The perfect knit hat
January 8, 2014 6:53 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a knit hat, kind of a beanie/toque hat, but with a very thick rim. All the knit hats I'm finding seem to get thinner at the edge. I think what I want would be similar to a beanie combined with a really thick ear warmer.

I've looked at hundreds of knit hats on Etsy, and tried Googling too. I'd consider asking for a custom order, but I'd at least like a photo of an example hat to show the maker.

This is both for warmth reasons and for aesthetic reasons -- I have cold ears and a wide jaw :)

I think I'd prefer wool to acrylic; I might end up lining it with something thin and cotton if it makes my ears itch.

I've loved Aran and Fairisle patterns; I've tried searching for Aran hats, Irish hats, and Fairisle hats, but I keep coming up with lovely hats that have no thickness at the edge, and no extra length for rolling.

Finally, if there's some reason that I wouldn't really want a hat like this, please let me know.
posted by amtho to Shopping (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a knitter, and I don't understand what you're looking for. Because the ear warmer doesn't cover anything that a beanie wouldn't cover. Do you want the beanie to have an extra layer, like an attached ear warmer?

That said, has a huge pattern bank, and might give you better search terms. I think you have to join to search the patterns. but that may not be accurate. You'd probably want to select Worsted, Aran, or Bulky in the weight category, (because thinner yarns will not be as warm) and of course limit your search to hats, which I think are in the accessories section.

For warmth, also alpaca blends can be really nice. So can silk and wool together. Avoiding acrylic is probably a good choice.

Fair Isle is a design of color work, and is not super easy to be made reversible. Aran/Cable is also not super easy to make reversible.
posted by bilabial at 7:05 AM on January 8, 2014

My first thought was something like I wear (that looks kind of like this) that has a turtle fur lining around the edge.
Googling "knit hat turtle fur" found this on amazon that might fit what you're looking for or at least give you some ideas?
I loves my turtle fur. Sometimes it gets a little too warm to be totally honest.
posted by bowmaniac at 7:07 AM on January 8, 2014

I have a few ideas that might help you.

First, have you seen any hats you like that look like this? That part that folds up is like that specifically for that reason -- it provides a double layer over your ears to keep them warm.

Second, if you know someone who knits or who you can ask for a custom order, consider asking for a brim that folds under. It would be very easy to knit a hat like this one, then knit another segment the width of the "earwarmer" part, fold it under and tack it down so that it didn't flop around. If I were doing this, I'd knit the extra segment at a finer gauge in the same color. That way you'd have the streamlined look of the hat you linked to, combined with the extra thickness around the ears, without obvious bulk.

Third, if you are open to other options, you might consider just buying a hat that you like, then paying someone to line the hat in fleece for you (the pattern I linked to in #2 above is lined in fleece) OR just wearing a liner under your hat like this one. A lined hat is a lot warmer than an unlined hat.
posted by OrangeDisk at 7:09 AM on January 8, 2014

I mean, it sounds like you just want...a hat, right? Like with the flippy up part at the bottom? I don't know what the technical term is. Maybe a cuff? It looks, effectively, like a ear warmer over a beanie. Every knit winter hat I've ever owned has been like that so I don't think it's some special class of hat, unless I'm misunderstanding what you've described.

The hat I have now, which I love love love so much, was brought to me as a gift from Iceland. It looks kind of like this. Super warm.
posted by phunniemee at 7:09 AM on January 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

A toque is what you're looking for, and they are pretty much everywhere (at least in Canada). My mind is boggling that you are having any trouble finding one. I would think it would be harder finding a winter hat that WASN'T like this. Our dollar stores, even, are filled with hats like this. And since you asked, no, there is no reason why a hat like that is a bad idea. It is actually a good idea.

Try searching for "toque".
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:20 AM on January 8, 2014

How about a double thick toque? This shows a pattern that one woman made. Maybe you can find ready made under that term.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:26 AM on January 8, 2014

In the southern US, a toque is commonly (and confusingly, for this transplanted New Englander) called a "toboggan."
posted by Rock Steady at 7:27 AM on January 8, 2014

Sorry I wasn't clear! The thing about the ear warmer I linked is that it is _really_ thick, maybe 3-4x the thickness of a basic hat thickness like the Jacques Cousteau hat linked by OrangeDisk.

fur brimmed hats have a similar profile. It doesn't need to be comically large, but it should avoid that brain-lobe look that works so much better on pointy-chinned damsels.

Folding the hat over 2-3 times would probably work OK, but:
I'd also love the cuff (let's call it a cuff, why not) to have a nice pattern, maybe an Aran-type pattern.

Check out the ear warmer link - this is probably a double thickness, plus some pretty intense cable-type texturing, plus some very robust yarn. If the maker just knitted a bit more and continued to make a hat crown, it would be close (but I'm not in love with some of the details on this item). Anyway, this is in the neighborhood of the style and thickness I'm envisioning.

A really lovely Aran-style hat that was long enough to allow folding over at least three times might work, but I don't see that.

