Tams and blocking them have always befuddled me, so to accompany “The Tam O’Shanter” by Eileen Lee, here are some tips from expert hat knitter Susan Rainey. —Pat Olski, editor, PieceWork
Hats are one of my favorite things to knit, and I’ve made dozens. They are quick projects that allow you to experiment with different techniques such as Fair Isle, lace, beaded knitting, or cables, with very little investment in time or materials. As with all knitting, your gauge is a factor, but even if your gauge is off, a hat will probably fit someone you know.
The typical hat has three sections: the bottom ribbing or brim, the body, and the crown. A standard beanie (or toque) is the most popular style and can be close fitting or slouchy. The shape is relatively straight from brim through the body, and then tapers to a rounded dome shape at the crown.