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Free Pattern: Basic Magic Loop Hat

Liat Gat - Founder

August 5, 2011

Here is a basic hat pattern that was designed for learning the wonderful technique of Magic Loop. Written for worsted-weight yarn, you can make this soft beanie slouchy or fitted. A perfect first hat.

Liat modeling the Basic Magic Loop hat in purple

Here is a basic hat pattern for Magic Loop that is perfect for learning this awesome technique.

Or, if you’re teaching a lucky friend how to do Magic Loop, you can each make one – you can practice Continental knitting in the round or knitting faster while your friend practices the basic movements of Magic Loop.

Why not use this opportunity to try the Travelling Loop method? It’s a cool way of using one loop of cable when knitting a large-ish diameter project, like a hat or small sweater.

Traveling Loop Method For Magic Loop: One Loop Only

Traveling Loop Method For Magic Loop: One Loop Only

I usually start out using normal Magic Loop, then switch to using one loop after I increase to the widest diameter of the hat (here, 100 stitches), and then switch back to using two loops when I start to decrease.

Basic Magic Loop Hat Pattern

Side view of the Basic Magic Loop hat - slouchy versionThe hat can be made more fitted or more slouchy, depending on how long you knit after the cast-on. It’s up to you!

The pattern calls for worsted-weight yarn and size 7 circular needles at least 40 inches long – be sure to check your gauge (in the round, of course) before you start!

Size: one size fits most
Measurements: 16-inch-brim stretches to 20 inches around. Hat fits a 19-21-inch head.

Yarn: 100 g (150 yards) worsted-weight wool
Gauge: 5 sts/in in Stockinette stitch
Needles: 1 circular needle, 40-47 inches in length, US size 7 (4.5 mm) or WHATEVER size you need to use to achieve the right gauge.
Notions: measuring tape, tapestry needle, scissors

Back view of the Basic Magic Loop hat in purpleAbbreviations:
(links pop up KnitFreedom videos)
CO: cast on
K: knit
P: purl
St st: Stockinette stitch
M1: make one)
K2tog: knit 2 together
Magic Loop: how to do it
Check your gauge: swatch in the round
Work even: continue in the same stitch without increasing or decreasing

This basic hat is worked from the brim to the top, with a wide, ribbed brim. It can be a fitted hat or a more slouchy hat, depending on how long you knit before beginning to decrease.

Pattern Instructions:
Using long-tail cast-on, CO 82 sts.
Join for working in the round on Magic Loop.
Rounds 1-13: (K1, p1) around.

Increase for body of the hat:
Round 1: *K1, m1, (k5, m1) 8 times, rep from * to end (100 sts total).
Work even in St st for 6 inches from cast-on edge for a fitted hat, 7 inches for a slouchy hat.

Decrease for the top of the hat
Round 1: (K8, k2tog) around (90 sts remain).
Round 2 and all even rounds: K
Round 3: (K7, k2tog) around (80 sts remain).
Round 5: (K6, k2tog) around (70 sts remain).
Round 7: (K5, k2tog) around (60 sts remain).
Round 9: (K4, k2tog) around (50 sts remain).
Round 11: (K3, k2tog) around (40 sts remain).
Round 13: (K2, k2tog) around (30 sts remain).
Round 15: (K1, k2tog) around (20 sts remain).
Round 17: K2tog around (10 sts remain).

Break yarn, leaving a 12-inch tail.
Thread tail on tapestry needle and pass twice through live sts on needles.
Remove needles, pull tail tight.

Using tapestry needle, weave in ends.
Wear and be fabulous!

Liat modeling the Basic Magic Loop hat in purple - slouchy version

Keep Learning

If you liked this basic magic loop hat pattern, please comment!

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65 thoughts on “Free Pattern: Basic Magic Loop Hat”

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  1. Hi dear readers,
    I’ve been asked for modifications of this hat for child sizes, and until I officially publish a new pattern, here are the basic numbers:

    Gauge: 5 sts/in. in St st.
    Sizes: Preemie (Newborn, 6 months, 12 months, Child)

    Variations: Fitted (Slouchy)

    Finished Measurements: 6 (7) in. deep x 6.25 (8.25, 10, 12, 14) in. around unstretched. Stretches to fit a head 12 (14, 16, 18, 20) in. in diameter.

    Pattern Instructions
    Cast On
    CO 32 (42, 52, 62, 72) sts. Place BOR marker and join for working in the round on Magic Loop.

