But after a couple hundred hats, the plain vanilla, ribbed brim, stockinette body, spaced decreases for the crown, gets a little boring and I start looking for ways to mix it up. Textured stitches work well, although I mostly avoid lace because those don't disguise hair loss quite so well. Sometimes I do a wide band of ribbing so it can be folded up and worn doubled. Sometimes I mix up the way I do the decreases. Sometimes I do just plain knitting but with something like fun fur.
A couple weeks ago I was watching an episode of Knitting Daily where the presenter showed how to make pleats in knitting. I wasn't particularly interested in putting pleats in my knitting, so I watched mostly out of idle curiosity. Then last night as I was trying to sleep I had an idea. Making pleats decreases the number of stitches very quickly. What if I made pleats at the beginning of the crown decreases, then finished off the crown in more or less the usual fashion.
Here's the result:
The self-striping yarn isn't the best for illustrating the idea, but I didn't know I was going to do this until I did it, and this was the hat that was ready for a crown.
There are any number of tutorials on YouTube that describe how to knit pleats. This is the one I looked at to remember how to do them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irWiRZdEdX4 There's too much time spent watching the guy knit ribbing, but the instructions for how to make the box pleat are clear, so it will work.
For my hat, I had 80 stitches, so I worked in multiples of 16. To work the crown I did:
- Round 1: k2, sl 3 sts onto cable needle and hold in front, sl next 6 sts onto right-hand needle, sl next 3 sts onto cable needle, sl 6 sts on right-hand needle back to left-hand needle, knit through 1st st on cable needle AND 1st st on left-hand needle at the same time (as if you were doing a 3-needle bind-off if you are familiar with that), do the same for the remaining 5 sts on the cable needle, k2; repeat 4 more times to complete the round (50 sts remain).
- Round 2: k4, k2tog, k4; repeat 4 more times to complete the round (45 sts remain).
- Round 3: Knit
- Round 4: k3, s2kp (centered double decrease), k3; repeat 4 more times to complete the round (35 sts remain).
- Round 5: Knit
- Round 6: k2, s2kp, k2; repeat 4 more times to complete the round (25 sts remain).
- Round 7: k1, s2kp, s1; repeat 4 more times to complete the round (15 sts remain).
- Round 8: s2kp around (5 sts remain). Break yarn, thread through a large blunt needle, pass yarn through all loops on needles and pull tight (I usually make a second pass through the loops for extra security. Weave end yarn tails and enjoy your new hat.