Horse hat pattern: “Horsing Around”

My niece pranced around when she put this hat on. Such a proud and gratifying moment for a knitter like myself! If you have a little would-be prancer, feel free to use this pattern to knit something up for him or her.

First, size it up.  I knit this for an 8-year-old’s head, but honestly it fit me, too.  Hooray for stretchy hats and rolled brims!  Using Paton’s real wool in brown and a size 8 circular needle with a 16″ loop, I cast on 80 stitches.  Use any multiple of 8 you like, though.  80 was a bit too taut on my head for daily use, so if I were making an adult’s hat, I’d go with 88 or even 96 stitches to start with.  If I’d made this hat for my 3-year-old niece instead, I might have gone with 72 stitches—all assuming I’m using the same yarn and needle, mind you.  The bottom line is you can try this on before it’s all over.

1) Cast on your stitches (80) and join in the round*.  Of course, be careful not to twist.  Now knit, knit, knit!  The hat brim will roll on its own.

2) Knit until the work measures about 7 inches.  You can get away with a shorter hat for a smaller head, but since the brim can roll up or down, I’d caution you to err on the side of too long.

Try it on.  Go ahead.  The hold in the middle, where your needles are, should be at the crown of your head where most men get their little bald spots.  It should be about the size of the bottom of a coffee cup, give or take.  If the main horse-wearing kiddo is around, stick it on their head, too.  I ended up re-knitting this a couple of times because I ran out of yarn, so don’t be afraid to rip this sucker back if it’s too big or small.  If it’s the right size, read on!

3) Decrease: Place a stitch marker when you feel ready to decrease.

  • Knit 2 together (K2tog) and knit 6 (k6).
  • Place another marker (pm) or be prepared to count.
  • Repeat the k2tog k6 pm until you return to the first marker.
  • Knit around once.
  • Decrease another row:  k2tog k5.  That should put you to the next marker.

Get the drift?  Keep decreasing one round and knitting one round until you get down to k2tog k2tog around.  That should be the last decrease.  Remove your markers and use a tapestry needle to run your yarn through the remaining stitches and cinch the hole at the top of the hat closed.  Weave in the ends.

And the winner for best photography EVAR goes to...

Ears: Make 2.

  1. Cast on one stitch.
  2. Knit into the front and back of it (kfb).
  3. Turn and purl the next row (2 stitches).
  4. Kfb into each of the 2 stitches.
  5. Purl (4 sts).
  6. Kfb into all of the sts.
  7. Purl (8 sts).
  8. Knit a row, then purl a row: 6 times total.
  9. Bind off and use the tail to sew the ear to the hat.
  10. Use the yarn at the tip of the ear to cause it to curl slightly.  Thread a needle and run it down the side of the ear and pull with just enough tension to bow the ear slightly.  It doesn’t take much.

Mane: Use a contrasting yarn color.  Cut 6-8″ pieces of yarn, about 8 pieces total.  Thread a tapestry needle with a piece of yarn and pull the ends even.  Push the needle through the top of the hat almost where you want that piece of the mane to go.  Bring the needle to the outside of the hat one stitch up from where it went into the hat.  Don’t pull it all the way through.  Pull enough of the loop through with the needle to feed the tail ends of the yarn through the loop, then pull the tail ends to tighten the loop down on the tail.  Voila!  An easy “knot” now ties your mane-hair onto the hat.  Repeat with the other mane pieces for the front.

Cut about 10-15 slightly longer pieces of yarn for the main down the back of the hat and use the same method to knot the mane.  Two rows of yarn running parallel up the back of the hat makes a good amount of mane.  It’s helpful to start at the bottom and work your way up.

As another option, I left a pony-tail hole in the back of the hat while I was knitting.  When I got to the spot I thought would be about pony-tail (hair) height (maybe 3 inches up the hat), I turned my work just like I was using straight needles and purled back around the hat the other direction (I was purling on the wrong side now).  When I got back to where I started, I turned the hat again and knitted on the right side.  I kept leaving this gap until it was about 6 rows high, or what I figured would fit my niece’s pony-tail thickness.  Then I continued knitting in the round again like normal and eventually got to the decrease portion of the hat.

*Stay tuned for a video on that.  It’s way easier than you think.  Meantime, google knitting in the round for instructions.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

In plain terms, my free patterns are copyrighted and are protected under the Creative Commons attribution non-commercial license. A straightforward explanation of this license, which includes a link to the full legal, code, may be found here.

So basically:

  1. Feel free to share the pattern with your friends, but be sure the copied pattern includes my name (Nimcraft) and the URL of my blog (
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If any of this doesn’t make sense, please let me know. I’d be happy to discuss any points that may be unclear through email.

Thanks to Sasha’s Blue Carpet for allowing me to use her plainly-written copyright info. Go see her stuff! It rules!


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