How to Knit a Hat for Complete Beginners

How to Knit an Easy Hat

Three Methods:

Do you need a hat but don't want to go out and buy one? If you have yarn, knitting needles, and a bit of time, you can make your own! Provided you know the basics of knitting, this project can be easily tackled in an afternoon. If you know how to cast on, cast off, and decrease, you're ready!



  1. Choose your knitting needles.They come in all sorts of different sizes and determine the look of your stitch. A circular knitting needle will be easiest for this project.
    • US #8 is pretty standard. Anything up to size 10 will be fine.
    • You may use double-pointed needles, but those are typically easier for smaller items, like socks. A circular needle is best and will be assumed for the purpose of this article.
    • A darning needle or crochet hook is needed for finishing your work.
  2. Pick out your yarn.Have a style of hat in mind before you go about selecting your yarn. You should only need one ball; choose one of a reasonable thickness.
    • Cotton is less stretchy and not as warm as wool.
    • If you're a beginner, avoid a thin, skinny yarn. Thicker ones are much easier to work with and take less time.
    • Check the yardage on the ball so you know you have enough for your finished product.
      • If you're using a bulky weight yarn, you'll need between 125 and 200 yards (115 and 183 meters); if a worsted weight yarn, between 150 and 300 (137 and 275 meters).
  3. Grab your extras.You'll need a few more things before you get started.
    • Scissors
    • Stitch markers (safety pins work fine)
    • Measuring tape
  4. Measure your head.Don't skip this part! Knowing how many stitches to knit is necessary for a hat that perfectly fits your head. The last thing you want is a doll-sized hat or a hat for a bucket.
    • Measure your head.
      • If you're giving this as a gift, the average adult head is around 22 inches in circumference (56 cm).
    • Knit a swatch. Take note of how many stitches there are per inch.
    • Multiply the measurement of your head by the number of stitches needed per inch. (example: 21 inches x 4 stitches per inch = 84 stitches.) This is the number of stitches you will need at the base.
    • You may want to round down to a number divisible by eight; this will make it easier to reduce later, for the top of your hat.
      • Rounding down is safer than rounding up; yarn stretches easier than it shrinks.


  1. Cast on.This is where the math you just did comes in handy. Cast on the amount of stitches needed for the base of your head (84 in the previous example).
    • If you've never knitted or knitted in the round before, learn how to knit first and do some research online.
  2. Join your cast on stitches in the round.The circular knitting needle makes this ultra-easy to do.
    • Be careful not to twist! Twisted rounds cannot be fixed; if you're not careful, you'll have to start completely over. What you end up with will not resemble a hat.
  3. Keep knitting.Around and around and around you go! Try your hat on at different times to gauge how many more rounds you should make.
    • The circular needles create a brim that rolls automatically. Because of this, you'll need to knit for a bit longer to account for the lost length.


  1. Start decreasing.If done well, this part will leave your hat snug on your head. If you're unfamiliar with decreasing, stop now and do some research online.
    • Place stitch markers every 8 stitches.
    • When at 2 stitches before the marker, decrease (a fancy term for knitting two stitches together at once).
    • Continue this pattern, decreasing every round.
    • After decreasing for a bit, you'll notice your hat getting smaller and smaller. Don't be afraid to adjust your needles accordingly; this won't mess up your work.
  2. Cut your yarn.When you have just 4 stitches left on your needle, you're ready. Snip off more than enough to work with in finishing the hat, about 15-20 inches (38-50 cm).
  3. Remove the needle.Take a darning needle or crochet hook and pull the loose yarn through your remaining 4 stitches one at a time. This will tighten the top of your hat.
    • After you've pulled the loose yarn through each stitch on the needle, slide the needle out.
  4. Hide the excess yarn.Grab the loose end and pull it down through the top of the hat with your crochet hook. The end should end up at the underside/inside of the hat.
    • Cut it down to about a few inches. Weave in the end using a darning needle down the length of your hat. This will remain secure and tight and hide the seam.
    • You can also hide the starting tail end by weaving it through the hat as well.
  5. Finished!Enjoy your knitted hat!

