I made this hat out of a chunky yarn on size #11 needles. It's the best way to make a hat fast. Work your favorite cable pattern (here I used a basic 3 strand braid), pick up stitches for the hat body and then decrease for the crown. It's really quite simple. I've even included directions for a ponytail hole.
Gather your Materials:
Yarn of your choice and appropriate 16-20" circular needles. 4 safety pins and 6 stitch markers. Tape measure and your head.
First you'll want to figure out your gauge, though you won't need it initially. I got about 3 sts per 1".
For a braid like mine, using a provisional cast on, CO 10 sts. 9 sts for the actual cable and the end stitch will be where you pick up stitches for the body of the hat. You can use a regular cast on and seam the ends together instead of graft. I just prefer a seamless look.
Follow the chart at the bottom until the band is long enough to fit comfortably around your head. Try to end on the last row of the chart. If you can't, no big deal. It's at the back of the hat anyway.
Here is where your gauge comes into play. Before you sew or graft the ends together, measure how long your band is (mine was 20.5"). Multiply that number by your gauge (20.5x3=61.5). Now you'll want to make that number a number that can be divided by 6. 6 goes evenly into 60, so 60 it is! That will be the number of stitches you will pick up along the edge of the hat.
Sew/graft ends together.
To help you pick up stitches evenly, place a safety pin at the 1/2 way point and at the 1/4 and 3/4 way points. Work 1/4 of your stitches between each of the pins. You didn't know there would be so much math involved, did you?
Now sit back, relax and knit. Place a stitch marker to mark the beginning of the round. You'll just knit in the round until the piece measures about 6" unless you are working a ponytail hole. See the option at the bottom. You can try it on as you go for the perfect fit. Stop knitting once the hat reaches the point on you head where your noggin starts to curve. 6" seems to work for most adult heads.
Now you'll place your 6 stitch markers to mark where you will do you decreases. Divide the number of stitches you picked up by 6 and place a marker after that number of stitches. For me it was every 10 sts.
Rd 1: Knit to 2 stitches before the marker, k2tog, slip marker. Repeat to beginning of the round.
Rd 2: Knit
Repeat these 2 rounds until you decreased your stitches by half (30 sts on the needles for me).
Now work the decrease round every round until you have 6 stitches remaining. You can still try it on as you go and stop at any point when the hat fits perfect. You'll just draw the yarn through 12 or 18 sts instead of 6. Cut yarn leaving a tail long enough to sew in. Draw yarn through remaining stitches and pull tight to close the hole. Weave ends it and put it on your head.
Work the body of the hat until it reaches almost to the bottom of your ponytail. Try it on with a ponytail at the level you normally put it. A hole about 1.5" wide seems adequate for me (4 sts wide). The hole will be worked over the beginning and end of the round, so remove the stitch marker and back up half the stitches you need for the hole plus 1 extra stitch (half of 4 is 2 +1=3). Purl the hole stitches (6 sts total for me, 3 from each side of the stitch marker). Work around back to the hole stitches, knit the first stitch, bind off center stitches (4 for me), purl the last stitch. Knit all stitches except purl the last stitch, turn. Purl next row, turn. Purl the first stitch, knit remaining stitches except purl the last stitch. Do not turn.
Cable cast on the same number of stitch you bound off. Join back in a round and knit around to 1 stitch before the cable cast on. Purl the hole stitches (including the 1 stitch on either side).
Now just continue on in stockinette until it's time to decrease. Work decreases as described above.