Max Actually hat
Max Actually is a classic textured hat for all the family, with some terribly neat crown decreases. It’s sized from baby up to large adult, and can be made with either sport or DK weight yarn – depending on how thick you want the fabric, and how warm you want your head.
Sport weight yarn will create a slightly less dense fabric, perfect for kids who run around outside whatever the weather, while DK weight will produce a slightly thicker, more snuggly hat. There’s also the option of a folded brim, to provide the ultimate in ear warmth.
The knit and purl texture adds visual – and knitting – interest to, while being simple enough to work while doing a bit of knitting in front of the TV. Columns of slipped stitches frame the pattern, and lead into the crown decreases, creating a neat and satisfying hat.
Max Actually is knitted in the round from the bottom up, with decreases worked to shape the crown. There’s the option to begin with a provisional cast-on and folded brim, or to start with a long tail cast-on and work a single brim.
Markers are placed to set the slipped stitch columns, and the hat is then worked in the textured knit and purl pattern. The crown decreases are written out in full for each size to make them easy to follow.
The pattern is sized for 5 sizes ranging from baby to large adult. Instructions are written as “baby, (toddler, child) teen/small adult, large adult”, so make sure you’re looking at the right numbers for the size you’re knitting.
The samples are worked using Istex Kambgarn, a 100% merino wool sport weight yarn (150m/164yds per 100g).
I picked Kambgarn for its great colour range; the hats featured are in the colours Tomato (0917), Violet (1224) and Indigo (0942).
If you fancy a warmer hat, then you could also use DK weight yarn that meets gauge – just be sure to swatch before you cast on. If you’re using a thicker yarn, you may need to use a smaller needle size.
For hints and tips on yarn substitution, have a look at my blog.
Suggested needles (and notions):
3.25mm (US 3) and 3.75mm (US 5) needles suitable for knitting in the round – or size needed to match gauge. You can use DPNs or circular needles – if using circular needles, I’d recommend using a long (80cm/32in or larger) needle and working in magic loop, so you can use the same needle all the way to the crown.
You’ll also need 8 (7, 8) 9, 8 stitch markers (you may wish to have a different colour for the BOR), and a tapestry needle to darn in your ends.
If working the folded brim, you’ll need
• a crochet hook for the provisional cast-on. It’s not important what size the hook is, but you might find it easier if it’s within 2 sizes of your ribbing needle.
• scrap yarn for the provisional cast-on. I’d always recommend using scrap yarn of a contrasting colour for your provisional cast-on.
• a spare circular needle, the same size as your ribbing needle.
Gauge: 22 sts and 30 rows to 10cm 4in, measured over textured pattern.
Sizing and yarn requirements:
The hat is designed to be worn with 5-10cm (2-4in) of negative ease – meaning the finished hat will be smaller than your head. Pick the best size based on actual head measurements.
For reference, the red and purple hats are both child size with single brims, worn by children with a head circumference of around 52cm. I’ve worked one fewer repeat of the main pattern than written in the pattern for both of these hats, as my boys need close-fitting hats or they lose them.
The blue hat is a large adult size with a folded brim. My head circumference is around 62cm.