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Garter Ear Flap Hat

This Garter Ear Flap Hat was an engineering feat to get me back on my feet. You see, I didn’t exactly have that quintessential fresh-start feeling that so often comes with the New Year. Instead, I spent January 1st in bed with the flu and its attendant fever, aches, chills, and delirium. Just as the worst was passing, Mother Nature blasted us with a Polar Vortex that I did not have the strength nor will to face.

Cabin fever set in! Groggy from illness and stir-crazed from quarantine, I was determined to prove my health (and sanity), and so, making this hat became a triumphant product of my bruised spirit. I created this hat that simultaneously hangs on and hugs my head, which provides protection and insulation from a season that had been beating me down.

Still enamored with the ease of working short rows in garter stitch (as with my Knit Elbow Patches), I constructed this hat in one seamless piece using Purl Soho’s soft and lush Alpaca Pure. The more I knit with this incredibly comforting yarn, the better I felt. And the topper made it official. Slightly pointed with a tiny tassel, the finish delivered cheer and whimsy. I was back to my healthy self!

With my head toasty warm and back in full heath, that fresh-start feeling did arrive… just a little late this year. A belated Happy New Year to all! May it be a healthy one. -Laura

Materials

Gauge

4 1/4 stitches and 8 rows = 1 inch in garter stitch with smaller needle

Sizes

Baby (Toddler, Kid, Adult Small, Adult Medium, Adult Large)

  • Finished Circumference: 14 (16, 17 3/4, 19 3/4, 21 3/4, 23 1/2) inches
  • Finished Height: 7 1/4 (8, 9, 10, 11 1/2, 12 3/4) inches, from bottom of ear flap to top of hat, not including tassel

Notes

The Right and Left Ear Flaps are shaped using short rows. For our complete  Short Rows Tutorial, please click here. NOTE: Because the short rows are worked in garter stitch in this pattern, you do not have to pick up the wraps; simply ignore the wraps when you come to them and work the wrapped stitch normally.

wrp-t [wrap and turn]: keeping the yarn in back, slip the next stitch purlwise from the left needle to the right needle. Bring the yarn forward as if to purl. Return the stitch from the right needle back to the left needle. Turn the work.

sskp [slip slip knit pass]: Slip two stitches together knitwise, knit 1, pass slipped stitches over knit stitch and off needle. (2 stitches decreased)

Pattern

NOTE: This pattern is also available as a printer-friendly PDF. Just click here.

Begin

With larger needle, cast on 60 (68, 76, 84, 92, 100) stitches.

Place marker and join for working in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches.

Knit 2 rounds.

Change to smaller needles.

Next round: Knit 3 (4, 4, 4, 5, 6) stitches, place marker (pm), knit 16 (18, 20, 23, 25, 27) stitches for Left Ear Flap, pm, knit 22 (24, 28, 30, 32, 34) stitches for Front, pm, knit 16 (18, 20, 23, 25, 27) stitches for Right Ear Flap, pm, knit to end.

Shape Left Ear Flap

NOTE: For this portion of the pattern, you will be working in Short Rows, back and forth, turning the work part way through each round, rather than continuing to the end of the needle. For a tutorial, click here.

NOTE: If a dash (" - ") appears in place of a number for your size, omit this line of instruction.

Next Row (right side): Knit to 7 (8, 9, 10, 11, 12) stitches before second marker, wrp-t.

Next Row: Knit to 7 (8, 9, 10, 11, 12) stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to - (-, -, -, -, 11) stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to - (-, -, -, 10, 10) stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to - (-, -, 9, 9, 9) stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to - (-, 8, 8, 8, 8) stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to - (7, 7, 7, 7, 7) stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows (all sizes): Knit to 6 stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to 5 stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to 4 stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to 3 stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to 2 stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to 1 stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Shape Right Ear Flap

NOTE: For this portion of the pattern, you will once again be working in Short Rows.

NOTE: If a " - " appears in place of a number for your size, omit this line of instruction.

Next Row (right side): Knit to 7 (8, 9, 10, 11, 12) stitches before fourth marker, wrp-t.

