Every single time I buy yarn for a sweater, I buy a little more than I think I might need plus one more skein — out of extreme caution heightened by my compact-row-gauge affliction — and every time I think, “If there’s enough left over, I’ll knit a matching hat.” I’m apparently wild about the idea of a matching hat. And yet, thus far, I have never once done that. Which means I have a lot of leftovers, which is why you’re always hearing me speculate about a leftovers blanket or even a leftovers sweater. But the fact is, I do really love the idea of using them to make myself an array of very plain but perfectly coordinated hats — hats that hopefully meet my exacting requirements for a hat, since I don’t have a super hat-friendly head and won’t wear one if it isn’t just right. Enter Whitney Hayward’s Holcomb Hat, an ultra-basic top-down hat pattern written to work for any gauge and intended size. She describes it as ideal for using up handspun (unpredictable gauge) and those mysterious no-longer-labeled stash yarns we all have rolling around, but I love this specifically for project leftovers because you’ve already established your gauge, thereby negating the need to commit any of your yarn to a swatch while simultaneously increasing the likelihood of nailing the fit.
The thing about a top-down hat is it’s the same as a top-down sweater: Trying it on as you go is all well and good, but you need to know how blocking will affect the finished fabric. As long as you remember to count, not measure, you should be good. And a fold-up brim always gives you wiggle room on the length.
I’m hereby swearing to do this when I’m done with my current sweater, leftover yardage permitting.
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