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January 20, 2017 9:25 AM   Subscribe

What's a good source for knitting patterns for hats for teens?

I'm knitting hats for an organization that gives them to homeless children and teens. Any suggestions for patterns that appeal to the young people of today? I'm on Ravelry, but suspect that most of the knitters there are middle-aged like me and are not in touch with current trends. Are teens still wearing slouch hats? Watch caps? Bun hats? What colors appeal?

I'm looking for patterns that say "Someone cares about me just like you care about your children; I am a normal 12-year-old despite being homeless, and also I look as cool as the other kids in my class."

P.S. Presume I know about buying hats in bulk and donating them, or just donating cash to the organization, or all the other ways it's possible to be more efficient.
posted by The corpse in the library to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'd say beanie type hats or chullos. When my niece was fourteen she wanted this hat. My husband is not a teen but he gets a lot of compliments on this beanie. I think looser hats are less in style, even though you risk fitting fewer heads. I'd say keep it neutralish with one or to colors that pop - kind of like you'd see on yoga pants or cardis in stores for younger people. What you're doing is really great!
posted by Bistyfrass at 9:44 AM on January 20, 2017

I'm not a teenager but younger than the average Ravelry demographic. I REALLY don't get the bun hats thing, and I've never seen anyone wearing them in real life. I would be wary of anything that is labeled as "trendy" in the knitting/crochet community because chances are it's weird or unheard of in mainstream circles (e.g. the recent thing around super scarves).

I'm not sure if she has any knitted hat patterns, but check out Stephanie Lau's patterns from her blog All About Ami. (She's best known as a crochet and amigurumi designer, but she does knitting too.) I'm a crocheter and my previous hobby, before discovering crochet last year, was following fashion/personal style. She is one of the few designers with true "fashion" sense, at least in the smaller crochet community. Don't get me wrong, I make and love tons of other patterns, but only Stephanie's look like I could have bought them from Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie.

Speaking of which--check out trendy teen stores like Urban Outfitters, H&M, Forever 21. See what they're actually selling and find patterns that are similar.
posted by serelliya at 9:47 AM on January 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

Thank you for doing this. Ithere any way to have the recipient of your gift help you make a choice?

As a fellow hand knitter, my suggestion is to pick between 3 and ten patterns that all work with the same gauge. Pick three or four colors of yarn all in the same gauge. Present to your recipient and begin choosing.

This 12 year old might say that they'd really rather have hand warmers, or a scarf or a hat with stripes.

One of the things I wanted most as a 12 year old with an objectively shitty life was control over something. Anything. One of the things that. There's me most (as you correctly intuit) was a gift that was almost but not quite what I wanted. Especially when it was a thi unneeded and thus was expected to be extra grateful to have received.
posted by bilabial at 10:19 AM on January 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I agree with serelliya; knitter-trendy is pretty different from regular-trendy, and a good strategy would be to go check out the winter hats at stores a teenager might shop at, or hang around an area with a lot of teens on a cold day, and reverse-engineer from there. Most commercially-available knit hats follow pretty basic patterns, and the variations lie in yarn gauge, color, solids vs stripes, and easy-to-add features like foldover brims and pompoms.

And it probably goes without saying, but choose a yarn that you know wears well. Some yarns get shabby disappointingly fast, and it's a kindness to give these kids something that will stay lovely for a few years.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:37 AM on January 20, 2017

Agreed with other posters who say go online to shop the stores and see what kinds of knitwear they have.

For example:
This hat at Target resembles this pattern on Ravelry. As you can see from the reviews it's a really simple pattern to make on circular needles.

I made this one for my 10-year-old niece and I have photographic evidence via her mom's Facebook that she really does wear it. But she's 10, so not quite a teen yet.

Wool and the Gang tends to have trendy stuff, and not "knitter trendy" but fashion trendy. Pretty simple, too. But some of their patterns are expensive.

Will follow this thread to see if there are any other pattern links people post! It's always good to have ideas!
posted by Pearl928 at 11:48 AM on January 20, 2017

I did some research for a similar purpose this fall. The conclusions were that most teenagers want something neutral in color, much to my consternation. Infinity cowls that are classic and nicely soft would be looked upon kindly, perhaps more so than hats, especially if they are wide enough to drape over the head when it's cold like a hooded scarf. Small pops of color only, like a single contrast stripe, or a covered button, are okay, but blacks, greys, denim blues, neutral creams and white was most preferred. A neutral gradient was seen as cool, though, so I made quite a few cowls with black to light grey ombre stripes.

Those beanie hats wth the small brims are good, like this one from target. Avoid edging into the military cap shape with the squared top because apparently that's a decade uncool now, unless you are very Vintage. The slouchy beanie maintains unisex appeal. Pompoms are not good because they conflict with hoodies. Ear flaps are not good because they conflict with headphones. Cable knit textures are nice but will likely go unappreciated - but if you want to make it interesting for yourself that might be a good way to go. Roll-up brims are good but only in thinner gauge yarns since a chunky brim can be uncool.

This was anecdotal data collected by me in a well-off school district on the edges of Seattle in Fall 2016.
posted by Mizu at 11:51 AM on January 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

> Ithere any way to have the recipient of your gift help you make a choice

Nope, they're handed out on the street as needed.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:27 PM on January 20, 2017

I agree with the advice to look at retail stores online, but also do some on-the-ground people watching if you can, because fashion is more geographically homogenous than it used to be but there's still some local variation -- Mizu's advice hews pretty close to what I see here in Switzerland, but infinity cowls are becoming passé in favor of giant plaid blanket scarves, for instance, and I don't see any teenagers wearing knit hats with brims.

I don't think you can go wrong with the tall/slouchy beanie -- closely fitted around the head, but with enough height to poke up a bit at the back without being as floppy as the slouchy hats of a few years ago, in stockingette or 1x1 ribbing in as fine a gauge as you can stand to knit. The It Knit of the moment appears to be a tall beanie with a doubled brim and patch detail -- here's an example from H&M, a nerdier one from Target, and another one with a faux fur pom-pom from ASOS. I don't know if that's workable to imitate in handknit form, but for the record!
posted by bettafish at 3:07 PM on January 20, 2017

My very conservative 14yo (in the sense that she prefers to melt into the crowd style-wise, which means sticking to trends) only wears very basic beanies. Some of her wilder pals wear slouchy beanies. Beanies with pompoms are very hot this winter but my kid is having trouble finding one that isn't neon and won't let me make one.

Where we live, teens prefer neutrals, including navy, black, taupe, every shade of grey. Pops of color are acceptable, maybe as a stripe or part of a pom. Younger kids are more open to color; maybe check the current palettes at Gap, Old Navy, Target to get an idea of what's currently in rotation.
posted by padraigin at 7:09 PM on January 20, 2017

Given the new info, I'd go with basic boring beanie patterns in stockinette, made in a variety of colors and sizes. Most 12 year old skulls are pretty close to the size they'll end up being, so following adult or teen patterns is fine. Ann Norling is a brand that has great multi gauge / multi size patterns. I think they have wrist warmer patterns also.

I'd go with darker neutrals because keeping a cream hat looking good is hard in general. (I'm sure you thought of this, but ask me is a resource for the ages and I do hope some other generous people stop by this page as well!)
posted by bilabial at 8:10 PM on January 20, 2017

I teach middle school in a really diverse community.

Black beanies that fold up at the brim are the most popular, though some prefer other basic patterns. Lots of neutral colours, but red, pink and purple are common as well, as are cable patterns like this. Other than black, white hats are the most common, probably.
posted by guster4lovers at 7:41 PM on January 21, 2017

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