How to knit a big hat – Part 1 of Video Series

Today we are knitting large hat from beginning to finish.

Now, this hat is a free knitting pattern that you could get from SheepandStitch. The Big Hat is not for novices. If you feel skilled enough, then you are ready for the Big Hat in case you've mastered the cast-on, the cast-off, the knit and purl.

The knitting of this hat, an pretty much any other big knit can be vastly sped up by using a knitting machine for some of the straightforward sections.

This pattern uses those techniques all, adds a few new ones such as knitting around, decreasing, knitting with double pointed needles and, building a pompom. That might sound scary, but don't worry, I will be here directing you. Now, one of the things I love about this routine is that it knits. And that's because it's made out of bulky yarn. So once you get the hang of this pattern, you'll be popping Big Hats in 2 and a half or three hours out. The time it takes to watch a Mad Men marathon the Godfather or Lord of the Rings.

If you've convinced, then let us get started. Okay, so now let's discuss what you will have to make the Big Hat.

If you've got your pattern handy, let's go through the materials list together. So the first thing that you're likely to need is some super bulky weight yarn, and this yarn I have here is Cascade Yarns Magnum, and you will need about 90 yards of it.

bulky yarn



Alright, next thing on the list is a set of circular needles. These needles need to be 16 inches in length. Alright, next up is pointed needles. Now, these have to be US size 15 or 10 millimeters. Read our review to choose the best circular needle set.


We'll see need some stitch markers. Now a stitch marker is basically which you can put on your needle, and it'll indicate the end of your round and the beginning.

If you don't have stitch markers any problem, you can use a ring, like a real ring that you put your finger. No problem. Now, should you not have a ring of a marker, you may use a rubber band or a hair tie. Anything that is ring-like, you can turn into a stitch marker.

Next up is a pair of scissors. And we're going to use these to make our pom-pom. Let's get some scrap cardboard.

The final thing that we are going to need is a tape measure or a ruler. A tapestry needle looks like a sewing needle, and the needle's eye will be big enough to accommodate a thread.

So that will make your life a bit easier, but it's not needed. Another thing that you might want to have around is a tin, 5 inches in width.
So this will help us trace our circle out when we're making our pom-pom. But it's not necessary; it is only a nice to have.

Another thing that's nice to have is a bottle top. So something similar to this that measures across about one-inch and we're also going to use this as a tool. But if you don't have these around, no issue, we can just use our tape measure or our ruler.

Let's get started. So we are ready to throw on 44 stitches with the long tail cast-on. Thus the long tail cast-on differs from our cast-on that is easy from our previous video in that the long tail cast-on provides us a stretchier edge. And this is terrific for our Hat. So if you look at the Big Hat, this will be our cast-on border.

So you can see why you would want this advantage to be very stretchy since it's the start of your hat. So if it folds up like this, you will want the edge to be slightly loose and not bunched up and pulling in. It will also help you adapt larger head if you've got a head that is larger and that is cool. What you'll need is your super bulky weight yarn, and you will want to measure about six feet or about 70 inches in.

As with our simple cast-on...

We make a loop like this, and then we'll take our yarn end that is the tail right here, and we'll move it to the rear of our loop. And we are just going to make this yarn tail and pull it in through the loop so that we have got a slipknot.

Of course, your slipknot does not need to be this giant, but just for illustration purposes, I've made it huge. So with our circular needle, we're going to push it, and we're going to tighten it up like so. So this is our first stitch.

You will notice that the stitch has two yarn threads.  

We want this one to be our long tail now we want the yarn thread that's facing us. Right now our tail edge is in the back. We are going to do this is turn it around and just move it right off the needle, we're going to take our stitch and put it back on the needle, just like this.

long tail


Now you'll discover that the yarn in front is my long tail and that is precisely what I want. Alright we're going to move on to placing some of this yarn. So now we've got our first stitch and we're going to put more. So what you are going to do is you're going to take your left hand, and we are going to need these two fingers so these two fingers.

