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Where’d the name beanie hat come from?

by Lisa on 

Knitted Pink Lacy Beanie hat for girls | BeanieDesignsNo one is sure where the name “beanie hat” came from, but there are several theories.

Some think it’s from the slang term “bean” referring to the head. Others point out that the button that was commonly found on top of beanie hats a long time ago was about the size of a bean.

Academics like to think the name beanie hat might have come from the term bejaunus, which means “yellow bill”. It referred to a cap worn at universities during medieval times, which may have evolved into the popular college beanie hats seen even here in the U.S. At one point, bejaunus became beanus. I guess that’s pretty close to “beanie”.

It seems the name beanie wasn’t used much until the 1950’s. Then a popular cartoon popped up featuring a character who always wore a beanie hat with a propeller on top. He went by the name of Beany and embarked on a series of adventures with his friend Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent.

Beanie hat is just one term for the type of hat we’re talking about, though. The basic knit cap is also known by other names around the world and in different cultures. Other names for the beanie hat include skully, tuque, watch cap, calot, skull cap, dinky, dink, toboggan cap, stocking cap, sock caps, ski cap, sipple cap, chook cap, monkey cap, and, simply, knit cap.

I have to confess, I only knew of a few of the above names, and those I thought were actually a bit different from a beanie hat. (For example, I always thought a stocking cap had a long tapered tassel on the top. However, it seems in certain places a stocking cap actually is the same as a beanie hat.)

How about you? What did you call your knit hat grow up?

The beanie hat’s surprisingly intriguing origins

by Lisa on 

The basic beanie hat forms the heart of many of our most loved baby hat designs. So I started wondering the other day where the beanie hat itself came from. Here’s what I learned.

It all started in Wales almost a thousand years ago

First of all, the term beanie hat can refer to two main types of hats: the rounded, seamed cap often with a button on top, or a soft, stretchy knit cap. Beanie Designs makes the soft stretchy kind.

The first hats of the style of beanies we’re talking about seem to date back to the 12th and 13th centuries. They were called Monmouth caps after the name of the town where they originated. The earliest versions were worn by women and made of velvet, taffeta, or satin adorned with embroidery.

Even the first beanie hat makers were obsessed with quality!

Between the 15th and 18th centuries, Monmouth caps evolved to look pretty close to a knitted beanie cap you could find today. These beanie hats were knit of wool by hand knitters in the town of Monmouth in south east Wales, because the sheep there, called Ryeland sheep, produced particularly high-quality wool.

Wikipedia tells us, “The industry of cap manufacture by hand knitters in and around Monmouth was well established by the 15th century, when court records show Capper as a common surname in the town.”

The hats were worn by soldiers and sailors and widely exported. The wool was felted to make the hat waterproof.

Everyone must wear a beanie hat on Sunday…?

These early beanie hats were used so commonly that nearly everyone in England and Wales wore them. In fact, the Cappers Act of 1488 forbade the wearing of caps made outside the country, upon penalty of fine! Nearly 100 years later, there was even an Act of Parliament that required those older than age six to wear this type of hat on Sundays and holidays (excluding some people such as maids and ladies, and when travelling).

Gradually, the precursor to the beanie hat was manufactured in places other than Monmouth, leading to new names cropping up, including watch cap.

In the 1620’s, the early settlers of Massachusetts brought their Monmouth caps with them to the New World.

I wonder what the early Monmouth knitters would think of our Beanie Designs hats today?

It’s February. How is your little one’s winter hat holding up?

by Lisa on 

Crochet earflap flower hat - brown & pink | BeanieDesignsBabies and toddlers grow fast. Bigger kids are tough on their clothing. But we bet you the wearers of Beanie Designs hats are still keepin’ cozy and lookin’ good this winter season.

How can I be so sure that a Beanie Designs hat will last and last?

For two reasons:

  1. Because of how our hats are constructed

Designed for flexibility

Many of our unique hat designs include small ways of adjusting for the perfect fit. Take for instance the earflap hat: the flaps can be tied up in the back and the front can be rolled up if needed. (See how I did this recently.)

Several kids’ hat designs can be worn comfortably floppy at the younger age and with a more fitted look toward the older age (see Leela’s look at just under 3 years in a 3-10 years hat).

Of course our beanies can be rolled up or down depending on the head size. My preemie with his teeny tiny head even wore this infant hat here very comfortably, though he was very small for it.

Generous sizing

While the first 6 months are sized in 3-month increments to fit tiny infant heads ever so perfectly, after that, the size range provides much longer wearing through growing stages. The 6-18 months size can see many kids through two winters, as can the 18-36 months size.

