Instructions for Knitting a Child's Hat and Scarf

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Things You'll Need

  • Pattern
  • Yarn
  • Knitting Needles
  • Scissors
  • Yarn Needle

A hand-knit hat and scarf set makes a wonderful gift for a special child. Children are constantly misplacing hats and scarves, so new ones are always appreciated. Many schools, foster care agencies and charities are in need of winter weather gear for young ones, too. With some basic knitting skills and some yarn, you can have a set finished in no time. Using a wide variety of fibers and colors guarantees that each set will look completely different, even if you are using the same pattern.

Choose your pattern depending upon your skill level. There are many free patterns online and tons of patterns books at your local library or craft store. Determine the size that you need and search for a pattern that you like that is also within your abilities to complete.

Ready your supplies. Based upon your pattern, choose the proper size knitting needles and the correct amount of yarn. Be sure to purchase enough yarn with the same lot number to avoid any differences in color throughout the project. Look for fun colors that will really suit the child you are knitting for. There are many funky yarn choices that young ones love. Your needles need to be the size and type, either straight, circular or double pointed, needed for the pattern. Size 8 are usually a good choice for children’s items.

Cast on the proper number of stitches. For a basic child’s hat, cast on about 68 stitches for a toddler hat, 76 for a 5 to 9 year old and about 80 stitches for a "tween" hat.

Knit the hat following the pattern requirements. For a stretchy, basic cap, you can knit in a knit 2, purl 2 rib pattern. You might also prefer to knit in just garter stitch, knitting each row. Another variation would be to knit the first two rows and then begin a stockinette stitch, knitting one row and purling the next. Knit for 4 to 6 inches, depending on the size of the child.

Decrease your rows to end the hat. A simple way to do that is to knit 2 stitches together, and then purl 2 stitches the length of the row. If knitting in garter stitch, you can knit 8, then knit 2 together throughout the row, decreasing the number of knit stitches by 2 each row. The second row would be knit 6, and then knit 2 together and so on. If in stockinette, follow the garter stitch decrease instructions, but purl the purl rows as usual. End with 6 to 8 stitches on the knitting needle.

Cut a 2-foot tail of yarn. Threading a yarn needle, carefully thread the needle through every stitch of the last row of knitting. Cinch tightly to form the top of the hat. You could also bind off your stitches as usual and sew a seam for the top. You might add a pom-pom or tassel, too.

Sew the sides of the hat together if you used straight needles. No further sewing is needed if you used circular or double pointed needles.

Cast on stitches for the scarf. You can use the same size needles as for the hat or you can use larger needles for a quicker project. Casting on about 29 stitches and then simply knitting each row is a great pattern for a cute, garter stitch scarf. You might want to knit it in stockinette also. You can add stripes or fringe, as you prefer.

Knit until the scarf is the length you desire. Bind off all stitches and weave in your tails of yarn. Add some fun fringe if desired.


  • Remember, scarves can stretch a bit, so don’t make your scarf too long.

    Experiment with different color combinations and fibers.