Christmas Hats: Bray Cap and Barley Hat

This year I became madly active with knitting as soon as Christmas Holidays arrived. A creativity outburst, I guess, which had been suppressed the whole year due to the lack of time, respectively focusing on work and more important things than knitting! ;)

And though I normally need weeks or months to finish a project (especially sweaters), I managed to do these hats in a few days. The Bray Cap (pattern by Jared Flood / Brooklyn Tweed on Ravelry)  was a Christmas present, the Barley Hat is for me, to match my Mara shawl.

Bray hat knitting beanie brooklyntweed cables madelinetosh jared flood slouchy

Christmas Bray Cap (Pattern website)

This Bray Cap was a very quick knit (cast on Saturday on train, finished Monday evening, approx. 10h (?) knitting time).


  • Used DK weight, but no mods in pattern, only smaller needles. Would knit a fourth or even fifth repeat of the second chart next time when using DK weight (for more body of hat and/or slouch).
  • Cast on 112 stitches with long-tail cast on, no tubular cast on. 16” (40cm) circular needle almost too long, need to stretch the stitches a lot to join work into the round.
  • Knit a smaller brim (only 1.2” = 3cm), would knit whole 2 3/4” (4,5cm) for brim next time.
  • Placed marker at beginning of every pattern repeat (= 30-stitch repeat), very useful.
  • Replaced 6-stitch-lace pattern with p2-c1f-p2(simple little cable) for rows 1-28. Rows 29-31 strictly after original pattern (last decreasing rows).
  • Repeated row 31 (last row) once more, to end with 16 stitches instead of 24 for closing the top of the hat.
  • Would probably use larger needles (like 3.5 and 4mm) next time. Because of the cables, the fabric gets tighter than usual.
  • How much? Used up 0.61 skeins = 137.3 yards (125.5 meters), 61 grams of Madelinetosh DK yarn in colorway “Thunderstorm”

The hat turned out like a childrens’ hat initially and barely covered the ears, what a shock for a last minute Christmas present! But no wonder – using DK weight yarn and smaller needles, knitting a smaller brim and tight cables… hmmm… well, we live and learn. Hard wet blocking could fix it, but it has no slouch at all (but this was an intended effect ;)). I’m (and the presentee) were very pleased with end result. ;)

Next time (for me) I will knit everything in a more “relaxed” style… larger needles, broader brim, longer body of hat. But a great pattern, absolutely flawless and very clear instructions. Knitting with DPNS and cable needle is a challenge (for me) but fun. Love it.

barley hat knitting tincanknits beanie garter mara free(Modified) Barley Hat (Pattern website)

I modified the Barley Hat to match my Mara Shawl – means, only garter stitch for the hat body and a broader brim with a different pattern.


  • Cast on 96 sts as in pattern for size L, using DK weight yarn and needles US 4 /3.5mm (shortest cable), joining for working in the round is hell as the cable is too short (can’t barely move my needles), but the 40cm cable is too long for just 96 sts. Switched to 40cm cable in round 2 or 3 when everything was more stretchy.
  • Establish Ribbing: Knit k2,p2-ribbing for 12 rounds/rows and then k1,p1-ribbing for 7 rounds/rows to match border of Mara-Shawl.
  • Knit Body: Switched to US 6/4mm needles after the ribbing. and knit alternating Purl-/Knit-rounds until piece measured 8.5 inches (… rounds / rows) from cast on (slouchy enough for my head, don’t need 9.5 inch like recommended in pattern for slouchy hat). Starting body with a Knit round.
  • Decreases:
    • Knit setup round: K14, k2tog, PM around (= 6 equal sections divided by 6 markers)
    • Round 1: Purl to end
    • Round 2: Knit to 2 sts before marker, k2tog around
    • Repeat rounds 1 and 2 two more times = 3 in total.
    • Switched to DPNS when beginning the 3 repeat of rounds 1 and 2.
  • That is, decrease in the knit rows and purl the purl rows without decrease. Ends up with 72 sts in total (12 sts per section)
    • Next round: Purl to 2 sts before marker, p2togaround
    • Next round: Knit to 2 sts before marker, k2togaround
  • That is, decrease in every purl and knit row.
  • Repeated the last 2 rounds until 6 (?) sts remained (I didn’t get that far, I cut the yarn earlier, couldn’t knit anymore with all the DPNS-needles. I think it were ca. 5 sts/needle left when I cut the yarn and drew the yarn tail through the remaining live sts and pulled to close the top of the hat.)
  • How much? I used up 0.68 skeins = 153.4 yards (140.3 meters), 75 grams of Madelinetosh DK yarn in colorway “Earl Grey”

It was an easy knit, but I still hate knitting with DPNS, when everything gets so tight and you have to juggle with those 5 needles. Grrr. ;)

You also might notice a color difference between brim and body of hat. That is because I used the rest of the yarn from my Mara Shawl and joined a new skein which was much more yellowish than the other one – speak of hand-dyed yarn. ;)

But I love how it fits – on my head and to the shawl.




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