In fact, given the stretchiness of many styles, some hats can be worn well beyond the age stated (my four year old puts on his brother’s 3-6 months football hat and my husband can wear my preschooler’s apple hat!) Still, we recommend you measure your child’s head and check the measurements for the style you’re considering for the best fit.

High-quality materials and construction

Beanie Designs’ high-quality organic cotton yarns are pretty sturdy, keeping their shape and vibrant colors even through regular machine washing. Proprietary knitting and crocheting techniques provide great reinforcement for seams and other areas that might start to come loose or show wear much sooner on inferior hats. (Read more on the thought and workmanship we put into our hats.)

  1. And I also know that Beanie Designs hats last well because you’ve said so in the product reviews.

Here’s just a sampling of comments that show from the discerning parents and grandparents who buy our hats:

…Bought the pink one for my 2 year old last spring and she wore it all winter. Still looks like new…

…She has been able to wear it for over a year now, and it will last through this next winter as well…

…We have gotten 2 years out of it…

…Awesome quality and held up great for the winter…

…well-crafted hat that is worthy of keeping to pass on to the next generation… you are getting a high quality keepsake!

…my daughter wore it all last fall and winter…

…They held up very well in the washer…

…is both soft and durable…

So, if the hat your little one is wearing is starting to show the wear, why not invest in a Beanie Designs hat that he or she can wear now – and next winter, too? (Or for many more winters after that!) There’s plenty of cold left in February, right?

What causes static electricity when you take your hat off?

by Lisa on 

two poms striped girls hatIt’s winter – which means it’s prime time for hair that stands on end when hats come off.

Of course the static doesn’t last long and hair gets right back to normal. But did you ever wonder exactly what’s happening to cause hair to do that?

Your beanie hat, your hair, and the science of matter gives a great explanation for static, especially helpful if you want to teach your little boy or girl why hair stands up all funny after taking a hat off. Here’s the gist boiled down for you.

You probably remember from science class that everything around us is made up of atoms. Inside atoms are protons, electrons and neutrons.  Protons have a positive charge and electrons are negative (neutrons have no charge).

Your hat or hair has no charge when the number of positive and negative charges in its atoms are equal. In this case, there’s no static happening.

But when two things rub together, some electrons move from one item to the other. This changes the balance, and one item can end up with more or less electrons.

Now, remember that opposites attract, and like charges repel.

When your hat rubs on your hair, your hair gives up electrons to your hat, so each of your hairs has the same positive charge. Each hair is repelling the others, trying to move as far apart from each other as possible. Thus, they stand up and separate, leaving your son or daughter looking like a little prickly porcupine.

Why do you notice static more in the winter?

Yes, you probably wear a hat more in the winter, so that’s one reason. But it also has to do with the air. In the winter, the air is typically drier, and the charge from the electrons can stick around more. When the air is humid, the electrons will dissipate more quickly, so you don’t notice the static as much.

Other times you get static electricity:

  • When you scuff your feet across the carpet and then touch the doorknob
  • As you come down the slide at the playground (this is my favorite – I love seeing the kids reach the bottom with a fluffy porcupine hairstyle, completely different from how it looked on the way up!)
  • Try rubbing a balloon on your hair and then sticking it on the wall
  • And of course laundry all stuck together when you take it out of the dryer

Try explaining static electricity to your preschooler and let us know how it goes!

A trick for a too-big hat

by Lisa on 
My baby wore his big brother's hat

With just a flip of the front, my 4-year-old's hat fit my baby!

Yesterday, I grabbed the wrong size hat as I headed out with my baby for a walk in the chilly morning air.

My baby is just one year old. He’s small, with his head circumference measuring in the 15th percentile (he was born 6 weeks early).

My older son has a gigantic head, it seems. Putting my four-year-old son’s hat on my baby just seemed ridiculous. It’s sized for 3-10 year olds!

You see, an earflap hat– also called an aviator hat – doesn’t have the type of rim that you might roll up, like many of our baby beanie hats do. That’s because it has earflaps, and also tassels to tie those flaps under the chin.

Great for keeping little ears warm. Not so great for adjusting if the size is too big. Or so you would think.

How I got the big hat to stay put on my little guy

Well, since we were already out of the house when I discovered I had the wrong hat, I figured I would see what I could do. I simply pulled the hat back so his face showed, tied the tassels under his chin, and then flipped up the front.

And guess what! It stayed that way for our entire 30 minute walk, with only two little adjustments along the way! (Despite the fact he is one of those babies who likes to pull his hat off every two minutes.)

Top view of the earflap hat design

Sweet swirls create texture on top of this earflap hat design

Sweet, unexpected details

By the way, the photos on the website don’t show the top or back view of the hat. The gorgeous detail on the top is so cute! Besides being scrumptiously soft, this Beanie Designs organic cotton earflap hat is now one that both my sons can wear.

