If knitting plain hats or tuques gets boring, or if the prospect of making them makes you sleepy, you might want to do something more complicated. Sometimes focusing on a good challenge is very satisfying.
I was better at finishing hats quickly when knitting stripes and basket weave hats, but a hat with lots of cables can be warmer than a stockinette hat. I’ve been knitting my own Aran creations over the past few weeks because I want to share them with you. They take longer to make, but I keep telling myself they’re worth the extra work because of the extra heat. And I know that when I post links to free Aran patterns in March to honor St. Patrick’s Day, they are always hugely popular. I checked back and I don’t think I’ve posted any links to free patterns for Aran hats yet.
My two patterns are partially written, and I hope to have one published by Monday. I seriously modify the second; the new prototype is almost finished, and I’m much happier with it than I was with the first one. The original prototype was certainly wearable and hot, but it has diamonds in it, and they’re so small I don’t like them. In the new version, I made the cables smaller and the diamonds larger, and I think it looks better. It will also make the hat less tight on the head, which is probably a good thing.
I love knitting Aran Fishermen patterns. Some people like to have just one cable design in their knitting projects, but I like the whole fabric to be full of cables and textures. And if I don’t need to write a pattern for them, knitting them is great fun.
So while you wait for my freebees next week, here are links to some Aran models you can play around with if you’re so inspired:
The Roving Cable Hat is a free pattern on purlsoho.com. It comes in adult and child sizes, and it’s knitted with size 5 and 6 needles, which is a little tighter than my beanies, which knit with size 7 or 8 needles. Very attractive hat, though. The recommended yarn is alpaca.
If you like your cables to be a little complicated (challenges are more fun, right?), try the Father cables model, a rather whimsical hat or toque from Yarn on the House. I love this one so much I should make it myself. According to Ravelry, there is an errata: Up should read 120 (120, 130, 130). The pattern has been corrected on the download link.
If you’re looking for something a little less fancy but still very traditional Aran, Lion Brand Yarn has this free pattern on its website for its merino-cashmere blend yarn, but you can use any worsted yarn, like Vanna’s Choice or Caron United. You’ll need to join the Lion Brand website to access it, but membership is free, and it’s a good model to have.
Erin Ruth posted it Molly Hat on her blog “Knit me a song”. It has dual cables that divide wide panels of fisherman’s rib, and it has a nice, loose style. The link takes you to a page where you can download the pdf file.
If you are looking for something different, try Limerick Hat by Roxi Willoughby on her blog Crazy Old Hippie Chick. Roxanna Willoughby owned a yarn store in Tacoma, WA for 12 years. She retired in 2011 and now resides in rural Winlock, WA, where she lives in a 1930s schoolhouse and raises Mini Nubian goats. His hat has horizontal cables and a brim all the way around. Really striking.
And finally, that Devon hat is a free download template from Sugar Sync which contains diamonds and wires. It’s more of a floppy hat than a beanie, and it’s very cute.
I don’t have permission to print the photos for any of these hats, so I’ll end with a teaser photo of the prototypes I worked on for my own patterns.