OK, so I know I promised you more Christmas presents, but I haven’t managed to get adequate photos of them yet. So instead, I wore a wool hat and scarf in 35C+ degree heat to take photos of this project. It’s a hard-knock life, guys.
This hat is my Regina the Fourth, named as such as this is the fourth hat pattern I’ve made from this yarn (not counting all the hats of the same pattern knit and reknit cos I chose the wrong size). It started as a Verity, which was immediately ripped and knit into a Cloche Divine, then Ripley, and now Carina Spencer’s free Regina pattern.
I have a hat problem! Namely, that my fat head looks good in very few hat styles, and sometimes it is just a matter of trial and error until I find a pattern that suits. I honestly don’t mind ripping back and reknitting until I get it right. The repetitive click click of the needles, the yarn forming endless loops and my hands repeating the same simple movements over and over again is soothing to me. Ripping back is just another pleasing rhythmic motion which forms part of the process of knitting.
So, this pattern. I wish I had paid more attention to it before now, as it is very cleverly written. It is more a recipe than a strict pattern, as you knit to measurements, meaning you can make the hat from pretty much any size yarn or gauge. The ribbed band is knit first, with a loop at one end and the other. Stitches are picked up from the band, increased, then the body of the hat knit in a fairly standard style.
The result is a cloche incorporating art deco elements, which seems to look good on pretty much everyone who has made it (see the Ravelry project page for proof). You can knit it as slouchy or as close-fitting as you like.
For my hat, I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, which was bought at an incredible garage sale around the corner from my house, where they were selling ex-shop stock at ridiculously low prices. I bought over $1000 worth of yarn for $200, and just wish I had bought more! Although this should be a delicate yarn, being made of merino and cashmere, it has withstood an incredible amount of knitting and ripping with aplomb (possibly due to the manmade content). I highly recommend it, as it makes an unbelievably soft and sturdy finished fabric, with excellent stitch definition.
For those interested in the technical details, I allowed 1″ of negative ease in the brim, picked up 58 stitches, and increased to 85 (i.e. slightly under the 50% increase stated), then knitted the hat 6.5″ deep before decreases. If you are confused by the pattern which call for a 50% increase in stitches, all you do is multiply the original stitch count by 1.5 to get your new stitch requirement. For example, 58 x 1.5 = 87, which I rounded down to 85 to allow for the 5 stitch pattern repeat. Knitting and maths, how I love thee.
This is an excellent hat pattern – well-written and fun to adapt to all different shapes and sizes. Although it was a long journey to get the perfect hat pattern, the Regina is certainly worth it!
Pattern: Regina by Carina Spencer
Pattern details: Regina is an Art Deco inspired hat with a little slouch and a lot of style. It is knit in one piece from brim to crown and made to size as you go – no gauge swatching allowed! Don’t let the reverse stockinette scare you either. After the brim this hat is knit inside out in the round to keep the purling to a minimum. Pattern is suitable for an advanced beginner and accommodates a range of yarn from DK-chunky, so pick your favorite and cast on! Free pattern download.
Yarn: 1.32 skeins / 118.3 meters / 129.4 yards / 66 grams Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in 300609 red
Needles: 4mm for brim, 5mm for body of hat
Mods: Knit 22.5″ brim for 21.5″ head circumference. Picked up 58 sts with 5mm needle (rather than 4mm) and increased to 87. Knit body 6.5″ deep.