The Scrappy Gnome Hat Pattern

Clearly my presence here has been kind of spotty lately.  I thought about doing a “where I’ve been” type post, but then I figured I’d never get around to it, so how’s about a cute free knitting pattern instead?


These two are just silly!


Though the silly hats aren’t actually for them, they are for these little guys…



This pattern is pretty much as easy as knitting gets.  It’s the perfect keeping-your-hands-busy-while-doing-something-else kind of knitting, in two sizes, that as it turns out, fit just about everyone.  It also happens to be the ideal stash busting project.  In fact, that’s the whole idea behind it!  It also knits up extremely quick.  Like, need a gift for tomorrow?  This is the way to go, quick.

So this is what you’re going to need:

A set of size 13 double point needles


A bag, basket, pile, whatever (!) of scrap yarns,  both worsted and bulky weight, in colors that complement each other.

that’s it.


Scrappy Gnome Hat

For the pattern in an easy to print PDF version, click here.

The hat comes in two sizes.  The baby/toddler size is first, fitting around 6 months-2.5 years (It’s shown here on both a one year old and a two year old), with directions for the kid/adult version following in parenthesis (shown here on a 3 year old, a 5 year old and a 31 year old).  The entire hat is worked in the round while holding both a strand of worsted and a strand of bulky yarn.  As you run out of one yarn, replace it with another like weight yarn.  The two different colored yarns are what give the hat it’s heathered appearance.  Switching one yarn at a time means that one section kind of blends and fades into the next.

CO 42 (52) sts, pm, join in the round

K 3 rounds

Round 4: K2tog, K 20 (25), K2tog, K to end

Continue even until hat measures 4 3/4″ (5 1/2″)

On the next round: *K8, K2tog* 4 times (*K8, K2tog* 5 times)

K 3 (4) rounds

On the next round: *K7, K2tog* 4 times (*K7, K2tog* 5 times)

K 3 (4) rounds

On the next round: *K6, K2tog* 4 times (*K6, K2tog* 5 times)

K3 (4) rounds

On the next round: *K5, K2tog* 4 times (*K5, K2tog* 5 times)

K 3 (4) rounds

On the next round: *K4, K2tog* 4 times (*K4, K2tog* 5 times)

K 3 (4) rounds

On the next round: *K3, K2tog* 4 times (*K3, K2tog* 5 times)

K 3 (4) rounds

On the next round: *K2, K2tog* 4 times (*K2, K2tog* 5 times)

K 1 round

K1, K2tog around

Larger size only:

(K 1 round

K2tog around)

Both sizes:

K 5 rounds

K2tog around

switch to knitting a i-cord for around 6 repeats

bind off and work in ends

If you knit it, let me know how it turns out!  And, as always, I’d love to see pictures!

You can check out other people’s gnome hats and post your own here on Ravelry.


Hee-hee!  He looks like a little garden gnome, doesn’t he?

And who knows?  Maybe someday I’ll even get around to posting about that sweater.


78 thoughts on “The Scrappy Gnome Hat Pattern

  1. Stacy

    Cute hats! And I’m glad to see that my little guy isn’t the only one who chews on the backpack straps when I’m wearing him! :)

  2. LineMarie

    So cute!! I was looking for a quick something to knit, that will be it!
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. bernell

    How adorable. I keep 3 little girls in my home (2 two yr olds and 1 year old) and this will be a quick and adorable gift for any occasion. I have been knitting for about 2 years and am always looking for quick and easy ways to enjoy my craft. I make lots of character and animal hats and look forward to sharing with everyone. thanks again. love it

  4. Rachel

    This was brill! Thanks for sharing. I was looking for something to keep me busy on a trip to Wales but I finished it before I even set off…hehe, popped to the local yarn shop and bought more yarn to make an adult one in the car! love it!

  5. Melody Post author

    Thank you everyone! I’m glad you are enjoying the pattern. I’m enjoying watching little gnome hats pop up on Ravelry.

    Dear chatty cathy,

    No problem! Here is an excellent video explaining the technique:

    And here is an article describing how to knit an i-cord, if you prefer to learn that way:

    If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

  6. Diane

    I do hope you post about the sweater!! it’s gorgeous, would love to knit one for my little guy!

  7. sami

    I found your pattern and liked it the best so I just made it and LOVE the hat! thank you so much! I’m a total beginner, just having picked up knitting a few weeks ago, and this was just the perfect project. I did it on one pointed needles, though, because the dpns were just an extra stretch for me. still came out great!

  8. Melody Post author

    When a pattern like this says to “continue even” or “work even”, it means to keep working in the set pattern without any increases or decreases until the point stated. So, in this case it means that you would continue working in stockinette stitch (knitting every round) until the hat measures 4 3/4″ (for the small version) or 5 1/2″ (for the larger version). I hope this helps! If you have any further questions, feel free to ask away!
    Happy knitting,

  9. Mary

    Thank you so much for this pattern. When one has a little one, there are countless friends, birthday parties and now the holidays coming. This is a perfect gift for everyone. We have cold winters in Colorado and this is a great hat to lift the spirits on those grey days.

