I want this to be a flexible pattern, to use yarn you have lying around, so I didn't want to be too specific on yarns and gauges and such. Pick some yarn you like, and the needles that go with it. Figure out how many stitches per inch you get, and multiply that by the head circumference of the hat's future owner - here's a helpful guide. Fudge that into a multiple of 5. Okay? Good. Let's call that x.
2 and all even-numbered rows: k around
3: k1, m1, k1 around. 15 stitches.
5: k1, m1, k2 around. 20 stitches.
7: k1, m1, k3 around...
...etc, until you have reached that magic (x, the head circumference times gauge but divisible by 5) number we talked about up there.
Work one more even row.
The hat should be clearly divided into leaves now, marked by the m1s you did in the same place every round. We'll call the width of each leaf y. 5y = x. This will matter later.
*Slip the first stitch, k across one leaf until 2 before the end, and do a right-leaning decrease.
Now either turn the work, or knit backward - I find the latter much easier. Slip the first stitch, work across to the beginning of that leaf, the first stitch you slipped? Then turn again, or knit forwards, whatever.*
Repeat the bit in * *, until you have one stitch left. Pick up one stitch in each selvedge stitch along the left edge of the leaf.
That's one leaf. Do that four more times. Then you'll have five leaves.
Okay, now the petals! Color change! I used purple, but, you know, substitute the color of your choice. White is nice. I know we avoid white for baby sweaters, because spit-up stains, but they hardly ever spit up on their hats.
*At the lowest point between two leaves, pick up one purple stitch. Pick up another one in the right selvedge edge of the leaf to its left. This row has two stitches.
Turn, or knit back: slip the first one, k (or p, if you turned the work) the starter-stitch together with the first picked-up stitch to the right, there. You still have two stitches.
Turn, or knit forward: slip the first stitch, k the next one, pick up another one in the right selvedge edge. 3 stitches!
Turn, or knit back: slip the first stitch, work across, k the last stitch together with the next picked-up stitch.
See the theme here? Work back and forth between the leaves. Always slip the first stitch of each row. At the end of each odd (knit) row, pick up another stitch from the leaf to the left. At the end of each even (purl, or knit-back) row, k the last purple stitch together with the first green pick-up stitch on the leaf to the right.
Do this until you run out of picked-up stitches on the right, but don't knit that last green stitch at the very point of the leaf. The number of petal stitches plus the last green stitch on the very point of the leaf should equal y: the width of a leaf at its widest point, one-fifth of the total hat circumference.
K across the petal, slip the very first green stitch at the point of the next leaf, k along the picked-up green stitches down the left side of that leaf.* Pick up one stitch at the lowest point between leaves, and another one in the left-leaf selvedge edge. Work back, knitting the first stitch together with the edge-stitch on the right petal, as above. In other words, do the bit between the * * four more times.
Keep doing petals until there are x stitches on the needle(s). Then k across each petal, and purl into the green leaf-point stitches. K y-1, p 1. Around. For awhile. Until the petals measure 3.5 or 4 inches from the lowest point to the knitting needle.
Time for the petal-points! See, you're almost done!
*1. Knit across a petal, not including the purl stitch,
2 and all even rows: and then go back - purl, or knit in reverse.
3 and all odd rows: slip 1, left-leaning decrease, k across...
...until you have 3 stitches left. slip 1, k2tg, psso. Slip stitch down the side of that petal point (this job is a lot easier with a crochet hook. Slip the purl stitch.* Do the other four petals the same way.
Tuck in ends, block, take a picture and post it on Flickr so I can see it!
I kind of see why people don’t knit like this: it’s quite easy to do, but hard to describe.