Tips & Tricks for Hats

Casting on

  • Use a needle two sizes larger that the pattern calls for and cast on loosely. This will ensure that the hat is not too tight and will easily slip over the child’s head.
  • There are many of methods of casting on, use the method you like the best.  There isn’t any right or wrong way, they all work for hats!!
  • When casting on to knit in the round cast on one more stitch than you need and join with a knit two together.


  • Most of our hat patterns call for a US#8 needle. But what kind of needle?  Some knitters prefer to use four or five needles, or a 16 inch circular needle, or magic loop with a very long circular needle.  Use whatever you are comfortable with, or experiment with a couple of different methods.
  •  We also have a pattern for use with straight needles, which gets sewn up at the end.  There is a method available for every knitter!
  • Don’t forget to provide yourself with a needle that is two sizes larger for the cast on row.


  • Some people prefer a 1×1 rib or a 2×2 rib, feel free to use whatever ribbing you prefer. Or use no rib at all and produce a rolled edge by starting the hat with stockinette stitch.
  • The rib should be a minimum of 1.5 inches long, or 4 inches for a turned up cuff. For a rolled edge at least 1 full inch should be knit before you start the pattern, if there is one.
  • If you are new to knitting in the round you might find it easier to work a couple of rows back and forth before you join into a circle.  This provides you with a bit more body of work to help avoid a twisted row when you begin the circular work.
  • Some people like a turned rib.  See this pattern for directions.
  • You can also make a turned hem.  This can be made with stockinette stitch, or have a purl or picot row to emphasize the middle.  Lots of choices!
  • Rolled edges are another popular choice.  Make sure when you sew up a rolled edge that you sew the rolled part together on the KNIT SIDE, then it will not show on the purl side which is the “right side” when it rolls.


  • All hats should be AT LEAST 7 inches from the bottom of the hat, unless you are making a specific type of hat that requires more.
  • FYI:  If you want to make a hat for a specific person get the length of their hand from the beginning of their palm to the tip of their fingers.  This length is the exact length the body of the hat should be for that person. 7 inches works great for most children.
  • The body of the hat can be stockinette stitch, or any pattern!  This is an excellent way to try out a pattern stitch you might be interested in, before you commit to using it in a large item.
  • Avoiding jogs in Stripes:  Knit one round in new color, when you work the second round in the new color slip the first stitch.  When you sew in the end you will be able to even up the join exactly by tweaking it a tiny bit.  Carry the old color up the back, and catch every three or four rows, or sew down the float with the same end.
  • Another pretty way of easing into a new color is to work the first row of the new color as knit one, slip one (as if to purl), and repeat across the row.
  • The body can be ribbed, contrasting stripes, bands of seed stitch, odd rows of purls, lace, cables… ANYTHING you can imagine!!

Top of Hat

  • For a round top: the more often you decrease, the flatter the top of the hat will be.
  • You can work a hat from the top down!!  See our pattern here.
  • Hat tops can be round, square, a flat line (with tassels!) or spiked. Try them all!!

Sewing needles

  • We suggest knitters have at least two types of needles on hand.  One big, blunt one for sewing up, gathering last stitches,  etc. and a smaller sharp one for sewing and skimming in ends, and joining invisibly

Tassels or pom-pom

  • There are two ways to attache pompoms or tassels.  If you want to sew them on permanently always use a completely separate piece of yarn to sew them in.  Do not  tie them on with the end of your yarn from knitting. This needs to be woven in separately.  Another choice, and one we suggest, is to pull the ends of the pompom or tassel through the hat and tied in a bow on the inside.  This way they can be removed, if the child doesn’t want them, without damage to the hat.
  • You don’t have to have a fancy pompom maker from the store, wind yarn around a small book, or your IPhone! (How to make a pompom.)

Hat circumferences

  • The cuff of the hat should be somewhere from 18 to 23 inches in circumference.    There is a head for every hat, but if they get much smaller than 18 inches or much larger than 23 inches then we have trouble finding that head!

Joining yarns

There are NO KNOTS in knitting.  Please don’t EVER knot your yarn.  Knots are ugly, they fall apart over time, can be uncomfortable to the wearer, and are just plain bad knitting!  We are so happy to teach you better methods, PLEASE don’t use knots!!!  Here are two methods our knitters like a lot.
  • Overlay the old and new yarns, and work two stitches with both.  Remember to knit it as a single stitch as you come to it in the next row.
  • Another method is to split the yarn (both old and new) for about four inches, and overlap half the new and half the old for a couple of stitches (half of each will create a whole to knit with).

Sewing in

There are NO KNOTS in knitting.  Please don’t EVER knot your yarn.  Knots are ugly, they fall apart over time, can be uncomfortable to the wearer, and are just plain bad knitting!  We are so happy to teach you better methods, PLEASE don’t use knots!!!
  • Leave about 4 inches minimum for each yarn end you create in your knitting
  • Split the yarn in half and sew in each end by skimming, on the underside of the project where it won’t be seen.  Skim by putting your needle through just a few strands of a row of stitches.  You can go horizontal, vertical, or diagonal.  Better yet do it a couple of different ways!
  • Your sewing in should be FLAT, not create a bump.
  • Your sewing in should not be noticeable on the right side of the work.

Other Interesting, but not necessarily useful, thing that we can’t help sharing:

  • If you don’t have a measuring tape handy, the length of your hand from your wrist joint to the end of your longest finger is about the height you should knit a hat before starting to decrease.

Do you have a tip or a trick that would help us knit hats? Please, leave a comment and share with us!!




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