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Dear Ann,

I don’t know what to blame. It might be the inevitable letdown after finishing my mega temperature blanket. All those long rows, so seemingly endless, but then . . . they ended! Why was this surprising to me?

Or it might have been Blue Monday, an invention that looks like utter nonsense, but has a Wikipedia page. I am filing Blue Monday under Things I Don’t Believe In, along with Mercury in retrograde and putting wooden spoons in the dishwasher.

Or maybe it’s the excitement of a new Field Guide peeping up over the horizon, making me giddy for the future but a bit meh about the present?

Whatever the reason, earlier this week I was casting about for a small project to help me shake the doldrums.

In the meantime, Team MDK recently had decreed that our beloved and somewhat undercover number-wrangler, Bryan, was in need of a high-visibility hat for the hearty outdoor activities that, in our elaborate and 100 percent made-up Myth of Bryan, he enjoys. No one is more deserving of a dollop of MDK Atlas than Bryan, who saves our butts on the regular, keeping our QuickBooks quickened and everything else as synced up as humanly possible. And Clementine is obviously the brightest and most hi-vis shade of Atlas.

So: Blue Monday, meet Orange Hat.

I tell you what: I would not knit 6 inches of 1 x 1 ribbing for anybody but Bryan. But doesn’t it look nice? Again, according to our Bryanic Sagas, the Ears of Bryan require a double layer of warmth that only a fold-over brim can ensure.

The pattern is Drei: Hats 3 Ways by Jen Geigley. Given Bryan’s reputation around here as Mr. No Nonsense, I’m making Hat 1, the solid-color beanie version shown here. To make the largest size, get yourself 2 skeins of MDK Atlas in Clementine, a 16-inch circular, and Bob’s your uncle—er, Bryan’s your accountant.

Am I worried that this post will spoil a surprise? No. As thoroughly as Bryan reads our QuickBooks, I am pretty sure he is not reading our letters.

And if he is: Hi Bryan! Act surprised, ok?



Looking for More Great Hat Patterns for Atlas? Here you go.


  • Love the orange- just what we need in the dull days of winter. But more importantly- thank you for your confession on 1×1 ribbing! I HATE doing the ribbing on hats-it slows me down more than I can say. Perhaps that is the universe telling me to slow down and enjoy the process, but I can hardly stand it, waiting for the ribbing to be finished so I can move on. I thought it was my own “dirty little secret” but it’s nice to know I’m not alone!

    • I’m a dedicated “English” style knitter e.g. thrower because I could never figure out the Continental Purl … until I learned the Norwegian Purl! Now I can do 1×2 ribbing continental style. Maybe it’s just the novelty of a new technique (that will eventually wear off) but I really am enjoying it!

      • I meant 1×1–darned fat fingers

    • Amen. Slow down and enjoy the process. It’s still knitting, right? (My mantra when I am in the midst of MY circle of hell — the endless stockinette of a top-down or bottom-up sweater!)

      • Kay, I love, love, love your letters! I only read them when I have the time to enjoy them. Your comments have me lol! Everything you say is so relatable.

  • I join you in thinking 1 x1 ribbing is some circle of hell!

    • I know, right!! Six inches is true dedication. I can barely make it to 2 inches:-p

  • Such a great hat! Thank you for the reminder. I know Brian will love it.

  • Years ago, someone on the Internet said they would rather knit ribbing forever than, say, one row of seed stitch. Every time I start ribbing or seed stitch, I think of that comment. At least his hat – and all that ribbing – will be in Clementine and not, say, Extra Dark Soot. (Don’t think Atlas has that color.) Lucky Brian, either way! Chloe

    • Oh, I hate doing seed stitch! I think it’s pretty, but I can’t knit it without screwing it up, every time. Now it’s an automatic no for me in a pattern. I don’t love ribbing, but at least I can do it!

      • God bless me. I’m about to start a seed-stitch blanket. Hoping the color changes will alleviate the inevitable tedium.

  • The trouble with Blue Monday is that it assumes everyone hates winter. Mid January is my FAVORITE time of year – cold, dark, woodstove going, good hiking, beans cooking on the stove, it’s lovely. For depressing, give me a day in August when it’s 88F with 98% humidity and you can’t walk out the door without either drowning in your own sweat or being carried off by flies and mosquitoes.
    Plus, in winter you can knit and wear lovely orange hats….

    • I am so with you! I just moved from the Midwest to California and I am really missing my Proper Winter. I haven’t had to break out the knitwear once! What am I supposed to do with it all??

    • Yes! January is my favorite time of year. (I live in Virginia so am not dealing with subzero temperatures or darkness at 4pm …) I’m right there with you. The worst weather of all is hot and humid.

    • I love the temperatures of winter but not the darkness.

    • i SO agree!

    • I have to say, I’m really looking at my bare trees with a lot of love right now. Really beautiful.

    • Totally agree! January is breathing space after the exhausting holidays. It’s always been one of my favorite months. And sweaty, buggy summer…not my thing at all.

