Before learning how to knit, I loved and admired Fair Isle knitting but always assumed that it was reserved for an elite few gold medal knitters, the kind who apprenticed on their grandmothers' knees before they could even walk. Now, of course, I know that I should never have been so intimidated!

What looks so intricate is actually just a matter of knitting first with one color and then with a second, switching between the two as the pattern slowly emerges and blossoms into a fascinating and surprising design. Fair Isle is really one of the most fun things you can do in knitting!

If you've never done it, this Little Fair Isle Hat is a great place to start, small and manageable. And if you're a veteran of the craft, then you'll appreciate the speed of this sweet knit. Either way, some baby, toddler or child somewhere is going to be sporting a very pretty hat, made by you!

It's true that an intrinsic economic difficulty of Fair Isle knitting is the necessity for small amounts of many colors. I was so happy to sidestep this problem with Koigu's little 11 yard skeins of KPM Needlepoint Yarn. They're wonderfully soft, beautiful and affordable. And with over 150 hand dyed colors to choose from, the fancy knitting may end up being the easiest part!

P.S. We also have a pattern for the adorable sweater! Just visit our Easy Baby Pullover project journal right here!

The Materials

 

The Pattern

Gauge

7 stitches = 1 inch in stockinette stitch

Finished Sizes

Baby (Toddler, Kid): 14 (16, 18) inches in circumference (The hat pictured here is a Toddler size.)

Begin

With the circular needles and the Main Color (MC), cast on 98 (112, 126) stitches.

Place a marker and join for working in the round, being careful to not twist the stitches.

Round 1: *P1, k1, repeat from * to end of round.

Repeat Round 1 six more times.

Now follow this chart, starting in the lower right corner and reading from right to left. Repeat each line to the end of the round (7, [8, 9] times), then move up the chart, always starting from the right. Remember to change colors as the chart's colors change!

With the MC, knit until piece measures 4 1/4 (5, 5 3/4) inches from the cast on edge.

The Crown

Kid Size, Start Here:

Round 1: *K7, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round. 112 stitches

Rounds 2 and 3: Knit.

Continue on to Round 1 of the Toddler Size.

Toddler Size, Start Here:

Round 1: *K6, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round. 98 (98) stitches

Rounds 2 and 3: Knit.

Continue on to Round 1 of the Baby Size.

Baby Size, Start Here:

Round 1: *K5, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round. 84 stitches, all sizes

Rounds 2 and 3: Knit.

Round 4: *K4, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round. 70 stitches

Rounds 5: Knit.

Round 6: *K3, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round. 56 stitches

Round 7: Knit.

Round 8: *K2, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round. 42 stitches

Round 9: *K1, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round. 28 stitches

Round 10: *K2tog, repeat from * to end of round. 14 stitches

Round 11: Repeat last round. 7 stitches

Round 12: [K2tog] 3 times, k1. 4 stitches

The Top Loop

Slip all 4 stitches onto one double pointed needle so that the last stitch you knit is at the left end of the needle.

Knit a 2 1/2 inch I-cord. Bind off, cut the yarn, and pull the tail through the remaining stitch.

To form the top loop, bring the tail to the inside of the hat, pulling the very tip of the I-cord along with it. As you weave in the tail, sew the I-cord tip to the inside of the hat.

Weave in all the ends and gently block your pretty new hat!