Donna Smith’s Baa-ble Hat is the official pattern for Shetland Wool Week 2015. Every September, Shetland celebrates wool and the crafts that use it. The original pattern calls for Jamieson’s Heather Aran and Worsted Aran yarns, which we don’t carry, but which can be purchased online. We have found that our Peace Fleece yarns knit to a similar gauge, however, so please consider those for this project. The hat is very popular in our area because of the importance of sheep in the Navajo culture and because it’s so darn cute that you’d have to be some kind of sourpuss not to appreciate it.
Baa-ble Hat: Too Big, Too Small, Just Right!
The suggested gauge for the project is 23 stitches and 26 rows = 4 inches in stocking stitch with size seven needles. This gauge with Jamieson’s yarn will give you a hat that is very firm and warm, but many people find that they cannot achieve the gauge and the hat that results is very large, especially if you use many of the worsted yarns commonly available. Knitters from all over the world have used the pattern and 9000+ projects based on it have been posted on Ravelry. If you check the projects page, you see that many different yarns have been used with varying degrees of success. Susan B. Anderson, noted for her knitted animal patterns, modified Donna’s design to help knitters using different yarns. You can find those notes at http://susanbanderson.blogspot.com/2015/10/modifications-and-tips-for-baa-ble-hat.html.
Here at Weaving in Beauty, we found that Donna’s original Baa-ble hat came out too big when we first tried it. Susan’s modifications, which remove 30 stitches and change the gauge, were a little too small. We re-charted the pattern with 96 and 112 stitches. For us, that’s just right. If you buy the pattern from us, we’ll give you our modifications, and heck, we’ll even give them to you for free if you can prove that you bought the pattern or got it for free when it first came out! Our modifications are also included with the pattern, which we buy from Donna.
If you haven’t done colorwork before, this pattern is a great introduction. We’ll be glad to talk with you about how we do it and give you some links to other approaches. You can also find an in-depth tutorial from the nice people at Fruity Knitting. You know you want to knit this hat. 9,000 knitters can’t be wrong.