    • Finally, someone else who likes January, dark and cold and oh so homey. What’s not to love about that? And that awful hot humid august, just awful.

  • P.S. That very specific shade of Clementine, as photographed at the top of this article took me back to Childhood, for heaven’s sake. Specifically to a page in my second grade reader which illustrated a scene in the rain which changes all colors. I remember being fascinated by the more sophisticated color palette of that page even then (no, I am definitely NOT an artist), and hadn’t thought of that page since that moment (jacks and hopscotch were more important), but I think it illustrates the power of color and how lucky as knitters that we get to work with it every day! Thanks MDK! Chloe

  • I’ve been working on a fair isle hat for my daughter’s boyfriend. I made it to 4 inches of 1×1 rib and called it a day. Ugh!

  • Too funny reading all these comments! 1X1 rib beanies are my go-to solid hat! What about the Norwegian Purl, Kay?!

  • Kay! You make me laugh out loud!

  • I actually love knitting ribbing – knitting Continental-style, for me it feels like an easy rhythm of motion.

    • I also love the rhythm of ribbing! I’m working on the 1×1 ribbing of a hat right now and it’s hard to put it down.

      • Just started a baby gift hat in 1×1 ribbing and I think it’s the perfect project for a movie or Pandora..

    • I agree, I get into the rhythm of ribbing just like stockinette knitting, but each to his own right? I love the choice of orange Kay, he will love it!

  • Kay—you are SUCH a good writer!

  • As a continental knitter who could only do the knit stitch but not the purl (I was taught to throw but as a teen was converted to picking) I was faced with a yard of ribbing for a scarf. I decided that it was time to figure out how to purl. It took awhile to come up with a purl that was not twisted (yes, it can be knitted in the back on the next row but I didn’t want to be always correcting stitch mounts). A couple of slow inches of ribbing and I finally can purl continental like a Norwegian decades after learning only the knit stitch. You can teach an old dog new tricks.

  • Here’s to rib stitches, lovely quiet winter days, and Atlas, so swoony. I love them all. Orange ribbed hat, it’s a beaut and your accountant is a lucky 🙂

  • Remember that BT two skein Noro scarf? 1×1 ribbing for days! The other day I was also complaining to myself about some ribbing, and I remembered that it was nothing like that scarf! And I ended up making two of those scarves!

    • Hmm. Interesting idea, a totally 1×1 ribbed scarf. Maybe directions to the source? I’d love to see just how that looks!

      • You can do this sideways right? cast on a jillion and knit garter stitch? I made a scarf that way that was green on one side and brown on the other.

      • The Harry Potter Year 3-4 Scarf is entirely 1×1 ribbing, so you can look that up for a visual. The purls sink in between the knits so it looks like stockinette. It lays completely flat and is nice and squishy. I just learned Norwegian purling to avoid hand pain and am very happy I did!

    • Katherine — I remember it well, and I still love it years after ribbing my fingers to the bone. I suppose it taught me patience, but not enough: there will be no second 1×1 all-rib scarf for me. I admire your fortitude for going through that all again.

  • 1×1 ribbing? That is true appreciation. Of course if you did a black hat in 1×1, I’d assume it was true love…..

  • Kay, the Ravelry page for that pattern indicates you’d need 350 to 400 yards of Atlas for that hat. You’d need three skeins, not two. I hope you got enough of the right dye lot or the top of Bryan’s head will be awfully cold.

    • I finished it in 2 with quite a bit for the leftover collection!

  • I made 7 Drei hats for Christmas presents, each one taking three days(I am not a fast knitter and I was knitting them at night after the chores of the day were finished): 2 days for the ribbing and one to finish the hat. Yes, the ribbing is tedious but not too horrible if something good is playing in the background. The recipients loved the hats!

  • I think Mercury retrograde is totally a thing.

    • Me too. Whenever my communication just isn’t working I call a friend who believes astrology is real and she assures me that indeed Mercury is retrograde. Also tells me when it will be done.

  • Hat is great! … and Mercury does move in retrograde- ancients have plotted the motion. So please have some faith in celestial mechanics…..just a little? It’ll free up a spot on your list for something else.

    • I believe in the celestial mechanics just not that it’s why I messed something up or whatever!

  • 1X1 ribbing is tedious but somehow rice stitch is not! does not make any sense but I do like it.

  • Bryan is a lucky one!

  • As a continental knitter, I have never minded 1×1 ribbing and or any ribbing for that matter. I just enjoy the stitches rolling off my needles, soothing my anxieties as I go to my happy place.

  • Oh my goodness, that shade is incredible. Is there a chance that Atlas might be available in the UK anytime? Pretty please?!

  • Ooo I have that yarn and love me some Jen

  • I don’t mind ribbing at all. I find it mesmerizing to knit and always looks s neat.

  • I’m a so so knitter. Looking for easy projects.

  • Inquiring minds want to know (and see) about Bryan’s finished hat, with Bryan wearing it. If he is a bit camera-shy, a picture from the side or back is acceptable.

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