I think hats are great little projects. You can knit a challenging charted cabled hat, or you can knit a simpler stockinette in-the-round hat. You can knit a hat in chunky yarn and big needles, or you can use up the leftovers from a skein of sock yarn with tiny needles. If the hat doesn't fit, you won't have invested too much time, and hey–it's a hat. It will fit someone after all. So if you aren't too particular about whether you end up with an exact size, you can forgo the swatch and just start knitting. That is the way most of my hats this year came into being. No swatch, match yarn to needles, figure out a cast-on number that will fit someones head, and go. They are all going to charity organizations so I have no doubt each hat will eventually find its way to a head that it fits.
In addition to it being the cold weather season, it is also the season of holidays, of being busy, and often being pulled in too many directions at once. I find that quick small projects satisfy my need to keep my fingers busy and my compulsion to knit, as well as provide satisfaction of finishing something useful.
When I teach, I like to start knitters on hats because there is a lot to learn in the making of the humble hat. You cast on, learn your knit (and maybe purl) stitches, you decrease, then you bind off. All in one small package. I find a beginning knitter has a higher chance of success with a smaller project. I like to give my students the best chance for success.
So yes, even though Gayle and I are sweater knitters, we do find out thoughts turning to hats every year about this time. We've stalked some cool free patterns available on Ravelry this time, so take a look. There are others (we can't mention them all!), so please feel free to share more (both free and patterns for sale) in the discussion thread for this episode in our group on Ravelry. We'd love to hear from you.
What are we wearing?
Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig
Sharlene's tunic length Featherweight Cardigan (and bonus photo of Nani!)
Citadel by Joji Locatelli
What are we stalking?
Troll by Gabriela Widmer Hanke
Chunky Harvest Hats by Susan B. Anderson
Sharlene's apple hat
Standing Rock Hat by Lavanya Patricella
Pussyhat Project by Kat Coyle (knit flat)
KitKat Hat by Andre Sue (knit in the round)
Brimming by Lori Puthoff
Clio by Elizabeth Doherty
Phoebe yarn from Quince and Company
Boreal Forest Cowl by Renée Callahan
Boreal Forest Hat by Renée Callahan
What are we knitting?
Sockhead Slouch Hat by Kelly McClure
Big Old Coat by Joji Locatelli
Sharlene's Big Old Coat
Bleached by Amy Miller
Silk single yarn from Western Sky Knits
Project Peace by Christina Campbell
Gayle's sock yarn blanket
What have we finished?
Donation hats 12, 11, 10, and 9
Granito by Joji Locatelli
Magnolia Luxe yarn from Western Sky Knits
Spiral Hat by Laura Kolarik
Gayle's Spiral Hat
Bankhead Hat by Susie Gourlay
Gayle's Bankhead Hat
Simple Skyp Sock by Adrienne Ku
Gayle's Skyp socks
Vector by Katya Frankel