A toque refers to a knit hat, used commonly in the knit and crochet community. The origins of this word come from approximately 13th-century Europe. A toque is also the hat a professional would wear, for instance, the headwear of a chef, magistrate or professor.
There are many names for knit caps, and so many stitches and technique variations that the possibilities seem endless. In this post, we will show you the basic constructions of a beanie hat and a slouchy hat, how to measure your head to ensure proper fit, and how to customize your knit hat so you can make it your own.
Today we are using Titan yarn. Titan is one of most favorite yarns. It is one of Mary Maxim’s original yarn and is still available in 18 colors. We are excited to offer 3 new colors to the collection this year Forest Green, Teal Heather, and Mauve. Each skein of Titan is approximately 80 yards (73 m) of yarn. Titan is 100% acrylic and is a 3 ply bulky weight yarn.
When constructing either a beanie style hat or a slouchy hat there are two measurements that are the most important; the circumference of the head and length from the crown of the head to the bottom of the ear.
The ribbing on your hat should be smaller than the circumference of your head where the ribbing would sit, we call this negative ease. To create the stretchiest hat we would use a very stretchy ribbing like a k1, p1 stitch combination. The k1, p1 rib is more firm than the k2, p2 rib which opens up more. To make ribbing tighter or looser will depend on the size of the needle and how tightly you cast on. For our hat we want our ribbing to not only be stretchy but also snug enough to feel secure. For this reason, we will be using a k2, p2 stitch combination. Refer to the chart below for a general guide for determining the ribbing size of your hat. Another option would be to measure the size of your head and multiply that number by 80% or .8 to determine the size of ribbing you should knit your hat, this gives you a 20% negative ease.
Let’s do some knitting math
When we use Titan yarn and a US size 10 (6.00 mm) needle, we get 3 stitches per inch in a k2, p2 stitch combination. If we want correct size and have multiples of 4 stitches for the k2, p2 ribbing we would multiply the size of our brim by 3 and divide that by 4. If it divides evenly then we’ve found the number of stitches we should cast on. This can vary depending on tension so check your gauge before relying on this chart.
For instance for a preemie hat 8 x 3 = 24 , 9 x 3 = 27, 10 x 3 = 30, 12 x 3 =36 . Of these numbers, only the 8-inch and 12-inch hat size divide into 4 evenly. To further customize your hat add or subtract stitches in multiples of 4. See the chart below for recommended sizes.
If you are planning on folding the brim of your hat you will want your brim to be on the larger size both in circumference and in length. The length of our brim, which doesn’t fold, stays roughly between 1.5 and 2.5 inches to stay proportionate with the wearer.
Adjusting for the Crown
After we are satisfied with knitting the brim, we start knitting the area of the hat which covers the top, sides, and nape of the head. If we are knitting a beanie we want this area to be snug to the head. If we are working a slouchy hat we want to increase our stitches to create the slouch. Our example uses the moss stitch to add texture to the beanie and requires an odd number of stitches when working in the round. For our example we will be increasing 1 stitch for Preemie hats, 3 stitches for Newborn to 6-month-old hats, 5 stitches to Child and Adult hats, and 5-7 to Adult Large hats to make a slouchy hat and only increasing 1 stitch for all sizes when working a beanie hat. Add these increases in the last round of the ribbing.
In the diagram to the left, the teal line shows where the brim of the hat will lie and where we need to measure the circumference of our head. The length of the crown is shown in grey and will lie usually right above the eyebrows and depending on personal preference above or below the ears. For our purposes, we will assume that your hat will cover the ears, so our measurements will be from the center of the top part of your head down to the base of your ear. Use the handy chart below as a guide in measuring the length of the crown.
When measuring for length, lay your work down flat and measure from brim to top of hat and use these guidelines to adjust your size. If you are working a slouchy hat you will want your hat to be a little bit longer. For the best fit, it’s always a good idea to measure the wearer’s head and subtract 20% for negative ease. You may even want to create your own guide for your favorite people.
Decreasing your hat
When working a beanie style hat, you will want a quick decreasing crown for a nice rounded shape. We suggest decreasing every alternate row with a large number of decreases in each round. If you are working a slouchy hat you may want a more gradual decrease, in this case, we suggest decreasing every other row with fewer decreases worked in each row.
Let’s do some more knitting math
Let’s say we are knitting an adult slouchy hat so we cast on 68 stitches and work our ribbing, then on the last row of the ribbing, we added 5 stitches to create the slouch – we are up to 73 stitches and work up the hat. We have added enough length to the crown of our hat and we are almost ready for our first decreasing round. If you want to have perfectly even decreases for the crown, decrease the last stitch in the last round thus ending with 72 stitches before starting your decrease rounds; or leave the extra stitch the work one of your decreasing groups with one extra stitch.
72 can be evenly divided by the numbers: 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9. At this point, we will pick the number of even decreases. Let’s pick 6 to give it a nice round shape. Decreasing 4 or less will decrease slowly, but the more decreases you have the more rounded the shape of your hat is, it’s a matter of preference.
72 divided by 6 equals 12 stitches, and we will be decreasing with a k2tog this means our first row of decreasing will be [k10, k2tog] repeated 6 times. If working a slouchy hat and working the decrease every other round, you would then work the following round in the moss stitch, then the next round would be another decreasing round of k19, k2tog. Eventually, when there are too few stitches to work on a circular needle change to double pointed needles and continue to decrease until you only have 6 stitches remain on your hat. Thread tail through remaining stitches, draw up tight to close and fasten off securely.
Finish your hat
Finish your hat by weaving in your ends. Add more interest to your hat with a pompom, you can make one out of yarn or faux fur, the possibilities are truly endless for these knitted hats.
Knitted hats using bulky yarn are very trendy and we don’t see that trend slowing down soon. These are fun items to make as gifts or even to sell at craft shows. Make sure to use the tag #sharewithmary and tag us in your hat photos. We love seeing what you make.
We have more tutorials, yarn reviews and guest posts in the works. What new technique or stitch would you like to see featured on the blog? Would you like to see more of a particular craft? Let us know in the comments.