So while I do knit socks, I am always on the look out for single skein projects that aren't necessarily socks that will do these lovely tonal, variegated, or self-striping yarns justice. They deserve to be knit and showcased front and center, not just hidden in shoes.
Recently I stumbled upon the idea of knitting one of my sock patterns into a fingering weight hat, and had a !EUREKA! moment. Not only is this another great type of project for my fingering weight single skein stash, but is also utilizes my 100% merino skeins that I won't use for socks because of the lack of nylon. Fingering weight hats use about 50-70 grams, knit up much about faster than socks, and are a versatile weight for a hat as temperatures dip. If you are concerned about maximizing warmth in severe cold, you can add length and fold up the brim and get a double layer over your ears.
But don't get me wrong, using fingering weight sock yarn for a hat isn't novel or new. I love all the Sockhead Hats that I see and have knit a few myself, but the process of knitting all that stockinette in the round was mind numbing. That project is the definition of stockinette zombifying for me.
The part that got me excited about this idea is spicing it up with non-stockinette stitch patterns. You can easily take some of the stitch patterns from very popular and often FREE sock patterns, and put them on the hat! The stitch pattern can either be a panel running up the hat, or repeated throughout. This instantly creates a more interesting and engaging knitting process, and wonderfully diverse results.
In progress Monkey hat
How to convert a sock pattern from toe to head
Needle size: US2.5 (3mm)
Gauge: 7 sts per inch
Finished Head Circumference: 18, 20, 22, 24 inches
The sock patterns
I have included a sampling of some of my favorite sock patterns that are free, and I hope to knit up as hats!
All details of the stitch patterns are available in the linked patterns
|Monkey by Cookie A||Pomatomus by Cookie A|
|Groovy Socks by Caroline Hegwer||Skyp Rib Socks by Adrienne Ku|
|Vanilla Latte Socks by Virginia Rose-Jeanes||Hermione's Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder|
|Zigzagular Socks by Susie White||Scylla by Fiona Bennett|
|Business Casual by Tanis Lavallee||Froot Loop by Kristi Geraci|
Step 1: Cast-on! Figure out the cast-on number
In general, to get a hat with the desired head circumference: you take the gauge in number of stitches per inch times the desired circumference in inches.
|Cast-on (sts)||Head Circumference (inches)|
These cast-on stitch counts work perfectly if the sock pattern has a panel running up the foot, or if you only want a panel of texture running up the hat, with the remaining portion stockinette. If the sock pattern you are converting has a pattern motif that you will repeat across the whole hat, you will need to change the cast-on number to a multiple of the stitch pattern.
|Cast-on by Head Circumference|
|18 inches||20 inches||22 inches||24 inches|
|Monkey||16||128 sts||144 sts||160 sts||176 sts|
|Pomatomus||12||132 sts||144 sts||156 sts||168 sts|
|Groovy Socks||8||128 sts||144 sts||160 sts||176 sts|
|Skyp Rib Socks||6||126 sts||144 sts||156 sts||168 sts|
|Vanilla Latte Socks||8||128 sts||144 sts||156 sts||168 sts|
|Hermione's Everyday Socks||4||128 sts||140 sts||156 sts||168 sts|
|Zigzagular Socks||9||126 sts||144 sts||153 sts||171 sts|
|Scylla||4||128 sts||140 sts||156 sts||168 sts|
|Business Casual||16 (small)||128 sts||144 sts||160 sts||178 sts|
|Froot Loop||7||126 sts||140 sts||154 sts||168 sts|
Step 2: Work Brim RibbingWork the ribbing suggested for the sock cuff, or a simple K1P1. Work for 2-3 inches, or for a fold-over brim, work for 4-6 inches.
Step 3: Work Stitch PatternFor a panel, work the leg stitch pattern once or twice at the beginning of the round and knit all remaining stitches. For the pattern throughout, work stitch pattern across all stitches. Work until hat measures roughly 10 inches from cast-on for a fitted hat, or 14 inches from cast-on for a slouchier hat.
Step 4: Crown DecreasesThis is the part that requires some math and freestyling on your behalf. If you wish to keep the crown in pattern, you will need to work the decreases into the stitch pattern, or change to stockinette by knitting all stitches. In general:
1) Decrease 1 stitch roughly every 8 stitches (then 7, 6, 5, 4, etc) , or 12-16 for a slower decrease rate.
2) Decrease every other row.
3) Decrease down to 10-12 sts, break yarn and weave yarn through remaining stitches.
Easy peasy, and spices up the standard sock head hat!
Join me in my recent obsession to flip sock yarn and sock patterns from toe to head, and knit some hats with me!