Finished: Challenger Hat

Knitting makes good busywork. When you feel that you should be doing something but don’t have anything in particular to do, knitting fills the hole. And so I have made the Challenger Hat.

Pattern: improvised

Size: to fit 24″ head/ man’s large

Yarn: Cascade 220 Tweed (100% wool), shade 7627, about half a ball

Needles: Addi Turbo 5mm, 40cm; 5mm dpns or long-cable circular to work crown decreases.

Tension: 18st to 4″ in k2, p2 rib (stretched)

Inventing a hat is easy. I don’t why I’ve never done it before. This is what I did:

Cast on 108 sts and join for working in the round.

Work in k2, p2 rib for 7″.

Decrease round: k2, p1, (k2tog, k1, p1) to last st of round, k last st tog with first st of next round.

Next round: work the sts as the present themselves to end of round.

Decrease round 2: k1, (k2tog, k1) to last st of round, k last st tog with first st of next round.

Next round: work the sts as the present themselves to end of round.

Next round: k2tog to end.

Next round: k to end.

Next round: k2tog to end.

Next round: k2tog to end.

Next round: cut yarn and pull through remaining sts, weave in ends.

Because of the ribbing, the fit is very forgiving, and I’ll probably use a similar recipe for plenty of hats in future – adjusting the cast on number to (tension x desired circumference, rounded to nearest multiple of four), working in ribbing until the hat is 1″ shorter than desired length from brow to crown, and then following the decrease pattern, repeating the “k2tog to end” round until fewer than 10 sts remain to be fastened off. The top (modelled by one of my beloved rice bowls) is satisfyingly flat:

You might also be able to see a tiny, tiny seam – the result of me doing something like the opposite of magic loop (prosaic straight?) and working back and forth when I realised I’ve lost or have never owned a 5mm circ longer than 16″. And now that I’ve polished off an easy project in a friendly, generous wool, back to the mysterious charms of my fairytale yarn:

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