Handmade: Start new tradition with Christmas tree topper

Jocelynn Brown
The Detroit News


Want to look your usual festive self this holiday season, but you're tired of that same old red and white Santa hat? If so, why not branch out with something entirely different -- a hand-knitted Christmas tree hat, complete with glittering miniature ornaments?

Elaine Redmond of Beverly Hills shows her knitted Christmas tree hats.

If you're a knitter, you might want to try your hand at making one, but if not, maybe you can talk your knitting friend into making one for you in exchange for some holiday goodies!

Or -- if you stop by Leon & Lulu (96 W. 14 Mile) in Clawson Sunday (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) or Monday (3-8 p.m.) for its Artists' Market, you might be able to purchase one from the "limited edition" collection that Elaine Redmond has been putting together the past five years just for the "fun" of it.

The Beverly Hills resident, who's been knitting 20 years, came up with the idea and pattern, about five years ago because she wanted to make something different for the holiday sale held at the Community House in Birmingham.

"I was just thinking, 'what could I do for Christmas, and I said, 'I think I'll do a hat that looks like a (Christmas) tree.'" She thought they'd be a "unique and fun" thing to wear during the holiday season, and as it turned out, "everybody liked them," including "the first person who walked into the sale." 

She embellishes the whimsical hats with miniature Christmas decorations, which she finds at local craft stores, including Michael's and Hobby Lobby. She usually buys candy canes, beaded garland, snowflakes, stars and tiny balls "that look like Christmas ornaments."

Who might wear such a hat, you ask? Redmond believes, "It's more a fun person, or people, who collect interesting hats. I have someone -- a volunteer at the DIA (Detroit Institute of Arts) -- who buys one every year. He collects Christmas hats."

She doesn't always make the amusing head turners in shades of green, as one might expect. In the past, some customers have requested pink. This year, she said, "I made a purple one, a gold one and a white one with sparkly trim. The green and white people buy them for themselves and kids at MSU (Michigan State University)."

The cone-shaped toppers can also be used as soft-sculpture for decorating one's home during the holiday season. "People stuff them and put them on their dining room table for decoration," said Redmond. "They can also be put on a base, or in a pot."

Redmond, sells her dual-purpose hats for $45 each, and she's willing to accept a "very limited" number of custom orders over the next couple weeks. 

Here, she shares her original pattern.

A knitted Christmas tree hat by Elaine Redmond of Beverly Hills.

Christmas Tree Hat

Level: Intermediate

Estimated time: 8 hours

Tools: size 8, 16-inch circular knitting needles; size 8 double points, scissors, tape measure, yarn needle, sewing needle, glue

Supplies: yarn (in choice of colors) -- Bernat Baby Blanket (for bottom), Vanna's Choice (body), Red Heart Super Saver (accent), a glitter eyelash; miniature tree decorations (including a star tree top), thread to match yarn colors.

Abbreviations: co cast on, k knit, p purl, st(s) stitch(es), dec decrease, tog together

(Note: This adult size hat is designed with 8 sections of 7 rows each, divided by 2 rows of p sts).


CO 70 sts to circular needles.

K first row. Join at beginning of row 2, making sure not to twist sts.

K enough rows to measures 2 inches.

First section: Change to body color. Add 1 st every 7 sts (80 sts total). k 7 rows.

Change to accent color. p 2 rows. (If you wish, begin adding eyelash to one row in each section from this point on.)

Second section: change to body color. k 7 rows.

Change to accent color. p 2 rows.

Third section: Change to body color. k 6 rows. Dec on 7th row. k 6, k2tog around entire piece.

Change to accent color. p 2 rows.

Fourth section: Change to body color. k 3 rows. Dec on 4th row, k5, k2tog. Then k rows 5 and 6. On 7th row, k4, k2tog around entire piece.

Change to accent color. p 2 rows

Fifth section: k 6 rows. Dec row 7 with k 3, k2tog around entire piece.

Change to accent color. p 2 rows.

Now, change to double-points.

Sixth section: k 6 rows. Dec row 7 with k 2, k2tog around entire piece.

Change to accent color. p 2 rows.

Seventh section: k 6 rows. Dec row 7 with k 1, k2tog around entire piece.

Change to accent color. p 2 rows.

Eighth section: k 4 rows. Dec row 5 with k2tog around entire piece. Then k rows 6 and 7.

Change to accent color and p 2 rows.

Cut yarn, leaving a 6-inch tail. Thread through remaining sts, pull tight and fasten off.

Use yarn needle to work in all loose ends. 

Now, hand-stitch decorations to hat. Glue tree top to hat, removing any spring first.  

Detroit News columnist Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150, jbrown@detroitnews.com or facebook.com/DetroitNewsHandmade.

Contact Elaine Redmond at (248) 647-6912.