Hat Pattern Template

by | Apr 12, 2022 | knitdesign

Did you read last week’s blog post about the basics of style sheets? Well this week we are going to use an example pattern to show how that all comes together for my patterns. We are starting simple with a full break down of a hat pattern – specifically my free Snappy Hat.



I keep word documents of my pattern templates, so that it is easy for me to pull up the hat version and fill in all the relevant information and poof! We have a hat pattern. This also has the benefit of making my language and abbreviations more standard and it saves me so much time.

The first section of my pattern template is the sizing and gauge. I do everything in inches and centimeters. I do the centimeter measurements in square brackets as you can see below. Now I don’t always give sizes like small or extra-large, but for this pattern the old version had it, and I didn’t want to omit it. I also include the gauge in this section in inches and centimeters and letting the knitter know what pattern the gauge is measured in.

Sizing & Gauge

To fit Adult S (M, L, XL) – hat is very stretchy

Hat Circumference: 18 (20, 22, 24)” [45.5 (51, 56, 61) cm]

Height: 9” [23 cm]

16 sts and 20 rnds = 4” [10 cm] in cable pattern

Next up I do all the materials together – the yarn, the needles, and all the notions. For the yarn I do the measurements in yards and then meters again in the square brackets. And then I do the weights in ounces and grams. For the needles I specify the US size AND the millimeter size, plus I tell folks if they need a certain size circular or dpns. I also always include the “adjust needle size to achieve gauge” because we know as designers that the gauge is WAY more important than the needle size. 


Approximately 90 (100, 110, 120) yds [80 (90, 100, 110) m] bulky yarn

Sample shown in: Stitch Sprouts Crater Lake (100% Superwash Merino; 110 yds [100 m] / 3.5 oz [100 g])

US #10.5 [6.5 mm] 16” circular needles and dpns; adjust needle size to achieve gauge

stitch marker, tapestry needle, cable needle

I like to list my abbreviations alphabetically and I try to stick to the Craft Yarn Council of America’s abbreviations. The notable exception are the abbreviations for ssk and ssp. For those I always use Kate Atherley’s abbreviations. She has an entire blog post on the ssk and has very strong opinions about it. Um, she is totally right. The ssk is one of those stitches that can totally trip up newer knitters – and we know we don’t want to do that. So read the blog post and grab those definitions to add to your own style sheet.


2/2 LC – (2 over 2 left cross) slip 2 stitches to cable needle and hold in front, knit next 2 stitches, then knit 2 from cable needle 

3/3 LC – (3 over 3 left cross) slip 3 stitches to cable needle and hold in front, knit next 3 stitches, then knit 3 from cable needle

CO – cast on

dpns – double pointed needles

inc(‘d) – increase(d)

k – knit

k2tog – knit 2 together

kfb – knit into front and back of same stitch

p – purl

p2tog – purl 2 together

rep – repeat

rnd(s) – round(s)

ssk – slip the next two stitches, knitwise, individually, return them to the left needle without twisting and knit them together through the back loop

st(s) – stitch(es)

Next up in my patterns is all the stitch patterns. When in doubt write it out! I don’t assume that the knitter knows exactly what I mean when I say k2p2 ribbing – I define it. Although in this pattern we do a modified ribbing so that the ribbing flows perfectly into the cables – it’s one of my must-haves in patterns. I also list the stitch multiples – here the ribbing is a multiple of 7 sts and then we have an increase row so that the cable pattern can be a multiple of 8 sts. 

Stitch Patterns

Ribbing (multiple of 7 sts)

Rnd 1: *K2, p1, k2, p2; rep from * to end of rnd.

Rep Rnd 1 for pattern.

Cable Pattern (multiple of 8 sts)

Rnd 1: *K6, p2; rep from * to end of rnd.

Rnd 2: *3/3 LC, p2; rep from * to end of rnd.

Rnds 3-6: *K6, p2; rep from * to end of rnd.

Rep Rnds 1-6 for pattern.

Are we ready for instructions yet?!? Yes, finally we are. In some patterns I will also have a notes section before the actual instructions, but this pattern is very basic so it’s not necessary. I break most hat patterns into three sections – the brim or ribbing, the hat body, and the crown. I use the standard method of listing stitch counts with parentheses – the smallest size comes first with each following size in parentheses separated by commas. So, we start with the hat brim and then we work an increase round. Because the stitch count has changed, I add the new stitch counts after the increase round so folks can make sure they are on track. And then the hat body is easy peasy, we just work the cable pattern until the hat is tall enough. 



CO 63 (70, 77, 84) sts. Place marker, and join to work in the rnd, being careful not to twist.

Work in Ribbing for 9 rnds.

Inc Rnd: *K2, kfb, k2, p2; rep from * to end of rnd—72 (80, 88, 96) sts.



Work the 6-rnd Cable Pattern until hat measures 7” [18 cm] or about 2” [5 cm] less than total desired hat height, ending after Rnd 2 (the cable rnd).

For the hat crown I always add the note about switching to dpns when needed – we don’t assume folks know to do that! And then the stitch count for the hat changes on every decrease round so I add those stitch counts each time. It’s always better to have more stitch counts than you think the knitter needs. Plus having those stitch counts makes it easier on your tech editor because they know exactly what you think should be happening.


Note: Switch to dpns when sts don’t comfortably fit on the circular needle.

Rnd 1: *K6, p2tog; rep from * to end of rnd—63 (70, 77, 84) sts.

Rnd 2: *K6, p1; rep from * to end of rnd.

Rnd 3: *K4, k2tog, p1; rep from * to end of rnd—54 (60, 66, 72) sts.

Rnd 4: *Ssk, k3, p1; rep from * to end of rnd—45 (50, 55, 60) sts.

Rnd 5: *2/2 LC, p1; rep from * to end of rnd.

Rnd 6: *K2, k2tog, p1; rep from * to end of rnd—36 (40, 44, 48) sts.

Rnd 7: *Ssk, k1, p1; rep from * to end of rnd—27 (30, 33, 36) sts.

Rnd 8: *K2tog, p1; rep from * to end of rnd—18 (20, 22, 24) sts.

Rnd 9: *K2tog; rep from * to end of rnd—9 (10, 11, 12) sts.

Rnd 10: K1 (0, 1, 0), *k2tog; rep from * to end of rnd—5 (5, 6, 6) sts.

And finally, it’s time for the finishing. Which is pretty simple for this hat – it’s just cinching up the last few stitches and weaving in ends. Also blocking has become like a big issue in the knitting world (don’t ask me why – I don’t know!) so I’ve been trying to give a bit more detail in my blocking instructions. My standard has been “block using desired method” but I’ve been trying to expand on that as I reformat patterns.


Cut yarn and use a tapestry needle to draw up all the remaining stitches. Weave in ends. Block lightly to improve the appearance of the cables – I like to just give it a quick steam with the iron and stretch it into place.

And that’s all there is to it! Basically, most patterns break down into the same general sections – now some folks include the stitch patterns within the actual item instructions, but I find having the stitch patterns separately preferable. So, for my patterns the main outline goes like this:


Sizing & Gauge



Stitch Patterns


Instructions – divided into sections



Want to see how this looks all laid out and ready for the customer? Grab your free copy of the Snappy Hat to see it all put together!


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