(Oh - also, no pom poms :)
posted by amtho at 7:28 AM on January 8, 2014

Also, it bares saying that a properly lined warm winter hat (cuff or no cuff) will keep your ears warm as long as it is a well made hat. You don't need the cuff if the hat is adequately lined. THIS hat, for example, is amazing and adored by my snowshoeing, ourdoor skating, winter hiking sister. She has had it for years and loves it. I'm sure THIS one would be awesome too.

What about a Russian-style hat?

Speaking as a cold-weather experienced Canadian, sometimes you just gotta give on the exact style you want if you want to be warm. I know I have fashionable pretty "Cold but not too cold" hats, mitts, and scarves, but then I have a separate set of mega warm but not so stylish hats, mitts, and neckers and a totally separate jacket that I wear when it gets blisteringly cold. I am not the only person I know that has two categories like this.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:30 AM on January 8, 2014

(Sorry to thread-sit, but I'm obviously terrible at writing questions)

I did look at "toques" a little, but I think I want a really nice one. Maybe natural/cream, wool, and I'm still hoping for a >1 brim roll length.

This thickness is for appearance as well as warmth.

I'm really into the Aran/Irish knit patterns for overall look - you can find off-the-rack sweaters like this, sometimes, but the combo of nice pattern and fold-over-several-times cuff is difficult.

Also, I'm in the South (North Carolina), which can limit winter wear selection, but I'm having a hard time searching the web also.
posted by amtho at 7:33 AM on January 8, 2014

My husband (and a ton of other people I see on the street) has as a North Face cable-knit beanie. The part that goes over the ears is lined with fleece. His is a plain black, but here's the best I can find online right now.
posted by beyond_pink at 7:35 AM on January 8, 2014

If you can't find an existing pattern with a bulky "earwarmer band", you could always adapt an existing pattern to add one; for example this Declans Hat pattern is lovely, and you could just cast on as directed and then knit that k2, p2 pattern twice (or thrice, or four times) as long as the directions tell you too, and fold it over. (I just grabbed that one as an example, but as long as the stitch count matches you could go as crazy as you want with the "earwarmer band" part.)
posted by usonian at 7:37 AM on January 8, 2014

Have you considered just contacting the person on etsy who makes that ear warmer and asking them to make a hat version?
posted by rockindata at 7:38 AM on January 8, 2014

rockindata: Yes, but I'm not sure she's really a hat knitter that can fit particular head size. If you look at the back of the ear warmer, the pattern stops and it's a flat knit. She mainly does lovely lacey scarves, no other knit stuff other than this ear warmer. Also, for materials she put "yarn", nothing about fiber content. And I'd love to find a slightly fancier design.
posted by amtho at 7:47 AM on January 8, 2014

If you head on over to, you can request exactly what you want, and as long as you're willing to pay, someone will make it for you.

I actually don't think your request is unreasonable - you want a hat with a very thick and wide band. It seems pretty simple.
posted by Kololo at 8:13 AM on January 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I apologize for my misread, amtho - I saw the word 'pattern' and that immediately set me thinking you were looking to knit such a hat yourself. Nevertheless, if you find a knitter on Etsy who takes custom requests and makes something you like, they ought to be able to make an extra-long brim for you. (cabled earwarmers like the one you linked to would be a trickier case, because it's knit lengthwise with the ends joined to make a band; stitches for an attached hat would need to be picked up along the edge.)
posted by usonian at 8:15 AM on January 8, 2014

See if you can get someone to make you this hat or this hat or this hat or this hat or this hat. If you want the band to be extra thick, ask them to include a knit hem/facing on the inside.
posted by Kololo at 8:21 AM on January 8, 2014

How about this one? I too have looked and looked for this because I feel I have rather a large face, but have never yet found the perfect thing. This one might do it though if knit in a thicker yarn.
posted by HotToddy at 8:22 AM on January 8, 2014

Knitting a brim in a strip, as you would need to do for the kind of cable in the earwarmer, then picking up stitches and knitting on the long edge of that strip to make the crown of the hat, is a thing that most advanced-beginner-and-up knitters should be able to manage. That particular ear warmer is really only probably a single thickness, and the wind will whistle through it like nobody's business, but it'd be a really fast knit with yarn that thick. Alternatively, knitting a very long hat that is designed to be folded up one or more times is also not difficult (though it does take more time, which is probably why there aren't many for sale on Etsy.) I've done both of these things with effective results.

Here are some hats that do the thing, in a variety of different ways.
posted by tchemgrrl at 10:58 AM on January 8, 2014

I love the dubbelmossa hat from the some link in tchemgrrl's answer. It's finished with a tassel, but I think a smarter knitter than me could tell you how to finish it another way.

There's an especially pretty multicolor working of it from Ravelry knitter sockit. Here's a link. You have to be a signed in Ravelry user to view it. Sorry. But the good news is that signing up is completely free.

I believe that the dubbelmossa hat pattern is included in this book.
posted by marsha56 at 7:42 AM on January 9, 2014

Oh, and I forgot to mention that if you compare these two pics of the hat (1, 2), notice that in the first pic there is no opening to the hat. That's because to wear the hat you push the all white bottom of the hat up inside the rest of the hat and then put it on your head. Which means that the entire hat is now two layers thick. Then when you turn up the cuff, the cuff will now be four layers thick. I think that would keep your ears pretty warm.
posted by marsha56 at 8:22 AM on January 9, 2014

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