How to Knit an Easy Beanie Hat with Straight Needles

Updated on June 3, 2015
How to knit an easy hat with straight needles.
How to knit an easy hat with straight needles.

Why Easy Hat Knitting?

I knit because I find it relaxing. For that reason, I tend to stay away from the more complicated patterns that might require too much concentration and focus. I like simple items that knit up quickly and that I can easily give away as soon as they are completed. That is the reason I learned to knit an easy hat. The pattern in this article is my favorite because:

  • It's simple
  • It's versatile (I use various types of yarns and stitches from hat to hat)
  • I can make one in about two hours

For the same reasons, this is also a wonderful project for beginning knitters and those new to hat knitting patterns. It uses simple stitches and requires some basic skills like decreasing and sewing seams, and it can be completed in a short enough time that a new knitter doesn't get bored or discouraged.

Hat knitting is also an excellent way to get rid of all of those yarn scraps left over from other projects. I always have a bucket of yarn odds and ends laying around, so I make tons of these hats throughout the year and give them away as "just because" gifts.

A Few Variations on My Favorite Knitted Hat

A Knitting Newbie?

If you have never knitted before, some of these instructions will sound like gibberish. Watch the videos below the directions to learn how to cast, knit, and purl.

What You Need

  • 1 ball of yarn (worsted weight or larger)
  • Size 9 straight needles, crochet hook, or tapestry needle

Directions

Cast on 60 stitches.

Work in k1p1 rib for 4 rows (I sometimes do k2p2 rib instead)

Switch to a stockinette stitch (or any stitch you like) and work back and forth until the hat measures 5 inches long.

Begin to decrease rows as follows:

Row 1) k8, k2tog across

Row 2) purl

Row 3) k7, k2tog across

Row 4) purl

Row 5) k6, k2tog across

Row 6) purl

Row 7) k5, k2tog across

Row 8) purl

Row 9) k4, k2tog across

Row 10) purl

Row 11) k3, k2tog across

Row 12) purl

Row 13) k2, k2tog across

Row 14) purl

Row 15) k1 k2tog across

There should be 12 stitches left on your needle. Do not bind off, but close the top instead, then sew up the back seam. Attach a pom if you like.

I've had several people ask in the comments section what I mean by "close up the top" rather than bind off. I think my response is often overlooked so I'll add it here.

After I've completed the last decrease row, I cut my yarn, leaving about a 10-inch tail. I then thread the tail with a large tapestry needle and go back to the beginning of the row. Beginning with the stitch farthest from the tip of the knitting needle, I thread the tail back through the remaining stitches, creating a loop. I then pull the work off of the knitting needle and pull the tail tight. This creates a circular closure that is easy to attach poms or other ornaments to.

Additional Sizes for Infants and Large Heads

I normally adjust the size of this had simply by changing needle size or yarn weight—smaller needles and yarn for children or infant hats, bigger for people with large heads—and it works very well. However, should you need to adjust your hat by a number of stitches, you can do so in increments of ten. Just remember that for every ten stitches you add, you'll have to add one decrease row and for every ten you subtract, you'll have to subtract a decrease row.

I also sometimes add some height to the pattern so that the hat breaks over and hangs a little down the back like the one in the photo below. This is done by inserting an additional k row and an additional p row after decrease rows 5, 9, and 13.

A variation with stripes and some braids instead of a pom.
A variation with stripes and some braids instead of a pom.

First Things First: Cast Your Stitches

K1P1 Means "Knit 1, Purl 1"

"k2tog" Means "Knit Two Together"

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        OragamiSauce 6 days ago

        I used this pattern to make a hat my size (but with what I think is the tubular cast on since I wanted to see if it works) and needed to add more cast in stitches so it would be big enough around.

        But how do I add a decrease row when I get to that part?

      • profile image

        Margaret Roberts 4 months ago

        Love this pattern, get it done in a night. Looks great in seed stitch

      • profile image

        Runo 4 months ago

        Exacty what I was thinking all the way through my knitting - that I had misunderstood the needle size. Indeed it should be 9mm needles. I had size 8mm and it turned out exactly my size. Otherwise, well written and I needed just a couple of hours to complete it. Thanks a lot for the pattern.

