Ode to the Slouchy Hat

I love slouchy hats. Mostly because my hair makes my head too big for non-slouchy hat to fit on, but that’s beside the point. The point is that I’ve been a little burnt out lately and have had very little interest in knitting things that are not slouchy hats. So here are my thoughts on slouchy hats and my review of a couple good patterns I’ve used.

The Anatomy of a Slouchy Hat

Every hat pattern I have ever worked with has started from the brim up, although there’s no reason you couldn’t hypothetically work it the other way. But let’s be classic and take the pieces in the order they are generally arranged in.

Brim: Ornamental or warm?

As a Maine-ah, I am off the opinion that winter hat brims need to be wide (tall?) and a bit snug in order to keep my ears properly warm. I prefer to start with a brim that’s 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide and fits like a beanie. If you’re making a hat for spring or fall (and maybe in a lighter yarn), you might want to just work the brim ribbing for 1/2 to 1 inch.

Increases: How wide do you want it?

The more you increase after the brim, the wider slouch you’ll get. I like a lot of flop, so a 50% increase tends to make me happy. If you have to adjust your pattern for gauge, here’s how the math goes:

[Number of stitches you want to end up with] ÷ [Number of stitches you have] = Number of stitches to work between increases.

If the answer is 2, as it would be for a 50% increase, you would (k2, m1) or (k1, kfb) around.

Height: How much flop do you want?

Whatever kind of hat you are making, the taller you knit it, the more capable of flopping off the back or side of your head it will be. For an adult with a massive head like mine, working a full eight inches from the cast-on edge before I begin decreases is a pretty good height.

Decreases: Do you like pointy hats?

The faster you decrease, the pointier the tip of your hat will be. For floppy hats, It works pretty well to take your largest multiple under 10 and decrease that multiple by one stitch every other round. For example, if you’ve got 88 stitches, your multiple for our purposes would be 8. So you want to (k2tog, k6) around, knit a round, (k2tog, k5) around, and so on down. Once you hit k2tog around, you can just work straight decreases until you’ve got few enough stitches to pull through and cinch  up the top.

Good ‘n’ Slouchy Hats

Striped & Slouchy Hat

Good, simple slouchy hats just don’t get any better than Christi Wasson’s My Striped & Slouchy Hat. This is a good pattern to use to play with gauge or to substitute yarn for. I have no idea what my fiber content was–something out of a grab bag I picked up at Halycon’s open house last year–but it was a heavy worsted that had enough spring to probably contain wool and enough softness to feel like cotton. Love the funky slouch, right? Perfect pattern for beginners or knitters who need a break from mind-numbing lace.

Slouchy Hat in Pink and Orange
Striped and slouchy and easy as pie.

Falling Water Slouchy Hat

If you want something with a little more pizzazz but not much more by way of challenge, Rose Beck’s Falling Water Slouchy Hat is delightful. I knit this from another unidentified (but probably a merino/alpaca blend?) yarn in my stash as either a gift or a charity hat, but I will be hard-pressed to give it away because I LOVE IT. My yarn was a bit lighter, so I added 8 more stitches to both what I cast on and to the increases for the large size. The pattern stitch is a multiple of 16, so if you need to adjust the sizing, just make sure you end up with a number of stitches divisible by 16 at the end of your increase row.

Falling Water Beret in Purple
The photo doesn’t do justice to the rich purple of this hat or the niceness of the lace.

2 Replies to “Ode to the Slouchy Hat”

  1. Thank you for writing this! I was having such a hard time finding something that really explained what exactly makes a slouchy hat … slouch.

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