Knit a baby hat in the round: Step-by-step guide

Knit a baby hat in the round: Step-by-step guide

If you are new to knitting or just looking for a quick and rewarding project, knitting a baby hat in the round is a great option. Not only is it a practical item for any new parent, but it is also a fun way to practice your knitting skills and create something adorable. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of knitting a baby hat in the round, from choosing the right yarn and needles to finishing off with a cute pom-pom. Let’s get started!

Before you begin, gather all the materials you will need. This includes a set of double-pointed needles (DPNs) or circular needles, depending on your preference, and yarn that is suitable for baby knits. Look for a soft and washable yarn in a weight appropriate for the hat size you want to make. You will also need a tapestry needle for weaving in ends and a pom-pom maker if you want to add a playful touch to the hat.

Once you have your materials ready, cast on the required number of stitches onto your DPNs or circular needles. The number of stitches will vary depending on the size of the hat you want to make and the gauge of your yarn. It’s a good idea to check the recommended gauge on the yarn label and use that as a starting point. Feel free to adjust the number of stitches to achieve the desired size and fit.

Next, join your stitches in the round, making sure not to twist them. This is a crucial step to ensure that your hat is seamless. If using DPNs, distribute the stitches evenly onto three or four needles. If using circular needles, simply knit the first stitch of the round and continue knitting in a spiral. You can place a stitch marker to mark the beginning of the round if desired.

Pro tip: If you are new to knitting in the round, using circular needles can be easier to handle, especially for smaller projects like baby hats. They eliminate the need to switch between DPNs and make it less likely to drop stitches.

Choosing the Right Yarn and Needles

When it comes to knitting a baby hat in the round, choosing the right yarn and needles is important for achieving the desired result. Here are some tips to help you make the right choices:


When selecting yarn for a baby hat, it’s important to choose something that is soft, gentle, and hypoallergenic. Babies have sensitive skin, so you want to avoid yarns that may cause irritation or discomfort. Look for yarns specifically labeled as “baby” or “baby-friendly.”

Acrylic and cotton yarns are popular choices for baby hats. Acrylic yarns are soft, durable, and easy to care for, making them a practical option for parents. Cotton yarns are breathable and hypoallergenic, making them a great choice for babies with sensitive skin.

It’s also a good idea to choose yarn in a light or neutral color. This makes it easier to coordinate the hat with the baby’s outfit and ensures that the hat will be versatile and wearable for any occasion.


When it comes to choosing needles for knitting a baby hat in the round, you will need to consider the size and type of needles. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Size: The size of the needles you choose will depend on the thickness of the yarn you are using. Check the yarn label for a recommended needle size range, and choose a size that will help you achieve the desired gauge.
  • Type: Circular needles are the most common choice for knitting a baby hat in the round. They allow you to easily work in a continuous spiral without the need to seam the hat later. Choose circular needles with a length of 16 inches (40 cm) or smaller to accommodate the smaller circumference of a baby hat.

Alternatively, if you prefer to use double-pointed needles (DPNs), you can use a set of four or five needles to achieve the same effect. DPNs are a good choice if you are comfortable working with them and prefer the traditional method of knitting in the round.

Ultimately, the right yarn and needles for your baby hat project will depend on your personal preferences and the specific needs of the baby. Take the time to choose materials that will create a soft, comfortable, and adorable hat for the little one.

Casting On

The first step in knitting a baby hat in the round is to cast on. Casting on is the process of creating the first row of stitches on your knitting needle.

There are several different methods you can use to cast on, but for this project, we will be using the long tail cast on method. This method is easy to learn and creates a neat, elastic edge.

To begin, you will need a pair of knitting needles and your chosen yarn. Start by making a slipknot at the end of your yarn. Insert one knitting needle into the slipknot, leaving a long tail of yarn.

Hold the needle with the slipknot in your right hand and the other knitting needle in your left hand. Make sure the slipknot is on the side closest to the right needle.

With your left thumb and forefinger, hold the tail of yarn against the left needle. This will create a loop of yarn.

Using the right needle, insert it into the loop from front to back. Then, wrap the yarn around the right needle counterclockwise.

Bring the right needle back through the loop, pulling the new stitch snugly onto the right needle. You have now created your first cast-on stitch.

Repeat this process until you have cast on the required number of stitches for your baby hat pattern. Make sure to keep your cast-on stitches loose, as a tight cast-on can make it difficult to knit the first row.

