A skullcap is a tight-fitting hat that hugs the head and covers the ears. The style is appropriate for men of all ages. The design may sound simple, but even with a straightforward design like this, there are important style decisions to make. Once you've mastered the basic instructions for knitting a man's skullcap, you can work in your own design specifications.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Tape measure
- Pencil and paper for making notes
- Knitting needles
- Tapestry needle
Measure the head of the person who will wear the hat. Most men have a head circumference of 23 to 24 inches. Measure around the widest part.
Choose the yarn. Beautiful yarn comes in a variety of weights, materials and textures. A man's skullcap can be either smoothly knit out of a fine to medium gauge yarn or funky and chunky, knit on large needles with thick yarn. Men tend to prefer dark, subdued colours.
Knit a gauge swatch at least 2 inches square using the size needles recommended by the manufacturer of your yarn. The recommendation will be printed on the yarn label. If you like the way the swatch looks, terrific. If not, knit another sample with different size needles until you have the fabric you like. Knit the swatch in stockinet (knit one row, pearl the next, repeat). Count the number of stitches in the swatch that make up one inch.
Multiply the number of stitches in an inch by the circumference of the head. This is the number of stitches you will cast on to begin knitting. This hat is knit flat from the bottom up and sewn together. The cast on stitches will be closest to the face.
Decide what kind of texture you want around the bottom edge. Cast on the number of stitches in an inch multiplied by the circumference of the head.
To knit a ribbed edge, cast an even number of stitches onto a knitting needle two sizes smaller than the ones you will use for the body of the hat. The rib pattern is knit on smaller needles because it produces a slightly more stretchy fabric than stockinet. Begin knitting a rib pattern (knit two, pearl two) and continue the pattern, knitting the knit stitches and pearling the pearl stitches for 2 to 4 inches. Knit an additional 4 inches if you want to fold the edge up. Switch to the larger needles and knit in stockinet until the fabric is 5 inches long. If making a cuffed edge, the hat fabric should be 9 inches long.
To knit a rolled edge, instead of ribbing, begin knitting in stockinet (knit one row, pearl the next, repeat). The edge will naturally curl into a tidy little roll. Continue for 5 inches more.
To knit a garter-stitch edge, knit several rows exclusively in the knit stitch before switching to stockinet. Knit stockinet until the fabric is 5 inches long.
Begin Your Skullcap
Begin the decreases on a knit row. Decreases shape the fabric so it will conform to the roundness of a head. Decrease row one: knit eight, and then decrease by knitting two stitches together. Row two: purl row. Row three: *knit seven, knit two together repeat from * to end of row. Row four: purl row. Row five: knit six, knit two together repeat from * to end of row. Row six: Purl row. Row seven: knit five, knit two together repeat from * to end of row. Row eight: purl row. Continue decreasing in this way, reducing the number of stitches between decreases until you have four to six stitches remaining.
Cut the yarn, leaving a 24 inch tail. Thread the yarn onto a tapestry needle and push it through the remaining stitches. Pull it taut and use the thread to sew up the hat.
Dampen the hat with a spritz of water and shape it on a head-shaped form to dry.
Tips and warnings
- Have fun changing up this basic hat by adding your choice of stripes or colourful knitted designs. Alternately, experiment with different stitch patterns to add interesting textures.
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