Cable Waves Hat & Scarf
Updated: Jan 1, 2022
Time for a new pattern!
This pattern came about from two things intersecting: a cold snap with more than 2 feet of snow and the insistence of my dog, Freddie, to continue our daily walks even though temperatures were below freezing. To keep warm, I wanted a thick hat that worked up quick with a matching scarf long enough to go around my neck twice for those absolutely frigid days.
So here it is! Originally worked in the large size and adjusted to fit smaller sizes using the circumference chart found here (Craft Yarn Council), the cable pattern goes as far up the hat as possible and continues into the crown shaping rounds.
The hat pattern is worked in the round (scarf is worked flat) on circular needles using the magic loop method or using dpns.
Q: How much does this pattern cost?
A: The large size (23" circumference) is available here on the blog for free below. Other sizes (Toddler, Small/Child, and Medium) are available for purchase on both Ravelry and Etsy for $5. The paid download also includes additional tips with photos and the pattern for the bonus scarf (with cable chart!).
Q: Can I sell items made from this pattern?
A: You may sell items made with this pattern, but must link back to (1) the pattern OR (2) the Craftematics website. You may not sell derivatives or variations on the pattern itself (although you may make and list them for free with a link back to (1) the pattern OR (2) the Craftematics website).
Q: How long does it take to make?
A: The hat takes around 4-5 hours and works up very quickly! The scarf depends on how long you would like it to be. I made my scarf 7 feet long (wraps around my neck twice with room to hang) and it took me 8.5 hours total.
Q: How difficult is the pattern?
A: Skills required: working in the round, basic cables, k2tog, ssk, kfb. This is a great pattern for cable newbies (I recommend starting with the scarf, worked in the flat). Overall, I would ballpark this pattern as advanced beginner or easy intermediate. The scarf has a lot of purling and is a great opportunity to work on speeding up your purl stitches.
Q: What materials do I need to make this pattern?
A: You will need...
Bernat Softee Chunky in rich brick (394 m / 400 g) - 1 skein is enough for a hat and long, matching scarf
Knitting needles: US size 11 (8mm) and US size 10.5 (6.5mm)
-->Circular needles are recommended throughout using the magic loop method
-->Dpns will also work if preferred
A note on yarn: this is the yarn I chose out of my existing stash. The acrylic content is warm and washable; any super bulky (6) yarn will do! Wool or similar fiber content is recommended for very cold climates.
Q: Do I need to block these when I'm finished?
A: The hat is up to you - personally, I don't bother to block hats most of the time. The scarf, however, curls like crazy and will definitely need to be blocked when finished. Wet blocking is recommended due to the intensity of the curling (see photo below).
Large Hat Pattern (23" circumference)
10.5 sts = 4 inches
9 rows = 2 inches
In stockinette with size 11 needles
Abbreviations (US Terms)
K - knit
P - purl
2/2 RC - sl 2 sts onto cn, hold in back, k2, k2 from cn
2/2 LC - sl 2 sts onto cn, hold in front, k2, k2 from cn
Ssk - slip, slip, knit (decrease by 1 st)
K2tog - knit 2 together (decrease by 1 st)
Sl - slip
Kw - knit-wise
Kfb - knit front and back (increase by 1 st)
Brim & Hat Body
CO 60 sts with smaller needles
Join in the round and work k2p2 ribbing until you have 4 inches of fabric (about 18 rounds)
Switch to larger needles.
Round 1: K around
R2: K around
R3: (K2, 2/2 RC) around.
R4: K around
R5: K around
R6: K around
R7: (2/2 LC, k2) around.
R8: K around.
Work these 8 rounds 2 times, then R1 - R7 once more (23 rounds total). You should have about 5 inches of cable wave fabric as measured from the top of the ribbing (about 9 inches from the CO sts).
Note that 1 inch of the ribbing will be “absorbed” into the turn of the brim when it is flipped up.
Decreases - form crown
R1: *k2, ssk, k2. Repeat from * around. (50 sts)
R2 - R3: k around. (50 sts)
R4: *k1, 2/2 RC. Repeat from * around. (50 sts)
R5: (k1, k2tog, k2) around. (40)
R6 - R7: k around. (40)
R8: Sl 2 sts kw to move the start of the round by 2 sts. (2/2 LC) around. (40)
R9: (k2, ssk) around. (30)
R10- R11: k around. (30)
R12: Sl 2 sts kw to move the start of the round by 2 sts. (ssk, k1) around. (30)
R13: ssk around. (10)
R14: ssk around. (5)
Cut yarn, leaving a tail long enough to finish. Weave the yarn through the remaining 5 sts, then remove your needle from the sts and pull the yarn to close. Weave in all ends.
