Nightcap, anyone?

Here is another Christmas project. My stepfather feels the cold on his head in winter and likes to sleep wearing a warm hat. Much to my mum’s dismay, some of his night-time headwear falls into the ‘practical but unattractive’ category, so I thought I would knit him a new beanie for Christmas.

Ages ago, I bought Louisa Harding’s Knitting Little Luxuries book. Her Emilie hat seemed just perfect: I loved the cables, the yarn was not too far off what I had and the shape reminded me of a Wee Willie Winkie nightcap. I realised that a woman could wear such a cute, pointy hat during the day, but it would be trickier for a man to wear and be taken seriously. However, I thought I would be silly and make it as pictured anyway as it was just for sleeping in. Also, my stepfather has a sense of humour.

Louisa Harding's Emilie hat

This cute hat is one of the patterns in Louisa Harding’s Knitting Little Luxuries book. The book has lots of lovely, feminine knitted gift ideas.

Of course, because I did not have the right yarn and had to substitute, I had to do some fudging. I am only just learning the American yarn weights, but I think 8 ply yarn is thinner than worsted weight, which I think is about 10 ply. Anyway, I added stitches to work around that and make it a bit bigger for a man’s head. All was proceeding beautifully – my casting on was nice and stretchy, and the circumference seemed about right.

It was only after I had bound off the end of the tail and shoved the hat on my own head that I detected a problem. On my version, perhaps because of the yarn substitution, the lovely draping point stuck up strangely on the top of my head. It looked like a nipple! That would not do!

While the beanie was on my head, a friend helped me by putting a pin in at the point where the shaping went awry. I thought about adjusting the stitches to allow it to drape better, but in the end I realised that a more traditional crown shape would be far better for a man. My Wee Willie Winkie idea was a bit silly. I still love the cables and am glad I used Louisa Harding’s pattern, but he will now have a hat he can wear at any time of day.


My husband models my ‘masculine’ version of the beanie.

Along the way I had some other fun. As the stitches became fewer towards the crown, I realised that I needed to switch from the circular needle I was using to double-pointed needles, but I did not have the right size. However, recently when I was in a local op shop I noticed that they had a big drawer full of knitting needles. I was sure I would find what I needed there! On a day off work, I went to see if they had the right size. Oh dear. The drawer was a mess: hundreds of knitting needles not sorted or even grouped in sets. To find what I needed, I had to tip out the whole lot and sort them. The shop staff gave me a box of elastic bands, and I treated the mess as a game or puzzle to solve. Now the knitting needles at the shop are all bunched by size and type. It was worth the effort as I came home with about ten sets in different sizes and shapes, all at a very reasonable price, and two lovely second-hand needlework books.

One thought on “Nightcap, anyone?

  1. Pingback: Sock it to me! | Granny Maud's Girl

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