Adele's Hats

Hat Standards

  1. All the hats we donate are made by hand.  No store-bought hats are considered for donation.
  2. All the hats must be made of man-made fibers (acrylic, polyester, nylon).  This means no wool, no cotton, no cashmere!  This is because the hats will be LOVED and therefore will need to be washed frequently.  If the hats were made of wool or cotton, they might accidentally be felted or shrunk to the point where they were un-wearable.  In order to prevent this, we ONLY donate hats made from easily washable and dry-able synthetic materials.
  3. The hats we donate are well constructed, hearty hats.  They should all last a long time. To ensure that your hat is created with the same strong construction please read our Tips and Tricks below. We provide advice on all aspects of hat construction, and we strongly advise that you take advantage of the education we provide.  Sadly, hats that aren’t made well don’t get donated, and we don’t want that to happen to any of your hats, so please take a look at our tips!
  4. We have found that the hats that work best for the children are made from worsted weight yarn.  If you are new to hand work and want to create a hat for us, you need to ask for “worsted weight acrylic yarn” when you go to your local yarn shop.  If you are in Franklin or Bedford County, contact us because we might be able to provide you with enough yarn for a hat or two!
  5. Decoration of the hats is not necessary, but if you want to decorate them, GO FOR IT!  Many of our volunteers love to use stripes or variegated yarn (yarn with many colors).  Some of our hat makers prefer pompoms, tassels, or even crocheted flowers as decoration.  We feel that there is a head for every hat.One of the children will LOVE what you have made, no matter how it is, or isn’t decorated!


Hat Sizes

At Adele’s Legacy we strongly believe that “there is a head for every hat!”  No matter if the hat is simple or elaborate, single color or multicolored, has tassels or pompoms or nothing at all…no matter what the hat looks like there is a child who will absolutely adore it!

To ensure that the hats that you create will not only be loved, but will FIT, we provide the following guidelines.  Please consider this a list of “best practices” to be used to assist you in creating the best possible hat you can.   If you have questions or concerns about the sizing provided here, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  Thank you!

How to Measure a Hat:

  1. Lay the hat on a flat surface.
  2. Measure the widthfrom side to side (black line)
  3. Measure the height from top to bottom (white line)
  4. Remember: crochet items have NO give (i.e. they are not stretchy like knitted hats), so they mustbe wide enough to fit.  Good rule of thumb: if the hat won’t fit you, it won’t fit a child.

Hat Minimums and Maximums

  • Minimum Width: 8.5 inches (17 inch circumference)
  • Maximum Width:11.5 inches (23 inch circumference)
  • Minimum Height: 6 inches
  • Maximum Height:12 inches

Tips & Tricks for Hats

Casting on

  • Use a needle two sizes larger than the pattern calls for and cast on loosely. This will ensure that the hat is not too tight and will easily slip over the child’s head.
  • There are many methods of casting on, use the method you like the best.  There isn’t any right or wrong way, they all work for hats!!
  • When casting on to knit in the round cast on one more stitch than you need and join with a knit two together, making sure you haven’t twisted!!


  • Many hat patterns call for a US#8 needle. But what kind of needle?  Some knitters prefer to use four or five needles, or a 16 inch circular needle, or magic loop with a very long circular needle.  Use whatever you are comfortable with, or experiment with a couple of different methods.
  • There are also patterns that use straight needles, which gets sewn up at the end.  There is a method available for every knitter!
  • Don’t forget to provide yourself with a needle that is two sizes larger for the cast on row.


  • Some people prefer a 1×1 rib or a 2×2 rib, feel free to use whatever ribbing you prefer. Or use no rib at all and produce a rolled edge by starting the hat with stockinette stitch.
  • The rib should be a minimum of 1.5 inches long, or 4 inches for a turned-up cuff. For a rolled edge at least 1 full inch should be knit before you start the stitch pattern if there is one.
  • If you are new to knitting in the round you might find it easier to work a couple of rows back and forth before you join into a circle.  This provides you with a bit more body of work to help avoid a twisted row when you begin the circular work.
  • You can also make a turned hem.  This can be made with stockinette stitch, or have a purl or picot row to emphasize the middle.  Lots of choices!
  • Rolled edges are another popular choice.  Make sure when you sew up a rolled edge that you sew the rolled part together on the KNIT SIDE, then it will not show on the purl side which is the “right side” when it rolls.