    Rnds 1-13: (K1, p1) around.
    Increase for the body of the hat:
    Next rnd: K1, M1, (k5, M1) to last st, k1, M1 (40 (50, 60, 80, 90) sts).
    All sizes: k0 (1, 2, 4, 0), (k4 (5, 6, 3, 4), m1) to last 0 (1, 2, 4, 0) sts, end k0 (1, 2, 4, 0). 8 (8, 8, 18, 18) sts increased, 40 (50, 60, 80, 90) sts total.

    Hat Body
    Work even in St st until hat measures 2 (2.75, 3.5, 4.25, 5) / 2.5 (3.25, 4.25, 5, 6) in. from CO edge.

    Decrease for Top of Hat
    Rnd 1: (K2 (3, 4, 6, 7), k2tog) around (30 (40, 50, 70, 80) sts remain)).

    Rnd 2 and all even rounds: K.
    Rnd 3: (K1 (2, 3, 5, 6), k2tog) around (20 (30, 40, 60, 70) sts remain)).

    Rnd 5: (K0 (1, 2, 4, 5), k2tog) around (10 (20, 30, 50, 60) sts remain)).

    Newborn – child sizes only:

    Rnd 7: (K- (0, 1, 3, 4, 5), k2tog) around (- (10, 20, 40, 50) sts remain)).

    6 mo – child sizes only:

    Rnd 9: (K- (-, 0, 2, 3), k2tog) around (- (-, 10, 30, 40) sts remain)).

    12 mo – child sizes only:
    Rnd 11: (K- (-, -, 1, 2), k2tog) around (- (-, -, 20, 30) sts remain)).
Rnd 13: (K- (-, -, 0, 1, 2), k2tog) around (-(-, -, 10, 20) sts remain)).

    Child size only:

    Rnd 15: K2tog around (10 sts remain).

    All sizes:
    Break yarn, leaving a 12-inch tail for finishing top of hat.

    Using a tapestry needle, feed tail yarn through rem sts twice and pull tight. Weave in ends.

  2. I love this hat pattern! Thank you for the update modifications!

    Also, just noticed the magic loop one loop method! Way cool!!

  3. I’ve been asked for modifications to this hat to make an extra-large version (to fit a 24-inch head).

    Here it is!

    CO 88 sts. Join for working in the round on Magic Loop.

    Rnds 1-14: (K1, p1) around.
    Increase for the body of the hat:
    Next rnd: (K4, M1) around (110 sts) – 22 sts increased.

    Hat Body
    Work even in St st until hat measures 6.25 (7.25) in. from CO edge.

    Decrease for Top of Hat
    Rnd 1: (K9, k2tog) around (100 sts remain).
    Rnd 2 and all even rounds: K.
    Rnd 3: (K8, k2tog) around (90 sts remain).
    Rnd 5: (K7, k2tog) around (80 sts remain).
    Rnd 7: (K6, k2tog) around (70 sts remain).
    Rnd 9: (K5, k2tog) around (60 sts remain).
    Rnd 11: (K4, k2tog) around (50 sts remain).
    Rnd 13: (K3, k2tog) around (40 sts remain).
    Rnd 15: (K2, k2tog) around (30 sts remain).
    Rnd 17: (K1, k2tog) around (20 sts remain).
    Rnd 19: K2tog around (10 sts remain).
    Break yarn, leaving a 12-inch tail for finishing top of hat.

  4. Hi,
    My head measures 23 inches from base of head to forehead and around. I need coverage because I lost my hair in chemo. Can you suggest a number of stitches to cast on? Do you think it would make enough of a difference if I just use size 8 needles instead?
    Thank you,
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

    1. Hi Laura,
      I’m so sorry I didn’t see your comment until just now. I had to take a leave of absence in 2017 and I fell far behind in answering comments. I hope you had a successful recovery.

      For what it’s worth, I posted the numbers for an extra-large hat here, but I think the regular-size hat would work for you if you went up a needle size, like you mentioned.

      Thanks again for commenting and I hope this finds you well.

  5. I discovered your site in December of 2015. I really enjoy the information posted and have recommended it to knitting friends. Thank you so very much for all you do.

  6. Maria and Michaela,
    About the increase…You do a K1 m1 and then do the (K5 m1) 8 times. This takes you through the first half of your original stitches (41) and gives you nine new stitches on your first needle for a total of 50. You then repeat the whole thing on the second needle, or the other 41 stitches, again increasing 9 on that needle. You end up with 50 stitches on each needle or 100 in total. I was a little confused at first about this as well.

    1. Thanks for this Linda…I’m just about to start the increase and couldn’t wrap my brain around what is supposed to be done 8 times. Your explanation of the math is very clear!