Alright, we're going to use these two fingers, clamp down on our yarn threads like this and then this finger I am not sure what it's called and we are going to use our thumb. This finger and your yarn or your thumb open the yarn threads like this. Let's do that again.

We're going to use both of these fingers, the clampdown on both yarn threads and we are going to use our thumb and the forefinger directly beside our thumb to start the yarn up threads like this.

I call this the clamp and sesame. Do not ask me why, it just sort of came to me. You see a little bit of a diamond shape in this way, right. And so I want you get comfortable with it and to try and do that a few times. Do a clamp and then open sesame. Move your hands around like this a few times because when we do our cast-on, we're going to be moving our hands around to get comfortable with it. When you're doing this,you can keep a finger clamped down on your stitch so that it will not move around. You may keep it sturdy. On our two threads, clamp down with these two fingers. With our thumb and with this finger, we are going to push into our two threads and do an open sesame. Alright, so practice and then I guarantee we are going to begin placing some stitches.

Now you are an expert at sesame and the clamp. You've done some practices, and we're comfortable clamping and opening sesame and moving your hands back and forth. How we start is, of course, the sesame and the clamp.

What we are going to do is we're going to move our hand to the left like this so that you can see the two-yarn threads flowing through my fingers. You need your hand like that and not like that.

We're going to take your needle, and we are going to touch it and then we are going to push on our needle which our thumb has made.

Then we're going to turn our hands, and we are going to place our needle through the next loop here, and then we're going to turn our hand. And our needle will go through that loop that our thumb made and we're going to pull down.

This is our second stitch with the long tail cast-on. Alright, so if that looks crazy and confusing, don't worry, we're going to do it a couple times.

We are going to do our clamp, our sesame like this and then we are going to move our hands to the left so that we are being faced by the two threads. So again, not like this but enjoy this.

 Move it into the loop and then we are going to move our hand to the front, and then we are going to place our needle through the next loop and then back through our original loop on the thumb, and we're going to pull through. Alright, so now we've got three stitches cool.

Let's do it again. Clamp move our thumb contact, go through the loop, turn our hands, go through the next loop and then go through our first loop on your thumb and pull down.

Alright, we need 44 stitches and so now we've got five stitches on our needles, so we've got 39 more of them to go. Therefore don't worry, if this is making you nervous, just try it a few times, watch carefully, and you'll be fine. Alright clamp sesame, move our hand to the front so that the threads are currently facing us.

Bring down our needle, touch your thumb, move it into the loop, then turn our hands again, go through the second loop here, turn our hands again and move it through this original loop on our thumb and just pull through. Alright,so once you get the hang of it, you can go and you can get a rhythm on it.

See how fast I did that and once you get the hang of it, you will be able to go just like this. Alright practice this a few times.

Go slow if you want, you can say the words out loud if this helps you clamp, open sesame, watch the 2 threads, then touch your thumb, go through the loop, through the next loop and then back into the original loop and pull down, okay? Until you've got 44 stitches on your needle, at which point so we can begin knitting our hat, we are going to combine it so do this. Alright, so now we've got 44 stitches cast-onto your needle.

Before we can join, we will need to make sure that all of our stitches are currently facing the correct direction. We need to make sure that they're not twisted. Do not get them twisted. Alright, so now you can see that's good and that these bumps here all are facing inwards. We want that.

If your stitches are twisted, they will look a bit like this. Alright, so not pretty. Some of the stitches and a number of them will face inwards and outwards, respectively. Don't get them twisted. Get all and them laying flat facing the same direction like this.

So once your stitches are straight, then we are thoughtfully prepared to join in the round. Okay, so what you're going to need your stitch marker. We are going to take our stitch marker, and we're going to place it on our needle. Recall your right needle will get the yarn coming out of it, and you're going to hold it in your hand. Alright, so with our needle and our yarn that is working, we're going to knit one stitch to our needle. Alright, so we're going to move from bottom to top in the stitch, and then we're going to go from back to front with our yarn, and we're going to pull through, and there is our very first stitch. Now you will see that our row is attached in a circle. So we have joined in the round. Amazing job. Alright, so let's move on.