  • All hats should be AT LEAST 7 inches from the bottom of the hat to the crown of the hat, unless you are making a specific type of hat that requires more.
  • FYI:  If you want to make a hat for a specific person, get the length of their hand from the beginning of their palm to the tip of their fingers.  This length is the exact length the body of the hat should be for that person. 7 inches works great for most children.
  • The body of the hat can be stockinette stitch, or any pattern!  This is an excellent way to try out a pattern stitch you might be interested in, before you commit to using it in a large item.
  • Avoiding jogs in Stripes:  Knit one round in new color, when you work the second round in the new color slip the first stitch.  When you sew in the end you will be able to even up the join exactly by tweaking it a tiny bit.  Carry the old color up the back (if you plan to use it again), and catch every three or four rows, or sew down the float with the same end.
  • Another pretty way of easing into a new color is to work the first row of the new color as knit one, slip one (as if to purl), and repeat across the row.
  • The body can be ribbed, contrasting stripes, bands of seed stitch, odd rows of purls, lace, cables… ANYTHING you can imagine!!

Top of Hat

  • For a round top: the more often you decrease, the flatter the top of the hat will be.
  • There are patterns that start at the TOP and work down!
  • Hat tops can be round, square, a flat line (with tassels!) or spiked. Try them all!!

Sewing needles

  • We suggest knitters have at least two types of needles on hand.  One big, blunt one for sewing up, gathering last stitches, etc. and a smaller sharp one for sewing and skimming in ends, and joining invisibly.

Tassels or pom-pom

  • There are two ways to attach pompoms or tassels.  If you want to sew them on permanently always use a separate piece of yarn to sew them in.  Do not tie them on with the end of your yarn from knitting. This needs to be woven in separately.  Another choice, and one we suggest, is to pull the ends of the pompom or tassel through the hat and tied in a bow on the inside.  This way they can be removed, if the child doesn’t want them, without damaging the hat.
  • You don’t have to have a fancy pompom maker from the store, wind yarn around a small book, or your mobile phone! (How to make a pompom.)

Hat circumferences

  • The cuff of the hat should be somewhere from 18 to 23 inches in circumference.    There is a head for every hat, but if they get much smaller than 18 inches or much larger than 23 inches then we have trouble finding that head!

Joining yarns

There are NO KNOTS in knitting.  Please don’t EVER knot your yarn.  Knots are ugly, they fall apart over time, can be uncomfortable to the wearer, and are just plain bad knitting!  We are so happy to teach you better methods, PLEASE don’t use knots!!!  Here are two methods our knitters like a lot.

  • Overlay the old and new yarns, and work two stitches with both.  Remember to knit it as a single stitch as you come to it in the next row.
  • Another method is to split the yarn (both old and new) for about four inches, and overlap half the new and half the old for a couple of stitches (half of each will create a whole to knit with).

Sewing in

There are NO KNOTS in knitting.  Please don’t EVER knot your yarn.  Knots are ugly, they fall apart over time, can be uncomfortable to the wearer, and are just plain bad knitting!  We are so happy to teach you better methods, PLEASE don’t use knots!!!

  • Leave 6 inches minimum for each yarn end you create in your knitting
  • Split the yarn in half and sew in each end by skimming, on the underside of the project where it won’t be seen.  Skim by putting your needle through just a few strands of a row of stitches.  You can go horizontal, vertical, or diagonal.  Better yet do it a couple of different ways!
  • Your sewing in should be FLAT, not create a bump.
  • Your sewing in should not be noticeable on the right side of the work.

Other Interesting, but not necessarily useful, thing that we can’t help sharing:

  • If you don’t have a measuring tape handy, the length of your hand from your wrist joint to the end of your longest finger is about the height you should knit a hat before starting to decrease.

Do you have a tip or a trick that would help us knit hats? Please, leave a comment and share with us!!

Hat Patterns

All of our patterns were written by one of our volunteers and are offered free for use for items for donation.  Please, don’t use our patterns to make items for sale. Here are some patterns we recommend.


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