In a scramble for a last knitted Christmas gift for my brother [P], I ravelry searched “hat, men, toque” and came up with Stephen West’s Botanic Hat. I had bought burnt orange to add to the brown Ultra Alpaca in my stash that I was going to put together for another Noro Striped Scarf. I was about 10 inches into it and hating every stitch. Literally hating it. There was no way it would have been finished in time for Christmas let alone for this lifetime.

The Botanic toque was the perfect answer – especially since P loves loves loves toques. I have knit him one for the past 2 years – both of which he wears. Why not add to the growing stash of toques since it’s what he loves? I have always gifted him toques, even before I learned to knit.


One thing about P when knitting toques for him is that his head is small. Weird, I know. In the pattern, Stephen calls for 4 and 4.5mm needles, so I downsized to 3.5 and 4mm needles. Worked perfectly.

No other modifications! It’s nice to have something finished in 2 days, off the needles and wrapped. I did want to share a couple of thoughts about this pattern. First, it’s a great pattern. The instructions are clear and concise. Secondly, because you are working on the knitted side, you can’t see the growing “veins” of the inside so I found myself constantly turning it inside out and back again. I liked this about the pattern -  especially when I got to the crown shaping. It kept it interesting and I stayed focused on finishing!


Alpaca tends to stretch. I wouldn’t chose alpaca for a toque again as just photographing it on M [husband extraordinaire] caused some stretching. The colours of the Berroco are perfect for P’s taste, though, so maybe some heathered Cascade 220 next time …


I love the reversibility of this toque – how cool is that?


I have another finished Christmas knit that is the largest gift knitting I have ever taken on. It’s drying and I am finishing the belt (yup, you guessed it – it’s a sweater). I will share that after Christmas as the person receiving it sometimes clicks onto this blog to check out what I have been working on! To be honest, I can’t believe it’s finished. Some of you will know what project I am talking about!


Join the Conversation

  1. Sounds like the perfect gift for your bro! Great colour combo!

  2. It looks great! I didn't know the pattern was reversible – I'll have to give it a try!

  3. Love it. :o)

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