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Knit Picks

Ahh! April in Vermont -- the icy cold mornings, the balmy afternoons! It's great if you're a maple tree, but sartorially challenging if you're a person. What do you wear when the morning is downright cold but you know that by noon you won't need a hat and heavy scarf?

When you need a little more than just a t-shirt under your jacket, but a whole sweater is overkill? Or you head out for a walk and the wind suddenly threatens to nip your ears clean off? You need your Sugar on Snow: this versatile little garment changes from a hat to a neck warmer in a jiffy and fits easily into a jacket pocket.

With its leafy tassels and organic baby cable ribs, Sugar on Snow reminds you that warmer days are just around the corner (really!) and cures the sick-of-wearing-your-winter-hat blues. It knits up quickly and makes a great hat for little sprouts, too.

The leaf tassels expand on Nicky Epstein's pattern for Leaf Fringe in Knitting on the Edge.

models: Emma and Lee Wood Juvan photos: Tom Juvan


XS[S, M, L]
To fit 6-12 months[12 months-3 years, 4 years/adult small, adult medium/large]

Shown in M


Circumference: stretches to 16-18[16-18, 18-20, 20-22] inches
Length: 7.5[8.5, 9.5, 10.5] inches

[MC] Knit Picks Elegance [70% Baby Alpaca, 30% Silk; 110 yds/99m per 50g skein]; color: #23534 Fawn; 2[2, 2, 3] skeins.
[CC] Knit Picks Andean Treasure [100% Baby Alpaca; 110 yds/99m per 50g skein]; color: #23483 Lagoon; 1 skein

Notes on yarn substitution:
If you prefer, you can substitute 2[2, 3, 3] skeins of Knit Picks Merino Style [100% Merino Wool; 123 yds/112m per 50g skein]; color #23460 Nutmeg. Merino Style has less drape than Elegance but more memory, making it a good choice for a child's hat. Because Merino Style has more bounce, work an additional repeat of Baby Cable Rib before the eyelet round: 7[8, 9, 10] repeats.

If you are making several of these hats/neckwarmers, note that one skein of Andean Treasure will yield at least four tassels (size L).

1 set US #9/5.5 mm 16-inch circular needle
1 set US #3/3.25mm double-point needles
Stitch Marker
Tapestry Needle


Gauges are for two strands of MC held together, worked on US 9/5.5 mm needle.

15 sts/19rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch
13 sts/18 rows = 4 inches in mock-cable rib, lightly stretched

Note: Hat is worked in Baby Cable Rib; stockinette stitch gauge is given for yarn substitution purposes only.


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

To avoid risk of entanglement, do not use as a neck warmer on small children!
Pattern includes a smaller tassel size for small children; be sure to fasten I-cord securely (or sew in place) in hat configuration.

Baby Cable Rib (Worked in the round over a multiple of 4 sts):
Rounds 1-3:
[K2, p2] to end.
Round 4: [K2tog but do not drop sts from left needle, k into first of these sts again, drop both sts from left needle, p2] to end.

Repeat Rounds 1-4 for Baby Cable Rib pattern.

Adapted for circular knitting from Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns


Using circular needle and two strands of MC held together, CO 60[60, 64, 68] sts.

Place marker and join to begin working in the round, being careful not to twist.

Note: Piece is worked with two strands of MC held together throughout.

Work Rounds 1-4 of Baby Cable Rib pattern 6[7, 8, 9] times, then work Rounds 1-3 once more.

Eyelet Round: [K2tog but do not drop sts from left needle, k into first of these sts again, drop both sts from left needle, yo, p2tog] to end.

Work 6 more rounds in pattern as set.

BO all sts loosely in pattern.

Using double-point needles and CC, CO 3 sts.

Work I-Cord for 10[10, 22, 25] inches.

Turn work; leaf front will be worked back and forth.

Leaf Front
Row 1 [WS]: Pfb, k1, Pfb. 5 sts.
*Row 2 [RS]: K2, yo, k1, yo, k2. 7 sts.
Odd-numbered Rows 3-15 [WS]: P all sts.
Row 4 [RS]: K3, yo, k1, yo, k3. 9 sts.
Row 6 [RS]: K4, yo, k1, yo, k4. 11 sts.
Row 8 [RS]: Ssk, k7, k2tog. 9 sts.
Row 10 [RS]: Ssk, k5, k2tog. 7 sts.
Row 12 [RS]: Ssk, k3, k2tog. 5 sts.
Row 14 [RS]: Ssk, k1, k2tog. 3 sts.
Row 16 [RS]: Sl 1, k2tog, psso. Break yarn, draw through remaining st, and pull tight.*

Leaf Back (Make 3)
Leaving an 18-inch tail, CO 5 sts.
Work from * to * as for Leaf Front.


Weave in ends on hat/neckwarmer; do not block.
Block leaf pieces gently.

Sew one Leaf Back to Leaf Front, with wrong sides together. (Use long yarn tail at CO edge of Leaf Back to sew seam.)

Thread I-cord through eyelets on hat, beginning and ending with I-cord on outside of hat (for some sizes, you will need to thread I-cord through one eyelet twice).

Sew remaining Leaf Backs together with wrong sides together, and sew to CO end of Cord.

To wear as a hat, cinch top with cord, wrap cord ends once around top of hat and tie in a bow. You can adjust the length of the tassels by wrapping the I-cord more or fewer times around the hat top. For infants and small children, sew I-cord bow in hat position with sewing needle and matching thread.

To wear as a neck warmer (for older children and adults), unfasten bow, pull over head, and fold over as a turtleneck with cables on the outside (see photo).


Lee Wood Juvan spins, dyes, knits, and chases after her two small children in Burlington, Vermont. On a good day, her husband gets home from work early, and you'll find her in her favorite cemetery, parked in her minivan, knitting and listening to an audiobook. Her work has also appeared in Spin-Off.