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Tales of a Feather Hat . . . Part 1

Before I get started on today's Unraveled post (and, indeed, there was some unraveling), I do want to celebrate reaching Divide For Sleeves status with Tom's sweater. There was a bit of Disappointment initially, as I discovered I needed to go up a size after our first "try on." But that's the benefit of knitting a top-down sweater, after all. So it was a Good Thing. Although More Stitches is never something a knitter wants to face when knitting a sweater for a man, y'know? But. Success all the same. (I'll spare you a photo at this point, because Big Brown Blob . . . that you can easily picture in your mind's eye.)


Once reaching that Momentous Step, I decided to dip my toe into the "feather hat" pool and treat myself to (what appeared to be) . . . a simple-yet-charming hat knit up with some gimmick-y yarn in a whimsical stitch pattern. And I'll stand by that: It IS a simple hat. With charm and whimsy. And gimmick-y yarn that will (in the end, I'm sure) do all the heavy lifting.

But ohmygod . . . first I needed to crack the code of one of the most overwrought patterns I've ever seen!


This is a HAT. A basic, stockinette hat with a few options for the brim and the crown. The tricky bit? It's the "feather stitch." And I knew that would be the tricky-bit going in. I expected detailed explanations (and probably some practice) for that part.

What I didn't expect . . . was an overly complicated (24 PAGES, people) pattern that skips around in distracting ways and includes CHARTS for (among other things that don't actually need charts) 2x2 ribbing for the brim. (Oh, don't let me get started on my quibbles with this pattern.) Anyway. The most irritating part of this whole adventure . . . is the need to carefully swatch to even figure out where to begin. (I mean, it's nice to be able to use ANY weight yarn and knit a hat to fit ANY size head, but this is just a bit more work than I want to go through for what is basically a plain, old hat. Y'know?)

So. Once I bought in to the fact that I was going to have to swatch, swatch I did. Which also gave me a chance to practice the feather stitches. And . . . it's a good thing I did practice because my first one? It looked like this . . .


Not QUITE what I was going for. (LOL)

I ripped. I re-tried. The second one was even worse, but in a different way. I didn't take a picture. I ripped again. And then . . . something clicked (plus I got out a crochet hook, which helped), and my third feather was definitely more . . . feather-like.


And after a few more "practice feathers," I declared myself ready to move on to the actual hat.


Doing the gauge swatch helped me figure out my sizing. (Because, yeah. I know. That's why we swatch.) (I just don't usually swatch for hats. A hat IS a swatch, y'know?) For the record, my swatch is 5 stitches/inch on size 5 needles. And I want to knit a hat with a 21.75" circumference. So according to the VERY detailed sizing chart (some might say unnecessarily detailed AND get an eye twitch just looking at it), I cast on 96 stitches. Which seems about right for me, based on my previous hat knitting experience. For the record, I'm knitting a 2x2 ribbing for the brim on size 4s (because I always go down a size for my brims). And I don't feel I need to refer to the chart (just sayin).

The yarn is beautiful. I love the feel and sheen of it (although it is a little splitty). But the pattern? WAY too many words. (And useless charts.) (But maybe that's just me.) I'm sure that, in the end, this will be . . . a simple-yet-charming hat knit up with some gimmick-y yarn in a whimsical stitch pattern.

Even though it's taking a while to actually get to that.

Stay tuned!


How about you? What are you making this week?


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Wow...that's an honest pattern review ;)
Good luck on the brown blob....may your dh wear it for many years to come.
I spent last night restitching sections of seams on an old sweater that I knit for DH before we moved into this house (which was April 1990). It was a Pinguoin yarn that wears like iron, but not so much it the seams. He will not give it up so my work was not in vain.
They don't seem to make yarn like that anymore....not a pill or worn spot on the fabric anywhere.


I thought it was just me! I skimmed the pattern, looking for a needle size, and finally understood after going through 24 pages that I was going to have to swatch - for a hat! This simple hat has almost defeated me before I've even started. I'm not in a proper mindset for climbing over the mountain to arrive at the simple and charming hat knitting phase right now, but at least I feel like there's hope for the hat and I to be friends (not best friends!) in the future. So congratulations on reaching the Sleeve Division, and I'm sorry you have to knit More Stitches. But you do have Perfect Feathers and it looks like you can knit a hat!


I think Hunter is very good at what she does and provides excellent value for the price -- but! I agree with you that I think perhaps her patterns are a little too filled with details. I get that she wants to cover everything that could be thought of, but those of us who have been knitting for a while don't always need all the hand-holding. (Also, the way she does her charts just does not make sense to me and I often have to rechart them.)

Sorry about the extra knitting required on the sweater, but, as you said, the beauty of the top-down sweater is the ease of this kind of adjustment, and I'm sure you're quite happy to know that you needed to make the adjustment now rather than after you'd finished the whole thing!


