I Have Done My Wifely Duty

August 15, 2007

My husband’s head will be warm this winter. What were you thinking? This is not that kind of blog. Maybe it should be…

billhatSeriously folks, I have finally knit my husband a hat. Actually, it is the third hat I’ve made him but the only one that fits. For Christmas 2005 I knit him a scarf. It is very hard to surprise a spouse with a handmade gift. There was a lot of “Gee, Dear. You look tired. You should go to bed early.” and “Honey, can you run a few (six hours of) errands for me?” I finished the scarf late one night and realized what good is a scarf without a matching hat? One thing you must realize is that my husband has a big head. Regular size hats do not fit. Rather than eyeball it, I decided to sneak up to the bedroom and measure his sleeping head. It was late, I was tired, and this seemed like a perfectly good idea at the time. Except that my husband woke up mid measure. I scared the crap out of him, he scared the crap out of me, but I was able to convince him I was just giving him a good night kiss. We got a lot of laughs out of this later.

Suffice it to say, the hat did not fit. It was huge. Then I tried again, with real measurements. Knit a gauge swatch. Again, huge. What is going on? I took that hat and figured out how many stitches I needed to reduce and tried again. I finished it late last night while Bill was still at work. It was sitting on his bedside table for him when he got home. I was sleeping when he got home, but woke up enough to ask if the hat fit. It did! Success! Thank goodness because I was really not up for doing it a fourth time.

The hat is knit in Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Yarn. It’s 100% cotton which is a little unusual for a hat. Most people do it in wool, but I like that this is softer, and I think it will still keep his head warm. It should be good for the milder Maryland temperatures in winter. It may not be warm enough for a harsh Chicago winter. But that’s okay because we don’t live in Chicago.

Here are the boring details for those who are interested. The pattern is my own. I cast on 88 stitches on size 8 circulars. At 4 stitches per inch, this gave me a measurement of 22 stitches. With the stretch, it fits his 25 inch head. (I think that my problem was not taking the give into consideration. But I’ve knit other hats without taking it into consideration and had no problems. Anyway…) I did a rib of knit 3, purl 1 for 10 rounds (or rows). On the 11th round I changed to size 9 needles and started to knit every stitch. I changed colors when I felt like it. My rough formula was to change to the white when the hat measured 3 inches, and then changed back to the caramel color at 5.5 inches. Total hat length is 7.5 inches. When the hat measured about 6 – 6.25 inches I started decreasing. To decrease, I knit 2 together (k2tog), knit 6 stitches repeated to the end of the round. Then I k2tog, k5 and repeated through the round. Then k2tog and k4… etc. until I was left with 8 stitches. (When you get to 24 stitches left, you need to switch to double pointed needles, it is too tight to knit on the circulars. Or you can use two circulars, knitting off one onto the other. In my opinion, the double pointed needles are easier.) My decreases took 10 rows. I prefer to have more decreases in a row to give the hat a more rounded look on the top. You could decrease every 16 stitches (k2tog, k14 and repeat) and have the top be more pointy. It is all personal preference and experimentation. My only suggestion is to make your decrease factor a whole number. To finish up, I threaded the yarn through the stitches, pulled it closed, secured it, and wove in the ends. Hat complete!

Husband is happy, I’m relieved, the dog is adorable. My wifely duty is complete. For today at least.

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Welcome to my spot on the web where I talk about needlework, crafts, and [many] other random things.

A few tidbits about me: I met my husband in college, flirting over tuba letters in the Penn Band. Our dog, CJ, and our cat, Sabrina, round out our family. I'm a sewist, knitter and needlepointer, and an occasional scrapbooker. I love organizing, reading, making jewelry, and hiking. A Chicago girl at heart, I am an avid follower the Cubs, Bears, and Blackhawks.

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