how to knit a hat


If you’ve ever wanted to add a personal touch to your winter wardrobe, learning how to knit a hat is the perfect place to start. Knitting a hat is not only a creative and rewarding endeavor, but also a practical way to craft a cozy accessory for the colder months. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll take you through the basics of knitting a hat. We’ll start by selecting your materials and go through to deciding on finishing touches. Let’s dive into the world of yarn and needles and create a stylish and warm hat together!

Materials You’ll Need:

Before you begin, gather the following materials:

    • Yarn: Choose a yarn that suits your style and the desired warmth of your hat. Worsted weight yarn is a great option for a balanced and versatile hat, not too thick, but still warm.

    • Knitting Needles: Opt for needles that match the recommended size on your yarn label. Circular needles are convenient for most hat patterns, providing enough length for the entire project.

    • Stitch Markers: These handy tools help you keep track of your stitches and rounds.


    • Tapestry Needle: Essential for weaving in loose ends and finishing your hat.

Selecting a Pattern:

    • Choose a pattern according to your skill level. If you are a beginner, choose a simple, beginner-friendly pattern. However, don’t be afraid to experiment and customize. This is meant to be FUN!

Getting Started:

    • Cast On: Begin by casting on the required number of stitches. Most hat patterns will specify the cast-on number.

    • Join in the Round: If using circular needles, join the stitches in the round. Be careful not to twist your stitches as you join, so that your hat will maintain its proper shape.

Knitting the Body of the Hat:

    • Follow the Pattern Instructions: Pay close attention to the pattern instructions for the body of the hat. This may involve knit or purl stitches, ribbing, or other stitch patterns.

    • Use Stitch Markers: Place markers to indicate the beginning of each round. This helps you keep track of your progress. Maintaining the correct yarn tension is also helpful.

Shaping the Crown:

    • Decrease Rounds: As you progress, the pattern will likely instruct you to decrease stitches to shape the crown. This is where the hat begins to taper toward the top.

    • Switch to Double-Pointed Needles: If your circular needles become too large for the decreasing rounds, switch to double-pointed needles or use the magic loop method.

Finishing Touches:

    • Cut the Yarn and Thread Through Stitches: Once you’ve completed the last round, cut the yarn, leaving a tail. Thread the tail through a tapestry needle and weave it through the remaining stitches to close the top of the hat.

    • Weave in Ends: Use the tapestry needle to weave in any loose ends. Trim excess yarn.

Optional Embellishments:

    • Pom-Pom: Add a fun and stylish touch by attaching a pom-pom to the top of your hat.

  • Ribbons or Buttons: Experiment with ribbons, buttons, or other embellishments to customize your hat.

What kind of needle do I need to knit a hat?

To knit a hat, you can use different types of knitting needles depending on your preference and the chosen pattern. Here are some common types of needles that you can use for knitting hats:

  1. Circular needles

    • Circular needles are a popular choice for knitting hats in the round. They come in various lengths, and you can choose a length that suits the circumference of your hat.
    • The advantage of circular needles is that they can accommodate a large number of stitches, making them ideal for seamless hat construction.


2. Double-pointed needles

  • Double-pointed needles are another option for knitting hats in the round. They come in sets of four or five needles.
  • DPNs are often used for the crown of the hat, especially when the number of stitches decreases, and circular needles become challenging to use.

3. Interchangeable Knitting Needles
    • Interchangeable needle sets allow you to change the needle tips and cable length according to your project.
    • They are versatile and can be configured as circular needles or used as straight needles.



4. Straight Knitting Needles

    • While less common for hat knitting in the round, straight needles can still be used for knitting flat pieces, such as hat brims or other decorative elements.
    • If you choose to knit a hat flat and then seam it together, straight needles would be very suitable.

Although the American system of knitting needle numeration and crochet hooks seems to dominate the nomenclature,  and often both (US and metric sizes) marked on the knitting needles, you will surely find a pattern (or a yarn) which will use British  or Canadian nomenclature. 

In the last row, you also have the sizes of the corresponding crochet hooks.

Knitting needles and crochet hooks size conversion equivalent chart

Now, let’s move to choosing the right project for you.