      • profile image

        Jayne 5 months ago

        I think the needle size should have read 9mm needles, as using UK 9 needles would not give the size of the stitches shown in the picture of the striped hat!

      • profile image

        CATHERINE 5 months ago

        I finished knitting a baby's beret when I finished it and sewed it up and end of pattern it tells you to cast on 8 stitches and work 2 rows and then cast off where does that go on beret

      • profile image

        Kathryn 5 months ago

        I made this exactly and it will fit a 7 year old at best haha

      • profile image

        Patti 5 months ago

        Thank you, thank you, thank you for the easiest and quickest hat EVER!

      • profile image

        susie 7 months ago

        it would be helpful if you edited and tell us lets say how many stiches for women or men or children...i have spent nitting this for a day already and im praying that it fits me..

      • profile image

        mary 7 months ago

        very nice thanks

      • profile image

        Margaret 8 months ago

        Thank you for the pattern

      • profile image

        Patience 12 months ago

        Very nice

        and easy to understand. Thank you.

      • profile image

        Barbara Miller 13 months ago

        Hi thanks for the beanie pattern but, I didn't end up with 12 stiches only 2 so now I don't know how to finish it, the top is a little long. Thank you

      • profile image

        Crystal 15 months ago

        I am using yarn that is significantly smaller then the last yarn I used for a hat. I have seen that to get an accurate number of cast on stitches you need to multiply the number of stitches per inch by the circumference of your head. Have you ever used this way? And if so did it work for you?

      • profile image

        Kaerla Fellows 15 months ago

        Just finished my first one of these and I gotta say, I love how easy and fast it is! Thank you for sharing it! I must have a really huge head though, because the completed hat fits me like a yarmulke. Also, I must have done something really wrong when doing the decreases because I wasn't able to do all the decrease rows - contributing, I'd bet, to the yarmulke effect. I will happily try this again, though!

      • profile image

        Carol Ann Berryman 15 months ago

        Two weeks ago Lisa asked how many stitches do you cast on a cap for a

        5 year old?? I never saw a response to her question. How many stitches

        would I need to cast on?

        Carol

      • profile image

        Lisa 16 months ago

        How many should you cast on for a child's hat -- like for a toddler or 5-yr-old? Thank you so much for this pattern! I'm really excited about it!

      • profile image

        Yurri 16 months ago

        I want to make a bigger hat, but I don't know what you mean by adding a decrease row. (I really like your hat:)

      • profile image

        Jess 16 months ago

        Hi I want to do this in k1p1 pattern but when i go to do the crown it looks completely different I also am only casting on 50 help please

      • profile image

        mighdeetee 17 months ago

        THANK YOU!! I made a beanie for my 3 month old son and it came out great. I'm ready to attempt in the round now!

      • profile image

        ashley gailena martin 17 months ago

        what do you mean by decrease rows like take off the loops (or stitches)

      • profile image

        ashley gailena martin 17 months ago

        ok so do we follow the directions that have (row 1,2,ect...) next to them or do we follow "Work in k1p1 rib for 4 rows (I sometimes do k2p2 rib instead)

        Switch to a stockinette stitch (or any stitch you like) and work back and forth until the hat measures 5 inches long." because this is all so confusing to me... i am a beginner though... pls help me

      • profile image

        Sue 20 months ago

        thank you I am knitting hats for a charity for children, what can I add to make the individual look, I can't crochet and am a basic knitter but your instructions are very easy to follow

      • profile image

        No name 20 months ago

        I love this pattern it is the best!

      • profile image

        Amber 23 months ago

        Thanks so much for this pattern! I love it! It makes great hats my for kids!

      • profile image

        Lily 2 years ago

        How do u make it into a circle? Like I don't understand how to make it into a hat shape

      • profile image

        lena 2 years ago

        Im knitting this hat with 60 stitches on size 9 US needles, and I'm afraid it looks too small, like it would barely fit an infant. This is my first time knitting a hat and I don't know if it's just my imagination or if its going to end up looking better at the end. In the red and white striped hat picture was that 60 stitches only?