Once you have cast on all your stitches, you are ready to begin knitting the baby hat in the round! Take a moment to double-check that you have the correct number of stitches on your needle, as it can be easy to accidentally add or skip stitches during the casting-on process.

Joining in the Round

Once you have cast on the desired number of stitches and have arranged them evenly on your double-pointed needles or circular needles, it is time to join in the round. This means connecting the first and last stitches to form a continuous circle.

To join in the round, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure your cast-on stitches are not twisted around the needles. The working yarn tail should be at the end of the last stitch.
  2. Take the needle with the first cast-on stitch and move it to the opposite hand so that it is in your right hand if you are right-handed (or in your left hand if you are left-handed).
  3. Hold the two needles together, making sure the working yarn is behind the needles.
  4. Insert the needle with the first cast-on stitch into the first stitch on the other needle from left to right.
  5. Knit the first stitch using the working yarn from the back needle. This connects the first and last stitches.

Once you have joined in the round, you can continue knitting your baby hat pattern in a continuous spiral without turning your work. Remember to place a stitch marker at the beginning of your round to keep track of your progress.

Joining in the round creates a seamless and professional-looking finish for projects knitted in the round such as hats, socks, and mittens. It eliminates the need for sewing or seaming the edges together, resulting in a clean and even final product.

Knitting the Ribbing

The first step in knitting a baby hat in the round is to create the ribbing. The ribbing provides stretch and structure to the hat, making it snug and comfortable for the baby to wear.

To start the ribbing, you will need to cast on your desired number of stitches. This will depend on the size of the hat you want to make and the gauge of your yarn. For a baby hat, you might typically cast on around 72 stitches.

Once you have cast on, you will begin knitting in a rib stitch pattern. The rib stitch is created by alternating knit stitches and purl stitches. This creates a stretchy and elastic fabric.

Here is a simple rib stitch pattern you can use for your baby hat:

  1. Row 1: *Knit 2, purl 2.* Repeat from * to * across the row.
  2. Row 2: *Purl 2, knit 2.* Repeat from * to * across the row.
  3. Repeat rows 1 and 2 until the ribbing measures about 1 inch in height.

You can adjust the height of the ribbing to your preference. Some people like a shorter ribbing, while others prefer a longer one.

After you have knit the desired height of ribbing, you will be ready to move on to the next step in knitting the baby hat. The ribbing will provide a nice base for the rest of the hat and help it stay in place on the baby’s head.

Switching to the Main Stitch Pattern

Once you have completed the ribbing, it’s time to switch to the main stitch pattern for the body of the baby hat. This stitch pattern may vary depending on the design or pattern you are following, but here is a common stitch pattern that is frequently used:

  1. Round 1: Knit all stitches
  2. Round 2: Purl all stitches
  3. Repeat rounds 1 and 2: Continue alternating between knitting and purling all stitches for the desired length. This will create a classic stockinette stitch pattern.

It is important to keep track of your rounds while following the main stitch pattern. You can use a stitch marker to mark the beginning of each round or simply count the rows as you go along.

If you are following a specific pattern, make sure to check the instructions for any stitch pattern changes or modifications.

Continue knitting the main stitch pattern until the body of the hat reaches the desired length. Remember to occasionally try the hat on the baby or refer to a sizing chart to ensure a proper fit.

Once you have reached the desired length, you can proceed to the next step in your knitting pattern or finish off the hat in the desired manner (e.g., by binding off stitches or adding a decorative edge).

Shaping the Crown

Once you have reached the desired length for the body of the hat, it’s time to shape the crown. This is when you will begin decreasing stitches to create a rounded top for the hat.

To start, divide your stitches evenly onto three or four double-pointed needles or use the magic loop method with a long circular needle.

Next, you will work decrease rounds to gradually reduce the number of stitches in each round. There are several ways to do this, but the most common methods are:

  1. Knit two stitches together (k2tog): Insert the right needle into the next two stitches as if to knit, then knit them together as one stitch. This decreases one stitch.
  2. Slip, slip, knit (ssk): Slip the next two stitches one at a time as if to knit, then insert the left needle into the front loops of the slipped stitches and knit them together through the back loop. This also decreases one stitch.

