What do Julia Roberts, Madonna, Hilary Swank, Cameron Diaz, Julianne Moore, Madeline Albright, Sarah Jessica Parker, Oscar-winner Russell Crow and football legend Rosie Grier have in common? They all knit. You read that right; they're all enamoured of a craft that's centuries old and may even have had its roots in ancient Egypt. While historians typically cite socks as the first knitting artefacts found to substantiate the origins of the craft of knitting, you needn't be a Rhodes scholar to realise that today's hottest fashion statement is the knitted or crocheted beanie hat. It's easy to see why as beanies are easy to make, can be whipped up for yourself or as a custom-made gift and you'll get a wonderful dose of tranquillity in the process. Ask a knitter and they'll confirm the fact that nothing beats a stressful day like taking time to knit a project while listening to some tunes.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Circular knitting needles or crochet needle
- Darning needle
Ascertain your knitting skill level. If you're a beginner, you may not be ready to tackle the instructions listed here, so check with your local yarn shop for lessons or peruse the websites in the Resources section for more direction.
If you're a confident knitter, grab your yarn and cast on 72 stitches with a circular needle to form the beanie's brim.
Knit 10 rows using the following combination of stitches: K2/P1 and you'll shape the ribbing that pulls over the forehead when the cap is worn. If you want to roll up the brim, add another six K2/P1 rows.
Cast on an additional 8 stitches to bring the total number on the needle to 81. This will add some "give" to the cap as you prepare to start eliminating stitches to create the cap's crown.
Begin decreasing stitches by using this technique on rows 12 through 16. Instead of knitting only one stitch, knit two together on these five rows. If you're counting down from the 81 stitches, you'll work down to 41, 21, 11, 6 and 3.
Knit one row without decreasing stitches; gather together the three remaining stitches by threading a darning needle into them and pulling them tight to finish the crown. Add a yarn pom or decoration if you wish.
Crochet instead. If crochet is your preferred stitching style, no worries. Finding a pattern is as easy as surfing the Internet. Save time by ordering a classic crocheted beanie hat pattern from Timber Lane Press. Alternately, check out the Fire Brunette site for help whipping up your crocheted hat (see Resources). You'll need an H or I hook to start the first chain, using the pattern of your choice or whatever combinations of single, double and triple crochets you wish. This methodology calls for starting at the crown and working down to the brim (the knit pattern is just the opposite), so as you crochet, try on the cap frequently to be certain it fits. Remember that crochet stitches stretch as you wear the beanie, so don't make the brim too snug. The Fire Brunette site can also give you additional beanie knit patterns, so don't stop with one.
Tips and warnings
- The beanie gets its name from turn-of-the-century slang when your head would have been called a bean and the cap's nickname stuck.
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