Make and Donate a Hat

Thanks so much for your interest in making hats! We are always in need. If you are knitting or crocheting, please be sure to use an extra, extra-soft yarn. Our hat recipients have extra-sensitive skin, and we want to be sure they are as comfortable as possible in our hats. Please select yarn that can also be machine washed and dried.

Any yarn that is labeled as Baby, Soft, Satin, or similar soft-sounding words should be fine. However, regular worsted weight that is NOT labeled as soft is unfortunately not soft enough. Wool blends are also not soft enough. Favorites of ours include Caron's Simply Soft; Bernat Satin; Lion Brand Homespun or Heartland, Red Heart Soft. A wonderful chunky yarn is Loops & Threads Charisma; Simply Soft also has a nice chunky line. Lion Brand "Tweed Stripes" is a variegated, self-striping yarn that is really fun. Most blends with cotton or bamboo are also fine. If in doubt, please ask and we'll let you know.

We also welcome items such as scarves, shawls, and fingerless gloves.

If you would like to donate a hat or other comfort items such as shawls, scarves, or fingerless gloves, we very much appreciate your help! Items can be mailed to:

Hats of Comfort
655 Hempfield Hill Road
Columbia, PA 17512

We have included a few patterns here, but feel free to use whatever fun pattern you like. We love variety! Below are basic patterns for knit hats, crocheted hats and even a pattern for a fabric tube scarf (at the very end) for those of you enjoy sewing.

Thank you for providing a small measure of comfort during difficult times.

KNIT PATTERNS
CROCHET PATTERNS
SEWING PATTERNS

KNIT BASIC HAT PATTERN - ROLLED BRIM

USE: Circular Needles (16" around), Size 10 or 10.5, plus 1 set double-pointed needles, same size
Using Caron Simply Soft, 2 strands for tighter weave, 1 strand for more open look
Gauge is about 3-4 stitches to the inch.

  • Finished size should be at least 18" circumference. This would be a small hat. About 8" total height from bottom of brim (don't stretch it out—let it curl up naturally, then measure).
  • A hat in the 20" circumference should be about 9" to 10" finished height.
  • For a medium-weight yarn* and a women's small to medium size hat, I cast on 60 to 66 stitches. 
  • To make it bigger, or if your gauge is closer to 4 stitches to the inch, I'd cast on 70 to 76.
  • For a larger hat, I go about 80 stitches.
  • I usually find that if I fill up my circular needles so the cast-on row is somewhat squished together on the cable part, and overlaps the metal needle part a bit, that's usually good - and a larger when squished will be about half-way down the metal part of the needles.

NOTE: Recommend casting on an additional 6-8 stitches from what you planned, and knitting that many for the first 2" or so, until you are done with the brim (and it's all rolled up). When the roll is complete, decrease within 1 to 2 rows to your plan (such as 80 stitches) for the hat body. This gives the roll a little more depth, and it increases the hat's stretchiness (and size) considerably.
Example: For a hat with 80 stitches, cast on 86. Knit about 2" until your brim is rolled and the hat is starting to straighten out. Decrease 6 stitches evenly in the next row. So you're back to 80. Then knit the body of the hat normally.

  1. Cast on as noted above in the "NOTE", using the higher count, then decreasing as noted for the body.
  2. Knit, knit, knit until you are at the point where you start to decrease. I usually try it on my head, and if it's at the point where the needles sit on top of my head, and the brim covers my ears, then I start to decrease. (Or find someone with the right size head the first few times you are doing this.)
  3. Let the brim just roll up as far as it wants. Don't stretch it out to measure.
  4. DECREASING
    SIMPLE DECREASE
    --Mark where you start to decrease.
    --Knit 3 stitches, then knit 2 together. Repeat all the way around to the marker.
    --Keep doing it (knit 3, knit 2 together) row after row, until it's getting hard to pull the yarn off the circular needle.
    --Switch to double-pointed needles by knitting from circular in your left hand onto double-pointed on your right. Ideally end up with stitches divided between 3 DP needles, using the fourth one to knit around them.
    --Keep going until you are down to about 8 stitches. Maybe 10 if bulky yarn.
    --Cut off the yarn, leaving about 8" tail.
    --Thread the tail onto a yarn needle, and going in the same direction you were going, thread the yarn through the remaining loops on your double-pointed needles (removing needles as you go).
    --Pull the yarn tight to close up the remaining hole, then thread it through to the inside and weave in the end.
    --Weave in any other loose ends, and you're done.

