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Knitted Race Car Hat

Elizabeth Garrett of Brunswick, Maine, knits a warm winter cap and attaches clay race-car embellishments to create a sporty hat for kids.

Elizabeth Garrett of Brunswick, Maine, knits a warm winter cap and attaches clay race-car embellishments to create a sporty hat for kids.

Materials and Tools:

15" circular knitting needles size 6 (or size needed to obtain gauge)
size 6 double pointed knitting needles (or size needed to obtain gauge)
navy blue worsted weight cotton yarn
tapestry needle
black-and-white checkered fabric
sewing machine
fusible bonding web
iron and ironing board
large piece of knitted gray fabric
large piece of paper
fabric chalk
gray yarn
gold yarn
straight pins
polymer clay: assorted colors, black and white
black thread

Knit the hat or buy one.
Race cars are made from clay.
Directions provided are for a child's small hat. Changes for medium and large hats are in parentheses.
Finished diameter of hat is 14" (15.5", 17")
Gauge = 4 stitches per inch / 6 rows per inch. Take the time to check the gauge.
k2tog = knit two sts together as one


1. With 15-inch circular size 6 needles, cast on 50 (56, 60) stitches.

2. Knit in k1p1 rib for 1 inch (1.25", 1.5") (figure A).

3. In stockinette stitch increase 6 (7, 10) stitches evenly around next round for a total of 56 (63, 70) stitches.

4. Continue knitting in stockinette stitch until piece measures 4 inches (5", 6") from top of ribbing.

5. Change to double-pointed needles when necessary (figure B), begin decreasing as follows:

6. Round 1: Knit 6 (7, 8), k2tog, repeating until end of round

7. Round 2: Knit around

8. Round 3: Knit 5 (6, 7), k2tog, repeating until end of round

9. Round 4: Knit around

10. Continue decreasing in this manner until you have completed Knit1, k2tog round.

  • Knit one more round evenly, then k2tog for one round.
  • Gather remaining stitches by bringing yarn through them with tapestry needle (figure C).
  • Cut yarn leaving 6-inch tail.


11. With blue cotton yarn, finger-crochet a 2-1/2 inch flagpole. Pull one end of the pole through the opening in the top of the hat, tightening knitting stitches around the base of the pole to secure it. Knot tails together inside the top of the hat and weave in the ends (figure D).


12. On a piece of paper, draw a rectangle with a length that equals the diameter of the hat and a height that equals the height of the hat from the top of the ribbing to the crown. In this rectangle, draw a lazy S-curve that begins in the bottom left corner and ends at the top right corner (figure E). The width of the curve should begin at 2 inches and end with a 1/2-inch width at the top. Cut the S-curve out. This is the template for the road.

13. Lay the road template flat on a piece of gray knitted material (an old sweater from the thrift store works well) (figure F).

Draw around the road with fabric chalk (figure G).

14. Set the sewing machine to a narrow zigzag stitch and sew along the chalk line twice.

15. Carefully cut out the road just outside the zigzag edge (figure H).

16. Pin the base of the road at the top of the ribbing and continue pinning around until the end of the road meets the crown of the hat. The road will wrap around the entire hat.

17. Satin stitch the edge of the road to the hat with matching gray yarn and a tapestry needle, hiding the rough edges of the road (figure I).

18. Embroider a dotted line down the center of the road with gold yarn (figure J). Fold the ribbing of the hat up and tack around the base of the hat to secure.


19. Cut a 4-1/2" x 2" rectangle out of black-and-white checkered fabric.

20. Fold the rectangle in half with the right side of fabric on the inside. Sew a 1/4-inch seam along the top and bottom of the flag.

21. Turn the flag right side out, poke out the corners and iron flat. Fold open the edge of the flag 1/2-inch around the top of the pole. Tuck the tail coming from the top of the pole into the fold and add fusible bonding web. Iron bonding web inside the fold of the flag to fuse the flag to the pole (figure K).

Clay Race Cars (3 to 5 depending on size of hat)

22. Roll polymer clay into a 1-inch log with 1/4-inch diameter.

23. Flatten the front of the log to form the front of the car. Push a pencil shaft into the back half of the car to form the driver cockpit.

24. Add a different colored clay stripe from the front to the back of the race car (figure L).

25. Add four black discs of clay to the sides of the car to form wheels, and top with smaller white discs to form hubcaps. Add a small black ball of clay to the driver cockpit to form a helmet.

26. Poke two holes into the race car with a tapestry needle, for stitching the race cars to the hat and bake in an oven according to instructions on the clay package (figure M).

27. After the race cars are cooled, sew them onto the road using black thread.


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