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

48 comments on “Baby Gnome Cap

  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!

  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!!!

  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

  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

  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!

  6. 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..

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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?)


  11. 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

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

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

  14. 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!

  15. Staci,

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

  16. 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!

  17. 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

  18. 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!!

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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

  23. 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!

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

  25. 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

  26. 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?

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

  28. 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.

  29. 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..

  30. Staci,
    Love your website and this pattern!

    When using double points I had a terrible time keeping the stitches tight between the two needles. Suggestions?

    I will try the magic loop. I didn’t have the right size circulars but I’ll get them.


  31. Hi Staci
    I love all your tutorial videos …very useful. I’m interested in knitting the gnome hat but I have a problem from the beginning . I normally read from the chart but not sure if I need to knit a couple of rows for the ribbing 2purls and 2knits or do I start right at the first row for the chart 2p … Pls help …thx!

  32. Hi Staci. I working on this pattern but I’m having trouble with the ribbing at the beginning. I’m a fairly new knitter and I don’t have much experience working on DPN in the round. I tired at first with the recommended yarn and needle size but I kept messing up and it was hard to see what my mistakes were because the yarn was so fine so I switched to thicker yarn and now I can tell what the problem is. When I’m working on the P2K3 ribbing I can’t figure out where to put the yarn between needles, when I go from knitting at the end of one needle to purling at the beginning of the next. Do you have any videos that show this technique? It seems I am twisting the yarn but I don’t know the correct way. Thanks a bunch you’re the best.

  33. Hi Kelley – I understand the difficulty you’re having, and sorry – I don’t have a video on that. Maybe I can explain it – you want to work a purl stitch like you would any other purl stitch at the beginning of a row…just pretend the other needles aren’t there. Yarn in front, right needle through the front loop. I know it sounds simple enough, but if you’re still having troubles, I suggest you visit your local yarn shop for some one-on-one help. The folks there can watch what you’re doing and give you very specific advice. Good luck!
    S t a c i

  34. hi Staci, i clicked on the pattern button and downloaded the file but the file only shows the first page of the pattern only. so i don’t get the actual pattern cause it’s on the second page

  35. Taehee – you might try downloading it again if you’re missing part of the pattern, or you’ll need to contact the designer directly if you’re still having trouble. Good luck!
    S t a c i

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