My First Knitting Project

Having learned to knit in the past few months, I thought it would be really cool to knit myself a hat to match my favourite red scarf. And since this will be my first finished knitting project, I thought it’d be fun to share how it went with everyone! 🙂

I watched the video to the right to work out the basics of how to knit a hat (I thought it’d be much more complicated than this!), but decided I didn’t like the look of it, so mine won’t actually look like this.

The video also shows you how to knit and purl, for anyone interested in learning, but it isn’t the video I used to learn to knit. You can find that video here; I found it much clearer, and the casting-on method taught is much easier.

Other than “not like the hat in the video”, I wasn’t sure how I actually wanted my hat to look, so I experimented with some cheap wool. I went with the design on the right.

My test pieces: the trim on the left alternates 3 purls and 3 knits,
while the trim on the right alternates 2 purls and 3 knits, so that the dips are narrower than the ridges.

I chose a thick, soft wool to make my hat with, and 10mm needles to go with it. I also used some of my cheap wool to measure around my head so that I knew how long the bottom edge of the hat needed to be for it to fit properly.
Casting on
The method that Tara uses in the video above is, according to this article, called the cable cast-on method, whereas the one that I decided to use is called the long tail method, because you need to leave a long “tail” for it. I used this one because apparently it gives a more elastic edging, which is what I wanted.
The disadvantage to the long tail method is that you have to estimate how much wool you need to leave for your “tail” before you make a slipknot. On my first attempt, I left about double the length I wanted each row to be, and I quickly ran out of wool. So on my second attempt, I measured out over six times the length of the row!
Second attempt at casting on: LONG tail cast-on indeed!
As you can see, I had some wool leftover, so I probably could have managed with just over five times the length I needed my piece to be rather than six times. It’s also worth noting that, for the pattern that I wanted, I needed the number of stitches to be a multiple of five. When I got to a length I thought would work, I had 57 stitches, so I rounded up to 60 and added another 3.
All cast-on!

A quick tangent on knitting needles

You may have noticed that I’m not using the traditional long needles for this. When I was buying needles, the shop assistant told me that these “circular” knitting needles are better because when knitting large projects, the weight will stay in the centre rather than shifting from needle to needle and shoulder to shoulder, so it’ll save your back. Personally, I found that these needles are simply comfier (they fit in the palms of my hands perfectly), easier to transport as they’re smaller (I can knit on the bus!), harder to lose (just tug on the wire to find the other needle, like you would with earphones), and don’t require that you do the birdie dance with your elbows to knit (another reason you can’t knit on the bus with long needles).

Careful – you’ll poke someone’s eye out with those needles!
Much safer! (And easier, and comfier…)

As if those reasons aren’t enough, I found another advantage to using circular needles while starting this project: you can wrap them around your head to make sure your hat’s going to fit properly!

Wearing my knitting needles… as you do
As I mentioned in the caption for my test knits, I alternated between knit stitches and purl stitches to create a ridged trim. On the “right” side (the one which will show on the outside of my hat), it’s a sequence of three knits followed by two purls. On the “wrong” side, it’s two knits followed by three purls. This is why I needed my number of stitches to be a multiple of five.
The “right” side
The “wrong” side
After I thought the trim was long enough, I switched to ‘stocking’ or ‘stockinette’ stitch, which involves alternating a row of knits with a row of purls. On the pictures above, you can see that the trim on the right side is topped by neat arrows, while the trim on the wrong side is topped by bumps. This is because I make my rows of knits when the right side is facing me as I knit, and I make my rows of purls when the wrong side is facing me.
Halfway through knitting
Knitting = done!

Sewing it all together

At some point while knitting, I realised my hat would be too big, so I decided to overlap some of my knitting. So I made sure to leave plenty of wool to sew it all up with!


After transferring it all from the knitting needle to the string of wool, and pulling it tight, it looked something like this… a little baggy, but definitely hat-like!


Checking the fit again!

Overlapping the edges made sewing them together more complicated, and made the seam more difficult to hide. It didn’t help that I didn’t line them up properly when I first started sewing, so the seam ended up being wonky. Obviously, I could’ve gone back and fixed it, and if it had been a gift for someone else, I would’ve done. But since it’s only for me, I decided it didn’t matter.


The overlapping edges, once sewed together

I ended up with quite a big hole in the top of the hat, probably because my knitting was too long. I tried to sew a neat cross over it to pull it tight. It didn’t end up very neat, but it did the trick.

Then I wove the remaining wool in, and voila!


Even with having overlapped the edges, it still doesn’t fit as snugly as I’d have liked. If I were to do it again, I’d make it smaller, and I think I’d also make the ridges and dips on the trim narrower.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not super happy with it! I’m pretty proud that I made my own hat, and I loved doing it too! It didn’t take too long either – I did it over three days, in between writing, but I probably could have done it in one day if I’d given it my full attention.

Who else has tried knitting? How did you first projects go? 🙂

And don’t forget you can follow me by email or on Google+ to get notified whenever I post something new! 🙂

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