Thursday, June 02, 2005

Upside Down Stocking Hat

Here's a very easy stocking cap made "upside down" by knittng a few inches of I-cord, and then increasing at regular intervals. There are a number of advantages to knitting a hat this way. You don't need to know your gauge before you start. It's good for people who hate casting on. And you can change your mind about the intended recipient (up to a point). I am certain that I am not the first person to make a hat this way, but I have crunched some numbers to make it very easy for you! First, the essential information:

Yarn: 200-400 yds of worsted weight wool-acrylic blend (this is Plymouth Encore and Wool-Ease), depending on size.
Needles: you will need dpn's and a circular needle in the size that you prefer to use for worsted weight wool (I used 7s).
Gauge: will vary, but probably will range between 4 and 5 sts per inch

The Upside Down Version

CO 4 sts. Using dpns, make 4 inches of I-cord or to desired length. (Option: for teenage boys and other self-conscious people, you can skip the I-cord, and simply k these 4 sts for 1 or 2 rounds, then begin the increases on the next round.)

Next round: Inc in every st (8 sts). K 4 rnds even. Inc in every st (16 sts). Change color [CC], if making stripes. K 4 rnds even.

Now you continue increasing as follows, until the circumference of your hat will fit the head of your intended recipient. I have listed the increase rounds and how many sts you should have after each below. Also, I have indicated here how many sts you will need to achieve three sizes, over three gauges. The number of sts below correspond to the following sizes: Small (about 20") [Medium (about 21-22")/Large (about 23-24")].

4 sts/inch: Inc to 80 [88, 96] sts. Total number of inc rnds: 10 [11, 12].
4.5 sts/inch: Inc to 88 [96, 104] sts. Total number of inc rnds: 11 [12, 13].
5 sts/inch: Inc to 96 [104, 112] sts. Total number of inc rnds: 12 [13, 14].

Inc rnd: K1, inc in next st, rep around (24 sts). CC. K 4 rnds.
Inc rnd: K2, inc in next st, rep around (32 sts). CC. K 4 rnds.
Inc rnd: K3, inc in next st, rep around (40 sts). CC. K 4 rnds.
Inc rnd: K4, inc in next st, rep around (48 sts). CC. K 4 rnds.
Inc rnd: K5, inc in next st, rep around (56 sts). CC. K 4 rnds.
Inc rnd: K6, inc in next st, rep around (64 sts). CC. K 4 rnds.
Inc rnd: K7, inc in next st, rep around (72 sts). CC. K 4 rnds.
Inc rnd: K8, inc in next st, rep around (80 sts). CC. K 4 rnds.
Inc rnd: K9, inc in next st, rep around (88 sts). CC. K 4 rnds.
Inc rnd: K10, inc in next st, rep around (96 sts). CC. K 4 rnds.
Inc rnd: K11, inc in next st, rep around (104 sts). CC. K 4 rnds.
Inc rnd: K12, inc in next st, rep around (112 sts). CC. K 4 rnds.

For smaller gauges, or bigger heads, do more inc rnds, adding one more k st between incs each time. For a more "stretched-out" look, work more even rnds btwn incs.

K even for 4 [5, 6] inches. K3, p1 rib for 1.5 inches. Bind off in ribbing.

The Right Side Up Version

You can also knit this hat in the traditional manner from the brim to the crown, but you will have to know your gauge first. Simply cast on the number of sts for the final increase round for your desired size, and then work the pattern "backwards" -- decreasing instead of increasing, until you eventually are making I-cord. (The decreases may be more obvious than the increases.) If you hate binding off, this method is for you. Or, some people feel that beginning with a small number of sts and increasing out makes the project seem to go slower than casting on many sts and decreasing down.

Tips:
  • If you are working stripes, trap the ends as you change colors and you won't have a million ends to weave in.
  • If you do ribbing over more than one color, knit all sts in the first round of the new color. This prevent those "blips" of the old color on the purl sts.
  • It is much easier to knit in the round over a very small number of sts using one long circular needle than dpns.

Have fun!

You may copy this pattern, but don't use it for commercial purposes!

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