Saint-Exupéry Hat by Emily Johnson

Saint-Exupéry Hat

Knitting
Aran (8 wpi) ?
27 stitches and 43 rows = 4 inches
in close stitch as written in pattern
US 7 - 4.5 mm
200 yards (183 m)
One size: finished hat measures 23in (59cm) in circumference and 10.5in (27cm) from crown to bottom edge, and should fit average-sized woman's head.
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This pattern is available for $4.50.

Special Deal! During the month of October, get 10% off a skein of Porcini Mushroom Aran Silky Merino with purchase of the Saint-Exupéry pattern (coupon code delivered automatically on purchase).

Inspired by a trip to Toulouse, adoptive home of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, this hat is an homage to the French aviation pioneer and author of classic novellas Le petit prince (The Little Prince) and Vol de nuit (Night Flight). Saint-Exupéry began his flying career shortly after the end of the first World War, and this hat is modeled after the leather aviation caps worn by him and his fellow 1920s aviators. This modern version is worked in hand-dyed, ultra-soft 50% silk/50% merino, and conjures an era of adventure while offering a level of luxury unavailable on those early flights.

Saint-Exupéry is worked from the top down, in a textural stitch pattern requiring only knitting, purling, and slipping stitches. Since the stitch is garter-based, the resulting fabric is dense and warm, and the strong vertical lines and nubby texture make this a good match for hand-dyed semi-solid yarns, as well as solids. The crown features an intuitive pattern of increases, and the hat is worked in the round until the forehead stitches are placed on waste yarn and the back flap is worked back and forth. The back features organic decreases that contour the hat to the back of the head. A chinstrap with buttonhole adds to the retro look, and the entire hat is finished off with applied i-cord edging. Alternate instructions are included for those wishing to leave off the chinstrap for a more modern feel.

The Saint-Exupéry pattern is dedicated to my friend Marie-Christine, who was such an excellent and hospitable hostess during our stay in Toulouse, and took us to see many of the city’s literary sights. It was developed in collaboration with Sundara of Sundara Yarn, dyer extraordinaire and all-around lovely lady.

Photographs by David Galli, taken with the WWII B-17G Bomber known as the Lacey Lady.