Knitty: little purls of wisdom
Fiber Cooperative/Knit It Up Yarns
beauty shot


The Undergrowth hat is leafy. Wearing this hat, you might even blend in if you were trying to hide in a shady garden. But why hide?

Inspired by the hosta plants that I planted years ago and come back each Spring despite my best effort to ignore the garden in favor of more knitting time, this hat is an ode to their tenacity. Hidden underground all winter, the good old hostas surprise me each year, part of the garden undergrowth.

The hat starts with a double braid -- because if one braid is great, two are fantastic. After increases for snugness, the leaf-inspired motif begins, appearing as if from nowhere. Neat lines of decreases are vines of the plant, incorporated in a way that gives this hat both a naturalistic feel, but also something very geometric.

spacer model: Mallory Colbert spacer photos: Mandy Powers

Child [Adult Medium, Adult Large]


Circumference: 18.5[20, 21.5] inches
Height: 7.75[8.25, 9] inches



Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport [100% wool; 184yd/168m per 50g skein]; 1 skein each color
spacer [MC] #103S Deep Sea
spacer [CC] #N03S Grey Heather

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
spacer 1 set double-point needles and 16 inch circular needle in sizes given below:
Child: US#2/2.75mm
Adult Medium: US#3/3.25mm
Adult Large: US#4/3.5mm

spacer Yarn needle
spacer Stitch marker



Each size is worked at a different gauge.
Child: 30 sts/30 rows = 4” in chart pattern
Adult Medium: 28 sts/28 rows = 4” in chart pattern
Adult Large: 26 sts/26 rows = 4” in chart pattern


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

S2KP: Using color indicated, 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. This forms a centered double decrease.

Knitted Braid:
Note: When working braid, both strands of yarn are held to the RS of the work.
Round 1: Using MC, p1; *cross CC over MC, p1 using CC; cross MC over CC, p1 using MC; repeat from * to last st, cross CC over MC, p1 using CC.
Round 2: Using MC, p1; *cross CC under MC, p1 using CC; cross MC under CC, p1 using MC; repeat from * to last st, cross CC under MC, p1 using CC.

Instructions for the Long-Tail Cast On can be found here.


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

With circular needle and MC, CO 112 sts using Long Tail Cast On. Do not join.

Set-up Row [RS]: [K1 using MC, k1 using CC] to end of row.
Place marker and join to begin working in the round, being careful not to twist.
Work Rounds 1-2 of Knitted Braid.

Next Round: Work as for Set-up Row.
Work Rounds 1-2 of Knitted Braid.

Next Round: Using MC, [k3, kfb] to end of round. 140 sts.

Work Rounds 1-59 of chart pattern, decreasing as indicated and switching to double-point needles when necessary. Note that chart pattern is worked five times in each round.

When all rounds of chart are complete, 10 sts remain. Break both strands of yarn. Draw MC yarn tail through remaining sts and pull tight.

Weave in ends and block as desired.


Mandy Powers lives and knits with her husband and two kids in North Carolina. Her first book -- The Red Collection -- was published in October 2010. The book is available, along with her other designs, on her website.

You can find Mandy on Facebook, Ravelry and Twitter.