Pixie ribbed hat

Side view of green square hat This hat is an adult version of a hat designed by Diana Chan Taylor as a Crystal Palace pattern in 1985, for a baby pixie. We feel it's been unjustly overlooked, ironically in part because of the cute picture - Mom worked something like 20 years at Straw Into Gold, the young man is now beyond doing well in college, how could they possibly take it down :-)? Yet it's not the perfect picture because it doesn't show the very interesting side view to the hat, a neat play of interlocking ribs. Moreover, while working it we decided that this is one of those rare objects, a knitted item that works up very elegantly with minimal need to refer to instructions. It's also simple enough for beginners, requiring nothing but the ability to knit and purl. So we're offering it here in bulky weight, sized for an adult, and re-working the instructions to emphasize their simplicity.

Green hats and ham Here is a side view of a finished baby version, with interlocking ribs.

Hat open before seaming and here is a picture of the same hat open before seaming, both sides symmetrical.

Level of difficulty



Medium adult (22" around head).



10 st and 14 rows for 4" (10cm) in plain stockinette.


The model hat is worked by holding the 2 yarns together through the whole thing, which gives a nice soft hairy halo but lets the pattern show through. If you're opposed to eyelash, you may just use the Iceland and spare yourself the aggravation :-).

Cast on 42 st, not too tightly.
Work 4 rows of ribbing: (knit 2, purl2)* repeat till end of row, knit 2.

The rest of the hat will be knit in groups of 3 rows. Every 2nd and 3rd row merely repeats the first in each group, knitting all knits and purling all purls as you see them.
Group 1: knit 6, (purl 2, knit2)* purl 2, knit 6.
Group 2: knit 8, (purl 2, knit2)* purl 2, knit 8.
Group 3: knit 10, (purl 2, knit2)* purl 2, knit 10.

And so on. In other words, you're knitting into one more rib every 3 rows, at both ends of the row, and reproducing that row exactly with the next 2 rows. If you're having qualms about counting rows, just think of it this way: when you're at the end of a row and working on top of a distinct purled horizontal rib (not just a single row of purls), you knit through to the rib beyond it, and you'll have about the correct rhythm.

You eat up all the vertical ribs this way, 3 rows at a time, till you're doing nothing but a row of knits all across. Stop, fold the hat in half along the top, and sew the seam closed so you form a flat square.
Grafting the seam (aka Kitchener stitch) will provide the missing row invisibly to make the hat perfectly symmetrical. See the excellent instructions at Bagatell if you're not familiar with the process.

Matching scarf In case you wondered, the matching scarf photographed above is one of Esther Bozak's great reversible pattern, the mistake-rib, we also give instructions for it.


First published: 25 jan 05

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