Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Four Winds Hat

Four Winds Hat

Okay, I should begin any description of this hat with an admission: that I bought the yarn for my husband, and originally intended to design this bad boy for him. Then, however, the yarn told me that it didn't want to belong to him, it wanted to belong to me instead. And then it said that this was the form that it dreamed of taking...

... sure, I'm exaggerating a bit. Truly, though, this design was 100% inspired by the fiber, and creates a very plush, delicious hat because of the twisted stitch pattern. Of course, since ALL of the stitches are twisted every other row it's a tad annoying to work, but I think the end result is definitely worth it!

Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted (100% Merino Wool; 210 yards [191 meters]/100 grams); #56 Olive - one skein 

A closer look at the stitch pattern and the
Needles: One 16" circular needle in size US 6, one 16" circular needle in size US 9, and one set of double pointed needles (dpns), also in size US 9

Notions: Tapestry needle, four stitch markers

Gauge: 18 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette on size US 8 needles (I'm giving you package gauge in case you're using a substitute yarn)

Okay, so let's make a hat! To start with, then, using your size US 6 needle, cast on 100 stitches loosely, place marker, and join in round. Then, we'll knit the following marker placement row:

Marker Placement Row: (k1, [p1, k1] x 12, place marker) three times; then, k1, * p1, k1; rep from * until you reach the end of the row

Knit this marker placement row. Then we'll work our ribbing, as follows:

Ribbing Row: (k1, * p1, k1; rep from * until you reach next marker, slip marker) four times

Knit this ribbing row until piece measures just over 2". Then, transfer work to your size US 9 circular needle, and continue to work as follows. Notice that you'll need the following terminology to continue:

rt (right twist): knit two together, leaving stitches on left-hand needle; next, insert right-hand needle from the front between the two stitches just knitted together, and knit the first stitch again.  Finally, slip both stitches from left-hand needle together

lt (left twist): with right-hand needle behind left-hand needle, skip one stitch and knit the second stitch in back loop; then insert right-hand needle into the backs of both stitches and k2tog-b (knit two together through back loops, inserting right needle from the right) 

And now that we've got that covered, we'll continue as follows:

Row 1: knit, slipping all extra markers when you reach them

Row 2: * lt; rep from * until you're one stitch before next marker, k1, slip marker; then, k1, * rt; rep from * until you reach next marker, slip marker, and then repeat the directions from the beginning of the row

Row 3: knit, slipping all extra markers when you reach them

Row 4: k1, * lt; rep from * until you reach next marker, slip marker; then, * rt; rep from * until you're one stitch before next marker, k1, slip marker, and then repeat the directions from the beginning of the row

Knit rows 1 - 4 until piece measures just over 7" and you've just finished row 1 of the pattern. Transfer work to 4 dpns, with the ends of each dpn corresponding with where a stitch marker was placed. Then, we'll begin decreasing as follows:

Decrease Row 1: ssk, * lt; rep from * until you are 3 stitches from end of first needle; k1, k2tog; then, on second needle, ssk, k1, * rt; rep from * until you're 2 stitches from end of second needle, end k2tog; then, repeat instructions from the beginning, substituting the term "third needle" for first and "fourth needle" for second (-8 stitches)

Decrease Row 2: knit

Knit decrease rows 1 & 2 four times, at which point you should have 68 stitches left, or 17 stitches on each of your four needles, and you should have just knit one row around (decrease row 2). Now, at this point, you've reached the video portion of this hat, for which I assume you know the basics about a three needle bind off (I also demonstrate it quickly, if you don't). And yes, I made a video because the finish seemed cumbersome to describe with words, but if someone wants me try just let me know in the comments! :) Anyway, do this stuff now:

And once that's over and you've tucked in your ends, you're done! Although I should have mentioned in the video that you can also knot those last two yarn ends that are in the middle of your hat, for extra security (better than a 401k, amiright?).


  1. Hi from Florida,
    I am a retired teacher from Ottawa,and spending the winter months in the sun,. your patterns are inspiring and even though I don't knit every project,I think you are a wonderful writer and I learn a lot.
    Wishes of a happy year to come with your family and continue your passion of knitting.
    Linda Gauthier-Morin

    1. Hi Linda!

      Thanks for your kind message. :) I imagine it's much warmer in Florida than Ottawa over the winter, although I've never made it to Ontario (I've been to Quebec, though!). Anyway, I will make sure to take time to enjoy my family, and of course my knitting, and wish you a very happy new year as well!!!

