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Knit Hats!: 15 Cool Patterns to Keep You Warm [Hardcover]

Gwen W. Steege
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 21 2002 Knit
Knitting is in. Julia Roberts knits, high schoolers are knitting in the cafeteria, urbanites are knitting on the subway, college students are knitting in the dorms, and bookstores are sponsoring knitting groups. Colorful new yarns, the availability of simple patterns, gift giving, stress relief - all are reasons for picking up knitting needles and getting started on a great project.

Though knitting is growing in popularity, knitters still want projects that are fast and easy, but ultimately useful and attractive. KNIT MITTENS! is a colorful die-cut book that's small enough to tuck into a knitting bag, backpack, or purse.

The book begins with an easy-to-understand, illustrated overview of the basic techniques followed by 15 fun project patterns (with instructions for a range of sizes) bound between sturdy, die-cut board covers. Each pattern includes the following: a close-to-life-size color photo of the completed mitten or hat; a brief introduction to the pattern; materials and equipment lists; gauge information; a color chart; special tips and hints; and a detailed drawing of any unusual techniques involved. Because the rich palette flows through each book, knitters can mix and match hats (in Knit Hats!) and mittens to create unique sets.


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About the Author

Gwen W. Steege, author of The Knitter’s Life List, has been a fiber fanatic for nearly 50 years, and she hasn’t yet tired of spending late nights with her knitting needles and a good ball of yarn, sometimes spun from the fleece of her own sheep. By day she edits books on knitting and other fiber crafts for Storey Publishing. She lives in western Massachusetts.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Hats Off to Knitting!

Few knitting projects are more satisfying than hats. Most are quick and easy to knit and, because they take a small amount of yarn, they are relatively inexpensive as well. Usually knitted all in one piece ("in the round"), a hat is really a three-dimensional sculpture - you can see the hat taking shape as you knit. And whether you wear your hat or give it away, your unique creation is right out there for all to admire.

For this collection of patterns from seven North American designers, we've chosen a variety of styles for sizes ranging from baby to adults. Some are just plain fun, others are glamorous - all are practical and warm. If you're only beginning to knit and want something easy, or if you're more experienced but need a project you can do in a hurry, notice the patterns marked "Easy!" If you're looking for more of a challenge, the headbands on page 66 are the ideal introduction to double-knitting. And if you haven't experimented with felted knitting, take a look at the "sherpa" helmets for babies or the shaped hats for little girls or women on pages 76, 82, and 86.

A Good Yarn

One of the best things about knitting these days is the wonderful variety of colors, textures, and weights of yarns that easily lure you into yarn shops. When you're deciding what kind of yarn to choose - wool, mohair, cashmere, angora, alpaca, silk, rayon, cotton, linen, synthetic, and various blends - consider how the hat will be used and what the wearer prefers. Will this hat be worn for fun, or does it need to be thick and warm and fit over the ears? Many knitters prefer natural fibers for their hand knits. Wool, for instance, is considered warmer than acrylic, even when wet, but some folks find wool itchy, or they may even be allergic to it. If you're knitting a baby hat, a good compromise is washable wool, which is soft and easy to care for.

For two-color knitting, choose yarns of the same fibers and weight. Different yarn fibers have different degrees of elasticity, or they may differ in the way they knit up, hold their shape, and wash.

In terms of yarn quality, as with most products, you are likely to get what you pay for. Very inexpensive yarns stretch easily and pill and, in general, don't hold up well. Knitting is a fun hobby, but when you're putting time and effort into a project, you'll want it to last. Following are some general yarn categories and their average gauges and needle sizes.