A note about sizing

Beanie Designs recommends you measure your child’s head before selecting your size, and then check the size chart for each hat. That’s the best way to make sure the hat you order fits your child properly.

But I have found that Beanie Designs hats fit well beyond the stated ages, too. My full-grown sister could wear my son’s apple hat, and my one year old still wears his 3-6 months sized stocking hat (though the rim is snug).

The combination of great design with soft, pure organic cotton knits makes a Beanie Designs hat easy to wear, long lasting, and extremely versatile.

When a child’s hat means more than warmth and fashion

by Lisa on 
Tokyo children wearing yellow caps

Children in Japan wear yellow caps as they walk to school to help motorists see them

As Americans, we usually put a hat on a baby to protect his or her precious head, keep it warm, or complete a stylish outfit, right?

When I was younger and living in Canada, I remember only wearing a hat to play in the snow. We used mainly tuques (essentially a beanie hat) and ski hats – the kind that pull down over your face with open spots for your eyes and mouth!

Now, as the blogger for Beanie Designs and raising two kids in the Florida sunshine, I can appreciate how babies need hats to protect from the sun, too.

But in many countries around the world, hats have special meaning for children beyond protecting their sweet little heads.

Many countries older than America have intricate traditional costumes or traditions that involve hats.

Chinese baby hats for health and happiness

In China, mothers traditionally embroidered elaborate hats for their children, using the rich symbolism prevalent in Chinese culture.  The hope was for the hat to provide both protection of the child from evil and to imbue qualities such as health, happiness, beauty, and success. (See some vintage Chinese children’s hats here available from a collector.)

Even in modern times, hats are still playing an important role for children beyond simply keeping them warm and looking cute.

Yellow hats for school children’s safety in Japan

In Japan, young children make their way to school by themselves from first grade, walking and taking public transportation like buses and trains. So on their way to school, they all wear yellow caps. This helps motorists see them better, as little kids can be hard to spot for drivers. A great idea, right? Leave it to Japan to coordinate hats for an entire country!

Do you know of any other hat traditions from around the world? Share your story here!

(Image credit)

Baby hat trend alert! Must-have colors for 2013

by Lisa on 
Organic cotton pumpkin baby hat

Fall in love with 2012's tangy tangerine in our Pumpkin Baby Hat!

We love color! As makers of the softest, sweetest baby hats around, Beanie Designs keeps an eye on color and fashion trends as we knit our time-tested classic baby hat styles for you. Let’s see what Pantone predicts is in store for us color-wise for 2013.

Did you know? The color of the year for 2012 was Tangerine Tango (Pantone 17-1463), a vibrant reddish orange hue. If you’re looking to get in on the orange action this fall/winter, you might choose our popular Organic Cotton Pumpkin Baby Hat.

So, for 2013, the worldwide authority on color has put together a palette of exquisite colors based on the designers of New York Fashion Week and beyond. Here’s what it looks like:

Why do you think this unique mix of colors has come into focus? Pantone tells us it’s all about the consumer’s need to express him or herself, maintain balance and re-energize. We all certainly need that, right!

Organic cotton Two poms boys multi color 2

Hit the color trend with a major mix of hues in this baby boy hat

You’ll find that even baby clothes will take on balanced mixes of these vibrant and delicate hues. And do we have the hats to go with it all!

Poppy Red – try our Organic Cotton Red Strawberry Hat. Saturated with juicy color, this baby hat gives a color fix to your little one from newborns right up to pre-teens

Organic Cotton Two Poms Boys Multi-Color Hat combines the softest colors and yarns to meet current trends but stays true to our classic styles. In one hat, you’ll find four of 2013’s top colors dancing together: Grayed Jade, Monaco Blue, Dusk Blue and Lemon Zest. Our other color option in the Two Poms hat style for boys includes Emerald and Tender Shoots, too. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with either.

The Rainbow Beanie Hat also covers a lot of ground reaching into the fashion world’s colors of Emerald, Dusk Blue, Nectarine, Lemon Zest and Monaco Blue. This one is sure to bring a lot of cheer wherever you baby wears it!

Beanie Flower Hat- light purple

See our baby beanie hat in 2013's African Violet, a sweet alternative to pink

African Violet gets some attention this coming year, too. A beautiful color, it’s a feminine alternative to pink. Try our light purple Beanie Flower Hat for this adorable effect.

Linen, a pale tan color, is a neutral, go-with-everything color. Here are just a few to tickle your fancy: Organic Cotton Lil’ Mouse Hat, the ever-fashionable Organic Cotton Cupcake Hat, and our Organic Cotton Baby Stocking Hat in Brown with Tan Stripes.

Why don’t you weigh in, too! Tell us, what colors are you in love with this fall/winter? And, how are you dressing your baby in them?