  2. You choose the most gorgeous yarns for your projects. This design has a "Viking" feel to it somehow. Maybe it's a baby Viking before the horns grew out. Very original and interesting.

    1. Ha! I like the Viking idea. I'm not sure exactly what happened with this pattern, but I knew just what to do (and the hat looks pretty cute on me, too, if I do say so myself, even if my husband wasn't around to photograph me in it). Anyway, happy new year! And thanks for your kind words. :)

  3. Love this style. Can you make it any bigger by casting on more stitches? Thank you

    1. Yes you can! I was actually going to design a few sizes of this hat but then ran into a time crunch to make the video for the finish, blah blah blah, and wasn't able to rerecord with multi-sized instructions. Typical too-many-kid problems. :) Anyway, as long as you cast on a multiple of 8 more and then divide the hat up in quarters like I did with your stitch markers, you should be good! Then you'll have a choice when you do your decrease; you can either work it down to the same size I did (with 17 stitches left on each needle) or a bit larger; I would probably leave 2 extra stitches on each needle for each set of 8 more stitches you cast on (for instance, if you cast on 108, leave 19 on each needle before beginning the finish, if you cast on 116, leave 21, etc). In any case, you will have an odd number of stitches on each needle, and you can perform the finish by working 1/2 of the stitches + 1 whenever I say I'm working 9 and leaving 8. Hope that all makes sense, and let me know if you have any questions! :)

    2. That makes complete sense - thanks so much for taking the time to answer :)

  4. Wonderful! And I almost forgot - you'll probably want to add an extra inch or two of length! :)

  5. i did not do the finish very well. i got the first half done but when binding off for the second half with 16 stitches on each needle that is where i made the mistake. i end up with two pointy ends instead of four. it does look awful but i love the pattern. i will try it again until i get it right

    1. Ack! I'm sorry to hear that the finishing didn't go quite right. If you keep having problems let me know and I'll try to guide you in the right direction!!! :)

  6. Hello,
    I just found this knitting page and because I lived in Finland 12 years I like to share with you the story of the 4 wind hat.
    Enjoy it and thanks. Eva
    “A long, long time ago, perhaps thousands of years ago, or maybe a little longer, man could not live in Lapland. Do you know why? That was because all the four winds used to blow just how they wanted. One morning the world could be green and warm, the flowers were blooming and the sun was shining. But the next morning there could be cold and snowy outside as the winds were blowing hard from the north. Sometimes, all the four winds blew, all at the same time.

    Then one day a man came to the north, a shaman. He built his tent and moved to Lapland, ignoring the four winds. But he was lonely: no wife, no kids, no friends. Then the shaman lit the fire in his hut, and began to yoik and play his drum as accompaniment. With his amazing yoiks the Shaman called the four winds to come and see him in his hut. The shaman and the winds sat down by the fire, the hut was warm and the four winds fell all asleep. But the Shaman did not sleep, he put some more logs on the fire, and in the warm temperature the four winds began to shrink and shrink. Eventually they were so small that he could hold them in his hand. The shaman took off his hat, which at the time was shaped round like a normal hat. The shaman took the winds one at a time, put them in his hat, and then he tied the winds inside his hat.

    Next morning the four winds woke up, got annoyed and tried really hard to get out of the hat. They blew hard in all directions, but they did not manage to come out. Do you know why? Well, they were tied to the hat. The winds inside the hat shouted “Let us out, let us out!” And the shaman said, “I will relieve you on one condition only; you have to promise that you all agree on when you will blow, one at the time, and the others will be waiting for their turn.” And the winds promised and agreed to that in the future the north wind blew only in winter time, the east wind blew in the spring, the south wind would blow warmly in the summer evenings in Lapland and in September the wind would shift to blow winds of fall.” As a reminder of this promise from now on all the men in Lapland wear a four winds hat,” said the Shaman to the four winds and waved his hat, which no longer looked the same after the capture of the four winds, it was now a pointed hat.”
    Regards from menorca, spain

    1. Hi Eva!

      Thank you so much for sharing this story. Not only did I really enjoy reading it, but it's also personal to me because my grandmother was a Finnish immigrant to the US, and I know I have lots of distant relatives in Finland, especially near Turku. :) Anyway, this made me smile. Thank you!

  7. Love this hat, I will be making it soon.
    Hope you will also attempt a written version of the finish as I would like to be able to archive a printed copy and will need that later down the road. I am sure it isn't easy to put into words what it is so easy for our fingers to do!

    1. Glad you like the pattern!

      And I have a busy weekend coming up, but I'll put the written description on my to-do list. :)