Free Pattern: Knit Fisherman Ribbed Hipster Hat

One day (like, back in December-when-it-was-still-cold one day), as I was trawling across Pinterest like I do, I came across this pin:

The caption of the pin read: “DIY Incredible Knitted Mustard Hat – Super Easy and Awesome”.  Ooh!  I thought.  Super easy awesome free knitted hat pattern!  So I clicked it.  The link took me here: a fashion design blog written in French, with beautiful designs, gorgeous handmade products for sale, and nary a knitting pattern in sight.

So, being the masochist that I am, I decided to figure out the pattern by myself.  It couldn’t be that hard, right?  Just some sort of rib with a wide wale, and a huge pompom on top?

As my not-so-subtle leading question would imply, with any pattern I attempt to replicate, the project took me many, many, many evenings of researching knitted rib patterns, figuring out how they work in the round, how to decrease them, the appropriate gauge, etc etc etc.  However, after many dribbling tears, I think I’ve finally got this hat (more or less) in my adult head size.

The trick to this hat is a stitch known loosely as “brioche”, or “fisherman rib”, or “prime rib”… honestly, I have no idea what the technical term is, because each of those stitches has a few different variations.  Plus, the skills behind each stitch varied excessively widely from one source to the next.  There were all sorts of skippings, slippings, knitting fronts and backs, etc.  But, the one I found to be the easiest was the most straightforward: k1, k1 below, repeat.  The end.  The result is a very stretchy, giving fabric.

(I think *technically* the stitch in the pictured hat above is a “brioche“, vs. the stitch I’m using is “fisherman rib“, or a “brioche rib“, but whatever, my version is easy and it gets the point across, yes?)

DSC_0369 DSC_0367

(Please excuse my ghetto-fabulous styrofoam head purchased for $2.99 at a thrift shop.  It suffered major structural damange in the move to China.  At least the hat covers the giant dent in the top of the head…)

I’ve used my ever-favorite Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick N Quick yarn, and size 13/15 16″ circular needles for this project. To replicate the beautiful smooth design of the original photo, I assume you can use a nice fancy thick single ply roving alpaca wool.  One of these days I’ll actually pony up and buy some.

To knit this hat, you will need to know the following:

  • k1 below
  • p1 below
  • k2tog
  • ssk

K1 below and p1 below sound waaay scarier than they really are.  Here is a picture tutorial on how to do both from the ever-dependable Purl Bee.  Here is a great video for k1 below, and here is a great video for p1 below.  Read/watch through them, be ready to try them out.  Ready? Okay!

Cast on 42 stitches with size 13 needles (16″ circular).  Join to work in the round and place marker.

Rows 1-5: k1, p1 rib

Row 6: switch to size 15 needles.  K2tog, p1 below, repeat around. (28 st left)

NOTE 1: On this row, when you p1 below, you will be purling into a knit stitch every other purl due to the stitch groupings of 3.  Do not be alarmed.  Purl into the knit stitch (BELOW, drop that top loop off!) and continue with faith.  You will also have what seems to be now a ridiculously small hat.  Again, faith, my friends, and carry on!

Row 7: k1 below (into the k2tog stitch), p1 as normal into the p1 below stitch from previous row.  Repeat around.

NOTE 2: this row is going to look like a hot mess. You’re going to wonder if you’re doing it right, because it looks really ugly; there will be weird lumps and loops everywhere.  Keep that faith going – it’ll be about four rows of ribbing before the hat pattern starts to look ‘right’.  I promise it looks better on your head.

A quick photo tutorial on “k1 below into k2tog stitch”:


Here, I’ve just purled normally, and am ready to k1 below into the k2tog from previous row


I’ve circled the two loops of the k2tog. Insert your needle through both loops to k1 below.


Insert your needle into the aforementioned loops…


Knit and draw your loop through…


Now the scariest part: lift the top loop off of the needle and drop it. Yes, drop it!


I like to give the back of the loop a bit of a tug to loosen it up. It will feel like you’re intentionally dropping a stitch and pulling it apart, but you’re NOT. Have faith!  This extra yarn is what creates the nice stretchy fabric between ribs.

Row 8: k1 as normal (into k1 below stitch), p1 below.  Repeat around.

Row 9: k1 below, p1 as normal (into p1 below stitch).  Repeat around.

Rows 10 and on: repeat rows 8 and 9 until hat measures about 6.5-7″ in length.  (This was about 12 rows of fisherman rib for me.)  Make sense?  You’ll be alternating k1/p1below and k1below/p1 every row.


This is what your hat will look like after several rows. It looks way too small, but it will magically stretch. A lot.

Decrease sequence: (transfer onto DPNs at this point)

Row 1-3: k1, p1 in a regular rib around. (Keep these rows loose otherwise they bunch up from the fisherman rib)

Row 4: k2tog, repeat to end of round.

Row 5: knit

Row 6: ssk, repeat to end of round.  Draw tight, fasten off.

