Introduction: DIY | Knit a Hat Without a Pattern | Basic Design Made Easy

Dear fellow fiber enthusiast,

Want to knit a hat, but...
Don't have a pattern or instructions?
Lost the label of the yarn but have no clue which weight it is?
Or maybe you simply wish to emancipate from other people's design?

This is for YOU !

Step 1: Materials

  • Tape measure and/or ruler
  • T-pins or sewing pins
  • Pen, paper and calculator
  • Yarn and needles (circulars and/or dpn's)
  • Regular knitting notions, such as a tapestry needle and stitch markers.

Step 2: Determine Your Tension

First, you need to know what your gauge is using the yarn and needles you have

  1. Start by knitting a swatch of at least 3 inches wide, so that your measurements are accurate.
    Make sure to knit the main stitch you'll be using in your hat.
  2. Bind off but do not cut the yarn, as you can rip the swatch and use for your project.
  3. When you have a decent square, use your T-pins or sewing pins to secure the sides and corners so they don't curl. Be careful not to stretch it as this would distort your measures.

  4. Measure the numbers of stitches you get over a certain width. To make this easy, you can place two pins on each end of your measuring surface so you only have to count the stitches between the pins, even if the fabric moves slightly.

    In our example, we got 8.5 stitches over 2 inches in stockinette stitch.

Step 3: Figuring Out the Numbers

In order to figure out how many stitches to cast on...

  • Measure the circumference of the head the hat is intended for ( or refer to this Head Circumference Chart).
  • Multiply the head circumference by the number of stitches you got per inch.
  • Multiply your total by 85%.
    85% is the average ratio used for almost every knit hat so it is snug. If we would knit a hat to the actual circumference of the head, it would just slip off it. This is called ''negative ease''
  • Round to the closest multiple that suits the ribbing of your choice (1x1 ribs, 2x2 ribs, etc.).
    I.e. : 1x1 ribs will be a multiple of 2 / 2x2 ribs will be a multiple of 4 / and so on...
  • Before casting on, plan the decreases of the crown. They should be a multiple of either 7,8,9 or 10.

    To know how long/high the hat should be...

    Obviously, this depends on the style you are aiming for... Beanie? Slouchie? A beret, perhaps?

    You can alway try it on (all sides should be able to touch the top or your head), or you can refer to this basic chart for average Hat sizes.

    When you reach the desired height, decrease using your favorite method.

    Weave in ends, cut extras, and enjoy!


  • Figure out the number of stitches to cast-on according to head size, tension, ribbing and decrease.
  • Using one size smaller neddles, cast-on and knit the brim as high as desired.
  • Switch to regular needle size and knit until desired height
  • Using your favorite decrease method, start decreasing every second round according to the multiple you found earlier.
  • Weave in ends, and feel free!


Head circumference = 15''

Gauge = 4.25 stitches per inch

Brim = 2x2 ribs for about 8 rounds, more or less

Height before decrease = 5''

Decrease = multiple of 8 (7 sections of 8 stitches = 56 stitches)

(15'' x 4.25sts ) x 85% = 54.19 sts --------> Round up to 56sts (multiple of 4 and 8 )

Example of instructions


Using smaller needles, cast-on 56sts, and work in 2x2 ribs for 8 rounds.

Main part
(Switch to larger needles)
Continue in stockinette stitch until hat measures 5'' from cast-on edge.

Round 1: k6, k2tog, place marker, repeat from * 6 more times.
Round 2 and every other round : Knit
Round 3: * knit until 2 stitches before marker, k2tog, repeat from * 6 more times.

Keep going until only 7 stitches remain. Using tapestry needle, weave in all ends, enjoy!