I love hats. I love making them and I love wearing them, but unfortunately I am naturally very hot-blooded, so I hardly ever get cold enough to wear them! One of the upsides of being a new mum who knits and crochets is the universal insistence that baby should be wearing a hat every time she leaves the house. Baby BAM already has half a dozen hats I’ve made for her, but they are never quite what I want: too scratchy, too big, too small, too easy for her to wriggle out of just enough for her ears to get cold… the list goes on.
The next hat I would make would have to be soft. stretchy and have earflaps, I decided. I found the perfect yarn, Caron Simply Soft (which I had already tried when making her Entrechat shrug) but I couldn’t find a pattern that fit with the image I had in my head of either animal ears or pompoms. Admittedly, I didn’t look very hard, but the more I thought about it, the most I realised I didn’t really need a pattern. So I just winged it, keeping notes as I went along and changing my mind about things as and when I felt like it. I had a look at a couple of patterns to see how they had shaped their earflaps, but wound up doing it the way I’d planned anyway.
I was so pleased with the way it turned out that I tried to bully my notes into being a pattern that someone else could follow if they wanted, and so here we are!
A couple of notes before I give you the pattern, firstly the name: the Rah Rah Boombah Hat. Mr BAM came up with that. He took one look at the newly finished hat, declared that he loved it and said it was “all rah rah boobah and s––t!” On further questioning is became apparent that this was his interpretation of what American cheerleaders might chant, and that the pompoms were what made him think of them. I liked the name, so it stuck (without the “and s––t!” of course).
Secondly, there is the matter of the ties on the hat. I really wanted to be able to secure the hat if needed so BB wouldn’t wriggle out of it, but didn’t want to attach a button and chin strap (she loves chewing on buttons at the moment) but was frankly a bit terrified of having long strings in case she got them wrapped around her neck or choked on them.
After a lot of worrying I decided that I would never leave her unattended long enough for that to happen, and I certainly wouldn’t let her sleep in the hat without me keeping a very close eye on things, so the strings made it into the pattern. For other parents, a chin strap and button maybe a better way to secure the hat, or you could just cast off the last few stitches and not bother with anything to stop the baby wriggling out of the hat, it depends on the parent, and on the baby I guess. JUST PLEASE BE CAREFUL! Babies are sneaky little creatures and I don’t want anyone hurt by a bobble hat of all things!
I worry. A lot.
Anyway, here is the pattern, such as it is. Use it wisely!
Rah Rah Boombah Hat
Should fit baby aged 6-12 months. It has quite a lot of stretch in it though!
Worsted or aran yarn (I used Caron Simply Soft Paints in the Country Charm colourway)
5mm DPNs (or circular needles, but you will still need DPNs for the i-cord ties)
2 stitch markers or safety pins
I’m using English terms and knitting in the round so:
Stocking stitch – knit every round
Reverse stocking stitch – purl every round
Garter stitch – knit one round, purl one round
Cast on 64 stitches
Work 4 rounds in reverse stocking stitch.
Work 18 rounds of garter stitch.
Work in stocking stitch until hat measures 17 cm.
Then either do a 3 needle cast off
Cast off normally, turn inside out and sew the cast off edge closed.
Flatten the hat and place stitch markers or safety pins at either side of the cast on edge to mark where the centre of each earflap will be.
You need to pick up half the stitches for each earflap either side of the marker.
With right side facing, pick up 14 stitches.
Knit 5 rows (garter stitch)
Row 6: K1 k2tog k8 k2tog k1 (12 st)
Row 7: K1 k2tog k6 k2tog k1 (10 st)
Row 8: K1 k2tog k4 k2tog k1 (8 st)
Row 9: K1 k2tog k2 k2tog k1 (6 st)
Row 10: K1 k2tog k2tog k1 (4 st)
Row 11: K1 k2tog k1 (3 st)
This will leave you with 3 stitches to work as i-cord to create the ties to desired length (mine are about 24cm after I tied a little knot at the end – this makes them long enough to tie under her chin).
Repeat earflap instructions for the other side.
Make 2 pompoms and sew to the top corners of your hat, and you’re done!
I wouldn’t say the Rah Rah Boombah hat is 100% wriggle proof, but it stays put better than most of her other hats, and I love it!