    Looking forward to a pattern for the little sweater you show on the little boy sitting down. I love that sweater. Would so enjoy making it for my granddaughter. Thank you.

  10. Melody Post author

    Hi Jeannine,

    You are welcome to print the pattern. I haven’t put this one together into a PDF that is easy to print yet (maybe sometime next week). But you absolutely can print it. It’s just that all of the pictures, the comments and the other parts of the post will print along with it.

    PM stands for “place marker”

    If you read through the comments above, I linked to a tutorial and a youtube clip that explain how to knit an i-cord.

    If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask!

  11. Melody Post author

    To everyone wondering about the sweater, it’s an Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket. One of these days I’ll try to dig out those old pictures and post about it (I knitted it well over a year ago, along with a matching one for this little guy’s brother).

  12. Laura J Conklin

    I think it’s so cool that you’re giving away this pattern. It’s good karma. Can I make these to sell at my church bazaar? I would not sell your pattern, EVER, but would like to make a couple hats to sell at my church. thannks!

  13. Melody Post author

    Totally cute Genevieve! I happen to have a little girl with a red gnome hat all ready for Halloween as well. :)

  14. Hannah

    Very cute! I’m going to make this for my family for halloween. This may be a dumb question but how do you knit in the round? Do I need a circular needle? I’ve only even knitted on straight needles and then sewn the seams together. Thanks!

  15. Melody Post author

    Hi Hannah,
    The only dumb knitting questions are the ones that don’t get asked and result in a huge waste of time! You will need what are called double point needles for this pattern. You will cast on to several of these (probably 4 will be most comfortable for you) and then you will bring all of the needles in to a circle (sort of, it will have sides obviously because the needles are straight, so really a triangle for 3 needles a square for 4, etc) and start knitting with the first stitch that you cast so that everything is now connected. Then you just keep working your way around the circle. Stockinette Stitch, which is used for this pattern is just knitting every stitch. This can be a bit confusing because when you knit flat, as you have been, you knit one row and then purl a row to create the same pattern. If you are able to, I suggest checking out a couple of youtube videos on knitting in the round. I think it’s much easier to understand if you can actually see someone doing it. And feel free to write again if you have any questions. I’m happy to help.

  16. Theresa (Miss Charlotte)

    Oh. Mah. Gawd!!! I just posted on FB that I needed a knitted hat pattern and my dad found yours…I neglected to mention it was for me, but never you mind that….these are the cutest, most adorable, absolutely delicious little hats I have ever seen! (Your kids are cuter, but we’re talkin’ about hats here…) I love them.

  17. Angela

    I haven’t knitted in 14 years and I decided to pick up the needles once again. After a visit to our local knitting shop away I went. To my surprise your pattern was very easy to follow. However, there were was another surprise… my newborn gnome hat was HUGE!
    That was O.k., because my nearly 2 yr old LOVED it and won’t take it off. He even sleeps in it!
    Many Thanks again for your adorable well loved hat pattern.

    *I have photos to share but don’t know how to attach them within this comment box

  18. Melody Post author

    I’m so glad that you found the pattern easy to follow! I don’t actually have a newborn size for this pattern (yet. I’m thinking I might add one in the future). As it says in the pattern, the smallest size is for around 6 months- 2.5 years. Babies heads do *a lot* of growing in those first 6 months. It’s a shame that it doesn’t fit it’s intended recipient, but great that you found someone to love it anyway!! I don’t know if it’s possible to post photos within the comments, but you could email it to me at: But if you are going to start knitting again, it might be time to set up a Ravelry account! Ravelry is a knitting community with a lot of great resources. You can share your projects there and then if you wanted to share with us here, you could post a link.

  19. Francoise

    I love your hat… I also will love to have the cardigan pattern. Is it your own? Where could I get it?

    Thanks again for your adorable hat pattern.

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  21. Deanne

    I am only new to knitting I am still to work out the correct needles sizes, could you confirm if it is an English or American size 13 needle? In Australia we go by mm’s.
    Thank you so much.

  22. inanna

    great hat…a definate one for my 4 grandkids….and i adore the sweater…Did you make up the pattern? is it available …just what i was looking for unique and simple …thanks

  23. Norman Gallacci

    Just copied your Gnome hat pattern. Question? On page 5, you mention….”swth to knitting i-cord for around 6 repeats.” What does that mean? I’m a novice knitter. Thank you,

  24. Melody Post author

    Hi Norman,

    There are a couple of links in the comments above to tutorials on knitting i-cords. They should clear things up for you. Just repeat the steps 6 times or for as long as you want the little curly bit on the top to be.

    Thanks for writing and happy knitting!


  25. Lu

    Wonderful hats although I’m finding it a little too small (for myself and my 5 year old who has a big head). I did it in the larger size but perhaps I made an error… going to restart again and see what happens. Am I the only one who found the hat a little small????

