Colorwork Knitting Tutorial: Customizing a Hat Pattern

Posted by on Jul 25, 2013 in Knitting | Comments


This post is for the beginning knitter branching off into colorwork. I actually do not consider myself a colorwork expert, but I like to encourage new knitters to try different techniques and acquire new skills that will make knitting more enjoyable. I know that you can find yourself knitting for a vast variety of people, so follow along to create a hat that is as unique as the people you knit for (yes, even YOU)! Get the pattern here.

Colorwork

Some colorwork tips before we start our pattern

As a crocheter, I found Continental knitting (yarn in my left hand, as seen in this blog post about German knitting) to come much more natural. I first attempted to learn to knit using the English method and failed miserably. Twice! When I tried the Continental style, I latched on and did not even think of trying to knit the other way anymore.

Well, this is where my first tip comes in: Learn to knit English and Continental.

As simple as that. Knitting with yarn held over both hands will make knitting colorwork a very simple and fast process. The pattern we will be working on has a big chunk of solid color that you can practice on. Knit the brim and the bottom of your hat with the yarn in whichever hand you do NOT favor in regular knitting. My first rounds felt tortuous, but suddenly my right hand “woke up” and started to feel more comfortable throwing the yarn over the needle. Keep your yarn separated by putting a skein on each side of your body as you work.

Of course you can work with just one hand. If you choose to do it like this, you can purchase a little device for your finger called a yarn guide. It will help keep the strands separated.

Second tip: Keep the floats comfortable.

A “float” is the yarn that literally floats across the opposite colored stitches. If the float is too small/tight, it will pucker your fabric. If it’s too long/loose, your stitch will elongate and you might end up snagging it on things. An easy way to ensure the floats are long enough is to spread out the stitches on your right needle when you are about to switch colors. Also, try and keep solid blocks of color down to 3-4 stitches. If you have a longer stretch of color, twist your working yarn with your “sleeping” yarn (color not being currently worked) to carry it comfortably across.

Third tip: Read charts from right to left, bottom to top.

You will always start at the bottom of a colorwork chart. You will read it from right to left unless you are working flat. For this pattern, we will be working in the round, so you need to work every row from right to left.

Fourth tip: Be consistent when changing colors.

When you change from the main color to the contrasting color, you may begin by crossing the new color above the main color. If you do so, then when you switch back to the main, cross it (the main color) below the contrasting color. Continue as such throughout the pattern. If you switch this up, you run the risk of twisting your yarn and messing up your gauge (the twisted yarn will tighten your tension). Plus, it is a complete pain to have to put down your yarn and untwist the colors.

Let’s get prepared!

For this pattern, I used approximately 100 grams (about 250 yards) worsted weight yarn in two different colors. Three of the designs look best with rows after the charts knit in the contrasting color and the other looks best in the main color, so about 50g of each color should be suitable, but I advise having some extra on hand to be safe. You will also need a stitch marker and a needle to weave in ends.

The needles I used were a 4 mm (US 6) 16” circular needle and a set of double-pointed needles in the same size. My gauge was 20 stitches x 27 rows = 4” square in stockinette (in the round).

You can work either a beanie style hat or a slouch/beret style hat. At my gauge, the flat, unstretched measurements taken at the center of each piece are as follows:

Beanie: 9.25” wide x 8.5” tall
Slouch: 11.5” wide x 9” tall

It should be fairly easy to customize the pattern to fit YOUR gauge. Just make sure when you increase after the brim, you end up with a multiple of 12 stitches. This will ensure the colorwork charts fit.

The abbreviations used are:

CO- cast on
K- knit
P- purl
tbl- through the back loop
m1- make one
k2tog- knit two together
rep- repeat
MC- main color
CC- contrasting color

Now that you know all that, let’s begin! Decide what type of hat you want to knit, a BEANIE (fitted) or a SLOUCH (looser) hat.

⇛Start your BEANIE

CO 84, place marker and join to work in the round, being careful not to twist your stitches.

Work a twisted rib–*K 1 tbl, P1; Rep from * around–for 8 rounds.

*K 7, m1; Rep from * around. (96 sts)

Knit 8 rounds.

Knit your choice of colorwork pattern from BELOW or make your own!

Knit 14 rounds, then move on to BEANIE crown instructions.

Chart

Use the blank chart to create your own colorwork pattern. Remember the colorwork tips from above. Work the rounds AFTER in your CC, unless noted otherwise. For tips on how to use graph paper in your knitting, see this post: Why should we use knitting graph paper?

⇛Start your SLOUCH hat

CO 80, place marker and join to work in the round, being careful not to twist your stitches.

Work a twisted rib–*K 1 tbl, P1; Rep from * around–for 8 rounds.

*K 2, m1; Rep from * around. (120 sts)

Knit 16 rounds.

Knit your choice of colorwork pattern from ABOVE or make your own!

Knit 14 rounds, then move on to SLOUCH hat crown instructions.

Let’s make that CROWN!

Switch to DPNs when necessary

Decreasing the BEANIE:

*K 10, k2tog; Rep from * around. (88 sts)
Knit 1 round.
*K 9, k2tog; Rep from * around. (80 sts)
Knit 1 round.
*K 8, k2tog; Rep from * around. (72 sts)
Knit 1 round.
*K 7, k2tog; Rep from * around. (64 sts)
Knit 1 round.
*K 6, k2tog; Rep from * around. (56 sts)
*K 5, k2tog; Rep from * around. (48 sts)
*K 4, k2tog; Rep from * around. (40 sts)
*K 3, k2tog; Rep from * around. (32 sts)
*K 2, k2tog; Rep from * around. (24 sts)
*K1 , k2tog; Rep from * around. (16 sts)
K2tog around. (8 sts)
Knit 1 round.

Decreasing the SLOUCH hat:

*K 4, k2tog; Rep from * around. (100 sts)
Knit 2 rounds.
*K 3, k2tog; Rep from * around. (80 sts)
Knit 2 rounds.
*K 2, k2tog; Rep from * around. (60 sts)
Knit 1 round.
*K 1, k2tog; Rep from * around. (40 sts)
Knit 1 round.
K2tog around. (20)
K2tog around. (10)
Knit 1 round.

Finish it!

Cut yarn leaving 10” tail, thread remaining stitches with tail, pull tightly to close. Weave in ends. Block lightly.

Knit Hat

How did you do? Do you feel more at ease with knitting colorwork? If you do, check out these awesome colorwork patterns available on Craftsy!

If you need more help with hats in general, you can take Stefanie Japel’s class: Circular Knit Lab: Hats Four Ways. If you want a one-page downloadable copy of this pattern, get it on the pattern page: Colorwork Recipe.

Comments

  1. pat says:

    Good to see some new/old patterns which will renew my interest in knitting this fall….an enjoyable pastime for fall and winter evenings. Each of us should make a few hats and/or mitts for local or foreign charities. Thanks.

  2. Knowledgeable! It would be fun knitting hats on your know. I’ve never done this before.