My Emilia, unlike most girls her age, is obsessed with Anna, NOT Elsa from the frozen movie. We saw it twice in theatres, promptly purchased the entire soundtrack, which my two sang along with all day and slept to at night, and then watched it 4x daily for months after it came out on DVD. I’m glad that phase has ended, but Emilia and my son, Everett, really enjoy dress up and still use their Anna and Elsa capes often. Yes, my son has an Elsa cape… so he can have ice power… he insisted. Like, literally dragged bolts of swirly blue fabric through the store, had me bring it home, then stood over me while I sewed it. Perhaps I’ll have to post a tutorial on that as well… to give him equal play on this site.
Anyway, when I looked for a pattern for Anna’s headpiece, they were all crocheted, most of them were hats, NOT bonnets, and they all used loose yarn for the braids. ALL problems for me. I am a terrible hooker and I also wanted the braids to be knitted. I know my children — and I can tell you they would unbraid, cut and scatter all that loose yarn if I finished the hat that way.
To remedy these problems I looked up two different things: a three-strand braid knitting pattern and a bonnet pattern that was big enough for a toddler and used fairly large (6mm) needles so I could use the yarn Emilia had picked out. She chose a (sport weight) glitter magenta and I chose a matching worsted weight yarn to carry with it. I often carry two (or three or four) yarns together to give my knitting a unique look. I like to be able to create my own color palette and new textures. I also deplore using 3 to 4mm needles to knit something my child may disregard minutes after it’s finished. The shorter the task, the better.
Finding a tutorial on the braid was easy — I pinned it months ago to my knitting board on Pinterest. Here’s the link! (BTW you can find me on Pinterest username: kendradenae) http://annenorgaard.blogspot.co.il/2013/01/3-strand-cable-braid-tutorial.html?m=1
The bonnet… not so easy. I trolled Ravelry for a whole day before I finally decided to adapt and alter a basic moss stitch pattern made for infants to 2 yrs. The pattern was written for 5mm needles, so I knitted a swatch, measured my daughter’s head and used her general idea to do the following. If you’d like to see the original pattern, here’s the link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cozy-fall-bonnet
Emilia is two (she’ll be three in 6 weeks), so this bonnet is sized for a toddler. Though I haven’t tested other sizes, I’ll go ahead and give a suggestion for a child sized pattern (age 4-7), as measured on my son’s head (which is 90th percentile in size). If you’re planning on making a smaller version for a baby, I’d like to point out that the above pattern by Lara Simonson of “Knot Enuf Knitting” has a chinstrap that may be useful to you.
16 stiches and 24 rows= 4” in moss stitch
What you’ll need:
- Eyelash yarn in purple. Anna’s bonnet uses a lavender shade, but I was unable to find the right color in this texture, so I settled for a variegated purple that moved from lavender to amethyst; Yarn Bee’s “Haute Fur” in Vineyard, from Hobby Lobby. (I tried boycotting them, but we have very little yarn selection in this town! LOL)
- A worsted weight lavender yarn to carry with it. I used “I Love This Yarn” in Orchid. (This was already in my stash from an Enderman hat…SCORE!)
- For Anna’s hair I wanted a more lustrous yarn, so I chose two shades of Caron’s “Simply Soft” in Pumpkin and Bone. (I already had these leftover from some pumpkin and cupcake hats. You won’t need much so try to use what you have)
- For the bonnet body I carried Yarn Bee’s glittery “Fetching” in Flamingo Topaz together with “I Love this Yarn” in Hot Rose (worsted weight).
- 6mm straight needles
- A cable needle or a 6 mm DPN
- An upholstery needle
- Two small elastic hair bands
- 26 inches of ¼’’ satin ribbon in pink or purple (your choice)
Let’s knit it!
Cast on 60 (64) stitches with your purple yarns (eyelash and worsted) held together. We’re going to knit these in a 1×1 rib for 4 rows. (If you’re adjusting this pattern, use an even amount of stitches)
Row1-4: *K1, P1* to the end
Now it’s time to change to our pink yarn. The glitter and worsted held together should be joined here and worked in moss stitch.
Row 5 and 6: *K1, P1* to the end
Row 7 and 8: *P1, K1* to the end
Repeat this stitch until your work measures 6 (6.5) inches.
Now we’re going to cast off some of our stitches and continue knitting the back panel.
On the right side of your work (though they look the same at this point, just note this will ultimately be the right side) Bind off 21 (22) stitches knitwise, Knit 18(20) stitches, bind off remaining 21 (22) stitches.
Now we will knit the back panel of the hat.
The original pattern states that we should knit this to the same length as the sides we cast off, but I like to be more mathematical and exact about my knitting, so I’m not guessing (and re-doing).
Continue knitting in moss stitch for 40 (42) rows, then bind off knit-wise. (For an explanation of how I got to this number and why, see below)
If you’re adapting this pattern for a different size, I recommend taking the number of stitches you cast off on one side, subtracting one stitch (because you’re bind off row will account for this, and knitting twice that number of rows. Every two rows will give you a knotted row-end (a purl bump) that you can pair with a cast off stitch. Because it’s hard to describe what I mean, please see the below illustration.
Now, with the right side of the work facing you, whip stitch through one knot (purl bump) from the raw edge, into the cast-off stitch on the other side. Continue all the way down! You’ll notice that if you try to join the raw edge from between the knots, you’ll get an annoying interruption in the moss stitch. We don’t want that! All of this should ensure the hat will have plenty of stretch in the back, no gaps, stretching or pulling when you join the sides, and an all-around pretty finish!
Weave in all your ends and now we can move on to the braids. There are two ways you can do this: pick up stitches at the bottom of the bonnet (which is what I did) or knit the braids separate from the hat and then sew them in. Please do what you’re comfortable with. I always default to picking up stitches because if feels more secure and limits the amount of finishing work.
With the orange and tan yarn held together, and on the right side of your work, pick up 12 stitches on the same 6mm needles. I switched to DPNs (double pointed needles) at this point since we’re working so few stitches and I hate working with long needles all the time! My wrists get sore! Please note that even if you use straight needles you will need one cable needle or one 6mm DPN for the braid!
Row 1: Purl
Row 2: Knit
Row 3: Purl
Row 4: Slip the first 4 stitches onto your cable needle. Then knit 4 stitches from your main needle, knit the stitches from the cable needle, then knit the last four stitches on your main needle.
Row 5: Purl
Row 6: Knit
Row 7: Purl
Row 8: Knit four stitches from your main needle. Slip the next 4 onto the cable needle, knit the last four stitches from your main needle, the knit the 4 stitches from the cable needle.
Row 9: Purl
Row 10: Knit
Row 11: Purl
Repeat rows 4 through 11 until you reach the desired braid length. I used a total of 6 sets.
Now for the bottom of the braid:
Beginning on the right side of your work make a 2×2 rib.
Row 1 through 10: *K2, P2* until the end
Row 11: Bind off in pattern
Weave in all your ends!
To cinch the braids, I used two small purple hair elastics. If you have a toddler girl… you have hundreds of these all over your house. Next I cut two pieces of 13 inches of 1/4’’ satin ribbon and tied a bow on top of the elastic band. If you want these to stay in place you’ll have to use a dab of glue or break out the old needle and thread and put a few stitches through the bow center (like your sewing on a button).
In case you don’t work with ribbon often, it’s a good idea to seal the cut ends with the flame of candle or lighter to prevent fraying/unraveling over time.
That’s it! You’re finished! Hope your little one likes it as much as mine does!