Onward hat by Naomi Parkhurst

Onward hat

no longer available from 1 source show
December 2014
Any gauge - designed for any gauge ?
70 - 190 yards (64 - 174 m)
preemie, newborn, baby, child, adult, large adult.
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This pattern is available from payhip.com for $5.00.

There are days when I need to acknowledge unpleasantness, but keep moving forward. On those days, my motto is onward. I made this hat as a tactile reminder to myself for those days.

I took the letters of onward, encoded them as numbers, and then charted those numbers, using my methods for encoding words as patterns. The marked squares were turned into purl stitches, and thus I made this stitch pattern.

This is a top-down hat. It can be ended when the yarn does if necessary; the pattern has sufficient purls in it that it doesn’t curl. A shorter hat will be a cap; a longer one can cover the ears for warmth; an even longer one can be slouchy. Knit the crown and some ribbing in a contrast color if desired.


  • 12 inch to 24 inch head circumference. (30.5-61cm)

Materials needed:

  • Needles that suit the yarn, both for plain knitting and a smaller size for seed stitch and ribbing.
  • 8 stitch markers.
  • A yarn needle for working in ends.


  • Techniques used in this pattern: casting on for knitting a small number of stitches in the round, knit, purl, increase, and work a stretchy bind-off.
  • Both a written pattern and a chart are provided.


The suggested yarns are simply the yarns that I used for my two samples. Any yarn should work, especially if it has good stitch definition. Otherwise the effect will be more subtle.

Thanks to my technical editor and test knitters for all their help!

Because this is a recipe, written for a range of sizes at a range of gauges, it is hard to give a precise amount of yarn required. Here are some extremely rough estimates. Most larger skeins of yarn will be enough to make at least one adult hat. (The smaller the size, the more of an overestimate the number is.)

Very rough yardages and meterages for baby (child, adult):
fingering: 130 yds/120m (160 yds/145m, 190 yds/175m)
sport: 120 yds/110m (150 yds/135m, 170 yds/155m)
DK: 90 yds/85m (110 yds/100m, 130 yds/120m)
worsted: 80 yds/75m ( 100 yds/90m, 110 yds/100m)
aran: 75 yds/70m (95 yds/85m, 100 yds/90m)
bulky: 70 yds/65m (80 yds/75m, 90 yds/85m)