Learn how to knit a hat beanie to keep your head warm in winter. This is a perfect beginner project because it is made up of super bulky yarn and a large needle, so it knits up very quickly. It is also made with simple stitches and very easy shaping. A basic beanie is one of the easiest things you can knit!
How to Knit a Hat Tutorial (Knitted Hat Pattern)
Once you get going on this hat and see what fun it is to make, you will want to make a whole variety of hats for winter. This one is knit flat, on two needles, which makes it quick and easy.
This is a beginner hat pattern. The flat method of making a hat is much easier for beginner knitters than using circular needles. In fact, I would always rather knit flat! Even though you have a seam in the side of the hat, this is almost invisible and it blends into the stitches.
Materials for Knitting a Hat
- NEEDLES - Pair of knitting needles, size #13, (9mm, UK size 00)
- YARN - 1 ball of super bulky yarn. (Size category 6 or 14ply)
- OPTIONAL - Pom-pom maker - This is useful but not essential, as I will also explain how to make a pom-pom using cardboard.
- NEEDLE - Large tapestry needle for weaving in the ends
- KNITTING TOOLS - Scissors, measuring tape, stitch markers
How to Knit a Hat with the Best Yarn
I used Wool Ease Thick & Quick made by Lionbrand. This super bulky yarn weight is a wool and acrylic blend that was easy to knit and felt soft and warm. The label indicates that it can be hand or machine washed which I liked a lot since the brim of my beanies sometimes gets makeup on them. This yarn is widely available but you can easily substitute another super bulky yarn. If you are a beginner, make sure the yarn you try is tightly wound and won't split.
Sizes of Knitted Hat
- Adult size medium- height of hat 9” (23cm), head circumference 21- 22” (53-56 cm)
- Child size medium- height of hat 7.5” (19cm), head circumference 19-20” (48-50 cm)
These are average sizes, do remember that heads are very variable. Hats don’t have to be an exact fit, because knitting is stretchy. But a hat which is slightly too big is better than one which is too small!
If you are making the hat for someone who is not available to be measured every step of the way, make it a little longer than expected, because you can always turn up the brim of a hat.
Knitted Hat Pattern Gauge
It is really important to check your gauge. This is one step that is really tempting to leave out because you want to get on with making that hat! Don't give in to that temptation! Knit up a swatch and check how many stitches and rows you have per 4” (10 cm)
With super bulky wool and size #13 (9mm) needles, you are aiming for 9 stitches and 12 rows per 4” (10 cm).
Everyone knits differently, and your knitting may not fit into the standard gauge.
- If you have more stitches per inch or cm, try using larger needles.
- If you have less stitches per inch or cm, try using smaller needles.
Substituting Other Weights of Yarn
Using the gauge on the yarn label, you can easily substitute other yarns such as worsted weight yarn or bulky.
- Measure the circumference of your head. For this example, we will say it is 22" (56cm) which is fairly standard for an adult.
- Work out from your gauge how many stitches you need per 4 inches. This information should be on the yarn label. For the Wool Ease yarn, this was 9 stitches per 4 inches.
- Divide the circumference by 4 (22 inches divided by 4 = 5.5) and multiply it by the number of stitches (5.5 x 9 stitches = 49.5 stitches)
- Round it up or down depending on whether you like a tight or loose hat. This is how many stitches you will cast on.
- The lengths in this pattern will remain the same. ie 2 inches for the brim and 9 inches for the total length of the hat.
Here we have made the circumference of the hat the same as the head since the rib stitch will knit smaller with a large amount of stretch.
How to Knit a Hat of Any Size
You can also use the formula above to reduce or increase the size of the hat to fit any size head. Once you know the wearer's head circumference and the number of stitches per 4 inches of the gauge, custom sizes can be created.
How to Knit a Hat Abbreviations
- CO - cast on
- k - knit stitch
- k2tog - knit the next 2 stitches together.
- p - purl stitch
- RS - right side.
- WS - wrong side
- st(s) - stitch (es).
How to Knit a Hat Step by Step
Here are the knitted hat pattern instructions. This easy hat just uses a rib stitch and a stockinette stitch.
Step 1 - Cast On
Create a slip knot on the left needle and cast on the following stitches:
- Adult size: CO 50 sts.
- Child size: CO 44 sts.
Step 2 - How to Knit a Hat Brim
The brim of the knitted hat is made from a 1:1 rib stitch.
- Row 1: k1, p1 to end of row. Turn.
- Row 2: k1, p1 to end of row. Turn.
Repeat these rows (k1,p1 rib) until work measures 2” (5cm) for adult, and 1.5” (3.8 cm) for children.
Changing to a Folded Brim
This knitted hat pattern has a flat brim but you could easily change this to a folded brim by doubling those lengths. So for an adult, make the brim 4 inches (10cm), and for a child, 3 inches (7.5cm).
Step 3 - How to Knit a Hat Body
The main part of the hat is knitted in a stockinette stitch. This pattern is created when you alternate rows of knit stitch and purl stitch.
- Row 1: (RS) Knit all sts.
- Row 2: (WS) Purl all sts.
Repeat these 2 rows until your stockinette stitch measures 6.5” (16.5cm) for an adult, or 5.5” (14cm) for children. This means the total length of the hat is now: adult 8.5" (21.5cm) or child 7" (17.8cm).
How to Knit a Hat that is Ribbed
If you would rather have a ribbed beanie, you can keep with the ribbing instead of using a stockinette stitch. The lengths will be the same as above.
Step 4 - Decrease the Crown
- On the right side, knit 2 stitches together (k2tog) all across the row.
