April 7th, 2011

Learn to Knit Your First Cap

So, you’ve knit a scarf or two, what now? Time to “move beyond the rectangle” and start knitting shapes!

This project is designed for knitters who are comfortable with the basics – casting-on, knitting, and purling. In this tutorial we learn the next steps – knitting in-the-round, working ribbing, working with double-pointed needles, and working decreases.

Pattern includes three sizes – Child, Adult Small, and Adult Large.

This pattern includes links to four instructional videos to guide you through the new techniques you’ll learn.

Materials Needed:
• one skein of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Worsted (widely available at craft stores), or any worsted-weight yarn
• size 7 US 16″ circular needles
• size 7 US double-pointed needles
• a tapestry needle for weaving in your ends

This pattern is available in three different formats, each includes links to 4-part video tutorial:

1. PDF Pattern, traditional and printable. $8.00 via PayPal

2. Amazon Kindle digital download (suitable for Kindle devices and devices that use the Kindle app): $6.00 US.

3. eReader (For non-Kindle eReaders, like Sony eReader and Barnes & Noble Nook, or any device using the Google Play Books app) $6.72 US


  1. Hello Staci,

    You have a great website and your videos are not only very easy to understand and well structured but also quite entertaining.
    I was wondering if there is a pattern and/or video for the nice blue cable cardigan you are wearing on this video (learn to knit your first cap)?

    Thanks much for your help,


    Comment by Anna — April 7, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

  2. i am always amazed at how easy you make knitting seam. You are a great teacher and the videos are great!

    Comment by Julia Bateman — April 7, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

  3. oops play on words, I meant seem! LOL

    Comment by Julia Bateman — April 7, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

  4. Hi Anna – the sweater I’m wearing in this video is called Central Park Hoodie. It’s a great pattern, and fun to knit!

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — April 8, 2011 @ 10:03 am

  5. Thank you, Julia!

    Comment by s t a c i — April 8, 2011 @ 10:03 am

  6. wow it is amazing how you can teach me so well!! thank you

    Comment by kim brockway — June 30, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

  7. Love your site, patterns & videos! I am knitting this cap from your pattern, & realized I made a few mistakes a few rows back. I know how to rip out a garter stitch but this rib stitch is terrifying me. Can you please give me some tips on how to rip back without losing my sanity?

    Thanks so much!

    Comment by Peggy Schaefer — August 24, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

  8. Hi Peggy – thank you for the note. I’m afraid there are no secrets to ripping out ribbing…you just have to be quick and get the live stitches back on the needle. However, I can share a technique with you that may help you, especially if you use it before you make a mistake. They’re called Lifelines, and I know many people who slide them into their work every few inches, just to be safe: http://verypink.com/2010/03/30/lifelines/

    Good luck!
    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — August 25, 2012 @ 7:16 am

  9. i am very glad that i found your website and can learn from here

    Comment by lisa — August 31, 2012 @ 9:24 pm

  10. thank you so much im 12 and i still understand how to do it and what your talking about thank love ya

    Comment by victoria — October 11, 2012 @ 9:31 am

  11. I am making a striped scarf in stockinette stitch & it is curling bad. will it lay flat when I block it? What can I do I hate to rip the whole thing out after I’m half way done. Thank you

    Comment by shelva Moats — November 5, 2012 @ 10:07 am

  12. Thank you for your information I will try the pattern you sugested.

    Comment by Shelva — November 5, 2012 @ 11:34 am

  13. Hello Staci I am so glad for your sight I got the pattern you sugested & started it right away I really like it & it is so easy.
    Thanks again

    Comment by Shelva — November 6, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  14. Staci THANKS so much for ALL you do ! It’s been YEARS since I learned to knit ( I was 8…so that’s 51 yrs ago ! ) It’s been 40 yrs since I have knitted anything, so it’s like a new hobby once more !
    MY QUESTION to you is this. I recently have been making your knitted dishcloths. However I have noticed that when looking at the dishcloth, the “YO’s ) ( the holes in the dishcloth ) look slightly BIGGER on one side of the knitted dishcloth than the other.
    Is this wrong, or will this become LESS NOTICEABLE when I blocck the dishcloths ?
    I am making 1-2 dishcloths for every gal on my Christmas list…..
    THanks in advance for your HELP !

