The trouble with hoods

… is that I don’t know how to design one.

Also, I’m not happy with any of the hood patterns I’ve followed. There are very few of these, though.

The basic hood recipe is the following:

  1. Knit a sweater, generally with a round neck shape. Seam the shoulders, as necessary, depending on the sleeve style.
  2. Pick up stitches around the neck (or use live stitches from the front and back necklines if you’ve left these on hold rather than binding off).
  3. Increase to the appropriate maximum hood width over the next RS row, or possibly over a few rows.
  4. Work back and forth to the appropriate height.
  5. Bind off and seam the top of the hood, or else graft the two halves of the top of the hood together.

This gives you a pointy hood, which is fine, but what if you want a fitted hood? The usual solution is to add a step between 4 and 5 where you decrease in the last few rows by placing a marker in the centre back of the hood flap, then working to 2 stitches from marker, k2tog, slip marker, ssk, work to end. I don’t like this good shape very much. It still doesn’t fit a head very nicely. Here’s a commercial version of something similar to that design:


A fleece hoody of Tommy's

It actually fits quite well,  much better than the hoods I’ve knitted in this basic design. Perhaps it’s just that the sizing is better. Perhaps it’s that the “decrease” section is done at a sharper angle over fewer “rows” and I could get a similar effect by decreasing 4 stitches per RS row (using a cable needle and knitting two stitches together twice on either side of the centre marker).

But I want something a bit smoother across the back of the head. A few years back I knitted a hoodie with all sorts of problems that I consequently have never worn. One thing I did with it was to shape the hood like a short row sock toe.


The sock hood

It actually fits really nicely, but it looks dumb when it’s not on, which is most of the time. Like, you know, there’s the top of a giant sock hanging down my back. So not the solution.

This is all relevant right now because I’m in the process of knitting/writing up a pattern for a kid’s hoodie, and I find myself knitting and ripping back hoods. I want to try a different hood, where I knit a strip of fabric along the top of the hood (making a sort of inverted T-shape) which I then seam to each side of the hood.


A commercial version of what I want to try

So far it isn’t going so well. I didn’t realise I had an example in my closet, so I was just sort of making up the ratio of the width of the sides to the back. So I need to rip back the hood at least once more, then we’ll see!

At which point I may give up and fall back on the boring, ill-fitting, standard hood design. Sigh.


2 thoughts on “The trouble with hoods

    • Thanks! The wool is also pretty amazing, but those are the only two things I like about that cardigan. It’s one of three garments I plan to completely undo (frog) so that I can use the wool for something I actually like.


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