Next Row: Knit to 7 (8, 9, 10, 11, 12) stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to - (-, -, -, -, 11) stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to - (-, -, -, 10, 10) stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to - (-, -, 9, 9, 9) stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to - (-, 8, 8, 8, 8) stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to - (7, 7, 7, 7, 7) stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows (all sizes): Knit to 6 stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to 5 stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to 4 stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to 3 stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to 2 stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Two Rows: Knit to 1 stitches before next marker, wrp-t.

Next Row: Knit to end of round.

Work Body of Hat

Round 1: Purl (removing 4 stitch markers).

Round 2: Knit.

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until piece measures 4 (4 1/4, 4 3/4, 5 1/4, 6 1/4, 7) inches from the rolled edge at the center of an Ear Flap, or until approximately 3 1/4 (3 3/4, 4 1/4, 4 3/4, 5 1/4, 5 3/4) inches shy of desired finished height.

Shape Crown of Hat

NOTE: Switch to double pointed needles when necessary.

Set-Up Round: P7 (8, 9, 10, 11, 12), k1, mark previous stitch, [p14 (16, 18, 20, 22, 24), k1, mark previous stitch] three times, purl to end of round.

Round 1: [Knit to one stitch before next marked stitch, sskp (see Pattern Notes above), move stitch marker to the sskp] four times, knit to end of round. [8 stitches decreased]

Round 2: [Purl to marked stitch, k1] four times, purl to end of round.

Round 3: Knit.

Round 4: Repeat Round 2.

Repeat Rounds 1-4 five (6, 7, 8, 9, 10) more times. [12 (12, 12, 12, 12, 12) stitches]

Next Round: Repeat Round 1. [4 (4, 4, 4, 4, 4) stitches]

Next Round: Knit.

Finish

Cut yarn leaving a 24-inch tail, thread onto tapestry needle and pull through remaining stitches. Make a Tiny Attached Tassel by following the instructions found here.

Weave in your ends and block as desired.

Click here to add a comment

96 Responses to Garter Ear Flap Hat


  1. Marny CA says:

    A US #8 12 (for Baby size) or 16-inch circular needle
    A US #7 12 (for Baby size) or 16-inch circular needle

    This means 12-inch circular for baby?

    So adorable!! Thank you!

  2. purl bee says:

    Hi Marny-

    Yes, you use a 12-inch circular for the baby size and the 16-inch circular for the larger sizes.

    Thank you for your question!

    Molly

  3. kenza says:

    The bulb pin page describes the pins to be 1 3/4 in. long which seems quite big. Did you mean 3/4 in long instead which seems more plausible?
    http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/8863-Merchant-Mills-Bulb-Pin
    Thanks for all the wonderful patterns, supplies and the knitting advice, it's much appreciated!
    kenza

  4. purl bee says:

    Hi Kenza,
    Thank you so much for writing in about this. These bulb pins measure 21mm (approximately 0.8 inches) in length. We are going to get that descriptions on Purl Soho dot com fixed ASAP. I really appreciate you taking the time to write us!
    Best,
    Laura

  5. Lee says:

    I printed out this pattern and knit it quickly in a small size to try the method. Lots of fun. Unfortunately I misunderstood the directions for the top of the hat and worked the decreases every other round instead of every fourth round. The result is a short hat with earflaps and a flat top! It will fit a small child anyway, and I intend to make more hats from this pattern, and work the decreases as written instead!

  6. Woolybnits says:

    Love this pattern. I started one last night, it is one
    Of those projects I can't seem to put down. Thank you!

  7. Maya says:

    Hello
    I feel like a complete dummy but I do not understand the instructions! What does it mean "knit to 10 stitches before second marker"? Knit all the stitches until 10 remain? This makes little sense to me, why mark it with a marker if you are going to leave stitches before it? HELP!
    I know how to work short rows so I am completely confused.
    Thanks!