Baby or fingering yarn 6.5 to 8 stitches = 1 inch US 0-3

Sport weight yarn 5.5 to 6 stitches = 1 inch US 4-6

DK (double knit) yarn 5 to 6 stitches = 1 inch US 4-6

Worsted weight yarn 4 to 5 stitches = 1 inch US 6-9

Bulky weight yarn 2 to 3.5 stitches = 1 inch US 9-11

Chunky weight yarn 3.5 to 4 stitches = 1 inch US 9-101/2

If you're substituting a yarn for the one recommended in a pattern, make sure you purchase the correct amount of yardage. For instance, if a pattern calls for one skein of a certain yarn that is packaged 190 yards to a skein and you want to substitute it with a yarn packaged in 100-yard skeins, you'll need to buy two skeins of the substitute yarn. You can usually find this information right on the label, or ask the yarn shop. You'll find yarns come in circular skeins that must be wound into balls before use, as well as in pull-out skeins that don't need rewinding; for a smoother feed, take the yarn from the inside of these skeins.

It's always best to buy an extra skein or two to avoid running short. If you have to return for more yarn, you may find that the yarn shop is either out of it or that what they have is from a different dye lot, which means the colors may be slightly but noticeably different. Some yarn shops will set aside an additional skein for up to a month, just in case you need another; most shops will also accept unused skeins for cash or credit.

Need Some Needles?

Most knitters have strong preferences when it comes to selecting knitting needles, and the wide variety of choices can be confusing until you try them. Coated aluminum needles are durable but sometimes heavy in larger sizes. Plastic or similar materials are lighter, though they can bend or break. Bamboo needles have become increasingly popular: yarn moves smoothly along bamboo needles, even in hot, sticky weather, and they're comfortable and quiet to use.

Available in several lengths, straight needles are easy to work with. Some people find shorter needles easier to manage. For projects that don't fit easily onto short, straight needles, use circular needles. You'll also need circular or double-pointed needles to knit cylindrical shapes, such as mittens and hats. Most of the hats in this book are knit in the round on circular or double-pointed needles. Circular needles come in different lengths and have a flexible nylon or plastic center. The 16-inch length is usually most appropriate for adult-size hats.

Double-pointed needles are used for knitting in the round. You may need to switch from circular to double-pointed needles when you're decreasing a hat to make the top of the crown, and the stitches on the circular needle stretch too far apart to work. When possible, choose a set of double-pointed needles that comes five to a package. Some patterns require five needles, but even if not, it's always good to have the extra needle in case you lose one. You also need a set of crochet hooks for picking up dropped stitches, weaving in ends, and finishing some edges.

Needles come in numbered sizes, but it's important to note whether the size is US, UK, or metric - they're all different! You'll quickly notice that in the US system, 0 is very small; in the UK system, 0 is large. This book provides US and metric sizes in all the instructions.

Getting Gauge Right

It may seem like a nuisance, but, in the long run, knitting an accurate stitch gauge with the yarn and needles you'll be using for your project is one of the most important knitting techniques - no matter how experienced you are as a knitter. The stitch gauge (sometimes called tension) is the number of stitches per inch that you need to make to produce the right size. Obtaining the right gauge can make the difference between a hat that fits properly and one that is unwearable.

Always calculate your gauge over 4 inches (10cm). That's because counting stitches over 1 inch (2.5cm) can be misleading if your stitches are uneven or if the recommended stitches per inch contains a fraction. Here's an example of how to knit a swatch and figure out gauge:

Say a pattern lists the gauge as 16 stitches = 4 inches on size 7 needles. Use size 7 needles to cast on 20 stitches (this is the number of gauge stitches, plus a few extra so that you don't need to measure the edge stitches, which may be uneven).

Following the stitch pattern you'll be using for the main part of your project (unless the pattern indicates otherwise), knit a swatch about 4 inches long. Do not block the swatch.

Lay the swatch on a firm, flat surface. Take care not to stretch the swatch, and make sure the side edges are uncurled. Lay a flat ruler from one side of the swatch to the other. Count the number of stitches within 4 inches (10cm). There should be exactly 16.

