Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

Annabella and the Aviator


Once upon a time, Andy at Flagstaff Alpacas asked if I would design a beanie/scarf combination pattern for him.  He very kindly sent me some pretty yarn to play with for this project so I sat and thought about it, and after a certain amount of swatching this is what I came up with:

This is Flagstaff Alpaca’s multi-dyed 8 ply (DK) 100% alpaca in the Vale colourway.  I’ve called this hat/scarf Aviator.

Instinctively at first, I wanted to do a plain 2 x 2 rib beanie with a fold-up brim as this is a dead-easy style that anyone can knit.  However, alpaca being that lovely, flowing fibre that it is, isn’t going to cooperate in a fold-up brim, and I imagined people trying to see out of their hat while the brim flopped over their eyes… not so good.

I didn’t want to write a pattern for a plain beanie with narrow rib brim and stocking stitch top either (too boring).  There needed to be some kind of interest factor in the brim to keep me engaged for a start!  However, the brim also needed to be robust enough to support the weight of attached scarf extensions.  The trellis slip-stitch pattern was so pretty when I swatched it.  This was the one! When I added the scarf, it seemed to me that this hat looked just like one that an old-fashioned aviator would wear… hence the name “Aviator”.  Others may think it reminds them of medieval times…

Unlike the Blue Danube where the scarf can be knitted as a separate piece, in the Aviator you can choose to knit the hat without the scarf.

Here it is – Free Pattern – Aviator hat and scarf.  As well as being a free pattern on this blog, Aviator will also be available as a free pattern with purchase of alpaca yarn at Flagstaff Alpacas.

Sylvia, my daughter, really liked the design, but said it would be even better if she was able to tuck her hair into the hat. Inspired, I knitted another, but this time without the scarf, and adding in a larger and more detailed top:

The trellis pattern on the brim of this hat reminds me of the 50’s, but the slouch brings it into the modern day.  I decided to call this pattern “Annabella” in memory of my aunt who was a young adult in the 50’s.  She was a bit of a rebel – imagine a striking-looking young woman with flaming red hair, wearing a flowing floral skirt with belted waist, a fitted short-sleeved shirt and riding a Harley-Davidson bare-headed (as they did back then).  I’m not certain about the make of motorbike, but it certainly had that look in the photos I’ve seen. Coming from a family of good standing, I understand her free spirit caused my well-bred grandmother a certain amount of distress.

She rode horses bare-back along the beach, kept a possum for a pet (until it met its untimely end after my grandfather found it on the table having afternoon tea meant for guests) and was an aspiring thespian.  Sadly, my aunt passed away before I was born but people who knew Annabella in their youth still speak of her in awed tones.  I wish I’d known her.

The pattern for the Annabella hat will be released next.

We had a bit of fun with the Aviator:

Someone was none to pleased at me starting to cluck happily about “cute!”

“Turn around sweetie, I need another shot.”


Ah well, at least you get a good view of the rear of the hat!

I think this is actually a nice snuggly design for kids in colder climates where this style would be useful in bundling up against the cold.  It will fit 8yrs old up (Eric’s head is 53cm) without having to adjust the pattern.

If you haven’t knitted with alpaca before, I hope these designs give you some inspiration to use this wonderful “fibre of the gods”.

Thanks for this opportunity to play with pretty yarn Andy!


Author: kiwiyarns

Welcome to my blog where I talk about knitting in New Zealand and the beautiful yarns you can find here.

13 thoughts on “Annabella and the Aviator

  1. That is quite beautiful – and it looks cosy. I could probably do with one tomorrow…with the snow forecast.
    It is a well thought out design and looks great. I might have to visit Flagstaff Alpacas and make it. Thanks so much for sharing it

    • Isn’t the cold snap great!!!?? I’m so pleased we’re finally getting a bit of decent winter weather! I’m glad you like the design. Be sure to send me a picture if you knit it!

  2. Gorgeous photos of both the hats and your kids 🙂 Your daughter is beautiful isn’t she! I love the Annabella, it does look great with the hair tucked in….I’ll be making this one for sure!! I think the aviator will be too hot but I love the idea and it looks really cool on Eric.

    I think I would have really liked your aunt, she sounds fantastic!

    Do you wet block the pieces of your jumpers before you sew them up? I have finished my hoodie except for the hood and I am getting mixed opinions on whether to block it before or after I sew it all together??

    Have a great weekend 🙂

    • Thank you. 🙂 I agree the Aviator is definitely one for the colder climates. Alpaca is such a cosy fibre, I’m not sure you’d need all that warmth in Queensland! You probably would have liked my aunt. Like you, she also loved horses and cats, and she drew beautifully too.

      Re your hoodie – I know some people block before they sew all the pieces together, but I’m definitely in the camp of sew and then block.

      Have a great weekend too. 🙂

  3. Apart from your stunning good looking children, I love the hat!! Will it only be available with the Alpaca yarn? If so will the send to the UK do you know?

    C x

    • I’m so glad you like it. Annabella will be on my blog too. But don’t let that stop you if you want to try out some of Flagstaff’s great yarn! 😉

  4. I love the hat and alpaca is one of my favoritest fibers! Question, how tough will the brim be for a newbie knitter? I think I’d like to try the Annabella…I’m thinking in a reddish yarn (have to check the stash)

    • That’s great to know! The brim is actually easy. Just remember to keep the loose strand to the front of your work as this is what forms the quilting effect when you pick it up a couple of rows up. And do keep that marker in the right place! But that’s really all there is to bear in mind. The rest is quite basic. You need approx 80g for this hat. The pattern is all ready to go – I just want to show you the second hat as well! Hopefully I’ll be able to get a decent photograph today. Stay tuned! 😉

  5. Thank you for this beautiful pattern! I will knit one for sure because it will be very, very useful for next windy winter in Montreal (Quebec) when it will be around -40 Celsius…

    • Thank you for your lovely comment. 🙂 Oh my gosh! -40C! I rather suspect you’ll need to thrum the hat as well, just to try to stay warm! That sounds ferociously cold. We think it’s cold here when it gets to -3C! Haha!

  6. it is awesome! I really like the Anabella, especially the top, it looks so cozy and snuggly!

    • Thank you! 🙂 I have finished the second one now (mine!) and I’ve barely taken it off I love it so much! It’s perfect for this cold snap!

  7. The stories about your aunt make me wish I had met her. A pet possum? That is too funny.

    I love how adaptable you’ve made your recent designs. They are all so beautiful!