Tuesday 2 October 2012

Cute Little Sprout Hats

There is something irresistible about little girls' clothes. All cute, pink and miniature. All innocence and joy. Even dirt looks good on them; and cake, especially cake, cheerfully smeared on faces and tops: "don't wipe your hands on your top. Poppa taught you that?"

Summer might be peeping around the corner, but these little hats are an addictive pass time. They are super practical, make great gifts, and are excellent stash busters. The generous shape means they are less inclined to fall from little heads, and they knit up in a flash. The cord on the top can be left short or knitted long and tied in a knot.

The sequence of the shaping makes it easy to adapt the size of the finished hat. Just cast on in multiples of 10 stitches. This one is knitted in 8ply using 3.25 and 4mm needles over 100 stitches. I have used the same pattern for thicker home spun wool using 4.5 and 5mm needles over 70 stitches to achieve a similar size product.

I got the wool from The Wool Company in Taihape. It's actually three colour ways knitted into a stripe: pale pink, pink and purple variegated and blue variegated yarn.

Little Sprout Hat - 8 ply yarn

To fit a large 2 year old or a medium sized 3 year olds head. If in doubt always go for the bigger size: you have put the effort into making it; you want it to last a while. 

Using 3.25mm needles cast on 100 stitches.
Rib knit 1 purl 1 for 8 rows
Change to 4mm needles, increase 1 stitch on the end of the first row, and work stocking stitch (1 row knit stitches, then 1 row purl stitches) for 11cm.

Shape Crown:
Row 1: K8, K2 together, repeat until the end, K1
Row 2 and every alternative row: purl
Row 3: K7, K2 together, repeat until the end, K1
Row 5: K6, K2 together, K1
Row 7: K5, K2 together, K1
Row 9: K3, K2 together, K1
Row 11: K1, K2 together, K1
Row 13: K2 together, repeat.
Repeat the knit together rows until 3 stitches remain.
Knit across the 3 stitches, then pass the stitches from the right needle to the left and knit across the 3 stitches again: effectively knitting them in a round. Repeat until you have the required length. Finish the cord by knitting the first 2 stitches together, knit the third stitch, pass remaining 2 stitches onto the left needle and knit together. Break the wool off, leaving enough wool to stitch the hat up if required, and pass the wool through the last stitch to finish.

I worked the following stripe pattern: 3 blue, 1 purple, 4 pink, 5 purple, 1 blue, 2 pink, 4 blue, 1 pink, 4 purple, 3 pink, 5 blue, 3 purple, remaining hat top rows are pink. 

Join the contrasting stripes on by tying the yarn onto the existing colour at the end of the row. Loosely carry the yarn up the side of the work, taking care not to pull it tight or it will distort the knitting.

Sew up the hat using mattress stitch. Take care to follow the row up the side of the knitting so the join is not visible.
The extra stitch on the end of the shaping makes it easier to sew the hat up without a visible seam in the crown. Thread the yarn at the top of the sprout down through the sprout and sew into the seam.

Sew all the loose ends in, and your finished!

The hat looks equally lovely in stripes or plain.
I usually don't bother to plan the strip in advance. Just choose the colours - an odd number allows you to knit single rows as the different colours can be joined onto both sides of the knitting - and go for it.

The variegated yarn makes the whole hat look random; whereas plain colours look more bold.

Happy knitting!


  1. I'm going to try to make this hat Prudence - it is super cute (and not too complicated for the likes of me). Do you have the pattern for a big girl size? Say, someone 33yrs old?

  2. Hi Sarah. Glad you like it! If you cast on 120 stitches and knit it to about 13cm before shaping the crown it should be big enough for an adult. Good Luck!