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Looking for hat knitting patterns for beginners or intermediate knitters? You’re in the right place! In this post, I’ve compiled a list of 27 free & easy knit hat patterns that you’re sure to love.
Whether you’re looking for a simple first pattern, a unique style to wear, adult hat patterns, or knit hats for newborns, there are all kinds of ideas right here in this list. Enjoy!
Easy Knit Hat Patterns
Hats and beanies are some of the most popular knitting patterns, and it’s easy to see why. Knit hats are warm, stretchy, and easy to make. A knitted hat makes an excellent first project because of its forgiving nature and simple design.
Besides that, knit hats are so gosh-darn practical! Who doesn’t want a snug beanie when the winter chill arrives?
Even if you don’t need a new hat this winter, these free hat knitting patterns are lovely to make for friends, family, or even to sell. Many of the patterns in this list are available in multiple sizes, so you’re sure to find one you love, whether you’re knitting for an infant, child, teen, or adult.
Types of Knit Hat Patterns
Knit hats come in a variety of different shapes and designs. Some of the most popular hat styles include beanies (including cuffed, uncuffed, and slouch beanies), berets, and ear flap hats.
Construction Methods for Knit Hats
When it comes to knitting hats, there’s more than just one construction method. Common ways that knit hats are made include:
- Worked in the round. This is the most common method for knitting hats and results in a seamless hat.
- Worked flat and then seamed together. This construction method is less common, but can be easier for beginners.
- Top-down. In this method, you’ll start by knitting the crown of the hat, and then work down to the brim before binding off.
- Bottom-up. As you might expect, this construction method is the opposite of top-down and starts with knitting the brim of the hat first and then working up to the crown.
I tried to include a good variety of hats in this list – but for the most part, you’ll find beanie-type hats knit in the round with either circular or double-pointed needles.
Hat Knitting Supplies
Here are some supplies that you’ll need for knitting your hats.
- Yarn. Look for soft, durable yarn that will hold up with time. Check each pattern for yarn recommendations.
- Knitting needles. Most patterns in this list require double-pointed needles and/or circular needles.
- Stitch markers. These will help you keep track of your place as you knit in the round.
- Tape measure. You’ll need this to measure your head and make sure your hat is the right size.
- Other notions, such as a yarn needle, scissors, blocking tools, pompoms, etc. Check your pattern for any specific tools and supplies required.
What’s the Difference Between DPNs and Circular Needles?
Most of the patterns call for a set of double-pointed needles (DPNs), circular needles, or both. If you’re new to knitting, you might be wondering: “What’s the difference?”
Double-pointed needles are shorter needles, typically 5-6 inches long, that have points at both ends (unlike regular knitting needles that are pointed on one end). They’re used for knitting small projects in the round, such as hats, socks, and the palms of gloves. You typically use 4 or 5 DPNs to knit with DPNs in the round.
Circular needles, on the other hand, are a set of two needles connected by a cord in the middle. Circular needles can be used to knit in the round (like DPNs) or flat (like straight needles). In fact, many knitters prefer circular needles for larger projects like sweaters and afghans.
Circular needles are available with different cord lengths for different size projects. For most hats, you’ll want to use a 16-inch circular needle or shorter.
Which do you need? As you’ll notice in many of the patterns below, knitted hats are often started on circular needles. However, when the stitch count decreases toward the top of the hat, it’s often necessary to switch to double-pointed needles in order to work with a smaller circumference.
FAQs About Knitting Hats
Here are some common questions about how to knit hats, and hat knitting patterns.
What Size Should a Knit Hat Be?
Most hat patterns specify head size in inches or centimeters. Be sure to measure your head before beginning rather than simply choosing the size that sounds best.
When finished, your knit hat’s circumference should be about 2″ less than the size of your head circumference. This is because the hat will stretch when worn, and needs to be smaller in order to stay snugly on your head. This is most commonly referred to as negative ease. A finished, unstretched hat circumference for an adult hat is approximately 18-20″.
What Types of Yarn Are Best for Hats?
Knit hats are very forgiving and can be made with various yarn types and weights. Choosing a washable, durable yarn that will hold up with time and use is best. Wool, wool blends, and acrylic yarns are excellent choices.
In addition, it is essential to check your gauge to ensure that the finished hat will fit correctly. While hats can be made of any yarn weight, from sock yarn to super bulky, your pattern will specify the suggested yarn in order to maintain gauge.
How Many Balls of Yarn Do You Need for a Hat?
Most knitted hats only require one ball of yarn. However, larger adult hats sometimes need two. Adult hats generally use 100-200 yards, while child and baby hats usually require less than 100 yards.
Is It Easier to Work With Circular Needles or DPNs?
While choosing between circular or double-pointed knitting needles really comes down to personal preference, many people find circular needles a bit easier to work with.
One reason for this is that stitches tend to stay on circular needles more easily than DPNs. Since DPNs have two points, it can be easy to drop a stitch or two if you’re not careful. In addition, when storing your project on DPNs, you’ll need to be very careful to ensure that they’re not jostled so much that stitches slip off.
Another benefit to circular needles is that you can’t lose a single circular needle since they are attached to one another.
For these reasons, many beginners find it easier to work with circular needles. However, don’t be scared away from DPNs. They’re actually pretty easy to work with once you get the hang of it!
More Knitting Patterns
If you love to knit as much as I do, you may be interested in the following knitting articles.
- 25 Free and Easy Knitting Patterns for Beginners
- The 12 Best Knitting Kits for Beginners
- Complete Guide to Knitting Gauge, and How to Measure It
- 25 Free & Easy Sweater Knitting Patterns (Great for Beginners!)
- 25 Free & Easy Cardigan Knitting Patterns (Beginner-Friendly!)
- 27 Free Loom Knitting Patterns for All Skill Levels
- 25 Free & Easy Knit Dishcloth Patterns
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Sarah Stearns has helped millions of makers find their next craft project with free patterns and step-by-step tutorials on her blog, sarahmaker.com. Read more.
With over a decade of experience in knitting and crochet, she has been featured in prominent publications like The New York Times, Scientific American, Good Housekeeping, Vox, Apartment Therapy, and Lifehacker.