      • profile image

        jen 2 years ago

        is it 9us or 9mm needles

      • profile image

        AnneBronte 2 years ago

        I like this pattern but what is the tension (gauge)?

        Surely different patterns and wools need different tension, to provide the same size?

      • profile image

        S G Hupp 2 years ago

        I wouldn't use any needle larger than a size 9 for the adult version of the hat, but I've used needles several sizes smaller for child sized hats.

      • profile image

        cheryl 2 years ago

        can you use any size needles to make this hat? Isnt is bigger the needle the thicker the hat, or more bulkie look?

        Ty

      • profile image

        S G Hupp 2 years ago

        I usually use the same number of stitches but reduce the needle size and yarn weight. Sometimes you have to experiment a little to get the size you're looking for...

      • profile image

        cheryl 2 years ago

        Add Your Comment.. how many stitches would I need to start a young youth hat? I already made a adult hat can I do the same stitches for the youth hat?

        Ty

        Cheryl

      • profile image

        cheryl 2 years ago

        What happens when there isnt any stitches left after u do row 15 k1 k2 2gether completely across there is no stitches or do u mean after u do the last row there is 12 stitches left? Never made a hat b 4.

      • profile image

        matthew 3 years ago

        Very good pattern I was wandering how many stitches do you cast on for a size 24 four inch head

      • profile image

        Jeanette 3 years ago

        This is awesome! I hate circularn needlesa and double point needless scare me! Lol great pattern and easy to read!

      • jennabee25 profile image

        Jenn Dixon 3 years ago from PA

        This is similar to a "flat hat" pattern that I do. I never would have thought to put the braided tassels on. I like that!

      • profile image

        Mimi 3 years ago

        If I use size 10 straight needles using worsted weight yarn , and cast on 60 stitches would that fit a head size of 21-22 inch? If I wanted to make the hat longer ( hopefully I understanding this right) I would on decrease Row 5- k6 then k2 tog repeat across row - next row a knit row, then next row a purl , then next row another purl THEN Row 7? Then the same on row 9 and 13. Also , how did you make those braids? Great wonderful hat ! I would like to make it for my great nephew!! Thank- you for your help!!

      • profile image

        sharline 4 years ago

        what sort of size would u say this pattern was for

      • HunkyDory Lori profile image

        HunkyDory Lori 4 years ago from Peterborough, Ontario

        P.s. I have made so many hats after coming to this site. Thankyou so much :)

      • HunkyDory Lori profile image

        HunkyDory Lori 4 years ago from Peterborough, Ontario

        Hi there. Do you have any easy patterns on how to knit slippers or socks using straight needles? (For kids age 5 to 7)

        -also, can you knit mittens using 2 straight needles? If so, do you have a pattern for that too?

      • profile image

        Khochee 4 years ago

        Oh. Okay. I got it.

        That was actually very helpful.

        *excited*

        Thanks a lot! (=

      • S G Hupp profile image
        Author

        S G Hupp 4 years ago from United States

        Hi Khochee

        For your first decrease row, you will knit 8 stitches and then knit the next 2 stitches together...then you will knit 8 more stitches then knit 2 more together. Continue to knit 8 and then 2 together all of the way across that first decrease row.

        When you get to your next decrease row you will knit the first 7 stitches then knit the next 2 stitches together-then repeat 7/2 all of the way across that row.

        Each subsequent decrease row will have 1 less knitted stitch in your decrease pattern (6/2 5/2 4/2 etc.)

        When you have completed your last decrease row, since you started with 80 stitches, you should have 14 stitches left on your needle.

        One more thing...

        Since this is your first project, I would recommend that you abandon the k1p1 pattern that you used for the lower body of the hat and continue the rest of the hat in a basic stockinette stitch,(knit the right side rows and purl the wrong side rows) keeping in mind that the decrease rows are on the right side...so you would do a decrease row then purl the next row and so on.

        I hope that helps and feel free to ask as many questions as you need to:)

      • S G Hupp profile image
        Author

        S G Hupp 4 years ago from United States

        Sherry, if you double the worsted weight yarn, 60 stitches should be fine. I often double the weight and stay with that number.

