The recent cold snap has taken many of us by surprise. In the UK you expect the snow and ice to arrive before Christmas – skipping the period where we actually want it to snow i.e. Christmas day – and disappear by mid-January. As is so often the case with the British weather, that hasn’t happened. A lot of people have been stuck in their villages with no way of getting to the nearest town or city to buy their winter essentials. Normally that would mean the world stopping around them, but there is an alternative to buying a new winter hat - knitting your own.

While many people will have put learning to knit onto their list of New Years resolutions and then forgotten about the whole thing, others are seeing the opportunity to make their own hats as the first step into achieving that goal.

Using some of the products from the Abakhan range, we’ve devised a plan to help you on your way to making your own wooly hats to keep you warm through the cold weather.

What You Need

• Needles – it goes without saying that needles are an essential for knitting. We recommend our 35cm x 10mm needles as these give the user much more to hang on to.

• Wool – again another essential part of making any wooly hat. By using even yarn beginners have a much better chance of success as it’s easier to work with than the more ‘knobbly’ form.

• A plan – by coming up with an idea before you start and then sticking to it, you’re much more likely to get your hat right. Problems occur when people attempt to change their plan halfway through a project so only start when you’re absolutely happy with it.

Key Terms There are a few terms and abbreviations associated with knitting. Some of the main terms are ‘cast’ which is to get the stitches on to the needle. Another is ‘knit’ – a basic stitch – and ‘purl’ is another basic stitch. Some of the abbreviations are a bit less clear to beginners. One of which is ‘k’ short for knit. ‘P’ relates to ‘purl’, ‘K2tog’ means to knit two stitches together and similarly ‘P2tog’ is to purl two stitches together.

What To Do With us so far? Right, well, here goes!

1. The Headband Cast on 36 stitches. For a fitted hat do eight rows of k3, p3 all the way to the end. For a baggier hat, increase that to ten or twelve rows but ensure it is always an even number.

2. The Middle Four, six or eight rows of stocking stitch (one row of knit stitch followed by one of purl stitch). Number will differ depending on the size of the hat but again – ensure it is an even number.

3. The Top Unlike the other two sections, the number of stitches here does not change. Row one – K2tog, K4 six times. Row two – P. Row three – K2tog, K3 six times. Row four – P. Row five – K2tog, K2 six times. Row six – P. Row seven – K2tog, K1 six times. Row eight – P2tog.

4. Cast Off and sew the sides together to finish.

By now you should have a very good wooly hat to keep you warm on those ventures out of the house into the arctic conditions outside. For more information on any of the products available at Abakhan, contact your local branch where the staff will be happy to help you with your enquiry. Good luck!