I found this delicious skein of yarn in my stash the other day – a lovely chunky blend of wool, alpaca and silk – and thought it might make a nice hat.
Whilst I was thinking about what style of hat I changed my mind though. The weather is turning colder, but when the sun is out it is still nice and warm, so I thought that maybe a headband might be a better option. Just enough to keep your ears warm.
Then I got thinking about a style and decided on something simple. My reasoning? Well, there are lots of you out there at the moment who are very busy learning to knit and you need more simple patterns, to help you learn. So, here it is. A quick headband pattern. I prefer to think of it as an ear warmer though. It is lightly shaped and in seed stitch, so it fits nicely around your head with only knit, purl and some basic increases and decreases.
Let’s get going shall we?
Firstly, I suggest you measure your head, or the head that you are making the headband for if it’s not your own. The headband I am making is designed to fit a head of between 55 and 58cm. This is measured around the head from the back, just above your hairline, over the tops of the ears and to the front, around the hairline. Or, if you want your headband to sit differently then measure around where you want your headband to sit. I find it is best to reduce the size by a small amount so that it fits nice and snug and doesn’t fall down – not too tight though! Then if you need to make it bigger or smaller you can add in or take out some rows on the widest part of the headband. I have pointed out where to do this in the pattern below. You can work out how many rows as per the calculation in the next paragraph.
The tension I am using for this pattern is approximately 24 rows and 16 stitches per 10cm square, on 5.5mm needles. So, if you wanted to make your headband 3cm bigger for example then here is how many extra rows you would need to do:
24 rows = 10cm
which means that 1cm = 2.4 rows
so, 3cm = 2.4 x 3
which gives 7.2 rows. Let’s call it 7 rows, as you can’t really do 0.2 of a row! So, you would need to do an extra 7 rows.
Let’s do the calculation again, just so you get it. Say you wanted to make your headband 2.5 cm smaller.
again 1cm = 2.4 rows
so, 2.5cm = 2.4 x 2.5
which gives 6 rows. So you would need to do 6 rows less than the amount stated in the pattern below.
Sorry if that was over explained but some people might not have had to do this before. Let’s move on shall we.
Firstly, you will need some chunky yarn and a pair of needles. Any yarn can be used. I used a skein of Mirasol Sulka, which is lovely and soft and warm, but you can use any chunky weight yarn you fancy. You will only need about 50g.
Just check your yarn is ok by knitting a tension square. A tension square is a square big enough to be able to measure out 10cm x 10cm. You will need to do it with 5.5mm needles on this occasion as they are the ones I used for the pattern. Then once you have your square, count how many rows and how many stitches you have per 10cm. It should come out something like the tension I mentioned above (it’s in bold type). As long as it is somewhere close then it will be ok. If you have too many stitches/rows then you could try again using a bigger needle size, or if you have not enough stitches/rows then try again using smaller needles. Now you have your yarn sorted let’s look at the abbreviations.
These are the only stitches used in this pattern:
k – knit p – purl
pfkb – purl into the front and then knit into the back of the same stitch (increase)
kfpf – knit into the front and then purl into the front of the same stitch (increase)
k2tog – knit two stitches together (decrease)
p2tog – purl two stitches together (decrease)
sts – stitches
I will show you how to do these increases and decreases later on.
Start by casting on 11sts.
Row A – p1, k1, p1, k1, continue in this way to the end of the row.
Repeat row A, 15 more times.
Row B – k1, pfkb, *p1, k1, repeat from the * over and over until you get to the last 2sts, kfpf, k1. (you should have 13sts now)
Let’s have a quick look at the pfkb stitch.
The simplest way to view it is that you are knitting twice into the same stitch. The p stands for purl, the k for knit, the f for front and the b for back. So, you can have different combinations of these increases. For example, kfpf (knit into the front and purl into the front), kfb (knit into the front and the back).
