Revision time: Cafe hat

About two and a half years ago (wow, time flies!), I released the pattern Cafe Hat. Here it is in its original glory:

Cafe hat cabled version

Cafe hat

Although I loved the look of it, and it was absolutely the hat I wanted, there was something about it that obviously didn’t sit too well with other knitters. It might just be the abundance of free hat patterns already on offer.  I’ve since gifted the hat in this picture to someone else, but I’ve always wanted another one for me (perhaps this is the one that won’t make me look like a cancer patient, as my older son so “tactfully” puts it).

I had guessed there might be something wrong with the pattern, but I’ve never had the time/inclination to revisit the pattern to find out why.  I had every intention of doing this during the past winter, but with the mild weather we had, I think I wore a hat only 10 times!  Not great hat knitting motivation!

As I had time on my hands this week, I decided what better opportunity than now!  Well, I soon saw that the pattern could have been written in a more logical manner.  And I had made a couple of mistakes in it (blush).

Hats are a great way to use up that odd ball and a half in your stash.  For this project, I knitted the new hat in the now discontinued Rowan Tapestry (a single spun DK weight).  I’ve had a couple of balls sitting in my stash for quite a while, and I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to use them up!

Version 1

It came out well, and it’s a lovely colour, but something wasn’t quite right…the back didn’t sit the way I wanted it to.

Not quite right?

I went back to my original possum yarn (this time in Zealana’s Rimu) to see if I would be happier with the look:

Cafe Hat v.2

Yes, much better.  This pattern suits a yarn with more ‘body’.  I decided to also take an inch off the length to avoid that “mushroom puff” effect that a lot of slouchy hats tend to end up with.  You can see that the slouch is more rounded, and doesn’t puff at the top of the head.

Rounded, not puffed

Perhaps I should also talk about the thinking behind the pattern… one of the things I hate about knitting slouchy hats is all the increasing and decreasing you have to do.  It’s so tiresome, yet I like the slouch part.  This hat uses a method that gets around the increases and decreases whilst still producing slouch:  I simply changed the needle size.

From the front

You start at the brim with a reasonably tight 3.75mm needle and cables (to prevent too much stretch and the hat dropping over your eyebrows after extended wear).  Then you go up to 4.5mm for the mid-section so it doesn’t squeeze the skull, and then change to 5mm for the majority of the crown, to produce slouch and a nice loose fit around the top of the head.  No increases required, and only some very quick decreasing at the top of the crown to bind off.  It seems to work.  The level of slouch can be adjusted in the length of the crown to suit you – make it shorter for a beanie/toque effect, or even longer for those who like the very long floppy hat.

It’s a fast and easy knit.  I also put in a simple slipped stitch cable for the brim for interest.

The original pattern also included a plain ribbed brim, however I decided to remove that version from this edition.  I think having too many instructions in one pattern tends to confuse knitters, and also, those who have knitted it have only chosen to knit the cabled brim.

So without further ado, I present the revised edition of the Cafe Hat, complete with corrections and technical edits!  (And even if it still doesn’t become more popular, at least I’m happy with the technical accuracy of the pattern!)  Free pattern: Cafe hat

The hat comes in three sizes:  S, M and L

Needles required:  3.75mm (US 5); 4.5mm (US 7) and 5mm (US 8) circular (23″/60cm) or DPN.  You’ll also need one set of DPNs in a smallish size for the crown decreases (I have said 4mm or 4.5mm but you can even use 3.75mm – it doesn’t matter.  It’s only for about 6 rows, and the small size is to avoid gaps between stitches when you decrease rapidly at the end).  And a cable needle.



18 thoughts on “Revision time: Cafe hat

  1. I am on my third cafe hat of your pattern. Two in a variegated Cardellino yarn and the current WIP is alpaca blend. One for me that I wear skiing, and two gifts (the finished gifted cafe hat is worn to bed by my friend in winter) I liked the pattern but have learnt to knit in a smaller size than I thought I needed to avoid it stretching too much around the forehead…will enjoy trying a new pattern for it. thank you.

  2. oh my word, this is a gorgeous hat design, dear friend. Love all your photos (you truly are beautiful) and you are so clever to re-think the brim and the use of needles! Thanks for offering this pattern for free … will go stash diving this weekend!

  3. I love it. It photographs better in the light colour, but I bet the darker version is divine in the flesh. And warm. I’ve been wearing a possum hat the last few days in our current sub-zero temperatures and it is soooooooo much warmer 🙂

    1. I know what you mean about the colour. The dark one ended up being exactly what I wanted to achieve, so I figured, oh well, it doesn’t matter. I’m glad you’ve been able to make use of possum too. I hear it’s rather cold over there at the moment!

  4. I’ve become a recent hat convert (I had no idea they were so quick and easy to make). I did mine in super chunky, but may try finer yarn like yours. They look great 🙂

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