The case of the disappearing baby hat

by Lisa on 
Organic cotton Two poms boys multi color 2

Does your baby keep his hat on - or does he pull it off as soon as it's on his head?

As cool weather sets in, a warm, high-quality hat is a must-have for your baby. But what do you do if your babe won’t keep her hat on?

Now you see it, now you don’t

Babies love to play with anything new, and that’s often why babies try to get their hats off as soon as you put them on.

Your baby: “What’s this fuzzy new thing on me now?”as she pulls it off for the 8th time in a row…

You: “Argh, keep that on! I am trying to keep you warm!”

Many moms make a point of getting their babies used to wearing our hats and hair bands from early on, before those little hands get proficient at ripping articles of clothing off. But if this is news to you, don’t worry, it’s not too late.

Since it’s often the novelty factor that’s behind your baby’s desire to remove his or her hat, you’ll want to make it a little less interesting. When you place the hat on, distract with a toy

Ear flap Tassle hat - light grey, dark grey, blue and green

Try tassels to keep that hat on! Bonus, they can also be tied up behind the head out of the way.

or favorite song.

This may only work for a few moments the first time, but after several different outings where you’ve consistently used it, the hat becomes, well, old hat to your baby.

I’d also recommend trying a baby hat with tassels that tie under the chin. This will buy you some time and make sure the hat stays on longer. The added bonus is that ears are covered reliably, also (that’s why they’re sometimes called ear hats).

Tell us, how do you get your baby to keep his or her adorable little hat on?

Baby fashions for Fall 2012 – part 2

by Lisa on 

Last week in our first post on Baby Fashions for Fall 2012, we got started talking about soft knits for boys and girls and showed you some examples of gorgeous baby hats to fit the season.

Today, feast your eyes on another round of exquisite baby wear trends – plus our recommended baby hats, of course.

Vintage vibes

Witness the sweet Peter Pan collar on this Pretty Cord Dress from Mini Boden. ( Just ask your mom about this sweet style!)

Pretty cord baby girl dress from Mini Boden, with Peter Pan collar

Peter Pan collars adorn sweet dresses like this one to add a vintage touch


To top off retro girly outfits, try flowers or a bucket hat (or better, both together). I’ll recommend this crocheted flower hat, below. It looks just smashing with the vintage styling you’ll see on baby clothing this season.

Pink lace beanie hat with flower from Beanie Designs

Flowers, lace, and crocheted details in this hat perfectly pair with the vintage vibe


Check out the front styling on this boy’s soft track suit top, also from Mini Boden.

Cosy retro style pocket top from Mini Boden

Retro style boys' pocket/snap top from this season's Mini Boden baby collection


Capture the vintage vibe for the boys in a stripy visor cap, seen here in the sweetest blues.

Beanie Designs visor cap for boys, in blue

Baby boy blue visor cap from Beanie Designs captures the vintage vibe

Colorful jewel tones

Red is all the rage. Teal titillates. Green, hot pink, deep purples, you see them all in this season’s baby clothing.  (Sometimes even all together!)

Baby pink sweater romper from Hanna Andersson

Baby sweater romper in this season's hues from Hanna Andersson


Feast your eyes on Beanie Designs’ fanciful Chizi Headbands with jewel tone flower accents. Pick one up in every color to go with her new colorful wardrobe.

Pink baby girl flower headband from Beanie Designs

Pink baby girl flower headband from Beanie Designs


Animal hats and character hats remain en vogue

Check out our selection of 5-star rated animal ear hats for babies. The simple, clean designs in lush, organic cotton are made to feel comfortable (read: never scratchy) from the start, and then last and last.

I just LOVE this soft Lil Mouse hat in tawny beige organic cotton. It goes with everything!

Animal hats from Beanie Designs: Lil Mouse Ears hat

Lil Mouse Hat in organic cotton from Beanie Designs


There you have it, our picks for baby fashion trends for Fall 2012. Which ones are you falling head over heels for?

Baby fashions for Fall 2012 – part 1

by Lisa on 

We know you love baby fashions, since you come to Beanie Designs for cozy, delicious baby hats, right? Well here’s a roundup of some new baby fashion trends for Fall 2012 you will adore, along with our pick of baby hats to top them off with a dash of sugar and spice. Hint: you’ll see many of these trends showing up in clothes for big people, too!

Soft chunky knits for boys, knit dresses for girls

This chunky cable knit sweater for boys is just adorable. Find this one at Zara, but look for boys’ cable knit sweaters at all your favorite kids’ clothing retailers, too.

white cable knit sweater for baby boys from Zara

Chunky cable knit sweaters abound for baby boys


Here’s our chunky cable knit hat for your little man, too! Super soft – and safe – hand knitted in organic cotton.