I have this thing about winter hats, they never quite cover my earlobes. I forget all about this until I’m out in the cold and then it’s too late and I end up tugging the hat down trying to keep my poor ears warm. Even the Calorimetry, which I love, doesn’t quite cover my whole ear (maybe I have freakishly large ears?).
The hat shown here is my rough draft and is riddled with mistakes. I closed the short rows on one side incorrectly, I missed when to cable and did some at every five rows, some at six and one a seven. Despite this it’s still my favorite functionally warm hat. And I have enough yarn to make a more polished one. It’s pictured here on a styrafoam head that is considerably smaller than my own head.
The hat shown pulled down over the forehead.
I was telling a friend, Maggi, about this and my requirements. I didn’t want to have a staggered cast on (I like tubular for hats), I didn’t want to have tie anything under the chin, I didn’t want to go back and knit ear flaps later on (they don’t seem to do anything but hang there anyhow). Then Maggi, all effortless like, suggested short rows. She is a genius. I’ve only just wrapped my head around how short rows work so I gave it a shot.
The hat shown pulled back a bit.
I made the short rows on this hat like you would do for a sock heel (each row was shorter than the previous), and the result was that they curl inward and hug underneath the ear, a nice unexpected outcome. I used the Chunky Cabled Beanie pattern from Stitch Cafe as a starting point. (Here found at the Internet Archive after it disappeared during a site redesign sometime in the last two days.) I added a pattern repeat, for a total of seven cable/rib sections, and placed the short row areas centered over cabled sections closer to the back of the head, if you are counting from the join at the back of the head they would be over sections 2 and 6.
The hat is shown above flat. On the left is the hat from the front, and on the right is the hat from the side (if worn one’s face would be pointed to the left). I’m trying to show how I didn’t center the earflaps but set them back a bit, they seem to be well placed for me.
(I’m no good at getting photographs of myself in a mirror, this is the only one that shows the hat well enough.)
There are a few short row earflap hats already out there including this very tidy one from QueerJoe’s Knitting Blog, the Brioche Helmet Hat from Interweave Knits, Earflap Hat from Sunshine Knit Designs, and Cameron’s Cap by Sarah Peasley (note: that link is to a PDF).
I’m not sure if it uses short rows but I like the cabled had from Rebecca shown by Action Hero in her roundup of winter hats. Another ear covering hat that comes immediately to mind is the Amelia Earhart Aviator Cap. On Ravelry I found the Mimipita Earflap Hat, which is written in Japanese but uses a universal chart, and the Cabled Earflap Hat which is sized for a baby but easily made larger using a larger gauge.
p.s. My project is here on Ravelry in case you’re interested: red cabled short row earflap hat.