The Argus Hat by Cathy Weeks

The Argus Hat

February 2019
Worsted (9 wpi) ?
4.5 stitches = 1 inch
US 6 - 4.0 mm
US 9 - 5.5 mm
180 - 200 yards (165 - 183 m)
One Size
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Eons ago, Hera, the queen of the gods had a trusted guard - the giant Argus with one hundred eyes covering his body. Argus was an exceptional guard - he never closed more than half his eyes, even when he was sleeping. After his death, Hera commemorated her faithful servant preserving his eyes in the tail of her favorite bird - a peacock.

This is a somewhat challenging free-form hat, suitable for adventurous knitters who enjoy making decisions on the fly and are comfortable with a bit of chaos and applying abstract techniques to their knitting.

It is designed for Malabrigo Rios variegated yarns (but other worsted-weight variegated yarns may be substituted, as long as the yarn has a suitably long section of emphasis color), and it uses short rows to concentrate colors and form “eyes.” This helps to tame the chaos that variegated yarns produce. You will respond to the colors in the yarn, and learn how to control where the eyes fall. This hat is also helix knit, alternating 2 strands of yarn to form an unbroken, jog-free garter stitch spiral.

The pattern assumes you already know how to make a hat, and doesn’t specify circulars, DPNs or when to switch to small diameter knitting.

The pattern includes written instructions, and some charts to illustrate how to arrange the short rows and control the placement. It also includes rudimentary German short-row instructions, and helix knitting instructions. For further tutorials on both, see:


German short rows:

And this one is SUPER cool - but it’s a tutorial for GSRs without turning the work (involves knitting backwards) and this saves a lot of time:

Other techniques:
Knitting in the round (you should be able to knit a hat, including crown decreases before attempting this pattern), LTCO, joining in the round.


This hat was designed for variegated yarn. You will need one 100-gram (210 yards/192 meters) skein of Malabrigo Rios worsted yarn, or any worsted-weight variegated yarn of your choice that meets the needs of the pattern (see below). If you intend to make a very large hat with additional height and positive ease for a person with an extra-large noggin, you may need an additional skein. The two sample hats used 189y/173m and 200y/182m respectively.

Evaluating your yarn: be sure to untwist your skein and look at the color changes. Look for skeins that meet this criteria:

  • The bottom photo at left is a good choice.
  • Includes ONE long-ish section of a color you wish to emphasize, between18 and 24 inches long (46-61 cm) - red in the photo.
  • The rest of the skein (“background”) should be as few or as many colors as you like, and the background colors can be short or long sections as you like. Note the yellow, green and blues in the photo.
  • The emphasis color shouldn’t occur too frequently - you need about a yard/meter or more of background color(s) between instances of the emphasis color. (18”/46 cm of an emphasis color, followed by very short sections of background color before repeating will simply not work).
  • Even within the same colorway, hand-dyed yarns will have some skeins that will work fine, and others that won’t work at all, which is why it’s important to open up the hank/skein to look at the repeats.
  • Commercially-produced, printed yarns that you’d get at big box stores CAN work, but you will need to pull a few yards from the skein, and ensure it meets the criteria above. They tend to be much more regular, and the frequency of the repeats may vary, so the effect might be a little different.

So what if the emphasis color is too long/short? - Well, it depends on just HOW far outside of the range it is. If it’s just a little too long/short (like a few centimeters or an inch or two) - you can probably make it work, but the effect will be different (not unattractive, just a little different). If it’s pretty far outside the range, then I wouldn’t choose that yarn.

Yarn Weights and Custom Sizing:
The pattern gives explicit directions for one average adult size, in a worsted-weight yarn only. However, I provide some some basic guidance and advice for adjusting the size, or for using a weight of yarn other than worsted in my blog, here.