Saturday 5 June 2021

Irma Hat for my dad

 A few weeks ago I found myself in the city on a day off (now we're home-schooling and home office-ing and in lockdown v4 it feels like a lifetime ago and a real treat)…

For the first time I wandered into Morris & Sons and found the loveliest, squishiest wool. I decided to knit my dad a beanie.

I was interested to try a pattern with some texture or design to it, but I'm not yet feeling ready for cables. I found the Irma Hat - a free pattern on Ravelry and then read a lot of the reviews. 

It appeared it might need some sizing tweaks, and I know my dad would rate his head size as larger than average. So I upped the needle size from 3.5 (rib brim) and 4.5 (main body) to 4.0 and 5.0 respectively. I also cast on 108 stitches instead of 92

The other change I made in sizing was to knit 3&1/2 rounds of the hat body pattern rather than 2&1/2 before beginning the crown shaping. I'm happy to say the sizing worked out perfectly. I tried it on after I'd finished and before blocking it and it made for a pretty slouchy beanie on me, but when I'd tried it with only the 2&1/2 rounds it had too much of a skull cap vibe.

I found it much easier to get the right leaning stripes (K2tog) to look tight compared to the left leaning stripes (SSK). With a fluffy, multi-coloured yarn it doesn't look too gappy or unbalanced but it could get messy if I tried with a flatter yarn or a solid colour.

As a design change, and a chance to try something new I also altered the rib brim. I did a provisional cast on (waxed macrame thread worked really nicely as the waste yarn) with a crochet chain. Then knit double the number of 1x1 rib rows before folding the brim up and joining the cast  on row into the main knitting.

The double rib brim is so nice and extra squishy I think I'd always do this for a beanie from now on.
If I sound like I suddenly know what I'm doing, I don't. But I have this book (The Knitter's Book of Knowledge - Debbie Bliss) and it's brilliant!

I used two balls (2x50g) of the Morris & Sons Peru - wool/alpaca blend (green graphite colour). They came as shanks and I wound them into balls. Without really thinking about it I used the first ball pulling from the centre, and then the second ball winding from the outside. It means the colour stripes are mirrored which looks kinda cool and I wish I could say I'd thought to do it.

With the doubled brim, the greater number of cast on stitches, bigger needles and extra pattern repeat it turned out the 100g (approx 200m) was exactly the right amount of yarn. There's barely a ping pong ball sized leftover.

I posted it off to my dad on Monday and heard it had arrived on Thursday and he's happy. Perfect for pottering about in the garage in the middle of winter.


  1. Great hat Shelley. Such a fun and useful gift for your dad. I love reading about your varied crafts 😊👏💕

    1. THanks Karen. I've just made another one and I'm much happier with my left-righty leaning stitches this time. So much to learn!

  2. A brilliant gift for your Dad and it sounds so lovely and warm which is what we need at present. As usual you are willing to experiment with your makes and it worked perfectly.


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