Geek Knit-Jayne Cobb Hat
Moderate Geek: science fiction fan.
Total Geek: pining fan of a cancelled science fiction show and referring to one's self as a "Browncoat".
Ultimate Geek: watching said cancelled science fiction show and immediately hunting down the pattern online for "The Sweetest Hat Ever".
For those of you who don't speak SF, I'm referring to the now sadly cancelled space cowboy series, "Firefly". In one of the unaired episodes, one of the most stereotypical macho anti-heroes (named Jayne Cobb, and no, it's NOT a girl's name...he's got several large weapons to back up his claim, thankyouverymuch) receives a gift from his mother...a beautifully hideous orange and yellow hat with red earflaps and a multi coloured pom pom. He immediately puts it on and wears it for the remainder of the episode, despite the teasing of his crewmates. Just shows the power of hand knits!
Since I couldn't talk to Ma Cobb directly and get her to send me some of her handspun, I needed to find the right yarn. It needed to be ugly and thick, and (most difficult of all) it needed to be completely without wool, as I was knitting one for someone with wool allergies. I spent hours scouring yarn stores, feeling like Goldilocks. "Too thin." "Has wool." "Not mustard-y enough." "Too bright." Finally, after purchasing FAR too many balls of yellow, orange and red yarn (I have an entire page in my stash log dedicated to Gryffindor scarves and Jayne hats), I discovered Patons Canadiana in gold and Bernat Berrella in light tapestry gold (held two strands together) for the yellow and Bernat Softee Chunkee in burnt orange and wine. All of these had the requisite "no wool" attribute.
If you prefer to follow really strict patterns, this is probably not a good one for you to follow! I recommend Erika or Heather's patterns instead.
I mostly made up this pattern as I went, but it's really hard to mess up a Jayne hat. Incidentally, this makes a really loose stitch and it's kind of floppy. I like that effect, but you can tighten it up by using a smaller needle. Do a quick stockinette gauge to see if you like it. My hat is 20 inches around unstretched. I used either one strand of bulky weight yarn, or two strands of worsted held together.
-CO 62 stitches in Bernat Softee Chunkee burnt orange on size US 10.5/6.5mm circular needles.
-Join, being careful not to twist (I always rolled my eyes at this...until the day I wound up with a moebius loop...insanely amazing if that's what you wanted, otherwise...argh.).
-K1P1 rib for as many rows as you'd like. I only did two, but this was before I'd learned to embrace the purl. I'd probably do five or six now.
-Knit in the round so that the orange is about three or four inches, then switch to yellow.
-Knit in the round for two or three inches.
(this is the really anti-pattern part...I'm just warning you...)
-Decrease every eight or so stitches for the next row, every seven or so for the next row until the yellow part is about four inches. Break yarn, leaving a tail of at least eight inches and thread the live stitches onto the tail, pulling tight and tying it off. Leave the tail long, so that a pom pom can be attached.
-Continue knitting without decreasing until the yellow part is about four inches. Break yarn, leaving a tail of at least eight inches and thread the live stitches onto the tail, pulling tight and tying it off. Leave the tail long, so that a pom pom can be attached.
-Using your red yarn, pick up 10 (or a few more) stitches along the brim of the hat. Knit the right (outside) rows and purl the wrong (inside) rows, shaping the earflap by decreasing on every wrong side row until there are only three stitches left.
-Cast off and tie three long red strands of yarn from the bottom of the earflaps.
-Use the tail left at the top of the hat to attach a pom pom made up of the three colours.
Enjoy your cunning hat! Incidentally, for those of you who want to convert people to the power of Firefly, try knitting this in public. I nearly guarantee that someone will need to know exactly what it is that you're making with such a weird colour combination.