Polka Dot Spots

by Kate Oates for Tot Toppers

» photos: Sara Parker Photography

If you've ever poked around the Tot Toppers website or seen my booth at a show, you'll know that this mama is crazy about polka dots! I've got tablecloths, curtains, and even a pattern binder. Its really high time I used this motif in a design.

I love a good polka dot because there is something innately happy about it. And that's pretty much my general attitude about kids design. Rule number one...its got to have FUN. My boys also absolutely love it when I wear something they consider interesting. Thus, funky colorful hats for them, and neutrals in a basic infinity cowl for me. Top dog Jesse is wearing size Child, Charlie (age 3) is wearing Toddler and baby Oliver is wearing size 3 months.



Cowl: One size
Hat: Newborn [3 months, 6 months, Toddler, Child, Adult Small]
Size Shown: Child, Toddler, 3 months

Finished Measurements

Hat Circumference: 12¾[14½, 16, 17½, 19¼, 20¾] inches
To Fit: 13¾[15½, 17, 18½, 20¼, 21¾] inches


Sweet Georgia Yarns Superwash Worsted [100% merino; 200 yards/183 meters per 4.1 ounce/115 gram skein];

Bison [A]
Natural [B]
Summer Skin [C]

For Cowl: 2 skeins A, 1 skein B
For Hat: 1 skein each A, B and C

Recommended needle sizes

Size 6 [4 mm] 16 inch circular needle [hat only]
Size 7 [4.5 mm] 16 inch circular needle and set of 5 dpns


Scrap yarn for provisional cast on [cowl only]
Crochet hook, size H [5 mm] for provisional cast on [cowl only]
Yarn needle


20 sts and 27 rows = 4 inches in Polka Dot Fair Isle on larger needles

Pattern Notes

Cowl is worked all in one piece, in the round and grafted closed with kitchener stitch. Also note that while hats are normally knit to be 2-3 inches smaller than the actual head circumference, I recommend only 1 inch of negative ease for this design so that the polka dots do not stretch in unsightly proportions!

Polka Dot
Rnd 1: With A, knit.
Rnd 2: With A, k2, with B, k3, with A, k3.
Rnds 3-5: With A, k1, with B, k5, with A, k2.
Rnd 6: With A, k2, with B, k3, with A, k3.
Rnds 7-10: With A, knit.
Rnd 11: With B, k1, with A, k5, with B, k2.
Rnds 12-14: With B, k2, with A, k3, with B, k3.
Rnd 15: With B, k1, with A, k5, with B, k2.
Rnds 16-18: With A, knit.

Skills Required

knitting on dpns, fair isle, kitchener stitch



On larger needles and with scrap yarn, provisionally cast on 64 sts.
With A, knit these sts. Place marker and join to work in the round.

Work in Polka Dot Fair Isle until scarf measures 50 inches from cast on edge, ending after Rnd 18 of Polka Dot.


Cut all strands of yarn and weave in loose ends. Place sts from provisional cast on on spare needles. Using Kitchener Stitch and a length of A, graft two ends of scarf together. Block.


With smaller needles and C, cast on 64[72, 80, 88, 96, 104] sts. Place marker and join to work in the round, being careful not to twist sts.
Rib: *K2, p2; repeat from * around.

Work in Rib until hat measures 1[1, 1½, 1½, 2, 2] inches from cast on edge.  Switch to A and larger needles. knit 1 round.

Work in Polka Dot Chart for a total of 2[2, 2, 3, 3, 3] dots [NOT full chart repeats], ending after Rnd 7 or 17. Work even in A until hat measures 3½[4¼, 4¾, 5½, 6, 6½] inches from cast on edge.


Crown Shaping
Note: Switch to dpns when necessary. Continue in A.
Rnd 1: *K6, k2tog; repeat from * around: 56[63, 70, 77, 84, 91] sts.
Rnd 2: *K5, k2tog; repeat from * around: 48[54, 60, 66, 72, 78] sts.
Rnd 3: Knit.
Rnd 4: *K4, k2tog; repeat from * around: 40[45, 50, 55, 60, 65] sts.
Rnd 5: *K3, k2tog; repeat from * around: 32[36, 40, 44, 48, 52] sts.
Rnd 6: Knit.
Rnd 7: *K2, k2tog; repeat from * around: 24[27, 30, 33, 36, 39] sts.
Rnd 8: Knit.
Rnd 9: *K1, k2tog; repeat from * around: 16[18, 20, 22, 24, 26] sts.
Rnd 10: *K2tog; repeat from * around: 8[9, 10, 11, 12, 13] sts.


Sizes Toddler[Child, Adult Small] ONLY
Rnd 11: *K2tog; repeat from * to last 1[0, 1] st, k1[0, 1]: 6[6, 7] sts.

Cut yarn, weave through remaining sts and secure.

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Designer Photo

Kate Oates is the designer for Tot Toppers & When I Grow Up. She enjoys designing hats and garments for babies and children in particular, these projects often reflect a whimsical spirit. Kate's When I Grow Up line is for those of us who are not tots, featuring a modern classic style. Kate also strives to add specifically to the growing body of knits for boys. In her non-knitting life, Kate holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Florida. She lives with her family in South Carolina. You might also see her clan at a Clemson football game. Go Tigers!

Pattern © 2013 Kate Oates. Contact Kate.

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