The Easiest Knitted Hat Ever (Made from a Rectangle!) – Free Knitting Pattern by Yay For Yarn

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This simple-to-make hat is made from a knitted rectangle!  It’s the perfect project for a beginner knitter, or anytime you want to make a quick and easy project. 

 

How to Knit a Hat for Beginners

So you want to knit a hat, but you don’t want to have to worry about knitting in the round, shaping, or anything like that?  This is the pattern for you.  If you can cast on, bind off, and work the knit stitch, you can make this quick and easy hat!

 

Knit a Hat from a Rectangle

Out of all the projects I have designed, this one is the simplest to make.  (It was also super fun to design!)

 

If you’re a knitter who also crochets, you may have seen easy patterns like this one, where you can make a hat from a crocheted rectangle.  With a stretchy rectangle, you can sew the rectangle into a tube, cinch the top closed, and boom, you’ve got a hat.

 

But if you’ve ever done a search for “easy knitted hat pattern for beginners,” you’ve probably only seen simple hats knit in the round.  Knitting in the round can be fun, and can open up a whole world of project possibilities, but it can be intimidating for new knitters.  With this hat, you don’t need to know how to knit in the round.  You don’t need to own circular or double-pointed needles, either.

blue toque hat with brim and pom pom
#4 Medium / Worsted Weight Version

The Perfect First Project for Beginner Knitters

If you’re a brand-new beginner, and you’re ready to move on from sample pieces to real projects, this hat is just the type of thing you’ll want to make for your first project.  Simple stitches, simple techniques, no purling, and you can use whatever type of needles you have.

You will, however, want to check your gauge before beginning and make sure you’re using the needle size that will give you the correct gauge for the pattern with your personal knitting tension.  This will help make sure your hat comes out the right size, and fits the wearer properly.  My video tutorials for all the basic skills you need to know are linked in the pattern below. 

 

Ready to get started?

Grab your favorite yarn, and let’s start knitting!

Skill Level: Beginner

Pattern includes instructions for 10 sizes, so you can make a cozy knitted hat for all your friends and family. The pattern is also written in 6 different yarn weights, so you can use any yarn you like, from a #1 Superfine to #6 Super Bulky.

In the photos above, from left to right, top row, hats are made from #1 Superfine (sock / fingering) yarn, #3 Light (DK / Light Worsted) yarn, and #2 Fine (sport weight / baby) yarn. Bottom row, from left to right, hats are made from #5 Bulky (chunky) yarn, #4 Medium (worsted / aran) yarn, and #6 Super Bulky yarn.

 

Measurements & Sizing

Choose a size by measuring the wearer’s head circumference, and comparing it to these measurements.  Select the size that most closely matches the head circumference measurement. The measurements below show what size head each size hat will fit. 

Sizes (according to the wearer’s head circumference measurement):

Preemie: 12” (30.4 cm) circumference

0-6 Months: 13” (33 cm) circumference

6-12 Months: 14” (35.5 cm) circumference

12-18 Months: 16” (40.6 cm) circumference

Child Small: 17” (43.2 cm) circumference

Child Medium: 18” (45.7 cm) circumference

Child Large: 19 ¼” (48.9 cm) circumference

Adult Small: 21” (53.3 cm) circumference

Adult Medium: 22” (55.8 cm) circumference

Adult Large: 23” (58.4 cm) circumference

 

Finished Hat Length: 

Preemie: 6” (includes 1 ½” brim), or 15.2 cm (includes 3.8cm brim)

0-6 Months: 6 ¾” (includes 1 ¾” brim), or 17.1 cm (includes 4.4cm brim)

6-12 Months: 7 ¼” (includes 1 ¾” brim), or 18.4 cm (includes 4.4cm brim)

12-18 Months: 8 ¾” (includes 2” brim), or 22.2 cm (includes 5cm brim)

Child Small: 9 ½” (includes 2 ¼” brim), or 24.1 cm (includes 5.7cm brim)