Top 20+ Free Knitted Hat Patterns You Can’t Miss

    • 1. Wurm by Katushika – Ravelry’s Favorite

The Wurm, designed by Katushika, is a Ravelry favorite known for its unique construction and delightful texture. The twisted stitch pattern creates a snug and stylish hat that’s perfect for both men and women. With clear instructions on  Ravelry, it’s a must-try for those looking to showcase their knitting skills.

    • green knitted ribbed hat
      photo source: Ravelry

      2. Bankhead by Susie Gourlay – A Timeless Classic

Susie Gourlay’s Bankhead is a timeless classic available on Ravelry. This versatile pattern provides options for a snug beanie or slouchy fit, making it suitable for various preferences. Its straightforward instructions make it an excellent choice for knitters of all levels.

    • Bankhead knitted hat in dusty pink
      photo source: Ravelry

      3. Classic Ribbed Hat by Purl Soho – Elegance in Simplicity

Purl Soho’s Classic Ribbed Hat exudes elegance in its simplicity. This pattern, found on the Purl Soho blog, is perfect for those who appreciate clean lines and a classic look. The ribbed design adds texture while maintaining a polished finish.

    • classic ribbed hat in oat color
      photo source: Purl Soho

      4. Sockhead Slouch Hat by Kelly McClure – Casual Comfort

Kelly McClure’s Sockhead Slouch Hat, also available on Ravelry, offers casual comfort with a modern twist. The simple design makes it an ideal project for relaxing knitting sessions. Plus, the slouchy style adds a laid-back vibe to your winter wardrobe.

    • slouch hat
      photo source: Ravelry

      5. Jason’s Cashmere Hat by Melissa Thomson – Luxury in Every Stitch

For a touch of luxury, try Melissa Thomson’s Jason’s Cashmere Hat from the  Sweet Fiber blog. The cashmere yarn and well-crafted design result in a hat that’s as cozy as it is stylish. Follow the pattern on the blog for a truly indulgent knitting experience.

    • photo source: Sweet Fiber

      6. Antler Toque by TinCanKnits – Nature-Inspired Beauty

TinCanKnits’ Antler Toque, available on Ravlery, brings nature-inspired beauty to your knitting needles. The antler cable motif adds a touch of the outdoors to your winter wardrobe. The detailed instructions on Ravelry make it accessible for knitters looking to try their hand at cables, which may seem a bit daunting to some beginners.

    • knitted toque with white pom-pom
      photo source: Ravelry

      7. Beloved Aran by Solenn Couix-Loarer – Time-Honored Craftsmanship

Solenn Couix-Loarer’s Beloved Aran, showcases time-honored craftsmanship in every stitch. With intricate cables and a classic silhouette, this hat is a testament to the artistry of knitting. Follow the pattern on Ravelry for a rewarding knitting journey, and a warm noggin.

    • aran knitted hat in off-white

    • photo source: Ravelry

    • 8. Copy.Cat C.C Beanie by Emily Ingrid – Stylish Simplicity

Emily Ingrid’s Copy.Cat C.C Beanie, featured on the Clemenitne Knits and Crochet blog, embodies stylish simplicity. This beanie is all about clean lines and modern flair. The blog provides a step-by-step guide, making it accessible for knitters looking to create a chic accessory.

Clemenitne Knits and Crochet

    • 9. Barley by TinCanKnits – Effortless Elegance

TinCanKnits strikes again with Barley, a pattern available on Ravelry that offers effortless elegance. The textured stitch pattern adds interest without being overly complex, making it a great choice for those seeking a sophisticated yet easy-to-knit hat.

