7 Popular Ways to Knit Warm Hats You’ll Love

Offer the healing power of warmth with these popular free knitting patterns for hats

Why do we love to knit hats?

Of course, hats can be fashion statements, and as such, they are a blast to knit. Who doesn’t love finding bright and fun colors to weave in? Learning new and striking textures to bloom from the needles? The feel of squishy, springy ribbing? The delightful surprise of a pointy or pom-pom top?

But the best thing of all about hats is that they are practical. They make such wonderful gifts for someone you love. And they are ideal charity projects for a number of people in need:

  • Homeless folks who struggle to stay warm
  • People who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy (or other illnesses)
  • People in crisis situations
  • Babies or children suffering from illness or prematurity

The warming power of a hat can help save a life — like for a homeless person or a baby/child dealing with illness. And it can make life feel worth living — like for a person fighting cancer, or for anyone in crisis.

Here I’ve rounded up several free knitting patterns for hats that are at the top of the charts in popularity, according to the Ravelry pattern database. You’re bound to find a pattern here you’ll love to knit, and its recipient will delight in receiving.

Most of these patterns are surprisingly simple; however, two of them are a little more complex. If you love a challenge, though, they could absolutely be your new favorite hat patterns!

Turn a Square men's hat pattern
Turn a Square
Photo: Jared Flood & Brooklyn Tweed

Surprisingly Simple Knitting Patterns for Hats

1. Turn A Square Hat

  • What you’ll need to make it: 210 yards worsted weight yarn (in different colors, if you want to make it striped); US Size 5 and 7 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: This pattern is attractive, unisex, warm, and fun. You’ll especially love the decrease lines that give the crown of this hat its distinctive “squares.”
    Note: This item is no longer free on its own, but you can receive it as a free gift when you sign up for the Brooklyn Tweed newsletter–which is also free.

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2. Man Hat

  • What you’ll need to make it: 104 yards bulky weight yarn; US Size 8 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: Thanks to its use of bulky weight yarn, this hat is warm and knits up in a flash. Its no-frills style makes it perfectly unisex, too.
Sockhead Hat - Bohoknits
Sockhead Hat
Photo: Bohoknits

3. Sockhead Hat

  • What you’ll need to make it: 440 yards fingering weight yarn; US Size 2.5 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: The name of this pattern gives you a huge hint. Do you have a skein or two of sock yarn that is far too lovely to knit into socks that few will see? This pattern creates a long, slouchy beanie that is the perfect way to show it off!
Wurm - marijke11 on Ravelry
Wurm
Photo: Marijke11 on Ravelry

4. Wurm

  • What you’ll need to make it: 175 yards sport weight yarn; US Size 4 and 6 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: I’m a huge fan of vertical ribs; it gives hats a nice stretch lengthwise that helps ensure that both head and ears are nicely covered. (It offers a fun opportunity to add color, too.) This pattern is warm and fun and completely unisex.
Barley
Photo: Tin Can Knits

5. Barley

  • What you’ll need to make it: 70 to 170 yards worsted weight yarn (depending on the size you make); US Size 6 and 8 circular needles and/or DPNs (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: First: sizes for the whole family; you can knit one for everyone on your list, or one for every charity you enjoy supporting. Second: the opposing panels of stockinette and garter stitch make this beanie a little more interesting and a lot more fun!

Hats with a Little More Spice

Knotty but Nice - Evamarie on Ravelry
Knotty but Nice
Photo: Evamarie on Ravelry

6. Knotty but Nice

  • What you’ll need to make it: 220 yards worsted weight yarn; US Size 7 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round); cable needle or spare DPN
  • Why you’ll want to: Unisex doesn’t always have to mean “utterly plain.” This beautifully cabled hat is the perfect example of this. Its gorgeous criss-crossing cables holds nearly universal appeal across the genders.
Molly - Erin Ruth
Molly
Photo: Erin Ruth

7. Molly

  • What you’ll need to make it: 236 yards worsted weight yarn; US Size 3 and 6 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round); cable needle or spare DPN
  • Why you’ll want to: Three things to love about this pattern. 1) Its unisex charm (can you tell I’m a big fan of unisex hats?). 2) That delightful textured stitch pattern that surrounds the cable. 3) The cable that continues right through the crown, including its pattern decreases. (Yay!)

These hats are warm, snuggly, and just a delight to knit. Why not use your yarn and time to use one of these fabulous hats?

7 Popular Hat Knitting Patterns

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