The  2x2 rib stitch

You'll notice in our routine, it states that we will need to knit2x2 rib until the piece measures 2. 5 inches from the cast-on border. So I've just done my first knit stitch. So let's complete the rib. I've finished one knit, and I'm going to do a second knit. So bring our yarn up into the front and then we're going to purl one. There purl one and then there we go and we are going to purl two. So now we have finished the 2x2 rib stitch, which is a knit two, purl two.

Now we are just going to keep going, keep going all of the way around the round doing a knit two, purl two until we reach the end. From our needle that is left we will slip the marker at which point back to our needle, and then we will only do the process all over again. Alright, so let's do this. We will do a knit two, so a knit a two and two. Okay, and so we do that all. And if you look at the Big Hat, you'll see right here this is what we're knitting up, a two and a two. A knit two and a purl two so that what we're going to be knitting.

Let's do it. Alright, so you've knit two and a half inches of the rib. Wonderful job. Now it's really beginning to seem like a hat. Alright, so let us measure this merely to make sure we've got two and a half inches. Alright, so here we go up, there were just two and a half. Wonderful. So now we can proceed to another step of our pattern. Our pattern states that's awesome because, on circular needles, knitting stockinette means that you are knitting each and every round, and that we will need to knit stockinette stitch for six and a half inches.

Now we knit, and we are going to knit another one, and on our third stitch, we're going to continue knitting. Wonderful. Isn't this simple? So basically you're just going to be knitting each one of your stitches for six and a half inches. Pretty relaxing? That means you can watch your favourite show or listen to your podcast and have some tea and do whatever you like because it is likely to be smooth sailing from here on out until you have six and a half inches in stockinette stitch.

Thus, you probably know what stitch looks like because you've seen the Big Hat. But in case you want a reminder, it looks like this. 

Here we go: stockinette stitch that is lovely. Alright, so this is what it looks like, and you're going to knit six and a half inches until we hit the point where we will need to decrease.

That's where the double pointed needles come in, but you do not have to worry about that for now. For now you're going to knit every round and every stitch.

Once you get nine inches of the edge or six and a half inches in stockinette stitch, then we can start decreasing. So have a great time, relax, put your feet up, and I will see you. Alright, so now you have knit six and a half inches in stockinette stitch.

That is so awesome. Look that stockinette stitch at all. Wonderful. Alright, so now let's do a quick measurement. So let's see, let us measure this out. Six and a half. Perfect. For a total of nine inches. Six and a half and of ribs nine inches, two and a half.

Perfect. Alright, so today let's move on to our decrease round. Currently, our his looking, like a giant tube.

So we would like to narrow in this tube so that it reaches so that it's going to be a hat and nota giant tube just a little point if you'll need. And we'll find that. Let's look at our first decrease round. What we need to do is knit two, knit two together, to end. So what that indicates is that we're going to knit two stitches like this. Rather than knitting one stitch, we are going to knit two stitches. So one, two, so our needle slip into two stitches, and we'll just knit them as if they were only one stitch. So there we go. Two stitches are 1 stitch. Thus one stitch have decreased.

And we do that again. We'll do that repeat throughout the round. Here are two stitches, and we are just going to knit them together. Cool. So we have only done two repeats of this decrease. So now we will do it again: knit two, and knit two together.

Here we go, repeat this all of the ways around until you get to the start of the round, and we will just knit one row plain. So once you've done this, move on over to our second part and final part of the "knitting a big hat" series.

If you liked this part of how to knit a big hat then be sure to take a look at some other knit stitch patterns which we reviewed.

All right, what a wonderful guide by SheepandStitch, featured right here on Tradewindknits.com, your go to website for knitting tools and resources.

About the Author Caleb Gonzales

Caleb Gonzales is a retired carpenter who grew a passion for knitting after learning the art from his wife. After she passed away he has since taken on the responsibility of knitting socks, hats, scarfs and the sorts for his grandchildren.

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