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Top-Down Tam O'Something


Take it From the Top
Top-Down Tam

The view from the top, with an inset of the hat on my head.

© Sarah E. White, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Vocabulary is a strange thing. Sometimes what I think something is ends up being completely different from what you would call it, and no one ends up knowing what anyone else is talking about.

So it is, I think, with this hat knitting pattern. It's a top-down, bulky hat, that much is certain. I want to call it a tam o'shanter, but I'm not sure that's accurate. A beret? Maybe, but I don't think so. Maybe it's just a short, slouchy hat. It's cool and comfortable and will keep you warm even if it doesn't cover your ears.

I used leftover Malabrigo Rasta yarn from my giant Ridged Stockinette Scarf, and between these two projects you'll be very warm indeed without a whole lot of knitting time.


  • about 70 yards Malabrigo Rasta or similar super-bulky yarn
  • set of 5 size 13 US (9 mm) double-pointed knitting needles
  • scissors and yarn needle


Gauge is not that critical because you can stop knitting the top when you feel it's big enough, but I got about 2.5 stitches and 3 rounds per inch in Stockinette


Finished hat as shown is about 24 inches around and 3.5 inches tall. To fit a variety of heads. On someone with a smaller head it will be slouchy, while it will fit more closely for someone with a larger head.


  1. Cast on 8 stitches. Divide onto 4 needles and join in the round, being careful not to twist.
  2. Knit 1 round.
  3. Knit in the front and back of each stitch around. 16 stitches.
  4. Knit 5 rounds.
  5. Knit in the front and back of each stitch around. 32 stitches.
  6. Knit 5 rounds.
  7. Knit in the front and back of each stitch around. 64 stitches.
  8. Knit 3 rounds.
  9. Purl 1 round.
  10. Knit 3 rounds.
  11. Purl 1 round.
  12. Repeat steps 9 and 10 to desired length, or until you're almost out of yarn. I ended up with four purl ridges, and I chose to end with a purl round, but you can end anywhere you like.
  13. Bind off. Weave in end and sew top of hat shut.
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