Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Baby Ear flap Hat with Ears

front of hat

I really wanted to make a little baby hat with earflaps AND bear ears on top and it seemed impossible to find a pattern. I ended up combining a few different patterns together to get the result I wanted. It's a fun project and while it does take longer than a simple knit hat, it's still relatively quick. You still have time before Christmas!

YARN: Fiesta Cottonista in Painted Desert
50% Peruvian Pima Cotton, 50% Tencel
AMOUNT: Approx 1 ball (110 yards)

I started by following the baby/kids earflap hat pattern from the hey julie blog in the middle 16" size (14", 16" and 18"):

Ear Flaps
CO 7 stitches.
Row 1: K1, P to last stitch, K1.
Row 2: K1, Kfb, K to last 2 stitches, Kfb, K1.
Repeat these two rows until there are 15 stitches on the needles.

Knit straight until piece measures 2.75" (3", 3.25").
Cut yarn, leaving a 12″ tail, and leave the earflap on its DPN.
Repeat for second ear flap.

Using a cable cast on, CO 10 (12, 14) stitches on the circular needle. Knit the 15 stitches from first ear flap, then CO 24 (27, 30) stitches. K15 from second ear flap, then CO 10 (12, 14).

Join, being careful not to twist stitches, place marker and begin knitting in the round. As you knit around this first row, you’ll notice four gaps, on either side of each ear flap. When you get to those, K2tog to close them up. At the end of the round, you should have 70 (77, 84) stitches on the needles.

Continue knitting all rounds until hat measures 3"″(3.5", 4"″) from the cast-on row. Then begin the decreases as follows, switching to DPNs or two circs when the diameter of the hat is too small for your circular needle:

(Decrease) Row 1: *K8 (9, 10), K2tog*
Row 2: K all sts
(Decrease) row 3: *K7 (8, 9), K2tog*
Row 4: K all sts
(Decrease) row 5: *K6 (7, 8), K2tog*
Row 6: K all sts

Decrease in this manner until there are 35 sts on the needles.
Then decrease in the same manner, omitting the “k all sts” rows, until there are 7 sts remaining.
Pull yarn through the last 7 sts with a tapestry needle, pull through to inside and weave in end.

Weave in all ends. (I like to leave the tails where I ended the earflaps long so that I can use them to tighten up of otherwise correct anything that looks wonky around the earflap join area.)

back of hat

At this point I was a bit disappointed with how badly the edges were curling and knew even when I blocked, it's probably always going to curl a bit. To fix this, I decided to pick up and knit along the entire edge of the hat and earflaps.

Work your way around the hat edge, starting in the back, and make sure you have an even number of stitches. Once you're back where you started, begin a K1, P1 rib stitch. Go around the hat in this pattern twice and then bind off all stitches, keeping in the rib pattern. TIP: When binding off around the earflap curved edge, do so VERY loosely. If you bind off too tight here, the earflaps will pull weird towards the bottom.

Next I wanted to add the cute little bear ears on top. TIP: Leave a long tail here on BOTH ends of the ear piece to sew with! The ear pattern came from a hat on the Berroco website:

Ears (Make 2): With US 5 needles, cast on 11 sts. Work even in St st for 6 rows, end on WS.
Shape Top: Dec Row (RS): K1, k2 tog, k to last 3 sts, SSK, k1 – 9 sts. Rep this dec every RS row twice more, end on WS – 5 sts.
Inc Row (RS): K2, M1k, k1, M1k, k2 – 7 sts. In this manner, inc 1 st each side every RS row twice more, end on WS – 11 sts. Work 6 rows in St st. Bind off all sts. Fold ears in half and sew side seams. Sew one ear to each side of hat.

ear seam

So HOW do you sew the ears on? No idea. I found that the best option was to pin the ears in place so they were pretty well spaced and lined up, about 2" apart (1" over from the center of the top of the hat). Next I used one of the tail pieces of yarn and started the mattress stitch (shown here) to create an invisible seam. It worked! There are probably other ways to do this, but if you want it to look like part of the hat, this seems like the way to go.

Lastly, you could add the little braided cord down from the earflap, but I thought there might be too much going on with that. If you leave off the bear ears, I would definitely add the cord.