Introduction: Wooly Warm Hat

Tufts of soft, woolly roving are knit right into this ultra-warm and cozy hat with instructions given for two sizes: Child/Adult Small and Adult Medium. The tufts - also known as "thrums" - produce a fluffy inside layer that holds in body heat by catching body warmth in the small air pockets od the thrummed lining. These thrums are held into place by the simple fact that natural, unprocessed wool fibers have surface scales which love to cling to each other. This instructable shows you how to make and place thrums in your knitting projects.

The exterior of the hat has a pattern of spots which are the back side of the thrums. You can choose to match your thrums to your yarn color, or have fun with with the different colors of wool roving available and mix in more colors.

This instructable assumes that the reader already has the skill to cast on, work the knit stitch, purl stitch, and is familiar with the k1fb (knit in the front and back of stitch) increase, and the k2tog (knit two stitches together) decrease, and with making a pom-pom if desired.


  • 245yds/3.5oz/100grams of worsted weight wool yarn (not "superwash wool"). There are many commercial brands and independent yarn dyers who produce soft wool yarns. Not your grandmother's itchy stuff.
  • 1 oz. unspun natural wool fiber ("roving"). Look for soft "fine" or "merino" wool rovings which you can buy by the ounce online or in yarn stores. Some of the "felting" rovings in the big box craft stores may be OK, but some are too itchy to hold against your face and can be quite expensive. See photo of 1 oz. of roving on my kitchen scale. This fluffy ball can be smashed down in my hands to the size of a tennis ball so shop by weight and feel.
  • 16" (40cm) circular knitting needle US size 6 (4.25mm)
  • Set of 4 or 5 double point knitting needles US size 6 (4.25) or a second circular needle if you choose to work in the "two-circs" style of knitting in the round (no instructions included here).
  • 4 Stitch markers
  • Scissors
  • Yarn needle

Step 1: Cast On

Using the circular needle, loosely cast on 104 for Child/Adult Small size or 112 stitches for Adult Medium Size. Count your stitches again. I like to place a temporary stitch marker after casting on 50 sts, then cast on the rest. This helps when I recount after completing the cast on process.

IMPORTANT: Place circular needle on a flat surface and ensure that the stitches are not twisted around the needle. Your cast on will twist - it always does. With your fingers, carefully rotate the stitches until only the plain loops remain on the outside of the circle and the "bumps" of the cast on are on the inside of the circle. See Photo.

Join to knit in the round. For an almost invisible "join", I like to use the right hand needle to slip the first stitch on the left hand needle over to the right. See Photo. Then I place the stitch marker for the end of each round (blue marker in photo) on the left side of this moved stitch. This moved stitch now becomes the LAST stitch of the round to be worked and I pull the working yarn tight across the gap when I start to knit.

Step 2: Ribbed Brim

The brim of this hat is worked in 2x2 ribbing which is very stretchy.

Round 1: (knit 2 sts, purl 2 sts), repeat these 4 sts in the parenthesis all around until you reach the end of round stitch marker. You should end the round with 2 purl stitches worked.

Repeat Rnd 1 working the k2, p2 ribbing until your piece measures about 1 1/2" (3 cm) from the cast on edge.

TIP: If you don't end by working the last 2 sts in purl, you'll need to check your work:

  1. Count your stitches.
    1. If you have too many, simply purl 2 sts together to reduce 1 st. You may repeat this on what should be both of the last 2 purl stitches to reduce 2 sts.
    2. If you are missing a stitch or two, make a new stitch by inserting the tip of the right hand needle into a strand below before the marker from front to back, purl in the back of this loop to close it tightly. You may repeat this again finding a different strand for a second increase. Nobody will notice.
  2. Check your stitches visually looking to see where you made one too many or one two few of either a purl or knit stitch set. If you find an error
    1. unknit ("tink" which is "knit" spelled backwards) back to where you made the error. Rework the remaining round. This is a great skill to learn.
    2. Continue on to the next round and reset the stitches from knits to purls or visa versa as needed to the end of the round. This is another skill to learn.
    3. Start over. Rip out your needles and release your yarn to start anew. This is called "frogging" because you "rip-it, rip-it).

