Recently, we had the pleasure of chatting with Brendan Girak, also known as Knitwits & Yarns. If you're a fan of his Instagram profile, you're probably already enamored with his stunning collection of beanies. Well, exciting news: Brendan has just released three brand-new beanie patterns, and they're available for free!

Once again, we are talking to talented and inspiring designers, and this time, we are thrilled to feature the Australian designer, Brendan Girak. You might know Brendan as the ‘beanie guy’ from Instagram, where he's renowned for his unique and stylish beanies, showcased on his account @knitwitsandyarns. He has crafted hundreds of them, each with a distinct flair.

Looking for a dose of knitting inspiration, or perhaps a friendly nudge to pick up those needles? You're in the right place! Brendan's approach to knitting is all about embracing simplicity and the joy of creation. He finds immense satisfaction in the repetitive, meditative aspects of knitting, placing just as much value on the journey as on the finished piece.

We have had the pleasure of asking Brendan 8 questions about his approach to knitting. Stay tuned – we're confident that his philosophy and positivity will spark your own motivation! 

Oh, did we mention this? In collaboration with Hobbii, Brendan has just released 3 brand-new beanie knitting patterns on the Hobbii website, available for free! Don't miss out on these amazing patterns – download them now and start your next knitting adventure! 🧶

1. When did you start knitting?

“I started knitting when I was about 21, so it’s been nearly 10 years now. My mum was knitting and I was interested in what she was doing so she ended up teaching me how to knit and purl. She would cast on and knit the first few rows for me, then fix the multitude of mistakes I would make.

Eventually I went to my local yarn store and started to learn how to cast on and fix my own mistakes. From that point forward I would just knit beanies and experiment with different sizes and techniques.”

2. What do you like most about knitting?

“I like the repetitive movements and being able to see and be proud of the things that I can make with my hands. At the start, it was definitely rewarding to see the garments I could make, but later into my journey I’ve really enjoyed the mental aspect of knitting.

I was diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety and depression several years before I started knitting and I found that knitting has helped to ease many of my internal struggles. I enjoy that I have been able to simply knit, share my journey and then help others on their own journeys.”

3. Why beanies?

“I like beanies for a few reasons. Knitting is a lengthy craft and I think sometimes you just need those quick fix projects to make you feel productive. They are also easier to design and write patterns for.

Sweaters take A LOT of time to get to a point where I am happy to release them, whereas beanies are quite simplistic (now that I have practiced so much…). I also like that I can easily practice new techniques with beanies. It isn’t a huge investment if the design doesn’t work out, so I feel like I can just give it a crack and hope that it works.”

4. What is your favorite place to knit?

“I really like knitting anywhere. Knitting outside during the Australian Spring and Autumn is always nice. It’s generally sunny whilst not being overly hot.” 

5. What are your favorite tools that you just can't live without?

“I’d probably say my circular needles, stitch book and sports. Circular needles have really helped to ease pressure on my wrists when I knit. I find that it disperses the weight much more evenly. My stitch books help me to mix and match different stitches when creating new designs. I’ve looked through most of the stitches, but on any given day I might feel like a certain stitch will work perfectly in a new design. Lastly is sports. I’m generally knitting and watching some type of sport. I think it’s the perfect combination and helps to keep my brain engaged.”

6. What are your favorite knitting techniques or patterns at the moment?

“I really enjoy just knitting and purling. I find it soothing to sit down and knit without having to think too much about it. If I am feeling more present then some simple 4 or 6 stitch cables. I think these can really give an effective look without being too difficult.”

7. What are your top 3 tips for crafters new to knitting?

1 – SMALL STEPS! When I teach knitting, I want knitters to focus solely on knitting and mastering this stitch before they move onto the purl stitch. I want people to feel comfortable and confident with knitting.

2 – START SIMPLE! I always tell new knitters that knitting can be as simple or as difficult as you want it to be.

3 – ENJOY THE PROCESS! Enjoying the process is equally as important as having a finished piece.”

