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Top-Down No Math Hat: The Manly Version

October 7, 2010

Hi!  I know you’re here for the hat pattern, which is the most popular thing here.  But I wanted to let you know that my new book is up on Amazon!  Check it out!

Well!  My original Top-Down No Math Hat made a bit of a splash over on Ravelry, and I’m quite tickled about my 83 loves (and counting!) and many many queues.

It is Christmas knitting season, and as I set out to knit many many variations of the hat for those that I love, I had a sudden, sickening realization.

It’s kinda girly, isn’t it?

See, I have nephews.  Three of them.  I have two sons, too, but they’re little and they’re getting hats with trains on them.  I also have two nieces, and, well, pretty stuff is easy.  But I have three nephews and the youngest one is ten.  They don’t want cute or funky – they want manly knits.

And so desperate times call for… new patterns.

A manly hat

Without further ado, I present my Top-Down No Math Hat: The Manly Version.  (Hint: it’s pretty much the same pattern, without the YOs.)

Yarn: again, whatever you like. Any weight – truly doesn’t matter. About a hat’s worth (I do this by squishing it in my hand and seeing if it kinda feels like squishing a hat. As you can tell, I’m a bit cavalier with my knitting.)

Needles: whatever the label calls for, or a bit smaller. You can use dpns to start, then switch to a smallish (24”) circular, or you can stay on dpns throughout, or you can magic loop it.

Notions: a tapestry needle and a freewheeling attitude.

Pattern Note: what makes this pattern work is a particularly swish increase that I first found over at the awesomely wonderful TechKnittingA very nearly invisible increase.  Go take a look.  When I use inc1 below, this is what I mean.

Very nearly invisible increases

CO 6 st. [Note: if you want a less pointy hat, CO 8 st.] Distribute evenly on 3 dpns, or use a magic loop. Join, being careful not to twist.
Row 1 (and all odd rows): k
Row 2: inc1, k1, repeat to end (12 st)
Row 4: inc1, k2, repeat to end (18 st)
Row 6: inc1, k3, repeat to end (24 st)

You see what I’m doing here, right? Increasing 6 st in every other row, lining up the yos increases to make pretty swirly lines manly, nearly invisible shaping. Notice that it totally looks like you’re doing K2togs from the other direction.  Freaky!

Continue in this manner until the circumference of your knitting is a little smaller (an inch less? Thereabouts?) than the circumference of the head you’re knitting for. (Still not planning to block. I’m as cavalier as ever.)

Row 23 (or whatever) and all odd rows thereforth: k

Keep knitting until you only have a few yards left, or until it looks like a hat. Then think about ribbing for a while.  Or, if you prefer a rolled brim, just keep knitting. BO loosely. Sew in the ends.

It doesn’t look like much, does it?  Nothing earth-shattering.  But I will remind you: it is a hat with no math!

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. Juliana permalink
    October 8, 2010 12:06 pm

    Thank you for the inspiration and good laugh this morning. I happen to have two little boys with BIG heads. Math is not one of my strong suits, at least where knitting is concerned. This hat will be perfect for my boys!( and give me an excuse to try magic loop ;) )

    • suzynjackson permalink*
      October 8, 2010 12:18 pm

      Thanks, Juliana! Please let me know how it works out for you.

  2. Elizabeth permalink
    October 31, 2010 4:47 pm

    Hi Suzyn,

    This looks like a great pattern. My knitting group is always looking for hat patterns that can be done anywhere, actually fit, and use up leftover yarn. This is perfect! And I’m with you on the need for a “manly” hat pattern. The woman in our group who heads up the homeless shelter hat contingent is always begging us to knit hats that a man will actually feel good about wearing. I will pass this on.

    Elizabeth ( Cullen’s mother)

  3. Sarah permalink
    November 13, 2010 10:30 pm

    Thank you Suzyn, I was looking for a simple and quick hat pattern for gifts for my grown sons. One in NY and one in MD. This looks perfect. It should work out well since I too am a bit cavalier about amounts and sizes. Looking forward to starting these .


