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Backwards Engineering and the Perfect Hat

Way back in time, before I’d begun my own knitting journey, my sister knitted me a hat.

The hat is so fuzzy it bends reality to be soft and fuzzy around it! 

It was, and is, the perfect hat. Just slouchy enough to hold all of my hair, super cozy, chunky yarn, hugs my head just enough but not too tight, and manages to look fantastic with just about anything. So of course, once I started knitting, I wanted to make one.

When I told Em this, I got quite a bit of a confused look. Apparently, this gift hat was finished in a burst of inspiration, sleep deprivation, and absolutely no pattern.

Thus, my great journey into trying to recreate the Perfect Hat.


This is attempt No. 1. And I do love this hat, for almost every quality… except it is entirely too loose as it stretches over time. Just around the brim – the rest of the hat is perfect. And it works well enough if I pin it in place (and I love the yarn, and my choice to use stocking stitch rather than seed stitch). It’s just… not The perfect hat.

Subsequent attempts have been less pretty renditions in leftover bits of yarn, just attempts thrown off in spare time and in frustration. One is too short entirely. One has too tight of a brim (ouch!). I’ve fiddled around with various finishing methods to reduce the gappiness in the closure, without increasing bulk. I’ve spent entire seasons of TV shows with my 16-inch stainless steel hat needle in hands, knit-knit-knitting around the body inbetween various brim and top construction methods.

In other words, I’ve made a lot of hats.

So far, I’ve learned a few things. I just really do prefer stocking stitch, at least when I’m knitting it for myself – it’s almost meditative, to do in the round, and the yarn I’ve begun favoring for my hat designs shows very prettily once washed, all the little chevrons of fuzzy goodness. I prefer doing a kitchener-stitch graft on the tops, as the slight amount of bulk it adds is a lot less than the extra stitching needed to cover holes made by just pulling the ends through the last several loops and pulling tight. (If you’re intimidated by kitchener-stitch, check out this super helpful tutorial at Tin Can Knits, with step by step written instructions and a really well-drawn graphic reference.) And I’m starting to find the perfect consistent recipe for how many stitches to cast on vs. how many to increase after I finish the brim.

I’m not there yet, though. Looks like I’ve got a lot of knit-knit-knitting to do before fall!