Snail Hat (aka Conch or Dairy Queen) by Elizabeth Zimmermann

Snail Hat (aka Conch or Dairy Queen)

This pattern is available from for $7.99.

From Schoolhouse Press:*

7 designs from 4 designers. Meg Swansen presents: an elegant Twisted-Stitch cap, the whimsical Albrecht Durer Tower Hat and a simple to knit Circular Brioche Watch Cap. Two Elizabeth Zimmermann designs: her classic Snail Hat (aka Conch or Dairy Queen), and her Kliban Hat. Plus an innovative I-cord Lattice Hat from Cully Swansen and a snugly warm Garter-Band hat from Eleanor Haase. Something for everyone in this cornucopia!

Print version comes in a 3-hole, archival quality sheet protector.

In Chapter 5, “Other Knitted Garments” of Knitting Without Tears, EZ says: “AND THIS BRINGS ME TO HATS. To which the sky is the limit. People will put anything on their heads, it seems to me for two reasons: either it keeps them warm, or it makes them feel cute. A good woolly cap can well combine these functions… .”

EZ’s basic rule for hats is “that you start with 90-100 stitches on a 16” circular needle with knitting worsted at a gauge of 5 st to 1”. This is a good starting rule, to be broken in all directions.”

About the Snail hat: “The best part of Christmas is present-planning. Try some Snail Spiral Hats. They are interesting to make and inexpensive. Knit one in an evening.”

The pattern calls for 1 skein of Sheepsdown, and a 16” circular needle and set of dpns in size 10.5.

This pattern may be found on page 97 of Knitting Without Tears.

This pattern may be found on pages 32 & 34 of Vogue Knitting, Winter 2008/09. The following info. comes from this magazine:

Size: 20” around


  • 2 skeins Sheepsdown wool
  • 24” circular needles, or a 16” circular and a set of double-pointed needles (Approx #10.5 or #11, or maybe #13 for tight knitters)

This is the 5 spiral version. For the 3 spiral see Three-Spiral hat.

Also available in Spun Out #9, originally published 1973 as Wool Gathering #8, from School House Press.