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
What You Need
- 1 ball of yarn (worsted weight or larger)
- Size 9 straight needles, crochet hook, or tapestry needle
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.
First Things First: Cast Your Stitches
K1P1 Means "Knit 1, Purl 1"
"k2tog" Means "Knit Two Together"
RH Guderjahn on August 18, 2020:
THANK YOU FOR TEACHING US ALL
Emily on August 19, 2019:
Hi! I have so far knit four hats like this and I absolutely love the pattern! Using Red Heart yarn works perfect and I don't even have to adjust the size of my needles because it is very stretchy because of the ribbing. The hats will fit on my daughter, myself, and my husband. I only adjust length for adults and do shorter ones for kids. I may try doing designs in it as I go along, but I'm making lots of hats for Christmas gifts this year so I may just stick with simple for now. Thanks so much for the pattern! It's an awesome, quick working hat!
Mo on April 08, 2019:
Needle size is very misleading.Just finished it and could see as I was making it that it was too small.Lucky if it will fit a baby.
Alice Kelley on February 21, 2019:
On row two of the pattern after the first lot of decreasing do I purl the whole row ?
Eileen Sheehan on February 06, 2019:
I have just completed my first beanie hat!! Great pattern .... thank you so much. Must try to reduce the size now as I want to make one for a child.
Annemarie Bryant on February 02, 2019:
Knitting Tammy chunky wool wooden straight knitting needles many stitches cast on thank you Annemarie Bryant
Lily on December 14, 2018:
This is an amazing article and works really well!
Marlene Bertrand from USA on December 04, 2018:
Thank you for these very easy to follow instructions. My grandson is visiting for a week and he asked if I could knit him a beanie while he was here. I was so happy to find your instructions. You are an excellent tutor.
Ang on October 26, 2018:
So i couldn't continue decreasing or i would have ended up with like 2 stiches, as someone else mentioned they had.. can you add a video or pictures to make it easier to understand?
firstname.lastname@example.org on June 13, 2018:
Love this pattern,I made the hat for my one month old grandnephew. I am a 72 years old grandmother and just like you, I knit because I find it relaxing. I knit while I play the SIMS game in the computer, I don't do patterns that require too many color changes or stitch count . This pattern is perfect for me. I will be knitting lots of hats using it
OragamiSauce on April 15, 2018:
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?
Margaret Roberts on December 22, 2017:
Love this pattern, get it done in a night. Looks great in seed stitch
Runo on December 09, 2017:
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.
Jayne on November 19, 2017:
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!
CATHERINE on November 07, 2017:
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
Kathryn on November 05, 2017:
I made this exactly and it will fit a 7 year old at best haha
Patti on October 29, 2017:
Thank you, thank you, thank you for the easiest and quickest hat EVER!
susie on September 20, 2017:
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..
mary on August 27, 2017:
very nice thanks
Margaret on July 26, 2017:
Thank you for the pattern
Patience on April 24, 2017:
and easy to understand. Thank you.
Barbara Miller on March 02, 2017:
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
Crystal on January 24, 2017:
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?
Kaerla Fellows on January 17, 2017:
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!
Carol Ann Berryman on January 03, 2017:
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?
Lisa on December 16, 2016:
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!
Yurri on December 15, 2016:
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:)
Jess on November 29, 2016:
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
mighdeetee on November 04, 2016:
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!
ashley gailena martin on October 30, 2016:
what do you mean by decrease rows like take off the loops (or stitches)
ashley gailena martin on October 29, 2016:
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
Sue on August 18, 2016:
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
No name on July 31, 2016:
I love this pattern it is the best!
Amber on May 25, 2016:
Thanks so much for this pattern! I love it! It makes great hats my for kids!
Lily on March 02, 2016:
How do u make it into a circle? Like I don't understand how to make it into a hat shape
lena on December 29, 2015:
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?
jen on November 12, 2015:
is it 9us or 9mm needles
AnneBronte on October 23, 2015:
I like this pattern but what is the tension (gauge)?
Surely different patterns and wools need different tension, to provide the same size?
S G Hupp on September 13, 2015:
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.
cheryl on September 13, 2015:
can you use any size needles to make this hat? Isnt is bigger the needle the thicker the hat, or more bulkie look?
S G Hupp on September 09, 2015:
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...
cheryl on September 09, 2015:
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?
cheryl on September 05, 2015:
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.
matthew on February 16, 2015:
Very good pattern I was wandering how many stitches do you cast on for a size 24 four inch head
Jeanette on December 28, 2014:
This is awesome! I hate circularn needlesa and double point needless scare me! Lol great pattern and easy to read!
Jenn Dixon from PA on October 28, 2014:
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!
Mimi on August 21, 2014:
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!!
sharline on February 08, 2014:
what sort of size would u say this pattern was for
HunkyDory Lori from Peterborough, Ontario on December 15, 2013:
P.s. I have made so many hats after coming to this site. Thankyou so much :)
HunkyDory Lori from Peterborough, Ontario on December 15, 2013:
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?
Khochee on December 14, 2013:
Oh. Okay. I got it.
That was actually very helpful.
Thanks a lot! (=
S G Hupp (author) from United States on December 14, 2013:
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 (author) from United States on December 14, 2013:
Sherry, if you double the worsted weight yarn, 60 stitches should be fine. I often double the weight and stay with that number.
Khochee on December 14, 2013:
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!
Sherry on December 13, 2013:
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 (author) from United States on December 13, 2013:
That is correct. Knit the first 8 then knit numbers 9 and 10 together.
Khochee on December 13, 2013:
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?
S G Hupp on October 29, 2013:
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.
Chloejowitt on October 26, 2013:
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
charmaine stump belton on October 08, 2013:
Love these hats...
Lauren on May 06, 2013:
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.
SEM on April 07, 2013:
How do you close the top?
SGHupp on February 22, 2013:
No, I'm sorry. I haven't done a video.
Kaitak Linda on February 22, 2013:
is there any video we can watch?
SG Hupp on February 21, 2013:
No, you repeat (k8,k2 tog) across the row.
coolclare25 on February 21, 2013:
when you say to knit together across does that mean knit 8 then knit the rest of it by two's?
Willboo on February 18, 2013:
Fabulous thank you
Bepina on January 14, 2013:
easy and it doesn't take too much time to make a hat; and the shape is great; thank you for this
Anne-Marie on November 15, 2012:
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 Hanson from Minnesota on October 30, 2012:
Great tips here, thanks!
S G Hupp (author) from United States on October 18, 2012:
You repeat (k8, k2tog) across the row.
a on October 16, 2012:
so for the decreasing, is it k8 k2tog k8 k2tog across? or just k8 then k2tog the rest of the row?
S G Hupp (author) from United States on July 29, 2012:
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
thereisnowayiamtellingmynameovertheinternet on July 27, 2012:
How do you close the top?
UNKNOWN on July 26, 2012:
what does tog mean?
Mizz J on May 07, 2012:
how do you close the top?
prissy on February 16, 2012:
It would be awesome if you did one for baby hats
Melissa Flagg COA OSC from Rural Central Florida on February 08, 2012:
Awesome! Thank you, I hate using circular needles!!