A few weeks ago, a good friend approached me about my knitting a hat for her dog. She sent me a picture that she saw on social media of a Corgi looking adorable in a hat, and decided her dog, Walter, needed one as well.
What I didn't tell her was that the picture she sent me was of a crocheted hat. Unfortunately, I do not know how to crochet, and, at this point, I don't think I'll ever learn (but who knows, I'm still young). I make this point because, in my opinion, crocheting is great for freeform-type projects like dog hats. Again, I am unfamiliar with crocheting, so I could be way off base here.
Knitting a hat for a dog was going to be a challenge, and I knew that from the very beginning. I spent weeks (okay with many days off in between) studying the picture my friend sent me trying to figure out just how I was going to construct this thing. Just when I thought I had cracked it, I noticed another part of the hat that I hadn't considered. I compiled quite a long list of measurements I needed of Walter to be able to construct this. Admittedly, I only actually used a few.
Finally the day came for me to sit down and knit the hat. As I started working, I realized it wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. In fact, I realized it was actually somewhat simple. I just had to do a little math and a little abstract thinking, but once I got going it was great. Each time I finished a section, I thought to myself "I should probably just quit while I'm ahead and give her a half made hat."
Next thing I knew, the hat was basically done. I don't know why I thought Walter's head was massive, but his hat ended up being very small. I was really nervous that it wouldn't fit him, but it fits like a glove (almost). My biggest fear was that my friend was going to receive the hat and it wasn't going to fit and I was going to let her down. That was absolutely not the case; she was so thrilled with the results.
Even more exciting, I had so much yarn left over once I finished Walter's hat (because, again, his head really isn't that big). Obviously, I used the yarn to make matching hats for Walter's humans. I had just enough yarn to whip out two human-sized hats (although, they were a little snug). Now, when it gets cold, Walter's head will stay nice and warm, and so will his humans. When they take him outside, everyone will know who he belongs to and vice versa.
I used Red Heart Baby Hugs Medium. And I used all of the yarn. I mean all of it. There is nothing left, no scraps to speak of. I chose Red Heart Baby Hugs because it is recommended for baby items. I thought that would be good because I know dog skin can be very sensitive, and people are often told to use baby products on dogs because of this. This was my first time working with Red Heart Baby Hugs, and I really like it. It was so squishy and soft to the touch. I think it'll be great for a dog (or baby).
Method of Construction
I'm not going to write up a pattern as this was very dog specific. However, I will include the materials I used, the measurements I used, and the general method of construction.
U.S. 9/5.5 mm 16" circular needles OR (4) double-pointed needle
U.S. 9/5.5 mm straight needles
1 ball of Red Heart Baby Hugs Medium
Something to hold stitches on (scrap piece of yarn, spare double-pointed needle or different size straight needle)
Pom Pom Maker (optional; I used cardboard or you could forgo the pom pom)
- Circumference of the head (this tells you the circumference of the hat brim)
- Distance from forehead to ears (this tells you how long the brim of the hat should be)
- Forehead to back of neck (this tells you how long the middle portion should be)
- Forehead to center of head (this tells you how long the front of the hat should be)
- Back of neck to center of head (this tells you how long the backof the hat should be)
- Width between ears (this tells you how long to make the front portion)
- Depth of ears (front to back of ears, should be a small measurement)
- Cast on using the circlular or double pointed needles the appropriate number of stitches that will give you the circumference of the head.
- Knit brim of hat (I did 1x1 ribbing). This should be as long as measurement #2.
- Based on measurement #6, knit across the next row. Then cast off enough stitches to make room for the ear based on measurment #7. Knit across the back of the hat until you have the number of stitches remaining to make room for the other ear and cast of remaining stitches.
- Put stitches for the back of the hat on hold.
- Using the straight needles, knit the front of the hat based on measurement #4 using stockinette stitch (remember to measure from the cast on row). Once desired length is reached, put these stitches on hold.
- Knit the back of the hat using straight needles and stockinette stitch based on measurement #5.
- Before going further, it may be useful to measure the front and back together to make sure it matches measurement #2.
- In order to seam the front and back of the hat, I grafted the two sides. However, if you're okay with a seam, I think a 3 needle bind off would also be appropriate.
- In order to make the ear flaps, I picked up stitches from the cast on row below the ear holes. On each row I decreased one stitch until I was left with two. I then did an icord in order to be able to tie the hat under the chin. I just knitted the ear flaps in stockinette, but a ribbing would have looked good as well.
- Lastly, make the pom pom if desired.
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