Yana Knits

Learn to Knit

Brioche Hat The Beginning

I had been eying a brioche hat design for about a year and a half before I actually tried to make it. I had made a few plain looking hats before and was ready for something new, so I got a book that described how to make a brioche hat, which looked completely different from what I had previously made. And then … I sat on it for over a year. The description just looked so complicated that I didn’t even bother trying to wrap my brain around it. So, the hat wasn’t happening.

Last February I was going to be on a plane for a few hours and wanted to bring a small project to work on. I got the book with the brioche hat out again and decided that I will give it a try. For real this time. Airport environment didn’t prove very conducive to following complicated instructions, but I had hours to knit and unravel what I knitted until the first 4-5 rows started looking like the picture. I think at that point I was more excited that I finally got around to making it than about the hat itself. I can follow instructions and figure things out on my own pretty well, but it’s hard for me to get motivated to do things.

I started on the hat as soon as I got back home from my trip a few days later, and was surprised at how much easier it was to make it in the round than to knit the brioche pattern back and forth which I was doing as my sample. Stitches just came together on their own and I didn’t even feel like I had to keep track of them. Shaping the crown was a bit more challenging, but here instead of mindlessly following the instructions I paid very close attention to how the stitches were reduced and what pattern they formed, and after about 6 rounds I could figure out how to reduce the rest of the stitches without consulting the book. The one problem with this approach was that I didn’t bother checking if what I was doing closely matched the instructions, so when it was time to write the description of how I made the hat, I was unsure if I could get it right. Guess what I did to proofread myself? I made another identical hat carefully writing down instructions for each crown round. I added a fleece lining to this hat to make it a little different and meant to gift it to one of my friends (who didn’t really care about which hat he got, but was very adamant about the fleece lining). Unfortunately, this hat, outfitted with the lining and ready to be given away, is still at my house. I’m waiting to take pictures of it so I can’t let it go yet. When you see a post describing how to add a fleece lining to a hat, you’ll know that this duplicate hat finally found its rightful owner. It may have to wait till the ski season.

One more thing I really ought to mention: don’t try to learn to knit using this hat as your first project. I gave my friend some nice yarn and needles for her birthday and she was interested in learning to knit by making that particular hat (well, I think I was more interested in her making that hat since after two tries I fathomed it to be super easy). We tried long and hard to make the needles and the yarn behave and it just wasn’t working out. So we ended up settling on a two-color scarf instead that’s still work in progress. Brioche hat – not a good starter project! But once you comprehend how it’s made, it’s a lot of fun to knit.