  8. purl bee says:

    Hi Maya.
    The markers are placed to indicate where the ear flaps will go. The ear flaps are worked in short rows, back and forth, between a pair of markers. With each short row you work closer and closer to the markers.. "knit to 10…" "knit to 9…" " knit to 8…" in order to build up the ear flap.

    If you are not familiar with short rows, please take a look at our tutorial, but ALSO be sure to read the NOTES section on this pattern because the tutorial is demonstrated on stockinette stitches and this garter stitch hat has a few different rules.
    http://www.purlbee.com/knitting-tutorials-advanced-te/2008/6/18/short-rows.html

    Thanks,
    Laura

  9. Alessia says:

    This is a lovely hat! I'm making one for a newborn, but I'm using DROPS Cotton Merino and my gauge was smaller, I have about 5 sts in 1 inch, so I went up a size and it's look fine. I'd like to know…7 1/4 inches are not too many for a baby hat height?
    Thanks a lot
    Alessia

  10. purl bee says:

    Hi Alessia,
    7 1/4 sounds a little tall for a newborn, but probably not too far off. Some people have even added a round or two because 7 1/4 is a bit too short for their baby. So I can't imagine it'd be too too far off for a newborn. You can always work a round or two fewer after you work the ear flaps.
    Please let me know if you have any questions.
    Laura

  11. Ali says:

    Hi Laura, this is such a cute hat! I'm new to knitting and was almost put off by the whole wrap & turn technique but your tutorial was easy to understand and I worked through it :) My question about this is – I'm knitting the toddler size and am curious to know before I start the shaping the crown if I should have 86 stitches? I know I've made some mistakes up to this point, but I'd like to know first if that's the right amount before I start the shaping. Thanks, Ali :)

  12. purl bee says:

    Hi Ali,
    I'm glad you got through the wrap and turns. Short rows are fantastic!

    When you start the SHAPE CROWN OF HAT section of the pattern you should have 68 stitches, the same number that you cast on.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.
    Laura

  13. cait says:

    I completed the left ear flap and did the final wrap and turn, which leaves me with the entire ear flap on the left needle. This seems an impossible way to get to the fourth marker (which isn't even an ear marker, but is the round marker). I have come to this place on several occasions–I keep thinking that I've turned incorrectly or left off a row, but I can't seem to fix it. I love this pattern and REALLY want to do it well. Please help! Thanks so much.

  14. purl bee says:

    Hi Cait.
    There should be 5 markers total: 1 marking the beginning of the round, and two pairs of markers indicating where to shape for the ear flaps.

    Once you have finished the final wrap and turn for the left ear flap, work across the left ear flap, pass one marker and then work up to 7 (8, 9, 10, 11, 12) stitches before the next marker (the fourth marker). You can refer to the pictures in the pattern to double check to see if you're in the right place.

    Please let me know if you have more questions. I hope what I've said here helps, but let me know if I can help or clarify more.
    Thanks.
    Laura

  15. Cait says:

    Hi Laura,
    I wanted to thank you for your help. It was very kind of you to refrain from saying "Just Trust Me!". I had such success that I have knitted two more hats and they are, indeed, quite easy to knit up once the pattern is in your fingers. Thanks again for the clarification. I will be shopping at Purl Soho in the future!

  16. Shae says:

    Hi- thank you for the pattern! If I were to skip the ear flaps and behin with the body of the hat, how many stitches would I cast on for the newborn size? Thanks!

  17. purl bee says:

    Hi Shae,
    Luckily, even if you aren't doing the earflaps, you still cast on the same number of stitches as instructed above!
    Thanks for writing in.
    Laura

  18. Jane says:

    Oh I’m so excited to make one of these, though I see many many more in my future!
    I’m confused though, when I join the cast on stitches and knit every row it turns out stocking stitch rather than garter – any tips?

  19. Jane says:

    Oh I absolutely adore this pattern!
    However I am totally confused because when I joined the cast on row into the round and continued knitting, I end up with stocking stitch instead of garter stitch. Am I meant to purl every second row? I would really appreciate some tips as I have cast on 3 times now and can’t seem to get it (but there are lots of people who have successfully made these so I’m worried I’m missing something completely obvious!)
    Thanks.

