How to Make a Knitted Wizard Hat (felting optional)

Did you know that it’s next to impossible to find a wizard hat pattern on the internet? (Or, at least one that’s offered for free – come on, Internet! This is where you decide to start charging for crap?!) Well, okay, there are wizard hat patterns, but not very cool looking ones:(Also note that that hat is sewn, not knit, which the person I was making this for specifically requested.) I was looking for something more worn looking, more Gandalf-y, like this wasn’t some pasty wizard sitting up in a tower eating grapes and arguing about magical theory but instead actually got out and was taking care of things.

Now, my non-knitting friends (read: all of you =P), don’t feel like you have to read the instructions in this, I’m just putting this out there so the next person who wants to make a hat like this doesn’t have to go through all the frustration I have to figure out how the hell to do this.

This is the sort of pattern that, once you figure out how it works, you can pretty well do it however you want. Do you really want me to explain all the reasons why this pattern works, or do you just want the pattern?

You just want the pattern 🙂 I’ll be offering up directions for what I did, but since this hat is both felted and for a person with a huge noggin (literally, not metaphorically), you can stop the body of the hat and move on to the brim whenever it’s the circumference you want.

Felted Gandalf Hat

[Credit to Maggie’s Rags for the witch hat pattern I’m working from and Kimberly Chapman for information on how to help adjust the shape]

Felt a test swatch of your yarn (skip if you don’t want to felt your hat):

You’ll need to measure it before and after to see how it proportionally decreases. It’s a little risky to do this with a hat, as it may felt differently across its surface, but my friend wanted a felted wizard hat, and he bought the yarn, so who am I to complain?

My test swatch was 5″ x 5″, and felted it came out to 2″ x 4″. The circumference of the head I was making it for was 26″, and I was more concerned with the hat shrinking in the diameter and being to small than with it shrinking in height (but the test swatch was helpful because I then knew to make it about twice as tall as I wanted it to actually be). If you’re felting your hat, to figure out how big around it should be, plug in your numbers to this:

Multiply the length of test swatch before felting by the diameter you want the hat to be after felting. Divide all of that by the length of the test swatch after felting, and that will give you how big around your hat should be before felting.

Gather your supplies.

I used:

  • 3 skeins Lion Brand Wool in Ranch Red, medium weight (approximately the same size as worsted weight)
  • 4 size 8 double pointed needles
  • size 8, 26″ circular knitting needle

Stitches/techniques you’ll need for this pattern other than knit, purl, stockinette and basic knit bindoff:

Making the Hat – Body

Cast on with three stitches, working i-cord for several inches (for my felted hat, I did 10 rows; for a non-felted hat you’ll probably want about half of that).

Once it’s the length you want it, M1R between the second to last and last stitch on the first dpn (all of my increases occur between the second to last and last stitch on a dpn, and all of my decreases occur at the end of a dpn, so that instruction will be implied from now on). Continue this until you have six stitches (3 rounds), then divide evenly onto three dpns. I highly recommend putting a stitch marker on your first dpn, otherwise it’s easy to forget which one is which.

For the main body of the hat:

Rounds 1 – 7: M1R on the first dpn.

Round 8: M1R on the second dpn.

Round 9: SSK on the first dpn, M1R on the second dpn.

Rounds 10 – 15 : Repeat rounds 8 and 9 (all even rounds worked as round 8, all odd rounds worked as round 9)

Rounds 16 – 21: M1R on the third dpn.

Rounds 22 – 24: M1R on the first dpn.

Round 25: M1R on the second dpn.

Round 26: M1R on the second dpn, SSK on the third dpn.

Rounds 27 – 30: Repeat rounds 25 and 26

*Rounds 31 – 35 : M1R on the third dpn

Rounds 32 – 38: M1R on the first dpn

Round 39: M1R on the second dpn

Round 40: M1R on the second dpn, SSK on the third dpn

Rounds 41 – 46: Repeat rounds 39 and 40*

Repeat from * to * until the hat is the circumference you would like for it to be. Feel free to slightly adjust the amount of rounds you do on each dpn, it helps to make the hat shape more random. When your dpns get full, transfer your stitches to your circular needle, being careful to not drop any stitches. It’s helpful to use stitch markers to show where your needles had been, to make sure you continue the same pattern. If your circular needle is too large to hold your stitches when you first transfer them, use the magic loop method until the work is large enough to be able to knit comfortably.

I got annoyed with how long this hat was taking, and midway through began to increase by two while still only decreasing by one, and the shape of the hat wasn’t noticeably odd (though if you did the entire hat like this it may be strangely proportioned).

Making the Hat – Brim

Once the hat is the circumference you’d like, you can remove all of your markers and begin knitting in garter stitch. On knit rounds, increase by 8 stitches throughout the round (I just increased at random, trying to not increase at the same spots all the time), and purl regularly on purl rounds. Continue until brim is the width you’d like. My brim, even felted, was very floppy, so I’d recommend decreasing back down in the same manner (stockinette stitch, decrease 8 stitches on knit rounds and purl regularly) until the brim can be folded over and sewn onto the hat.

My finished product:

Ta da!

(I promise I’ll retire that picture after this post, Patrick. Thanks for being a good sport!)


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jori Hendon
    Dec 27, 2010 @ 10:23:57

    I was just talking about “needing” a Gandalf wizard hat over Christmas…..and poof…here this was. One question, if I am going to felt…how many stitches do you think I should go to with the body of the hat. Since it isn’t so much a matter of trying it on as I knit…since …well…felting it. 😀

    Any help would be awesome…and thanks for sharing your pattern!


    • aisle4b
      Dec 27, 2010 @ 10:32:01

      I’ll be honest, I didn’t count how many rows I did because it got pretty tiresome. What I’d recommend is that you test felt a little bit of the yarn, and that’ll tell you how much it will shrink vertically. Mine shrank by about half vertically, so I made it about twice as long as I wanted it to come out.

      Looking back, to really get it “Gandalf-y” it would need to be a bit longer (seriously, his hat is enormous!), but it’s up to your tastes.

      I realize that I still haven’t given you a concrete answer, but I hope that helps, and please let me know how the hat turns out!


  2. ChicSheik
    Aug 16, 2012 @ 11:30:06

    This is an AWESOME design- thank you so much for compiling it! Question- What is the advantage of having the brim alternate between knitting and purling (I ask as someone not planning to felt it)? Does it just give it more support?


    • aisle4b
      Aug 18, 2012 @ 09:40:36

      Honestly, I was just following the directions for the knitted witch hat I referenced. As for as I know, as long as you’re folding it over on itself it should still be just as sturdy, and since you’re not felting it I’d recommend just knitting the brim so there’s not a weird texture change right there.


  3. Jessica
    Oct 08, 2012 @ 16:19:57

    Great pattern, I have two questions, though. On rounds 31 – 38, are the M1R instructions specific to odd and even rows as previously OR (for example) would round 32 have a M1R in both the first and third dpns? Also, for the brim, we are still in the round so switching to garter stitch would mean knitting one row and purling the second, right? Thanks in advance if you could help clear this up for a Noob knitter.


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