Step 3: Making a Thrummed Stitch

Making a thrum

  1. Pinch and pull off a small amount of fibers. The fibers will stretch and thin out as you pull. See photo for your goal for length (about 3") and width (about 1/2"). Note also that this is a very thin layer of fibers not a thick ball.
  2. Holding your fiber with both hands near the center of the length, twist from and spin the wool until it looks like yarn. It will naturally unspin if you let it go, so fold your thrum in half at the twisted center and pinch with one hand.
  3. Now you're ready to knit a stitch to be thrummed. Start by inserting your right hand needle into stitch yarn on the needle. Then place the twisted loop over your right hand and hold in place. Finally, wrap your working yarn around the needle tip as usual to knit a stitch, and pull both wraps (the thrum and the yarn) through to complete the stitch.
  4. You will see two stitches; first the thrum fiber (white in photo), and then next to it your working yarn (orange in photo).

Step 4: Knitting the Thrummed Body

Now that you know how to make a thrummed stitch you are ready to work the sequence of 6 rows necessary to create a dotted pattern outside and a soft fuzzy lining on the inside of your hat.

Rnd 1: knit all around

Rnd 2: *(knit 3 sts, thrum & knit the next st.) Repeat from * to the end of the round. In other words, you will work 3 plain knit stitches, then work a thrummed stitch for a total of 4 stitches, repeating this set of 4 until you reach your end-of-round marker. Don't worry about securing the rather loose thrums as we will take care of that on the next round. Also, don't get too excited and start pulling on the ends of the thrums as they will come out!!

Rnd 3: *(knit 3 sts, knit thrum and stitch together through the back loops) repeat from * to the end of the round. Knitting the two parts of the thrum & yarn together thru the back loops twists them together tightly and places the thrum on the public side of the work as the "dot". At this point, you may want to gently tug on BOTH ENDS of each thrum together pulling down towards the cast on edge to set the thrums a little more securely.

NOTE: If you accidentally pull out a thrum, don't worry. You can work it in later with a crochet hook or a yarn needle.

Rnd 4: Knit all around

Rnd 5: *(knit 1 st, thrum & knit the next st, knit 2 sts) Repeat from * to the end of the round.

Rnd 6: *(knit 1 st, knit thrum and stitch together thru the back loops) repeat from * to the end of the round.

OK! Continue to knit these same 6 rounds in order until your piece measures from the cast on edge 6" for Child/Adult Small or about 7" for Adult Medium. You do not want a too-short hat so measure carefully. The brim will become lined with the first few rows of thrums.

Step 5: Decreasing for the Crown (top of Head)

Now you will decrease 4 sts every other round to create the rounded top of the head. You will need all 4 stitch markers now.

KEEP your crown in the thrummed stitch pattern all the way to the top. Do not thrum the knit 2 together decreases when you work them. See photo of the decrease line that spirals to the right - no thrums are necessary.

Set up Round (Decreases): Work 26 sts continuing the thrumming pattern for Child/Adult Small, or work 28 for Adult Medium, then knit 2 sts together, Place additional Marker. Repeat these instructions 3 more times at which point you will be at your initial end-of-round marker. 4 stitches decreased. You will now have 108 sts for Child/Adult Small or 116 for Adult Medium size.


Rnd 1: Work all around in thrumming pattern, simply slipping markers as you pass them.

Rnd 2 (Decreases): Work thumming pattern until you reach 2 stitches before a marker. Knit these last 2 stitches together, slip marker. Repeat 3 more times to the end of the round.

REPEAT these two rounds above 5 more times.

Next: Continue by working Rnd 2 only, decreasing on every round until you have only 8 sts remaining. You will need to change to a set of double point needles when the stitches won't stretch around your circular needle.

TIP: If you use a set of 4 double point needles you will need to continue using the stitch markers. But, if you use a set of 5 double points, then you can rearrange your stitches so that you have an even number on each of 4 needles always ending with the Knit 2 Together. This helps you keep on track!

Step 6: Finishing

Cut yarn, leaving a 10" tail. Thread tail through a yarn needle and then carefully push the needle through the loops of the last 8 sts. Pull tight to gather together and close the top. Push needle with tail down through the center of the gathered stitches and secure well.

Weave in yarn tails. If any of your thrums hang below your ribbing edge simply clip them neatly.

Add pom pom if desired.

Warm and Fuzzy Challenge

Second Prize in the
Warm and Fuzzy Challenge