Summer is just getting started around here in Ontario, and I don’t know about you but I always like working on small, portable projects at this time of year! While I still think about sweaters and blankets and other ambitious projects, it’s always nice to work on small things that won’t take up my entire lap (or the whole sofa)! So, summer can be a perfect time of year to sneak in some gift knitting, especially if you are someone who plans their winter gift knitting well in advance. (I am actually not usually one of those people, but I always try to do better each year)! Socks and hats come to mind for small gifts for loved ones, and this week on KNITmuch, we’re going to go through the steps for knitting a Top This! hat.
If you’re a relatively new knitter, this will be a great week for you here on the KNITmuch blog. Hats are an ideal project to help you build up some knitting skills beyond the basic knit and purl. Knitting a hat will help you practice not just casting on and knitting, but knitting in the round and knitting some basic decreases. These are all great building blocks for bigger projects. These kits are made with self-striping yarn, which changes color as you knit it – so, even though there are stripes in these hats, you never have to stop and change yarn part way through.
Children’s hats like these are also often smaller than adult projects, so you can finish them faster and feel satisfied. (One of these hats took me only 2-3 episodes of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Netflix – it’s hard to beat that!) These kits have completely charmed me, I confess, and I’m already making a list of the little folks in my life who will be receiving them as gifts. They come with enough yarn for a hat as well as a little topper shaped like a little animal or fun toy, and this week we’ll walk through the steps to make one, using the grey and pink kitty (2nd photo), and this handsome green and yellow elephant (above).
The first step of embarking on any knitting project is to check that you’ve got the right knitting needles to work with. If you’re working with a brand new yarn, the best thing to do is check the label first. All commercially available yarn labels (or “ball bands”) will have a wealth of information on them, including recommended needle size, the fiber content (materials that the yarn is made of), and washing instructions. In this case, the yarn label also contains the hat pattern, on the inside.
We can see from the fine print here that this project requires 5.5mm/US #9 needles. Reading ahead in the pattern instructions inside, we can find out that these are recommended to be a 16″/40cm circular needle as well as double-pointed needles. Other things we’ll need for this project are things you will often need on hand almost all the time as a knitter, are stitch markers, yarn needles for sewing in ends when it’s all finished, and a row counter is optional if you like some help tracking how many rounds or rows you’ve knitted.
In our next blog post we’ll get started and cast on! You can do a project along with us this week if you like, either just following along with the steps to make a hat, or knitting a Top This! hat of your own.