This hat was inspired by not one, but two types of penguin, the adélie and the chinstrap. The adélie influenced the plain version and the chinstrap, the striped. Chinstrap hat doesn’t have quite the same romance and ring to it. In fact, it would have been a really unappealing name for a hat, no matter how cool a penguin they are, so I settled on Adélie.
The shaping of this hat is based on old-fashioned baby bonnets, but without the forehead peak (which tends to be a tricky look for adults to pull off). Those baby hats were generally knitted flat and this one is knitted in the round, so it has no back seam. Markers are placed at regular intervals to help you keep track of what you are doing and instructions are given row-by-row. In effect, it’s like knitting a large set of chevrons in the round, so that the hat fits just-so.
Knitted all in black, it has something of a Louise Brooks bob about it. I wanted a hat that frames the face and keeps my ears warm. I’d also been on a futile search for a hat that fitted under my bike helmet in such a way that it kept my ears warm. This was my solution. I’m tempted to knit one in safety yellow with that reflective tape stranded in.
Instructions are given for both the plain and striped version in three adult sizes. If you are knitting it in one colour, you can use a single ball of Navia Trio (DK/worsted weight; 100% wool; 120m / 131yds per 50g) which you can buy straight from The Island Wool Company and a selection of their lovely, local, brick and mortar stockists. If you want to get stripy, you’ll need an extra ball of colour or roughly half/half with a bit more of colour A. You’re looking for a yarn that gives you 19 sts x 32 rows = 10cm / 4” over colourworked stocking stitch after blocking. This is quite heavy for a UK DK, but it isn’t quite yet an aran. It’s right on the borders of a worsted and a light worsted. Yarn categories are so flexible and have so much variation – it’s insane. Navia is a nice standard, traditional Nordic 3-Ply weight. You could experiment with knitting in an aran weight as Helen of The Wool Kitchen did (with great results) when she tested it for me. Mandy has made a few of them, one in handspun, another in special reserve, stashed angora and a third in a marl.
We had an immense amount of fun during this part of the the photoshoot. We did it outside Fin & Flounder on Broadway Market. They were slightly bemused, but totally accommodating. I’ve never had so many puns hurled at me by passing strangers. “Are you sure you’re in the right plaice?” “Looks fishy to me!” “Hats off to you!” “Can’t pull the wool over your eyes!” And a bunch of others I can’t recall, but apparently, the combo fish, wool and knitting is a rich vein. With all that going down, we just decided to channel Abba.
You can find the pattern details for the Adélie hat on Ravelry. Soon you’ll be able to purchase the printed Penguin: a Knit Collection book from your LYS (you might need to ask them to order it in, if they haven’t already arranged to stock it). And you can most certainly Get your copy of PENGUIN: A Knit Collection HERE!