Materials: 2 balls Galway wool - finished hat weighs about 105 (125) grams and measures approximately 18-20 inches in circumference (inside measurement) unextended.
Needles: 7 or 8 mm. 24" circular and 7 or 8 mm. double pointed
Note: Yarn is used double-stranded throughout.
With the circular needle, cast on 64 stitches, remembering to use 2 strands together. Make a circle with the needle and begin knitting. Placing a stitch marker at the beginning of the round and moving it along each round makes it easier to keep track of the rounds, especially when doing the crown decreases.
Knit for 10 inches. Green and navy examples are knit 10 inches. (A slightly larger hat or one with a wider brim can be made by knitting for 12 inches at this point instead of 10. Red example is knit 12 inches.)
Crown: Round 1: *knit 2 together, knit 6*, repeat to end of round (56 sts)
Round 2: knit
Round 3: *knit 2, knit 2 together,repeat around (42 sts)
(Change to double points when practical to do so.)
Round 4: knit
Round 5: *knit 2 together, knit l, repeat around (28 sts)
Round 6: knit
Round 7: knit 2 together around (14 sts)
Round 8: knit
Round 9: knit 2 together around (7 sts)
Round 10: knit
Round 11: knit 2 together to last st, knit 1 (4 sts)
At this point you may run the yarn through the stitches and end off, weaving in the yarn ends on the inside of the hat or make a topknot by placing the remaining 4 stitches on one needle and making an i-cord with 2 of the double points, sliding the stitches from one end of the double point to the other instead of turning the work at the end of each row. Knit in this way for about one inch, then knit two together twice on the next row and once on the following to end up with one stitch. Cut yarn and with a needle feed the thread to the inside and weave in the end.
Put the knitted hat into a hot water cycle in your washing machine with a little laundry soap and process, checking every few minutes until desired size is achieved.
Length of time, higher water temperature and more vigorous processing affect the amount of shrinkage. For the larger version, in the washing machine, check sooner and more frequently, if possible trying it on or measuring until desired circumference is achieved. (See red example.)
When correct size is achieved, squeeze suds out gently, rinse carefully and shape by rolling up brim to desired height. Air dry. (Hanging it on a suitably-sized jar, vase or inverted flower pot makes shaping easy, or try it on the recipient's head occasionally, if you can. to get the correct sizing and shape.)
When your hat is finished, you might try needle-felting a simple design on it. For some, that's when the real fun starts! --Shirlene Greer
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