Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Fun Lance Hat

Fun Lance Hat

Yes, the title of this pattern is a bit tongue-in-cheek. In fact, I named it for my brother-in-law, Lance, who was sad to discover that the Fan Lace Hat was not actually called the Fun Lance Hat, as he initially thought. But since I'm sending him this bad boy for the upcoming winter, I thought it would be a perfect name for this attractive, unisex hat. A word of warning, however - this hat may be less fun to knit than it is to wear if you're not handy with a cable needle, since you'll be cabling every other row. On the flip side, that just gives you an opportunity to learn to cable without a cable needle, if you're ready to pick up a new skill!

Yarn: Malabrigo Rios (100% Merino Superwash; 210 yards [192 meters]/100 grams); #43 Plomo - one skein

The finish. It's handsome, no?
Needles: One 16" circular needle in size US 5, one 16" circular needle in size US 7, one set of double pointed needles (dpns), also in size US 7, and one cable needle (cn)

Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 20 stitches = 4 inches on size 7 needles

So let's make a fun (and fancy) Lance hat, shall we? To get started, then, using your size US 5 circular needle, cast on 112 stitches, place marker, and join in round. Then we'll knit some ribbing rows as follows:

Ribbing Row: * (p2, k2) three times, p2; rep from *

Knit this ribbing row 8 times. Then, switch to your size 7 circular needle, and we'll begin the main pattern, which includes panels of Wave of Honey Stitch from page 272 of Barbara G. Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. To work it, we'll use the following notation:

front cross (fc): slip 1 stitch to cn and hold in front; k1; k1 from cn

back cross (bc): slip 1 stitch to cn and hold in back; k1; k1 from cn

And now that we know our terms, we'll continue like so:

Rows 1 & 3: * p1, k12, p1 *

Row 2: * p1, (bc, fc) 3 times, p1 *

Row 4: * p1, (fc, bc) 3 times, p1 *

Knit rows 1 - 4 until piece measures roughly 6" - 7" (depending on how long you want it, of course - I would go 6" for a smaller head and most women, and 7" for a larger or most men) and you've just finished row 1 of the pattern. Now, it's time to begin the decreases, as follows:

Decrease Row 1: * p1, (bc, fc) 3 times, p2, ssk, (fc, bc) twice, k2tog, p1 * (104 stitches)

Decrease Row 2: * p1, k12, p2, k10, p1 *

Decrease Row 3: * p1, (fc, bc) 3 times, p2, ssk, k1, fc, bc, k1, k2tog, p1 * (96 stitches)

Decrease Row 4: * p1, k12, p2, k8, p1 *

Decrease Row 5: * p1, (bc, fc) 3 times, p2, ssk, bc, fc, k2tog, p1 * (88 stitches)

Decrease Row 6: * p1, k12, p2, ssk, k2, k2tog, p1 * (80 stitches)

You may want to switch to your dpns about now...

Decrease Row 7: * p1, (fc, bc) 3 times, p2, ssk, k2tog, p1 * (72 stitches)

Decrease Row 8: * p1, ssk, k8, k2tog, p2, k2, p1 * (64 stitches)

Decrease Row 9: * p1, ssk, k1, bc, fc, k1, k2tog, p2, fc, p1 * (56 stitches)

Decrease Row 10: * p1, ssk, k4, k2tog, p2, k2, p1 * (48 stitches)

Decrease Row 11: * p1, ssk, k2, k2tog, p2, bc, p1 * (40 stitches)

Decrease Row 12: * p1, ssk, k2tog, p2, k2, p1 * (32 stitches)

Decrease Row 13: * (p2tog) twice, p1, fc, p1 * (24 stitches)

Decrease Row 14: * p2tog, p1, k2, p1 * (20 stitches)

Decrease Row 15: * k2tog * (10 stitches)

Clip yarn tail, thread through final 10 stitches, and pull tight. Thread to inside of hat, knot, and tuck in ends.


  1. I LOVE this pattern! You are a knitting genius :) Thanks for including the YouTube video on cabling without a cable needle (it makes it much easier and I learned a new technique). Thanks for sharing all the wonderful patterns.

    1. Hi Debbie!

      I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the pattern so much! :) And I love cabling without a cable needle too - I don't have to keep track of the darn thing, for one thing!

  2. This hat will look very good on the bad boy. Love the pattern!

    1. Thank you! Hopefully Fun Lance does as well! :)

  3. All your patterns are gorgeous, and I'd love to try this one, but have never knitted in the round before. I'm a straight needles girl. Any idea of how to adapt the pattern for straight needles? Or will I have to wade in and attempt circulars?

    1. Hi Marvina!

      I am happy to convert this pattern for you if you really want me to, but I always encourage people to try circular knitting first! It opens a whole new world for you, and for many patterns it's actually preferable (since you have no wrong-side knitting!). I have one hat design that serves as a sort of tutorial for new circular knitters, the Build Your Own Dk-Weight Hat ( You could use that as a starting point for the circular part of this pattern (like read it and watch the videos for the join and whatnot), but then make this pattern instead.

      Anyway, again, I will adapt the pattern if you want. But I'd give the circulars a shot if I were you! :)

  4. The one x one cables can be done by a simple right twist and left twist. No cable needle, no cable without cable needle. . . just a simple twist.

    1. Hi there!

      Yes, it's true that you can get a very similar appearance with a right and left twist. But then you don't get the fun of cabling! :)

  5. Hi Gretchen,

    I like this hat, and am trying to play around with it, to make it a pony tail hat for my sister. My issue is that the hat is a little small for her head. Do you have any sizing recommendations for me? It appears I could just add an extra 14 stitches, but that would make a significantly larger hat. I guess I could swap to smaller needle sizes (say, sizes 4 and 6 instead of 5 and 7), so I'd get a tight knit for maximum warmth. If I increase number of repeats, how would it affect the top of the hat, when I start reducing?

    1. Yeah unfortunately the pattern is written for a 28-stitch repeat for the decrease so the stitch count is hard to modify. Therefore, I think you're better off changing the yarn gauge; either use an aran or a chunky weight on larger needles (just make sure your ribbing is tight enough; you may want to go down an extra needle size for that) or use finer yarn and do change the stitch count by adding another 28 stitches. Let me know what you decide and if you have any more questions! :)