    Comment by Jacqueline — November 13, 2012 @ 5:49 am

  15. Jaqueline – yes, the yarn-overs in the dishcloth will start to look better after blocking (or just using, in the case of a dishcloth). Chances are that you are working your yarn-overs with different tensions in the two halves of the dishcloth.

    Thank you for the note!
    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — November 13, 2012 @ 7:35 am

  16. I just finished my first hat! Thank you. It looks adorable on my daughter who’s my best customer, and so forgiving. By to the scarf, for my husband this time. The videos are a great support to the patterns. Thank you again.

    Comment by Claire — December 7, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

  17. Love this pattern and the hat! I need to increase the size somewhat. I have 4 sons and they all need at least 24.5″ to 25.75″ (yes, I know…they have big heads) and was wondering what increment of stitches I can increase by to get the size I need.


    Comment by Peggy Schaefer — December 28, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

  18. Thank you for all your lessons. I’ve wanted to advance beyond the basics for a long time but I haven’t known where to turn for help. Very pink.com is my new favorite site. My question: I trying this hat but every time I “join” my circle with stitches there is a long gap between the two sometimes over a half inch length of yarn. I have tried so many times to reduce this that my yarn is getting frayed. What am I doing wrong?

    Comment by Carol — January 25, 2013 @ 7:57 pm

  19. Hi Carol – thank you for the note. Seeing a gap where you join in-the-round is very common for a newer knitter (or someone learning this technique). All you can do is your best, and keep practicing. After you’ve finished knitting the hat, you can easily go back and tighten that gap up when you weave in the end hanging there. Problem solved! :)

    Another thing you can do is to knit with a wool or wool blend. Wool is a very easy fiber to work with, and much more forgiving than other fibers when it comes to tension issues.

    Good luck!
    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — January 26, 2013 @ 8:40 am

  20. Your website and videos are a not only breath of fresh air amidst a busy, stressful, exhausting typical week, but also a nice way to feel connected to my home country, being an ex-pat who greatly misses the states. Your energy and passion for knitting is utterly inspiring even for a novice knitter like myself:-). Thank you for all the dedication and charisma you put into your site–it really is appreciated around the world!

    I couldn’t help noticing the beautiful shawl in the background of the cap video–do you have a pattern/tutorial available for it?

    Cheers from a fan in Norway:-)

    Comment by Carrie — February 22, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

  21. I am taking help from your tutorials, while I was watching Beanie Hat tutorial, I wanted to know is there any proportion on the decreasing stitches keeping in mind the actual stitches. In one of your Beanie Hat tutorials you mentioned, In 1st row k8 k2g, k8 k2g then other row k7 k2g, in 3rd Row k6 k2g, and so on………

    but in other tutorial you started decreasing like k5 k2g, in 2nd Row k4 k2g and so on, then in 3rd Row k3, k2tog

    give me an idea if we have 200, 100, 50 actual stitches, please explain how we start decreasing of 200, 150, 50 so the crown shape will be perfect. Or just explain the decreasing concept.

    Thank you for your help.

    Comment by Mujahid Mahmood — February 27, 2013 @ 9:26 am

  22. Staci, To buy the e-book on Amazon, how do we look it up? Is it also paid for by Pay Pal? Thanks, Nancy

    Comment by Nancy Christy — July 30, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

  23. Nancy – you just click the link above (in this post) that says “buy now”, which takes you here on Amazon, where you can buy the eBook version:

    When you purchase on Amazon, you use their shopping cart, instead of PayPal. Purchasing the PDF version of the pattern uses PayPal.
    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — July 30, 2013 @ 8:15 pm

  24. Hi Staci, Thank you for your wonderful way of teaching. I was wondering if the pattern; “Your First Cap” is suitable for a chemo cap. I’ve heard that acrylic is more suitable than wool and that seamless caps are preferred. I look forward to your reply. Thank you. :)

    Comment by Carol — August 20, 2013 @ 5:10 pm

  25. Hi Carol – yes, this cap pattern is appropriate for chemo caps, and seamless. I have never made them myself, so you may want to get some additional advice on the fiber type to use – but I think a soft yarn is probably best.

    Good luck!
    S t a c i

    Comment by S t a c i — August 20, 2013 @ 6:10 pm

  26. I was just curious. Would it be possible to knit the cap entirely on double-pointed needles? Do you start off with the circular needles just because they’re easier to use? Thank you.