Child Medium: 10” (includes 2 ½” brim), or 25.4 cm (includes 6.3cm brim)

Child Large: 10 ¼” (includes 2 ½” brim), or 26 cm (includes 6.3cm brim)

Adult Small: 11” (includes 3” brim), or 28 cm (includes 7.6cm brim)

Adult Medium: 11 ¼” (includes 3” brim), or 28.5 cm (includes 7.6cm brim)

Adult Large: 11 ½” (includes 3” brim), or 29.2 cm (includes 7.6cm brim)

Please Note: The finished hat is smaller than the wearer’s head circumference.  This is for a reason. Garter stitch, which is just knitting every stitch across every row, is very stretchy.  Therefore, the hat needs to be smaller than the head so that it can stretch to comfortably fit on the head. However, this hat does not fit tight, it is just comfortably snug so it won’t slide off the head.  

Actual Finished Circumference, Unstretched:

Preemie: 9 ¼”, or 23.5 cm

0-6 Months: 10 ¼”, or 26 cm

6-12 Months: 11”, or 28 cm

12-18 Months: 12 ¼”, or 31.1 cm 

Child Small: 13”, or 33 cm 

Child Medium: 13 ¾”, or 34.9 cm

Child Large: 14 ¾”, or 37.5 cm

Adult Small: 16” , or 40.6 cm 

Adult Medium: 16 ¾”, or 42.5 cm 

Adult Large: 17 ½”, or 44.5 cm
 

Finished Hat Will Stretch to At Least:

Preemie: 12 ⅝”, or 32 cm

0-6 Months: 14”, or 35.6 cm

6-12 Months: 15”, or 38 cm

12-18 Months: 16 ⅝”, or 42.2 cm 

Child Small: 17 ¾”, or 45 cm 

Child Medium: 18 ¾”, or 47.6 cm

Child Large: 20”, or 50.8 cm

Adult Small: 21 ¾” , or 55.2 cm 

Adult Medium: 22 ¾”, or 57.8 cm 

Adult Large: 23 ¾”, or 60.3 cm

three hand knit hats with faux fur pom poms and leather labels on white background
#2 Fine, #1 Superfine, & #4 Medium Versions

Next, choose the yarn you would like to use, and check the label to see what weight category your yarn is in.  Click Here for more information on the Standard Yarn Weight System.  

 

Checking Your Gauge

It is important to check your gauge before beginning.  Gauge is a measurement of the size of your stitches. Every knitter is different, and some knit tighter or looser than others.  The needle sizes given below are a recommendation only. You’ll need to choose a needle size that gets you the correct gauge for the pattern with your own personal knitting tension.  

 

To check your gauge, use the recommended needle size and the yarn you are using to knit a square, at least 4” by 4” (10 cm by 10 cm).  (You can always unravel your swatch and use the same yarn for your hat if you need to.) Click Here to learn more about gauge.  

 

Blocking

Then, you’ll need to block your square.  Blocking is a step that should be done on almost every knitting project.  It helps relax the fabric, and get it to its final look and feel. Since blocking relaxes the fabric a bit, it can change the size of your stitches.  This is why it is important to measure your gauge after you have blocked your gauge swatch. Then, the finished project will come out to the correct size after it is blocked.  Click Here to learn more about how to block your knitting.  

 

Once your gauge swatch is blocked, you can measure your gauge.  If your stitches are the correct size for this pattern, you will get the same measurement as given below for the yarn weight you are using. 

 

You will need to know how to count your stitches and rows to properly measure your gauge.  Click Here to learn how to count stitches, and Click Here to learn how to count rows. 

easy knitted hat made from hand dyed sock yarn
#1 Superfine / Fingering / Sock Weight Version

If your stitches are too small, you’ll get more stitches than the pattern calls for in the same measurement.  In this case, you’ll need to use a larger needle size and check your gauge again.  

