Winter cometh, y’all. A fact of life. This post is for all you knitty folks who live up in the colder climes, what we here in the flatlands call “up narth.” I have mentioned before that my town is at the same latitude as Casablanca, Morocco. Yes, it does get cold here, but not all that cold compared to the feet of snow and minus teens of, say, Montana or Vermont, or Minnesota. Still, we do get knitted hat weather here, particularly because our cold almost always comes liberally laced with wind chill*. Even though you don’t lose all that much heat through your head (7-10% is what they say now), you still have structures like ears that are more susceptible to cold than other, larger body parts. Sitting as they do on the tallest part of the body, they are also susceptible to wind chill.
I put my little knitty mind to the problem and came up with a toboggan that I think fills the bill. the bottom of the hat has a hem that puts a double thickness of knitting over the ears, the inner layer of which is ribbed, for even more insulation. Yes, you can turn up a cuff in the bottom of a stocking cap or watch hat and have the same effect, but all you have to do with this hat is just put it on. The cuff is permanently turned for you.
This toboggan uses a provisional cast-on, which scares most knitters until they actually do it and see how simple it can be. (You can find all kinds of complicated, fancy-schmancy, with crochet hooks, provisional cast ons, but I like the one I’ve linked to because it’s super easy.)
Why do you need a provisional cast on? It allows you to “turn a hem” in the bottom of the cap. That can also be kind of tricky. I pick up the stitches of the provisional cast on about 20 stitches at a time with a double pointed needle (DPN), pull out the scrap yarn that I’ve used for the provisional cast on, and knit them together (k2tog) with my working stitches, a stitch at a time to form the hem.
I take a provisional stitch purlwise off the DPN, transfer it to my circular needle, then knit it and the working stitch behind it together. It’s a simple, straightforward process, so long as you don’t load too many provisional stitches on the DPN.
Of the two stitches you knit together, the provisional stitch must always be the stitch on the right with the working stitch on the left, so that when you knit the two stitches together, the working stitch ends up on top with the provisional stitch behind it. That way, you get a seamless join.
If you’re a serious knitter, you can turn one of these toboggans out in an afternoon, or a long evening. Apart from the “turning of the hem” bit and the decreases at the top of the hat, the rest is TV knitting** at its finest. These make great gifts not just for the skiers, snowboarders, and snowmobilers in your life, but for those who have to work outside in the winter weather.
*whence the expression, "Ain't but one fence between us and Canada, and it's down." **Knitting that is so simple you can do it while watching TV and still not mess it up.