Make extremely large pompom.  (As always, I tout my extra large pompom maker from Clover.) You’ll have two tails from tying it together; use these to thread into hat, sew a few stitches to secure, and then tie a square knot.  Secure some more, and fasten off.  The very top of the hat will look a little off from the fisherman rib.  The pompom should cover up any weirdness.

Squash hat on head and proceed to feel very hipster.  Hooray for hipster hats!

DSC_0374 DSC_0373

FINAL NOTE: you can probably make this hat easily using a real brioche stitch and you will probably end up with better results.  Be sure to let me know if you do.

Follow along with the project gallery on Ravelry!

92 thoughts on “Free Pattern: Knit Fisherman Ribbed Hipster Hat

    • I never made a matching cowl for this particular hat, although I can’t imagine it would be that difficult to create… maybe double the number of cast on stitches and follow the same hat pattern for the desired length? And then just bind off? Let me know if you try it out! 🙂

    • Hi there! Thanks for dropping by. I’ve never tried making this hat in a smaller size, but you could either try smaller knitting needles (depending on your gauge), or decrease the stitch count from 42 to something like 36 st. You may have to switch to dpns depending on how tight that is. Good luck!!!

      • Thank you! I’m an experienced crocheter but new to knitting. I very quickly learned that an afghan was to ambitious so I’m hoping this hat project might be a better starter. I think I might give the smaller needles idea a try first and see how that goes.

      • i would also like to make this for a two year old. but everywhere i’ve looked, no one has posted what gauge this is in! Nicole, did you end up making one for your two-year-old? if so, please share the details! also, how many stitches is the stitch made up of? i mean, if i’m going to decrease the number i cast on, should i do it by multiples of 2? or???


    • Cast on fewer stitches, depending on the size of the child’s head, maybe 30 stitches. Due to the 1×1 rib pattern, you must use an even number of stitches.

  1. Thanks so much for this! If i wanted to make the hat without the band, and just dive right into the fishermans/brioche stitch, would i just start with casting on 28 stitches and then jump to your row 8 & 9 instructions for my rows 1 and 2 (and so on)? or is there some special “base” row i have to do before starting the fishermans/brioche stitch rows?

    • Hi! Thanks for your question. I’ve never tried it without the ribbing, but I would guess that you could do it all brioche. You will need to knit at least one row before starting the brioche because it knits one ‘below’ which requires a base row. Hope that helps!

  2. You do not even understand. I saw that exact picture on Pinterest, had the exact same reaction when I followed the link, and have been frantically trying to figure out how to replicate it at home…I finally, finally found this blog and YOU ARE MY FAVORITE PERSON EVER! I have to go make 10 of these hats now!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

    • I used my Denise interchangeable knitting needle set for these. They’re fabulous and indispensable if you ever plan on knitting with more than one sized needle or different sized projects. Not the cheapest, but they are the cheapest (good) interchangeable needle set out there. But if you just want a 16″ 13 set, a quick amazon search turned up four or five under $10. Good luck!

      • Hi! It’s a good question. If you’ve never made hats in the round before, what happens is when you start decreasing, the fewer number of stitches are hard to stretch around the round needle. By the time you get to the top your circular needle is too big for the few stitches you have left, which is when you switch to DPNs. I have to say I really hate knitting on DPNs and if you’ve never done it before it’s a good idea to look at a few tutorials on youtube, and maybe start with an easier pattern, but sadly it’s necessary if you’re working in the round. The other option is to knit back and forth and then seam up the side, but I’m not sure how the fisherman stitch works when it’s not in the round, sadly. Good luck !

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  4. Love this so much, but can’t figure out how to translate this to crochet… any suggestions. I tried seeing if Ravelry had any, but no luck.

    • Hi! I LOVE my needles, they’re Denise Interchangeable ones. You can buy them off of Amazon or wherever for about $50. They’re not cheap, but once you buy them you never have to get another size again (unless you want smaller than 5 or larger than 15). Other companies make interchangeables but they tend to be really expensive. Good luck!!

  5. i would like to make this for a two year old. but everywhere i’ve looked, no one has posted what gauge this is in! can you tell me what the gauge is? also, how many stitches is the stitch made up of? i mean, if i’m going to decrease the number i cast on to fit a two year old, should i do it by multiples of 2? or???


  6. Reblogged this on Paper Covers Rock and commented:
    In the colder months here in this soggy city, I like to revitalize my relationships with all the hooker I know. And the castaways. And bad puns. 😉 In all seriousness, though, I do have a soft spot for DIY knits and crochet.

    One hat and pattern that I absolutely love to give to friends and family comes from a fellow blogger, AMAZING craftswoman and world traveler. Her blog is chock full of amazing patterns, and I hope that you’ll peruse them all when you stop by.

    This one, however, is my favorite. It works up so easy, and looks gorgeous on! Here’s a little teaser to wet the palette. Be sure to check out all of this lovely lady’s patterns (particularly her cloches and baby hats!) at Classy Crochet, linked below!