DECREASING-SPIRAL

This is really nice for more advanced finish. Most of the hats here have the spiral finish. The decreasing forms a spiral pattern from the top, and is very attractive if there is not a lot of other texture on the hat. You don't want to bother with this approach if the hat has a lot of texture, or if it's fuzzy (you won't see the full effect).

To figure out how to start the decrease, you'll need to count your stitches and see how they can evenly divide.  If you have 60** stitches, you will:

  1. Mark the next stitch.
  2. Starting on the first stitch after the marker, Knit 8 .
  3. Knit stitches 9&10 together.
  4. Keep doing steps 2 and 3 until you're done with that row. 
    (You will know it's right if you end up at the marker with no more stitches left over.)
  5. For the next row, you can either knit another row without decreasing at all (I do this if I need it to be a little longer), or simply start another decrease row.
  6. For the next decrease row, you will decrease your knit stitches by 1, so now you'll knit 7 instead of 8, before you knit the 2 stitches together. So: after the marker, Knit 7 stitches, then knit stitches 8 & 9 together. Repeat all the way around.
  7. Next: Knit 6; knit stitches 7 and 8 together. Repeat all around.
  8. Next: Knit 5; knit stitches 6 and 7 together, Repeat NOTE: I usually move to double-pointed needs around the Knit 5 round. It will be getting hard to pull off the stitch from your needle.
  9. Next: Knit 4: knit stitches 5 and 6 together. Repeat. Next: Knit 3; knit stitches 4 and 5 together, Repeat.
  10. Next: Knit 2, knit stitches 3 and 4 together, repeat.
  11. Next: Knit 1, knit stitches 2 and 3 together, repeat.
  12. Next: Knit 2 together all the way around.

By this point, you should be ready to finish it off. Sometimes you will be at the point by the previous row.

  ** If you have 66 stitches, you can knit 9 together instead of 8.  If you have 72, knit 10 together.  If you goofed up and have odd numbers, just figure out how many you have, and what number (starting with 10, 9 or 8) divides evenly.  When you get the divided number, remember to subtract 2 for the two that get knit together.
 
If you have an odd number, decrease randomly on one row until you have a good number, then start the spiral decrease at that point.

VARIATION: FLAT BRIM

If you want to do a flat brim instead of rolled brim:

  1. Cast on the same way as above, same amount, etc.
  2. PURL the second row
  3. KNIT the third row
  4. PURL the 4th row
  5. KNIT
  6. PURL; this is usually about as wide as I make it. Whatever looks good is fine.

Knit all subsequent rows, and follow directions for the basic hat.

The knit brim looks great when you add in another strand of yarn in a complementary color; it makes the brim a little bulkier and it stands out a bit more. Note that this approach makes the hat a little less stretchy.

If your brim is too bulky compared to the hat body, then increase here and there (perhaps 4-6 stitches) in the first row of the hat body. This approach is a great way to get rid of smaller amounts of yarn or those that are different weights. You can also change needle sizes if that's helpful.
 
VARIATION: BEANIE STYLE

For a beanie style, starting with a ribbed band:
Cast on just like basic hat, and mark the end of the row.
To figure out how many to cast on, my favorite is 60, since that allows you to do a 2by 2 rib, or a 3x3 rib (Knit 2/Purl 2, or Knit 3/Purl 3). For other counts you may end up with odd stitches that prevent you from continuing the same pattern, so you have to decrease or increase to fix it.

I like to knit the first row, as it seems to make a nicer finish on the hat edge.
Row 2: Knit 2/Purl 2 (or 3/3) or even 1/1—whatever you like.
When you get to the marker, make sure you can continue your pattern; if you need to purl next, make sure you are purling on top of a purl stitch. If not, increase/decrease to make it work.**

Once you have done about 1" to 2" of ribbing, you will be knitting the next row. I usually add (increase) 2 to 4 stitches, so the ribbing ends up looking a little tighter than the hat body. Once you've done this "add-on" row, you will simply knit the hat like the basic instructions.

**If you have goofed up, don't despair. I often end up doing the moss stitch, by knitting on top of a purl, and purling on top of the knit stitches. It doesn't look like the vertical ribbing but it's attractive and just fine. On a bulkier yarn, I think it looks better.

CROCHET PATTERNS

BASIC CROCHET HAT

This hat starts at the top and is worked down to the brim, allowing for several variations. Directions are for a Medium Hat, about 22"-23" around. If your head is smaller, or larger, we need a wide range of hat sizes, so we're happy to have you "use your head" as a reference point. To easily make a hat bigger or smaller, use a larger (or smaller) hook.

