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Ribbed Brim Hat Pattern October 16, 2010


Ribbed Brim Hat Pattern

By Nicole Nance

*Updated with clearer decrease instructions (I hope) and pictures!*

Hats are quick, easy knits – so much faster than scarves, and not much more difficult.  Soon you’ll be churning out hats for all your loved ones.  This basic pattern utilizes essential components of knitting – cast on, knit, and purl.


Yarn: Any yarn, will work, but smoothish yarn is best i.e. not boucle or eyelash, etc.  This is where a swatch will be important.

Needles: Two sets of circular needles in an appropriate size for your yarn, or one circular needle and one set of double pointed needles of the same size.

Notions: Tapestry needle, measuring tape

Gauge: To determine how many stitches to cast on for your hat knit a gauge swatch in the stitch you’re using for the project, in this case you’re using two stitches – a K2, P2 ribbing and stockinette.  Knit your gauge swatch in stockinette because it is the dominant stitch.  If you’re knitting your swatch flat, instead of in the round, ribbing is done differently.  For more info visit

Cast on 20 stitches for your swatch and work until it measures 4” long.  Bind off your swatch.  Lay the piece flat and measure how wide it is in the middle.  Next measure your recipients head.

So, let’s say your swatch measures 4” wide; you figure out your gauge as follows: Divide the number of stitches cast on by the number of inches wide to determine the number of stitches per inch.   20 sts / 4” = 5 stitches per inch. Now, your head measures 21” around, so how many stitches do you need for a 21” hat?  21” x 5 stitches per inch = 105 stitches.  Since you need multiples of 4 stitches for your ribbing pattern you know you need to cast on 104 stitches to knit your 21” circumference hat.


  1. Loosely cast on the number stitches indicated by your gauge swatch, divisible by four.
  2. *K2, P2 for 2” (longer if you want to fold up your brim)
  3. Now switch to stockinette (by knitting every stitch) and knit even until hat measures 7” from cast on edge (or folded edge, if you made a folded brim).  Note: This size works for most adults, but a good rule of thumb, provided by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, is to place the recipients hand on the hat, when the piece is the same 

    My hat had 98 sts. K5, K2tog = 7 for a total of 14 decreases


    length as the distance from the base of the palm to the tip of the longest finger it is time to start decreasing.

  4. To decrease,  divide your number of stitches by a number between 5-10 that divides into your total evenly.  So, using our previous number 104 / 8 = 13.  So, you can now decrease one of two ways.  If you want more decreases, such as on the hat pictured, then you’ll use the number you divided by as how often you decrease.  So you would knit 6 sts and then knit 2 sts together, this totals 8 (6+2=8).  Repeat to the end of the round and by the end of this round you’ve decreased 13 stitches (and have 13 decrease points).  Conversely, if you want to have a slower decrease then use the other number that resulted from your division, in this case 13.  So, you’d knit 11 stitches, then knit 2 together 11+2=13 and by the end of the round you’ve decreased 8 stitches (and have 8 decrease points).  If you opt for the slower decrease, you might want to start decreasing before the hat actually measures the same as the recipients hand, as it will take longer to use up all your stitches.  Whichever number you chose the next round is knit even – no decreases.  So it would work as follows
  • For your 8 stitch decrease                                     For your 13 stitch decrease
  • Knit 6, K2Tog                                                                       Knit 11, K2Tog
  • Knit                                                                                         Knit
  • Knit 5, K2Tog                                                                       Knit 10, K2Tog
  • Knit                                                                                         Knit
  • Knit 4, K2Tog                                                                       Knit9, K2Tog
  • Knit                                                                                         Knit
  • Knit 3, K2Tog                                                                       Knit 8, K2Tog
  • You see how the number of stitches between your decreases continues to decrease?  You continue in this fashion until you have few enough stitches to cut the yarn and thread it through the stitches.   Note: Switch to a second circular needle or DPNs when sts are too few to work with one needle.  For a video on small diameter circular knitting working with DPNs or two circulars, visit  To finish weave in all ends.


R – Row, K – Knit, P – Purl, k2tog – knit two together, mm – millimeter, sts – stitches, ” – inches, DPN – double pointed needle

Copyright 2010, Nicole Nance, All Rights Reserved