How to Knit || Free Easy Hat knitting pattern for beginners

Helen —  March 5, 2014 — 40 Comments

Easy Bobble Hat Pattern

by Helen Stewart

free beginners hat knitting pattern

This free knitting pattern for beginners (or experienced knitters who want a fast satisfying knit) gives you easy to follow instructions for how to make a fun bobble hat for the whole family.

Once you have mastered the basic knit and purl stitches you will be able to knit up this easy hat in about 2-5 hours. Not bad for an evening of knitting.

It is knit flat on straight knitting needles and then seamed up the back.


If you have a tape measure, and the recipient’s head close by, measure the circumference of their head and choose the size closest to their size. If in doubt or in between sizes, I would suggest selecting the smaller size for a snugger fit but it depends on personal preference as slouchy hats are very on trend at the moment.


Baby 14”, (Toddler 16”, Child 18”, Woman 20”, Man 22”) head circumference.


1 x 100g ball of Rowan Big Wool (100% Merino wool; 80m/87yds) or

2 x 100g skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca Bulky (50% Alpaca, 50% wool; 41m/45yds)

Or similar yardage of other bulky weight yarn.


10mm (US 15) straight knitting needles


Yarn needle

Tape measure


8 sts/12 rows = 10cm (4″)


k          knit

k2tog   knit 2 together

p          purl

st(s)    stitch(es)

*           repeat instructions between asterisks


Cast on 30, (34, 38, 42, 46) sts.

Row 1: Knit all stitches

Row 2-6: *k1, p1* to end of row. (5 rows of ribbing)

If you are making a two colour hat, start colour B here.

Row 7: Knit all sts.

Row 8: Purl all sts

Repeat rows 7 and 8,  4, (5, 6, 7, 8) more times. (10, (12, 14, 16, 18) rounds of stockinette)

Decrease for crown as follows:

K1, then *K2tog* to 1 st before the end of the row, k1. 16, (18, 20, 22, 24) sts

Purl all sts.

K1, then *K2tog* to 1 st before the end of the row, k1.  9, (10, 11, 12, 13) sts

Purl all sts

K1, then *K2tog* to 2, (1, 2, 1, 2) st/s before the end of the row, k2 (k1, k2, k1, k2). 6, (6, 7, 7, 8) sts

Cut thread leaving approx. 18” tail. Using yarn needle, thread the tail through the remaining sts and pull firm.

Using tail, sew the sides of the hat together. Mattress stitch is the best stitch to use.

Weave in ends.

Make PomPom

Use a large pompom maker or make your own template out of card.

I used a circle approximately 3” in diameter.

free beginners hat knitting pattern

free beginners hat knitting pattern

Photo Credit: Photos of me are by Kirsty Barton Creations

40 responses to How to Knit || Free Easy Hat knitting pattern for beginners

  1. I’ve asked myself this already when I listened to your podcast – why it is (apparently?) so much more difficult for a beginner to knit in the round? It’s just a short circular needle and nearly all stockinette stitch. No seaming required at the end.

    Or is it just something that is being drummed into a beginner’s head? My first sock was not really daunting – I just knit it, following the instructions. And it fit first time round.

    • Hi Connie! That’s a great question. I think its partly because for a beginner, they are used to seeing straight knitting needles as “normal” and circular needles look a bit weird! Then I think its a bit more fiddly to join to knit in the round and make sure not to twist stitches (I still manage to twist my stitches even now), rather than just turn around and go back again. I agree that once you have tried it there is no going back! I plan to put out a version of this to knit in the round as well. Stay tuned!

    • As a beginner, I think the reason straight needle patterns appeal to me is because all the equipment I purchased included lots of straight needles of different sizes. Begginers always seem to be advised to start with little squares of different practice stitches. had never seen my mum or nana use round needles. Now I am ready to knit a hat, I haven’t yet had opportunity to purchase some round needles and I wouldn’t know which ones to buy. So, I am grateful for straight knit patterns for the moment. If I carry on enjoying the hobby I will be brave and purchase some loopy needles.

  2. Thank you very much for making this pattern freely available. It is so straightforward to follow and a lifesaver, helping me to whizz through a few last minute crafty Christmas presents.

  3. i love this pattern, thank you im a new knitter and have now made several hats with this pattern. again thank you:)

  4. Hi. I want to knit this hat but I’ve got yarn I REALLY WANT TO USE that requires size 11 needles & I’ve got 10 1/2 (which knits fairly good on that size needles) but I don’t know what the directions would be (casting on # of stitches etc.). PLEASE help!?! I’m new to knitting & I’ve looked everywhere for pattern & really like the simplicity if this one. Thanks for ur time! Happy Holidays!

  5. Hi! I’ve been meaning to make a hat for a loong time but I always get stuck when decreasing my stitches. However the instruction have been perfect and I can’t WAIT to make a hat!

  6. Thanks for your pattern, but I am a new knitter and I am confused about one direction. I am knitting for a 2 year old so I am using the pink direction, confused about the total amount of stockinette stitch Please help!
    Sorry if this sounds a little dense

  7. HI

    how would you knit this pattern using aran wool – 10 ply / fisherman / medium weight I think in the US.

    how may stitches to cast on / no of rows etc?

    I have some and need hats for my triplets but love this pattern.


    • Hi Sarah Thanks so much – it would depend on how many stitches you get to the inch. You could try doing it on the needle size recommended and choose the next hat size up and see how that is….

  8. Hi!

    I really like this pattern but when we start to decrease are we K1, K2tog until the end or are we K1,K2tog and then knitting until we get to the last stitch and then K2tog?
    Thanks for your help!