If your stitches are too large, you will not have enough stitches as the pattern calls for in the same measurement.  In this case, you’ll need to use a smaller needle size and check your gauge again.

You will also want to check your yarn label to make sure you have enough yarn for the size of hat you want to make.  

 

Reading the Pattern for Different Sizes

– Instructions and Yarn Requirements for size Preemie are given outside the parentheses, and instructions and yarn requirements for all larger sizes are inside the parentheses like this:

Preemie (0-6 Months, 6-12 Months, 12-18 Months, Child Small, Child Medium, Child Large, Adult Small, Adult Medium, Adult Large).

– When only one number is given, it applies to all sizes. To follow pattern more easily, circle or highlight all numbers that apply to your size before beginning.

super bulky chunky hat knitting pattern from a rectangle
#6 Super Bulky Weight Version

Yarn Requirements, Needle Size, and Gauge:

 

For #1 Superfine / Fingering Weight Yarn:

90 (113, 130, 175, 201, 224, 246, 287, 307, 328) yards of #1 Fingering Weight Yarn

US Size 2 / 2.75 mm knitting needles

Gauge: 20 stitches in 3” (7.6 cm), 42 rows in 3” (7.6 cm)

 

For #2 Fine / Sport Weight: 

68 (85, 98, 132, 152, 169, 186, 217, 232, 248) yards of #2 Sport Weight Yarn

US Size 4 / 3.5 mm knitting needles

Gauge: 22 stitches in 4” (10 cm), 42 rows in 4” (10 cm)

 

For #3 Light / DK Weight:

62 (78, 89, 120, 139, 154, 170, 197, 211, 226) yards of #3 DK Weight Yarn

US Size 6 / 4.0 mm knitting needles

Gauge: 20 stitches in 4” (10 cm), 40 rows in 4” (10 cm)

 

For #4 Medium / Worsted Weight:

57, 72, 82, 111, 128, 142, 156, 182, 195, 208) yards of #4 Worsted Weight Yarn

US Size 8 / 5.0 mm knitting needles

Gauge: 18 stitches in 4” (10 cm), 34 rows in 4” (10 cm)

 

For #5 Bulky Weight:

49 (62, 71, 96, 110, 123, 135, 157, 168, 179) yards of #5 Bulky Weight Yarn

US Size 10 / 6.0 mm knitting needles

Gauge: 14 ½ stitches in 4” (10 cm), 20 rows in 3” (7.6 cm)

 

For #6 Super Bulky Weight:

31, 39, 45, 60, 69, 77, 85, 99, 106, 113) yards of #6 Super Bulky Weight Yarn

US Size 11 / 8.0 mm knitting needles

Gauge: 10 stitches in 4” (10 cm), 20 rows in 4” (10 cm)

side view, burgundy purple toque beanie hat with pom pom
#2 Fine / Sport Weight Version

You Will Also Need:

After you have checked your gauge, and chosen the needle size that will give you the correct gauge for the type of yarn you are using, it is time to cast on.  We will be knitting a rectangle in garter stitch, which is just knitting each stitch across every row.  

 

You can use any cast on method you like.  I used the Cable Cast On for my hats, but you can use whatever method you are comfortable with.  If you would like to use the Cable Cast On, here’s how to work this method:

Cable Cast On

Step 1: Begin by making a slip knot and placing it on your needle.  The slip knot counts as your first stitch.​

Step 2: Knit into the slip knot, but leave the slip knot on the left needle.  

Step 3: Stretch the new stitch so it is loose, and place the new stitch onto the left needle as if to knit, so that both needles are pointing up.  Remove the right needle from that stitch.

Step 4: Insert the right needle between the previous two stitches on the left needle, and wrap the yarn around the right needle tip.

Step 5: Pull the yarn through to make a new stitch. 

Step 6: Stretch the new stitch so it is loose, and place the new stitch onto the left needle as if to knit, so that both needles are pointing up.  Remove the right needle from that stitch.

