Pattern Review: The Able Cable Hat

A few weeks ago, I reviewed my Lykke Driftwood Circular Needles. My first project using them was a hat I made for my charity box.  The hat in question used the Able Cable Hat pattern, by Kari Steinetz. The hat is a watch cap made in worsted weight yarn, with size 8 (5 mm) needles.  

I used black I Love This Yarn (from Hobby Lobby) that I had leftover from another project. One a side note, as worsted acrylics go, I Love This Yarn isn't a bad one.  It has great color selection, a good texture, and washes pretty well.

The basic idea of the Able Cable Hat is that the pattern creates the illusion of a large, single twist cable without any actual cabling, which is convenient if you don't have a cable needle handy. It also has the benefit of creating the look of cables without creating the bulk of real cables or losing any of the elasticity one would expect of a knit, like you would if you used an actual cable pattern. The gauge and yardage of the pattern are also probably close to what it would be for a stockinette cap in the same yarn.  And if you are not an experienced knitter or just not ready to tackle cables, this pattern is probably a good option.

Since the Able Cable Hat doesn't involve actual cables, the entire pattern is made up by manipulating increase and decrease lines.  One side of the "twist" is made up with ssk decreases, and the other side is made up of yarn overs that are knit through the back loop in the following round.  Unlike many pattern stitches, every round is a pattern row, which is what keeps the lines of the pattern sharp.

The decrease rounds at the crown of the hat are worked to keep the pattern going as long as possible and then to close the hat in a way that's harmonious with the overall pattern.  Those decreases continue with the ssk lines, but also add in p2togs as necessary. My only criticism of the pattern (and it's more a headsup than a criticism, since it's a free pattern) is that the decrease rounds do not include how many stitches you should have at the end of each round.  It's easy enough to figure that out on your own, but it's always nice when stitch totals are included in patterns.

The Able Cable Hat is a clever pattern and satisfying to work. It's a free download through Ravelry, and Ravelry lists it has having been used for almost 900 projects. From those who have made it and documented it on Ravelry, it's received rave reviews and has been rated an easy pattern. I concur with that assessment, just with the caveat that the knitter needs to be comfortable with their decreases to enjoy the pattern.

Overall, the Able Cable Hat is fun and easy, with just enough thinking going on to keep it interesting.  It's a great pattern to keep handy, and the finished hat is stretchy, squishy, and comfortable to wear.  I'll definitely be making it again.

This post has been linked to Busy Monday, Senior Salon, Inspire Me Monday, Wonderful Wednesday, The Stitchin' Mommy, and Thursday Favorite Things.