  26. Melody Post author

    I haven’t had any other complaints. Which is not to say that there aren’t other people out there who have had a problem and just haven’t said anything. But all the feedback that I’ve gotten is that it’s very stretchy and accommodates a large range of head sizes. Are you generally a tight knitter?

  27. Melissa @ Dyno-mom

    I thought that was the baby surprise jacket! I <3 knitting those! I love all of Elizabeth Zimmerman's books! Just that sweater reminds me that I need to bust one out. Also, thanks for the pattern. I was too lazy to work out the decreases myself on a hat a have half done already.

  28. Jennifer

    I too am a new knitter. I adore this hat and am so excited to give it a try. I’ve read through all the comments which have cleared up most of my questions. I do have one regarding the two types of yarn. Do I use both strands so I’m knitting 2 strands together (if that makes sense)? I’m just not sure what “holding” both strands means/looks like. Thank you for the clarification :)

  29. Melody Post author

    It means exactly what you think it means! Good luck and feel free to ask questions any time!

    happy knitting,

  30. Jennifer

    Okay. I got my needles & yarn in the mail today – woot! woot! Just sat down and started making the hat (I’m the newbie knitter!)… anyway, I completed Round 4 and then it says “continue even until hat measures 4 3/4 ” – do I continue just straight knitting, or do I continue knitting as I did for round 4 (with K2tog at the start and after the K20).

  31. Ken lastimer

    That is just cruel. Imagine the bullying they’ll get if they are seen by boys in jauntily angled baseball caps.

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  33. Melody Post author

    Yes, if you use the magic loop method. If you are unfamiliar with that technique, just do a quick google search and you should be able to figure it out. Good luck and happy knitting!

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  36. Jesse

    I’m not from the US. What is worsted wool?
    Do you have to knit with both the bulky and the worsted together?

    Thank so much!

  37. Melody Post author

    Hi Jesse,

    Worsted weight yarn is a medium weight yarn, heavier then sport or dk,
    lighter then bulky. Here is a chart that lays out the different weights of
    yarn, along with their gauge, to help you determine what might be a good

    Yes, you hold both yarns together and knit them at the same time.

    Please let me know if I can help with anything else!

    happy knitting,

  38. Lucia

    I’m trying to follow this pattern for a size baby. However I’m using a #7 needle, I need some help:

    1. Measurements –> for the #13 needle, 42 std –> what size should I get? What should be my gauge?

    2. Decreasing –> should I change anything on the decreasing?

    Best regards,




  40. Hazel

    I am a knitting beginner but have fallen in love with, and would like to knit your larger size scrappy gnome hat.
    However at the end you say
    ‘switch to kntting a i-cord’. I do not know what i-cord is.
    Would you please explain this to me.
    Thank you. Hazel

  41. JenniluJ

    Quick question… I’m a beginning knitter. When you use double point needles, do you CO 42 stitches for each “side” of your triangle, or do you divide the stitches between the three sections? I’ve read through most of the questions/comments. All of them were very helpful and answered a lot of my questions. Thank you!

  42. Madeline Robinson

    Hi! These hats are SO cute thanks for the pattern! I was wondering if you’ve done a newborn gnome hat and perhaps could estimate the number of cast on stitches for that? Or have you ever written out a pattern for a newborn size gnome hat? Thanks!!

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  45. Annie

    I don’t know how to knit with double pointed needles and I wonder if it’s possible to knit this with regular knitting needles and then just sew up the seam at the end? That’s the only type of hat I’ve been able to make since I don’t know how to knit in the round. Let me know if you think it would be possible. These are adorable and thought one would be perfect for my 14-month-old!

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  47. Zara

    Hi there, I’m trying to convert your pattern to use dk yarn but I can’t find a gauge anywhere in the instructions. I would have preferred to work in worsted like yours but my local yarn shop is too pricey!

  48. Jules

    I’ve created a new tradition of knitting one of these delightful hats for each of my club mates with a new child. The kids love them and I adore how quick they come together. Plus a tribe of littles running around with gnome hats is pretty much the cutest thing ever. Thank you for sharing this pattern!

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  50. Susan Hancock

    I have just started the scrappy gnome hat can you please tell me when you do the stripes do you double the
    Plain colour to make it the same thickness as the 2 yarns together or do you use single yarns for the stripes. The knitting in my mind doesn’t look very good as the single yarns are much thinner than the 2 yarns put together, hope you can understand my question. I’m really not happy at the result I’m getting.

  51. Sherry

    This is such an awesome pattern! I dont have enough scraps so I was wondering in your estimation as to how many yards do you think it takes to create this? Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful pattern!

  52. Mhairi Cornish

    I’d LOVE to make this hat for my friend’s daughter (she’s called Elfie), however, I’m rubbish at using round needles, I’m very much a beginner. I was wondering if it’s possible to make it using 2 normal needles and sewing it up at the end?

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  58. Bear

    I should be able to use circular needles that I use for hats, never got the hang of DPN.

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