Hooked on Needles

Friday, July 4, 2008

Knit Swirl Top Baby Hat

A while ago I showed you a cute little crocheted baby hat made with buttercup Lion Brand Baby Soft sport weight yarn which is one of my favorite yarns to use for baby things. Here is an easy baby hat pattern for all you knitters out there. This one is made with the same sport weight yarn as the crocheted hat, and size 6 knitting needles.
As you can see, it is a simple pattern of knit 2, purl 2 ribbing to start. The middle section of the hat is straight stockinette stitch which is where you knit one row and purl the next. The top of the hat is formed by decreasing at regular intervals up to the crown. Looking at it from the top when it is on a baby's head, these decreases form a nice swirl pattern. Hence the name Swirl Top Baby Hat!
This is a close-up of the top of the hat where you can see the pattern formed by the decreases. I think it is so pretty in its simplicity.
This is what the ribbing looks like, just very simple knit 2, purl 2 ribbing for 2 inches.
This is a close up of the middle section of the hat, also showing the seam line. Can you make it out? It's just to the right of the middle and barely noticeable because of the method I used for sewing the seam, called the Mattress Stitch. This stitch is essential for neat finishing of knitted items like sweaters, stuffed toys and anything else requiring a seam.

So here's the pattern:

Using 3 ply sport weight yarn and size 6 knitting needles, cast on 64 stitches. If you find your cast on stitches are too tight, cast on over two knitting needles, then pull one out before continuing. That is what I always have to do so that my cast on edge remains elastic.

Work Knit 2, Purl 2 ribbing for 2 inches.

Knit in stockinette stitch for 2 1/2 inches.

Beginning on a Knit row, Knit 2 together every 8th stitch. Knit the last stitch.

Purl across.

Knit 2 together every 7th stitch. Knit the last stitch.

Purl across.

Continue in this way knitting 2 together every 6th, 5th, 4th etc on knit rows and purling across until you have knitted 2 together every 2nd stitch.

Cut yarn leaving a long tail which you will use to sew the seam. Thread a blunt darning needle with this long tail and run the needle through the remaining stitches. Draw the stitches together and secure. Using the same long tail still on the darning needle, sew the seam. Weave in ends. Turn up cuff and find a cute little baby to wear it!

This is what the finished hat looks like. It takes me a few evenings to complete this hat so it is not nearly as quick for me to make as the crocheted hat, but I'm sure a fast knitter could work it up in a lot less time. It is lightweight and stretchy and can be altered for bigger heads by adding multiples of 8 to your cast on row and increasing the number of stockinette rows you work. I have made this hat in all the fun Baby Soft colors to give to our local hospital nursery for the new babies. They always love getting a new supply of handmade baby hats, and I think every new baby should have some little something that was made by hand. Do you have any quick-to-make baby items that you like to whip up for that last minute visit to the hospital or for a baby shower? Happy Stitching!

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  • Hi,

    What does "purl across" mean? Does that mean 1 row of just purl?

    Thanks! I have never been able to read crochet or knit patterns; so, sorry if this is a dumb question!

    By Anonymous Strix, At September 7, 2009 at 8:07 PM  

  • Oh, I apologize for asking another question, bur if I wanted to make this for an adult (22-inch head) would it be difficult to explain to me how I would adapt this pattern?

    By Anonymous Strix, At September 7, 2009 at 8:10 PM  

  • Hi Strix! Thanks so much for writing in with questions! It would be most helpful if you would either change your blogger profile to include your email address, or provide your email address in your comments so I can respond to you directly. I never know if a reader comes back to the post to check for a response to a comment! Thanks!

    Now to answer your questions...'purl across' does mean just what you said. Purl across the row. Not a dumb question at all...in fact a great way to learn how to read patterns!

    To make this pattern larger, all you would have to do is estimate how many more 8 stitch sections you would need to fit the head you are making it for. Then you would need to add some number of stockinette rows for length. I think I mentioned that in the paragraph after the last picture in this post. Of course if you are using bigger or smaller yarn and needles, you would have to take that into consideration. But basically it's just adding stitches in multiples of 8 when you cast on, and then adding rows of stockinette to increase the length.

    Hope this helps!


    By Blogger Mary Grace McNamara, At September 7, 2009 at 8:35 PM  

  • Hello! I just wanted to say that I've used this pattern to make several baby hats and it's my favorite. It's quick and always gets loads of compliments when I take it to showers.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At February 8, 2011 at 1:01 PM  

  • Many thanks for this very clear explanation. Do you remember how many centimeters or inches long did represent your 64 initial stiches, that is, which was your exact gauge? I intend to knit this for a 1 year old baby, probably 44 cm of forehead circunference (initial long); but I am not quite sure which would be the radius of the hat, that is, how long in total would be the distance between the botton and the top of the hat. Sorry for my English, and many thanks in advance, I enjoy all your Posts, particularly sewing, your are a great teacher and a source of inspiration!! Greetings from Buenos Aires, Gabriela.

    By Blogger Ga, At April 15, 2011 at 8:08 PM  

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