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Use It Up, Wear It Out - Free Pattern

Use It Up, Wear It Out Hat - Free Pattern!

July 22, 2017

"Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without."


When I first heard this World War II Era saying, it stuck with me. Often it's easier to throw things away or replace them. It sometimes requires learning new skills or taking time to fix things, and it can be uncomfortable to 'make do'. But there's also a character shaping that comes along with this mindset, and that is worth all the time you spent trying to get that drum turning on that 20 year old dryer (*clears throat*).


This is a common way of thinking here in Maine. It might not be pretty anymore, but we make it work! Perhaps the best example of this was my grandmother, Maxine Colbeth. Raised by her grandmother during the depression, she typified the strong and thrifty women of her generation. She could whip up just about anything, be it clothing, craft, or food, with a "by the jumpins they ain't nothin' to thayt".


 Grammy in her kitchen, no doubt ready to pull a blueberry gingerbread with whipped cream out of thin air.


We lost her almost a year ago, as I was over a week overdue with my son. The circle of life is a curious and perplexing thing. Before I said goodbye, I thanked her for all she taught me about crocheting and knitting and her never-give-up spirit. If you stick around, you'll hear a lot about this inspirational woman.


Old Maxine Lorraine would proudly approve of this hat pattern. It's designed to use up every last scrap of yarn: getting every drop of goodness out of the skein.


Anyone else out there have a basket somewhere that looks like this?



 Forging  on...

You can make these hats with very little yarn. If you run out, just bend on another color and keep going! It's a great way to use up that basket of odds and ends, and apparently very stylish too: I made 20 of these hats last year and sold all but the two pictured! Each hat only uses 1.5 to 2 ounces of yarn, depending on what size you need. That being said, heads are funny things to measure so you may need a bigger size for those little pumpkin heads. You should also try to stick to the same weight of yarn for continuity's sake, but it's art right? So do what you want. ;) 




Use It Up, Wear It Out Baby/Toddler Hat



Size 6 US (4mm) Double Pointed Needles

1-3 ounces of worsted weight yarn odds and ends (Briggs and Little's Heritage works wonderfully)



0-6 months (6-12 months)(12-24 months) (2-3 year old)

Err on the side of bigger for those children with extra brains (or hair).


Begin by casting on 68 (74)(80)(86) stitches. Divide stitches evenly between three or four needles and join to work in the round. (Tip: I like to divide the number by three, cast on a third of the stitches plus one, pick up that extra stitch with the next needle, and continue that for the next two needles so I don't twist my stitches trying to even them out once I get them all cast on)


Round 1: Knit 1, Purl 1


Repeat round 1 8 times for a total of 9 ribbing rounds.


Continue in stockinette stitch (knit all stitches) for 28 (31)(35)(40) rounds.

Crown Shaping Round 1: *Knit 6, Knit 2 together* repeat between ** until you comes to less than 8 stitches, knit to end.

Round 2: Knit to end

Round 3: *Knit 5, Knit 2 together* Repeat between ** until you comes to less than 7 stitches, knit to end.

Round 4: Knit to end


Continue in this manner until you have only 1 stitch between decreases, thread the yarn through the stitches, weave in ends, and block.


The hats pictured here contain Briggs and Little's Heritage in Oatmeal, Brown, Orange, Red, and Mauve, Bleached, Peacock, Silver Grey, Peacock, as well as some hand-dyed Heritage.


I'd be pleased as punch if you sent me pictures of the hats you make from this simple, get-it-done, no-fuss pattern on here or Ravelry!


  • Thanks for these patterns. So generous to share them.

  • Hello Sharon! The gauge is 5 stitches and 8 rows per inch, so to get the best fit if you can measure their head, multiply the inches by 5, that should give you the stitches needed, just make sure it’s an even number.
    For the length, every 8 rows is an inch so you can measure a couple inches below the crown to where you want the hat to fall to get the correct amount of rows.
    It’s a little technical but I hope that helps!

    Lacie - Author
  • Hi, I would love to make these for the men in my life. How would I adjust the pattern to fit an adult?


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