In this post, I’ll show you how to knit a classic ribbed hat. Some may call them a watch cap or a fisherman’s beanie or maybe a toque (if you’re Canadian!)
Whatever you call it, I’ll show you how to knit this classic hat step-by-step.
This hat is knit in a beginner-friendly 1×1 rib, and it’s got a sleek decrease that keeps the rib pattern intact.
This hat can be worn cuffed for a fisherman’s look or un-cuffed for a slouchy feel.
With two sizes, one for adults and one for babies and toddlers, this hat is perfect for the whole family!
A Very Brief History of the Watch Cap
The watch cap gets its name from Navy sailors who wore them while keeping watch in the night. These hats were knit from dense wool to protect the wearer from the harsh winds of the high seas.
From its seafaring roots, the cap made its way into pop culture: Steve McQueen riding a motorcycle in a watch cap; Marvin Gay with this tiny cuffed cap; Jack Nicholson’s in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
These days, watch caps are a fashion staple. From rugged woodsmen to rappers to construction workers to skaters and hipsters, the watch cap is truly universal.
Who Should Knit a Ribbed Hat?
This pattern is for advanced beginner knitters who can:
Hat Sizing and Finished Measurements
This rib hat pattern comes in two sizes: one for adults and one for babies and toddlers.
The child size is for heads that measure 14-18” while the adult size fits best for heads between 19-23”
The finished measurement of the hats may seem small at a circumference of 10” and 11.89”. But remember that 1×1 rib is extremely stretchy!
Materials & Notes
- 2 balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in color Burnt Orange
- 1 hank of Cascade Yarns 220 Merino in color Sky Blue
Gauge: 35 sts/ 31 rounds = 4”/10cm in 1×1 rib
Other Recommended Yarns:
- Paintbox Yarns Simply Aran (100% acrylic and very affordable)
- Malabrigo Rios (my favourite hand-dyed merino yarn in jewel-toned colors)
- Berroco Lanas (beautiful heathered colors in 100% wool)
- 16” 4mm circular needle
- set of 4mm double pointed needles
(These needles are just a recommendation. Use a needle size that gets you gauge!)
- 5 Stitch Markers (Lovecrafts/Amazon)
- Scissors (Lovecrafts/Amazon)
- Tape Measure (Lovecrafts/Amazon)
- Tapestry Needle (Lovecrafts/Amazon)
Alternating Cable Cast On: this cast on creates a very stretchy edge that merges seamlessly into the 1×1 rib. Click here for an alternating cable cast on tutorial or watch the video tutorial above.
German Twist Cast On: this cast is similar to the longtail cast on and creates a much stretchier edge. Click here for a German twist cast on tutorial or watch the video tutorial above.
All Rounds: *K1, P1; repeat from * to end of round
Rib Hat Video Tutorial:
For a step-by-step tutorial on how to knit this ribbed hat, look no further than this video tutorial. In it, I cover every aspect of the pattern, from cast on to cast off.
Watch this video on YouTube to get access to the video chapters and timestamps.
CO 88 (104) sts using the German twist cast on or alternating cable cast on and join in the round.
Knit in 1×1 rib as follows:
Round 1: *K1, P1; repeat from * to end of round
Repeat Round 1 until piece measures 6 (8)”
Both sizes will work the following decrease rounds. Child size works Decrease Rounds 1-4. Adult size works Decrease Rounds 1-5.
After working Decrease Round 4 (5), both sizes knit Final Decrease Round with no even rounds in-between.
Decrease Round 1: *Knit 6 (8) sts in rib pattern, double right decrease, p1, k1, p1, double left decrease, knit 7(9) sts in rib pattern, PM; repeat from * to end of round 72 (88) sts
Knit 3 (4) even rounds in 1×1 rib, slipping the markers as you come to them.
Alternate Decrease Rounds with 3 (4) rounds even.
Decrease Round 2: *Knit 4(6) sts in rib pattern, right double decrease, p1, k1, p1, left double decrease, knit in rib pattern to marker, SM; repeat from * to end of round 56 (72) sts
Decrease Round 3: *Knit 2 (4) sts in rib pattern, right double decrease, p1, k1, p1, left double decrease, p1, SM; repeat from * to end of round 40 (56 sts)
Decrease Round 4: *Knit 0 (2) sts in rib pattern, right double decrease, p1, k1, p1, left double decrease, knit in rib pattern to marker, SM; repeat from * to end of round 24 (40 sts)
Decrease Round 5 for Adult Size Only: *Right double decrease, p1, k1, p1, left double decrease, knit in rib pattern to marker, SM; repeat from * to end of round (24 sts)
Final Decrease Round for Both Sizes: *(Sl3 knitwise, k2tog, P3SSO), p1, remove marker ; repeat to end of round (8 sts)
Leave an 8” tail and cut yarn, weave into the remaining sts and secure.
Weave in ends at the cast on join.
Block if desired.
* *: repeat instructions between the asterisks the number of times indicated
CO: cast on
K2tog: knit two sts together
Knitwise: as if to knit
PM: place marker
PSSO: pass slipped st(s) over
Sl: slip 1 stitch
SM: slip marker
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While the pattern instructions and video tutorial are free and available above, for the price of a coffee you can support Sheep & Stitch by purchasing a PDF file of this pattern. This 3-page PDF file is beautifully laid out and ready to be printed! Upon purchase, the pattern PDF file will be delivered to you by email. Thank you for your support!