"Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber." Proverbs 31:19 NLT

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fair Isle Hat Patterns - Plus Color Charts

Not too long before I began this blog, I was learning fair isle knitting or two color knitting. I've only done it on circular needles so far and want to learn it on two needles for sweaters and such. But in various posts, I have shown a few pictures of the designs I have used - just two so far. And I did put a color chart on for the little baby hats in this post, Baby Love #2. But I have yet to share the color chart for my adult hats. So, because I have been asked so much, here goes. I have written this out in pencil on a piece of graph paper. I'm sure there are computer programs on which I could have done it much simpler. But I don't know how. So my scratchings are what I have to offer you.

I have used two different color designs. These first 2 pictures show the difference. I will call the first photo the large "V's". The second photo will be called the small "v's". Clear??
Large "V's"
Small "v's"

What I'm going to do is give you directions for the braid and then both color charts and then the crown decrease directions (same for both hats). If you look over my pictures, you will see that I have done a variety of designs above the primary design, but all of them are a part of the color chart somewhere. The primary designs (the series of "v's") are both 11 rows long. The large "V" is in multiples of 12; the small "v" design is in multiples of 6. (This seems so hard to explain without using my hands and facial expressions - and to see your facial expressions for a little affirmation.) :^)

Supplies: 1 Skein worsted weight yarn: Main Color (MC)
                1 skein worsted weight yarn in black or white:Contrast Color (CC)
                                         (note: I have used a variety of yarns for contrast, variegated, cream, tan,
                                          whatever you want. Just be sure that the color in your contrast is not in  
                                          your variegated yarn, if used - the design will get lost.)
                16" circular needle, size US #6
                16" circular needle, size US #8
                 Set of double pointed needles, size US #8
                 One stitch marker

Before you cast on, let me say that for adults, I have always cast on the larger number of stitches. I don't like tight hats, as most women don't. So the size is good for adult women. And it is good for adult men, too. I have cast on fewer stitches for children. I will note those numbers under pictures below.

So here we go. First, the Latvian Braid:

For these hats, cast on 84 (96, 108) stitches in your two colors but using the long tail method. Do not count your slip knots and remove those when finished. I have found that it helps to have the same color on the thumb for every stitch (I prefer having the contrast color on my thumb). That way, if you have to sit it down, you can remain consistent when you resume. (If it helps you to see it, try searching on You Tube for "Latvian Braid." There are many videos, all with slight variations in technique.)

After you have the correct number of stitches - double check - take off your slip knots and begin the braid as such:

3 Row Latvian Braid

Using 2 strands of yarn, different colors, cast on with Long Tail method, any even numbered stitches, on circular needles. (for these hats, cast on 84 [small adult,] 96 [medium,] 108 [large - I always use 108 because I like hats loose])

Round 1: Knit, starting with Main Color, and alternate yarns
         (K1 with main color, K1 with contrast color)

Next 2 rounds will be purled so move yarns to the front:

Round 2: P1 MC, and move yarn just worked to the left. Bring contrast color up on the right and P1 CC. Repeat for entire round. (Yarns will twist up as you work but will untwist during round 3. Or, if it becomes very annoying, you can invert your work, hold the yarns and let the needles untwist.)

Round 3: P1 MC, P1 CC, move yarn just worked up and to the right and bring the next yarn under.

When you have that finished, you are ready for the color chart. BE SURE TO CHANGE TO THE LARGER NEEDLES as you do the first row of the color chart.

(If you never used a color chart, be sure to read it from right to left.)

The color chart for the large V's is below:               The color chart for the small v's is below:


I hope these show up well enough to make copies if you need to.

I don't always do more design above the 3rd section of the chart. In that case, I continue in the main color, marking off the rows, to make sure I have enough rows. If you want a "slouch hat," add a few more rows.

The crown directions for the adult hats are as follows:

Using MC only and changing to double pointed needles as crown becomes too small for circulars:
Round 1: Knit 10, K2T, repeat around.
Round 2 and all even numbered rows: Knit around
Round 3: Knit 9, K2T, repeat around.
Round 5: Knit 8, K2T, repeat around.
Round 7: Knit 7, K2T, repeat around.
Round 9: Knit 6, K2T, repeat around.
Round 11: Knit 5, K2T, repeat around.
Round 13: Knit 4, K2T, repeat around.
Round 15: Knit 3, K2T, repeat around.
Round 17: Knit 2, K2T, repeat around.
Round 19: Knit 1, K2T, repeat around.
Round 21: K2T, repeat around.

Then cut yarn leaving a generous tail. Thread tail into a darning needle and run the tail through remaining stitches. Pull tight. I usually go through a few more times, keeping the tail tight. Weave in the tail and all remaining ends. And don't neglect blocking. You won't be sorry.

TIP: Blocking hats on balloons work well. Just make sure the balloon isn't big enough to stretch the hat OR the braid.

If any of these directions are confusing, PLEASE DON'T HESITATE TO ASK QUESTIONS IN THE COMMENT SECTION. I'll try to help.

For directions, number of stitches, and the type of yarn I used on the little baby hats, I'll give you the link again to Baby Love #2

Look at my pictures below for ideas and numbers of stitches for kids' and toddler hats.

Chicago Bear colors-for my brother-in-law.
I almost gagged the whole time I worked on it.
(I'm a die-hard Packer Fan.)

Tennessee Volunteer colors - for my dad.

St. Louis Blue's hockey team's colors
for my oldest. He's a huge fan.
This was one of the first hats I made
and have since
learned how to do a consistent braid.
This is my youngest's and he selected the yarn colors.
He wanted the variegated to be the contrast color.
Again, I used Gina by Plymouth in this one. I 

used a 6 stitch I-cord for the "ribbing."

This variegated yard is Gina, by Plymouth Yarns.

Here, I used a heather gray for the CC.
Love the effect.

I did two of these for young boys. I featured them in
a fun post: here at Birthday Hats.
But for the 1 year old, I cast on 72 stitches, size 4
and 6 needles, 12 " circulars.
For the 3 year old, 84 stitches, size 5 & 7 needles,
16 inch circulars.
I made 3 of this size for close-in-age grandsons.
(10-12 years old)
I cast on 96 stitches and used size 5 & 7 needles,
16 inch circulars.

Blocking on a balloon

Preparing to block on a balloon
Baby hats featured at Baby Love #2


Oh, yes, I want to close this out with 2 more adorable pictures. The hats I posted about in Baby Love 2 were given to newborns but were intended for this fall and winter. So, here they are modeling their hats.

Oops, another irresistible picture snuck in -
my adorable little friend in the hat about which I
posted in Birthday Hat - and A Bit of Confusion


  1. Just BEAUTIFUL work, Linda. Stunning, really! :D

  2. Those hats are all gorgeous. Love the modelled baby hats! I've never even heard of a Latvian braid before - I must be living in a cave.

  3. Thank you, Ladies. They are not as complicated as they appear. The variegated yarn makes them look even more complicated.


Thanks for the encouragement of your comments.