8. Can you tell us a bit more about the 3 beanie patterns?

“Each of the designs I have created were inspired by previous beanies that I had made over the years. Before I officially started designing, I would often play around with different stitches and a lot of these designs had little flaws in them or I wasn’t happy with the yarn I used. UNTIL NOW!

Each design uses Hobbii’s Friends Wool, which is a beautifully stretchy yarn with an absolute plethora of colors to choose from. The absolute perfect yarn for these beanies.

The names of these beanies were inspired from different locations in the Great Southern region of Western Australia. I moved to this region at the start of 2023 and thought it would be a nice ode to name these beanies after the area.”

The Torbay Beanie

“Like all these beanies, the Torbay Beanie design was something designed many years ago. It was originally made with a thick yarn, which meant that the pattern would only have one or two sizes. When creating beanie patterns, I like to make sure that my designs can be at least three sizes. This means that both the yarn and the pattern itself need to be just right.

I liked the simplistic nature of the pattern and the idea that only one out of every 12 rows was a cable. Designs that are simple but unique really interest me and that was the motivation behind this beanie.”

“Cable knits can often be seen as daunting, but I want to show that a cable row here and there can really produce a nice design with minimal effort. The more confident you can become with simple cables, then the more comfortable you will become when tackling more difficult designs. That is definitely my goal as a designer.

This was the hardest beanie to name. It has different natural elements like waterfalls and trees, but I couldn’t find a name that fit. I asked a friend and she said it reminded her of the heads of asparagus that grow in a town called Torbay.”

Get the free pattern for the Torbay Beanie here!

The Manypeaks Beanie

“This cable beanie design is one of the very first that I ever created. I always loved the original beanie and ended up giving it away probably eight years ago now… The problem with the original design wasn’t anything about the cable or the construction, it was about the yarn that I used. The slightly thicker yarn meant that the differences between each size was quite large, considering that the design is a 16 stitch repeat. To make this a viable pattern, I needed to find a thinner yarn that still has a lot of flexibility in it.”

“I originally kept the needle size the same from the rib to the cable and this created a really tight fitting beanie for my head, especially considering the number of stitches I cast on. I had to order more yarn and remake the beanie but increase the needle size for the cable section. This produced a lovely fitting beanie and one that I was really happy to release as a pattern.

The pattern is also great because it is a 6 row repeat which means that you can increase or decrease the height of your beanie with very little effort. It’s also a fantastic way to practice cables and understand how cables develop throughout a design.

I decided to name the beanie the Manypeaks Beanie because of the many peaks that the cable pattern creates. I think it’s a simple yet fitting name for this beanie and I really look forward to wearing it the same way I wore it over 8 years ago.”

Get the free pattern for the Manypeaks Beanie here!

The Cheynes Beanie

“The final beanie design was the Cheynes Beanie. I actually didn’t realize Cheynes was pronounced ‘chains’ until a few months ago. I thought it was absolutely the perfect name for this chain link design.

I think I’ve said it a fair few times now, but I really like to have simplistic designs with a little bit of a unique element that sets it apart. I think this design is no different and it’s a great introduction into the world of colorwork. The design is fantastic because with four balls of yarn, you can create two beanies with opposite color schemes.”

“Like many of my previous experiments, there are little faults here and there. As I’ve become more confident in my knitting, I’ve started to revisit some of these designs and turn them into actual patterns. Much of the Cheynes Beanie and the original beanie are the same, however, I think the color of the brim and the color just before the pattern look a little bit off in the original.

The Cheynes design has a consistent color through the whole beanie, with only the pattern changing. I feel as though this gives the beanie a more well rounded look, HOWEVER, the color placement and choices are 100% up to you!

The great thing about knitting is that (most of the time), a pattern is just there to guide you to success, BUT, you can try to adapt the colors and size as you wish. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, the main thing is that you gave it a go and hopefully learnt something along the way.”

Get the free pattern for the Cheynes Beanie here!

Ready to knit one of Brendan's beautiful beanies?

Brendan has just released three new beanie patterns, blending simplicity with style. These trendy designs are now available for download on the Hobbii website. So, gather your yarn, get comfy, and choose your favorite beanie pattern. Let's get stitching! 🧶✨