      • profile image

        Khochee 4 years ago

        Thank you.

        Though I still have a query.

        I cast on 80 stiches. I did the border k2p2. Rest I'm doing in k1p1. And I've stiched it to 5 inches. Now, in my first decreasing row, I'll do k8p8, and then knit k9p9tog? I'm sorry I'm lost at the decreasing pattern.

        Kindly do guide me. This is my first knitting experience so I'm a bit slow. Also, your's is the only procedure I actually liked. Grateful!

      • profile image

        Sherry 4 years ago

        60 stitches for 12-13 yr old child? Is the worsted wt doubled? I think this hat is so cute & I like you like to knit & get it done & pass it out.

      • S G Hupp profile image
        Author

        S G Hupp 4 years ago from United States

        Khochee,

        That is correct. Knit the first 8 then knit numbers 9 and 10 together.

      • profile image

        Khochee 4 years ago

        Can you kindly elborate on (k8, k2tog)?

        I mean, when I start the firt decreasing row, I knit 8 ks normally, and then the 9th and 10th together?

      • profile image

        S G Hupp 4 years ago

        Chloejowitt:

        If you add more stitches, the decrease rows remain the same, starting as you normally would with k8 k2tog. When you reach the end of the pattern, you will have 14 rather than 12 stitches left on your needle.

        Thanks!

      • profile image

        Chloejowitt 4 years ago

        Hi I'm looking to do this pattern for a man with a larger head so was wanting to add 20 stitches to the cast on and I understand you then have to add two decrease rows but I'm unsure of where I add them to? Would it be k10 k2tog then k9 k2tog? Thanks

      • profile image

        charmaine stump belton 4 years ago

        Love these hats...

      • profile image

        Lauren 4 years ago

        I am going to try this. But I have a question. Why don't you bind off then seam together? I don't understand 'closing off the top'. Can you please be a bit more specific and simpler when explaining this ? I read the other comments and still dont know what it means.

        Thank you,

      • profile image

        SEM 5 years ago

        How do you close the top?

      • profile image

        SGHupp 5 years ago

        No, I'm sorry. I haven't done a video.

      • profile image

        Kaitak Linda 5 years ago

        is there any video we can watch?

      • profile image

        SG Hupp 5 years ago

        Coolclare25

        No, you repeat (k8,k2 tog) across the row.

      • profile image

        coolclare25 5 years ago

        when you say to knit together across does that mean knit 8 then knit the rest of it by two's?

      • profile image

        Willboo 5 years ago

        Fabulous thank you

      • profile image

        Bepina 5 years ago

        easy and it doesn't take too much time to make a hat; and the shape is great; thank you for this

      • profile image

        Anne-Marie 5 years ago

        Thanks a lot for this! I am rather new to knitting, so watching things come along is rather exciting! I cast on 60 stitches, and hope the hat is big enough!

      • Nicole S profile image

        Nicole S Hanson 5 years ago from Minnesota

        Great tips here, thanks!

      • S G Hupp profile image
        Author

        S G Hupp 5 years ago from United States

        You repeat (k8, k2tog) across the row.

      • profile image

        5 years ago

        so for the decreasing, is it k8 k2tog k8 k2tog across? or just k8 then k2tog the rest of the row?

      • S G Hupp profile image
        Author

        S G Hupp 5 years ago from United States

        I usually close the top by drawing the end of the yarn around and back through the stitches that remain on the needle, then pulling it tight. This makes a small circular closure that is easy to attach poms or other ornaments to.

        "tog" means together

      • profile image

        thereisnowayiamtellingmynameovertheinternet 5 years ago

        How do you close the top?

      • profile image

        UNKNOWN 5 years ago

        what does tog mean?

      • profile image

        Mizz J 5 years ago

        how do you close the top?

      • profile image

        prissy 6 years ago

        It would be awesome if you did one for baby hats

      • Daughter Of Maat profile image

        Melissa Flagg OSC 6 years ago from Rural Central Florida

        Awesome! Thank you, I hate using circular needles!!

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