How To Knit a Beanie

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Welcome to our How-To series sharing fun ways to stay creative at home. Learn how to knit a beanie with Teva contributor Gretchen Powers. Words and Photos by Gretchen Powers. 

Spring has finally sprung in Kodiak, Alaska, which means the snow is melting off the mountain tops and it’s time to dig out the Teva sandals and fire up the grill. I grabbed my knitting kit and set up the hammock inside our yard to enjoy a cocktail under a few rare rays of sunshine while my wife grilled up some dinner. Fun fact: the needles have hardly left my hands since Alaska shut down a month ago.

Gretchen Powers

Gretchen wears the Midform Universal in Hummingbird Gloxinia.

Learn how to knit

Midform Universal in Hummingbird Gloxinia

My mom gave me my first set of knitting needles when I was in 4th grade. I discovered the “scarf” in a box at her house recently and burst out laughing. It looked like an amoeba blob made out of scratchy acrylic yarn. Twenty years later, I’ve swapped acrylic for high quality wool sourced from responsible, ethical sheep farmers in Peru and Uruguay and what was once an indescribable object now looks like a hat, mittens, sweaters and scarves.

Throughout high school and college (back then, knitting was considered “grandmother-ey”), I knit on the way to ski races, rowing regattas and on just about every airplane I’ve been on since I was 16. My ever-present companion on the road, knitting eases the anxiety that often comes with traveling alone. I’m known to knit everywhere (even hiking sometimes) and people often find bits of yarn around once I’ve left their house.

How to Knit

Midform Universal in Hummingbird Gloxinia

Gretchen wears the Midform Universal in Hummingbird Gloxinia.

I love knowing the stories of the places where I source my wool, and the heritage of the patterns I choose. The repetitive, meditative nature of knitting has been the most helpful daily “medication” I take for my anxiety. It forces me to slow down, and focus on the stitches, which gives my mind a moment of clarity and peace. Since the hunker down order, I’ve picked up watercolor painting, polymer clay jewelry making and new techniques of beading, while knitting at least one beanie a day.

A year and a half ago I started an online mercantile where I sell my knits, prints, and postcards of my photographs. One of the reasons I love sharing my knits is because it’s a way I can send cozy hugs to the people I love the most even if they are a half a world away—or across town and in isolation.

Camp beanie

Knit this classic camp beanie with the pattern below.

One of my favorite patterns is a classic camp beanie (download the pattern here), an easy project for short attention spans. I love the tall ribbed brim and knitting with thick soft wool is the most relaxing feeling in the world. I wear one of these year round; nothing is better than the slight scent of campfire smoke coming off a wool hat after a weekend in the woods. Things to look forward to, right?

Knitting supplies


-One skein (an oblong ball of yarn, pronounced to rhyme with “rain”) of super bulky yarn (weight 6), approximately 65-75 yards (55-69 meters). Here is an example.
-16-inch circular knitting needles (size US15/10mm) Example here. This tool uses two needles joined by a cable to help you knit in a tubular pattern, like a beanie.
-Two size US15/10mm double-pointed needles, if desired. Example here.
-Tapestry needle
-A stitch marker. You could also use a safety pin, as shown here.
-A few episodes of your favorite show!

knit stitch and purl stitch rib

Alternating two types of stitches: the knit stitch and purl stitch rib creates a ribbed design.


These pattern instructions use the knit stitch and purl stitch, two common types of stitches. The finished hat will measure approximately 9 inches (23cm) tall and 8 inches (20cm) wide.


ST: Stitch

K: Knit Stitch

P: Purl stitch

K2TOG: Knit two stitches together.

Midform Universal in Hummingbird Gloxinia.

Pictured: the Midform Universal in Hummingbird Gloxinia.

Gretchen Powers in Alaska

“I’m known to knit everywhere (even hiking sometimes).” These days, that means while walking her dog.

1. Using a long-tail cast on method (“casting on” means getting the yarn onto the needle), cast on 36 (or 40 for large heads) stitches. Place one stitch marker (this lets you know where you are in the beginning or end of a row) and join in the round (joining the two ends with stitches to form a circle). Be careful not to twist stitches. This is the circumference of your beanie brim.

2. Rows 1-10: Alternate knitting 2 stitches (K2) and purling 2 stitches (P2). This creates a ribbed design around the brim of the beanie. Repeat from the marker around for the whole row.

3. Rows 11- 22ish: Switch to all knit stitches (K), repeat until hat measures 8 inches from bottom of brim at this point.

knitting at home

Just keep knitting.

4. Once you reach 8 inches from the bottom of the brim, you’ll start decreasing the width of the rows to form the top of the beanie. Switch to double pointed needles or magic loop if desired. We’ll reset the number of rows from here to the end:

Row 1: knit 2 stitches (K2) together (K2tog) until the end of the row

Row 2: K2, K2tog until end of row.

Row 3: K2 tog until end of row.

Row 4: K2tog until end of row

5. Cut the yarn and leave an 8 inch (20 cm) tail. Using your tapestry needle, thread the yarn needle through each of the remaining stitches and pull tightly to close the top of the hat. Weave in all ends and tie a knot.

6. Don’t forget the tail at the beginning of the beanie. Weave in that last bit of tail too. You’re done! Option to add a pompom if you like!

beanie by Gretchen Powers

Matching your beanie with your sandals is always a good idea. Gretchen wears the Midform Universal in Hummingbird Gloxinia.

Midform Universal

Pictured: the Midform Universal in Hummingbird Gloxinia.

Midform Universal

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