  4. Anne permalink
    December 28, 2012 8:43 am

    Exactly what I was looking for. It knit up quick and easy, and received many compliments when my dad wore it. He wanted an indoor hat as he has very poor circulation and is always cold. It was easy to guestimate his size, while making it fit above his ears so that it wouldn’t block his hearing aids. ‘Only problem is, now i have orders for more. Thank you very much for the pattern.


    • Suzyn permalink*
      December 28, 2012 6:23 pm

      Thanks, Anne – I love hearing how things go with my patterns. Happy New Year!

  5. Karen permalink
    April 17, 2013 8:29 am

    Reading your pattern directions made me laugh. That’s exactly how I knit. A little of this and a little of that. Yarn weight, needle sizes and gauge swatches does not compute in my brain. Just start a hat if it looks good then keep going LOL. I plan on altering your pattern for a newborn size. I keep a purple newborn hat project with me at all times to donate to the Shaken Baby Syndrome Association and am always looking for a new pattern. Thanks so much for sharing!!!!

    • Suzyn permalink*
      April 19, 2013 8:09 am

      Thanks for the note, Karen! The concept works for any headsize – preemie through super-nerd! ;) Check out my other top-down hats, too.

  6. November 5, 2013 5:51 am

    Thanks, it’s like magic! Am converting a too-big headband i knitted in entrelace to a hat, so am going to join this skull bit.

    • Suzyn permalink*
      November 5, 2013 9:00 am

      I’m glad it’s working for you!

  7. December 8, 2013 7:22 pm

    How did you get that swirl pattern on the top? I followed your instructions (at least I thought I did) but my toque came out cone-shaped and the increase lines were stick-straight :S

    • Suzyn permalink*
      December 8, 2013 8:17 pm

      Huh, Well, the cone part can be fixed by starting with 8 st and doing 8 increases at a time – that seems to work for some people. As for the swirl, I’m not really sure!

  8. Kari R. permalink
    January 4, 2014 2:03 pm

    I’ve been working and re working this hat on magic loop. 6 stitches co ( 3 on each needle) , increase, knit, increase knit, increase, knit every other row only gives 3 extra stitches per even row. How in the world do you get 6 extra stitches right off the bat? I’m boggled! What am I missing? It’s a great hat and I’m determined, but mystified!

  9. Kari permalink
    January 4, 2014 2:19 pm

    Let me clarify..I CO 6 stitches, 3 on each needle for magic loop. I knit the first row. The 2nd row I am increasing every other stitch, which is only increasing by 3 each round. Hmmmm…I MUST be missing something! ;)

  10. Kari permalink
    January 4, 2014 5:10 pm

    Haha! Ok..I got it! I was using a different kind of increase and that was messing with the sequence. Once I used the increase you posted, it all came out perfect! Looks a heckuva lot better too!!! Thanks!!

    • Suzyn permalink*
      January 4, 2014 7:17 pm

      Ah, I was just coming to try to help you, but it looks like you’ve helped yourself! Isn’t that the best way?

  11. Kari permalink
    January 5, 2014 11:52 am

    Yes it is!! I was doing a KFB increase which puts the 2 stitches on the left needle, then knitting the next one, which had me increasing every 3rd stitch! I didn’t realize there were so many differences with a given increase stitch! This is such an elegant looking increase stitch! Easy to follow and visually eyeball where the next increase is without counting! I knit while on the phone, standing up, waiting for dinner to come out of the oven, pretty much just squeeze it in anywhere, so who has time for math!! ;) this is beautiful on magic loop, which I use for everything!! Again, laziness and clumsiness does not go hand in hand with more than 2 needles!! Haha! LOVE top down anything too! Nothing beats the “try as you go” method in my book!! Thanks again for the brilliant pattern!

    • Suzyn permalink*
      January 6, 2014 9:45 am

      I figured you must be doing kfb, to only get 3 incr. per row. I much prefer this increase to kfb, as it doesn’t give you that little purl bump (though I have been trying to develop a RIBBED top down hat with kfb – still not happy with it!)

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