If your swatch contains more than 16 stitches in 4 inches, use larger needles and knit another swatch. Repeat steps 1 through 3.

5. If your swatch contains fewer than 16 stitches in 4 inches, use smaller needles and knit another swatch. Repeat steps 1 through 3.

Note: Always use fresh yarn to make a swatch. Used yarn may be stretched and thus give an in-accurate measurement.

Also, two needle sizes are sometimes specified for a pattern, the larger for the main body of the hat, and the smaller for ribbing, for instance. If you change your larger-size needle to obtain the correct stitch gauge, adjust the size of the smaller needle to correspond.

It's Only Fitting

Most of the hats in this book can be knitted in several sizes. To obtain the best fit, measure the circumference of the wearer's head before you knit, and use the instructions for the size closest to that measurement. No one wants a hat to slip around, so the hat circumference may be smaller than the head it's designed to fit. The difference between head and hat size can vary, depending on the hat's "cuff" (for example, rolled stockinette stitch or ribbing) and the type of yarn (stretchy or firm).

To measure head size, begin at the top middle of the forehead just below the hairline. Run a tape measure in front of the ears, around the back of the neck, and back up to the forehead. Compare that to the average head sizes listed below. Unless otherwise noted in the pattern, refer to these measurements when you decide which size to knit.

Casting Call

Casting on with a long-tail cast on makes an especially neat, firm, but elastic edge for a hat cuff. If you tend to cast on tightly, you may want to switch to one needle size larger for this part.

1. Estimate how long to make the "tail" by wrapping the yarn around the needle one time for each cast-on stitch you need, then adding a few extra inches. Make a slip knot right here, and slide the knot over a single knitting needle. Hold that needle in your right hand; hold the tail and the working end of the yarn in your left hand. Insert needle through front loop of working yarn loop on your thumb. Wrap tail from back to front around needle.

2. Use needle to draw tail through the loop on your thumb.

3. Release loop on your thumb, place your thumb underneath the working thread, and draw both toward you while holding the working thread and tail firmly in your fingers.

Casting off is sometimes called binding off. If you tend to cast off tightly, you may want to switch to one needle size larger. The simplest way to cast off is to knit two stitches to the right-hand needle, then draw the first one over the second. Don't pull too tightly, or your edge will be puckered and inelastic. When you reach the last stitch, pull the working end through the stitch and weave it into the inside.


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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Something for everyone in this book! Jan. 30 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
When I first saw it at the book store my thought was "Oh, no, not another beginner knitting book with one basic hat pattern and 15 different doo-dads sewn on". But I was pleasantly surprised. Even though it looks like a toddler board book from the outside, inside there is use of various knitting techniques: knitting a top-down hat, slip-stitch, fair-isle, a double knitted headband, and felting. Another plus is that there are several contributors to this book so you get a variety of styles that way too. In fact, a few of the hat patterns I've seen sold individually in knitting catalogs, so for the price the book is a good deal. Also most hats are given in 3 sizes and a few in different gauge yarns. The styles range from playful(e.g., fair-isle bunnies with dangling carrot pom-poms) to sophisticated (e.g., mohair beret with picot edging, a felted brimmed cloche). I intend to have a pleasant time using up my leftover balls of yarn with this book!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Knit Hats! May 20 2004
Format:Hardcover
_Knit Hats!_ is a very eye-catching book: it is bound between a sturdy hat-shaped cover. Inside, there are fifteen cute and fun projects. There is a lot of circular needle work included in this book, so it is helpful to have a good grasp on that before you start any of these designs. There are different designs that are geared towards beginners (a headband, and easy hat designs) and others that an intermediate or advanced knitter could settle in with. Everyone will appreciate the easy-to-understand instructions, and the full-length color illustrations.
A fun and special addition to any knitting library.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Cute but not an essential book on hats Nov. 3 2003
Format:Hardcover
This is an adorable book--die cut to look like a stocking hat. And there is enough variety to please most knitters, with headbands, toques, berets and such. I found the designs less than inspiring, but the patterns can be adapted to your own tastes. In short, not an essential book, but a great gift for a knitter, and a good book to have if you like a lot of hat patterns on hand.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars Nov. 24 2013
By RDC2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Cute patterns for beginner knitters.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Knot for new knitters March 1 2005
By Sherilyn Dodge - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have to agree with the previous review - cute book, bad directions. Ready to try out some fun color hats, I was drawn to this book by the meticulous directions that (it appeared) even a beginning knitter could follow, plus the illustrations were clear and easy to understand. However, I soon discovered that whoever wrote the pattern did not knit the hat or vice versa... and did not master basic math in school. Example... the cute bunny hat with carrot poms... the ear flaps were not centered when knit according to directions. I had to rip out and redo the math to get them centered correctly on the hat. Then the bunny chart is 14 stitches which gives you 5.7 bunnies in the 80 stitches of the toddler hat -- and the math is not right for the other two sizes shown either. The bunny would have been better accomplished with a duplicate stitch (which I ended up doing... way too much carrying of the contrast colors.) A novice knitter would be sorely tested.

