The successful hood


The reluctant model

My hood is a success, I think. I tried the unseamed, unblocked hoodie-in-progress on Tommy and I’m quite pleased with the fit on his head. I’ll have to formalise the height so that I can figure out other sizes, but here is the basic recipe I used:

  1. I picked up however many stitches there were to pick up and knitted a row, purled a row.  (I had already knitted the buttonhole/button plackets, and I picked up the same number across each of these: 7 sts, and I decreased later. I haven’t included this in the rest of the instructions, because it goes beyond the basic hood shape).
  2. I increased 1 st for every 4 across the back 2/3 or so of the hood. The exact number doesn’t really matter, but you want to have an even total number of sts at this point (you can use an odd number, but you’ll have to modify the instructions that follow).
  3. Figure out how many stitches you want to end up with. I used my gauge times 75% of the standard head circumference from the craft yarn council (I think… It’s possible I used some other standard). 75% seemed like a good number.
  4. When you purl back, place makers just inside of the centre panel, which should be 1/4 of the stitches you want to end up with (again, make this an even number). For Tommy’s hoodie, I wanted 72 sts, so the panel was 18 sts wide. So I placed markers INSIDE the edges of the panel, 16 sts apart.
  5. For the next several RS rows (until you reach the total number of sts you want) increase 1 st on each side of the centre panel (1 st before the first marker and 1 st after the second).
  6. Figure out how long you want the hood to be. Figure out how many rows you’ll need for the decreases (see below). Figure out how wide the centre panel is based on your stitch gauge. Now do some arithmetic to figure out how many rows you need to work before you start the decreases: height before decreases = total height – (width of centre panel/2 + decrease rows / row gauge). Multiply this by your row gauge, subtract the rows you’ve already knitted, then work the difference back and forth, finishing after a WS row.
  7. Now start the decreases. You’ll want to decrease so that you have equal number of stitches in the side and back panels. I mostly used a cable needle to do double decreases outside the markers on the RS rows, because I thought the angle was a better fit. I’d suggest you do one or two rows with a single k2tog/ssk decrease outside the markers, then use cable decreases to double decrease until you get down to the number of stitches you need. For Tommy’s hoodie, I started out with 27 sts on the sides and 18 sts on the back, so I worked one row with a single decrease on each side (k to 2 sts from marker, k2tog, sm, k to marker, sm, ssk, k to end) then 4 RS rows with double cable decreases on either side of the back panel. The total decrease was 18 sts, 9 on each edge of the back, leaving 18/18/18 sts. Decreases were worked over 10 rows (including the 5 WS rows worked plain).
  8. Finally, the flap for the top of the head. First, bind off the sides at the beginning of the next two rows. Then work the centre panel in stst for the number of rows needed according to the ratio of your row and stitch gauges: if it’s the standard 3 rows to 2 sts (or thereabouts) you should work 3 rows for every 2 sts on the sides. For Tommy’s hoodie, this should have been 27, but I wanted to bind off on the RS, so I only did 26. Then seam the edges together and voilà!

OK, you should really block before seaming. But I was impatient to see if it would fit. I might also pick up stitches around the opening and knit a tidy stocking stitch edge to fold back inside, because I’m not too fond of raw selvedges. But that’s the basic idea. It really does fit well, much better than any other hoods I’ve attempted!


2 thoughts on “The successful hood

    • I sent my mom a knitting pattern to proofread, and she said people would think I’d hired baby models for the pictures. I know she’s biased, but so am I, so sure, my kids are gorgeous (although Miso currently has a flattened head, which looks a bit goofy and makes me feel like a bad mother. I’m usually mostly sure he’ll outgrow it).


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