Grandpa 60 hat


First Snowman Setup

Originally uploaded by YarnDork
Remember the Grandpa 60 slippers? Well, I thought I should post the other pattern I got from him. I should mention that I sort of stole the pattern, since he passed away while playing golf back in the 80’s. But, somehow, I don’t think he’d mind. Back when I was in grade school, in a little town called Montgomery, IL, he and Grandma would drive from Keokuk, IA, a couple times a year to visit. Seemed like every time, he’d make a special visit to my school. For a long time, I thought it was just to see me, but years later, I learned his secret. He made hats. Tons of them. He’d give them to our principal and tell him to give them to whichever kids needed them the most. And here I thought me and my sister and brother were the only cool ones to have those awesome hats! Now, so many years later, I can’t tell you what it feels like to see MY kids wear some of those same hats that he actually made! Especially when son #3, who we named Russell in his honor, wears them. I swear I can feel him smiling down on me. Or laughing. If you knew son #3, you’d understand. It’s funny, we named him after my grandpa, but he looks very similar to my sister. And, oddly enough, her nickname growing up was “cyclone”. Mine was “Miss Kitty”. You figure it out. Not only does little Russell look like my sister, but his nickname, well, let’s just say that we could re-use hers. In the picture, one of the original Grandpa 60 hats is on the snowman. Son #2 Patrick is putting on the glove. Son #1 David is getting something from the yard, and there in the front with the evil grin on his face is Russell. Bless his heart.

Back to the hats. Once I learned to knit, I found one of those old hats, and quickly figured out that it was a simple K2, P2 rib done in the round, up to a point, then decreases were made, and then a pompom. I thought, I can do this. So, since he made the hats for kids, and he started with a cast on of 100, I thought, I’m making this for an adult, I should increase it a bit. So, I cast on 120. That hat fits 2 heads comfortably. Or a defensive lineman. Those are the big guys, right? I thought, maybe I shouldn’t mess with his pattern. Every since, I’ve stuck with the cast on of 100. Except for the time I used bulky yarn, then I went down to 80. Here’s the pattern, as best as I can make it. If you see any errors, please tell me and I’ll correct them…

With worsted weight yarn and size 8 circ’s, cast on 100. If you use bulky weight, use size 10’s and cast on 80. Any other yarn, estimate it. Smaller yarn, cast on more. Bigger yarn cast on less. If I ever do it, I’ll punch in the numbers. Work K2 P2 ribbing for about 6 to 8 inches. Then do one round of K2, P2tog. Then do about 1 inch of K2, P1. Now do one row of K2tog, P1. Then an inch of K1, P1. Now just decrease like crazy. I do one row of K2tog, then one row of plain knits, until the hat starts to look pointy, then stick with K2tog until I’m left with 8 to 10 st. Cut the yarn and thread through remaining loops. Make a nice pompom and attach it to the top. Now, make another one and give it to someone who needs one, and tell them it’s from Grandpa 60.

Edited to add…tomorrow, December 11, would have been his birthday.  And I forgot to explain about the “60 ” part.  He didn’t have a middle name, just Russell Hodges, but somewhere along the way, he picked up the nickname 60.  Have no idea why, and my mom never told if there was a story there, but I bet if you go into Keokuk, and find someone at the bowling alley, or the little league field, or just some old guy down at the power plant and ask, maybe, just, maybe, you’ll find out.  And if you do, please tell me.   It’s been driving me nuts!

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1 Response to “Grandpa 60 hat”


  1. 1 speattle February 15, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    This is a beautiful story and wonderful pattern. I have been looking for a nice one to make for a dear bachelor cousin who lives in chilly Montana this winter.

    Thanks for sharing.


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