How to Knit a Ribbed Hat on Straight Needles

How to Knit a Ribbed Flat Hat

The Spruce Crafts / Mollie Johanson

Project Overview
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10

Want to knit a cozy winter hat in a jiffy? This beanie-style ribbed hat uses bulky yarn so it doesn't take long, but even better, you can knit this on straight knitting needles so you don't have to worry about circular double-pointed needles. Knitting the hat flat and then seaming the top and back is perfect for when you aren't quite ready to knit in the round.

To knit this, you need to know how to cast on stitches, knit and purl, decrease stitches by knitting or purling two stitches together, cast off stitches, and sew a seam. These are all great beginner techniques so you can use this as one of your first knitting projects.

To give this hat some stretch that hugs your head, it uses ribbing, which involves alternating between knit and purl stitch. In this case, the rib is 2 knits followed by 2 purls, which is called Double Rib, or 2x2 Rib.

You can wear this hat with a small folded brim or leave it pulled down. You could also knit the main part of the hat a little longer to make a wider brim, but you'll need additional yarn, so be sure to plan ahead for this.

Similarly, you can make the hat larger or smaller by changing the number of stitches you cast on. Always be sure to start with a multiple of 4 stitches and when sizing up be sure to start with extra yarn.

Ready to knit a hat? Grab a skein of bulky yarn and cast on!

Original Pattern by Sarah E. White. Updated by Mollie Johanson.


How to Rib Stitch

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • US 10 (6.0 mm) knitting needles
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Yarn needle


  • 100 yards bulky weight yarn




18 stitches and 17 rows per 4 inches /10 centimeters in 2x2 ribbing, unstretched (4.5 stitches and 4.25 rows per inch/2.5 centimeters). Knitting a swatch is always a good idea to start a project.


The hat is about 16 inches (40.5 centimeters) around and 9 inches (22.75 centimeters) tall, unstretched. It will stretch to fit an average-sized woman or teenager.

Materials and Tools

For this project, we used Buttercream Luxe Craft Roving Yarn in the color Orchid (3.5 oz [100g] / 115 yds [105 m]).

Because this project is knit flat, you can use 14-inch straight needles (shorter needles won't be long enough). However, if you have a long US 10 (6.0 mm) circular needle or a set of interchangeable needles, that will also work. You just need to still work the design back and forth instead of in the round.

Yarn Skein, Knitting Needles, and Yarn Needle

The Spruce Crafts / Mollie Johanson

  1. Cast on Stitches

    Cast on 72 stitches with a stretchy cast-on method.

    A long-tail cast-on is good for this so that the edge of the hat easily expands with the ribbing so you can get it on and off.

  2. Follow the Rib Pattern

    For most of this hat, there's just one row of the simple ribbing pattern to follow.

    Row 1: *knit 2 sts, purl 2 sts; repeat from * to end.

    Repeat row 1 until the piece measures 8 inches (20 centimeters).

    Purple 2x2 Ribbed Knitting
    Mollie Johanson
  3. Begin Hat Shaping

    To shape the top of the hat, you need to start decreasing stitches.

    Row 2: *knit 2 sts, purl 2 sts together; repeat from * to end (54 sts).

  4. Work Even

    Work the next 3 rows in stockinette stitch.

    Row 3: purl all stitches.

    Row 4: knit all stitches.

    Row 5: purl all stitches.

  5. Finish Hat Shaping

    Row 6: *knit 2 sts together; repeat from * to end (27 sts).

    Decreasing 2x2 Ribbing
    Mollie Johanson
  6. Bind off Stitches

    Bind off in pattern, which in this case means binding off with purl stitches. Leave a long tail when you cut the yarn.


    The purl bind off is just like a regular knit bind off, but you'll purl each stitch before slipping the first over the next stitch.

  7. Finishing

    Bring the two edges together so the seam will be centered on the back of the hat. Thread your yarn needle with the tail of yarn and weave it over to the folded edge. Sew the top of the hat together. Sew the back seam from top to bottom.

    Weave in all the ends. Block the hat as desired on an inflated balloon or skip this step if you're happy with the look of your hat.

    Stitch the Seams Together on the Ribbed Hat
    Mollie Johanson

You can wear this hat with the brim turned up like you see here or leave it unfolded so you can pull the hat down more on your forehead. Because this uses bulky yarn with ribbing, the fit on this hat is more like a beanie and you won't get a slouchy look.

Once you've made this pattern, you're ready to try other hat patterns or make a coordinating scarf!

Ribbed Hat Knitting Pattern

The Spruce Crafts / Mollie Johanson