    Comment by Mary H. — August 22, 2013 @ 12:24 am

  27. Mary – you can absolutely use DPNs instead of circular needles. Most knitters use both, only because there are a lot of stitches at the beginning, and you would need really long DPNs to hold all of them.

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — August 22, 2013 @ 7:12 am

  28. your website and videos are great thanks

    Comment by Nicole — September 19, 2013 @ 4:09 am

  29. Hi staci, can you do a tutorial on how to knit this hat pattern on magic loop?

    Comment by sacia — September 24, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

  30. Sacia – it is unlikely that I’ll do a tutorial on knitting this hat in magic loop, but once you’re familiar with the magic loop method, you can use it with just about any pattern. Here is my video that explains the basics of magic loop: http://verypink.com/2012/10/17/simple-magic-loop/

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — September 24, 2013 @ 3:18 pm

  31. I love you this is the best website ever thanks

    Comment by sheka — October 20, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

  32. […] e diventava scomodo usare i circolari – ho trasferito i punti sui quattro ferri. Very Pink ha un tutorial anche per i berretti se vi […]

    Pingback by DIY: calze e berretto a maglia (e un nuovo progetto) | Chasing Hygge — October 30, 2013 @ 5:54 am

  33. Staci, I have learned so much from watching your videos. It’s like having a private knitting lesson every time I watch one. Your instructions are always thorough and easy to follow and you have a great many wonderful tutorials that are always SO helpful! Just want to thank you for providing the vast amount of information on knitting.

    Comment by Maryellen — November 29, 2013 @ 2:41 am

  34. How many inches would you do before decreasing on a hat for a 6-12 month old baby?

    Comment by Heather — December 5, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

  35. Heather – sorry, I would need to test knit it in that size to give you a solid answer. There are three sizes available in the written pattern – just not baby.

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — December 5, 2013 @ 4:25 pm

  36. Hi Staci,
    I bought this pattern and started working on it.. after few rows I realized that the base was like– twisted.. like an infinity scarf… (I hope you get the idea) What do you think I did wrong?

    Comment by Shay — January 22, 2014 @ 9:28 am

  37. Shay – it sounds to me like you got your stitches twisted when you joined in-the-round. I demonstrate in the video for this tutorial how to avoid that, but here is also a short video dedicated to the subject:

    Hope that helps!
    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — January 22, 2014 @ 9:34 am

  38. Hi Staci,
    Thank you for your reply. I did twist the stitches.. I corrected it and did it all over again… and finished it ! It was a real thrill to knit something “3D”. So I have knitted a couple of scarves, the dishcloths/coasters you have on the website and now the hat. I want to learn how to crochet. What do you suggest is the best project to start with? Also, do you offer a pattern for kids’ poncho? Either in knitting or crocheting? I would really love to buy it and make one.
    Thanks for everything you’ve done and are doing for all the knitters around the globe.
    Looking forward to your reply.


    Comment by Shay — January 25, 2014 @ 9:59 pm

  39. Do you have a great pattern to knit socks using 9″ circular needles instead of double point. I have started using them and I love them. A sock pattern would be great.

    Comment by Mary — March 29, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

  40. Hi Staci, Thanks so much for answering my question with the link.
    I am mov’in forward…..perfect!

    Comment by Nancy Christy — April 10, 2014 @ 4:19 pm

  41. Hi Staci, I have a quick question about the hat. Do you block the hat or any hats? Since they are in the round, do you block differently. If so, then how so?
    Thank you.

    Comment by Nancy Christy — April 21, 2014 @ 7:56 pm

  42. Hi Nancy – I should do a video on this. :) Here’s what I do…I set the hat out flat to dry until the top side is dry. Then I put the hat over my fist and twirl it around and around to reinforce the roundness, then set it out for the other side to dry. Each time I walk past the drying hat, I put it on my fist again and twirl it around. Works well for me!

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — April 21, 2014 @ 9:12 pm

  43. How long are your double point needles? Is there a good standard length to use with about any project? So I don’t have to buy so many lengths? Thanks!

    Comment by Deborah — May 15, 2014 @ 6:40 am

  44. Deborah – I use 7 to 8″ length, which is what I prefer.

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — May 15, 2014 @ 6:53 am

  45. Hi Staci, I got bored crocheting and have taken up knitting. While it is driving me crazy, I still love it – thanks to you. I almost gave up until I found you. Quick question about this beginner hat. I was wondering if I could use a size US 6 or 8 needle without ill effects. My size 7’s just split. I got a sample kit and they are some sort of wood that split while I was screwing the cord on. Well, at least I learned what not to use!

