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The Dreaded Cap

Designed by Leef Bloomenstiel

Dreadlock Cap

US#6 16 inch circular needles
US#6 double pointed needles
US#7 needles for icord
Stitch markers
Tapestry needle for weaving ends
4 oz ball worsted weight yarn for the main color, and 2 ounces of a contrast. (The test was cap knitted in Monsanto Berella 4, but any worsted weight yarn can be used. Just cast on 20 stitches, and knit in stockinette stitch for about two inches and measure. Match gauge below by moving up or down in needle size, or just shape your own hat by following the instructions.)

Dreadlock Cap

On US#6 needles, 4.75 stitches/inch, 7 rows/inch

Size is given for a 21 inch circumference head, but directions are given for adjusting this hat to fit ANY size.

Cast on 96 stitches using the circular needle. (Measure head, and subtract 1 inch. Multiply this number by your gauge, and cast on)

Join and purl two rows. (band)
Knit for three rows
Purl for three rows (first welt)

FIRST DECREASE ROW: Knit around, decreasing three stitches (by k2tog) evenly
Knit for two rows
Purl for three rows (second welt)
Knit for three rows
Purl for three rows (third welt)

SECOND DECREASE ROW: Knit around, decreasing three stitches (by k2tog) evenly

Continue knitting each round, (stockinette st) until the hat length measures three inches from cast on edge to needles.

THIRD DECREASE ROW: Knit around, decreasing 3 stitches (by k2tog) evenly.

Knit three rows.

LAST DECREASE ROUND: Check the number or stitches on your needle. If they are an even multiple of six, continue knitting for size, then move to the crown shaping. If not, knit one round decreasing the number of stitches needed to get an even multiple of SIX on your needles. With a cast on of 96 stitches and three rows of decreases I had 87 stitches left. I had to knit a decrease round, decreasing by 3 stitches for a total stitch count of 84, which is evenly divided by 6. The crown is shaped by a 6-spiral decrease and it needs to be knitted evenly.

If your number of stitches is already divisible by 6, then skip this decrease round.

Now here is where you have to do some calculations. How many rows you knit between this last decrease round, and the crown shaping, is determined by how you want the hat to FIT. I made my hat to fit just over the top of my ears. I can also pick it up at the welt and it will sit just above my ears. I like the way it looks. Some people may want the welted band to cover their ears entirely.

MOST CROWN SHAPINGS will take about 2 3/4 inches... So, measure the distance from the crown of your head to where you want the hat to sit. Be generous, as it is better to slightly over estimate than under estimate. Subtract about 3 inches for the crown shaping and you have the length to knit from the cast on row. Once you have knitted the required length, start the Crown Shaping.

On my test cap, I measured from the crown to just over the tips of my ears. About 7 1/2 inches. So I knitted until it measured 4 1/4 inches by adding stockinette rows after the last decrease.

The formula for the CROWN SHAPING is below. This is determined by the total number of stitches (divisible by 6) that are on your needles after the last decrease round.

Total # stitches divided by 6 = X

Row 1: *K2tog, K (X-2) * repeat around

(CLARIFICATION: If the total number of stitches divided by 6 = 15, then the first row would be "K2tog, K (15 minus 2, or 13), plug the number 15 where the X is)

Row 2: Knit
Row 3: *K2tog, K (X-3) * repeat around
(Here, it would be "K2tog, K (15 minus 3, or 12... and so forth)
Row 4: Knit
Row 5: *K2tog, K (X-4) * repeat around
Row 6: Knit
Row 7: *K2tog, K (X-5) * repeat around

Continue in this manner until you have decreased the total number of stitches by half, ending with a knit row. From here on, you will continue the decreases as before, but decrease on EACH ROUND until you have 6 stitches left.

You will need to change to double pointed needles when the stitch count gets too low and too few for the circulars

Cut the yarn leaving a 12 inch tail. Run this tail through the loops a couple of time, pull through the center and tie off securely.

For the SAMPLE Hat, here is the CROWN SHAPING, row by row.

We have 84 stitches. 84 divided by 6 is 14. So based on the formula shown above here is how it develops...

(knit all even rounds)
Row 1: k2tog, K12, repeat around
Row 3: K2tog, K11, repeat around
Row 5: K2tog, K10, repeat around
Row 7: K2tog, K9, repeat around
Row 9: K2tog, K8, repeat around
Row 11: K2tog, K7, repeat around
Row 13: K2tog, K6, repeat around (this round decreases the stitches by half, down to 42 from 84)
Row 14: Knit (remember, end with the knit round)

Begin decreasing on each row.
Row 15: K2tog, K5, repeat around
Row 16: K2tog, K4, repeat around
Row 17: K2tog, K3, repeat around
Row 18: K2tog, K2, repeat around
Row 19: K2tog, K1, repeat around
Row 20: K2 around, six stitches on needles.

Size 7 needles
Black contrast yarn, or any color you choose.
These are made by knitting I-Cord.

Begin by casting on two stitches.
K2, slide to the end
Inc in first stitch, K1, slide to end
K3, slide to end
K1, increase in second stitch, K1, slide to end
K4 slide to end
K2, increase in third stitch, K 1, slide to end
K5, slide to end

Continue knitting in I-cord until the piece measures (5 1/2, 6, 7 1/2, 8, 9) inches

Taper the ends by decreasing as follows:
K1, K2tog, K2, slide to end
K4, slide to end
K1, K2tog, K1, slide to end
K3, slide to end
K1, K2tog, slide to end
K2, slide to end
K2, slide to end
K2tog, cut yarn pull through loops, and finish.

I made 2 dreadlocks at 5 1/2 inches, 2 at 6 inches, 2 at 7 1/2 inches, one at eight inches, and one at nine inches. Total of eight.

Take the ends of all the dreads, and using a tapestry needle connect them all together then attach them to the hat...Cute, huh?

Fun Stuff:
In my sample hat, you will notice from the picture that I used some black stripes in the CROWN SHAPINGS. There are many things you can do to make this hat very individual. You can add all kinds of colors and color patterns. You have a canvas in which to work between the last welt row, all the way to the crown shapings. Another attractive look is to use two different colors in the welt band. Use one color for the purl welts, and a bright color for the knit spaces between the welts. You can make the dreads multi-colors, and use as little and as few as you like. There is no way you can mess up the icord. They can all look different, by different sizes and end finishes. Have fun and play with it! Each one can be different.

See Abbreviations and the Glossary for help.