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One of the best tips for making knitted beanies is to be sure to get an accurate head measurement and be able to knit to gauge. Beanies are close-fitting hats, so if the gauge is off, the result may look too loose. If a knitted beanie is too small though it's likely to feel uncomfortable to wear. Bulky yarn, or two strands of medium weight yarns, should be used for making knitted beanies so that the hats will have a firm structure as well as be warm. Double knitting or baby weight yarn can be used to make infant and toddler beanies.
For adults or children, the best way to determine the correct size for a fitted beanie is to measure the circumference of the widest part of the head such as how a hat would fit. A length of yarn can be used for the measuring before placing the strand against a ruler or tape to get the measurement in inches or centimeters. Once the head measurements are determined, patterns that include those sizes in knitted beanies can be created. The gauge of how many stitches and rows will equal a certain number of inches or centimeters should be followed even if the knitter must use needles that are either smaller or larger than the ones each beanie pattern recommends. It's obtaining the pattern's gauge that is important; not the size of the needles it takes each knitter to achieve it.
Skill level is an important consideration when knitting beanies. Although beanie construction using circular knitting needles prevents the need for sewing a back seam, this method is usually recommended for moderate level knitters rather than beginners. An easier method for knitting beanies is to use regular needles and work from the bottom edge to the top. When the beanie is about two-thirds complete, decrease stitches or whole rows should be started so that the hat tapers gradually to the top. Knitting two stitches together can be done for up to five rows at a time or stitch decreases can be worked evenly on each row in between regular knits or purls.
While beginning knitters should either purl every row of a knitted beanie or alternate that with a knit row to create the stockinette pattern, those with more advanced skills have more options. Cables on knitted beanies can give them a sophisticated look, while Fair Isle stitching adds a lot of color and pattern. Feminine lace beanies are another option for advanced knitters.
There are some fabulous hand knit beanies you can buy online. I've seen them made out of llama or alpaca wool, as well as merino and so forth.
Often the person making the hat was also the person who raised the animal, sheared it, carded the wool, spun it into thread and so forth, which I think is quite extraordinary.
Or you can just buy some home made and dyed wool to make your own knit beanie hats.
The weirdest one I've ever heard of is a person who, if you send her your dog or cat's hair, will spin that into thread so that you can knit it into something.
I know in theory it's no different from wearing any other kind of wool. But, it still kind of makes me feel a bit squeamish.
I would recommend you try to do a very simple pattern in one color for your first try. I know, I tried to do a three color pattern knit beanie without any prior knowledge of how to knit them and it wound up being quite confusing.
Luckily my mother is a very accomplished knitter and she managed to show me what I was doing wrong. I ended up giving that hat to her, in fact, although I'm not sure she would ever wear it! It might look all right in theory, but it is still a bit lopsided and there are several holes where I dropped stitches.
My latest hat looks much better.
I've made a few beanies with a knitting loom. That's a loop of plastic or metal with prongs sticking out for you to weave the wool around in stitches. It produces a look similar to knitted beanie hats, but slightly different.
I would recommend it for people who are learning how to knit, as it is quite easy to pick up and you'll be able to produce a hat in no time.
As for a good tip. Well, the mistake I kept making when I was first starting to work without a pattern was to make the hats too short. You really need quite a long hat so it will sit comfortably over the ears and stay firmly on the head.
Since I live in a place with a lot of wind, most of my short hats had to be redone, as there was no way they would stay on anyone's heads!
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