How to knit a chullo hat

Updated March 23, 2017

The classic Peruvian chullo hat is a cold weather staple. Traditionally knitted from thick alpaca wool, these hats have become increasingly popular fashion items -- and ones that are simple, even for a beginner, to knit. A basic knitting pattern for a chullo hat lets you add your own touches of creativity.

Check your gauge and adjust your needle size as required. The gauge for this project is: 11 stitches + 12 rows = 10 cm (4 inches).

Begin your chullo hat by casting on 56 stitches. Work 15 rows in knit two-purl two ribbing, then work 11 rows in stockinet stitch. Begin decreasing every other row. For example, on row 27, decrease seven stitches evenly across the row. On row 28, continue in pattern. Decrease seven stitches evenly across row 29. Continue this pattern until there are 28 stitches left on the needle.

Clip yarn, leaving a 30 cm (12 inch) tail. Using the darning needle, thread this tail through the remaining stitches on needle and draw tightly. Seam your chullo hat using a mattress stitch. Weave in ends.

Make an earflap for your chullo hat by casting on 12 stitches. Knit four rows, and then decrease one stitch on the fifth row. On the sixth row, knit across. Repeat rows five and six three times and bind off. Weave in ends. Repeat for the second earflap.

Try on the hat. Using safety pins, mark the placement of the earflaps. Remove the hat and attach the earflaps to the hat using a mattress stitch. Weave in the ends.

Make ties for your chullo hat by cutting three strands of yarn approximately 35 cm (14 inches) long. Knot the ends and attach them to the bottom centre of the earflap. Braid or twist the yarn and knot it at the bottom. Trim the ends, and repeat on other side.

Block lightly if necessary.


Traditional chullo hats feature bright colours and patterns, so feel free to embellish this basic hat to make it your own.


Use caution when marking the hat with safety pins while still on your head.

Things You'll Need

  • Approximately 200 m (200 yards) of chunky weight yarn
  • 9mm (size 00) straight knitting needles (or a size that gives you the correct gauge)
  • Darning needle
  • 4 safety pins for marking placement of earflaps
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About the Author

A writer and professional lab assistant based in Seattle, Kate Bruscke has been writing professionally about health care and technology since 1998. Her freelance clients include "The Seattle Times,", Reading Local: Seattle, Nordstrom and MSN/Microsoft. Bruscke holds a Master of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.