So, when you are ready to do the pfkb, start by purling into the front of the next stitch exactly as you would if you were doing a normal purl stitch, BUT, do not slip the stitch off the left hand needle at the end (pic 1). Instead, take your yarn to the back of your work (pic 2), then turn your work towards you slightly so you can see the back of the stitches on the left needle. Insert your right hand needle into the back loop of the same stitch (pic 3), then knit this stitch (pic 4). Then you can slide the stitch on the left hand needle off. You have increased by one stitch, as you have made two from one (pic 5).
The kfpf is also very similar. This time you knit into the front of the next stitch, leave it on the left hand needle, then bring your yarn to the front and then purl into the front of the same stitch. This might feel a little strange at first, but you will get used to it.
I hope that makes some sense. If you need a little more help, there is a video in the learning zone which explains how to do a kfb stitch. This is very similar, so it might help to watch this also.
Let’s continue the pattern…
Row C – k1, p1, k1, p1, continue in this way to the end of the row.
Repeat row C, 2 more times.
Row D – p1, kfpf, *k1, p1, repeat from the * until you get to the last 2sts, pfkb, p1. (15sts)
Row E – p1, k1, p1, k1, continue in this way to the end of the row.
Repeat row E, 2 more times.
Row F – k1, pfkb, *p1, k1, repeat from the * until you get to the last 2sts, kfpf, k1. (17sts)
Row G – k1, p1, k1, p1, continue in this way to the end of the row.
Repeat row G, 62 more times.
This is the part of the pattern where if you want to increase or decrease the size of the headband then you can add or subtract your extra rows. All you need to do is change the number of repeats of row G by the number of rows you need to adjust by. (Hopefully if you wanted to adjust the size then you worked this out earlier on).
Time to decrease now.
Row H – p1, k2tog, *p1, k1, repeat from * to last 3 sts, k2tog, p1. ( 15sts)
If you need help with a k2tog decrease then this is how to do it. (Otherwise, you can skip to Row I)
A k2tog stitch, (knit two tohgether), is essentially the same as knitting one stitch, but you are knitting two at the same time instead.
Start by inserting your right hand needle through the front of both of the next two stitches on your left needle, (pic 1), in exactly the same way you would if you were just about to knit a stitch. Then wrap your yarn around your needle like a normal knit stitch, (pic 2), draw your loop of yarn back through both of the stitches on your left hand needle, (pic 3), then you can slip them both off your left needle and you now have one stitch on your right hand needle instead of 2, (pic 4). That is your decrease done.
There is a video in the Wool Monkey Learning Zone where you can learn how to do this is if you would like a little bit more help, or would like to watch it being done.
Let’s continue the pattern again.
Row I – p1, k1, p1, k1, continue in this way to the end of the row.
Repeat Row I, 2 more times.
Row J – k1, p2tog, *k1, p1, repeat from the * to the last 3sts, p2tog, k1. ( 13sts)
The p2tog stitch, (purl two together), is done in exactly the same way as a k2tog stitch, except you are purling instead of knitting. Hopefully that should make sense to you by now. Let me know if not.
Row K – k1, p1, k1, p1, continue in this way to the end of the row.
Repeat Row K, 2 more times.
Row L – p1, k2tog, *p1, k1, repeat from * to last 3 sts, k2tog, p1. ( 11sts)
Row M – p1, k1, p1, k1, continue in this way to the end of the row.
Repeat Row M, 15 more times.
Cast off your remaining 11sts, not too tightly though!
You have nearly finished now. All you need to do next is sew the two ends of your headband together, then sew in any remaining ends.
Hopefully it should look something like this when it is done. Although you will probably make a better model than me. (I really don’t like having to do my own modelling – yet another lockdown drawback!)
I hope some of you beginners (or non beginners) will enjoy having a go at this one.
Happy Knitting !
p.s. It turns out that this size is actually quite a bit more versatile than I thought it was going to be. My 9 year old has decided that this ear warmer is now hers and it fits her quite well! I suppose that means I will have to make another one…