    • Laura from the Purl Bee says:

      Jane! Hello. You are not missing anything obvious. And you are absolutely right, the first few rounds are knit and therefore stockinette. I started with a few rounds of stockinette so that the edge would roll up a bit to where the garter stitch begins, creating a nice smooth soft edge around the hats. The garter stitch starts with the earflap shaping. Please let me know if you have any questions at all! Laura

  20. Gabriela says:

    Love your site! I’m having trouble with the first ear flap. I started knitting it and once I got about six rows in I noticed it was not between the first two same color stitch markers. Am I resetting to the start of the round (first place marker) with every wrap turn? Also, I’m confused as to what is considered 2 rows. Is it knitting one row and turning considered one row? Or is one row knitting, turning and knitting one row? Thanks!

    • Laura from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Gabriela,
      I am not sure I fully understand what you mean by resetting to the start of the round with every wrap and turn. The basic structure of the hat is as follows…

      The beginning of round is at the center of the back of the hat. It needs to be there for the decrease rounds for shaping the crown to work. The short rows are worked on either side of the hat.

      As for the 2 rows… Knitting and turning is one row and then knitting and turning again makes 2 rows. At which point you’ll have the “right side” facing you and you’ll be ready to work the next 2 rows.

      Please let me know if I’m not being clear. I’d love to help you figure all of this out!
      Thanks for writing in.
      Laura

  21. Carrie says:

    Help! what happened to the tassel tutorial??

  22. allison groff says:

    I just made this hat and loved creating it. The pattern, as all your patterns are, was so clear and well written. I have been knitting for five months now. Your patterns have made me feel like such an accomplished knitter. Their timeless elegance and beauty. I so appreciate it and know I can never go wrong with Purl Bee. I knitted this up in a day and can’t wait to give it to my nephew! I did not use stitch markers for the decrease section but instead wrote out the pattern and counted. Much easier and faster for me. This is SO cute. Thank you thank you thank you!

  23. Tracy says:

    The link to the mini Pom Pom seems to broken. Can you help me out please. I made it so far!

  24. Liz says:

    As you start – do u count your first marker(start of row)?

    I have 1 pink marker = start
    4 green markers
    So do I start at pink or with the green?

  25. liz says:

    Ok, I’ve figured out the ear flaps – now I’m stumped on probably something really really simple – but I don’t get the directions that say (for baby) P7, K1, mark previous stitch
    what does this mean? I’ve never read this before “mark previous stitch”

    Nonetheless, as always this is a simple beautiful knit. I’m loving it so far

    • Laura from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Liz!
      Glad you got the ear flaps figured out! As fore this “mark previous stitch”…. What you’re going to do is purl 7 stitches, then knit 1 stitch, and then you are going to take a removable stitch marker and mark the stitch previously knit (this will be the stitch closest to the tip on the right needle.
      Please let me know if I can help clarify this further. It may make more sense once you do it and then get to the next round. Keep us posted!
      Laura

  26. Elena Spinelli says:

    Hi, I so want to try this pattern but do not have (yet) 12″ circs so I started on dpns. I thought I was doing ok but then realized I was working on the same left ear flap and not the right ear flap. Also, I did not quite understand the part about working across left flap pass 1 marker then up to etc., etc., etc. as you explained above to Cait. I am not a “seasoned” knitter but have done wrp+t before and I so want to try this. Should I give another go on dpns or get the 12″ circs first. Thanks for any assistance.

    • Laura from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Elena…
      I think it is worth waiting for the circular needles!
      I think it will help you keep the pattern straight and prevent extra frustration, not having to juggle all of the extra needles while negotiating the pattern and stitch markers, etc.
      I am here if you come up with any new questions! Please feel free to write in as much as you need.
      Thanks.
      Laura

      • Elena Spinelli says:

        Thank you Laura…I just received my 12″ circs and can’t wait to try this! Thanks for offer to write again….chances are I will!

