If you know what this is, you also know you want one. Check out the pattern below.
The Cunning Hat
If you don't know where this hat comes from, put down your knitting, and go netflix Firefly right now. (You may also drive to the video store, if you're old fashioned like that.) If your first thought is, "Shiny! I think it's sweet," you're in the right place.
Browncoats everywhere have been making this hat with a frenzy. Mine is not terribly different (because how many ways can you make a hat with earflaps, really?), but there are a few details that weren't in the other patterns I consulted. I put them here mostly for my own reference, but you're welcome to use it.
I chose to use nice fuzzy Malabrigo yarn held doubled. Some use cheap acrylic, in the theory that Ma Cobb would be a Red Heart sort of knitter. I prefer natural wool, under the theory that she lives on a farm, wrangles her own sheep, and dyes the yarn with obnoxiously bright local plant dyes. I chose Malabrigo under the theory that I have to wear it, and I don't want anything icky. I went with my own gauge, but the major changes are to the earflaps. After studying certain screenshots, I realized there was a garter ridge (see here) right where the earflap picked up. I'm not that picky about trying to be accurate, I just thought it was an interesting feature and wanted to recreate it.
I've used the yarn held doubled. I find the easiest way to do this is to wind it into a cake or center pull ball, and use one strand from each end. If you find this troublesome, you could always wind it into two separate balls/cakes.
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted, one skein each of Bergamota (red-orange), Tigerlily (orange), and Cadmium (yellow), held double throughout
Gauge: 7 sts = 2" (5 cm)
Suggested needle size: US 10 (6.0 mm), 12" circ (optional) and dpn
Using Tigerlily (orange), cast on 72 sts with yarn held doubled. Join for working in the round, being careful not to twist.
Work two rows in K2 P2 rib.
Switch to stockinette (knit every round) and continue to work until piece measures 3.5" (8.75 cm).
Change to Cadmium (yellow) and continue to work in stockinette with yarn held doubled until piece measures about 6" (15 cm).
When work no longer fits comfortably on circular needle, switch to double points.
Round 1: K7, K2tog around (64 sts)
Round 2: Knit
Round 3: K6, K2tog around (56 sts)
Round 4: Knit
Round 3: K5, K2tog around (48 sts)
Round 4: Knit
Round 5: K4, K2tog around (40 sts)
Round 6: Knit
Round 7: K3, K2tog around (32 sts)
Round 8: Knit
Round 9: K2, K2tog around (24 sts)
Round 10: Knit
Round 11: K1, K2tog around (16 sts)
Round 12: K2tog around (8 sts)
Cut working yarn and thread through remaining stitches. Secure tightly.
Using two strands of Bergamota (orange-red), pick up 18 sts along one side of the hat.
Row 1 (WS): Knit
Row 2 -7: Work in stockinette (so that knit side faces out)
Row 8: K 1, K2tog, knit to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1 (16 sts)
Row 9 - 11: Work in stockinette
Repeat rows 8 - 11 until 12 sts remain. (Two repeats, with 14 and 12 stitches remaining after each decrease row.)
Work decrease row one more time (10 sts).
Bind off in knit on WS.
Do not weave in ends. Leave them long, and possibly add more.
For second earflap, try hat on and begin picking up at opposite temple. For me, this was 26 sts away, but your forehead size may vary. This is asymmetrical, and leaves a wide gap at the forehead, and a rather small gap at the nape of the neck.
Make a very large pompom using all three colors. (Good instructions here.) Gather top of hat a bit when you attach it.
Wear with pride. Man walks down the street in that hat, you can tell he's not afraid of anything.
You can also tie the flaps up Fargo style, if you want.