When I first saw this helmet hat in the Fall 2003 Knitter's Magazine, my first thought was: That is one ugly hunk of knitting.
My second thought, immediately following, was: Boy, does that look warm.
Being a pragmatist, the thoughts of how warm this helmet would be quickly overrode all thoughts of ugliness, and I added it to my list of things to knit.
It didn't get done for last winter, but this week I pulled out the magazine and knit one up in alpaca. It's going to be perfect for wearing under my parka hood when I walk the dogs.
Pattern: Turns Ahead Helmet from Fall 2003 Knitter's Magazine
Yarn: Knitpicks Decadence, 100% alpaca
Needles: Addi Turbo #6 and #9
Gauge: 4 stitches/inch, 5 rows/inch
The pattern has two sizes, child and adult. The neck measurement for the child size is 11.5 inches, 14.5 inches for the adult. My neck size is 12.5. My head is small.
Both sizes have the same stitch count. The child size is knit in worsted weight with #8 needles. The adult size is knit in bulky weight with #10.5 needles. I decided to wing it with bulky weight yarn and #9 needles and use the child size plus 10% for the lengthwise measurements.
Knitpicks calls Decadence a bulky weight yarn. I don't agree. It looks and knits more like a worsted weight yarn. Using #9 needles, I got a loose, floppy fabric that was perfect for a helmet hat, but unacceptable for a sweater. I haven't tried this, but I'm guessing on #7s Decadence would knit up at a worsted gauge of 5 stitches/inch.
The guessing on gauge and size was successful. It fits my head snug but not too tight.
The pattern is an exercise in shortrows. It was quick and fun to knit. At the medium speed I knit, it took about four hours.
Bring on the cold winds of winter! (I don't really mean that.)