Knitty: little purls of wisdom
Fiber Optica
beauty shot


I’m a sucker for patterns that let you knit for stretches of time without looking at the directions… but still look really awesome and complicated.

With effortless amazing-ness as my guide, I came up with this pattern where self-striping yarn and really simple intarsia do all the work! The hat is divided into an even number of sections, each of which stripes at its own pace.  So, while it it looks like color changes are happening out the wazoo… you really just knit in stockinette with a handful of predictable yarn swaps on each row.

This hat is designed to be an introduction to intarsia: a (non-stressful) simple pattern of color changes so you can get your feet wet.  And it’s worked flat, so it’s a great project for those of you who don’t love working in the round.

My favorite version of this hat is the fingering weight version: there are lots of great self-striping sock yarns available!  And, if you’re like me, you’re itching for an excuse to use them that doesn’t result in a pair of socks. For a faster knit, I've included a worsted weight version. The finished size is the same, but it works up much faster and has fewer color changes.

spacer model: Stacey Trock spacer photos: Tim Hunter



Height: approx. 8 inches
Circumference at fullest part of hat: approx. 32 inches
Circumference around ribbed band: approx. 17 inches, unstretched.



Fingering weight version
spacer Berroco Sox [75% Superwash Wool, 25% Nylon; 440yds/406m per 100g skein]; color: Miller (#1450); 220 yards (less than 1 skein) required

Worsted weight version
spacer Noro Kureyon [100% wool; 110yd/100m per 50g skein]; color: #170; 2  skeins

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]

Fingering weight version
spacer 16-inch US #2.5/3.0mm needle
spacer 16-inch US #5/3.75mm needle

Worsted weight version
spacer 1 set US #5/3.75mm needles
spacer 1 set US #7/4.5mm needles

spacer Yarn needle
spacer elastic thread (optional)

Fingering weight version
24 sts/36 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch with larger needle

Worsted weight version
20 sts/28 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch with larger needle


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

Instructions for working Mattress Stitch can be found here.

This hat is worked in intarsia, which means at some point, you need to divide your yarn into a number of equal-length balls. The pattern instructs you to do this after you have completed your ribbing (which is done in a single yarn).  If it greatly bothers you to play with your yarn after you’ve begun knitting, then you can do the division before you begin… just keep in mind that one ball will need to be bigger than the rest in order to do the ribbing.

The easiest way to divide your yarn into equal parts is to use a postage scale… determining how much each mini-ball should weigh, and winding a ball of that weight. When you wind your mini-balls, wind them into center-pull balls, and wrap a rubber band around the outside. Work with the yarn pulled from the center, and your yarn will stay fairly orderly.

This hat is worked flat because intarsia doesn't work in the round. Therefore, this pattern has one selvedge stitch on each side, so that the hat can be seamed up at the end!

The pattern will tell you when to switch balls of yarn for doing intarsia (which we’re going to call ‘switching colors’, since that’s what it’s going to look like).  There’s no charts, here… you’ll be switching colors at the same place every row, so you’ll get nicely-shaped ‘wedges’ in your hat, and after you get the hang of the pattern, you’ll know when to switch. To switch colors, grab your new yarn (which, after the second row, should be exactly at the stitch you’re on, but one row down), and twist it around your old yarn.  This twist makes sure there is no gap between your color changes. Leave your old yarn hanging there, and start knitting with your new yarn. At the end of a row, you’ll turn, and continue using the same ball of yarn that you were just using. 

Note: First number given is for worsted weight version, second is for fingering weight version.

With smaller needles, CO 90[134] sts.

Row 1 [WS]: P1, [p1, k1] to last st, p1.

Row 2 [RS]: K1, [p1, k1] to last st, k1.

Rep Rows 1 & 2 2[4] more times, and then work Row 1 once more.

Body of hat
Divide remaining yarn into 4[6] even yarn balls. From now on, you will work intarsia, switching to the new color (ball of yarn) when indicated in the pattern.  See Pattern Notes for details.

