A hand-knit hat is a memorable and useful gift for a expecting mom--and babies are just cuter with hats. An "umbilical cord" hat is a beanie that ends with a cute curly top like the end of an umbilical cord, making the baby who wears it look like a sweet little elf. To knit an umbilical cord hat you need experience knitting in the round, decreasing and knitting an i-cord.
Cast on 60 stitches. Knit once around, knitting the first and last stitches together. This will close the project. Repeat in row two. Mark the back of your project with the safety pin or row marker. You will now have 58 cast-on stitches.
Knit 58 in rounds three through seven. In round eight knit two, purl two and repeat to the end of the round. Repeat the knit two, purl two in rounds nine through 15 to create the ribbed stitch. In round 16 through 18 knit 58.
Knit ten, then knit two together for round 19. Repeat this to the end of the round. This will leave you with 48 stitches. Knit 48 in rounds 20 through 29. In round 30 knit nine, then knit two together. Repeat this stitch pattern to end of the round. You'll be left with 30 stitches. Knit 30 in rounds 31 through 35.
Knit eight, then knit two together in round 36. You will knit together a total of four times in this round. At the end you'll be left with 22 stitches. For rounds 37 through 40, knit 22. For round 41, knit six, then two together. Again, knit together four times. There will be 14 stitches left once you've done this.
Knit 14 in rounds 42 through 50. For row 51, knit two, then knit two together to the end of the round. At the end you'll be left with a total of ten stitches. Slip the stitches off your circular needles and onto a double pointed needle. Starting in row 52 you will knit two, then knit two together. Do not knit into the back of the row, instead flip your right needle over and transfer it into your left hand. This way you'll be able to knit into the front of the rows continuously. Repeat knit two, knit two together until you're left with four stitches.
Make i-cord to finish the hat. Knit four, then slide to the bottom of the needle, knit four again. Repeat until you have an i-cord that is your desired length (3 to 5 inches). Tie the cord into a knot to finish the project.
As you decrease stitches it will become more challenging to knit with your 22 inch needles. If you have a set of 11 inch, US 11 needles you can transfer the project to the smaller set after knitting round 35. When transferring stitches from needle to needle (such as between rows 51 and 52 in this project) you do not want to take the stitches completely off the needles as it will unravel the project. This pattern can be adapted to create a strawberry hat by variegating green with red yarn at the top and bottom of the project.