Saturday, January 16, 2010

Improv Hat and Cowl Patterns

Earlier this week, I posted my selfish knitting projects. Both the hat and the cowl were a super easy knit, and in a couple evenings, I had a new matching set.

I jotted down some notes as I went, and as promised, will share them here. I will most likely get around to putting these in PDF format to have available on Ravelry someday, but for now I will just post them here on my blog. After all, there needs to be some sort of benefit for being a loyal reader, right?

These patterns are relatively simple and quite suitable for a new knitter. If you have not yet knit in the round, challenge yourself to do so. You may feel like you are all thumbs when you start, but by the end you will have it down!

**A general note about the amount of yarn used: Joe gave me 5 skeins of Ella Rae Latte(from Center Street Knits) for Christmas. I knit the hat first, and it used up about 1 1/2 skeins. When I knit the cowl, I just kept going until I ran out of yarn. Although the yarn is a bulky weight, I think it knits up a little thinner than a regular bulky. For a 50g skein, there is 82 yards. This means for the hat I probably used about 120-130 yards. Check my hat gauge against yours to see if your yarn it going to work- you may need to use a different needle size.

Improv Hat

100 g bulky weight yarn
(I used about 1/2 skeins Ella Rae Latte)

Circular needle, 16-in length, size 6 & 7 (4.25 &4.5 mm)
and one set of dpn, size 7 (4.5 mm)

19 stitches and 26 rounds= 4 in(10 cm) over stockinette stich

Cast on 80 stitches with size 6 circular needles. Place marker. Join, being careful not to twist.
Cuff: Work k1, p1 cuff for 6 rows

Switch to larger needles.
Round 1: *k8, m1 ; continue from * to end of round (90 stitches)
Round 2: knit
continue in stockinette stitch until hat measures 8.5". Since you are working in
the round, you will just be knitting(no purls)

Begin decrease rows (switch to dpns when you can no longer work on circulars)
Round 1: *k7, k2tog; repeat from * to end (80 stitches)
Round 2: knit
Round 3: *k6, k2tog; repeat from * to end (70 stitches)
Round 4: knit
Round 5: *k5, k2tog; repeat from * to end (60 stitches)
Round 6: k2tog across all stitches (30 stitches)
Round 7: k2tog across all stitches (15 stitches)

Break yarn, leaving tails about 8" long. Draw yarn through remaining stitches
and fasten off.

Improv Cowl

200g Bulky Weight yarn
(I used about 3 1/2 skeins of Ella Rae Latte)

Circular needle, 29-in length, size US 13
(double strand of yarn used)
8 stitches and 17 rows= 4"(10 cm) over seed(moss) stitch


With two strands of yarn held together, cast on 93 stitches. Join, being careful not to
Round 1: *k1, p1; *repeat from * to end
Round 2: *p1, k1; *repeat from * to end

Since the whole cowl is worked in seed(moss) stitch, and there is an odd number of stitches, you will k1, p1 for the whole cowl. Just continue to repeat this until the cowl is the length you want it. Mine is about 6" wide, but I would have gone longer if I didn't run out of yarn! The shape is a very long circle(about 54"), that you can wrap twice around your head/neck.

For all the new knitters, you can do this! Even if you have never read a pattern before, try to figure out as much as you can, and ask me any questions you have.

For the more experienced knitters, let me know if there are any mistakes or changes I need to make.

PS...sorry for the deja vu pictures. My usb flash drive broke this week so I have to use pictures that are already on my computer until I get a new one!


  1. Thanks Melynda, I will make these once I get a set of circular needles. Again, how do you find the time to do all of this? Amanda

  2. Thanks so much for taking notes as you went along! I always forget to do that!! Can't wait to knit up my own set!!

  3. really cute. thanks so much for sharing

  4. It looks really nice. I have decided to make the cowl as it is really cold here now and it looks stylish. Your blog is beautiful and I will visit here soon again. Bente Knutsen, Norway

  5. I love both. I love the slouchy hat trend that is going on - want to try my hand at one of those. And I just finished a gaiter for my husband which I'll be putting on my blog; kind of in the cowl category, but not really. Anyhow, your knits are always great and inspiring! Always look forward to your blog!

  6. Thank you for the patterns - these are great!

  7. Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to try both patterns!

  8. I love the slouchy hat Melynda. And the milk fiber yarn is pretty fascinating--wow! I need to do a selfish project too... need a hat and scarf (and mittens too for that matter) for myself for sure. :)

  9. Red and white in a snow background...TERRIFIC!

  10. I hope I look as gorgeous as you are in this perfect winter coat.

  11. Thanks a lot for posting the finished project..I am more inspired to give this a try.

  12. Have you considered the fact that this might work another way? I am wondering if anyone else has come across something
    exactly the same in the past? Let me know your thoughts...

  13. Is this WP theme free or premium? nice blog btw!/

    Kindle DX Review - Kindle Review - Kindle Store

  14. Hi there,

    Thanks for sharing the link - but unfortunately it seems to be down? Does anybody here at have a mirror or another source?


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  16. Is that you in the picture? You look so gorgeous! And the hat and cowl perfectly fits you! I love the color too; it's classy and very sophisticated!

    I used to knit before, until I ended up venturing into crafts and textile business. Aside from knitting, I also do weaving looms for clothes and other stuff. At first, we've purchased some drum carders. When my business grew a bit more, I bought floor looms for more efficiency and to create more beautiful clothes.

  17. Wow I've only just come across this blog and <3 it already! Maybe its because I'm a newbie but what size is the hat? Is it the average 22"??