Repeat steps 4-6 until you have cast on the total number of stitches specified in the pattern for the yarn you are using and the size you are making.

hand holding stack of knitted hats with faux fur pom poms - easiest knitted hat ever knitting pattern

The Pattern

We will be knitting our hat as a simple rectangle, and assembling it into a hat later. When you knit your rectangle, cast on the number of stitches for the yarn you are using and the size you are making. Then, you will knit each stitch across every row until you have the total number of rows specified for the yarn you are using and the size you are making. When you count your rows, each squiggly ridge in the fabric is two rows. If you would like more information on how to count your rows, see this blog post and video tutorial.

 

Remember, instructions and Yarn Requirements for size Preemie are given outside the parentheses, and instructions and yarn requirements for all larger sizes are inside the parentheses like this:

Preemie (0-6 Months, 6-12 Months, 12-18 Months, Child Small, Child Medium, Child Large, Adult Small, Adult Medium, Adult Large).

 

For #1 Superfine:

Cast on 40 (45, 48, 58, 63, 67, 68, 73, 75, 77) stitches.

Knit each stitch across every row until you have worked 130 (144, 154, 172, 182, 194, 208, 224, 236, 246) rows.

 

For #2 Fine:

Cast on 33 (37, 40, 48, 52, 55, 56, 61, 62, 63) stitches.

Knit each stitch across every row until you have worked 98 (108, 116, 130, 138, 144, 156, 168, 176, 184) rows.

 

For #3 Light:

Cast on 30 (34, 36, 44, 48, 50, 51, 55, 56, 58) stitches.

Knit each stitch across every row until you have worked 94 (104, 110, 124, 130, 138, 148, 160, 168, 176) rows.

 

For #4 Medium:

Cast on 27 (30, 33, 39, 43, 45, 46, 50, 51, 52) stitches.

Knit each stitch across every row until you have worked 80 (88, 94, 104, 112, 118, 126, 136, 142, 150) rows.

 

For #5 Bulky:

Cast on 22 (24, 26, 32, 34, 36, 37, 40, 41, 42) stitches.

Knit each stitch across every row until you have worked 62 (68, 74, 82, 88, 92, 98, 108, 112, 118) rows.

 

For #6 Super Bulky:

Cast on 15 (17, 18, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 28, 29) stitches.

Knit each stitch across every row until you have worked 46 (52, 56, 62, 66, 70, 74, 80, 84, 88) rows.

 

Once you have finished knitting your rectangle according to the instructions, bind off loosely, leaving a long tail.

mint green knit hat with light brown faux fur pom pom
#3 Light / DK Weight Version

Before we begin assembling our hat, it’s important to block our rectangle at this point. Blocking helps relax the fabric, and get it to its final look and feel. For more information on how to block your knitting, click here for a video tutorial.

 

To Block

For natural fibers, pin project out to finished measurements (below) on foam blocking mats. Spray with water until fully saturated, allow to dry.

OR

For acrylic fibers, pin project out to finished measurements (below) on an ironing board or several layers of towels. Hold a steaming iron 2”-3” over the surface of the fabric, making sure all of the fabric is penetrated by the steam. Allow to cool / dry.

 

Finished Width of Panel

Preemie: 6”, or 15.2 cm

0-6 Months: 6 ¾”, or 17.1 cm

6-12 Months: 7 ¼”, or 18.4 cm

12-18 Months: 8 ¾”, or 22.2 cm

Child Small: 9 ½”, or 24.1 cm

Child Medium: 10”, or 25.4 cm

Child Large: 10 ¼”, or 26 cm

Adult Small: 11”, or 28 cm

Adult Medium: 11 ¼”, or 28.5 cm

Adult Large: 11 ½”, or 29.2 cm

 

Finished Length of Panel

Preemie: 9 ¼”, or 23.5 cm

0-6 Months: 10 ¼”, or 26 cm

6-12 Months: 11”, or 28 cm

12-18 Months: 12 ¼”, or 31.1 cm 

Child Small: 13”, or 33 cm 

Child Medium: 13 ¾”, or 34.9 cm

Child Large: 14 ¾”, or 37.5 cm

Adult Small: 16” , or 40.6 cm 

Adult Medium: 16 ¾”, or 42.5 cm 

Adult Large: 17 ½”, or 44.5 cm

chunky knit hat knitting pattern for beginners with pom pom
#5 Bulky Weight Version

Assembly

Lay your rectangle out so the rows are running vertically. The cast on edge should be at one side, and the bind off edge at the other side.

