Who’s your shining star?

My shining star is this beautiful hat for Ori!

Let it be known that I’m completely disregarding my doctor’s orders to stay indoors (I’m recovering from an ear infection) in order to bring you these photos. And the ear infection? Throwing off my balance, as always, so knitting is a whole different kind of challenge right now :).


Pattern: Shining Star by Kate Gilbert.

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, 55% Merino wool, 33% Microfibre, 12% Cashmere, color #006/pink. Only 1 skein! Actually, even less – 44 grams/120 yards.

Needles: The majority of this hat was knit on 16” US 4 circs. There were a few dpns and a US 2s thrown in there just for fun ;).

Size: 18” in circumference and 7” in depth completely unstretched. For reference, the model’s (hehe) head is 23” in circumference.

Thoughts: I love this hat! I’m all about clever construction and design, and if this hat doesn’t fall into that category, I don’t know what does! I used Emily Ocker’s circular cast-on to start, which is the third most fiddly knitting technique I’ve ever used. To quote Michelle, “so fiddly, it is virtually an entire string section!” However, the results are worth it to me.

(Also, please don’t let my opinion of this cast-on influence you – I happen to know for a fact that many knitters absolutely love the two techniques I consider most and second-most fiddly ever.)

Click the extended entry link to read about the modifications I made to this pattern, including directions about removing that cone-shaped pucker at the crown of the head.


The biggest modification was knitting this hat using a much thinner yarn than what the pattern calls for – I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and US 4 needles while the pattern calls for worsted weight yarn and US 7 needles.

Despite (and because of) this substitution, knitting the pattern’s Adult L size actually fits my head perfectly! You see, the pattern is written with zero ease – if you want to fit a head that’s 22” around, you knit a hat that’s 22” in circumference. I don’t know about you, but my 23” melon really likes the fit of handknit hats that are 17-18” in circumference. Therefore, knitting the Adult L size with thinner yarn and needles actually resulted in a smaller hat that fits my adult L head!

The second modification was reshaping of the crown (doesn’t that sound like plastic surgery or dentistry or something?). In my extremely brief experience with hats, a nice spherical shape is achieved by increasing every row until about one-third to one-half of the total number of stitches are in place, and then increasing every other row until the rest of them are added. In this hat pattern, the knitter increases every other row from the very beginning, which leads to the conical pucker at the crown of the head.

To fix this: (1) immediately after casting on, I knit every stitch for 1 round. I think starting the yarnovers too quickly results in an unsightly puckered rosette. (2) I omitted all even rounds from 2 through 18, which are basically the “knit even” rounds in the first stage of the petal formation.

I also made some more minor modifications – I added a few yarnovers in key places so that the hat is worked over 115 stitches. This will work well for Ori; for myself, I’d add 5 more stitches somewhere. I changed the recommended 1 x 1 ribbing to a *k4, p2, k3, p2 ribbing (don’t ask… as long as it looks good, right? :)). The 1 x 1 ribbing just didn’t seem to match the large wedges that form the rest of the hat. I worked the ribbing on US 2 needles, bound off using US 4 on the wrong side of the fabric – I think it looks better that way. Last, I changed the eyelet rays radiating from the center so that all ten are worked the same way on any individual round.


50 thoughts on “Who’s your shining star?

  1. Sarah

    The hat looks lovely! The mods are completely mind-boggling to me, and I probably would given up or tried to convice myself that the top really wasn’t THAT pointy. Cheers for sticking with it and achieving yet another beautiful FO.

  2. Carolyn

    Looks fab! Where did you find that model…she is gorgeous;) It will certainly make a lovely gift…or the model may want to keep it.

  3. CatBookMom

    Great pictures! And a gorgeous hat. Thanks for the modifications; I’ve saved them as a separate file. I hope you didn’t make yourself worse because of the photography section. BTW, the scarf looks great too! Did you make it or was it a gift?

  4. Kim

    How cute it is.. You’re going to be those kids favorite person for a long time to come! You have serious knitting mojo! (But we already knew that.. lol.)

