Last Minute Birthday Gift!

It was my dear husband’s birthday last week and for once, I had neither bought a gift nor knitted something (I have been doing that for the last 2 years) to gift him. Even though I knew I wouldn’t make the deadline, I feverishly scoured the net to find something to knit within a day or two. Luckily for me, Nikhil loves to wear caps – something to do with his gently receding hairline maybe. So I decided that a cap would make the ideal gift. I found the perfect design online (courtesy designer Ashley Little) and got down to knitting. I finished it and gifted it two days late. To my great relief, Nikhil loves the cap and has promised to wear it religiously during winters. Have a look at my creation

I thought maybe some of you would like to know how to knit this cap, in case you ever run into a gifting emergency. It makes for a lovely, personal gift and can be adapted to a size and design of your choice. It also makes a great gift to give yourself for those cold wintry nights when a soft, squishy and snug cap feels like heaven. So let’s knit this wonderful cap together.

Yarn, Needles and Gauge

Choose the yarn of your choice – my recommendation would be to avoid anything scratchy since we want to make this cap cosy and snug. In this design, we will use needles of 2 sizes – the smaller one for ribbing and the larger one for the body of the cap. Please bear in mind that the pattern I follow and explain here is for circular knitting needles, however you can easily adapt it for Double Pointed Needles if you are more comfortable using those. For this cap, I highly recommend you knit a gauge swatch before you start knitting the cap to make sure that you get the size right – we wouldn’t want to end up with a cap which is too tight or too loose. For a refresher on how to make a gauge swatch, check out my post here.

The gauge required for this cap is 18 stitches and 24 rounds per 4 inches in Stockinette Stitch knit using the larger needles. For my cap, I chose a worsted weight yarn and knit a gauge swatch using 5.5 mm needles. I suggest that a gauge within the range of 16-20 stitches per 4 inches in Stockinette stitch should do the job very well. We are not going to bother too much with the vertical gauge (i.e. the number of rounds per 4 inches) because we are going to measure our cap regularly for length while knitting. Now, whatever needle size you used to achieve gauge, one needle size less than that will work for the smaller needle – for example, I got my gauge by using 5.5 mm needles so I used 5 mm needles for my smaller sized needles.

Please note the final measurement for this cap is 22 inches in circumference – ideal for for an adult male.

Cast-on and Magic loop

Once you have chosen your needle sizes, you will begin casting on with your smaller sized needles (in my case, the 5 mm needles). We are knitting this cap brim up and are going to decrease stitches as we reach the crown of the cap. You always have the option of using circular needles with a short connecting chord (a 16 inches chord will be fine for knitting this cap) or Double Pointed Needles (DPNs), however I used the Magic Loop method to knit this cap since I find that method quite easy. For a tutorial on the Magic Loop method, check out my post here.

Now cast on 100 stitches using the smaller sized needle. Divide the stitches on your circular needle in half and put place markers on both ends of the 50 stitches to indicate the beginning and the middle of the round and get ready to use the magic loop method. If you’re using a 16 inches chord, then you need to put a place marker only at the beginning of the round.

Brim

For the brim of the cap, we need to do a 1 x 1 ribbing. The reason to put a ribbing in the brim is to make sure the brim has the elasticity needed to pull the cap easily over one’s head. This is the pattern for the brim

Round 1: *K1, P1; rep from * to end of round

This means you will have to knit one stitch and purl the next stitch and continue doing that till the end of the round. Continue repeating this round till the ribbing reaches a size of 5 inches from the beginning of the cast-on. The reason why we are making a slightly longer brim is so that you can turn it up if that’s how you like to wear a cap.

Body

Once you are done with 5 inches of ribbing, you will need to shift to the larger sized needles to knit the body of the cap. There are two ways to shift to a pair of different needles – if you are using interchangeable circular needles, just unscrew the needle tops, screw on the new needles and continue knitting; or if you are using fixed circular needles, use your new needle to knit the first round of the body of the cap, moving knitted stitches one by one on to the new needles. This way once the first round of the body of the cap gets over, your knitting would have shifted entirely to the new set of needles.

The main body of the cap is to be knit in Stockinette Stitch which is basically knitting every round when doing circular knitting. This is a great place to introduce any design element that you like. I have used stripes in the cap I’ve made for Nikhil, for which I knitted the first 8 rows of the body in the main colour and the next 3 rows in the contrast colour and kept on repeating this patterns. You can make cables or introduce lace or make any other design of your choice in this part of the cap.

Keep knitting in Stockinette Stitch in the design of your choice till the entire piece from the cast-on measures about 9 inches.

Crown

We will now start decreasing the stitches, so that the crown can be shaped. This is the pattern to be followed for decreasing

R1: *K8, k2tog; rep from * to end of round
R2 : Knit all
R3: *K7, k2tog; rep from * to end of round
R4: Knit all
R5: *K6, k2tog; rep from * to end of round
R6: Knit all
R7: *K5, k2tog; rep from * to end of round
R8: Knit all
R9: *K4, k2tog; rep from * to end of round
R10: Knit all
R11: *K3, k2tog; rep from * to end of round
R12: Knit all
R13: *K2, k2tog; rep from * to end of round
R14: Knit all
R15: *K1, k2tog; rep from * to end of round
R16: Knit all
R17: *K2tog; rep from * to end of round
R18: Knit all

You will notice that in each odd-numbered round, you are decreasing 10 stitches by using the K2 Tog decrease. In the even-numbered rounds, you are just knitting all the stitches. Even while doing these decreases, you can continue to follow the design element you have chosen for your cap, like I have in the cap I have knit.

By the end of Round 18, you would be left with only 10 stitches on your needle while the top of the cap would look almost closed. Cut of the yarn from the ball leaving a long tail, use a tapestry needle and insert the yarn tail through the 10 stitches on the needle and then take these stitches off the needle. Now cinch the yarn tightly to close any remaining gap at the top of the cap. Weave in all ends in the inside of the cap to give your cap a professional touch. And VOILA! YOU’RE DONE!!! You are now in possession of a beautiful, snug cap which you can give to someone special or keep for yourself.

Hope you enjoyed knitting this lovely and very easy to knit cap. I am sure anybody who receives this cap as a gift will love wearing it. I would love to see pictures of your finished caps so do put them up on my Facebook page.

~P

materials that can be used for knitting this cap

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