So You Want to Knit a Hood

Bulky cardigan with hood from Vogue Knitting Magazine
Design #18
Vogue Knitting
Holiday 2017

Have you ever thought that a hood would look better on the bulky cardigan you’re making, rather than the collar style used in the pattern instructions. A hood is simply an extension of the neck band from a round neckline or an unshaped neckline. If you’re not sure how to add a hood to your garment, this post will help you create one.

Steps to knitting a hood:

  • Beginning at centre front, pick up stitches along the right front neck, back neck, and left front neck. If you’re using a circular needle don’t join the work. Picking up stitches can also begin at either the centre of a front band, or continue on the stitches from the front borders, maintaining these stitches in pattern for a hood edging, as in Vogue’s design above. The neckline for the cardigan above has no shaping; the stitches are held from the fronts and back, and then knit to form the hood. You may also choose to use smaller needles for picking up stitches.
  • Next step is to work approximately one inch on these stitches without shaping.
  • Change to larger needles and increase the number of stitches by approximately 10 to 20% across the back neck over one row or gradually over a few rows.
  • Work the hood to the desired height. A longer hood is more appropriate than one which is too short.
  • To join the top of the hood, there are a few options: 1) My favorite method is to divide the stitches evenly on two needles, and join these edges with a three needle bind off (see below). 2) Fold the hood in half, and use the kitchener stitch (grafting) to join the live stitches from the front to crown. 3) Bind off all stitches, fold this edge in half and seam on the wrong side of the hood.

Think of a hood as an extended collar, which requires increasing stitches so it fits loosely around the head. The edging around the hood may be continuous from the front bands, if it is part of the garment style, like Vogue’s bulky cardigan. Making a hood is fairly simple, and is not any more difficult than knitting other collar styles.

Note: The three needle bind off is a method that involves knitting two edges of live stitches together. Place an equal number of stitches on two separate needles. Hold these needles in your left hand with the right sides of the knit fabric together. Insert a third needle into the first stitch on each needle, and knit them together as one stitch. *Knit the next stitch in the same way, so there are two stitches on right needle. Using the tip of left needle, pass the first stitch over the second stitch and drop the stitch off the needle, as if you are binding off knitwise. Repeat from * until one stitch remains; cut yarn and draw through this last stitch.