The After-thought Peaked Brim

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The after-thought peaked brim was originally included in our 2013 Mystery Hat-a-long pattern, Erica, late last year. It proved to be a popular option and I figured I’d get it all written out into a blog post so that you can consider adding this kind of brim to just about any Hat.

I like to create a peak Brim all in one piece, right at the very beginning of the work, as I like the neat, crisp line it creates with the ribbed Band. But I am also aware that it is fiddly, and should you change your mind later, the only way to remove the peak is to rip everything out.

If you are unsure about whether a peaked Brim works for you or not, then the after-thought peaked Brim could be for you. This method involves working the peak in just the same way, except the stitches are picked up from the edge of the twisted rib band instead of being provisionally cast on, and instead of joining the live stitches as instructed below, the stitches are stitched closed, or grafted, to the underside of the Band.

Sure, picking up stitches isn’t everyone’s favourite task; they can sometimes look a little clumsy. But if you’re really not sure about the peak, the after-thought peaked-Brim will be just the ticket.

the Camden Cap, front view

the Erica Hat, side view

The peak is essentially a pocket, worked in stocking stitch or reverse stocking stitch and created by short rows, and it doesn’t really look like a peak until you’ve added in the plastic and closed it all up. This oddity comes up a lot on the forums, both for Erica and Camden Cap, it’s one of those things that you really gotta trust and just do – because it probably won’t make sense or look like much until it’s done. I have thought about creating the peak in different ways but I like this way because of the way the stitches stretch and spread out. Maybe in the future I’ll design more Hats with a peak and explore other methods, who knows!

 

How To

To create the pocket, pick up an even number of stitches that’s just under half of the brim stitches, ensuring they sit centrally to the centre front. You really do need this many, as the brim curves around the face a lot more than you think.

Row 1, right side: Knit all stitches
Row 2, wrong side: Purl all stitches
Row 3: Knit to one stitch from the end, work a short row (SR)
Row 4: Purl to one stitch from the end, work a short row (SR)

Repeats Rows 3 and 4 until your work is just under double the depth of the peak at the widest point – I’d suggest aiming for around 3 inches or 7.5 centimetres in total, maybe a little less. Don’t forget that it’s going to be stretched around the plastic insert, so it doesn’t want to be as big as the plastic insert.

Next Row: Knit all stitches, working the short rows as you go
Next Row: Purl all stitches, working the short rows as you go

Lightly press the Brim with a damp cloth and iron (steam press) to create a pocket with a gentle fold; you may prefer to lightly block with pins to maintain shape.

Diagram 1: this schematic shows the shape needed for the plastic insert. The vertical arrow is the depth of the brim, which should be around 2 inches or 5 centimeters. The curved horizontal arrow will be roughly one half of the finish brim circumference, or just under.
To create the Brim insert, I recommend recycling a plastic bottle. Ideally you’ll want to use a water bottle or similar, and if you can find one in a coordinating coloured plastic, all the better. Rinse the bottle out after use and leave to dry. Cut a cross section of the bottle deep enough for the Brim template and cut the section vertically to open it out into a rectangle. Do not attempt to remove the curve in the plastic, as this might cause it to melt. Instead, cut the Brim in the direction of the curve, as this will enhance the shape when worn.

Print the schematic above to scale – you’ll need to check your printer settings to achieve that, I’m afraid I can’t advise you on that! Now transfer this shape to the piece of plastic by drawing around the edge of the paper template with a permanent or non-smudge marker. Cut the shape out of the plastic.

Neaten the edges and trim approximately 2 millimeters all the way round – take care not to trim too much, as you can always take more off as needed. Test the size by slipping it into the Brim pocket to see how it closes – you want a little stretch in the Brim to cover the plastic to hold it tight, but if you can see the plastic through it, the Brim has been stretched too much, and the plastic needs carefully trimming further.

You may also wish to make the edges smoother, in particular the points, by placing tape around the edge. Once you have the plastic cut to shape, you will hold it inside the Brim as you close the Brim.

To close the brim, fold the knitting around the plastic insert and either slip stitch the live stitches to the underside of where you picked up, or pick up loops from the underside and graft them to the live stitches. Fair warning that this bit is fiddly as you’ll be joining the stitches and closing the brim around the plastic insert. You may wish to join about two-thirds to three-quarters of the stitches before inserting the plastic.

 

Further Thoughts

It’s impossible for me to give an exact number of stitches to cast on or an exact amount of rows to work for the peak – it really does depend on your Hat size, your yarn, your gauge and much more. If you have the Camden Cap or Erica patterns then you could use the instructions for the peaks in those on other Hats. Otherwise, experiment with this – it’s being added after you’ve finished your Hat so it won’t ruin anything if it doesn’t turn out right the first time!

 

Support

Have fun with this! If you’ve a question about this technique, pop it in a comment below or visit the forum. I’m unable to offer help with patterns or techniques via email. I’d love to see what you do with this!

This tutorial was updated on 2nd December 2021 with fresh photos and new links, and was republished from my drafts where it’d been hiding for a while.

Woolly Wormhead

Woolly Wormhead is an internationally reknowned knit designer, specialising in Hats, technique and construction. Their patterns and techniques have been used by thousands of knitters worldwide. Join The Woolly Hat Society to be the first to learn of their latest projects and special offers!

2 Comments

  1. Susi

    Thank you so much! I can’t believe I haven’t thought of a plastic bottle for this before.

    Reply
    • Woolly Wormhead

      Plastic bottles are perfect for this as they have the curve built right in! And if it cuts down on buying plastic, all the better

      Reply

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