  27. Colleen says:

    I don’t get the decrease set up. I am doing a newborn size and I did the p7,k1 them p14,k1 but I don’t understand the repeat 3 times?

    Because then the decrease would be out of place with the pictures of the hats.

    Please help:(

    Confused in California
    Colleen

    • Laura from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Colleen,
      I’d love to help you figure this out. The hats pictured here were made exactly as the pattern is written.

      Since you’re working on the smallest size, for the Set-up Round, you’ll purl 7, k1, use a removable stitch marker to mark that stitch you just knit, then [purl 14, k1, mark that previously knit stitch] three times… meaning you’ll do everything within those [brackets] three times total… and then purl to the end of the round.

      Please let me know if this helps at all or if you have any questions!
      Thanks for writing in.
      Laura

      • Eirene says:

        Hi there!
        I’m a bit confused about this portion of the instructions as well.
        My intuition told me that placing the markers as instructed (I’m also making the smallest size) would lead to off-centered upward diagonals, and now that I’ve knit the sequence of rows that follows twice I appear to have those off-centered diagonals I was worried about!
        How can they be centered if the first marker (in the back of the hat) is 7 stitches away from the start of the row and the last marker (also in the back) is 14 away from the end of the row? The 4 diagonals are symmetrically placed with regards to each other, they just aren’t centered on the body of the hat itself.
        I hope I can salvage my work so far and fix whatever mistake I made in this portion of the pattern – I absolutely love this little hat!
        Eirene

        • Laura from the Purl Bee says:

          Hi Eirene,
          I’d love to help you figure this out.
          If you’re making the smallest hat, that means you have 60 total stitches. The set up round instructs you to…
          Set-Up Round: P7, k1, mark previous stitch, [p14, k1, mark previous stitch] three times, purl to end of round.
          If you take your 60 total stitches and subtract the stitches you’re instructed to work… 60 – p7 – k1 – p14 – k1 – p14 – k1 – p14 – k1 = you will have 7 stitches remaining, to purl before the end of the round. You start and end the round by purling 7. This means there are 14 stitches between each of the markers. So your marked stitches are both equally spaced and centered on the body of the hat. Please keep in mind that the ear flaps are farther towards the back of the hat because ears are farther towards the back of the head. The decreases are centered on the body of that hat, but they are not centered on the ear flaps. Perhaps this is what is throwing you off?
          Please let me know if I can help clear anything up further.
          Thanks for writing in.
          Laura

  28. Amanda says:

    Am working on this adorable hat in the toddler size now. I noticed the comment suggesting to measure from tip of babe’s ear lobe to crown of head to help determine desired final height of hat. How much should I add to this measurement to provide enough clearance for the narrower part of the hat on top? Thanks much!

    • Laura from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Amanda,
      The Toddler size here measures 8 inches from the bottom of the ear flap to the top of the hat (not including the tassel).
      For the Toddler size…
      the ear flaps are done of 16 rows. If you are getting the same row gauge as me (8 rows = 1), then the flaps will add up to about 2 inches.
      the crown shaping is done over 29 rounds. Again, if you’re getting my same row gauge, then the shaping will add up to a little over 3 1/2 inches.

      If you measure your child from the tip of the head to the bottom of the ear lobe, you can take that number and subtract (2 + 3 1/2) inches to figure out how much of the body you’d like to work.

      As for the clearance.. for the Toddler size, I’d say definitely no more than an inch. If you’re working in our Purl Soho Alpaca Pure, it so so wonderfully drapey, the hat will really take the the kid’s head. That top tip portion is really just a few rounds.

      Hope this helps.
      Please let me know if you have any questions!
      Laura

  29. Valerie R says:

    Is there a printable version somewhere? I would like to print this but it doesn’t seem to be formatting properly!

  30. Lara says:

    When it says Purl to marked stitch, K1 does that mean you knit the marked stitch or knit the stitch after? Sorry for asking a straight forward question!
    Thanks

    • Laura from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Lara,
      Great question.
      You are going to want to purl up to the marked stitch and then knit that marked stitch.
      Please let us know if you have any other questions.
      Thanks,
      Laura

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