Armed and ready with your oddments stash, let's get this Hat started!


We're going for something comfy with this Hat, something slightly slouchy, and the only area where gauge is important is the Brim. Pick yourself a firm yarn to work the Brim with, and don't be afraid to work at a slightly tighter than normal gauge – the Brim of a Hat gets a lot of abuse through wear and tear, and a good fit and reasonably tight fabric is important.

You'll want to have an idea of gauge before you cast on for your Hat. If you've used the yarn before you'll have an idea of how it behaves, but a swatch to check gauge is never a bad idea. You might also want to arm yourself with 2 sets of needles – one that will give you the fabric you want for the Brim, and one the next size up (going up a needle size will help give the fabric drape in the Body).

You will also want to know the size of your head! I have a very helpful page that guides you through how to measure yourself (or the recipient) and explains negative ease.

The Numbers

For this Hat, we want to work with a multiple of 8, as that's critical to the stripes in the Body and the structure of the Crown shaping. And because I like maths and numbers and like to be helpful, I've created this chart for you (and if all has gone to plan, you should be able to click on it to enlarge).....

Simply choose your yarn weight, read along the chart to your head size and bingo! there's your cast on number.

Now, if your gauge doesn't perfectly match any of those given I suggest swapping around your Brim yarn with something else, or trying a different (finer) needle size. It won't hurt you to cast on for the 28sts gauge if your yarn gives you 29sts - it'll give you a smidge more negative ease and that's no bad thing.

I'm going to suggest that using needle sizes to adjust gauge is the smoothest road, as it'll save you a maths headache. Going up a needle size after the Brim will add in a little slouch. If, however, you want to something more along the lines of Tangled River or Runway in fit, then I'll explain at the end of this post what you'll want to do. First though, let me talk about cast on methods!

Cast-on Methods

For my samples, I used the Alternate Cable Cast-on, and did a knit side twisted rib (K1tbl, P1) to give me a comfy, cosy fabric that will survive a fair bit of wear and tear. You can of course use any cast-on method that suits you, including a split Brim, garter stitch Brim or even a folded Brim - it really depends on what you want, and what suitable yarns you have.

I've been beavering away on the Tutorial pages, and the Cast-on page has lots of extra PDFs to download, and the number of video clips are also growing. You'll know that I like to keep any videos short and to the point for folk with limited data packages and/or slow internet, or simply for those folk who prefer the info succinct, and I hope these will benefit you.

Don't forget that you're working in the round, so once you've cast on the required number of stitches, do follow all the usual practices - join in the round without twisting, and add a stitch marker. Use your preferred choice of needles for this job, whether that be DPNs, short circs, magic loop or two circs :)

Brim Depth

This will fall under the personal preference umbrella, but if you're really not sure, go for something like 1.5in/3.75cm. Or you could keep knitting until your yarn runs out!

If you reach the end of the Brim before I post the next instalment tomorrow, choose your next yarn, *purl* one round with it, then simply put it to one side and cast on another one ;)

And if you want more width in your Hat, here's the maths....

Slouch is achieved in a couple of different ways - more width, more length, or both. For my samples I knitted for longer to add length, and allowed the differences in fabric (firm rib in Brim, stocking stitch in Body) to add a little slouch. If you want more slouch though, you'll probably want to add more width, and that means increasing to more stitches for the Body.

So - we're working on a multiple of 8 for this Hat, as the Body stripes and Crown shaping rely on it. And if you want more width after the Brim, you have to think backwards and make your Brim work on a different multiple, so that after an increase round your Body section will have the right number of stitches.

I would suggest casting on with a multiple of 6, then increasing after the Brim. Working with a multiple of 6 for the Brim and then increasing to a multiple of 8 for the Body will give you an increase of 33%, which is not far off the numbers for the slouchy style Hats mentioned above. A multiple of 7 won't give you as much extra room, and a multiple of 5 will give you something closer to that of a beret.

Assuming then that a multiple of 6 is the best choice, I would use your gauge and head measurement on the chart above, find the relevant number, than round that down to the nearest multiple of 6 (we always round down, remember!). Cast on, work your Brim as directed, and when your Brim is the right length, what would be the first round of the first stripe will also be your increase round.

Your increase round would be:

Inc Rnd: *P3, M1P; repeat from * to end

where a M1P is a lifted bar increase, purlwise. I'll explain more about why your are purling tomorrow, but this will take your Brim on a multiple of 6 to the Body on a multiple of 8.

On your marks, get set....

Go cast on!

Don't forget that we've a #wwscrapalong KAL thread in my Ravelry group, and I'll endeavour to answer as many help questions as I can there and here.


AuthorWoolly Wormhead