Sleeve divide is a great thing. And I am happy to read this review before I plunged into this new hat pattern (which I have not purchased and likely will not). I’m sure it will be lovely but hats are my zen/stress relief knitting so no need to have complicated patterns for me.


Ha! so interesting (and annoying) about the feather hat. I had contemplated (very briefly) getting the pattern and joining y'all, but now that definitely will not be happening. I'm glad you like the yarn though (Kat's review of that was not great). Congratulations on reaching the Great Divide. Sorry for extra stitches, but you want it to fit, so...


Geez, I had enough trouble with the Musselburgh Hat, which everyone else just breezed through - I think I'll skip this one, at least for now.

Also, I think it's a shame that you call Tom a "Big Brown Blob." ;-)


Thank you for sharing the pattern pitfalls with us. I'll admit I was also dismayed when I saw that the HAT pattern was 24 pages. I find it strange that she writes out each hat separately (or at least that's what I saw at first glance) rather than just a main pattern with the options for personalizing the brim and crown. How odd that she provides so much detail but doesn't suggest a needle size! I did start my Daytripper cardigan last night and I may just stick with that for a while and let you blaze the hat trail for me.


@Bridget, Thanks for the giggle...

I was wondering (for half a second) if I was interested in that hat/yarn combo. You saved me from myself. Thank you.

My 96 stitch, (first ever) self designed hat, using the cables from the Affknity sweater, languishes as I'm not thrilled with my decreases. I'll rip back to the start of the decreases and try again. Maybe I'll try charting them this time, instead of trying it on the needles. :-/

kim in oregon

Oh dear. I ordered a skein because it was so cute on your blog, and now I'm not that excited anymore! I did one of those fiddly patterns too--the 'Float" scarf where you had to do something special when you got to the color. Your description of "a simple-yet-charming hat knit up with some gimmick-y yarn in a whimsical stitch pattern" applies to that scarf as well!

Why why why do we (meaning I) fall for gimmicky yarn? It's like that sock yarn that would knit up to Santa heads. I spent hours trying to source that yarn.

Caffeine Girl

You deserve a medal for persevering with that hat pattern. OK, the feather is really cool but I would have never made it through all those complications. And who wants a 24-page pattern for a hat? A chart for 2x2 ribbing is just ridiculous!
Thanks for the warning!

Susanne Scheurwater

you must be counting on a fair bit of stretch with your head circumference being 21.75" and 5 stitches to the inch, I would have cast on 109 stitches. Like others, I have no desire to knit anything with 24 pages to its pattern!! YIKES> It is going to be gorgeous and I admire your tenacity to get to the knitty gritty....if you'll pardon the pun!
Enjoy, can't wait to see it.
you may have to tune in to some binging whilst knitting Tom's "blob":)


I have the pattern and yarn for the Feather Hat, but was baffled by all of the charts and by trying to figure out my size because there are two different size charts. I put it away for a later time. I need something less fussy and have decided to go with the Musselburgh hat for now.


That feather stitch is quite pretty, especially in the purple!

96 sitches? My husband must have a little pinhead.


You must be a sainted knitter to continue with the hat. That many pages for a hat?!? Uff. I would have stuck the pattern in a 3 ring binder, never to be looked at again and the yarn would have been relegated to the bottom of a tote. Many good wishes to you on completing the project!


I have complicated jumper and cardigan patterns with less pages. Wow 24 pages that seems a little OTT. I hope you work it all out.


whew! I love your review ... snarky humor is my thing right now ... and I can't wait to see your hat!


Congratulations on reaching the sleeve divide. It is a milestone in a sweater project. The little feather is charming but oh my. I don't want to wade through twenty four pages to knit a hat. I'll be cheering on those who do though. The hat with the bright feathers is very creative.


This is a most excellent review of That Pattern! I saw the "ribbing chart" and thought... are you effing kidding me?

And if you would put said ribbing chart in your Extraordinarily Wordy Pattern, one would think you'd include a selection of needle recommendations. The pattern was overly directional in ways it did not need to be and miserably lacking in the regular ordinary bits.

Oh... and take it from someone who has been knitting some tricky bits on wee little gnomes... a YouTube link to a video takes way less paper than blow by blow pictures that don't really give a knitter a good sense of how you actually do the thing you took eleventy-million pictures of.

On a brighter note... I cast on with some practice yarn and I think I have figured out the Feathers! Wooo!


I considered if having feathers was worth the time and confusion and then decided to knit a second Musselburgh. It's my go to hat and I'd like another.


Ha! I have absolutely zero need for a complicated pattern, so no Feather Hat for me. Not that I was planning on making one -- it would require buying yarn, and I am resolutely sticking to my yarn diet, aka No New Yarn For Me. But I look forward to seeing yours!

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