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Saint-Exupéry Hat

$4.50 or 2 Pages of Your Story

Difficulty: Relaxing (click for info)

Special Deal! During the month of October, get 10% off a skein of Porcini Mushroom Aran Silky Merino with purchase of the Saint-Exupéry pattern (coupon code delivered automatically on purchase).

Inspired by a trip to Toulouse, adoptive home of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, this hat is an homage to the French aviation pioneer and author of classic novellas Le petit prince (The Little Prince) and Vol de nuit (Night Flight). Saint-Exupéry began his flying career shortly after the end of the first World War, and this hat is modeled after the leather aviation caps worn by him and his fellow 1920s aviators. This modern version is worked in hand-dyed, ultra-soft 50% silk/50% merino, and conjures an era of adventure while offering a level of luxury unavailable on those early flights.

Saint-Exupéry is worked from the top down, in a textural stitch pattern requiring only knitting, purling, and slipping stitches. Since the stitch is garter-based, the resulting fabric is dense and warm, and the strong vertical lines and nubby texture make this a good match for hand-dyed semi-solid yarns, as well as solids. The crown features an intuitive pattern of increases, and the hat is worked in the round until the forehead stitches are placed on waste yarn and the back flap is worked back and forth. The back features organic decreases that contour the hat to the back of the head. A chinstrap with buttonhole adds to the retro look, and the entire hat is finished off with applied i-cord edging. Alternate instructions are included for those wishing to leave off the chinstrap for a more modern feel.

The Saint-Exupéry pattern is dedicated to my friend Marie-Christine, who was such an excellent and hospitable hostess during our stay in Toulouse, and took us to see many of the city's literary sights. It was developed in collaboration with Sundara of Sundara Yarn, dyer extraordinaire and all-around lovely lady.

Photographs by David Galli, taken with the WWII B-17G Bomber known as the Lacey Lady.

Pattern Information


  • Finished hat measures 23in (59cm) in circumference and 10.5in (27cm) from crown to bottom edge. The sample garment is modeled on a head 21.5 inches around.


  • 20 sts and 32 rows = 3 inches in flat close stitch (slipped-stitch pattern)


  • 1 skein Sundara Yarn Aran Silky Merino (50% silk, 50% merino, 200yds/100g) in Porcini Mushroom or desired color
  • Set of 5 US7/4.5mm double-pointed needles, or size needed to obtain gauge
  • 1 circular or 2 straight US7/4.5mm needles, or size needed to obtain gauge
  • Tapestry needle
  • 1 5/8in (16mm) button (or more, but only one will be functional)
  • 4 stitch markers (2 are optional)
  • Small amount of scrap yarn for holding live sts
  • Small amount of fingering-weight yarn or sewing thread in a color to blend in with main yarn color.

Necessary Techniques:

  • Working flat and in the round
  • Working yo, ssk, kf&b&f, slipped sts, i-cord edging (pattern includes instructions)

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