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Jester Hat Pattern

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Ms. Millar has had many books published online and in print. She learned how to bind her own books to save money on publishing costs.

Knit Jester's Hat

Knit Jester's Hat

The Jester

Jesters were much more common a hundred years ago. They were employed to entertain royal families. Wearing an outfit of motley colors the jester would crack jokes, perform tricks and basically entertain. Shakespeare once wrote a play referring to the jester as "smart enough to play the fool."

Jesters are now a thing of the past. Their jokes and tricks have gone the way of the dinosaurs, but we still enjoy donning their entertaining outfits, especially the hat. Made of the traditional motley of colors, the jester's hat can be found in just about every novelty store. There are still some of us that enjoy knitting the fool's hat.

Using spare bits of yarn, or opting for that certain look, pick up exactly the colors you're looking for and the jester's hat will knit up nice and it's a really easy pattern to knit.

Key Terms


Yarn Gauge

This is the weight of the yarn. How thick it is.


Implement used for knitting. Usually two are used, but occasionally several are required.

Cast On

Casting on is the process of placing loops on the needle when starting a project.

Knit Stitch

A knitting stitch where the needle is inserted from the front, out the back where the yarn is looped around it, it is brought back through and pulled off.

Purl Stitch

Another knitting stitch where the needle enters from the back and comes out the front where the yarn is looped around the needle and brought back through and the loop is pulled off.

Cast Off

Casting off is the process of removing the stitches from the needles when the project is completed for that section.


A double or multifold in fabric.

Round Knitting Needle

This is a flexible, one piece needle, made especially for knitting items that are to be circular. IE: sleeves, hat bands, socks, etc.

What You'll Need

I will be using the jester cap pictured above as reference for this tutorial. Different colors can be used if you so wish. Other variations such as casting on more or less stitches, longer horns or shorter horns, can be applied also.

This project level is: Beginner

Tools you will need include:

  • Two or three different colored yarns. One ball of each color, 100% acrylic, 4 oz, My choices were yellow and black. Green, yellow, blue are commonly used for a jester cap. Choose your favorites. I will refer to them as color A, B and C. A = Black, B = Yellow, C = Optional third color.
  • Two sets of knitting needles. One set of straight needles and one round needle. I used size 10 knitting needles and the round needle was an 8. The needle gauge should be appropriate for the yarn you're using. If you buy the yarn, look at the packaging for the manufacturers suggested needle gauge.
  • Scissors
  • Ruler


Decreasing to the right.

Decreasing to the right.

Knit the Horns With Color A

Here we go...

  1. Knit three pieces with color A using the larger set of knitting needles. If you chose to use three colors, then only knit two with color A and one with color C.
  2. Cast on 15 (child size) or 18 (adult size) stitches.
  3. Knit stitch the first row to the end.
  4. Turn and purl the second row to the end. Continue one knit row and one purl row until the swatch measures 5 1/2" (child size) or 6 1/2" (adults size).
  5. When you've knit to 5 1/2" for the child size, or the adult 6 1/2"; at the beginning of the knit stitch row, knit one stitch and then knit the next two stitches together (this is a right side slant).
  6. Purl it back and again, knit the first stitch, knit the next two stitches then continue knit stitching to the end and purl back.
  7. Repeat until you have knit all the stitches off.

The horn should look like the picture.

Decreasing  to the left.

Decreasing to the left.

Knit the Horns With Color B

Follow the instructions for A except use the color B (if using three colors only make 2 of B and one of C). When you have knit 5 1/2" for a child or 6 1/2" for an adult:

  1. Ending on a knit stitch, and beginning of the purl stitch, purl the first stitch, then purl the next two stitches, continue to purl to the end and knit back.
  2. Again, purl the first stitch then purl the next two stitches, continue to purl to the end.
  3. Continue this pattern until you have knit off all the stitches.

The horn should look similar to the picture.

At this point you should have three A color pieces and three B colored pieces. If your using the third C color, you will have two of A color, two of B color and two of C color.


The Headband

The last piece to knit is the headband. The horns will attach to this piece. I prefer a looser fitting headband so I cast on 60 stitches for an adult and 55 should be good for a child.

  1. Use a round knitting needle. A smaller gauge than used for the horns.
  2. Cast on 55 stitches for a child or 60 for an adult.
  3. When you have cast on all your stitches, pick up the first stitch on your round knitting needle and knit stitch.
  4. Continue to knit stitch until the piece is 2 1/2" wide.
  5. Cast off.

Knit the Horn Pieces Together

Knit the pieces to create three horns.

  1. Take one decreasing to the left horn and one decreasing to the right horn and knit them together by knitting the slant sides together and the straight sides together.
  2. Take another left and right horn and knit them together. Do the same with the remaining two pieces. So, you have three horns each side a different color.

The Finishing Touch: Tassels

When the horns have all been knit together it is time to knit the headband to the horns. On the pictured jester hat at the top of the page, I made pleats when I attached the horns to the headband to give the final hat a poofy effect.

  • Pin the headband around the edge of the horns to keep it in place while you stitch them together.

The finishing touch will be the tassels on the end of the horns. To create the tassel:

  1. Using each of the colors A, B and the optional C, holding them at the ends, wrap them around your hand several times.
  2. Remove from your hand and tie a piece of yarn around the center.
  3. Cut the loops on each side and fluff up the tassels.
  4. Attach to the end of each horn with a piece of yarn.

Your jester's cap is done! Congratulations!


Joanna (author) from Wilseyville on December 27, 2012:

Thank you, it is cute and so easy too!

RTalloni on December 27, 2012:

Such a cute knitting project you have posted here!