A simple and free knitting pattern for a men’s beanie suitable for beginners
Sometimes the most simple things are the most gratifying. If you ask me, a knit hat for men doesn’t need a complicated pattern. All you need is great wool in a great color and a bit of patience.
Funnily enough, it’s exactly those basic knitting patterns that are hardest to find – especially for men. So, I figured it’s time to fill that gap and create a design for a basic hipster beanie I want to wear (if you don’t want to miss any future free patterns, make sure to subscribe to my newsletter). I call it Mütze, which is the German word für “beanie”. A basic word, for a simple pattern. Thought that fit quite well.
Tastes obviously differ, but for me, the perfect beanie is a tiny bit slouchy and with a little give towards the top. I don’t like it when a hat fits like a skull cap. I am also not a big fan of visible decrease lines towards the top. That’s why I am usually looking for more elaborate solutions (take a look at my beautiful cable knit hat to see what I mean).
For this project, I picked a particular beautiful wool in saffron yellow: The Lana Grossa “Slow Wool Canapa”. It’ a blend of merino wool and 10% hemp. So, it’s soft and still has an interesting texture. At first, I wasn’t all that satisfied with how the stitches turned out, but after blocking, I think it’s a perfect fit. But of course, you are free to pick a Double Knit (DK) wool of your choice.
You will need:
- 240-250 meters of wool for needles size 5 mm (size 8); that was 120 grams of the Slow Wool Canapa)
- Needle Set size 6 (4 mm) or circular needles of the same size; I use this Knitter’s Pride needle set
- Scissors & a tapestry needle
- a tape for measuring/sizing
I am knitting this pattern on smaller needles on purpose, so the ribs look better when stretched.
Note: I earn a small commission for purchases made through links in this article.
This pattern will yield a men’s size M. I decided for a 7cm (2.75 inches) wide folded brim. The final hat is roughly 24cm (9.45 inches) high and wide. Because the fabric is very stretchy, this easily fits a head circumference of 58 centimeters (22.8 inches). Unfolded, the hat is 31 cm (12.2 inches) high.
Gauge: I needed 13 stitches x15 rows for a 5×5 cm swatch in 1×1 rib.
I strongly urge you to measure the head of the recipient and knitting a swatch. Simply adjust the number of cast-on stitches accordingly. A good beanie should fit perfectly, and I can only give you the fundamental instructions here.
I know, a lot of beginners shy away from knitting swatches and testing gauge. But I promise you, the chances that this hat will fit you the way it fits me, at least if you follow these instructions blindly, is like 5 percent. We all knit with different tension, and even the needles you use will be a factor.
!Please pay special attention to the fact that the 1×1 rib gives quite a bit. So, don’t measure the head, knit a swatch, and then just multiply it from there. Factor in the stretchiness. I wanted a circumference of 58 centimeters. So, that would roughly translate to a width of 28 centimeters. My swatch said 13 stitches for 5 cm and that would result in 150 stitches, right?
But since the 1×1 rib gives about 15-20 percent, I only cast on 124.
Depending on how tight or lose you knit, these numbers can and will vary. So, test with a swatch. And maybe even knit a for 10 rounds, fold once, and try it on to see how it looks. You don’t want to stretch the ribs too much (doesn’t look good), but you want a nice fit as well.
The knitting pattern:
(For a size L, I’d go for 133 stitches, size S 121 stitches.)
Distribute the stitches evenly on your needle set. So, 31 stitches per needle. (read this guide if you need to brush up knitting in the round on dpns)
Then, slip the first stitch from the first needle onto the fourth needle (which should have 32 stitches) and slip the second stitch over the first (similar to a standard bind off). Then, pull the tail tight slip it back on the first needle. This way, you create a nearly invisible join. From here start knitting:
- Round 1: *Knit 1, Purl 1* across all stitches and rows. (so, a 1×1 rib)
- Round 2: *K1, p1*
Continue knitting this 1×1 rib for 28.5 cm (11.2 inches). For me, that was 84 rows.
And then it’s time to start with the decreases. I am only using k2tog (knit two together) as it’s both the most invisible and easiest decrease. If you knitted the first part with the magic loop technique, I do recommend you to switch to a needle set from here, as it will be easier to knit. That’s what I did. Here’s how to knit in the round on double-pointed needles.
- Row 85: *K1, k2tog, p1, k1, p1* (105 stitches)
- Row 86: *k2, p1, k1, p1*
- Row 87: k1*k1, p1, k1, k2tog,* (84 stitches)
- Row 88: *k2, p1, k2*
- Row 89: *k2, k2tog, k1* (63 stitches)
- Row 90: knit across all stitches
- Row 91: *k2tog, k2* (42 stitches)
- Row 92: Knit
- Row 93: K1, *k2tog, k2*, k1 (28 stitches)
- Row 94: Knit
- Row 95: *K2tog, k2*, k1 (19 stitches)
- Row 96: knit
- Row 97: *K2tog*, k1 (10 stitches)
If you cast on more stitches (or less), then it’s easy to adjust the decreases. What I did is basically decreasing the purl stitches across 6 rows first, and then creating a nice round tip with evenly spaced decreases. You can follow these instructions more or less to the word, as long as you cast on multiples of 6 more (or less) stitches.
Note: Here is a tutorial with 10 tips to knitting in the round like a pro.
With your last 10 stitches on the needles, cut the yarn leaving a tail of 7 inches. Use a tapestry needle to thread the tail through the stitches, pull tight and sew over once. Then, weave in the tail on the inside of the head.
For the cast on tail, try to weave in the end on the right side (that’s the side that will be on the inside of the brim as you fold it!). I usually thread it once in each direction through one of the ribs and then cut the excess yarn.
I feel that’s the most invisible way to weave in the tails for 1×1 rib (here is how I weave in the ends in greater detail).
And that’s it. Your knitted hipster beanie is now ready to wear. Just fold the brim after around 7 centimeters and you are ready to roll! I don’t sew it in place, though you could do so with yarn in the same color and a few stitches here and there. You could also block it in place, but I just feel it’s not needed. Also, that way you are free to adjust the fit freely.
Here’s a link to the pattern on Ravelry, just in case you want to add it to your queue or share finished projects with me. I’d be delighted to see your results!