My favorite winter craft project is a baby hat. Baby hats are quick, portable projects. Winter brings many opportunities to give to the needy. Baby hats can be used by hospitals, women’s shelters, and foster children. A hand-knit baby hat is also a fun way to try new yarns and new stitch patterns without a large investment of time or money.
Easy Baby Hat
Using a 16-inch circular needle (U.S. size 9 or 10) and heavy worsted yarn such as Lion Brand Jiffy, cast on 40 stitches. Place a stitch marker or a loop of contrasting yarn after last stitch. After making sure the stitches are not twisted around the needle, knit into first cast-on stitch, then continue knitting around until you reach the marker again. First round is complete. Slip marker and knit around again. Continue knitting rounds until work is about 7 inches long. The bottom rounds will be rolling up a bit, but this is all right-a part of the design. Stockinette stitch, which is what you are doing by knitting every round, always curls toward the right side unless constrained by an edging such as ribbing. This rolled edge is the bottom of the baby hat.
Break off yarn, leaving a 10 inch tail. Thread the end of the yarn through a large-eyed tapestry needle, then pull the yarn through all stitches remaining on the circular knitting needle. Remove the knitting needle and pull yarn tight to close the top of hat. Weave in loose ends of yarn on wrong side of hat. The basic baby hat is complete.
Beyond the Basic Baby Hat
One simple way to spice up the basic hat is to change colors at the beginning of a round and make a stripe. You may also take two different colors of baby yarn and hold them together, working with the two strands as if they were one strand. This can give a tweed effect.
A pumpkin hat, perfect for Halloween or for an October baby gift, can be made by knitting an orange hat, then cutting a leafy shape from green felt to embellish the top of the hat. Use a sewing needle and matching green sewing thread to securely stitch the felt to the top of the hat.
A strawberry hat is made in the same way as the pumpkin. Simply substitute red yarn for orange and use black yarn or embroidery floss to embroider French knot “seeds” on the red hat.
The basic hat can be topped with loom flowers or pom-poms as well. See the links below for instructions on making these embellishments. Be sure to secure any decorations so they cannot become a choking hazard for baby.
Helpful Links for Hat Knitters
Illustrated directions for making flowers on a loom
Illustrated directions for making pom-poms
Free charity hat patterns
Knit chemotherapy hats
Man’s hat to knit