Stained Glass Modular Knitting - Simple Hat

Introduction: Stained Glass Modular Knitting - Simple Hat

I Fell In Love With Modular Knitting

2 years ago I found a sweater pattern that was the most amazing thing I have ever seen and decided to give it a try. It looked really complicated and getting started was a challenge, but it ended up being really easy to make and became one of my favorite projects. This was my first introduction to modular knitting.

That was the beginning of a yarn type love affair that is still going strong. I moved on to doing simple miter square projects like afghans and this was satisfying for about a year and then I was ready for something more interesting to do.

I did an internet search for modular knitting and found many different pictures of projects that used this type of knitting. To my frustration, there were VERY few patterns available.

I played around with figuring out how to make my own modular squares and then ventured into creating a variety of blocks to use to make colorful and fun projects, the latest being the cardigan shown with rectangular blocks. That was so much fun to create and I wear it with great pride.

One day, I was looking at pictures on the internet and saw something done with black outlining the color and decided to try something similar and created a "stained glass" rectangular block which inspired me to try something a bit different. I have already started a shrug using this pattern which is looking amazing.

I decided to share the instructions on how to make a simple rectangle pattern so that others could play with modular knits. They look really complicated, but are really very easy to make once you learn the basics.

I hope that if you give this a try, you too will find a new love.

Step 1: Supplies to Make Your Hat


You can use any type of #3 light or sport weight yarn for this hat pattern which fits an average sized woman's head. It has enough stretch to fit most women.

I went into my yarn stash to find some leftovers from other projects. It does not take much yarn to complete a hat, I would estimate about 2 - 3 oz. of each, black and colored yarn.

Knitting Needles

Use 4 mm needles - US size 6 / UK size 8 or whatever size you need to make the correct number of stitches per inch.

I like to work with 2 double pointed needles instead of long ones while doing this type of knitting. I have purchased rubber ends pieces to keep the stitches from falling off as you will see in the pictures.

To make the trim on the hat, you will need 4 double pointed needles or a circular needle.

Larger or Smaller Sizes

To make the hat larger, you can use #4 worsted weight yarn and 5 mm needles - US size 8 / UK size 6

To make a smaller hat to fit a child, use #1 baby yarn and 3.25 mm needles - US size 3 / UK size 10

Also Needed

  • Darning Needle
  • Scissors

Step 2: The Basics of Modular Knitting

Modular Knitting Basics

Modular blocks can be used to create almost anything. My first project using this rectangular block was the sweater shown in the introduction. To date, this has been the most enjoyable project I have ever done. So happy with how it turned out. it looks complicated, but it is really simple once you learn a few basic skills.

This pattern uses only knit and purl stitches and the blocks are joined together as you knit so there is minimal sewing (not my favorite thing to do).

You only need to count your stitches when you start each block as you use stitch markers to show you where to make decreases so it makes it easy to create. I find that it is much more enjoyable to knit when I don't have to focus only on what I am doing and can also watch or listen to something in the background. So much more relaxing.

The only downside is that you do end up with many yarn ends to weave in. Also not a favorite task, but I tend to do this after each block is made or do a few blocks at a time instead of waiting until the project is finished when it can feel overwhelming.

The how to details are shown in the next steps.

Step 3: Abbreviations & Basic Knitting Techniques


K – knit

P – purl

st(s) – stitch(es)

tog – together

x (followed by a number) - how many time to repeat a step

Search the Instuctables website to find many great basic knitting skills to learn how to:

Step 4: Check Your Gauge

Check Your Gauge

I have been knitting for over 50 years and the most important lesson I learned the hard way is how important it is to take the few minutes needed to doing a sample piece to check your gauge.

if you prefer, you can make a sample block following this pattern and then measure the number of stitches to determine your gauge.

For this hat pattern the gauge using #3 light or sport weight yarn and 4 mm needles is:

5 sts = 1“

6 rows = 1“

The finished rectangle is 2 1/4" x 5"

For a how to check out this helpful Instructable:

Step 5: Your 1st Block

With color 1 (black) - Cast on 40 sts

1. K 10, place marker, K 20, place marker, K 10 = 40 sts

2. K 40 sts

3. Color 2 - (K to 2 sts before marker, K 2 tog) x 2, K to end of row (2 sts decrease in row)

4. (P to 2 sts before marker, P 2 tog) x 2, P to end of row (2 sts decrease in row)

5. - 6. Repeat rows 3 & 4

7. - 8. Color 1 (black) - (K to 2 sts before marker, K 2 tog) x 2, K to end of row

9. - 12. Color 2 - (Repeat rows 3 & 4) x 2 (4 rows of color 2)

13. Color 1 (black) - Repeat row 7

14. (K 2 tog) x 2, pass 1st over second

* Cut yarn and pull end through last st

Now pat yourself on the black or do a dance. You have completed your first block.

