My forager’s hat is finished – a nice big modified stocking cap with a blunt end and a double-thick self-lined brim (no ribbing). The only thing left to do is to find out if my re-enactor pal wants the optional big honking tassel at the top or not. Here you see it modeled by Smaller Daughter. This is really an adult size hat. It’s not stretched at all on her head.


I used a very dense deep teal hand-spun yarn 100% wool yarn. I purchased it from an outside vendor at a local spring farm festival held at Drumlin Farm in Concord, MA. This yarn had no name, and the spinner (selling her own products) didn’t include a card with the sale. The gold is a fragment of another single of similar weight. I know that the gold is Merino, but I don’t know the fleece type of the teal, but it’s scratchier than the gold (but not too much so to limit wearing).

My yarn has quite a bit of slubbing, and looks like the color was produced by aggressively combing together black and teal dyed fibers prior to spinning (some of the slubs are clearly one or the other color, others are blended). It’s not bad, but it’s not uniformly good, either. The staple is short and the twist is uneven. As a result it breaks easily. The good news is that it also splices easily. In terms of weight, it counts out to 15-16 wraps per inch, which lands it in between fingering and sport in weight.



You could use a lofty sport, knit down to gauge, or a very dense fingering – something thicker than a standard sock yarn though. I think the Regia and Socka style European sock yarns would be too thin for this. My hat weighs in at about 90 grams, which is about right as I used all of one 50g skein plus a bit more than half of a second. I haven’t made a tassel yet so I can’t estimate how much more yarn would be needed for one.

If you are making a Voyageur’s hat – they were most often deep red. Liberty caps were most often red or blue. Sometimes liberty caps had patriotic mottoes knit into the brim area. “Don’t Tread on Me” would work. An aside – Older Daughter tells me that people wanting to cosplay Link from Legend of Zelda would also want one of these hats, but in green and with a bit more of a pointed rather than rounded end.

This patten is a transcription of my working notes. I haven’t test-knit a second item from them, so mistakes are certainly possible.

Voyageur’s Hat/Liberty Cap In the Style of the Mid-1700s



  • Roughly 90 grams of a heavy fingering/light sport weight yarn, with a recommended label gauge of 6.5-7 stitches per inch (this does not include any yarn for a tassel)
  • Waste string for provisional cast-on
  • Double pointed or circular needles – US#0 (2mm)
  • Extra circular or double pointed needle to hold stitches while fusing the brim US #0 (2mm) or smaller
  • Tapestry needle for ending off
  • Five stitch markers
  • Optional: A graph of a motto or design that is no more than 30 rows tall
  • Optional: A 4-6 inch long tassel made from the same yarn as the hat, and a small holed button (not a shank button) to sew it onto on the hat’s inside as a reinforcement.

Gauge and Dimensions:

  • Taken over stockinette on US #0 (2mm) needles – 6.75 stitches and 9.5 rows per inch
  • Finished hat will fit most adults. It’s 21 inches across the bottom opening (stretching to fit easily on a 23 inch head). It measures roughly 17.25 inches from brim edge to top.

Using a provisional cast-on, cast on 130 stitches. Distribute on DPNs or if you’re using the two-circ method – onto two circular needles. Knit 32 rounds, then purl two rounds to create a fold line. If you are inserting a pattern follow the optional directions below. If not, skip to the no design instructions.

If inserting an optional graphed colorwork design. Your graph can be worked in stranding or intarsia, but must be no more than 30 rows tall. For best proportions and an authentic look, I suggest single color (plus background) patterns of no more than 20 rows in height. My X is 16 rows tall). In terms of horizontal placement, the hat’s brim finish ensures that there is no visible jag where the cast-on round begins, and there is no front or back, so don’t agonize about centering the pattern in any one particular spot. Subtract your graph’s row count from 32, then divide the result by two. Knit that many rounds before starting your graph. Knit the remainder after the graph is complete. To prepare for the next step, look at your colorwork area. Take a moment to tug any extra loose ends so that the appearance on the front is as neat as possible. If any are particularly unruly, thread them onto a tapestry needle and take a little sewing stitch to secure them. So long as you flick the loose ends right and left so that there is no giant lump of strands in any one spot, you don’t need to take the time to end them all off neatly.

If not working an optional graphed colorwork design. Knit 32 rounds.

All knitters. At this point you are ready to fuse the brim. The knitting done before the fold welt will become a self facing, totally encapsulating any loose ends resulting from the optional colorwork. Unzip or unpick your provisional cast-on, threading those stitches onto spare DPNs or a circular needle.

Hold the work folded at the purl welt with the purl sides inside. Then knit around one row, knitting each stitch from your active needles along with its complement on the needle holding the now awakened stitches from the provisional cast on. At the end of this row you will have the same 130 stitches left on your active needles, and the brim will be completely fused to the hat body with all ends neatly out of sight.

Continue knitting in stockinette (all knits) until your hat measures 8 inches when measured from the bottom of the purl welts at the brim’s opening. On the last round before you begin the decreases, place a stitch marker every 26 stitches

Decrease rounds:

Round 1: (Knit 24, K2tog)5x – 125 stitches remain (You will be knitting to two stitches before the each stitch marker, then working your K2tog)
Knit 10 rounds
Round 12: (Knit 23, K2tog)5x – 120 stitches remain
Knit 10 rounds
Round 23: (Knit 22, K2tog)5x – 115 stitches remain
Knit 10 rounds
Round 34: (Knit 21, K2tog)5x – 110 stitches remain
Knit 10 rounds
Round 45: (Knit 20, K2tog)5x – 115 stitches remain
Knit 5 rounds
Round 51: (Knit 19, K2tog)5x – 110 stitches remain
Knit 5 rounds
Round 57: (Knit 18, K2tog)5x – 105 stitches remain
Knit 5 rounds
Round 63: (Knit 17, K2tog)5x – 100 stitches remain
Knit 5 rounds
Round 69: (Knit 16, K2tog)5x – 95 stitches remain
Knit 5 rounds
Round 75: (Knit 15, K2tog)5x – 90 stitches remain
Knit 5 rounds
Round 81: (Knit 14, K2tog)5x – 85 stitches remain
Knit 5 rounds
Round 87: (Knit 13, K2tog)5x – 80 stitches remain
Knit 5 rounds
Round 93: (Knit 12, K2tog)5x – 75 stitches remain
Knit 5 rounds
Round 99: (Knit 11, K2tog)5x – 70 stitches remain
Knit 5 rounds
Round 105: (Knit 10, K2tog)5x -65 stitches remain
Knit 5 rounds
Round 111: (Knit 9, K2tog)5x – 60 stitches remain
Knit 5 rounds
Round 117: (Knit 8, K2tog)5x – 55 stitches remain
Knit 2 rounds
Round 110: (Knit 7, K2tog)5x – 50 stitches remain
Knit 2 rounds
Round 113: (K6, K2tog)5x – 45 stitches remain
Knit 2 rounds
Round 116: (K5, K2tog)5x – 40 stitches remain
Knit 2 rounds:
Round 119: (K4, K2tog)5x – 35 stitches remain
Knit 1 round

The rounded point:

Continue working (K1, K2tog) until fewer than 10 stitches remain. Break the yarn leaving a 6 inch tail. Thread tail onto tapestry needle, and use the tapestry needle to gather up all remaining stitches draw-string style, pulling them together and securely ending off on the inside of the hat. Affix any optional tassel to this center point, sewing it on through a small button placed on the hat’s inside. This button acts as a reinforcement and decreases the chance of the tassel pulling out or distorting the end to which it is sewn.

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One response

  1. That tassel idea is quite clever.

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