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A Super Simple Knitted Owl Hat

A Super Simple Knitted Owl Hat

By Christina De La Rocha

It may be that owls are still all the rage. Or it may be that they are so, you know, 2015. But I have an iconoclastic neighbor who loves owls and it is cold here in winter, so I made her this hat. I wish I had made it with yarn of one solid color rather than such a chaotic mash of colors. The owls would stand out so much more. But live and learn.

It’s a quick and easy hat to make, even if, like me, you’re fairly new to knitting and have learned everything you know about knitting from the internet. (Honestly, what did people do before the internet?! Even I don’t know, and not only do I still remember those days, I’ve worked in two libraries and a bookstore.) Don’t even be scared off by the cabling. It’s really absolutely easy.

So, before you go buy yourself or a loved one a winter hat that was knitted from crappy acrylic yarn in some factory that isn’t half as nice as the meadow that was mowed down to make way for it, make this! And if you can afford “artisanal yarn’, find an independent yarn spinner on the internet or at a craft fair and support them. (They’re out there, believe me; I live next door to one, for instance, and I can tell you that if they could just sell enough of their hand-spun, hand-dyed silk or sheep or alpaca wool skeins, then they’d be making a livable living.)

If you’re a beginner like I am, here’s a handy resource for how to read patterns, etc: https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/standards

Super Simple Owl Knit Hat Instructions

Yarn: 100 g of solid color of a size suitable for 6-7 mm (US size 10 – 10½) needles

Buttons: 16 buttons that would make excellent owl eyes

Needles: 5 mm (US size 8) double pointed needles (NECESSARY)

   60 cm (24 inch) circular needles 5 mm (US size 8) (OPTIONAL)

   5 mm (US size 8) cable needle (or use a pencil or an extra DPN)

Darning needle (NECESSARY)

Cast on 80 stitches onto DPNs using the long-tail cast on method (which is totally easier than it looks and is super stretchy).

Join together and place stitch marker (paperclips and safety pins work perfectly) in first stitch to mark beginning of row.

Ribbed band: *knit 1, purl 1; repeat from * until band measures 4 cm (1.5 inches).

R1: *k9, kfb; repeat from * to end of row to add 8 stitches, bringing total in row to 88.

(switch to circular needles, if you want to)

R2: *p3, k8; repeat from * to end of row.

Make owls:

R3: *p3, k8; repeat from * to end of row.

R4: *p3, k8; repeat from * to end of row.

R5: *p3, c4b, c4f; repeat from * to end of row. (As explained here, c4b means slip 2 stitches on the cable needle and place them behind the work, then knit the next 2 stitches, then knit the 2 stitches off the cable needle. c4f is the same but you hold the 2 stitches to the front instead.)

R6: *p3, k8; repeat from * to end of row.

R7: *p3, k8; repeat from * to end of row.

R8: *p3, k8; repeat from * to end of row.

R9: *p3, k8; repeat from * to end of row.

R10: *p3, k8; repeat from * to end of row.

R11: *p3, c4b, c4f; repeat from * to end of row.

R12: *p3, k8; repeat from * to end of row.

R13: *p3, k1, p2, k2, p2, k1; repeat from * to end of row.

R14: *p3, k1, p2, k2, p2, k1; repeat from * to end of row.

R15: *p3, k8; repeat from * to end of row.

R16: *p3, c4b, c4f; repeat from * to end of row.

R17: *p3, k8; repeat from * to end of row.

R18-R27: just knit.

To end hat (switching back to DPNs when things get a bit tight):

R28: *knit 2 together, k9; repeat from * to end of row.

R29: *k2tog, k8; repeat from * to end of row.

R30: *k2tog, k7; repeat from * to end of row.

R31: *k2tog, k6; repeat from * to end of row.

R32: *k2tog, k5; repeat from * to end of row.

R33: *k2tog, k4; repeat from * to end of row.

R34: *k2tog, k3; repeat from * to end of row.

R35: *k2tog, k2; repeat from * to end of row.

R36: *k2tog, k1; repeat from * to end of row.

R37: *k2tog; repeat from * to end of row.

Cut the yarn a reasonable distance away from top of hat and, using a darning needle, run the thread through the final 8 stiches and draw it tight. Feed the yarn through once more and then weave in the end.

Weave in the end at the beginning of the hat. Then sew on the buttons for the eyes.

The end!

Note: If you want a wider hat or to work with thinner yarn, you have to work in units of owls (which are 11 stitches wide). So you could cast on 90 instead of 88 and then add 9 stitches in the first row after the band to bring the total to 99, which gives you 9 owls instead of the 8 owls the pattern is written for).

To increase the length of the hat, add more rows to the ribbed band and/or add “just knitting” rows between the owls and the rows where the stiches are decreased.

Oh, and for goodness sake, if you haven’t already learned how to knit (and purl) continental style, do it! Life is too short to knit English style.

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