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« Whit's Knits: Mary Jane Slippers | Main | Molly's Sketchbook: Cozy Hooded Baby Towel »

Whit's Knits: Giacomo's Baby Hat


My great friend Giovanna, never one for mincing words, flat out asked me to make a hat for her one year old, Giacomo. And she requested a pom pom. If you knew Giacomo, you'd have a hard time refusing too!

This project is a great opportunity to practice your Fair Isle skills. It's small enough to rip out, redo, and make a few. Also, baby's are so uncritical.

To design this hat I used the help of a great book called Traditional Fair Isle Knitting by Sheila McGregor. Besides ancient images of rugged Scottish fishermen covered head to toe in expertly knit Fair Isle gear, the book includes pages and pages of black and white traditional stitch patterns. I chose one, came up with a little border and a color scheme and here you go!  Enjoy! --Whitney

If you need help making a pom pom, see my Pom Pom Tutorial

The Materials

        I used (from the top):

                       Salsa #806 (from the "Melange" colors)

                       Tangerine #521

                       Natural Light Tan #004

                       Natural #500

(The fabric in the background is from Windham's Williamsburg Collection, Blue Confetti Ditsy

The Pattern


6 stitches = 1 inch with US size 5 needle in stockinette stitch

Finished Size 

14.5-inch circumference (to fit a baby approximately 3 - 9 months old)


With US size 4 needle and the main color, cast on 88 stitches.

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

Round 1: *K1, P1, repeat from * to end of round. 

Repeat last round until piece measures 3/4 of an inch from the cast on edge. 

Switch to US size 5 needle. 

Knit 3 rounds.

Knitting the Fair Isle Section 

For the next 19 rounds follow this chart:

Some tips:

Read each line from right to left, starting at the bottom right corner. Repeat the line until the end of the round (4 times), and then move up the chart to the next round. 

Be sure to keep the strands across the back of the work loose. I find the best way to do this is to shove the stitches on the right needle far over to the right so that the new color has to stretch to reach the left needle. This creates perfect slack, preventing buckling and tightness.

One other thing to keep in mind is that when there are 7 or 8 stitches of 1 color, tack the other color's strand after 3 or 4 stitches. Also, I cut the MC, but carried the other colors up the inside.

Here's what the fair isle section looks like when it's finished:


Knitting the Crown

With the MC, knit 3 rounds. 

Next round: *K6, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.

Knit 1 round.

Next round: *K5, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.

Knit 1 round.

Next round: *K4, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.

Knit 1 round.

Next round: *K3, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.

Changing to double pointed needles, knit 1 round.

Next round: *K2, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.

knit 1 round.

Next round: *K1, K2tog, repeat from * to end of round.

Next round: *K2tog, repeat from * to end of round. (12 stitches left)

Cut the yarn. Sew the tail through the remaining stitches, pull tight to close the top of the hat, and bring the tail to the inside of the hat.


Weave in the ends and block the hat.


For really satisfying pom poms, I like to use a Pom Pom Maker. In this case, I chose the second largest size and the white yarn. Please check out my Pom Pom Tutorial if you need help figuring out how your pom pom maker works.

After tying off the pom pom, cut the tail and bring it through the center of the top of the hat. Turn the hat inside out and tightly tie the pom pom tail and the hat tail in a square knot. Weave in the ends.


Reader Comments (6)

Gorgeous hat .. I'd like to make one for a man .. how do I adjust to determine how much yarn I need? .. Also, if it's going to be worn skiing, is there a particular wool that is best?

Thanks a lot! Haley
July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHaley
Hello! What´s the name of the book you're talking about in the intro?
October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFrédérique
Hi Frederique,

Weird! I don't know what happened to the photo that used to be in this story. So much has changed since 2008!

The book is called Traditional Fair Isle Knitting by Sheila McGregor and it's available at Purl Soho right here:

And thanks for pointing out the omission. I've changed the intro to include the book info!

October 23, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi! Great design, but I wondered what is the best way to make bigger versions, I want to make it for a 5 yr old and an 8 yr old . Any help would be great!
Kim x
November 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKim
Hi Kim,

The fair isle pattern works on a multiple of 22 stitches, so the next biggest size you could make would cast on 110. At a gauge of 6 stitches to the inch,110 stitches would end up being 18 1/3 inches in circumference, maybe a little big for a 4 or 5 year old who usually wears more like a 16-inch hat.

So, maybe try the original pattern in a larger gauge (divide the cast on [88] by the number of stitches per inch to determine what circumference you'll get); or try the 110 stitches at smaller gauge.

By the way, if you end up using 110 stitches, be sure to start the crown decreases with *k8, k2tog instead of *K6, k2tog.

Please let us know if you need more guidance and we'd be happy to give it! Thanks for your question!

November 18, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I just discovered this amazing website. Everything is so easy to understand unlike many other patterns. I love the diagrams for the fair isle patterns. I am going to make this hat for a baby that will actually be born in a couple days! Sofia might not wear it for a few months but thats ok! I am going to give it to her for christmas. It is such a beautiful hat and I am considering buying the book. Thank you so much!!
December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

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