a perfect little hat pattern

i'm saying goodbye to grand rapids for about a month as i travel along the west coast over my winter break from school-- san francisco, oakland/bay area, los angeles, and portland here i come! --but i wanted to create a project for myself that i could share here on the have company blog and keep myself in the loop.

i decided that there is really only one thing that i want to make over break: the perfect hat

i want to make my perfect hat over and over again, in all of the colors i've ever wanted a hat in, and in all of the different fibers i've ever wanted, too.

what is the perfect hat? to me, it is and will always be the rib-knit cap that is prominently featured in the film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou in all its variations. i especially like the way zissou himself wears his (above the ears, molded to the head with lots of space coming to a point), or the pelé dos santos variation (above the ears, extra space forming more of a peak than a point), and of course vlad's style (the super tiny skullcap). while the bright red works for the film, i gravitate towards earth tones and decided to make mine in a rusty red, instead.

i made my cap smaller than i've seen any adult sized hat patterns. the truth is, i have a pretty small head, which is why i would say to measure your head the way i did and adjust your pattern accordingly.

the pattern:

measure your forehead temple to temple, curving around your hairline rather than straight across. take that measurement and subtract 2" [measurement A]-- i got 8", so my measurement is 6"

using worsted to bulky weight yarn (you'll only need one skein), cast on enough stitches onto size 10 circular knitting needles that 1/2 the circumference equals measurement A-- for me it was 66 stitches. make sure you cast on an even number of stitches.

joining your stitches in the round, knit a 1x1 rib (k1, p1) for about 9"

to start shaping the crown, divide your total stitch count into thirds or fourths, depending on your count (66 divides well into thirds, so i went with that). subtract 2 from each equal part. rib knit that number of stitches, then k2tog* (66 divides by 3 into 22, 22-2=20... rib knit 20, k2tog)

*repeat to end of row. decrease the amount of stitches you knit by 1, then repeat (so the next row was rib knit 19, k2tog for me)

repeat this for 2 more rows until you have decreased 12 total stitches.

if you had an original stitch count that was divisible by 3, you will now divide the new total by 9. (my new stitch count was 54, divided by 9 is 6). rib knit this new divided amount of stitches, k2tog, repeat 8 times to finish the row. (rib stitch 6, k2tog, repeat).

decrease the amount of stitches you knit by 1, then repeat (next row is rib knit 5, k2tog, repeat)

repeat with decreases every row until you have completed a rib knit 3, k2tog row. rib knit for two more rows at this stitch count.

for those of you who would work best by seeing exactly what i did, here's the shorthand:

co 66

pm and join in the round

k1, p1* repeat to end of row [rib knit]

work in 1x1 rib until piece measures 9 inches

rib knit 20, k2tog* repeat to end of row

rib knit 19, k2tog* repeat to end of row

rib knit 18, k2tog* repeat to end of row

rib knit 17, k2tog* repeat to end of row

rib knit 6, k2tog* repeat to end of row

rib knit 5, k2tog* repeat to end of row

rib knit 4, k2tog* repeat to end of row

rib knit 3, k2tog* repeat to end of row

rib knit 2 more rows

bind off. using a tapestry needle, sew the crown hole shut in a straight line, first in 1 direction, then pinch the closed crown at 90 degrees and sew another perpendicular straight line.

weave in any loose tails.

fold up a 3" brim and wear zissou style or péle style, or fold over twice to wear vlad style.