If you’d like to learn how to knit a hat, or just want to upgrade your knitting tools, I’ll make sure that you have all of the essential hat knitting supplies to knit the best hat ever!
It’s no secret that I knit a lot of hats around here. That’s kind of my thing, apparently. Isn’t life funny sometimes? Because no, that was not the original plan, but here we are and I’m having a blast!
Anyway, for many people, when you start knitting first you make a scarf. And it’s probably a little lopsided and has a couple of holes. That’s normal. And then you make some more scarves because that’s how you learn. Maybe you graduate to other flat knitting like a shawl or even a simple poncho.
But you keep putting off knitting hats because it sounds scary. I felt the same way the first time I tried to sew a buttonhole. Knitting in the round sounds weird, and double pointed needles?! Might as well be actual doctor’s office needles for how scary they seem when you haven’t used them.
We’ve all been there!
The good news is that none of these new skills are as hard as you think they’re going to be. And once you’ve knit one hat, you can basically knit all hats.
But, it definitely is a good idea to make sure that you have all of the essential hat knitting supplies before you start. You’ve got to set yourself up for success! Here are the hat knitting supplies and tools that I always have on hand when I sit down to knit a hat!
Essential Hat Knitting Needles
Circular Knitting Needles
For all but the tiniest hats, you will need circular knitting needles. Your pattern or the yarn label will tell you what needle size you need. For example, many of my patterns use worsted weight yarn which can use US 7 (4.5mm) knitting needles. In terms of length, 16″ circular needles will fit most hats. If you are knitting a tiny little preemie sized hat, or a newborn sized hat but you knit tightly, you might not be able to fit the stitches on a 16″ circular needle. But it’s a good all-purpose length that will work for most hats.
The other consideration, of course, is metal vs. bamboo or wood knitting needles. I’m a die-hard bamboo knitting needle fan. But some people prefer metal needles and that’s ok. I find them a little cold and slippery but there’s no right or wrong answer on this one, it’s purely a matter of preference. If you’ve made it past the scarf knitting stage, you probably already know how you feel about it.
Theses are my favorite 16″ circular knitting needles in bamboo. You can find these needles in small sizes like a US Size 2 (2.75mm) for use with fine yarns all the way up to larger sizes like US Size 15 (10mm) for use with chunky or bulky weight yarns.
Double Pointed Knitting Needles
When you knit a hat, in order to make the top of the hat, you have to decrease the number of stitches in each round towards the top. Eventually, during this decreasing section, you will have too few stitches to stretch the full length of your circular knitting needles and you will have to switch to double pointed knitting needles.
I know, I know, you want to know if there’s a way to avoid this. Well, yes and no. You can learn magic loop knitting, which is where you use one extra-long circular needle instead of DPN’s. It’s a great technique, but to be honest, I felt that learning magic loop was more difficult than learning how to use double pointed needles, and DPN’s are something every knitter needs in their arsenal anyway so it’s best to just buckle down and do it.
In most cases, when knitting a hat, your double pointed needles should match your circular needles. They should be the same material and size. So if you used bamboo Size US 7 circular knitting needles for the first part of your hat, you should use a set of bamboo Size US 7 double pointed knitting needles for the decrease section of your hat.
Unless the pattern specifies otherwise, in most cases, 6″ long double pointed needles are a good choice. You can use longer DPN’s but you probably shouldn’t go shorter. You will need a set of 5.
These are my favorite bamboo double pointed needles.
Essential Hat Knitting Supplies
A Good Hat Knitting Pattern
If you’re a beginner or are just starting out knitting hats, I recommend you start off with a simple hat knitting pattern. Don’t pick something complicated to start. Your hat will only be as good as the pattern you choose. A great place to start is my Back to Basics series of knitting patterns which are easy enough for beginners but can be customized lots of ways!
My favorite thing about knitting hats is that most of time they’re knit in the round. You can achieve beautiful stockinette stitch without purling! Plus you don’t have to stop and turn your work all the time and interrupt your flow. The downside, of course, is keeping track of how many rounds you’ve knit.
This is why you definitely need stitch markers for your hat knitting. I like the kind of stitch markers that are removable. You should place one at the end of the round so you can keep track of your rounds.
Some patterns will call for more stitch markers to help you keep track of pattern repeats, or, if you find yourself getting confused, you can certainly add them within the rounds yourself!
Wait, what? I’m knitting, why do I need a crochet hook?
We all drop stitches sometimes and I find a crochet hook is the easiest way to fix a dropped stitch!
One of the most forgotten knitting supplies is the ruler or measuring tape. But I always have one with me. For a hat, you need it to check the height of the hat and make sure it’s the right size, you also need a ruler to check your gauge on any knitting project.
Ever finally finish a color or an entire knitting project on the road only to discover you have nothing to cut your yarn with? Yep! That’s happened to me! Once I ended up hacking at it with a nail clippers. It worked. But it was not my favorite experience and since then I always carry tiny scissors.
And if you’re wondering, yes, you can bring your knitting, including scissors, on an airplane (which is a perfect time to knit, if you ask me). Always check their guidelines but right now it says they must be less than 4″ long and the blades should be protected in your bag.
You should always always have a yarn needle in your hat knitting toolkit. You can use it weave in ends and you will need it for seaming or attaching any applique or other embellishments (like animal ears)! I keep this whole set of yarn needles in my notions pouch because they have a tendency to get lost between couch cushions….
Optional Hat Knitting Supplies
Pom Pom Maker
Most of my patterns with pom poms include instructions on how to make a pom pom without a pom pom maker. I hate to force anyone to buy special tools that they might not use very often. That being said, I recently bought myself some pom pom makers and wow, do they make pom poms easier to make! I might be a convert!
If you’re going to make pom poms, you really need a pair of big scissors to trim the poms with. Trust me on this. Trying to trim a pom pom with tiny embroidery scissors is just asking for a disaster. I recommend nice sharp sewing scissors, don’t try and use the all-purpose paper cutting scissors from your junk drawer. It will not go well.
And that’s it, you should be all set with the essential hat knitting supplies that every knitter needs! I keep my hat knitting supplies in a little zipper pouch so they’re always together. It has saved me SO much time and frustration to keep them together like that!
Happy hat knitting, friends!
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