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Old 12-20-2012, 05:13 PM   #1
Knitting the Flap
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Hats: Top-Down, or Bottom-Up?
Okay, so I'm looking at hat patterns right? Dozens of them, in fact. And probably what'll end up happening is I'll borrow elements from two or more and creating something else, but that's not the Great Mystery.

The Great Mystery is rooted in the fact that an overwhelming majority of patterns I've seen start at the bottom. And I'm curious why this is. I've probably done more hats than any other single type of item and except for the very first one I did, I have always done them top-down. And I do it that way for what I consider to be really good reasons. Including, but not limited to:
  • Starting at the top I can just knit until I have enough hat and then bind off.
  • This gets the shaping out of the way up front, and if I'm going to have a problem that's probably where it's gonna be. So better to tackle it first.
  • If I run out of yarn, I can finish in a contrast color and it looks a lot less like I ran out of yarn and finished in a contrast color. (This is particularly true of berets.)
  • If I have to adjust for size (or anything else for that matter), it's a LOT easier to do it if the BO is at the bottom.
  • For me at least, the BO edge comes out a lot neater than the CO edge.

That said, I know there are sometimes good reasons to start at the bottom, and my new "hybrid" pattern will probably require that since the band is knit flat and seamed, then stitches picked up from the edge and continued in the round. But the patterns I'm talking about could have gone either way, yet the author chose to work bottom up.

I figure at least most of them probably know a lot that I don't know (not exactly a high bar there), including why this is so much better as an option. But I'm stumped as to what that reason might be.

Of course I do hat shaping in Magic Loop too, which also seems to be unpopular, so maybe I'm just a rebel without a clue.

Any thoughts on this? All other things being equal, which end do you prefer to start at?
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