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How to Knit a Hat With Circular Needles: Free Pattern & Tutorial

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KT Dunn loves coming up with new knitting patterns. She loves being creative and making cute knitted items!

Finished hat

Finished hat

Knitting a Hat on Circular Needles

Here is a pattern I developed for a really fast and warm knit hat with a rolled brim, approximately teen- to medium-adult size. I used 16-inch circular needles, US size 13, and one skein of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick from my stash.

Like many other knitters, I enjoy knitting in the round because of the minimal finishing needed and because the project goes faster when you don't have to work the wrong-side rows.

This hat can be completed on the circular needles without switching to double-points for decreasing, as it requires only a couple of decrease rounds. I believe this would be a good pattern for a first-time circular project.


  • 1 pair US 13 circular needles, 16 inches long
  • 1 skein bulky washable yarn, such as Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick
  • Large yarn needle or crochet hook for weaving in yarn tails
  • Scissors
  • Optional button or pompom for finishing top of hat


Approximately 8 stitches = 4 inches in pattern stitch.


Cast on and Work Brim

  • Cast on 40 stitches. Place a marker and join in the round.
  • Knit 4 rounds. In circular knitting, this produces stockinette stitch.
  • Change to *K1, P1 ribbing. Repeat from * around and work 3 rounds this way.

Begin Pattern Stitch

  • Next Row: K2 together (reduces stitch count to 39), P1, *K1, P1 around.
  • Next Row: *P1, K1 around.
  • Continue working round 1 and round 2 of pattern stitch alternately until the pattern stitch section measures about 7 inches.

Note: At this point, you can carefully try on the hat without dislodging the needles to see if you would like to make it taller before beginning the decreases. If so, simply add a few more rounds of pattern stitch before continuing.

Begin Decreases

  • Next Row: K around.
  • *K1, K2 tog around (26 stitches).
  • *K2 tog around (13 stitches).


Cut yarn and draw the yarn tail through the remaining stitches, pulling them tightly closed, and secure on the inside of the hat.

Weave in yarn ends.

Top as desired.

Cast-on stitches aligned and ready to join

Cast-on stitches aligned and ready to join

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Feltmagnet

Step 1

Cast on 40 stitches using the long-tail cast-on method. Carefully align the stitches in the same direction, and join to knit in the round.

Step 2

Place a marker for beginning of round. Knit 4 rounds. This will curl to form the roll-up brim.

The rolled-up knit brim with K1, P1 ribbing rows above

The rolled-up knit brim with K1, P1 ribbing rows above

Step 3

Switch to K1, P1 ribbing, and knit 3 rounds in ribbing.

Working the pattern stitch

Working the pattern stitch

Step 4

Work a K2 together to decrease 1 stitch. Then work pattern stitch for 7 inches or to desired height.

Working the decrease rounds

Working the decrease rounds

Step 5

Knit 1 round, then begin decreasing.

Decrease Rounds

  • K1, K2 together around. This leaves 26 stitches on the needles.
  • K2 together around. This leaves 13 stitches on the needles.

Step 6

Cut yarn leaving about a 16-inch tail, draw it through remaining stitches, and fasten off. Weave in yarn ends.

Top your hat with a pompom, a bow, or a big fanciful button!

Top your hat with a pompom, a bow, or a big fanciful button!


The Finished Product

Congrats! You have successfully knitted a useful hat. You can even add a pompom or a bow to the top for an extra pop. Hopefully, you've gotten to practice sewing with circular needles and will be a pro in no time.

Questions & Answers

Question: Whom is this pattern for - babies, toddlers, young children or adults?

Answer: With the yarn and needles shown, it works up to about a medium adult size.

Question: How many stitches should I cast on for a newborn baby's knit hat?

Answer: Well, I haven't tried it, so I can't guarantee results, but assuming a newborn's head is about 13-14 inches around, I think you would want to start with about 24 stitches to get a similar ratio. Also, after the ribbing is completed, you would work the pattern stitch for only about 3.5 inches before beginning the decrease rounds, so that the completed hat will be approximately 5 inches tall. These are estimates, but hopefully will help to get you started so you can see how it's going to look. Good luck, and thanks for your question!

© 2017 KT Dunn