Black & Red Checkerboard Beanie: a Fun, Free Hat Knitting Pattern

This delightfully textured, simple beanie pattern created by reader Maria Avery makes a wonderful chemo cap

Black & Red Checkerboard Beanie

I’m very excited to share the following free chemo cap beanie knitting pattern! Maria Avery, a Knitting Nuggets subscriber, let me know about this wonderful pattern she created back in February and invited it to share it with my readers. I promptly forgot about it for the next 3 months. *facepalm*

Fortunately for all of us, Maria graciously reminded me of it a couple of weeks ago. And now I’m honored to share it with you!

All rights for this pattern are reserved to Maria Avery; this pattern is reproduced with her permission and may not be published elsewhere.

Also, Maria asks that you use this pattern only for gifts and charity, not for monetary gain.

The Black & Red Checkerboard Beanie Pattern by Maria Avery

Note from Maria:

[I designed these] caps originally for cancer patients who have lost their hair; however, adjustments can always be made.  My head size, from l/2 ” above the brow, straight back and around, is about 20 1/2 inches.  

This cap also covers the ears. The measurement of the cap from cast on to the crown decrease is about 6″.

I like this yarn especially for the winter. And yes, men can wear them.  I have found that adjustments are often necessary depending on the yarn, the needles used and of course the head size. 

Some yarn does tend to stretch more than others.

Materials Required:

Black & red Checkerboard Beanie in progress

Yarn: Plymouth Encore in Black & Red, or another washable worsted weight yarn.

(Of course, you can use any color combination you desire!) You should need no more than 1/2 skein of each color.

Needles: sizes 7 and 8 in DPNs or circular needles

k – Knit
p – Purl
k2tog – knit 2 stitches together
p2tog – purl 2 stitches together

With size 7 needles and black yarn, cast on 90 stitches via the crochet chain provisional method. (You can use a different cast-on if you wish, but Maria has found that it gives the cap a smoother edge.) For a tutorial, check out Very Pink Knits’ video here.

Checkerboard chemo cap beanie
Photo: Maria Avery

Knit the 1st round.

For the next 14 rows (or about 2 inches), *k3, p3; repeat from * to the end of the round.

Change to size 8 needles and knit 1 round. This round creates a smooth transition from black to red.

Switch to red yarn and begin beanie stitch pattern.

Rounds 1 to 6: *k9, p9; repeat from * to the end of round.
Rounds 7 to 13: *p9, k9; repeat from * to the end of round.

Repeat these 13 rounds until you’ve knitted 6 inches from the cast-on edge, or until the desired length has been reached .


Round 1: *k3, p2, k2tog, k1, p2; repeat from * to end of round.
Round 2: *k3, p2, k2tog, p2; repeat from * to end.
Round 3: *k3, p2, p2tog, p1; repeat from * to end.
Round 4: *k3, p2, p2tog; repeat from * to end.
Round 5: *k3, p1, p2tog; repeat from * to end.
Round 6: *k2tog, k1, p2; repeat from * to end.
Round 7: *k2tog, p2; repeat from * to end.
Round 8: *k2tog, p1; repeat from * to end.
Round 9: *k2tog, repeat from * to end.
Round 10: Repeat round 9.

Break yarn, leaving about an 8-inch tail. Thread yarn with a tapestry needle through the remaining stitches two or three times to give it a smooth closing.
Weave in remaining ends.

Photo: Maria Avery

A million thank-yous to Maria for allowing me to publish this pattern. If you try it, be sure to let me know what you think!

For more free hat knitting patterns, look here!

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  1. I saw directions for converting circular or do needles to two straight on line. I can’t find the directions again. Any help you can give me would be appreciated. Thank you. Margaret

  2. I’ve tried knitting several times , so I didn’t do as good as I wanted then I stopped. I will try some of your patterns because I want to succeed in the small items. Thanks Joyce