Knit Hat Tutorial – Smocked Brim with Easy to Modify Design

Hi All,

Earlier this spring a friend asked if I would teach her to knit.  This request quickly snowballed into a knit hat tutorial for 3 friends.  It was a fun opportunity to hang out with my girlfriends, so I jumped at the opportunity.  I always start beginning knitters with hats.  I like picking a small project for learning and training, since hats and other small projects are not too overwhelming.  I also like hats because they can be completed with only knit stitches and knitting two stitches together.  The basic rolled brim hat is wonderful, but I had knit more than a few of these recently.  I was a little bored with them.   So, I started this new tutorial with a more engaging pattern for a knit hat with a decorative brim.

So, beyond the roller brim hat we go.  This is a great knit hat tutorial for trying or practicing any cool knit trim you like in a book (from about 12 stitches to 30 stitches across).  I picked a trim that is reminiscent of smocking.  It uses a technique that wraps 6 stitches together to add texture to the design.  I also posted a pattern for fingerless gloves with the same trim, Fingerless Glove Tutorial – Kitting Pattern with Smocked Cuff.  Both of these patterns make it easy to substitute your own designs.  So have fun with my pattern or branch out on your own!

I am pleased to report that life is great for me these days.  My family keeps me busy, but I am still able to find the time to craft and create.  I’m always working on something – either in the evenings or on the sidelines at soccer games.

Happy knitting.


Materials for this knit hat tutorial:


US 5 circular knitting needles in 12” length (or size to meet gauge)

US 5 double pointed needles (1 set of 4)

Tapestry needle

Yarn:  I used a salvaged yarn from a cashmere sweater I unraveled. It was a heavier gauge than I have seen in the stores for many years. It appears to be a 5 ply. This pattern should work well with a DK weight yarn.

Gauge: (in garter stitch)

23 stitches in 4 inches

Finished Dimensions:

20 inch circumference brim. 8 inches deep. This size is comfortable for a teenager or typical woman.

Instructions for this knit hat tutorial:

 Bottom Smocked Edge – Hat Brim:

Tie 6 – Slip 6 stitches on to cable needle. Wrap stitches twice counter clockwise. K2, p2, k2 from the cable needle.

Cast on 22 stitches.

Row 1 : (k2, p2) five times, k2

Row 2, 4, 6, and 8: (p2, k2) five times, p2

Row 3: k2, p2, tie 6, p2, tie 6, p2, k2

Row 5: (k2, p2) five times, k2

Row 7: k2, p2, k2, p2, tie 6, p2, k2, p2, k2

Repeat rows 1-8, 17 times

Cast off stitches. Cut the yarn leaving a 5 inch tail.

Hat Top:

Use the yarn tail to join the cast on edge to the cast off edge. This will create the rim of the hat.

Pick up 112 stitches with the 12 inch circular needles. This means you will need to skip picking up a stitch about once every 5 rows. Knit all rounds until there is a total height of 6 inches including the smocked edge.

Decreasing: Change from your circular needles to double pointed needles when the rounds stop moving around the circular needles easily.

Rnd 1: (k6, k2tog) repeat to end. 98 stitches remain.

Rnd 2: k to end

Rnd 3: (k5, k2tog) repeat to end. 84 stitches remain.

Rnd 4: k to end (I switched to my double pointed needles here giving me 24 stitches on needle 1 and 30 stitches on needle 2 and 3.)

Rnd 5: (k4, k2tog) repeat to end. 70 stitches remain.

Rnd 6: k to end

Rnd 7: k to end

Rnd 8: (k3, (k2tog, k8 6 times) k2tog, k5. 63 stitches remain.

Rnd 9: k to end

Rnd 10: (k7, k2tog) repeat to end. 56 stitches remain.

Rnd 11: k to end

Rnd 12: (k6,k2tog) repeat to end. 49 stitches remain.

Rnd 13: (k5, k2tog) repeat to end. 42 stitches remain.

Rnd 14: (k4, k2tog) repeat to end. 35 stitches remain.

Rnd 15: (k3, k2tog) repeat to end. 28 stitches remain.

Rnd 16: (k2, k2tog) repeat to end. 21 stitches remain.

Rnd 17: (k1, k2tog) repeat to end. 14 stitches remain.

Rnd 18: (k2tog) repeat to end. 7 stitches remain.

Cut your yarn. With a tapestry needle, thread the end through the remaining 7 stitches and remove the knitting needles. Tie off and weave the end back through the stitches on the inside of the hat to secure.

With your yarn and tapestry needle, sew your buttons onto the smocked rim over the wraps made in row 3.   Use the yarn overs made at the end of the smocked edge as the buttonholes.


k – knit

p – purl

k2tog – knit two together

tie 6 – Slip 6 stitches on to cable needle.

Wrap stitches twice counter clockwise.

k2, p2, k2 from the cable needle.

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