I'm pretty sweet on the Banff Hat by Tin Can Knits. The simple repeat of the tree pattern is more interesting than knitting a plain hat, but doesn't require so much concentration that you can't knit it while doing something else, like listening to a piano lesson, or watching a peewee basketball game. It's got everything you could want in a pattern, colorwork, a simple chart, and speed.
The Banff is also written for worsted weight yearn. I have a ton of worsted weight yarn. My stash is heavy with single skein colors I bought 100 years ago when I was first experimenting with improvising my own kids' clothes. My goal is to get most of that yarn out of the box and onto the body in the next few months. The Banff Hat is a great way to use smaller quantities of colorful yarn. When I cast on the first one I didn't intend to make three. I've been struggling to commit to a longer term knitting project, and like to keep my hands busy, and my mind focused, so I just kept going.
Details: This is a simple knit, and with simple projects it's nice to focus on the details. I used a tubular cast-on. It's my very favorite cast-on, and creates a nicely polished edge in 1x1 rib. The pink and green pompoms are made with a 2" pompom tool. They looked a little puny so I used a 4" piece of cardboard for the black hat's pom.
Size: All 3 hats are the Adult S/M (sized to fit a 21" head). Both kids have 21" heads, mine is 22". The circumference is fine on all of us, the height is just a bit slouchier on the kids.
Needles: I cast on with 7US straight needles, switching to 7US dpns to knit the brim in the round. The body is knit with 9US 16" circular needles, and when the crown decrease got too small for those I switched to 8US dpns, not in the pattern, but no dire consequences for such a short stretch. This sort of detail bores even me, but if I don't write it down I'll have to re-swatch when I make this again. Nobody wants that.
Yarn: The tree pattern on all 3 hats is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes. The green is Forrest Heather, not sure what the pink is, and Black. The main color might be Mink Heather, but it's from a frogged toddler sweater so I can't be sure.
We've already got more hats than heads, more than we can even loose in the bustle of the school commute. These three are off to warm the heads of dear ones, and I'm looking for something new to put on the needles. Cables perhaps...
Cast On and Brim Needle: 7 US
Body Needle: 9 US 16" circular (link to my favorite)
Crown DPN: 8 US (because I didn't have size 9)