The cooler months here in Portland, Oregon often find our hardy locals eschewing umbrellas to brave the rain in hoodies, and our obvious choice against the local elements is a knit hat tucked into a pocket or bag. Wanting this workhorse to serve faithfully through capricious downpours as well as fashion trends, we look for versatile hat patterns we trust. Our go-to lately has been Mawson, a watch cap released last summer to commemorate the launch of Shelter’s three marled hues.
During the crush of last year’s gift knitting season in our office — we lovingly called it our “Mawson holiday” — the BT crew knit a total of 12 Mawson hats. It wasn’t long before we reached for Arbor to try a modification of the original, and we wanted to share it with you, too.
Arbor’s Mawson uses the exact directions as the original Shelter version (the stretchy ribbed fabric makes for a standard fit for both DK and worsted weight yarns), and we even riffed a bit on the original, adding a half-twisted rib* version to highlight the worsted-spun stitch definition. As a slightly more fitted hat, the Arbor version makes a great foil against the wind. And a palette of 30 shades offers a chance for a sophisticated nod to a favorite piece of outerwear or even a beloved alma mater.
Even if you’re not as adventurous as the pattern’s namesake Australian explorer, Mawson’s rib cable cast on and unique double decreases may still bring you a few new discoveries in your knitting. Special crown decreases lay flat and make the hat completely reversible, while also forming a distinct three-legged crown shaping. (Andriknitsalot of Ravelry keenly observed the resemblance to a trillium flower.)
The humble back-and-forth of Mawson’s one knit, one purl stitch combo — any way you twist it — is both relaxing and handsome. Along with providing a meditative knitting process, it gives the fabric enough stretchiness and structure to allow slouch without flop.
We’re not sure yet which patterns will go viral across our BT knitting bags this fall, but this is one we have our eyes on as our thoughts turn happily to cooler weather!
* Our half-twisted rib variation simply involves working all the knit stitches TBL (through the back loop) on all even-numbered rounds. In other words, twist your knit stitches every other round to achieve this distinctive variation.