Sunday, November 25, 2012

How to make a kid's pixie hat - confessions of an obsessive compulsive knitter

I offer the pattern for this pixie hat for free on the bottom of this blog post.

I have had a life long addiction with knitting and spinning that borders on obsession.  It's also my psychotherapy, or at least that's what I tell my husband when I fondle deliciously soft mohair at the yarn store, and I look at the price tag, and I swallow hard, and I look again, but that didn't change the number.  Then I look at Steve, who patiently stands by, and I say shyly, "It's cheaper than psychotherapy", and Steve pats my shoulder and takes the yarn to the cash register, bless his heart.
I started spinning my own yarn eleven years ago, which has made both Steve and me happy, because we save a lot of money, while I found yet another form of psychotherapy in my spinning.

At craft shows where I sell my yarn and other hand knit creations, a lot of people are so amazed and impressed that I spin my own yarn, but it's really not that hard.  I want to show you the process of how I start with the raw materials and then end up with a handknit creation.

For example, take this brand new pixie hat I must made.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of handpainting and dyeing the roving, but that's an entirely different subject, which I will address as soon as I dye another batch.
So here is a batch that I dyed a couple of weeks ago.

Then I spin and spin and spin, and spin some more.  In the summer, I do it outside, but in the winter, I sit in front of the wood stove.  It's almost impossible to take good pictures inside, so here you have the summer version.

When the yarn comes off the skein, I soak it in water, then hang it with some weight to take out the twist and "set" it.

When the yarn is dry, I start knitting.  Here is the hat on needles, first the cast-on project, then progressively more knit, and finally, all done!  I used two strands of yarn for it: one is my yarn, the other is a yarn made from recycled wool and cashmere, which is really amazing.  It's called Plymouth Yarn Refashion, and it goes perfectly with my own yarn.

And here is another pixie had I made for Eva last year.  She loves it, and whenever she wears it, people stop us to ask who made it.  I knit that one from my handpainted, handspun yarn as well.  I will post the pattern once I get a chance to write it down.

And here is another one I just made today, and I sell the pattern for it here:

On the way back from our photo shoot in Rasar State Park, a beautiful rainbow made the drive home extra special.


Size: This hat has a circumference of 16 inches unstretched, and 18 or more inches stretched, which means it can fit a 6-12 months old baby up to a 3 year old child.

Needles: four double pointed needles in size 11 (8.0 mm), and a longer needle in size 11 (8.0 mm) for casting on (since you can't fit 42 stitches on a small double pointed needle)

Gauge: 3 stitches = 1 inch. A word on gauge and sizing: You can use a bigger gauge with bigger yarn (or just double it up) and bigger needles and thus get a bigger hat that will fit an older child.

Yarn: This yarn or this yarn would work beautifully for this hat.  Personally, I use my own bulky yarn (You can order it at  


Cast on 42 stitches on the longer needle.

Distribute the stitches evenly onto three double pointed needles, so you have 14 stitches on each needle.

Use the fourth needle to start knitting in the round, being careful that the stitches are not twisted around the needle.

Place a marker at the beginning of the round. Knit until work measures 3.75 inches, or 1 to 2 inches longer if the hat brim rolls up quite a bit.

Decrease 6 stitches: (Knit 2 together, knit 5) repeat what's written inside the brackets for one row (36 stitches left).

Knit 4 rows.

Decrease 6 stitches: (Knit 2 together, knit 4) repeat what's written inside the brackets for one row (30 stitches left).

Knit 3 rows.

Decrease 6 stitches: (Knit 2 together, knit 3) repeat what's written inside the brackets for one row (24 stitches left).

Knit 2 rows.

Decrease 6 stitches: (Knit 2 together, knit 2) repeat what's written inside the brackets for one row (18 stitches left).

Knit 1 row.

Decrease 6 stitches: (Knit 2 together, knit 1) repeat what's written inside the brackets for one row (12 stitches left).

Knit 1 row.

Knit 2 together, repeat this for one row (6 stitches left).

Knit 2 together, repeat this for one row (2 stitches left).

Put all 3 stitches on one double pointed needle and start working I-cord in the following way:

Knit the 3 stitches. Do not turn the work. Just slip your work to the other end of your double pointed needle. Your working yarn will be at the "wrong" end of your work. Pull the working yarn tightly along the back of your work and knit the next row. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have I-cord of about 3.5 inches (or shorter ,or longer).

When the i-cord is as long as you want it, thread the yarn through a needle and fasten off all three stitches.

Weave in all loose ends.

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  1. I must order a pixie hat!!! Do you made them for big people too?

    1. Hello sweet Erin,
      I could make them for big people! All I need is head circumference and color choice. I would love to custom make them and experiment with the pattern!

  2. Hi -- I just found your blog when I wandered across your Etsy shop looking for kids' wool slippers. It's a lovely blog, and I know just where you live (ok, not JUST); when my husband completed his rural family medicine residency, we thought seriously about settling in the North Cascades. And sometimes we still wish we had! :) We are in far northeastern Oregon, near the Washington border. We also like to make cheese (though we are cow people), and I am slowly learning to knit (being self-taught, mostly). I fear I shall have to buy some of your psychotherapy product, as it is very tempting! I'll also be back to visit your blog! kristin

  3. I love the hats Corina, they are so pretty! You are such a talented lady, I'm going to have to use the psychotherapy excuse on Chris, I think it might work. But I think it might be just a good excuse to spend money on his wife and Sr her excited about something pretty! :-)

    1. Jenni, how sweet of you to respond here! I love reading what people think, and I agree with you on the therapy excuse! What better way to spend money than a warm, handknit garment, right? We have to stay warm milking those goats!

  4. How cute! If I was going to make one for a 4 year old girl (i'm just a beginner knitter), how would you suggest altering the pattern?

    1. You can use bigger yarn and bigger needles, so your gauge gets bigger, and thus the hat will fit a bigger child! Good luck!

  5. I LOVE your pixie hat. I would like to make it using worsted weight cotton for a newborn. How would I change it?
    Thank you so much.

    1. Joan, you can do a search on Ravelry specifically for newborn hats. I don't want to rewrite mine - I am way to busy with helping goats being born, making cheese, and getting all the farming and homeschooling done!
      You could try to just use one strand of yarn with smaller needles, but the proportions are going to be wrong. Or you could research how big a newborn's head is and then knit a gauge and use my pattern accordingly!

  6. Hi, your hats are gorgeous but I cant get the hang of circular needles, : (
    could I it on normal ones?

    1. Sue, have you ever tried double pointed needles instead? You could use double pointed needles. Your you can knit it flat, but the pattern has to be adjusted. You could google patterns for elfin hats knit in the flat. Good luck!


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