I've been making a few hats to donate for charity project, thought I would share my pattern. The great thing about hats is that you can try out something new on a small project PLUS when you're working in the round, you only have to worry about going the one direction!
This is for worsted weight yarn. Most donation programs ask for acrylic yarn for easy laundering, but how great would it be to make as a quick gift of wool!
Size needles: I'm using a circular size 6, which is too long so it has a loop at the row end. If you can find a 16" or dpns, your preference, whichever is easiest. I find the circular needle most convenient for a take along project, fits into my purse. For instance, when we leave the house to do grocery shopping, I can get three rows done before we get to the store.
Stitch Markers: at least 4.
Mine takes about two ounces of yarn. With 2 three ounce skeins of acrylic, I can get three hats, with a tiny bit leftover.
Cast on 96.
My preferred method is a Tubular Cast on, I learned many years ago from a magazine article written by Lily Chin. I cannot find a video that does this exactly -- this is pretty close. Creates a Knit One, Purl One rib.
For a Knit Two, Purl Two rib, I saw a suggestion (I thought was on Knitting Daily, but of course I can't find it) where you are actually cabling on the first round so that it changes from 1x1 to the 2x2. So, in this case I always start with a knit stitch in my cast on.... Then the first working round, or the first round after casting on, goes like this: K1, P1, either put the next stitch which should be a knit on a cable needle and work it after the next purl or leave on left needle and purl THE NEXT STITCH, then knit the first and slip the two stitches off the left needle. Repeat these four around and you have changed the 1x1 rib you cast on to a 2x2 rib to work with. This would be a great opportunity to learn a new stretchy cast on.
Another thing that is very cool, is that it is very easy to see and correct if your stitches are twisted. You'll notice I did not say, 'Cast on being careful not to twist your stitches'. At the end of the second row, if your work has twisted, simply untwist it, no one will know.
Knit around in two by two rib for a minimum of 6 inches. My preference is to go longer, 7 to 8 inches, because less barely covers the tips of the ears, and of course some folks like to fold the hat so a double layer covers the ears, which means knitting for 9 to 10 inches.
Place a marker every 24 stitches. This should be in the middle of 2 knit stitches and divides the body of the hat into four sections.
Decrease round: Slip one, knit, PSSO (or a left-leaning decrease), work to two stitches before next marker, K2tog (right leaning decrease), repeat three more times around. Decreasing this way leaves knit ribs primary throughout the crown at the marker. Continue decreasing EACH ROUND until you have two stitches between markers or 8 stitches total. Cut yarn at about 4" and with a large eye needle, thread tail through all stitches. Weave in end, block and done.
For acrylic yarn: I recommend washing on the gentle cycle in the washing machine and drying on low temp with a dryer sheet until mostly dry, to get the most softness and less likely to pill. I block mine on a Styrofoam head, like you see in my pictures.
Once you've done one hat, play around a bit. I've done some of the hats with cables throughout, just like how I suggested in the change row to create two by two rib: knit the second stitch then the first and slip off both. Cable done! I cable every other rib, every fourth row, then two rows later, cable the skipped ribs. This way if the cable rows are tight, the alternate ribs keep it from being unwearable.
Have just completed a 1x1 rib version of this, adding note here in case there's interest (it turned out nearly reversible!) :
Same cast on, 96 stitches. Work for 7 inches in the knit 1, purl 1 rib. Mark the four sections of 24 stitches. (Should start with knit stitch and end with a purl, or at least mine did.)
Crown decreases: K2tog, work to two stitches before next marker, p2tog. Repeat for each section, around. Repeat for each row, until you are down to 8 stitches. Cut about 4" tail, and weave end through all stitches, weave in ends.