21 in 2021!

A Round-Up of My 21 Hats for Hat Not Hate (with Links to Free Patterns)

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All 21 of my hats!

I just finished up my 21 hats for the Hat Not Hate program. I talked briefly about Hat not Hat about a month ago (click here to read more). I love community knitting projects and feel like I’ve just squeaked these in before the August 1st deadline. I know that it’s still a couple weeks away, but I’m worried about shipping so I’m loading the hats up and sending them off!

Here’s the hats and where you can find the patterns (for all but a couple of these hats…):

Lincoln Park Hats in Wool Ease Thick and Quick

Lincoln Woods Hat

First up, I knit three Lincoln Woods Hats in Wool-Ease Thick and Quick yarn. You can grab this free pattern from my website by clicking here.

This hat is a quick knit because your using super bulky yarn on size US 11 and US 13 knitting needles. I used Glacier, Navy, and Slate. The slate is a bit gray, but it reads blue enough to me that I’m including it as a blue hat (I hope it works!).

Super Simple Super Bulky Hats

Super Simple, Super Bulky Hat

This hat pattern is also worked up in super bulky yarn and is the potato chip of hat knitting. The larger size is available free here and the smaller size was a pretty simple modification. I knit mine using Wool Ease Thick and Quick in the Slate, Storm Front, and City Lights colors. The two in the City Lights color (shown in the foreground of the picture above) are my favorite. The yarn is a navy blue base with hints of blue, turquoise, lime, pink, orange, and green. It’s definitely 75% blue so meets the requirements for a Hat Not Hate donation, but the pops of color are a lot of fun.

To knit the smaller size, I cast on 42 instead of 48 stitches on the US 11 needles. I knit 7 brim rounds and then switched to US 13 needles for the body. I knit 10 body rounds (instead of the 12 called for in the pattern). After 10 rounds, the hat was approximately 6 1/2″ from the cast on edge.

To decrease for the crown, I skipped rounds 3 and 4 and started with round 5 of the decrease rounds. This hat is sized for a child and should fit a child with a 19-20″ head circumference.

Those modifications were pretty simple to implement and the smaller size looks like it will work well for a smaller head.

The Beacon Hat in Wool Ease Thick and Quick and the Hue + Me Yarn

Beacon Hat

The Beacon Hat is part of a Hat and Cowl pattern set I shared as a freebie on January 1st, 2021. I may have been more than a little bit happy that 2020 had come to a conclusion and wanted a new hat and cowl set to welcome in the new year.

I really like the subtly staggered cables in this pattern. I knit two using Wool-Ease Thick and Quick yarn in the Dusk and Glacier colorways. The third hat is a modification of the Beacon Hat to work with the Hue + Me yarn. This was my first time using this yarn and I really like the way it knit up.

To modify the Beacon Hat for a chunky weight yarn, I cast on 64 stitches and did one extra four-row cabled pattern repeat before beginning the crown decreases. I worked the crown decreases as called for in the pattern. This worked out pretty well as an adaptation of the Beacon Hat pattern.

The Rhode Trip Hat

Rhode Trip Hat

I knit three versions of the Rhode Trip Hat.

I ended up knitting all three in the smallest size on smaller needles than called for in the pattern. I used three Lion Brand Yarns: Basic Stitch Anti-Pilling in Steel Blue, Pound of Love in Navy (show in the middle in the picture above), and Lion Brand Wool Ease in Blue Heather (shown at the bottom of the picture above).

While I did knit all three of these using the same pattern and needles, these hats are a really great example of how yarn can affect gauge. My gauge with the Basic Stitch Anti-Pilling was significantly different than with the other two yarns. My stitches on that hat are a good 10% bigger. I think this is fine in this case because the hats are all hat shaped and will absolutely fit kids, but if I was knitting for myself, this could have made for a not-so-great fit.

Anchored Hat Pattern

Anchored Hat

The Anchored Hat Pattern is also a free pattern and I love this pattern because this is a hat pattern I can knit while walking the dog. It is all 1×1 rib until you work the crown decreases.

For this hat, I used Lion Brand’s Pound of Love in Navy (the top two hats pictured above). I knit the two Navy hats following the pattern. For the bottom two hats, I wanted to knit for a smaller sized head so I used Lion Brand’s Basic Stitch Anti-Pilling in Baby Blue and Royal Blue. I cast on 88 stitches instead of 104 and worked until the hat measure 8 3/4″ from the cast-on edge. I then worked the crown decreases exactly as called for in the pattern.

Modifying the hat for a smaller size worked out really well and then crown decreases look fine on the smaller sized hat. So if you’re interested in knitting a smaller or youth-sized Anchored Hat, I would cast on 88 or 96 stitches and work until 1 1/4″ less then your desired finished height. This is a really easy customization and I’d love to see your versions of the Anchored Hat.

A Super Bulky 1×1 Ribbed Experiment

Super Bulky – Ribbed Experiment

I used the same City Lights colorway for this experiment as used for the the smaller Lincoln Woods Hats shown above. This hat is basically a super bulky version of the Anchored Hat but I did k2tog decreases instead of center double-decreases on the crown.

I cast on 42 stitches and worked a k1, p1 rib until the hat was 6 1/2″ long. I ended up moving my stitch marker to the left by one stitch so the knit one, purl one rib became purl one, knit one. This meant I could use the same decreases as the Lincoln Woods hat and the knit stitch was the left stitch when I worked the knit two togethers (K2tog’s).

This was a fun experiment with some extra super bulky yarn I had in my stash. I can do a more thorough write up of this pattern, if anyone is interested.

Cables Experiments

The final three hats of my 21 in 2021 are cabled experiments. The two hats on the left are an adaptation of the Gingerbread pattern found in Vogue Knitting’s Stitch Dictionaries (plural, because it’s in both the newest version of their stitch dictionary and is in the older versions I bought maybe 8 or 10 years ago). These both use yarns I’ve shown using other hats above – Lion Brand’s Basic Stitch Anti-Pilling and Wool-Ease worsted.

I really like the gingerbread pattern which alternates four stitch cables with garter stitch ribbing. My challenge is I felt like it was hard to make the ribbing tidy so I used slipped stitches on the stockinette stitch columns. I like this much better and want to have this pattern edited and tested to make available.

The third hat is the one I’m not sure about and would welcome opinions. It’s a combination of 6-stitch cables and a right and a left-leaning 3-stitch cables. This means there are two six stitch cable repeats next two each other. I like the pattern, but I don’t love the pattern. I’m really on the fence when it comes to spending more time on the pattern.

That second cabled pattern might need a different yarn to really shine. I use Lion Brand’s Touch of Alpaca in Dusty Blue. I think the fuzziness of the yarn is throwing of my perspective of it. Either way, for now, I have pictures, notes, and am shipping this version off as part of my 21 in 2021. (I am knitting a second version in a pumpkin-colored wool by Paton’s so I’ll see if I like it better in a smoother, wool yarn).

All in all, I’m so happy I decided to knit 21 hats for Hat Not Hat. I’m really excited to see all of the hats they’ve collected make their way to kids around the country. If you’re knitting for a community project or charity, I hope you’ll consider using some of these free patterns. You can find all of my free patterns using the menu at the top of your screen or by clicking here.

If you knit a hat using these patterns, please share your pictures with me on Instagram. You can tag me (I’m @KnitMcKinley) or use the hasthag #KnitMcKinley. I really enjoy seeing your projects and hope you enjoy these patterns!

Happy Knitting,


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