Cut a piece of scrap yarn about 18 inches long and set aside. We will use this to tie the pom-pom off and attach it to the hat.
(1) Make a 3 - 5 inch (size is up to you!) pom-pom by wrapping yarn around your palm/fingers, a piece of cardboard or pom-pom maker about 50 times (more if you want a really fluffy pom-pom!).
(2) Tie the scrap yarn around the center of the pom-pom as tightly as possible and knot to hold. (3) Cut the loops of the pom-pom to open it up. (4) Trim around the edges to even it out and up the fluff factor. (5) Use the scrap yarn tie to attach the pom-pom to the hat and weave in the ends.
The Design Process and Learnings
When I began this project, I thought resizing would be a quick process. WRONG. Very very wrong. As it turns out, working with super bulky yarn and stitch multiplicity requirements (e.g. must be a multiple of 4) makes it quite difficult to find the right number of stitches for each size. The other problem I found is cable patterns that don't have a center stitch don't like to decrease evenly on one side. This also means they can't be charted using Stitch Fiddle. Yike.
To deal with the multiplicity issue, I did two things. The first was to completely ignore negative ease being addressed by stitch counts and to instead create negative ease by using smaller needles on the ribbing. Negative ease is necessary to make the hat fit and stay on well. However, super bulky yarn fabrics don't stretch as much as fabrics made with thinner yarn, so the usual figure of 20% negative ease wasn't going to apply here anyway. After knitting the prototype, I found that addressing the negative ease via needle size worked just fine. The second thing to address multiplicity was to slightly fudge the numbers related to gauge. That is, the two middle sizes require increasing or decreasing before beginning the pattern rounds. This means the brim stays put at the correct size while the hat itself is simply fitted, but not snug.
To attempt a version of a chart to help with cable placement, I ended up using computer paper and some home-grown symbols to distinguish between the left-leaning decrease (ssk) and right-leaning decrease (k2tog). The large version is below:
The real trick was recognizing that placing the decreases above the top cable string meant that the next round of cables needed to be shifted. You can see on round 8 in the photo (and the pattern) that the start of the round needed to be moved by 2 stitches else the cables wouldn't all fit properly within the pattern.
Once I figured out the large (and knit it to make sure it was correct), I did the same for the 3 other sizes. HOWEVER, once I started making the charts for the other sizes, I realized that the number of repeats for the pattern rounds and the number of rounds to decrease the crown were different for every size. To keep track of it all, I created tables in my pattern notebook:
Size, CO sts, pattern sts, circumference, height
size, ribbing, cables, crown, total height
size, rounds for crown, rounds of pattern
For EACH size: sts remaining, decrease round Y/N, round number
These tables were invaluable as reference materials when working on the cable charts. After finishing the second chart, I actually realized that most of the work was in figuring out the numbers for the tables themselves. The work done in the first chart laid the conceptual framework for finishing the others, but the math in the tables was absolutely required to make the charts possible.
Once the hat was completed, I realized (while freezing in the snow for the photoshoot) that I should really make a matching scarf. This would not only use up the rest of the yarn from my stash but also look great with my mid-weight pea coat while the seasons change.
To make the bonus scarf pattern, I decided on a small purl-based border, used the gauge to figure out the number of stitches to get a scarf about 8 inches wide, and used the cable pattern to quickly draw up a cable chart. A little purling at both ends for the border and that was it! The only question is how long to make the scarf - I wound up with a 7 foot scarf because I like my scarves to wrap around my neck twice and still have room to tuck into the front of my jacket. A good rule of thumb, I think, is to go no shorter than 5 feet and make it at least the height of the person (e.g. a person who is 6 feet tall should have a scarf of 6+ feet).
Overall, I have to say I'm quite pleased with how this pattern turned out. While more complicated than I anticipated, the patterns work up quickly and the cables give the hat and scarf a lot of depth (and air pockets for warmth). This work has also spawned several other ideas for patterns which I hope will be more beginner friendly (look for these in the fall!).
Thanks for reading, friends! I hope you enjoy this pattern and its products keep you and your loved ones warm and cozy! Be sure to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to the blog by filling out the form at the bottom of the page.
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See you soon!