  7. Pingback: Free Pattern: Knit Fisherman Ribbed Hipster Hat | Paper Covers Rock

  8. Thanks so much for doing the hard work of not only figuring out the pattern, but posting it so clearly! Yay for lovely people like you 🙂

  9. Hi. I’m am actually doing a pillow cover in fisherman’s and hubby saw the pattern and wants it for a hat. Hence finding you! I haven’t worked in the round yet, but I’m more concerned about the dpn’s I feel like I’ve seen various sizes. What should I look for size wise? Thanks! And many thanks for the pattern!!!

  10. Hello! I was wondering how yards of yarn this took, sorry if was mentioned somewhere in here. Also, would it be ok with you if I used this for a non-profit? Not selling the pattern or anything but just making them for it?

    • HI! You are more than welcome to make and sell as many hats as you’d like. 🙂 The hat takes a little less than one skein of Lion Brand Thick n Quick, which I believe is 106 yards, so it should take less than 100 yards, including the pompom. You can adjust the pompom to be as poufy or not poufy as you’d like, depending on how much yarn you have left over. Hope that helps!

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  12. Can I just say this is one of the BEST patterns I have ever seen! Every time I had a question or a freak out my answer was right there! I usually have to work a lot harder to read a pattern. THANK you so much! This was such a fun hat to make!

  13. Awesome! I too found that hat on pinterest and was hoping to make it. Thank you SO much! Now to go and dive into the stash to find yarn and needles!!!

  14. Hey! This is adorable! One of my followers sent your link to me and asked me if I could do a video tutorial on how to make this hat. I wanted to ask you first and see if you’re alright with that! Here is my youtube channel in case you’d like to see: Thank you!

  15. Pingback: Handmade Holidays Nov. 13: Gifts for Hipsters | Sew Mama Sew | Outstanding sewing, quilting, and needlework tutorials since 2005.

  16. I am only a beginner knitter and am having the worst time figuring out how to bind off. I am at the last row of ssk and then it says draw tight. I am not sure how to do this!!!????????

    • Hi! Sorry the directions are confusing. After your last row of SSK, you leave a length of yarn probably about 12-15″ and then cut it off. I use a needle to thread the yarn through the last few stitches of the row and then draw it tight, the top of the hat will close. Then I weave the end in on the inside of the hat. Hope that helps! Jen

    • I love this pattern too ! I’m trying to duplicate this on straight needles.. but im a beginner and having the most trouble with which side to knit or purl!! Is it possible for you to share the knit instructions for straight needles ?thanks do much!

  17. I have a friend who photographed a hat in a shop and asked if I could make one for her, I’m going to attempt your pattern as it’s similar. I’m trying it with two different yarns together as that what afore mentioned shop hat has so I may have to experiment a little with it. I’ll let you know how I get on, thanks for all your hard work devising this, I hoping I don’t get in a pickle!

    • Did you use the same needle and yarn size than this adult version?!
      When you say 51/2 inches… Is it for the height of the brioche part, or of the hole hat?

      I’m anxious to start a kid version but dont have the gut to waste time redoing it if too big… lol!

  18. thank you for this gorgeous written pattern. I’m actually trying to do it on a loom so is there any possible way to skip row 6 or is it necessary? thanks

  19. I started learning how to knit about 5 months ago and always wanted to learn how to do this but was too afraid to try it. Finally tried it today and got the hat done in only a few hours! I was working on it in between my work day but very easy to do, love the thick yarn and seems like it’s going to be a great gift! Thank you so much!

  20. I made this hat for the first time today, and i must say it is my new favorite pattern!! Would it be okay if I sold hats I make from this pattern in my Etsy store?

    Thanks, Lindsey

  21. I didn’t see if you mentioned that we could sell this finished hat (or I missed it). I just listed it but thought I should check (i’m new to etsy so I forget to do these things). I love it by the way! you rock!

  22. Hi! I am loving that you’ve created a pattern for this!!! Thank you!! I am finding my brioche ribs to be very uneven:( there are some big know and small as you go up. How do you make yours so even? I must be doing something wrong:( this is my third try!!


  24. Hii, i loveee making this hat so much. Would it be okay for me to sell the hats? That seems to be a good way to be able to keep buying yarn to make them
    Have a great day! Xx

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  26. I love this hat! However, after four tries and starting over each time, I could NOT understand this pattern. I went to the local yarn shop and we tried for two hours to make it work, but didn’t have luck. Finally, she searched the projects that were made and someone posted a row by row You Tube video! It was a life saver!!!! You worked so hard to explain it and encourage your audience, but I felt like a failure. I finally understand the “knit one below” and that made all the difference! I’m working on my second hat now.

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  28. I made it:) It’s very easy to follow and turned out to be very nice. Just like a store-bought hat. I made in red color. Now, I’m going to make the 2nd one in grey. Perfect timing for Xmas gift. Thanks again for your pattern and instructions!!!

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