body of the hat.  You will want to measure your row gauge.  Once you know how many rounds per inch you are knitting and how many rounds it is going to take to work all the decreases, you can calculate how many inches it will take you to knit all the decrease rounds and you can adjust the length of the body accordingly.

measure row gauge
If you have been knitting on a 16" circular needle you will have to switch to a set of double pointed needles after a few decrease rounds once you have too few stitches to fit around your needle.  If you have been knitting using the magic loop or with 2 circulars you will be able to continue with all the decrease rounds with no problems.

Once you have finished the decreases, cut your yarn and pick up the remaining sts and pull tight.  Sew in your ends.  Congratulations, you have a finished, perfect fitting hat!!

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