Step 6: Adding More Blocks in the Row


  • You can use a spare double pointed knitting needle that is 1 mm smaller to make it easier to pick up stitiches.
  • Do not join the blocks into a round at this point. Instructions for what to do will be detailed in a later step.

With a spare needle, pick up 10 sts along the left hand side of the block you just made.

1. Color 1 (black) - Join yarn at the top of the block and K the 10 picked up sts, cast on 30 sts

2. K 10, place a marker, K 20, place a marker, K to end of row = 40 sts

Finish the blocks the same as the first one that you made - rows 3. - 14.

Make a total of 4 blocks in the first row.

Time for the happy dance!

Step 7: Adding Rows 2 & 3


  • You can use a double pointed knitting needle that is 1 mm smaller to make it easier to pick up stitiches
  • If you find you are getting holes when you knit the first row, pull it out and pick up a total of 4 sts in each colored section and K 2 sts together twice to give you 2 sts

Start with the block on the right hand side of your 1st row.

Pick up 20 sts along top edge of the previous row between the center’s of 2 blocks. See the picture for details

1. Color 1 (black) - Cast on 10sts then K the 20 sts you have picked up, cast on 10 sts

2. K 10, place a marker, K 20, place a marker, K to end of row

Finish the block the same way you made them on the first row

Repeat to make a total of 3 blocks on this row then...

Last Block in the row

Pick up 10 sts along right hand side of first block, pick up 10 sts along the top of adjoining block in row 1, pick up 10 sts along the top of the last block in the previous row, pick up 10 sts along left hand side of last block in the previous row and complete the block as before. This will join the row into a round.

Make the block using the same pattern.

Step 8: Add Triangles to Shape the Top of the Hat

Make 4 Triangles at the top of the hat

Pick up 20 sts between the center of 2 blocks in your last row as show in the picture

1. - 2. Color 1 (black) - K 2 rows

3. Color 2 - K 2 tog, K to the end of the row

4. P 2 tog, P to the end of the row

5. - 6. Repeat rows 3 & 4

7. - 8. Color 1 (black) - K 2 tog, K to the end of the row

9. - 12. Color 2 - Repeat rows 3 & 4 x 2 (total of 4 rows)

13. - 14. Color 1 (black) - Repeat rows 7 & 8

15. - 18. Color 2 - Repeat rows 9 - 12

19. - 20. Color 1 (black) - Repeat rows 7 & 8

21. K 2 tog

Continue to use Color 1 (black) to knit the trim around the triangles

Using one or 2 spare needles, pick up 17 sts along both sides of one of the triangles. See photos for details. = 34 sts

1. - 2. K to end of the row

Cast off 34 sts but do not cut the yarn.

Continue to work 2 rows of color 1 (black) along the sides of the remaining 3 triangles.

Cut the yarn leaving a long tail for sewing.

Sew the sides of the triangles together to form a square shaped top.

You are almost done!

Step 9: Add the Bottom Edge

With Color 1 (black) - Pick up 84 sts along the bottom edge of the first row you made

If you are using 4 double point needles to work in rounds

  • Sew the seam of the first and last blocks knit together of the first row
  • Divide sts on 3 needles - 28 sts, 28 sts, 26 sts
  • Knit 8 rows or desired length
  • Cast off loosely (Optional - you can use a 1 or 2 mm larger knitting needle to make it stretchy)

If you are using a circular needle

  • Do not sew the first row blocks together until your trim rows are completed
  • Work in rows - K one row, P the next for 8 rows or desired length
  • Cast off loosely (Optional - you can use a 1 or 2 mm larger knitting needle to make it stretchy)

Weave in any yarn ends that remain to finish your hat. ( You will be happier if you do this as you are making your blocks)

Congratulations, you are done!

Time to show off your new creative project.

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    1 year ago

    Beautiful! I like your technique and creative use of variegated or self-striping yarn. It works well for a project like this, rather than a lot of separate colors to join together. I also like the diamond-shaped texture created by several rows of blocks. I'm planning to do this on the tops of 100% wool Ugg-like house boots I'm knitting; they will be felted when finished for added density & warmth, although after felting they won't be stretchy like socks or your hat. (Felting will also eliminate the need to weave in reasonably short ends after joining: The ends will be blended securely into the fabric, and if they're on the 'private' inside they won't show where it matters.)
    Thanks for sharing your creative, well-written & illustrated Instructable!


    1 year ago

    This is so beautiful! I haven't mastered knitting enough to try it...yet.


    Reply 1 year ago

    It is easier than it looks.


    1 year ago on Step 9

    Blocking will take this hat from good to great. YMMV, but for hats I prefer a wet blocking and then drying over a partially inflated balloon


    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks for the tip


    1 year ago

    Such an awesome technique. I love that you get so much texture with this pattern :)