How to knit a beanie for beginners

Updated July 19, 2017

Although traditionally beanies and hats are knit in the round with circular and double pointed needles, for beginners this technique can be a little intimidating. If you are new to knitting, beanies can also be knit back and forth on straight needles, then sewn into a round shape using the mattress stitch. To knit the beanie in garter stitch you will need to know how to do the knit stitch only. To knit the beanie in stockinet stitch, you will need to know how to knit and purl. To shape the top of the hat, you need to know how to knit two stitches together.

Review basic knitting techniques, such as casting on, the knit stitch, the purl stitch and knitting two stitches together. See the Resources section for tutorials.

Cast on 80 stitches. You will begin the hat at the brim.

Knit across the first row, then turn your work.

Purl the next row if you want the right side of the hat to have a smooth surface and the brim to curl up a little. This is stockinet stitch. Knit the next row (and every row afterward) if you want the beanie to have a bumpier texture and no curl at the brim. This is garter stitch.

Turn at the end of each row and alternate between knit and purl rows if doing stockinet stitch, or knit every row for garter stitch, until the piece measures approximately 12.5 cm (5 inches). End with a purl row if you alternating between knit and purl rows.

Decrease eight stitches evenly across this row by knitting eight, then knitting the next two stitches together and repeating this across the row.

Purl the next row (or knit if doing the garter stitch pattern).

Decrease eight stitches evenly across again as you did in step 6, but this time knit seven stitches between the decreases.

Repeat steps 7 and 8, with one less knit stitch between decreases. Continue this pattern until you have 16 stitches left on the needle.

Cut the working yarn approximately 45 cm (18 inches) from the end of your knitting, then thread it on the yarn needle. Pass the yarn needle through the stitches on the knitting needle, working right to left, and remove the stitches from the knitting needle as the yarn needle picks them up.

Pull the working yarn on the yarn needle tight to close the hole in the top of the beanie and tie on the wrong side.

Use the tail of the yarn to mattress stitch the sides of the beanie together by inserting the needle under the horizontal bars between the first and second stitches along the ends of the rows, moving from one edge to the other, back and forth. This will create an invisible seam.

Weave in the loose end of the yarn on the wrong side of the beanie to secure.


If you need to knit the hat in a smaller or larger size, increase or decrease the number of stitches in your cast on row by eight. The beanie will be more adjustable if you use stockinet stitch and allow the brim to curl. Then the wearer can roll the brim up or down to change the length of the hat. You can also make a knitted beanie on a circular loom such as the Knifty Knitter without any knitting experience at all. Circular looms can be found at most craft stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Size 7 straight knitting needle
  • 8 ply (double knit) weight yarn
  • Scissors
  • 2 yarn needles
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About the Author

Katelyn Kelley worked in information technology as a computing and communications consultant and web manager for 15 years before becoming a freelance writer in 2003. She specializes in instructional and technical writing in the areas of computers, gaming and crafts. Kelley holds a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and computer science from Boston College.