Gift knitting, revealed! (Part one)

Christmas Gift Knit #1: Morgan Hat for Dad

Dad with his Morgan hat & Laptop

Dad modeling the Morgan hat, with assistance from Laptop the Cat

I made one of these ingenious hats for my soon-to-be-brother-in-law Jamie last Christmas, and this year, Dad’s only Christmas request was to have a Morgan Hat of his own.

Full details are on Ravelry, but here are the basics:

  • Pattern: Morgan, by Anne Kuo Lukito (@annekuolukito), on Knitty
  • Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool and Rowan Kid Silk Haze, held together — just under 1 ball apiece
  • Needles: Two 4.0 mm circs
  • Other notions: Fine gauge plastic canvas, felt, and sewing thread for stiffening the peak

This hat is friggin’ brilliant. The instructions are crazy, admittedly, but if you follow them step by step, you end up with this fully-fashioned knitted peaked cap (aka flat cap, ivy cap, driving cap, golf cap, etc.) that’s all knit up in one piece. Let me try to explain, because the instructions just look overwhelming and insane, and the first time through, I had no idea whatsoever what I was doing at any point. Please excuse the roughness of the sketches…

Step 1: With 2 circs, work outwards from the centre of the crown of the hat, increasing randomly around the circumference.

Step 2: With one circ, work short rows to create the top of the uppermost peak of the cap.

Step 3: Work around the whole circumference of the cap for 3 rounds, then on the next round, create a ridge around the hat by knitting each stitch together with the stitch 3 rounds below it. This creates the look of a piped edge and makes the hat fold neatly.

Step 4: Work another set of short rows to create the underside of the upper peak of the cap.

Step 5: Put half of the stitches (the back of the cap) on waste yarn. The stitches on the needle at the front of the cap will become the top of the lower peak. Use the freed-up needle to cast on stitches that will become the bottom side of the lower peak.

Morgan Hat for Dad

Let's see that in 3D: back portion of the cap on waste yarn, front portion on one circ, and cast-on stitches on the other circ.

Step 6: With both circs, work in the round to create the top and bottom sides of the lower peak, decreasing as you move from the forehead edge out towards the tip of the peak. Graft the last few stitches of the top and bottom sides together.

Step 7: Put the stitches that were on waste yarn back onto a needle, and work back and forth with a few decreases to shape the back of the hat. End with a bit of ribbing to keep the back of the hat from curling up.

Morgan Hat for Dad

Step 8: Block the hat. I found it way easier to block the hat BEFORE finishing the peaks instead of after. To block, I cut two ovals of plastic canvas, the size of the entire hat, and inserted one into each peak. Then I used a bowl to shape the back of the head/neck portion — this is a very shaped piece of knitting, and blocking it flat would be really difficult!

The next step, which I foolishly didn’t take pictures of, is to cut the ovals of plastic canvas into crescent-shapes and stitch them into the peaks of the cap. I found it helped to line the inner curve of the crescent with felt (or fabric folded on the bias) to soften the edge where it sits against the head.

The pattern includes a template for cutting the peak-stiffener piece (and only stiffens the bottom peak), but I found with both hats that I made that I had to cut away quite a bit more of the inner curve, to accommodate the large noggins of the recipients — i.e., instead of a half-moon, I ended up with a much smaller sliver of moon. Also, I found that stiffening both brims made for a much tidier-looking hat.

Finally, stitch the plastic canvas into place, and sew shut the bottom peak. I actually sewed the two peaks together, though you could use a snap or something if you wanted.

So, yeah, crazy ingenious pattern. I can’t imagine having the sort of brain that can come up with this sort of thing — the three-dimensional geometry involved is the sort of thing that turns my brain to jelly. But I’m thankful that Anne Kuo Lukito has the requisite cerebral powers, because I’ve knit two great hats from this pattern (and have already been commissioned to knit a third, for another family member)!

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2 Comments

Filed under Knitting for Gifts

2 responses to “Gift knitting, revealed! (Part one)

  1. Oh dear. I’ve eyed this pattern before & forgotten about it. Now I think I’ll have to try one because of your detailed description!

    • Annie Bee

      Do give it a try! The designer has a tutorial post (linked from the Ravelry pattern page) with some encouragement as well, if you’re worried. It really is a case of just trusting the pattern, but hopefully my doodles help a bit with giving you an idea of WHY you’re doing things!