May 23rd, 2012

Baby Gnome Cap

I’m very excited to offer this free tutorial! This pattern is a very cute knit for the babies in your life, or to make up for donation to the newborn intensive care unit at your local hospitals. Free pattern plus a four-part video tutorial (video embedded at the bottom of this post.)

We’re using the Incredible Expanding Gnome Cap pattern by Maureen Hefti of Ravenous Knits. You can get your free copy of the pattern HERE. Many thanks to Maureen for allowing us to turn her awesome pattern into a video tutorial.

Size: One size fits preemie to three months
Yarn: sport weight (5 ply)
Needles: size 1 (2.25mm)

This cap is very stretchy, so you do have some play with the yarn weight and needle size. I used sport weight yarn and size 3 (3.25mm) needles.

Be sure to check out Maureen’s other designs, as well as my other video tutorials.

Here are direct links to the different parts of the tutorial:

Video Part 1: Introduction
Video Part 2: Getting Started
Video Part 3: Reading Charts v. Written Instructions
Video Part 4: Stitch Demonstrations


  1. I can’t wait to try this! Great tutorial Staci. And I like that you said we should ask the hospital about any particulars like type of yarn and colors. Thanks again!

    Comment by Deb — May 23, 2012 @ 10:09 am

  2. What a wonderful little hat! And as always, I love your video tutorial. Quick question–on Facebook, I saw that you had made one of your fair isle hats for a preemie. Did you redo the pattern for that or just use smaller yarn and needles? I love charity knitting. Thanks for such a wonderful blog!!!

    Comment by Kathy — May 23, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

  3. Thank you, Staci for the video and big thanks to Maureen Hefti. I will share the info with my knitting group. And hope, little babies would get them soon!
    BTW – the light pink shawl looks awesome on you!
    ~ Iryna

    Comment by Iryna — May 23, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

  4. Kathy – I didn’t intenionally make my caps any size. :) Since they are going to charity, size isn’t all that important, since all sizes are needed.

    I used sport weight yarn and size 3 needles. In the video, I show that one cap is longer than the other, but that’s the only difference.

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — May 23, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

  5. Thanks for the tutorial! I love that the word is getting out about the preemies in the NICU that need these tiny hats. My daughter is the baby on the front of the pattern and her older sisters are the preemies that helped inspire it!

    Comment by Lesley Morris — May 23, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

  6. Oh, that’s great, Leslie! Thanks for the note, and the cute kid in the photo! :)

    Comment by s t a c i — May 23, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

  7. Could you use worsted yarn and caast on smaller amount of stitches?
    I don’t have sport or sock weight that isn’t for something particular
    I do like to knit hats for charity. Please let me know. I get 6 sititches an inch on size 3 needles in worsted..

    Comment by Grace Mae — May 23, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

  8. I recommend using as close to the yarn weight and needle size suggested as you can. Using a much heavier yarn would result in a cap that would not be as delicately stitched and appropriate for a tiny baby.

    Comment by s t a c i — May 23, 2012 @ 7:09 pm

  9. Love the hat and great video – I will definitely make this hat – thank you !

    Comment by Pammie — May 23, 2012 @ 7:42 pm

  10. What brand of yarn did you use for the pink swatch on the 4th video? I’ve noticed you have used this type of yarn before, and it looks like neat yarn. I know this yarn wouldn’t work for this pattern though.

    Comment by Karen Amrein — May 23, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

  11. I believe the chunky pink yarn I used in the swatch is Cascade 120, but I don’t remember the color name. It’s leftover from some project a long time ago!

    Comment by s t a c i — May 23, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

  12. I have Carons Pound of Love Acrylic that I would like to make on of these with. I have two grands coming in Aug. Can you tell me how many stitches to work off for that kind of yarn (size US 5 needles?)


    Comment by Sharon — May 31, 2012 @ 11:59 am

  13. Sorry, Sharon – I have not test knit this cap in anything but the recommended lightweight yarn. I encourage you to use the finer yarn to make the caps as written in the pattern. They end up being really delicate and very suitable for babies.

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — May 31, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  14. I can’t seem to download the pattern. Could someone send it to my e-mail above. Very grateful. Thank you.

    Comment by Virginia Wagner — August 17, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

  15. Hi Virginia – sorry you’re having trouble. I’m afraid this isn’t my design (I just did the tutorial on it), so it isn’t mine to distribute. You can contact the pattern designer via Ravelry and ask her to email it to you! Here is the Ravelry page again, where you can easily find and message her:

    Good luck!
    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — August 17, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

  16. I think this a great idea I am starting help the baby’s foundation. By selling these the profits kendell hospital!:)

    Comment by shanai 13 of age — August 18, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

  17. Looking forward to learning this new cast on, I have never done it before and I agree with you, will be great for the tops of socks! The baby hat that is shorter than the other, did you knit less rows on that one? I tend to like the little shorter one better. Thanks Staci, your videos are always enjoyed and I always learn from them!

    Comment by Lin Geldmyer — September 6, 2012 @ 11:15 am

  18. Staci,

    When reading this pattern it says to work the rib for four rounds. Is that technically five when including the cast on row?

