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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

FO and Free Pattern: XO Cabled Ponytail Hat

This adorable little moppet is my daughter Annie.

From this back view, you can see that she has been blessed (or cursed, if you ask her at hair brushing time) with a gorgeous head of thick, curly hair.

Pretty as it is, it presents a challenge when it comes time to wear a hat.  She likes to keep her curls in a simple ponytail, off her face and neck, but that creates such a large bump on the back of her head that traditional fitted hats don't work for her.  Slouchy hats are an option, but they tend to slip further and further back, until eventually, they fall right off.  Last year while thinking about knitting her annual winter hat, I had an idea -- why not knit a fitted hat, but bind off several stitches a few rows before beginning the decreases, just where her ponytail would be, and then cast them on again in the following row, creating a hole through which I could pull the ponytail?  It worked like a charm. She was warm and cozy -- and didn't lose the hat all winter.

Normally I avoid acrylic yarns, but Annie picked some Bernat Roving from the shelf at A.C. Moore (my kids go through art supplies as fast as they go through Oreos) and asked me to knit her this winter's hat with it, so I did.  If I had my own choice of yarns for this pattern, I'd use something like Mirasol Sulka instead.  Because this yarn is a chunky single with very little twist, it won't give a lot of stitch definition to any pattern you knit with it.  I chose a simple, rather large XO cable pattern for the body of the hat, as it will be visible in this particular yarn, where a more delicate pattern would not be.  Also, when my kids wear something I have knit for them, I think of it as a hug they can take with them (and if that sounds dorky and sentimental, well, alright then, I'm dorky and sentimental), and this pattern supplies the kiss to go along with the hug (might as well pile on the dorkiness at this point).

Here she is in her new hat, all finished:

XO Cabled Ponytail Hat Pattern

Yarn:  Bernat Roving, bulky, 80% acrylic, 20% wool, color: rice paper
Needles: Addi Click circular size 8 (keep in mind that I am a very loose knitter -- check your gauge so you don't wind up with a doll hat)
Gauge: 3 st. per inch in stockinette

Cast on 66 st.

K1,  P1 rib for 16 rows. (Ribbed section will be folded up when hat is worn.)

XO Cable Section:

Rows 1-3: *P 3, K8; repeat to end.
Row 4:  P3, C4B, C4F; repeat to end.
Rows 5-7:  same as rows 1-3.
Row 8:  P3, C4F, C4B; repeat to end.
Rows 9-11:  same as rows 1-3.
Row 12:  same as row 8.
Rows 13-15:  same as rows 1-3.
Row 16:  same as row 4.

Repeat rows 1-12
Row 13:  P3, K and at the same time BO 8, *P3, K8; repeat * to end.
Row 14:  P3, cast on 8, *P3, K8; repeat * to end
Rows 15-16:  Repeat rows 15-16 above.

Total of 32 rows in the cable section.

Begin decreasing:

Row 1:  K4, K2tog; repeat to end.
Row 2:  K3, K2tog; repeat to end.
Row 3:  K2, K2tog; repeat to end.
Row 4:  K1, K2tog; repeat to end.
Row 5:  K2 tog around.
Row 6:  K around, cut yarn, thread tail through tapestry needle, thread through remaining stitches, pull tight, weave in ends.

With this much acrylic, I didn't bother to block the hat, but if you use an all wool or wool and other natural fiber blend, then blocking would be a good idea.

Obviously, the hat is sized to fit a little girl.  If you wanted to make it bigger, you could add a purl stitch to each purled section, making a total of 4 purled stitches between cabled sections, and add another repeat of rows 1-8 before you begin the decreases.


  1. Clever solution - nice job ! :-)

  2. How awesome of an idea this is! You might have something here Jackie!!!! I love love your posts and my nieces!!!!

  3. Great idea - I'll size it up for my curly mop. For your daughter's sake, check out a book called Curly Girl - A Celebration of Curls by Lorraine Massey. I wish I would have discovered it years ago...

  4. Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll definitely check it out, as Annie did not inherit her curls from me!

  5. As a new knitter, I'm a little confused by the numbering after "Repeat rows 1-12". Where it says Rows 15-16: Repeat rows 15-16 above... which rows are you repeating??

    Thank you!

    1. In order to knit this hat, you start out with a ribbed section. Then, you make the cabled section, which consists of 32 rows, divided into two 16 row pattern sections. These sections are identical to one another, except for rows 13 and 14. In the second set, rows 13 and 14 have the instructions for the bind off which creates the opening for the ponytail, and then rows 15 and 16 are the same as in the first set. Let me know if it still isn't clear to you.