  7. I want to try knitting a hat. I am going to try your Basic Magic Loop Hat. What do you do when the decreases make the hat too small to knit. I understand magic loop but wonder how the specific pattern is worked. EX: K8, K2tog around. How do I separate my stitches. It is hard to explain my question but hope you understand what I am asking.

  8. Since I want to have this hat done asap and don’t have time to wait for your answer, I’ve decided to increase only 5 more times on my second half of the increase line. It’s probably going to end up being rather uneven, but I guess we’ll see. I really hope you’ll get around to answering my question (I see there is one more person that had the same problem).

  9. First of all, thank you for the pattern! However, I am having issues with the increase round – it doesn’t add up. If I repeat (k1, m1, k5 m1) like it seems you’re saying, I will end up with way more than 100 stitches at the end. I’ve done one half of the increase round (on my first 41 stitches) and I already have extra 13 stitches on it, which will make (probably) even the second half of my work add 13 stitches for the grand total of 26 stitches! But according to you I’m supposed to have only 18 extra stitches in total! I’m lost! Could you please clear it up for me?

  10. Donna Fournier

    Thanks for your video tutorial, you have helped me so much! I am going to use this method for a sock pattern. I won’t need the double pointed needles! yea!

  11. Hi Liat,
    I finished the ribbed part of the hat but was confused about the increase. Which pattern is the upgraded one? Where it says, 1st round *k1,m1 (k5,m1) 8 times or *k1,m1 (k5,m1) m1 till you have 100 st. Also is it suppose to be spread out evenly?
    I have 84 st total 42 on each side so 4 times on each side?

  12. Hi Liat,
    I finished the ribbed part of the hat but was confused about the increase. Which pattern is the upgraded one? Where it says, 1st round *k1,m1 (k5,m1) 8 times or *k1,m1 (k5,m1) m1. Also is it suppose to be spread out evenly?
    I have 84 st total 42 on each side so 4 times on each side?

  13. Thanks Liat for the pattern; I love it. I have very short hair, probably shorter than yours and I usually look awful in hats as they hide my hair. I think I will try your pattern because I can see what it will look like on me and I like it.

  14. Awesome!!! I have been knitting in the round for a while but always had a problem with the length of my cable, not anymore!! Thank you so much for sharing this! :D

  15. Liat, thank you for the tip about knitting magic loop with just one loop re. the tutorial. I knit baby hats and adult size hats for charities.
    The next hat I knit I will use this method. I am 65 and what a joy it is to learn something new. thanks again to for this hat pattern.

  16. patricia hewitson

    Thanks for the tutorial, parked the tablet on my lap and managed to complete the circle , I even attempted the continental method of knitting.
    Is there a special back to doing pearl or is it only for stocking stitch?
    Many thanks

  17. Really like this pattern; it will work well for chemo hats I’ll be making. I do have a slight problem with the website, however. I wanted to print the pattern and used the print button shown below the pattern instructions and was greatly surprised to find all the comments printed out as well, so now I have a 3-page pattern and 9 pages of comments that I don’t want. I’ll recycle the paper, but can’t you adjust your print settings so only the pattern prints? I’ve wasted paper and ink on something I did not wish to print. I know I could have set my printer to only print a highlighted section, but it never occurred to me that your site would print the comments as part of the pattern. Thanks for looking into this. At least I’ll know better next time…and there will be a next time as I really like your site.

    1. Hi Joan –

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the pattern and the site.

      I’m so sorry that you wasted your paper and ink. I will definitely look into seeing if we can change the settings.

  18. Hi Liat! I am so happy that I did a search on Ravelry for a magic loop hat and I found yours! I learned how to do magic loop last year and have been wanting to use it for making slouchy beanies for my family and friends! Thanks so much for posting this hat on your Blog!


    Lori J. Thorne

  19. Thank you, thank you, for your generosity with your knitting wisdom. I love getting your emails…..this one is a five star!

  20. Thanks Liat-never fail to educate with an entertaining enjoyable time-just trying to finish your top-down socks-with hopes to attempt this pattern-you have no idea how much you have enlightened my day for almost a year now, with nest empty & disabled(usually do not mention that but hey its you) your videos and patterns have made/makes me feel useful productive person just just collecting dust now if I can master “continental” why why why am I have such a difficult time with this I joke to soon message”I did it”just not sure when

    Continued success very grateful for all you do

    1. Thank you so much, Kim. I’m so happy that I can be part of your days and help you learn new knitting techniques.

      Stick with it and you’ll learn Continental. Happy Knitting!

    1. Hi Jonathan,

      This is just an online pattern. You can select “File > Print” in your browser and in the print dialog box select “Print to PDF.” Then you will have a PDF of the page. When the new site is launched, this will be available as a PDF download.

