A simple ribbed hat or beanie is a great beginner knitting project. With this free hat knitting pattern you can practice knit and purl stitch, as well as decrease stitches. Plus, when you work with bulky yarn, the final product comes together quickly. And what's more satisfying than finishing a project and wearing it right away?
The design for this hat uses double ribbing (knit 2, purl 2) to form a close-fitting, gender-neutral beanie. You can add a pom-pom for a fun element or leave it plain if that's more your style.
Depending on your yarn choice, you probably only need one skein of bulky-weight yarn. And because ribbing stretches, the size works for most adults and even teens.
There are several ways to knit a hat, but this pattern starts at the brim and works up to the crown, knitting in the round. If that's new to you, this is the perfect time to try this technique. Once you get it started, it's so easy to knit and purl your way to the top! Choose your favorite squishy yarn, grab your needles, and get started on a new beanie for you or a friend.
Equipment / Tools
- US 11 16-inch circular needle
- Stitch marker (optional)
- Measuring tape
- Yarn needle
- 100 to 110 yards size 5 bulky weight yarn
- 1 faux-fur pom-pom
This hat fits a head with a circumference of 21 to 23 inches. To adjust the sizing, you can add or reduce cast-on stitches by a multiple of four. Every four stitches represents 1 1/3 inch.
12 stitches and 16 rows = 4x4 inch swatch worked in 2x2 ribbing and stretched slightly.
The sample was knit with Cloudborn Fibers Superwash Merino Bulky yarn in color Ocean.
Cast on 64 stitches with the knit cast-on method.
Join the stitches to knit in the round, making sure that none of the stitches are twisted. To join, bring the needles together with the working yarn on the right side.
Slip the last stitch on the left needle over to the right needle. Next, slip the last stitch you cast on (now the second stitch on the right needle) over the slipped stitch and onto the left needle.
Pull working yarn to ensure the join is tight and continue to the next step.
Knit the Main Section
Place a marker on your needle if you wish, keeping track of each round. This isn't as important while you knit the main part of the hat, but it is helpful in the next step.
Knit 2, purl 2. Repeat around all the stitches.
Repeat the row of double ribbing until the hat measures 7 inches.
Decrease for Shaping
To shape the top of the hat, it's time for some decrease stitches.
- Knit 2, purl 2 together. Repeat around all the stitches.
- Knit 2, purl 1. Repeat around all the stitches, and for a total of 4 rounds.
- Knit 2 together, purl 1. Repeat around all the stitches.
- Knit 1, purl 1. Repeat around all the stitches.
- Knit 2 together. Repeat around all the stitches.
If you cast on 64 stitches and did not alter the sizing, you should have 16 stitches remaining. This can get a little tight as you work that last row, but it is possible. To eliminate the tightness, you can switch to double-pointed needles instead.
Finish the Top
Cut the yarn, leaving a tail that's about as long as your forearm. Thread a yarn needle with the tail, then begin sliding it through all the active stitches.
Once all the stitches are on the yarn tail you can remove the knitting needles.
Pull the yarn to draw the stitches together at the top of the hat. Secure the yarn tail and weave in the ends.
If you want a plain beanie, you can wear it just as it is.
You can also block the hat if you'd like. This can help even out the stitching. Be careful not to stretch it too much while blocking.
To add a bit of whimsy to your beanie, try adding a faux-fur pom-pom to the top, or make your own pom-pom with extra yarn, then attach it to the top.
Faux-fur pom-poms usually have an elastic loop that you slip around a few stitches at the top of the hat, then stretch around the pom-pom to secure it. If you make your own from yarn, simply draw the yarn ties through the top and tie them on the inside of the hat.