How to finish knitting a hat on circular needles? Awesome 4 Step Guide

‘Wow, that is one nice hat.’ If you love crocheting or simply love wearing crocheted clothes, you have most probably been given that compliment or even given it to someone. Crocheted hats are some of the most beautiful products of knitting and crocheting.

However, while we are always quick to notice how beautiful knitted hats are, we forget to think about all the work involved in making these hats. There are different ways of making knitted hats. This article discusses how to finish knitting a hat on circular needles. Read on!

knitting a hat on circular needles

Step-by-Step Guide to knitting a hat on circular needles:

The easiest and most recommended method of knitting a hat is the circular knitting method, also commonly termed as knitting in the round. Alternatively, you can knit flat. The projects for knitting hats using the circular knitting method can be done in three different brim styles, namely:

  • Hemmed
  • Rolled stockinette
  • Ribbed

The main difference between these three brim styles is in the shaping of the top. However, all the hat brim styles can either be worked in plain stockinette brim stitches, customized by working colorwork patterns, or stitched in colorful fashion yarns. A circular knitting machine is also useful to knit a hat.

The following is a step-by-step guide to finish knitting a hat using a circular knitting needle:

1. Choose your Yarn

hat knitting yarn

The first step to knitting a hat is choosing the right type of yarn. The quantity of yarn will depend on the hat’s brim style, that is, whether hemmed, rolled stockinette, or ribbed. Ribbed brim styles are known to use more yards of yarn per skein than hemmed brim styles. Yarn swift and ball winder may require to finish the job easier.

The following table provides the approximate yardage of yarn that you will need for a 20″-22″ hat with a ribbed brim:

Gauge in StockinetteApproximate Yardage
3 stitches per inch80 to 100 yards 
4 stitches per inch110 to 140 yards
5 stitches per inch140 to 180 yards
6 stitches per inch180 to 225 yards
7 stitches per inch220 to 275 yards

2. Choose your Needle

circular knitting needle

To obtain the most accurate gauge, you will need to use either of the following needles:

  • 4 or 5 double-pointed needles – One full set for working on the hat’s crown decreases
  • 32-inch to 40-inch needle – One piece
  • 16-inch needles – Two pieces
  • One 16 inches needle

For the rolled stockinette brim styles, you will be required to have another similar circular needle. However, this needle should have a relatively smaller size than the one used to obtain your desired gauge.

3. Plan your Circular-knit Hat

Planning your circular-knit hat involves four different steps, namely:

  • Choose a knitting method
  • Determine the size
  • Select the yarn
  • Knit a gauge swatch

A. Choose a Knitting Method

Hat knitting projects tend to be very versatile, especially when they involve circular knitting methods. The hat knitting project can be done using either of these needles:

  • Double pointed needles
  • One traditional circular needle
  • One long circular needle, also known as the magic loop
  • Two circular needles

Note that; while knitting the hat on a 16-inch circular needle, you will be required to switch the needle to double-pointed ones when performing the crown decrease rounds. You must switch to the double-pointed needles because, at this point, the stitches will no longer be reaching around the needle comfortably. It is much easier to knit adult hats using the magic loop technique and a larger needle.

B. Determine the Size

circular knitting needle size

After choosing your knitting method, the next step is to determine your ideal size for the hat. The size of the hat is usually determined by its circumference. To calculate the hat’s circumference, measure the widest part of the wearer’s head, then subtract a value between 0.5 inches to 1.5 inches. The measurement you get will be the circumference of your knit hat.

Most hats are knit with negative ease. However, when using hemmed brim, do not include much negative ease, as this kind of brim is less stretchy compared to ribbed and rolled stockinette brim.

C. Select the Yarn 

Select the hat knitting Yarn

The good thing about adult hats is that they can be knit using any type of yarn, from practical type of yarns to fun and frivolous ones. For instance, when knitting winter hats, go for a yarn that is not only warm but also durable. Also, knit the yarn at a tighter gauge than the one mentioned on the ball band. Knitting using such a yarn will ensure that you get a hat with a denser fabric, such that it retains enough heat during the cold season.

On the other hand, if you intend to knit a fun and frivolous kind of hat, go for a fashion yarn that adds fun and flair. For instance, you can consider using different self-striping or variegated yarns on your knit hats. After all, hats are simple shapes and can therefore show off such unique fashion yarns.

D. Knit a Gauge Swatch

Knit a Gauge Swatch

After selecting that yarn to use, you can then create a swatch in stockinette. The swatch is used for determining the needle size and gauge.

4. Circular-knit your Hat

The circular-knitting process involves four steps;

  • Casting on
  • Making the brim
  • Knitting the body
  • Shaping the top

A. Casting on

Casting on hat knitting

Depending on your gauge swatch and ideal hat size, cast on the correct number of switches. Do this using the long-inch tail cast on. Also, arrange the stitches on the needles, as per your selected circular knitting method.

Be careful that you do not twist your cast around the needles while joining for working in the round. Then, indicate where the round ends by placing a marker at that particular place.

B. Making the Brim

Go for a brimmed style that clearly showcases your style and personality. If you like a casual and relaxed attitude, go for the rolled brim. If you like a tailored look, choose the hemmed brim. And if you are the sort that is always feeling playful, then choose the ribbed brim style.

C. Knitting the Body

Knitting the hat Body

Begin working on the knit hat in either the stockinette stitch or another desired stitch pattern. To achieve a colorwork pattern, work a single stockinette round in the main color. Then, work the same knitting pattern until the hat attains a measurement of 5.5, 6, or 6.5 inches from the brim’s edge. When using a ribbed bream, take these measurements from the cast-on edge.

Knitting the hat

D. Shaping the Top

Shaping the Top of hat knitting

When you begin shaping the top of your hat, first decrease the total number of stitches on your needles. You can decrease the number by a multiple of 8. Then, knit 1 round and remember to place a marker after every single set of stitches. Knit 2 stitches before the placed marker and knit another round. Repeat this process until only 8 stitches remain.

Cut your yarn and leave only a 10-inch tail. Start threading the tail onto a seaming needle, then pull this needle through the 8 remaining stitches. To close it safely, ensure you pull the needle snugly.

You can now weave in the yarn ends. If you were working on a hemmed brim, ensure that you fold the bottom edge up, such that it runs alongside the purled turning round and inside the hat. Upon shaping your top, you can now customize it to your style and liking!


So, that’s it! That is how you can finish knitting a hat on circular needles. All you need to do is follow the step-by-step guide clearly outlined above, and you will have your beautiful finished knit hat in no time!



I’m Jane and I’m the editor of! I am a long-time craft and clothing design fan who has been writing about these interests for years.

I have spent many hours studying knitting, weaving, sewing, embroidery, and quilting as well as learning about various brands and models of sewing gear and machines. In addition to this research, my work involves publishing information related to these topics in ways that will be informative for both amateur crafters like me and more experienced sewers!