    Comment by Denise — May 19, 2014 @ 1:46 pm

  46. Denise – for this hat, yes. This hat is very stretchy, so altering the needle size by one size isn’t very risky.

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — May 19, 2014 @ 4:03 pm

  47. Hi. My niece is knitting this project and she had a quick question. The inches given next to each size, does that refer to head size or finished hat size. As always, thank you for the amazing videos!


    Comment by Latanya — June 1, 2014 @ 9:11 pm

  48. Hi Staci,

    Thank you so much! I am VERY new to knitting and this project worked well for me! It’s the first project that I’m really happy with. I used your scarf pattern too. Do you suggest moving to the socks next?

    I found the beanie pattern challenged me with new techniques and skills. My only concern was what to use for worsted weight yarn. I ended up using 8ply (scarf) and 12 ply (beanie) next time, because these are the easiest sizes to find in Australia. What do you suggest when converting yarn to Australian types? Thank you.


    Comment by Melanie — June 4, 2014 @ 4:23 am

  49. Melanie – you can find a yarn weight conversion chart here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yarn_weight

    And yes – I do recommend socks next…I think it’s a good progression. I recommend my basic “Learn to Knit Socks” tutorial:

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — June 4, 2014 @ 7:21 am

  50. Hi Staci,

    I love, love, love the Central Park Hoodie you have on in the video. I was wondering if you would consider doing a video tutorial on this sweater? I really want to make it but I could some guidance from you. While I’m here I want to thank you for your website. I would have never got as far as I have without your help.

    Comment by Denise — July 13, 2014 @ 7:34 am

  51. Denise – thank you for the suggestion! I’ve had many requests to do a tutorial on that sweater…I’ll have to see what I can do.
    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — July 13, 2014 @ 8:51 am

  52. Hi Staci

    What is the gauge for the three hat sizes? Do I follow the gauge indicated on the yarn wrapper?

    Comment by claire albano — September 22, 2014 @ 8:45 pm

  53. Claire – the gauge is 5 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch (listed in the pattern), but it isn’t all that important. This hat is super stretchy, and will fit almost any head!

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — September 22, 2014 @ 8:48 pm

  54. I am about to try to knit a hat for the first time and I really want to use your tutorial and pattern, only I promised my five year old daughter I would knit her hat in a beautiful variegated pink alpaca bamboo I bought already that calls for size 10 US needles. Is there any way I can make your pattern work?

    Comment by Jennifer Lunny — January 24, 2015 @ 6:14 pm

  55. Jennifer – no, sorry…you really need to find a pattern that uses that gauge to be able to knit a hat that fits properly. I suggest searching Ravelry for a hat that uses that yarn. Good luck!

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — January 24, 2015 @ 6:51 pm

  56. Thanks, Staci. I think the better solution then may be to get her another yarn she loves in the weight you call for here. (Your tutorials give me confidence!). I’ll have to think of something else for the alpaca bamboo.

    One other thing – for your lace scarf that calls for sock weight yarn, would cashmere 4 ply work… like this: http://www.wollywood.de/en/LANG-YARNS/Super-Soxx-Cashmere-4-ply-of-LANG-YARNS.html

    Comment by Jennifer Lunny — January 24, 2015 @ 7:33 pm

  57. Hi Staci ,I’m 16 years old and I taught my self to knit ,I also have quite the yarn stash But I can only make scarfs ? But I don’t know how to start on circular needles. I somewhat have DPN’s down. I don’t think I’m doing something right on the circulars.


    Comment by Scott — April 21, 2015 @ 9:18 pm

  58. Stacy, I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your site!! I have always wanted to learn how to knit socks and with your help I finally did it and I enjoyed it so much! You are an amazing teacher and I am so happy I found your site.

    Comment by Linda Mercer — June 12, 2015 @ 8:12 pm

  59. Staci, I have made a few hats by now and have done the “invisible connect” at the beginning of the first round of ribbing. I noticed in your basic hat video you just start the ribbing without a connection. Will there be a gap there or will all be OK? Thanks

    Comment by Bill Hooie — August 19, 2015 @ 7:34 pm

  60. Bill – I find that the most invisible join is after-the-fact, using this technique: http://verypink.com/2012/01/18/fixing-the-jog-in-circular-knitting/

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — August 19, 2015 @ 7:43 pm

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