EDIT: This post is getting many hits from Google, so let me also say that I have modified this somewhat since it was posted.
Heather's Firefly hat
Jayne, original Jayne hat image, and Firefly copyright Joss Whedon
This specific pattern copyright Heather Hill
For non-commercial use only (I'm flexible, contact me with questions)
I used Lopi in yellow for the top, orange for the bottom, and rust red for the earflaps. Any suitably rustic wool will do. This hat is sized to fit someone with a head of between 21-22 inches around, which classifies as medium to large adult. To change the size, you may wish to alter the gauge, yarn or number of stitches cast on. On the ribbing, I think two rows of ribbing would have looked more authentic, but I was a bit worried about it curling. I'll do just two rows on the next one to see how it goes.
Yarn: 1/2 skein orange, 1/2 skein yellow, 1/2 skein rust red Lopi
Needles: 16" circular size 10 1/2 + 1 set double-pointed 10 1/2
Gauge: 12 stitches and 17 rows over 4 inches (or thereabouts)
BODY OF HAT:
Using orange, CO 64. (I used cable cast on, as I wanted it to be nice and loose.) Being careful not to twist stitches, join and place marker to indicate the beginning of the row.
Work k1p1 ribbing for three rows.
Still using orange, knit for approximately 2 1/2 inches. At the end of the round, switch to yellow and knit for another 3 1/2 inches, or until it looks high enough to you. It should stick up off your head just a bit.
On next row, k2tog over entire row, switching to double-pointed needles when hat becomes too small to work on circular. Repeat k2tog with subsequent rows until you have seven stitches left. (Number of stitches left may vary depending on how many stitches you cast on.) Cut yarn and draw through remaining stitches to cinch up the top. Weave in end.
At base of the hat, find the back. You may still have a tail hanging down that would indicate its spot. If you don't, really, you can just find anyplace. Ma Cobb isn't worrying about precision, neither should you.
From the back, count six stitches and place marker (PM). Count 20 stitches from that point and PM. Count 12 stitches and PM. Count 20 stitches and PM. You should have four markers, which will mark your earflaps.
Using rust red, Pick up and knit the 20 stitches between the first and second marker. Work in stockinette stitch for approx 3 1/2 inches. (Stockinette is knit one row, purl one row. Remember, the knits go on the outside of the hat (RS, or right side), the purls go on the inside (WS, or wrong side).)
At beginning and end of each RS row, k2tog (knit two together). At beginning and end of each WS row, p2tog (purl two together). Do this until you have one stitch remaining. Cut yarn and draw through. Don't bother weaving it in, but you can knot it again if you want. Cut a length of rust red yarn and loop it through one of the bottom stitches, tying it off. Ma Cobb left three (or so) little ends on each earflaps so her boy could tie it.
Repeat with other side of hat.
If you know how to make a pom-pom, skip these directions. Make a pompom about four inches in diameter with a little bit of yellow, some orange, and a lot of rust red and attach it to the hat. If you want to see directions for pom-pom making with pictures, go to Bev's Country Cottage and click on the third "how to" pom-pom link. It's a nice PDF.
In a nutshell, Cut two circles out of cardboard, each about 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Make a hole in the middle of both about 3/4 of an inch in diameter. (This isn't precise. I stuck my scissors in the middle and wiggled them around until it looked about right.) Cut a length about the size of your arm of all three colors and thread them onto a tapestry needle. Push the needle through the hole and begin wrapping around the outside, so that you're covering the cardboard part. When that yarn is gone, cut a length of orange and rust red and repeat. Then cut a length of rust red and repeat. Keep wrapping until you can't get any more yarn through the middle of the hole in the cardboard.
Take your scissors and cut around the outside of the cardboard circle. Separate the circles just a bit. You'll see that you have a little bundle of yarn, with the individual pieces all lined up. Take a length of yellow yarn and tie it firmly around the middle part. Remove the cardboard. Tie the pom-pom firmly to the hat. You may want to use a tapestry needle and loop it around more than once so the pom-pom isn't floppy. Fluff up the pom-pom.
Weave in any loose ends, except the ones at the end of the earflaps. Remember, Ma Cobb isn't worrying about the odd bit sticking out here and there, so you've got some leeway if your hat doesn't look perfect.
Congratulations! You have a cunning hat!
If you have questions, feel free to contact me at hill at booboomonkey dot com.
I think I may make up a couple of these for sale at a convention for the online roleplaying game Dragonrealms I go to each summer, if I can figure out any copyright issues with making a lookalike. At the very least, I'll be sporting one!
ETA website info.
ETA kits now available + noncommercial use only.