How to knit a hat 2 stitches together - all this means is that you will be inserting the needle through 2 stitches at a time and knitting them together. So insert through 2 stitches, yarn over, pull back and through and slip off. Repeat for the next 2 stitches.
25 stitches remain for an adult hat, and 22 stitches remain for a child’s hat.
Step 5 - How to Knit a Hat at the Crown
- Cut the yarn, leaving a tail of about 15” (38cm).
- Thread this tail into a yarn needle, then thread the needle through your remaining stitches.
- Pull the yarn tight. This will gather the top of the hat.
- Secure the yarn with a backstitch or two. Once you feel that it is 100% secure, then use the same tail of yarn to sew the hat up.
Step 6 - Seam The Hat
- Line the edges up neatly, right sides together. Pin into place.
- Use whip stitch or mattress stitch to sew the two edges together, starting at the top of the hat.
To sew mattress stitch:
- Push the needle through the first stitch on one side of the fabric.
- Move across to the other side and push the needle through the first stitch there too.
- Pull both sides together.
- Continue in this way, picking up the edge stitch on one side, then the corresponding stitch on the other side, all the way down the seam. Do not pull up the stitches too tightly or the seam will pucker.
When you get to the bottom of the hat, secure the yarn with a backstitch and weave in your ends. Your hat is almost ready!
Step 7 - Make The Pom Pom
A knitted beanie hat is not complete without a pom-pom on top. You can purchase faux-fur pom-poms from craft stores or make your own pom-pom with the leftover yarn.
If you have a pom pom-making machine, simply follow the instructions given. If you don’t have one, here is how to make a hat with a pom-pom:
- Cut a rectangle from heavy cardboard. The width of the rectangle must be the same size as you require for your pom pom. The length must be slightly longer than the width. So if you want a 2” (5cm) pom-pom, the width must be 2”(5cm) and the length must be 3- 3 ½ “(7.5-9 cm). My tutorial on how to make a pom-pom has printable templates for different sizes if you don't feel like making your own.
- Cut a slot into the bottom of the rectangle, about ¼”(0.6 cm) wide.
- Cut a length of yarn about 12" (30cm) long, and thread it through the slot, lengthwise, forming a loop.
- Start wrapping your yarn around the width of the cardboard. Hold it in place with your thumb. Don’t pull it too tight as you wrap.
- The more yarn you wrap, the fluffier your pom-pom will be.
- Now tie the tying yarn, (that first 10” length) firmly around the wrapped yarn. Knot securely.
- Just to be safe, cut another 10” length of yarn, and tie up your wraps again, even tighter this time. Keep one long tail of yarn for sewing the pom-pom onto the hat.
- With the yarn still on the cardboard, cut loops on either side of the cardboard.
- Slip the pom-pom off the cardboard and fluff it up nicely. ‘
- You will find that you have some longer, straggly bits. Trim these with scissors until your pom-pom is nicely rounded.
- Now sew the pom-pom onto the top of your hat, using that long tail of tying yarn that you left.
How to Knit a Hat Variations
Once you are confident with the basic steps of creating this hat, you can start experimenting with variations!
- STRIPES - You could knit stripes as you work your way up the body of the hat.
- DIFFERENT STITCHES - You could knit the whole hat in a rib stitch or leave a rib brim and work the body in a moss stitch.
- COLORS - You could knit the brim and make the pom-pom in a contrasting color to the rest of the hat.
- TASSELS - You could put tassels on the top of the hat instead of a pom-pom. Learn how to make a tassel.
- EMBELLISH - Add applique, ribbon, ric-rac, or any other notions to your basic hat.
These are just a few ideas, I’m sure you could come up with more variations if you try! This is your creative journey, you can do anything!
How to Knit a Hat - In Conclusion
This gives you all the instructions for how to knit a hat or basic beanie for a child or an adult. Once you have made one and seen just how quick and easy it is, you can make more! Hats are small and give you the feeling of satisfaction of finishing off a craft project easily. Hats make great gifts. Try some variations, as mentioned above, and try different yarns with texture. (Just remember to knit your gauge swatch first to work out how many stitches to cast on!) A hat will keep a child cozy and warm while he or she is playing outside in the winter. There are so many reasons to knit a hat! In fact, I feel the urge to go and cast on for a hat right now! Happy knitting!
More Free Knitting Patterns
- Knitting Needles Size 13 (9mm, 00)
- Tape Measure
- Tapestry Needle
- 1 Ball Super Bulky Yarn Lionbrand Wool Ease Thick & Quick
- Faux-Fur Pom-Pom
- Guage - 9 stitches x 12 rows per 4 inch (10cm) square
- Cast on 50 stitches for an adult (22" head) or 44 for a child (19" head).
- BRIM - Knit 1, purl 1 to create a 1:1 rib. Continue until the work measures 2 inches (5cm) for adult or 1.5" (4cm) for a child.
- BODY - Knit 1 row, purl 1 row to create stockinette stitch. Continue until the total length measures 8.5" (21.5cm) or 7" (17.8cm) for a child.
- DECREASE - On a knit row, knit every 2 stitches together. Adult now has 25 stitches and the child size has 22 stitches.
- Cut the end of the yarn at least 15" (38cm) long. Use a tapestry needle to thread the end through the stitches. Pull tight to gather.
- Put the hat with right sides together matching the side seams. Use the rest of the length of yarn to stitch the side seam using a whip stitch or mattress stitch. Weave in the ends.
- Add a faux-fur pom-pom or make your own from the left over yarn.
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