This is a classic example of bad or non-existent proofreading. You would think that one of the three editors listed in the book would have checked the math. Don't blindly trust the printed material (and if you can't do that, why bother with the book to begin with?). I gave it two stars for the design, photos, and illustrations which were good.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cute hats, bad directions. Jan. 4 2005
By a knitter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I am a reasonably accomplished knitter, and this book tied me up in knots. The patterns are cute, but the first hat I knit ended up too wide and too long, despite a carefully knit and measured gauge. The second hat contained lines of directions which might as well have been in Greek (it took my advanced-knitter daughter and I several hours of experimenting to figure out how to make one minor feature of the pattern work), and several steps that were completely incorrect. Don't buy this book unless you have the time and energy to decipher nearly unintelligible instructions.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something for everyone in this book! Jan. 30 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When I first saw it at the book store my thought was "Oh, no, not another beginner knitting book with one basic hat pattern and 15 different doo-dads sewn on". But I was pleasantly surprised. Even though it looks like a toddler board book from the outside, inside there is use of various knitting techniques: knitting a top-down hat, slip-stitch, fair-isle, a double knitted headband, and felting. Another plus is that there are several contributors to this book so you get a variety of styles that way too. In fact, a few of the hat patterns I've seen sold individually in knitting catalogs, so for the price the book is a good deal. Also most hats are given in 3 sizes and a few in different gauge yarns. The styles range from playful(e.g., fair-isle bunnies with dangling carrot pom-poms) to sophisticated (e.g., mohair beret with picot edging, a felted brimmed cloche). I intend to have a pleasant time using up my leftover balls of yarn with this book!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cute but not an essential book on hats Nov. 3 2003
By Joanna Daneman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is an adorable book--die cut to look like a stocking hat. And there is enough variety to please most knitters, with headbands, toques, berets and such. I found the designs less than inspiring, but the patterns can be adapted to your own tastes. In short, not an essential book, but a great gift for a knitter, and a good book to have if you like a lot of hat patterns on hand.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but not essential Dec 20 2006
By A. Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I generally avoid "trendy" knitting, as I have been knitting since the age of 9 and would rather never touch any yarns with "fun" on the label, so I viewed this book with great skepticism. That being said, it's cute. Not deep, not challenging, but cute. There's a variety of hats, and even a lesson on double-knitting, so it doesn't cater only to the novice knitter. I made 2 hats exactly as written--one I am very pleased with & one I am not overly pleased with--and used another pattern as a jumping-off point to design my own hats, which turned out great. One hat is knit on straight needles for those who are reticent about trying dpns, but the best bet is to jump in & try circular knitting--it would be FAR easier.

Not the best book in the world, but it's worth adding to the "fluff" section of your knitting library.
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