How to Knit a Rasta Hat

Updated May 01, 2018

A Rasta hat can be knit in the round quite quickly in stripes of classic Rasta colours --- black, green, yellow and red. The style is similar to a beret but looser and baggier so it can hold dreadlocks (or just look like it could). The hat can be made looser and baggier by knitting more rows before the decrease rows, and the size of the hat can be adjusted by simply using smaller or larger knitting needles. The order and width of the colour stripes can be customised too --- just follow the pattern, and make colour changes whenever you desire.

Cast on 128 stitches with the black yarn, and join the round. Do not let the stitches become twisted. Place a marker at the beginning of the round.

Work the rounds in a Knit 2, Purl 2 rib until the piece measures 3 inches from the beginning. Leave a long tail of the black yarn, and switch to the green yarn.

Work the following increase rounds using the green yarn: Increase one stitch in the first stitch (knit a stitch, but do not drop it off the left needle; knit into the back leg of the same stitch, then drop both new stitches off the left needle), Knit 2. Repeat this sequence to the end of the round.

Work in a stockinet stitch --- knit all stitches --- until the green stripe measures 3 inches. Leave a long tail of green yarn, and switch to the yellow yarn. Continue to knit with the yellow yarn until the yellow stripe measures 3 inches. Leave a tail, and switch to the red yarn.

Work one round in the red yarn, placing a stitch marker every eight stitches. On the next round, knit up to two stitches before the first marker, then Knit 2 together and slip the marker. Repeat this for the rest of the round, then knit the next row without decreasing any stitches.

Continue alternating decrease rows with knit rows until two stitches are between each marker. Knit 2 together for the next round so 16 stitches remain. Knit one round, then Knit 2 together for the next round so eight stitches remain.

Cut a long tail of the red yarn, and thread it onto a yarn needle. Thread the tail through the eight remaining stitches, and pull them tightly to seal the top of the hat together. Weave in the loose ends of yarn, and trim the excess.


As the number of stitches decreases, it will seem as if they cannot be knit on the circular needle, but they can if you "magic loop" the cable. Position about a third of the stitches on each needle and a third on the cable, with the excess cable drawn out in loops at the side. Rearrange the stitches as you go. To avoid this, switch to double-pointed needles. The hat is knit in stockinet stitch with a ribbing band around the head, but the pattern can be adapted for ribbing or other textured patterns. The coloured stripes can be as wide or as narrow and in any order of colours that you want --- just ignore the colour changes described in the article, and make your own.

Things You'll Need

  • One ball each worsted weight black, green, yellow and red yarn
  • Size US 6 (4mm) circular knitting needles with 12- or 16-inch cable
  • Yarn needle
  • Scissors
  • Markers
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About the Author

A writer of diverse interests, Joanne Thomas has penned pieces about road trips for Hyundai, children's craft projects for Disney and wine cocktails for Robert Mondavi. She has lived on three continents and currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is co-owner and editor of a weekly newspaper. Thomas holds a BSc in politics from the University of Bristol, England.