Here is an example on how to decrease stitches evenly around:

Round Decrease Method Stitches Remaining
1 k2, k2tog 18
2 Knit all stitches 18
3 k1, k2tog 12
4 Knit all stitches 12
5 k2tog 6
6 Knit all stitches 6

Continue decreasing in this manner until you have only a few stitches left. At this point, break the yarn, leaving a long tail. Thread the tail through the remaining stitches and pull tight to close the top of the hat. Weave in any loose ends, and your baby hat is now complete!

Remember to adjust the decrease rounds and stitch counts based on the size of the hat and desired fit. Experiment with different stitches and patterns to customize your baby hat and make it your own!

Finishing Touches: Binding Off and Weaving in Ends

Once you have completed the desired length of your baby hat, it’s time to bind off and weave in the ends to finish off your project.

To bind off, knit the first two stitches as usual. Then, using your left needle, lift the first stitch over the second stitch and off the right needle. Continue this process of knitting one stitch and lifting the previous stitch over until you have one stitch remaining on your right needle. Cut the yarn, leaving a tail of about 6 inches. Pull the tail through the last stitch to secure it.

Next, it’s time to weave in the ends. Take the tail of yarn from the bind off and thread it onto a yarn needle. Insert the needle under a few stitches on the inside of the hat, away from the edge. Pull the yarn through, leaving a small loop. Then, insert the needle back through the loop, creating a knot. Repeat this process a few times to ensure the end is secure.

Repeat these steps with any other loose ends from color changes or adding new balls of yarn. It’s important to weave in all ends to give your project a polished look and prevent any loose threads.

Once all the ends are woven in, you can gently steam or block the hat to help it hold its shape. Lay the hat flat on a towel and use a steamer or iron on a low heat setting to lightly steam the hat. Be careful not to apply too much heat or pressure, as this can damage the yarn.

Finally, give your hat a good inspection to make sure everything looks neat and tidy. Trim any excess yarn tails, and your baby hat is now complete and ready to be worn or gifted!

Adding Embellishments and Personalizing

Once you have completed knitting your baby hat in the round, you can add embellishments and personalize it to make it unique and special for the recipient. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Embroidery: Use a contrasting color yarn and a tapestry needle to embroider initials, names, or a decorative pattern onto the hat.
  • Appliques: Sew on small fabric or knitted appliques, such as flowers, animals, or shapes, to add interest and dimension to the hat.
  • Pom-pom: Attach a fluffy pom-pom to the top of the hat using a yarn needle and some leftover yarn. Choose a color that complements the hat or make a multi-colored pom-pom for a playful look.
  • Ribbons and bows: Attach a ribbon or bow around the base of the hat or at the top for a cute and girly touch. You can use a needle and thread to secure them in place.
  • Buttons: Sew on small buttons in a contrasting color or in matching colors to add a whimsical touch to the hat. Make sure to securely attach them so they don’t come loose and pose a choking hazard.
  • Embroidered patches: Use iron-on or sew-on patches with cute designs, such as animals, flowers, or characters, to add a fun element to the hat.
  • Personalized tags: Create or purchase small personalized tags with the baby’s name or initials engraved or printed on them. Attach them to the hat using a small piece of ribbon or yarn.
  • Contrasting border: Add a contrasting color border to the bottom edge of the hat or around the brim to make it stand out.
  • Jacquard or Fair Isle knitting: Try your hand at stranded colorwork to create intricate patterns and designs on the hat. This technique can be used to incorporate pictures, motifs, or simply add extra color and interest.

When embellishing or personalizing a baby hat, make sure to choose materials that are safe and suitable for infants. Avoid using small parts or decorations that could potentially pose a choking hazard. Additionally, ensure that any attachments are securely sewn or fastened in place to prevent them from coming loose. Keep in mind that some embellishments may require additional care when laundering the hat, so always check the washing instructions for the materials you have used.


What is the first step to knitting a baby hat in the round?

The first step to knitting a baby hat in the round is to gather all your supplies, such as your yarn, knitting needles, and a stitch marker.

What type of yarn is best for knitting a baby hat?

A soft and gentle yarn is best for knitting a baby hat since it will be against the baby’s delicate skin. Acrylic or cotton yarn is often a popular choice.

How do I join the round after casting on?

After casting on the desired number of stitches, you can join the round by slipping the first stitch from your left needle onto your right needle, being careful not to twist the stitches.

What stitch pattern can I use for a baby hat?

There are many stitch patterns you can use for a baby hat, but a simple stockinette stitch or a ribbed stitch pattern (knit two, purl two) are popular choices. You can also experiment with different colors or incorporate lace patterns.


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