Knitty: little purls of wisdom
Scarlet Fleece
beauty shot


This hat is designed to show off the subtle striping achieved by using fractal spinning (Mandelbrot being the mathematician who coined the term “fractal.”*)

The brim is knit horizontally in a simple, easily-memorized textured stitch and the crown is picked up along the edge and quickly decreased for a flat-topped, slightly slouchy hat. Top with a sizable coordinating pom-pom for maximum impact.

*It has nothing really to do with the Mandelbrot set, though. Unless, of course, you make matching mittens and a scarf. Badumching!

spacer model: Alexandra Tinsley
spacer photos: Travis Schuster

Adult S[M, L]
Shown in size M.

Circumference: 20[22, 24] inches
Length: 9.5 inches (excluding pompom)



spacer Woolgatherings Handpainted Yarn and Fibers [100% Blue Face Leicester Top] color: unnamed; 4.2 oz


Spinning Tool: Ashford Kiwi [Scotch Tension], Ashford Kiwi Jumbo Flyer and Bobbin (used with regular whorl.)

Finished Yarn:
spacer Ply: 2 plies, plied from center-pull ball
spacer Wraps per inch: 6
spacer Yardage used: approx 80 yards

Drafting Method:
spacer Some sort of hodge-podge self-taught medium-draw, worsted. Larger than inchworm, smaller than long draw. The fiber was prepped for fractal spinning, which is described in more detail in this article.

Commercial Yarn Alternative

spacer Malabrigo Chunky, [100% merino wool; 3.5oz/104 yards]; 1 skein
spacer Mirasol Sulka, [60% merino, 20% alpaca, 20% silk; 50g/55 yards]; 2 skeins
Note: Pompom shown is in Malabrigo Rios [100% superwash merino, 100g/210 yards]; color “Lettuce”, less than 1 skein

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
spacer 16-inch US #10.75/7mm circular needle for working in the round: or DPNs, 1 extra-long circular or 2 circulars, as you prefer
spacer extra needle of similar size for 3-needle bind off

spacer pom pom maker if desired
spacer yarn needle



13 sts/18 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch
10 sts/14 rows = 4 inches in brim stitch


[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]


Cast on 14 stitches.

Pattern row: [K2, p2] 3 times, k2.

Repeat Pattern row until piece measures 14.5[16, 17.5] inches unstretched (should stretch comfortably to 20[22, 24] inches – if not, continue until it does).

Work 2 more rows in pattern. 

Bind off.

Seam the cast on and bound off edges together.

With RS facing, and using 16-inch circular needle, pick up and knit 54[60, 66] stitches around one side of the brim.

Distribute sts as you prefer and join for working in the round.  Place a marker for the start of round.

Knit 9 rounds.

Note: As you work the crown decreases, switch to DPNs, magic loop or two circulars as circumference gets too small to work comfortably on 16 inch needle.

Crown round 1: [K4, k2tog] around.  45[50, 55] sts.
Crown rounds 2, 4, 6, 8: Knit around.
Crown round 3: [K3, k2tog] around. 36[40, 44] sts.
Crown round 5: [K2, k2tog] around. 27[30, 33] sts.
Crown round 7: [K1, k2tog] around. 18[20,22] sts.
Crown round 9: [K2tog] around. 9[10, 11] sts.

Cut yarn leaving a 6-inch tail and draw through remaining stitches, pull to close.


Weave in ends. Block very gently. If desired, make a pompom and sew to crown of hat.


Alex knits, crochets, spins, and otherwise screws around and ignores her wasted psychology degree over at She enjoys cookies and dog-wrangling, but not so much bio-writing.