How to knit a baby hat with straight needles

Updated July 19, 2017

For knitters who do not like to use double pointed needles, there are plenty of ways to knit a hat for a special baby using straight needles. Soft, plush yarn in a wide variety of colours gives you many options to use while creating this tiny gift.

Determine the size of the baby hat. It's important to know the size you need so you can determine the number of stitches needed.

Choose your yarn. Choose a thick, bulky yarn for a winter hat or a lighter weight yarn for the fall or spring. Determine the colour you want. With so many wonderful baby yarns available, choosing the yarn might take longer than knitting the hat. One skein of yarn is more than enough for a baby hat.

Determine which needles to use. Let your yarn guide you on this step. A bulky yarn might need size 0 to 4 needles, while a lighter one might need size 7 or 8 needles.

Cast on the desired number of stitches. Typically, if you are using a chunky yarn and size 10 needles, you will cast on 33 stitches for a 3- to 6-month-old's hat and 39 for a 12-month-old's hat. Size 7 needles and lighter yarn will need about 50 stitches for a 3- to 6-month-old's hat and 58 for a 12-month-old's hat. Experiment for the perfect fit if you like.

Knit in stockinet stitch, alternating knit and purl rows if desired. If you would rather, knit in garter stitch, making each row a knit row. For a different look, the hat can be knit using a knit 2, purl 2 rib pattern. There are many other pattern possibilities that you can try as well.

Continue knitting in your desired pattern for about 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inches) for a newborn size, about 10 cm (4 inches) for a 3- to 6-month-old's size and between 10 and 12.5 cm (4 and 5 inches) for a 12-month-old's size hat.

Decrease your stitches to shape the crown. You can do this in a variety of ways, depending on the pattern you are using to knit the hate. A common crown decrease for a stockinet pattern is to knit 2 stitches together across the knit row, then purl the following row. This can be repeated or you can knit a number of stitches, then knit 2 together and repeat across the row for a slower decrease. Choose what looks best to you

Stop knitting when you have only a few stitches left on your needle. Cut your working yarn, leaving a long tail.

Thread a yarn needle and bring the needle through the stitches left on the knitting needle, carefully taking each stitch off the knitting needle as you work. Cinch tightly.

Turn the hat inside out and tie a square knot, finishing the top of the hat.

Stitch the sides of the hat together carefully, using the yarn needle and tail of yarn.

Turn the hat right side out and weave in the ends of the working yarn.


You can experiment with different types of decreases to find what works best for you and your particular hat. There are literally hundreds of free patterns online that will help you make more intricate hats if you wish.

Things You'll Need

  • Yarn
  • Knitting needles
  • Scissor
  • Yarn needle
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About the Author

Beth Celli is a native New Yorker who is now based in Delaware. She has a varied background in both health care and education, having worked in several different hospitals and medical centers prior to teaching allied health classes. She attended New York University and her writing has appeared on various online publications.