Babies may have disproportionately big heads compare to the rest of them but even those heads grow, and master Pip Squeak is no exception. His oh so cute little Golden Pear set from last year are just too little for this, and as his favourite trick is to pull it off his head and throw it over the side of the sling it was time for a little knitting before winter truly arrives.
Browsing through Ravelry I found the pattern for what must be the cutest baby hat ever. A little bonnet made from a nice stretchy ribbing with a button to do up under the chin and a little pixie peak at the back. I was sold even before I realised it’s a free pattern.
And so early one morning while the others were sleeping, Pip, Elma and I consulted the yarn stash. The pattern is written for Socks that Rock medium weight which is somewhere between a thick 4ply and a thin DK so we pulled out the sock yarn and, by the very technical method of draping skeins over Pip’s head to see how they looked, we made our choice. As luck would have it, STR medium weight in Pebble Beach (which seems to be a discontinued colourway and tells you everything you need to know about the age of my stash!).
It’s soft chocolatey brown, swirled with sea green, the sand that collects in the bottom of your shoe after a day at the beach and the deep turquoise of the ocean on a summer day; very definitely boy colours, but not in the “bright blue and fire engines” way, it’s a little more subtle than that.
It’s also a dream to knit with. I’ve still got a little stash of Socks that Rock from way way back in the pre children days. I half jokingly said to H at the time that I was laying in an investment against the possibility of a world without sheep in it, but I am glad that I laid in a stash then so that now I have little supply of some really lovely wool to knit to take the edge off after another trip to the children’s shoe shop.
But back to Pip’s new hat. The pattern essentially keeps the same number of stitches but moves a horizontal rib into a vertical, leaving you with a sort of parabola shape that you then fold in half and graft up the back. My top tip is to end after you have done the first row in the next block of three, then when you fold it in half and add the grafting the join blends in perfectly (and yes I did discover this after I’d grafted a hundred or so stitches without thinking about it and then had to pull it out!)
My second top tip would be to sew the neckband on with whip stitch (oversewing). Be careful to be consistent with which line of knitting you’re sewing through on the neckband to keep it looking smart and then when you open it up the whip stitches will blend into the bottom of the hat and it makes a completely flat join, no seam to rub and irritate soft little necks.
It’s an easy pattern to knit up, but there is an error in the online version of the pattern in the buttonhole instruction. I think there’s a row missing because if you’re knit it as written you end up with no buttonhole and not enough stitches. Even if you pull it out and knit it several times over (not that we know anyone who may have done this, oh no).
The pattern should read:
Row 1 (RS): Work 4 sts, k1-f/b, p1, pass second st on right-handed needle over last st, k1-f/b, pass third st on right-handed needle over last 2 sts, work to end.
Row 2: Work 3 sts, p2tog, TURN, CO 4 sts using Cable CO, TURN, k2tog, work to end.
Row 3: Work 3 sts, p2tog, kl, p1, k2tog, work to end.
(With thanks to Mellifico on Ravelry whose very helpful notes saved me from banging my head on the desk with frustration)
And then with a little wooden button from my button tin as a final flourish it was finished.
To say that Pip loves it would perhaps be over egging the pudding. When I first put it on him in the warmth of our cosy lounge he gave me a look of Churchillian thunder that could only be interpreted as “Take This Off Me Mother!”, but snugged up in his snowsuit and let out into the garden to dig in the veg beds and eat some mud he was more than happy to have it keeping out the wind.
Which can only be a good thing because there is a very real possibility that I’ve just made Pip the hat that will last him until secondary school. The pattern is written for two sizes, the upper of which goes to 24 months so I added in another four stitches to bring it up to what I thought would be Pip size.
And it is Pip size. But it’s also Elma sized and Kitty sized and it will even do up on me although it was a bit snug. The girls are already placing their orders and I think I’ll just make this slightly increased size for them too. It has to be done doesn’t it, I mean how cute would it be to have three little ones in matching but not matching pixie hats!
Joining Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday, Frontier Dreams for Keep Crafting On and Make Do and Push for Funky Kid Friday