Community Q&A

  • Question
    How do I know how many stitches to do just by the measurement?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You can't really know since it depends on the yarn. The best way is to knit a swatch and then measure it. This will give you the most accurate answer.
  • Question
    How long should I knit before I start to decrease?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Keep knitting until the hat is almost big enough to fit on your head before you begin to decrease. If it comes out a little large, you can roll up the bottom edge of the hat a bit more.
  • Question
    Do the stitch markers ever come out of the hat?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You remove the stitch markers from the hat. You can do this by either getting stitch markers that open up (like safety pins) or by slipping them off your needle as you pass them while knitting and no longer require them.
  • Question
    Why can't I just get grandma to do it?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You could, if she's willing and you don't want to do it yourself. But there's more satisfaction in making something yourself, and it's always good to learn a new skill! Plus, it's cool to be able to tell people, "Hey! I made this myself!" You can do it. Good luck!
  • Question
    How do I rib knit on circular needles?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    The same way you would on regular needles. Knit one stitch, purl one stitch. Repeat. If you've cast on an odd number of stitches, you will need to knit (or purl) two stitches at one (and only one!) place.
  • Question
    How do I know when I'm on the same row to begin decreasing? Or does this matter?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    When you first begin circular knitting, you need to place a stitch marker at the very last stitch in the row. (If you don't have any stitch markers, a paper clip will do just fine). That way, you'll know every time when you've reached the end of your row and begun a new one. This is extra important in circular knitting so that it comes out right and everything looks even.
  • Question
    How do I knit the hat using straight needles?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Use 5 double-pointed needles. Divide the stitches you need by 4 (for example 120/4=30). You place 30 stitches on the first needle, 30 on the second, 30 on the third and 30 on the fourth. Then you use the fifth needle to knit. (Your fifth needle will constantly replace the needle that held the quarter that you just knitted.) After you have knitted the first (120) stitches, you join the beginning and the end to create a square. (By this method, you also need to make sure that you untwist the stitches that you have already done.) Now you can start knitting in the round or square (while still on the needles, it will look like a square). Follow the rest of the steps as explained above.
  • Question
    Whenever I try to knit a hat, I end up with a long line of stitches instead of a hat shape that is connected together. What am I doing wrong?
    Community Answer
    You may not be joining in the round correctly.
  • Question
    How many stitches do I cast on for a hat for a four-year-old child?
    Angel Umeh
    Community Answer
    Measure his/her head, knit a swatch. This will tell you how many stitches you need.
  • Question
    What can I do if I twisted the thread while on the round needles?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If you twisted the thread, the only choice you have is to take out all the stitches and start over.
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Quick Summary

To knit an easy hat, start by measuring your head. Knit a swatch, count how many stitches there are per inch, and multiply it by your head measurement. Then, cast on that amount of stitches on a circular knitting needle. Knit in a circle until the base of the hat will cover your head. Next, start knitting two stitches together for every 8 stitches you make. Once you have 4 stitches left, cut the yarn with 20 inches remaining. Remove the needle, pull the yarn through the 4 remaining stitches, and hide the remaining thread on the inside of the hat.

Did this summary help you?
  • Any yarn is acceptable, really. Choose a color and texture you like.
  • When you're feeling more confident, try out a more complicated hat pattern. There are dozens available online.
  • Try hard and if you drop a stitch, stop as soon as possible to fix it or it will be really hard at the end.
  • If you drop a stitch, use a crochet hook to pick it back up.
  • Know in advance how to cast on, knit, purl, and knit stitches together. If you don't, start with a scarf.
  • If you have a smaller head, use size 6 or 7 needles. If you have a larger head, use size 9 or 10 needles.
  • When knitting, think about the knitting, not the hat. If you look at the hat after every stitch, you may lose a stitch or 2.
  • Make sure you check your knitting every once in a while to make sure there are no holes.
  • When choosing needles for a hat, chose 16 inch circular needles, 29in. is too big!


  • When knitting stitches together, always count them at the end of a row to make sure you have the correct number.
  • If you want to knit on an airplane, check whether the airline you're flying allows knitting needles on board and whether TSA currently allows knitting needles through security. Scissors are usually not allowed through security, but you can get a yarn cutter pendant at a yarn or craft shop.

Things You'll Need

  • Knitting needles
  • Yarning needle/crochet hook
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Stitch markers

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Date: 06.12.2018, 16:56 / Views: 33343