Handmade Holidays Part I: the Routa Hat

While prepping for this year’s holiday season, our team at Twig & Horn wanted to offer something special for you to make for a loved one. Being a team of makers, we reconnected with our roots, in search of projects we personally wanted to knit ourselves—gifts that are easy to make, provide warmth, comfort, and that extra special touch unique to a handknit. Handmade Holidays was soon born, and we’re so excited to share the first project in our collection: the Routa Hat Holiday Bundle.

The Routa Hat by the talented Sari Nordlund is a simple yet exquisite twisted cable hat that works up quickly in the round, from brim to crown. Knit with Stone Wool Corriedale, a cozy 3-ply Aran-weight yarn, you’ll love the soft and luxurious ease of working with this breed-specific, artisanal yarn. And you can rest assured knowing your purchase goes back to supporting the sheep farmers of the Hudson Valley in their efforts to preserve the unique qualities of the Corriedale breed. 

Below, one of our teammates takes you through the making of the Routa Hat—with some simple tips and tricks to ensure smooth sailing.

Knit up a swatch (AKA a cozy rug for your coffee mug)

The Routa Hat is a very straight-forward pattern, but it never hurts to knit up a quick swatch for peace of mind (getting the suggested gauge) and for the added benefit of getting to know the yarn. Being a newer knitter, I love swatching for the reasons above and for the fact that it’s a mini project that I can start and finish within the hour (while watching Netflix). And with my somewhat embarrassing collection of coffee mugs, I have ample use for hand-knit mug rugs.  

In the Routa Hat pattern, the suggested gauge is 18.5 st x 20 rounds = 4” [10 cm] in half twisted rib pattern on the smaller needle (US 9 / 5.5mm), knitted in the round, unstretched, after wet blocking. Again, being a newer knitter, knitting up this swatch got me quickly acquainted with the half twisted rib pattern that’s the foundation of this hat. And goodness, the Stone Wool Corriedale is a dream to knit with and the Fescue 02 colorway is a lovely shade of blue (my iPhone pictures just don’t do it justice!).

Cruising Cables from Brim-to-Crown

After wet blocking my little swatch, I was delighted to hit gauge and be on my merry way, starting with the simple half twisted rib pattern that makes up the first 6 inches of this hat.

Next: fun with (simple) cables! Designer Sari Nordlund made the Routa Hat a great project for first-time cablers, which worked for me since I had no experience prior to this project. I found the cable pattern to be intuitive and easy to follow, so my guess is more experienced knitters will fly quickly through the body of the hat. 

Using the Copper Cable Needle, I took my time picking up and holding stitches in the front or back (as needed, per the pattern instructions), using Technique I: hold + transfer back. This technique, while arguably slower, felt most natural to me; however, now that I’ve worked a bit more with cables, I think Technique II: hold + knit direct would help speed things along. 

To Pom Pom or not to Pom Pom

Personally, I don’t find myself drawn to Pom Poms when knitting a hat for myself—but I have friends who adore them, so I’ve learned how to make them. And I LOVE making them. While you may give away this hat to a loved one, I recommend treating yourself to a Pom Pom Maker—it makes the process of making a pom pom oh-so-simple (and fun!). 

And here is my second tip, courtesy of a handful of YouTube videos on the subject: make the pom pom removable! A removable pom pom is good for a few key reasons in my book: 1) handknit hats inevitably need a good handwashing (use a capful of our Wool Soap to keep your handknits in tip-top shape), so a removable pom pom makes it that much easier to lengthen the life of your pom pom; 2) not everyone likes a pom pom, and this gives your loved one the option of going sans pom pom; and 3) accidents happen (read: curious pets) and pom poms may need to be replaced—and it’s easier if you don’t have to pull out any woven-in ends.

So, how did I make my pom pom removable? I went with the button method, but you can explore three simple methods in this short and sweet video tutorial. And while it’s hard to see in the photo above, my “button” is very homemade—I used an old contact lens case cap which I cut out using some dull scissors and punched two holes in at the center through which I thread my yarn, attaching the pom pom. But hey, it works (you can’t even feel the “button” when you wear the hat) and now I can take the pom pom off as I please.

Well, there you have it: the finished Routa Hat. My partner was quick to call dibs on this one, but I just might have to steal it for myself! It’s so warm and cushy, and would definitely be a go-to hat for when the temperatures get even chillier here in Maine. If you can part ways with this lovely handknit, hop over to the Routa Hat Holiday Bundle—we’ve included everything you need to make this the perfect gift for a loved one. Don’t forget to download the FREE digital gift tag that you can print out for your Routa Hat!

Thanks for reading and happy knitting!

-Susan at Twig & Horn

1 comment

What are the circular needles you used in this project? The finished hat is beautiful!

Catherine Martin November 13, 2021

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