 

Bring the two short edges to the center. Thread the long yarn tail through your yarn needle.

 

Beginning at the corners, stitch the two short ends of the rectangle together. I use a whip stitch for this. Once you have finished the seam, take one more stitch at the end of the seam, wrap the yarn around the needle, and pull the needle through to make a knot.

 

We will now cinch the top of the hat closed. Your rectangle is now sewn into a tube. With your yarn needle, make your way around the top edge of the tube, picking up a strand of yarn from every other pair of rows. (In other words, every other squiggly ridge.)

 

Once you have picked up stitches all the way around the edge, pull on your yarn to tighten, and cinch the hat closed.

 

Bring the yarn needle through to the inside of the hat. Pull on the yarn to make sure the top of the hat is cinched tightly. Then, take a small stitch on the inside of the hat, right next to the hole, wrap the yarn around the needle, and pull the needle through to make a knot.

 

blue slouchy hat made from a rectangle
#4 Medium / Worsted Weight Version - Back View, Worn Slouchy

Pom Pom

If you are not adding a pom pom, or if you are using Super Bulky yarn, weave in the yarn tails into the seam. (If using Super Bulky, use embroidery floss to add remaining details.)

 

If you would like to add a pom pom, you can use what’s left of the current yarn tail to attach the pom pom. I used faux fur pom poms, and the ones I use have an elastic loop on the bottom with which to attach them. I chose to sew a button to the inside of the hat, and pull the loop through the top of the hat and around the button. This makes the pom pom removable so the hat can be washed.

 

To add a pom pom in this manner, use the remaining yarn tail to sew a button to the inside of the top of the hat, right next to the little hole at the top. Then, make a small knot on the inside of the hat, and weave in the yarn tail. To add the pom pom, poke your crochet hook up through the small hole in the top of the hat. Grab the elastic loop with the hook. Pull the loop through to the inside of the hat, and stretch it around the button to secure.

 

Now, you can add a leather or faux leather tag if you like. I chose to fold my tag around the edge of the hat.

 

If you are using Super Bulky yarn, you will need to use embroidery floss to sew on the tag, as the yarn will likely be too thick to fit through the holes in the tag. If you are using a thinner yarn, you can use a length of your project yarn to sew on your tag.

Weave in any remaining yarn tails.

Ta-Da! You’ve just made a simple hat out of a knitted rectangle. Now all that’s left to do is to wear it!

Be sure to post your project photos on Instagram! Tag me @yayforyarn and use the hashtag #easiestknittedhat. I can’t wait to see your cozy, handmade creations!

This pattern is intended for your personal use only. You may not share it, copy it, sell it, give it away, or mass-produce the finished product. However, you may sell the finished items on a small scale, as long as you convey in your item description that you used a Yay For Yarn pattern.

Yay For Yarn Copyright© 2020 – Current. All patterns and photos are owned by Yay For Yarn.

Pin the image below to save this project for later!

This simple-to-make hat is made from a knitted rectangle! It's the perfect project for a beginner knitter, or anytime you want to make a quick and easy project. You won't have to worry about knitting in the round, shaping, or anything like that. If you can cast on, bind off, and work the knit stitch, you can make this hat! Includes 10 sizes, from Preemie to Adult. Come check out the free pattern and video tutorial! #easyknitting #knittingforbeginners #knittingpatterns #freeknittingpatterns
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