    Comment by Jessica — November 8, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

  19. I knit hats for charity every year for work and this is an adorable hat for that and goes pretty quick. Thanks so much for this tutorial. I love your tutorials!

    Comment by Becky — December 26, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

  20. Love this pattern what yarn did you use for these hats they look very soft?

    Comment by Jaynie — January 12, 2013 @ 11:20 pm

  21. Jaynie – the pattern gives a suggested yarn, but for the ones I knit, I used Berroco Comfort DK.

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — January 13, 2013 @ 9:36 am

  22. Hi,
    Thank you for the great videos! I’m in the middle of working on the Baby Gnome Cap and have a quick question. When you slip the stitch is it knitwise or purlwise? Thanks

    Comment by Gail — February 9, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

  23. Always slip as-if-to-purl, unless the pattern specifically tells you otherwise.

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — February 9, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

  24. I just starting knitting and crocheting. I want to give back to my local NICU where my son (32weeks) was taken care of and received a hat (and quilt, hope to make those one day also). I talked to my friend and her daughter who was a 23 week baby was born at another hospital close to us. We are going to try this pattern out (not sure if its easy for new knitters) and work together to figure it out. I hope to make a lot and in different sizes to pay it forward :). Thank you so much for explaining the 2 types of nest ructions and how to do each stitch!!

    Comment by Kerry — April 13, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

  25. I’m making this with worsted weight yarn on size 8 needles. I started it as an experiment, but kept going because it looks like it’s going to work fine.

    Comment by Kristen S. — May 8, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

  26. Hi staci
    When you are working the gauge is it stockinet stitch or in pattern or what it does not really say if you could let me know please

    Comment by Tonya — May 20, 2013 @ 10:27 pm

  27. Tonya – the stitch pattern for the gauge is the cable pattern. You can read all of the info the designer has available here:

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — May 21, 2013 @ 9:16 am

  28. Is it ok to make and sell these?

    Comment by Heather — May 22, 2013 @ 8:22 pm

  29. You will need to contact the pattern designer for that answer. Her username is MoHefti on Ravelry, and you can send her a message there with your question.

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — May 23, 2013 @ 7:22 am

  30. I just love the looks of this little baby gnome hat and want to get busy knitting one immediately
    I am however having difficulty finding the actual written instructions. I have watched the video (very helpful!) and there is reference to the pattern but I don’t seem to find it
    Can you help?
    Many many thanks

    Comment by Marilyn — May 28, 2013 @ 7:15 am

  31. Marilyn – the link to the Ravelry page with the free pattern is in the blog post. You can find it here:

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — May 28, 2013 @ 7:20 am

  32. Aloha Staci!
    What an adorable cap!
    On my last flight, the woman sitting next to me said I should knit caps for preemies! (I was making a lavender sachet on 9″ size 3 circular needles.)
    Thanks for the great tutorial!
    I can’t wait to get started!

    Comment by Cee Gee — October 27, 2013 @ 1:14 am

  33. Hii .. I was wondering if there is a way of doing this cute hat with individual needles not rounded ones :)

    Comment by aya — January 20, 2014 @ 8:06 am

  34. Aya – if you’re looking to knit this hat flat, and not in a tube – some pattern modification is necessary to make that work. Now that I think about it, it probably isn’t a good idea to knit a baby hat flat and then seam it…the seam might be irritating to the baby’s skin. But you can look at the completed projects from other knitters to see if anyone left any notes regarding knitting the project on straight needles:

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — January 20, 2014 @ 8:53 am

  35. Hi just wondering when you get the P2V, you have just completed a pearl, do you pass your yarn back as if in the knit position before you slip the stitch or do you keep the yarn forward in the pearl position?

    Comment by sam — February 23, 2014 @ 10:09 am

  36. Sam – you want to slip the stitches with the yarn in back, unless otherwise noted.

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — February 23, 2014 @ 12:41 pm

  37. Staci, I saw the video and loved it. I was wondering could I use the patter on fingerless glove and a scarf.

    Comment by Curtis — August 10, 2014 @ 8:48 am

  38. Dear Staci,
    First of all I love your videos I have learned so much from you!!!! I am trying to knit the baby hat using the magic loop method I bought size 3 circular needles that are 32 inches long. I am having difficulty would you recommend the length to be longer. When I did a small sample with 20 stitches I was able to work the magic loop method. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.

    Comment by Pat Forte — August 15, 2014 @ 12:36 pm

  39. Hi Pat – I’m not sure why you’re having trouble…32″ circulars should be plenty long enough for this cap. Have a look at my video Simple Magic Loop, link below. Hopefully that will get you going.

    Good luck!
    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — August 15, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

  40. Hi there,
    I’m an RN working with newborn families and am also a future gma in 3 months.. am so excited to make these for my daughter and for clients in our clinic.. I’m stuck though.. can do the german twist cast on.. have tried several sizes of circular needles.. but it seems that I can’t connect them with any of the sizes.. it’s too much of a stretch to connect the first on L needle with 1st on R needle.. help please..

    Comment by Gail — November 7, 2014 @ 9:06 pm

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