    • I have the same question as Amani..
      This step: K1, then *K2tog*, repeat to 1 st before the end of the row, k1. 16, (18, 20, 22, 24) sts
      Are you repeating “K2tog” to the end of the row OR repeating K1, K2tog to the end of the row? I realize the one in between *’s are repeated, but my hat came out much shorter and is too small. Also do you do this for 1 row, then purl the next?

      • Hi Liza, you’re only repeating the K2tog and there is a K1 on each end of the row. The coloured numbers is a colour code for the different sizes. So for example – if you are knitting the toddler size you follow the pink numbers all the way through.

        • Okay, thanks! So for this step, you repeat K1 (first stitch), K2tog (x stitches) K1 (last stitch) for 22 rows for a woman’s hat? I ran out of stitches …

  9. I just knit this hat and while I thought the pattern was super easy to follow, I somehow wound up with a hat that does not look like your picture! I’m not sure what I may have done wrong. In the picture your lines are vertical and on mine they are horizontal! When I decreased for the crown it seemed like it was in the right spot, so I’m not sure what went wrong. I do like it but I’m hoping to make one like your picture! Any ideas on what may have happened? Thank you!!

    • Most likely when you sewed it together you have the back of the knit panel on the outside, if you turn your hat inside out you will see that it looks the same as in the picture..

  10. Hi,

    I am currently knitting this hat in toddler size. Can I just double check with you regarding the instructions. I have just knitter rows 7 and 8 and then repeated these rows 5 more times. Do I now do 12 rounds of stockinette and does this mean 24 rows (12 knit, 12 purl alternating ) or 12 rows (6 knit, 6 purl.

    Thanks from a beginner knitter who is loving the pattern..:.

    • Hello if you’ve already repeated 7 & 8 five more times then you just go onto the “Decrease for crown” part. (you have already done the 12 rows of stockinette now)

  11. I’ve not tried this yet but thank you, I looks lovely and I’m really excited about being able to make my own.
    I’m very new to knitting and have basically just knitted a scarf without reading instructions or following a patter so I’ve no clue what the numbers in different colours mean, could you elaborate please? Thanks in advance!

  12. Hi!! I think that this is a great tutorial, but the step that starts the k2tog really confuses me! I’ve knitted everything up to this step. please help!!!

  13. Note to self: pattern is good only if you have an enormous sized head

  14. Hi
    Thank you so much for you’re lovely hat pattern, I’m new to knitting anything with a shape like this hat as only been doing scarves and snoods, this was so easy for me to follow and knitted really quick with chunky wool, my only problem was the hat wasn’t long enough to cover the ears by a few more rows, so I’m knitting another but adding more knit and purl rows

  15. Hi there,

    Just wondering if you ever posted a circular knitted version of this please?

    Thanks so much and kind regard,


  16. Hi Helen, I have knitted two of these hats tonight, I love the pattern, is really easy to readh and the shaping of the crown looks really nice. Thanks for all the different sizes too. Anne

  17. Thanks so much for this pattern! Only found it 5 days ago and already on my 4th one! 2nd one this evening. So wonderfully easy to knit and looks lovely when finished! Getting compliments all week on mine! Thanks again!!

  18. Brilliant pattern thank you so much, I knitted my first adult hat to this pattern in just under an hour while watching TV, so easy to follow and made a cute hat thanks very much for making it a free pattern. I now have another simple present for Christmas, just another 5 to go.

  19. Thank you so much for the pattern. It’s so cute. The only thing is, I used 10mm needles and the woman’s size was too large for me, so I took children’s size the second time (my head is 57cm, not so small). But even the child size is quite slouchy on me. Maybe it’s my yarn. Love it, anyway.

  20. I made this while watching a movie the other night. It worked perfectly. ‘ve got the wool to knit another on a car trip tomorrow. Thank you!!! I

  21. Hello lovelies! I’ve previously made a few hats but this has always confused me! “K1, then *K2tog*, repeat to 1 st before the end of the row, k1.” can anyone help me understand what repeat to 1 St before end of row means?! Thank you very much 🙂 x

    • K1 then K2tog K2tog K2tog K2tog K2tog etc until you get to the last stitch of the row, then K1

      *…. * means repeat whatever is in between the * *, in this case *K2tog”

  22. Late to the party for this pattern!! Love it!
    I’m a very very new beginner to knitting but managed to whip this up in baby size this evening and it looks great.

    However I’d love to make a slightly smaller size for when my newborn arrives in a few months. I have no idea how to work out how to do this. Do I just decrease by 4 more stitches when I cast on and alter other numbers as necessary? Would using less chunky wool and smaller needles make any difference (e.g. Size 7 or 8?)

    Thanks 🙂

    • I’m new to knitting too and am making presents for my friends little one, I used 8mm needles and chunky wool, Debbie Bliss elektra Conway Bliss. I made the size for a toddler and it seems a little small, I’d say reducing the stitches and using 8mm will help make it smaller for a newborn 🙂


  23. Brooke Thomason October 3, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    I love love love this hat pattern for straight needles, I have been trying to learn how to use circle needles though and I was just wondering if I can use Circle Needles on this pattern. Or if not can you suggest a good link that I can do a similar hat on circle needles?

  24. Thank you so much for the free pattern. I had 2 skeins of Yarn Bee Soft Illusions (which is super soft) and wanted to make my grandaughters hats with them using 2 needles and came upon your pattern. It was just what I was looking for. Thank you so much. They are turning out perfectly!

  25. Thank you so very much. It is an easy pattern to follow. I am visually impaired so having the pattern with simple instructions that are repeated makes the process for me. To very one who tries this pattern, good luck itx a great pattern. Thanks for the opportunity to make it.

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