You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.
Lara Neel | The Journal Gazette
The “Truth Finds Honest” Tam is easy to knit using No. 7 or No. 9 needles.

Get out those knitting needles, whip up hat

I need to create about a dozen gifts before the end of the year, and I would like to do it using handspun yarn.

I like hats because they don’t take a lot of yarn and there is no second hat syndrome.

The basic tam shape looks terrible when you are making it, but really comes into its own after blocking. The “Truth Finds Honest” name comes from a modern-English translation of the epic poem, “Tam o’ Shanter” by Robert Burns.

Basics for ‘Truth Finds Honest’ Tam

Needles: No. 7 and No. 9, whatever style you like for knitting in the round.

Yarn: Slightly crazy handspun, that is something between heavy worsted-weight and bulky, but who knows, really. I got 13 wraps to the inch from it. You can sub Fisherman’s Wool by Lion Brand or Lamb’s Pride Worsted. Use non-scratchy yarn because the brim rests on the forehead. Yarns with a large percentage of acrylic or other synthetic material should be avoided, since they might not block out well.

Gauge: 4 stitches to the inch

Size: Medium woman’s hat size

Stitch explanations

m1 – Using the tip of your right-hand needle, moving it away from you, lift the running thread between the stitch you just worked and the next stitch; place this thread onto the left-hand needle. Knit into this thread.

ddc – Slip the next two stitches as if you were knitting them together, knit the next stitch, pass the slipped stitches over the knit stitch. Two stitches decreased.

What you do:

Using a temporary cast on and larger needles, start with 120 stitches. Knit every stitch for 5 inches.

Decrease section

Round 1: Knit 6 stitches; (ddc, knit 12 stitches) repeat 7 times; ddc, knit 6 stitches. (104 stitches)

Round 2: All even-numbered rounds: Knit every stitch.

Round 3: Knit 5 stitches; (ddc, knit 10 stitches) repeat 7 times; ddc, knit 5 stitches. (88 stitches)

Round 5: Knit 4 stitches; (ddc, knit 8 stitches) repeat 7 times; ddc, knit 4 stitches. (72 stitches)

Round 7: Knit 3 stitches; (ddc, knit 6 stitches) repeat 7 times; ddc, knit 3 stitches. (56 stitches)

Round 9: Knit 2 stitches; (ddc, knit 4 stitches) repeat 7 times; ddc, knit 2 stitches. (40 stitches)

Round 11: Knit 1 stitch; (ddc, knit 2 stitches) repeat 7 times; ddc, knit 1 stitch. (24 stitches)

Round 13: ddc 8 times. (8 stitches) (Knit 1, ddc) twice. (4 stitches) Leaving a 6-inch tail, break the yarn. Draw it through the remaining stitches, twice if you feel paranoid. Bring it to the inside of the hat, and darn it in.


Using smaller needles, pick up 120 stitches from your cast-on edge. Work (purl 1, k2t) around. Continue working (purl 1, knit 1) around until the ribbing is about 1 1/2 inches deep. Cast off, loosely, in a contrasting yarn, if you like.

Darn in all ends. Wash and block severely with a pie plate, dinner plate or other round object to create the tam shape. Enjoy.

Lara Neel is the visual editor for The Journal Gazette. Her regular work, knitting patterns and podcasts appear at Regular columnist Joyce McCartney can be reached at 461-8364 or email Also, go to her blog at