Knitting a hat is a project that is portable and quick. A hat uses very little yarn, so it is also economical. Beginner knitters typically have more trouble with the purl stitch than with the knit stitch. The purl stitch is less comfortable to do and can cause some people wrist pain. Luckily, it is simple to knit a hat using just the knit stitch.
Determine the colour and fibre of yarn you wish to work with. One skein is plenty of yarn to knit a hat or two. Wool yarns will be warmer than cotton or acrylic yarns, but might irritate the skin of those with allergies. Choose the weight of yarn you want to work with also.
Choose your knitting needles. You need needles that are appropriate for the yarn you are using. Typically size 6 or 7 needles work well with worsted weight yarn, while larger needles are used for chunky or bulky yarns. Straight needles are the easiest to use for this project.
Determine the correct size. This will depend upon who will be wearing the finished hat as well as what size needles you are using. Children hats will be smaller than adult hats and require fewer stitches. Larger needles also require a smaller amount of stitches. There are hat calculators online that you can use to help you establish the proper size.
Cast on your stitches. For an adult woman's hat, using a worsted weight yarn and size 6 needles, you would cast on 100 stitches. For a child's hat using the same materials, cast on about 70 stitches. Using size 15 needles and a chunky or bulky weight yarn, cast on about 40 stitches for an adult hat and about 26 for a hat for a child.
Knit each row, in a garter stitch pattern until the hat reaches the proper length. Knit until it is 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) long for an adult hat and 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) for a child's hat. Adjust according to the person who will be wearing the hat.
Decrease your stitches to work the top of the hat. To do this, you knit two stitches together to decrease one stitch. Start by knitting 3 stitches, then knitting 2 together across the entire row. Then knit 2 and then knit 2 together across the row. Again, knit the entire next row. Knit 1, and then knit 2 together for the next row. Simply knit the next row. To end, knit 2 together across the last two rows.
Bind off your stitches. Using a yarn needle and a 60 cm (24 inch) piece of yarn, sew the side seams together. Then use the yarn needle and yarn to catch each of the stitches that you bound off and pull tightly to cinch the top of the hat. Knot your yarn to hold the hat closed.
Weave your tail ends of yarn into your stitches to give your hat a polished look.
Experiment with different numbers of cast on stitches to get the perfect fit. Embellish your hat with a pom-pom, tassel or flower. If you find yourself making more hats than you can use, donate some to a charity.