Materials:

  • Worsted Weight Yarn (Simply Soft by Lion Brand is a favorite); will use about 150 yards
  • Crochet Hook, size J, K or L; larger is fine as well for a looser look.

Start: Create one slip stitch, leaving it open about 1/2"
Row 1: Single crochet 1x, then single crochet into the starting slipped stitch until you have 6 stitches around the starting stitch. Pull the tail to the first stitch to snug it up. You will have a little circle of stitches like a daisy. This will be the top of the hat.
Row 2: Single crochet 2x into each of the 6 starting stitches, so you end up with 12
            NOTE: Single crocheting 2x into one stitch is a form of increase
Row 3: Single crochet 2 x into each of the 12 stitches so you end up with 24
Row 4: Single crochet 2x into every OTHER stitch; and 1x into each of the stitches in between, so you are alternating all the way around (Single, double, single, double). End up with 36 stitches.

From this point on, you will lay your work flat after every round to see if it lays flat, is curling or is too ripply.

  • If it lays flat, great. Keep going with the directions below.
  • If it is starting to curl, the last row is too tight. On the NEXT row, add more increases, spreading them out.
  • If it is starting to ripple, you have too many increases; on the NEXT row, don't do as many increases—spread them out a little more than the directions.

Row 5: Single crochet 2x into every THIRD stitch, and 1x into each of the two stitches in between.
Row 6: Single crochet 2x into every FOURTH stitch, and 1x into each of the stitches in between.

Continue like this, laying it flat after every row, until it is about 6" in diameter. (5" for small hat; 7" for large hat) This completes the top of the hat, and means no more increases are needed now.
Continue to crochet one stitch into each stitch below, for the body of the hat. You can continue with single crochets, or do other stitches, such as a half double, or a double crochet stitch if you prefer. Try the hat on periodically and see if it fits. It's fine to adjust it to your own head size.

When the hat is long enough it should be about 5"-6" from where you started the regular stitching, or about 8-9" from the very first stitch. It should sit above your brow, over your ears, and at the bottom of the back of your neck. If you think it's the right size for you, that's the right way to measure.

ENDING OPTIONS:

  1. You can simply end the hat at this point, when it's long enough. It will be a beanie style. (See Finishing, below)
  2. You can add a brim (very popular) by increasing as follows:

BRIM:

Once the hat is long enough, do 2 stitches into EACH single stitch for 1 full row. So crochet an increase in every stitch. For the next row, you can do the same (2 stitches) or you can alternate 2 stitches and 1 stitch, as you did at the start. This will create a less ripply brim. Once you have increased enough (usually 2 -3 rows does the job) to get the brim effect, continue for 2-3 more rows without increasing, by crocheting 1 stitch into the 1 stitch below, until the brim is about 2.5" to 3.5" wide.

FINISHING

To bind off, cut the yarn about 6" past where your last stitch is, and slip the yarn through the last loop on your hook, then pull it tight. Using a yarn needle, weave in your starting yarn (up at the top) a few inches, back and forth a few times. Weave in the brim piece the same way. (NOTE: Always weave in at least 3" worth of the yarn so it's secure.)

SEWING PATTERNS

FABRIC TUBE SCARF

Fabric Type: Stretchy, very soft or silky fabric; even better if it feels a little cottony. It works best if it has some stretch both ways (top to bottom and side to side). Prewash the fabric.

Directions for a Medium Hat:

  • Cut 1 piece of fabric about 20" x 20" (see note*)
  • With right sides facing, pin together on one side, so that you end up with a tube that is about 10" wide and about 20" long.
  • Stitch the pinned side, using a stretch or zig zag stitch, and securing both ends by backstitching a bit. Unless the fabric is very ravelly, you don't need to finish the two unfinished/unhemmed ends.
  • Options for other sizes of hats:
    • Small Hat: Cut fabric 19" x 20" and pin on the 19" side
    • Large Hat: Cut fabric 22" x 24"
  • Other Ideas:
    Polar fleece makes a wonderful hat fabric. We invite your creativity in making these types of hats – there are many patterns on-line.

*Recommend cutting off any white selvage strips.  Depending on how stretchy the fabric, and the width, you may be fine with a 19" up to a 21" hat.  The goal is something that will fit a woman with a 22" head, but we also need hats for smaller heads as well.  I suggest dividing your fabric as evenly as you can (to maximize scarf yield) and if it ends up in the 18" to 22" range, that's fine.   Length can be similar (18"-20").