My great friend Giovanna, never one for mincing words, flat out asked me to make a hat for her one year old, Giacomo. And she requested a pom pom. If you knew Giacomo, you’d have a hard time refusing too!
This project is a great opportunity to practice your Fair Isle skills. It’s small enough to rip out, redo, and make a few. Also, baby’s are so uncritical.
To design this hat I used the help of a great book called Traditional Fair Isle Knitting by Sheila McGregor. Besides ancient images of rugged Scottish fishermen covered head to toe in expertly knit Fair Isle gear, the book includes pages and pages of black and white traditional stitch patterns. I chose one, came up with a little border and a color scheme and here you go! Enjoy! -Whitney
- 4 skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas Sportweight Alpaca (enough yarn to make many baby hats). I used (from the top):
- Salsa #806 (from the “Melange” colors)
- Tangerine #521
- Natural Light Tan #004
- Natural #500
- 1 US size 4, 16-inch circular needle
- 1 US size 5, 16-inch circular needle
- 1 set of US size 5, double pointed needles
- 1 stitch marker
- 1 tapestry needle
- Pom Pom Maker (If you need help making a pom pom, see my Pom Pom Tutorial)
(The fabric in the background is from Windham’s Williamsburg Collection, Blue Confetti Ditsy)
6 stitches = 1 inch with US size 5 needle in stockinette stitch
14.5-inch circumference (to fit a baby approximately 3 – 9 months old)
With US size 4 needle and the main color, cast on 88 stitches.
Place a marker and join for working in the round, being careful to not twist the stitches.
Round 1: *K1, P1, repeat from * to end of round.
Repeat last round until piece measures 3/4 of an inch from the cast on edge.
Switch to US size 5 needle.
Knit 3 rounds.
Knitting the Fair Isle Section
For the next 19 rounds follow this chart:
Read each line from right to left, starting at the bottom right corner. Repeat the line until the end of the round (4 times), and then move up the chart to the next round.
Be sure to keep the strands across the back of the work loose. I find the best way to do this is to shove the stitches on the right needle far over to the right so that the new color has to stretch to reach the left needle. This creates perfect slack, preventing buckling and tightness.
One other thing to keep in mind is that when there are 7 or 8 stitches of 1 color, tack the other color’s strand after 3 or 4 stitches. Also, I cut the MC, but carried the other colors up the inside.
Here’s what the fair isle section looks like when it’s finished:
Knitting the Crown
With the MC, knit 3 rounds.
Next round: *K6, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
Knit 1 round.
Next round: *K5, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
Knit 1 round.
Next round: *K4, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
Knit 1 round.
Next round: *K3, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
Changing to double pointed needles, knit 1 round.
Next round: *K2, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
knit 1 round.
Next round: *K1, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
Next round: *K2tog, repeat from * to end of round. (12 stitches left)
Cut the yarn. Sew the tail through the remaining stitches, pull tight to close the top of the hat, and bring the tail to the inside of the hat.
Weave in the ends and block the hat.
For really satisfying pom poms, I like to use a Pom Pom Maker. In this case, I chose the second largest size and the white yarn. Please check out my Pom Pom Tutorial if you need help figuring out how your pom pom maker works.
After tying off the pom pom, cut the tail and bring it through the center of the top of the hat. Turn the hat inside out and tightly tie the pom pom tail and the hat tail in a square knot. Weave in the ends.