Category Archives: Galaga Hat


After yesterday’s post on my Galaga Hat, I’ve gotten a couple of questions about the method for working back and forth seamlessly to make a tube. In specific, some people wanted to see illustrated how I make the wrap and turn join. I try to oblige them (click on pix to see them larger):



I’ve shown just the knit-side round. The purl side round works in exactly the same way. Work to the marker, making sure to work the last stitch before the marker along with the loop around its base, shift the marker over, wrap the stitch after the marker, flip the piece over, return the marker to the right-hand needle, and continue with the rest of the round.

Why go through all this trouble?

I don’t have enough yarn to strand around the entire piece. Nor do my motifs span the entire circumference of my hat. I am in effect working spot Intarsia motifs (actually I’m stranding between them, but limiting that stranding to the spot motifs). Rather than cut the yarn at the end of each motif, or stretch it back to the beginning of the spot design on each row, I am working the equivalent of flat knitting – going back and forth, alternating rows of knit and rows of purl. When I purl or knit back to my spot motif, my contrasting color ends are on the correct side of the motif for the next round. But I hate sewing up, and want to make a hat without seams. Rather than knit this totally flat (a valid option), I’m using wrap and turn to make the join at the end of each round.

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I’m back in place after a horrific spate of work-related deadlines, followed hard by a much needed vacation and its attendant flood of post-vacation laundry. We visited with family; took in the warm, sunny, Florida weather (in spite of all the locals shivering in what they perceived to be a cold snap); played golf; ate way too much; watched the kids splash at beach and pool; and tried to stay away from work and eMail.

I even had time to do a little bit of knitting, but I did not bring Older Daughter’s vest with me. I have finished the back and am about half-way through the vest fronts. With just the armhole/neck half left, a fair bit of blocking would be required before I could play with finishing and adding on the trim. Since there is generally not enough room on aircraft for aggressive blocking (or aggression of any sort), I left that project home and took the Galaga hat instead.

As you can see from this one-handed shot, I’m moving through the thing. It’s slow going, with a fair bit of more than two color stranding involved over 9 stitches per inch.


I used a provisional cast-on, then knit a plain gray self-facing about three inches deep (approximately the height of the first two courses of the motifs. Then I worked two purl rows as a turning edge, and the white triangles as the first visible bit that will be seen after the self-facing is fused back into the hat body. I placed two white ships on either side of the hat.

On this side the first course of bug-enemies will be in teal, using the larger bonus ones from the game – one splayed and one flapping. The other side has three, set somewhat skew to the ship. After this course is done, I’ll fuse the facing, then do a decrease and work the next tier. It will also be the larger bonus enemies, but in the other color combo. After that will come another round of decreases, and several tiers of the shorter non-bonus bugs. In between each tier will be another decrease round.

My biggest complication is that I am very short on the colors. I’m using scraps of Frog Tree Alpaca left over from Older Daughter’s rainbow hat and scarf. That’s why the enemies aren’t marching in full continuous rows around the whole hat. It’s also why I’m not working this truly in the round, although the piece is on circs. Yes, the piece is seamless, but I’m muddling my way through a variant combo of stranding and Intarsia in the round. On motif bearing rows, I’m working a knit row across all my stitches. When I reach the end of what would be the round instead of going forward and continuing in knit, I wrap that first stitch, return it to the left hand needle, then turn the work and head back the way I came. When I reach the end of this purl round, I purl the final stitch along with its wrap, wrap the next stitch (on the next needle). Then I return that wrapped stitch to the left hand needle, flip the work over, and head back on the knit side. When I get to the last stitch of the row, I knit it along with its wrap, wrap the next – and so on.

What I’m getting at the joining point is a bit of a thickening that were I working in a lighter color, might be more visible. But in my plain charcoal gray, it’s not very evident. This may not be among the approved methods for working something seamless on circs, but employing both knit and purl rows, but for me and for this project it’s fine.

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Yesterday I mentioned that I was working up two new projects. The second is still on the drawing board. While The Resident Male likes his crazed llama herder hat, he’s mentioned that it can be itchy, especially when wet. It’s also a bit tight on him. He’d like another that’s slightly larger, knit from softer wool than the first, but he still really likes the style and shape.

So I was thinking about what I could put on a hat for him, and what colors of sport and fingering I had on hand. I’ve got some small quantity leftovers from the rainbow scarf set. Not much, but enough for accents. Plus I really like the Camelia sport I’ve been using, which is about the same gauge but at my LYS is only available in very staid colors. So I began thinking about what would be mostly background with flashes of bright colors, yet would be guy-wearable. Then I saw the latest issue of Knitty. If someone can put Space Invader graphics on a sock, why not highly colorful Galaga spaceships on a hat?

For those of you born during or after Bush-the-Elder’s administration, Galaga was a very popular coin operated console video game of the Galaxian type – vintage 1981. You can play it here. It has been brought out for X-Box and some hand-helds (even phones!) but it’s not the same. It was also one of The Resident Male’s absolute favorites. (I preferred Tempest, but those vector based graphics wouldn’t chart up well for repro in knitting.)

So I set about graphing out the Galaga galaxy of sprites from screen shots preserved hither and yon. There are three enemies, each shown in two animation phases. One of the enemies repeats in a different color scheme. There’s also a separate sprite for the player’s ship, and a toggle that shows how many more player lives are available. Here’s one of the lower level enemies:


I’m not quite sure how I’ll fit these onto the hat, but I note that in my original, I buried all the decreases in the plain rounds in between the step-type pattern repeats. I had 10 decrease points per decrease round, and that the pattern repeats themselves were based on 10 stitch x 10 row units. Each decrease zone between bandings removed one entire repeat. That’s why I was able to repeat the pattern seamlessly as the hat narrowed.


I changed the rate of decrease as I moved along, narrowing the hat more steeply in the upper area not by increasing the number of decrease points, but by shortening the interval between them. You can see that the lower courses of the design are three pattern units tall, but the uppermost ones are only one unit tall. After that last unit was completed I didn’t have room to continue full design iterations, so I ended off with a solid color top.

My Galaga sprites are nine, thirteen and fifteen units wide, without background framing left and right. So I’m still on the drawing board for this one. Plus I can’t actually begin knitting until I finish my second Klein Bottle hat. Still, I’m armed and ready to begin.

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