    • Clemenitne Knits and Crochet

      10. Two by Two by Anne Gagnon – Modern Minimalism

Anne Gagnon’s Two by Two, another Ravelry find, embraces modern minimalism. The clean lines and simple stitch pattern result in a hat that’s both contemporary and versatile. Follow the Ravelry pattern for a sleek addition to your winter wardrobe.

gray knitted hat
photo: Raverly

11. Turn A Square by Jared Flood – Geometric Chic

Jared Flood’s Turn A Square, featured on the  Brooklyn Tweed blog, brings geometric chic to the world of knitted hats. The colorwork and bold design make it a standout piece. Dive into the pattern on the blog for a hat that combines style and warmth.


photo: Brooklyn Tweed

12. Citrus Hat by Laura Treadway – Vibrant and Zesty

Laura Treadway’s Citrus Hat, available on Ravelry, adds a burst of vibrancy to your winter accessories. The playful colorwork and unique design make it a delightful project for those who love experimenting with different hues. Follow the pattern for a hat that’s as refreshing as its namesake.

photo: Ravelry

13. Lake Reed by Asita Krebs – Nature’s Serenity

Asita Krebs’ Lake Reed captures nature’s serenity in a knitted hat. The lace pattern mimics the delicate reeds found by a calm lake. With detailed instructions which you can find on Ravelry, this hat is a beautiful representation of the peaceful outdoors.

photo: Ravelry

14. PussyHat Project by Kat Coyle – Making a Statement

Kat Coyle’s PussyHat Project, available on Ravelry, goes beyond fashion—it makes a statement. Originally designed as a symbol of solidarity, this hat is perfect for those who want their knitting to carry a powerful message. Find the pattern on Ravelry and join the movement.

15. Brioche Starter Hat by Raina K – Textured Brilliance

Raina K’s Brioche Starter Hat, found on Ravlery, introduces knitters to the world of brioche stitch with textured brilliance. The hat’s unique stitch pattern creates a visually stunning result. Dive in to make a beanie that’s both a learning experience and a fashionable accessory.

16.* Everyday Rib Knit Hat for New Knitters – Perfect Beginner’s Project

Perfect for beginners, the Everyday Rib Knit Hat is featured on B.Hooked Knitting’s blog here. It’s a straightforward project that results in a cozy and stylish hat. The blog provides clear instructions, making it an ideal starting point for those new to the world of knitting.

17. Autumn Wheat Hat by Briana K Designs – Warmth with a Twist

Briana K Designs brings warmth with a twist in the Autumn Wheat Hat. Featured on her blog, this pattern combines classic elements with a unique twist, making it a delightful project for knitters looking to infuse their winter wardrobe with a touch of creativity.

18. Snowman Pompom Hat by Tara Marie – Whimsical Winter Fun

Tara Marie’s Snowman Pompom Hat, found on her blog here, adds a touch of whimsical winter fun to your knitting repertoire. The playful design, complete with a pompom snowman, makes for a cheerful accessory. Follow the pattern on Tara Marie’s blog for smiles every time you wear it.

19. Basic Baby Hat by Heather Tucker – Adorable and Practical

Heather Tucker’s Basic Baby Hat, available on Mama’s Stitchery Projects, combines adorable design with practicality. This pattern is perfect for crafting a thoughtful and handmade gift for the little ones in your life. Follow the instructions on Mama’s Stitchery Projects for a sweet and charming baby hat.

20. Garter Ear Flap Hat by Purl Soho – Texture for Every Occasion

Purl Soho’s Garter Ear Flap Hat, featured on that blog, adds texture for every occasion. The garter stitch and ear flaps make for a cozy and functional hat that’s both stylish and warm. Explore the pattern on the Purl Soho blog for a hat that’s as practical as it is fashionable.

21. Graham by Jennifer Adams – Timeless Texture

Jennifer Adams’ Graham, yet another gem available on Ravelry, showcases timeless texture in a knitted hat. The intricate stitch pattern adds depth and interest, resulting in a hat that’s as visually appealing as it is warm. Dive into the pattern on Ravelry for a project that stands the test of time.

22. Ribbed Beanie – Knit Flat! – Great for Beginners

Ribbed Beanie is a pattern and step by step tutorial for absolute beginners. From Youtube video by KnittingHouseSquare you can start your knitting journey right now with all the basics, like holding a needles and yarn will be explained to you in an easy way. The written pattern here, but be sure to visit also a YT tutorial page.


With these fantastic free patterns, you can knit your way to a stylish and cozy winter. Whether you’re making a hat for yourself or as a thoughtful gift, these patterns offer a variety of styles to suit every taste. Happy knitting!

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