  5. gleek

    you did an amazing job!! i LOVE the hat.. now, when will you be making the pattern for that other beautiful hat you just made? 😉

    i hope your ear clears up soon! though the extra knitting time must be nice.

  6. Martha

    Beautiful hat! And you look lovely in it, too 🙂

    Get well soon. Vertigo sucks. Make sure you hold onto banisters when you walk down stairs!

  7. Judy

    Very cute hat, and well fitted, no little nippy top. I really like your pattern best though. My yarn (and beads) will be ready when you get it written.

  8. cursingmama

    The hat is soo cute – I bet it becomes a favorite. It strikes me that the color of the hat is a perfect companion to your scarf, and now I want a set just like them….

  9. AmyP

    Love the hat. Curious thought here – from my own top-down hat-knitting experiences, increasing every other row for me leads to a rounded crown. Hmm… does this warrant further scientific investigation?

  10. Colleen

    Fabby hat. I don’t know how you found that circular cast on method, but I’m filing it away.

    Let’s talk about that scarf. Did you make that too?

  11. Angela

    Goes perfectly with the scarf–you’d better give that hat to Ori quick, before you’re tempted to keep it. Re. your outdoor photo session, at least it hasn’t been too cold here in MA.

  12. Leisel

    It turned out really well, and I do think that your modifications resulted in a better hat.

    I haven’t been around that long… would you mind if I asked what were your first and second choices for most fiddly knitting technique?

  13. freecia

    More amazement. Isn’t it neat how you (I) can get a charge out of seeing something knit up stunningly, even though I know how the magic works? May there never be a “meh, it is ok” knit item reveal 🙂

    Hope you feel better soon!

  14. Teresa C

    Oh for pity’s sake, now I’m headed over to purchase another pattern. Hope you are grading those papers so we can get your hat pattern soon. 🙂

  15. eunny

    So cute! That’s our Grumperina….I love the way you think about knitting construction, and the elegant, efficient solutions you come up with.

    You’re so going to ban me from your site for this, but I laughed alound when I came to “unsightly puckered rosette”. Hi, I’m Eunny, and I’m twelve years old.

  16. sue

    I wouldn’t have purchased that pattern after seeing the funny shaped crown (before modifications). But today I purchased the pattern after I saw that you published the modifications. Thank you. Your version looks great (and looks great on you too). Hummm… I wonder if I would get a size that fits me if I knit one of the smaller sizes with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky ???

    Did you ever finish grading those lab reports??

  17. Lisa D.

    Very cute! I like the rounded top much better. You have given me the hat bug. I never wear hats yet I am dying to make one now. I can’t wait for your pattern to come out so I can start.

  18. Yogi

    I have to say that your knitting is truly inspiring! I am a beginner, and have just been knitting about 2 months. For me, as busy as I am, that equals a few scarves and decorative pillows for my daughter’s room. I would like to be able to knit more complex pieces. One question: how do you know how to make the modifications?

  19. Kathy

    Hope you are feeling better — my kids had lots of ear infections when they were little — not fun.

    The hat really looks nice. And I appreciate your modifications. The scarf??

  20. Bee

    What a lovely hat! Thank you for posting the modifications as well; more and more, that seems to be the parts of a project that interest me the most.

    Feel better soon!

  21. Angelle

    Wow, I have to say this is quite a stunning hat. 🙂 Plus it’s pink. 🙂 Which brings to mind, that these would be FANTASTIC for cancer patients. Snug against the scalp, where you lose the most body heat, and pretty in pink! and the whole star thing; ie Make a Wish. Just a thought. I wish I had had a hat like this when I was going through chemo.

  22. Cindy D

    You are a great sport braving the winter cold to show us your hat!!! I just love hats because they are a great in between project that satisfy because they can be quickly knitted as compared to a sweater or lace shawl.Your hat is precious!

  23. Norma

    Geesh, did you have an ear infection last week? You didn’t seem sick! I say you can be outside, especially with a hat on. (says Dr. Norma, ha!) It’s lovely, and I love the way it coordinates with your scarf.

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