Knitty: little purls of wisdom
Tunney Wool Company
beauty shot


Do you like bobbles? Then this may be the hat for you.

Its textured look is formed by alternating purled bobbles with vertical knit lines. Those bobbles are worked in an uncommon and interesting way. Yarn overs help you to increase 5 stitches out of 1. After a few rows, those 5 stitches are deceased back to 1 again. It’s real fun to do!

I first saw this kind of bobbles in a picture of a Peruvian girl wearing a knitted cap. I was intrigued to find out how these bobbles were made. After I did, they inspired me to design a bobbly hat of my own.

I named it Tortora, after the reed that grows around Lake Titicaca where the Peruvian girl was pictured. The vertical stitches look like reed and the bobbles like their fluffy flowers.

spacer models: Emma and Sandra (and Bento and Sira the horses)
spacer photos: Theo Egberts


Beanie[Slouchy toque] (shown in beige[purple])
Note: Hat is sized by changing gauge.

Circumference: 17.5[18] inches, unstretched
Height: 8[9] inches, unstretched



Beige beanie:
spacer Lana Grossa Alta Moda Alpaca [90% baby alpaca, 5% virgin merino wool,  5% polyamide; 153yd/140m per 50g skein]; color: #11 Beige; 1 skein

Purple slouchy toque:
spacer Phildar Phil’Bambou [100% viscose bamboo, 89yd/82m per 50g skein]; color: #13 Violine; 3 skeins
Note: Hat was worked using two strands of yarn held together.

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
spacer 1 set US #7/4.5mm double-point needles
spacer 1 16-inch US #7/4.5mm circular needle
Note: The same size needles were used for both hats shown, though they were worked at different gauges. The gauge you get will depend both on the needle size used and the qualities of the  yarn used – be sure to swatch!

spacer Stitch marker
spacer Yarn needle


16 sts/26 rows = 4" in stockinette st

Slouchy toque:
15 sts/20 rows = 4” in stockinette st
Note: Hat shown was worked using two strands of yarn held together.

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

The organic texture of the hats shown was created by working bobbles at irregular intervals. The chart indicates placement of bobbles.

increase 4: [P1, yo, p1, yo, p1] into next st. 1 st increased to 5 sts.

decrease 4: Slip next 2 sts together, knitwise, as if to work a k2tog. Knit next st, then pass both slipped sts together over st just knit. K2tog, then pass previous stitch over stitch just worked. 5 sts decreased to 1 st.

The chart for this pattern is very large and fits on a letter-sized page.
Click here and print the resulting page.

Using circular needle, CO 72 sts. Place marker and join to begin working in the round, being careful not to twist.

Rounds 1-7: [P1, k1] to end.

Work Rounds 1- 36 of chart, increasing and decreasing as shown to create bobble texture. 72 sts when all rounds of chart are complete.

Switching to double-point needles when necessary, shape crown as follows:
Rounds 1-3: [P3, k1] to end.

Round 4: [P1, p2tog, k1] to end. 54 sts.

Rounds 5-7: [P2, k1] to end.

Round 8: [P2tog, k1] to end. 36 sts.

Rounds 9-11: [P1, k1] to end.

Round 12: [K2tog] to end. 18 sts.

Round 13: K all sts.

Round 14: [K2tog] to end. 9 sts.

Round 15: K all sts.

Break yarn, draw through remaining sts and pull tight.

Weave in ends.


Thelma Egberts is a Dutch knitter, freelance journalist and casual knitwear designer. Nature and ethnic cultures are what inspire her most.

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