How to Knit a Rasta Hat

    by J.C. Lewis

    About the Author

    J.C. Lewis is the editor and co-owner of a weekly newspaper, as well as an editor for a group of newspapers in Los Angeles. Her writing has appeared on,, LIVESTRONG and Lewis holds a BSc in politics from the University of Bristol, England.


    A Rasta hat can be knit in in the round in stripes of classic Rasta colors — black, green, yellow and red. Rasta style is similar to a beret but looser and baggier so it can hold dreadlocks, or look like it could. The hat can be made looser and baggier by knitting additional rows before the decrease rows, and the size of the hat can be adjusted by using smaller or larger knitting needles.

    Things You'll Need

    • One ball each worsted weight black, green, yellow and red yarn
    • Size US 6, 12-inch long circular knitting needles
    • Yarn needle
    • Scissors
    • Stitch markers

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    Cast on 128 stitches with worsted weight black yarn and join the round. Do not let the stitches become twisted. Place a stitch marker on the knitting needle at the beginning of the round.

    Work the rounds in a Knit 2, Purl 2 rib until the piece measures 3 inches from the beginning cast on row. Leave a long tail of the black yarn, and switch to the green yarn.

    Work the following increase rounds using the green yarn: Increase one stitch in the first stitch (knit a stitch, but do not drop it off the left needle; knit into the back leg of the same stitch, then drop both new stitches off the left needle), Knit 2. Repeat this sequence to the end of the round.

    Knit all rounds until the green stripe measures 3 inches. Leave a long tail of green yarn, and switch to the yellow yarn. Continue to knit with the yellow yarn until the yellow stripe measures 3 inches. Leave a tail, and switch to the red yarn.

    Work one round in red yarn, inserting a stitch marker every eight stitches. On the next round, knit until you have two stitches in front of the first marker, then Knit 2 together and slip the marker. Repeat this pattern for the rest of the round. Knit the next row without decreasing any stitches.

    Continue alternating decrease rows with knit rows until just two stitches are left between each marker. Knit 2 together for the next round and 16 stitches will remain. Knit one round, then Knit 2 together for the next round so eight stitches remain.

    Cut a long tail of the red yarn, and thread it onto a yarn needle. Thread the tail through the eight remaining stitches, and pull them tightly to gather the top of the hat together. Weave in the loose ends of yarn, and trim the excess yarn.

    • As the number of stitches decreases, it will seem as if they cannot be knit on the circular needle, but they can if you "magic loop" the cable. Position about a third of the stitches on each needle and a third on the cable, with the excess cable drawn out in loops at the side. Rearrange the stitches as you go. To avoid this, switch to double-pointed needles.
    • Do not twist the yarn when connecting the first row of cast on stitches into a round.