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« Molly's Sketchbook: Swaddling Blankets | Main | De Witte Engel Felt Doll Kits »

Laura's Loop: Heel Stitch Hat

It happens to the best of us... You wander into a yarn shop, anxious, antsy, raring to knit, but then, you are faced with it: the Wall. It's packed full of vibrantly colored fiber, cubbies upon cubbies of yarn, arranged to inspire. But instead of igniting direction, this vertical display of skeins causes, what I like to call (in a hushed voice), Knitter's Wall (gasp!).

It's the knitter's version of writer's block. You find yourself standing there, staring aimlessly, hands thrown in the air, asking yourself, asking the wall, "What should I knit?!?!?!"

Although you can't find Knitter's Wall in any psychology books, I don't need to tell you, it is a real affliction. The good news... there's a solution! All you need is a warm-up project, a project to get those finger muscles moving and knitting neurons shooting. Something that's sparks your interest, grabs your attention, and gets you back into your knitting groove.  The even better news... I've got just the thing for you! The Heel Stitch Hat. 

Heel Stitch is traditionally used for, you guessed it, the heel of a sock. Designed for its durability and cushioning effect, I knew such a striking texture and impressive loft would make up an incredibly handsome and cozy hat.  For gorgeous stitch definition and sumptuous warmth, I used Swan's Island's beautiful Worsted weight organic merino, but most any worsted weight yarn will suit! Once you've completed it, you'll have a hat to keep the cool air out and Knitter's Wall at bay 


The Pattern


6 stitches and 8 rows = 1 inch in Heel Stitch


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

Finished Sizes

14 1/3 (15 2/3, 17, 18 1/3, 20 1/3)-inch circumference by 5 3/4 (6 3/4, 8 1/4, 9 1/4, 10 1/4) inches tall

If in doubt about which size to make, measure the circumference of the recipient's head, subtract 2 inches and make the hat that is closest to that number.

Pattern Notes

Heel Stitch (for even number or stitches)
Round 1: *Slip 1, K1, repeat from * to end
Round 2: Knit

The first Stitch Marker you place is to indicate the beginning of the round. I find it useful for this marker to be a different type or color from the other six stitch markers which will indicate decreases. Towards the end of the pattern, you are to remove the first, third, forth and sixth stitch marker. This is not counting the beginning of round stitch marker.

When slipping 1, slip the stitch purl-wise, with yarn in back.


Using the US size 8 circular needle, cast on 86 (94, 102, 110, 122) stitches. Place a marker and join for working in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches.

Round 1: *Slip 1, K1, repeat from * to end

Round 2: Knit

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until the piece measures 4 1/4 (5 1/4, 6 1/4, 7 1/4, 8) inches from the rolled edge, ending with Round 1.

Set-up Round: k12 (14, 14, 16, 16), place marker, k9 (9, 11, 11, 13), place marker, k9 (9, 11, 11, 13), place marker, k26 (30, 30, 34, 36), place marker, k9 (9, 11, 11, 13), place marker, k9 (9, 11, 11, 13), place marker, knit to the end of the round.

Next Round: Slip 1, K1, repeat from * to end of round.

Decrease Round: *Knit to two stitch before first marker, ssk, slip marker, K1, k2tog, repeat from * for next 5 markers, knit to end of round.

Repeat previous two rounds 2 (2, 3, 3, 4) more times. On the last decrease round, remove the first, third, fourth and sixth marker. Change to double pointed needles when stitches no longer comfortably fit around needle.

Next Round: Slip 1, K1, repeat from * to end of round.

Decrease Round: *Knit to two stitch before first marker, ssk, slip marker, K1, k2tog, repeat from * for next marker, knit to end of round.

Next Round: Slip 1, K1, repeat from * to end of round.

Repeat previous two rounds.

Next Round: Knit to first marker, remove marker, K1, slip the following stitches onto a doublepointed needle until you reach the second marker, remove marker, slip the remaining stitches on to a second double pointed needle

Use kitchner stitch to close the top of the hat. Weave in your ends and you are all done! Hope this hat warms you up! --Laura

Reader Comments (17)

Would be great if you could post a picture of the hat on a model! Would like to see how it looks on a head before getting started.
September 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDelicious_Alarm
What is the yardage for an adult small? Do you think 200 yds would be enough? Thank you!
September 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErinP
I was wondering if you would be able to post the yardage used for the other sizes? I was hoping to be able to find something in my expansive stash for a couple of hats and I really like this pattern.
September 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessica
Erin P and Jessica, Thank you both for commenting! Here are the yardage requirements for the Baby (Toddler, Kid, Small Adult, Large Adult) hats: 80 (105, 135, 160, 185). Originally I said it took a every last inch of the 250-yard skein of Swan's Island Worsted to make a Large Adult. Correction: It took every last inch to make the Baby and Large Adult. Thanks again for your interest. Hope you enjoy the pattern! -Laura
September 7, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
My little girl hasn't taken this off since I took it off the needles! She looks just lovely in it. Thank you so much for a great pattern!
September 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrianna
such a great pattern! one question–when you measure the length before the set up for decreasing, do you leave the roll or stretch the hat flat?
December 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteramber
I think this hat style would be excellent in a varigated color mix yarn --for baby the soft baby colors--for teen bright mixed colors--for women a single color with maybe one or two rows with a contrasting color-- for men the darker manish colors of tan,cream, light brown, and or some black mixed in.
December 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Stanton
Those are so cute! I'd make mine in red.
January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMary G
Could you make this hat with big bulky yarn on #13 needles?
September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSally
Hi Sally-

This pattern wouldn't work on a size 13 needle because you wouldn't be getting the same gauge.

Thanks for your question!

September 20, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Sally, you can adjust the pattern using the gauge you get using your bigger yarn and needles. You do this by dividing your gauge by the pattern's guage. For example, if you got 3 sts/inch, you would divide 6 into 3 (the gauge called for in the pattern), which would give you 0.5 (Half the stitches! Makes sense with the bigger yarn.). Then use this number to multiply by the numbers given in the pattern. So if the pattern says to cast on 100 sts, multiply by 0.5 and that gives you 50. Cast on 50 instead! I am sure you'll have to make adjustments, but with the bulky yarn, trying something out and making changes doesn't waste too much time. Right? Hope this works for you!
October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
I'm loving this pattern so far! I have the same question as Amber though. When measuring before starting the decrease, do I leave it rolled up or stretch it out flat?

November 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnne B
Hi Anne B.,
Great question.
You leave the edge rolled.
November 16, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Has anyone attempted to make the large adult hat with this pattern? I have tried three times, and every time I get to the decrease portion the pattern goes off and I end up with long loops at stitches #15 and #35 in particular (these stitches fall at the slip portion of the ssk and the slip portion of the s1 k1 so they don't get knitted in until the markers get removed later on in the pattern and leave long loops). I suspect the pattern is off for the large adult hat, and was wondering if anyone else ran into this problem.
December 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMeaghen
Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. I will take a look at the pattern and see what's going on.
December 23, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I just started learning to knit. I am not getting the same pattern as you with round 2 knit. What am I doing wrong? Thanks in advance.
February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSu
Hi Su,
The ribbed texture created from Heel Stitch don't become prevalent until you've worked for a few inches. How far have you worked?
Or are you asking something different? I'd love to get this figured out with you. Please write back if you have any questions / comments.
February 28, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

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