Droste Effect by Amy van de Laar

Droste Effect

September 2015
DK (11 wpi) ?
20 stitches and 29 rows = 4 inches
in stockinette
US 6 - 4.0 mm
US 3 - 3.25 mm
165 - 185 yards (151 - 169 m)
Adult S(L) - to fit head circumference up to 22(24) inches
Flag of English English
This pattern is available for free.

A painting containing itself in miniature, a film within a film, a knitting pattern that looks like knitting - these are examples of the self-referential ‘Droste effect’.

This hat is the result of a challenge I set myself. Could I come up with a cable pattern that looks like stockinette stitch? I found the final piece of the puzzle - a ‘closed ring cable’ technique - in Barbara G. Walker’s Charted Knitting Designs.

Skills needed include the Long Tail cast-on, knitting in the round, cable knitting, and working increases and decreases. Full written and charted instructions are provided.


  • Sea-green hat (size S): Vintage Purls Max (75% Superwash NZ Merino / 25% Nylon; 227yd/208m per 100g skein); color: Abel Tasman; 1(1) skeins
  • Natural brown hat (size L): Skeinz Silver Lining Merino (100% NZ Stewart Island Merino; 119yd/109m per 50g skein); color: Clifton Stone; 2(2) skeins


  • Adult S(L) - to fit head circumference up to 22(24) inches
  • Circumference: 15(18) inches unstretched
  • Length: 9 inches

How I block my hats