You can turn any simple sweater or tunic pattern into a warm winter garment by knitting a hood. Hoods can also be knit on their own as an accessory that will keep the head, neck and ears warm through the most inclement weather. Hand-knit hoods make wonderful Christmas gifts for friends and family, and can be customized for size so they are also suitable for toddlers, children and adults, and can take the place of both a hat and sweater.
If you are adding the hood to a pre-knitted garment, pick up a row of stitches along the sides and back of the garment's neckline. If you are knitting a hood separately, cast on enough stitches for the desired length of the scarf bottom of the hood.
For standalone hoods, continue to knit in garter stitch rows until the scarf is 4 inches wide. Bind off stitches until reaching the place on the length where the edge of the hood will begin, approximately one-third of the way around the garment. Knit across the remainder of the length. Turn and bind off stitches in the opposite direction until reaching where the opposite edge of the hood will begin.
Continue to knit in rows until the hood is the length desired to fit over the head. Bind off stitches. Finish off yarn by weaving it through the last row of stitches.
Turn the hood inside-out. Thread a tapestry needle with yarn and sew a seam across the top of the hood.
Check the label of the yarn you are using for information on what size knitting needles to use.
To calculate the length of the scarf bottom for a standalone hood, check the label for the gauge of the yarn you are using. Multiply the number of stitches per inch for the needles being used by the desired length in inches for your initial number of cast-on stitches.
If you cannot replicate the color of the original garment, try adding different colors in rows to create a striped hood, or using a bright contrasting color. Pick up stitches along the hemline of the garment and add a row or two of knit in the same contrasting color to tie the design together.
Add a row of single crochet, crocheted picots or crocheted shells along the outer edge of the hood after sewing the top seam for a decorative accent.
Be sure to use a ribbed or garter stitch on the edges of your hood. A stockinette stitch will cause the edges to curl.