  21. I am so glad you have a clean bill of health & are back online working on updates for all of us who follow your wonderful, informative videos.. I was so afraid to learn how to knit sox, my sister started a pair over 50 years ago she never finished. I started doing toe up sox, one at a time, magic loop & just make tube sox, I will work up my courage to do wrap & turn heel. You make everything look so simple & easy. I know I can do it with your help.

  22. Thanks Liat!

    I’m a big fan of Magic Loop but didnt know about the Traveling Loop method before except, perhaps, accidentally. Not knowing that it was a legitimate, workable option.

  23. If your looking for a hat to start today that you can wear tomorrow this one is for you! Very easy and true to size!

  24. Christine Jones

    Love your patterns. I have started the hat and it is going great, complete with Magic Loop and Long tail cast on, very stretchy.
    I have been knitting for 53 years and I now feel that it is improving greatly with your expertise and tutorials. Funny how we can have bad habits for so long.
    I love the circulars because there is not as much sewing at the end, which has in the past taken years to finish off. Still waiting to graft the toe of 3 year old socks.
    Have decided to rescue the yarn and make toe up, which work great.
    Thankyou for your help in the tutorials.
    Regards Christine Jones

    1. Hi Christine –

      I’m so glad that you love the patterns and it’s great to hear that you’re working on the hat! I’d love to see the finished product when it’s all done. :) I’m also excited that you are resurrecting your socks – that’s awesome. You are more than welcome for the tutorials.

      Keep up the great work!

  25. I just learned how to knit on circular needles, so this is a great project to learn with. Next I’ll make a jacket to match. I’m using hot pink red heart shimmer.

  26. Hi just wondering how many rows is it for 10 inches while knitting i am trying to make a beanie and unfortunately i do not have a measuring tap me and if anyone can let me know in my email thanks.
    yours truly

    1. Hi Dianne, what do you want to knit for 10 inches? How many rows it would be depends on your gauge. But nothing in this pattern calls for you to knit for 10 inches, so I’m a little confused…

  27. Just going thru my stash of patterns and found this one. I have some really neat yarn to make it . Can’t wait to get started. I already get your emails and look forward to them. Thank you very much.

    1. Hi Judy –

      I love when you can go back to a pattern that somehow made it to the middle (or bottom!) of that pattern stash. What kind of yarn are you going to be working with? I’d love to see the finished product!

      Happy Knitting. :)

  28. I just realized the other evening that I am not doing the one loop or travelling loop method. I am doing the regular magic loop method and I am now about to begin the decrease rounds and realize that once I get to the ten stitches I don’t know how to
    get the ten stitches off the circular needle at the end.

      1. I realized as soon as I first posted that it would be as simple as
        just pulling the tips of the needle through the remaining sts.

  29. I am now half way through your hat pattern.
    It did take me awhile to figure out the magic loop method,
    but I am on my way.

    1. Wow! Keep up the great work. :) I’m so glad that you stuck with it and are half way through! I’d love to see your finished project when it’s all done. :)

  30. I have been trying to work up the courage to try the magic loop method for a few years now. Even have bought books on it for socks. I think beginning with your hat pattern will be a great introduction to using this method.


        1. I’m not sure. 9 or 10-year olds have pretty big heads. Maybe cast on about 85-90% of the stitches you would cast on for an adult? Measure the kid’s head to be sure. :)

    1. Hi Mary,

      I agree, there is definitely always room! And you are more than welcome! Good luck on your Magic Loop Hat project!

  31. If you were knitting this hat for a man would you still do the increase round, or would you just cast on 100 stitches to start with? I want this to look more or less like a watch cap. Thanks so much in advance.

    1. Hi Lori,

      Great question! To make a watch cap to fit a man, either use a slightly thicker yarn with a slightly larger gauge, or cast on about 8-10 more stitches and follow the directions, including the increase round.

      Just follow the directions for the non-slouchy version. :)

  32. Liat, I can’t wait to start one of these hats. I will most likely make quite a few for Christmas gifts this year. How long will you be in South America? It’s awesome that you can experience this big adventure! Thank you for all your help and sharing of talent!!!

    1. Yay! I think you’ll love them – it’s so relaxing to knit something easy in the round like this. I’ll be here until the end of October I think – I’ll leave right when it gets too hot, and then it’s back to Aspen for winter again! Thanks so much for your sweet comment and for following my blog!

    1. Thank you for watching! Yes it is an easy pattern to learn on. Do let me know how yours turns out and remember I am always here if you need me. :)

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