Switch to larger needles. 
Row 1 [RS]:  K1, [k11, m1] twice, [join new yarn, [k11, m1] twice] 3[5] times, k1. 98[146] sts.

Row 2 [WS]: P1, p24, [switch color, p24] 3[5] times, p1.

Row 3 [RS]:  K1, k24, [switch color, k24] 3[5] times, k1.

Rep Rows 2 & 3 until you have worked 6 inches past the ribbing, ending with a WS row.

Row 1 [RS]: K1, [k10, k2tog] twice, [switch color, [k10, k2tog] twice] 3[5] times, k1.  90[134] sts.

Row 2 [WS]: P1, p22, [switch color, p22] 3[5] times, p1.

Row 3 [RS]: K1, [k9, k2tog] twice, [switch color, [k9, k2tog] twice] 3[5] times, k1. 82[122] sts.

Row 4 [WS]: P1, p20, [switch color, p20], 3[5] times, p1.

Row 5 [RS]:  K1, [k8, k2tog] twice, [switch color, [k8, k2tog] twice] 3[5] times, k1. 74[110] sts.

Row 6 [WS]: P1, p18,

Row 7 [RS]:  K1, [k7, k2tog] twice, [switch color, [k7, k2tog] twice] 3[5] times, k1. 66[98] sts.

Row 8 [WS]: P1, p16, [switch color, p16] 3[5] times, p1.

Row 9 [RS]:  K1, [k6, k2tog] twice, [switch color, [k6, k2tog] twice] 3[5] times, k1. 58[86] sts.

Row 10 [WS]: P1, p14, [switch color, p14] 3[5] times, p1.

Row 11 [RS]:  K1, [k5, k2tog] twice, [switch color, [k5, k2tog] twice] 3[5] times, k1. 50[74] sts.

Row 12 [WS]: P1, p12, [switch color, p12] 3[5] times, p1.

Row 13 [RS]:  K1, [k4, k2tog] twice, [switch color, [k4, k2tog] twice] 3[5] times, k1. 42[62] sts.

Row 14 [WS]: P1, p10, [switch color, p10] 3[5] times, p1.

Row 15 [RS]:  K1, [k3, k2tog] twice, [switch color, [k3, k2tog] twice] 3[5] times, k1. 34[50] sts.

Row 16 [WS]: P1, p8, [switch color, p8] 3[5] times, p1.

Row 17 [RS]:  K1, [k2, k2tog] twice, [switch color, [k2, k2tog] twice] 3[5] times, k1. 26[38] sts.

Row 18 [WS]: P1, p6, [switch color, p6] 3[5] times, p1.

Row 19 [RS]:  K1, [k1, k2tog] twice, [switch color, [k1, k2tog] twice] 3[5] times, k1. 18[26] sts.

Row 20 [WS]: P1, p4, [switch color, p4] 3[5] times, p1.

Row 21 [RS]:  K1, k2tog twice, [switch color, k2tog twice] 3[5] times, k1. 10[14] sts.

Row 22 [WS]: P1, p2, [switch color, p2] 3[5] times, p1.

Row 23 [RS]:  K1, k2tog, [switch color, k2tog] 3[5] times, k1. 6[8] sts.

Row 24 [WS]: P1, p1, [switch color, p1] 3[5] times, p1.

Cut yarn leaving a tail 12-18 inches long. Using tapestry needle, thread yarn through remaining sts, draw tight, and fasten. Leave the tail for seaming.


Using the long piece of yarn that you just cut, mattress stitch the sides of the hat closed. This hat benefits from blocking!  Wet your hat, and stretch it over a 9 inch dinner plate.  Allow to dry.

If you want a tighter fit in the brim, you can sew elastic thread into the band.  For the most durability, sew 3 separate threads into the band: one at the bottom of the ribbing, one in the middle, and one at the top.


Stacey is currently living out her fantasy life in New Haven, CT.  She’s lucky enough to spend her time designing knit & crochet patterns, and loves every minute of it. 

You can read all about her designing escapades on her blog