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Free knitting pattern – Garter Squish Beanie

  • top down view of the head and shoulders of a man wearing a black coat and knitted beanie on his head. The beanie is a blue and grey marled knitted fabric in garter stitch and a swirl is created by increasing from the centre crown
  • side view of the garter squish beanie
  • side view of the garter squish beanie on a white background
  • back view of the garter squish beanie
  • flat lay of the garter squish beanie on a white background

Fancy the same warm, squishy hug for your head that your Garter Squish jumper gives your body? You may even have a leftover skein destined to become a matching hat? This was my inspiration for the pattern… Well, and a husband with a chilly head!

The Garter Squish Beanie is knit seamlessly in the round from the top down using a Pinhole cast on. It mimics the ‘jogless’ garter stitch pattern and slip stitch design which originated with the Garter Squish Jumpers, while the gentle ‘swirl’ of slip stitches around the crown gives it its own identity. The slip stitch design runs from the centre top of the beanie down to the 1×1 ribbed brim.

Available in a full range of sizes, but the real beauty of the top-down construction is that the beanie can be easily customised both for length and overall circumference! Try on as you go and make it suit you!

So why are you posting this on the blog, Cat??

Why have I decided to make this pattern available on my blog as well as as a free download from the usual sources? Well truthfully because I haven’t written a blog for a while and wanted to, you know, that thing called SEO that everyone bangs on about in internet land! But mainly because what is useful with the blog is that as it’s a webpage, I can imbed the relevant technique videos right where they are needed and generally improve the accessibility and readability of the pattern. I may eat my hat after saying this but devices should adapt the information to suit the screen and the user… as opposed to open a PDF and having to constantly navigate the page to show the bit you need next!

The ‘need to know’ details!

Sizing and Schematic

beanie schematic

XS (Small, Medium, Large, XL).

Finished beanie circumference

14” (16”, 18”, 20”, 22”) / 35.5cm (40.5cm, 45.5cm, 51cm, 56.5cm) measured from the bottom of the beanie body before the start of the ribbed brim.

Finished beanie length

7.5” (8”, 8.5”, 9.25”, 9.75”) / 18cm (19cm, 20.5cm, 22cm, 23.5cm)

The length is measured from the centre top (crown/cast on) to the bottom of the brim, along the curve of the beanie.

The beanie is designed with 2-3” (5-7.5cm) negative ease, apart from the first size where 1-2” (2.5-5cm) negative ease is recommended. Therefore, pick a size smaller than the actual head circumference.

It is important to consider the properties of the fabric that your yarn will create when deciding on the amount of ease you would prefer. For example, woolly/Superwash yarns (such as Drops Karisma used for the sample) will have more stretch than an acrylic alternative. The more stretch, the more negative ease recommended for a snug fit. The beauty about knitting hats top down is that you can consider how your fabric is knitting up as you go and if necessary, alter your size up or down without having to frog back to the beginning.

Yarn Requirements

Two strands of heavy DK weight yarn held together. E.g. Drops Karisma has 100m (109yds) per 50g.

Any Chunky weight yarn with approximately 100m (109yds) per 100g. Check out what your favourite indie dyer has to offer!

The sample beanie is the Adult Large size worn with 3” negative ease and is knit with two strands of Drops Karisma held together in the colourways ’16 – Dark Grey Mix’ and ’73 – Petrol’.

Required Meterage (Yardage)

XS (Small, Medium, Large, XL).

66 (74, 85, 97, 110)m / 72 (81, 93, 106, 120)yds. This equates to 2 (2, 2, 2, 4) balls of Drops Karisma, 100m (109yds) per 50g.

OR 1 (1, 1, 1, 2) skeins of Superwash Merino Chunky, 100m (109yds) per 100g.

Be aware that changes to the overall length of the Beanie will affect the amount of yarn used and may require more yarn.


12 stitches and 24 rows = 4x4in (10x10cm) in garter stitch using the larger needle size. I recommend wet blocking your swatch and pay attention to how the fabric stretches before and after blocking.

Needles & Notions


7mm (US size 10 ¾) for the main body of the Beanie and 6mm (US size 10) for the ribbed brim OR size needed to get gauge.

Double Pointed Needles (DPN’s) in the larger size may be useful for the pinhole cast on and initial rounds. Please see my video tutorial for instructions on how to do the pin hole cast on and initial rounds.

Circular needles in both sizes – length suitable to knit your chosen size in the round. For example, the baby size beanie has a finished circumference of 14in (35.5cm) therefore choose a circular needle shorter than this to knit comfortably in the round OR a single circular needle long enough for the magic loop method.

7mm (US size 10 ¾) double pointed needles can be used for the Pinhole cast on and initial rounds if you prefer.


  • 6 stitch markers

Techniques & Terminology

Techniques used

  • Pinhole Cast On. There is a video demonstration in the pattern instructions to help with this technique if using circular needles and magic loop setup. If using DPN’s, I recommend Very Pink Knits slow motion video. Alternatively, Tin Can Knits have useful written instructions on their blog.
  • Knitting in the Round.

Pattern Notes

  • If you are unable to use a 7mm (US size 10 ¾) needle then no worries (it is not a common size in the US), try swatching with 6.5mm (US size 10 ½) or 8mm (US size 11). Chunky yarns on larger needles can vary greatly in the fabric they create so see what works for you. For example, the Garter Squish Jumper patterns use 8mm (US size 11) needles with the same yarns and the same gauge.
  • Remember that when working in the round, garter stitch alternates knit and purl rounds, so follow the instructions regarding which round to end on for each section as instructed, especially when starting a short row section.
  • When the pattern refers to repeating instructions, the use of the word ‘TOTAL’ means that the instructions (i.e. ‘repeat rounds 1 and 2 a TOTAL of XX amount of times’) INCLUDES the first time they are worked, as written.
  • This beanie is very easily customisable, and very stretchy, especially if you are using a Superwash yarn. Presuming your gauge matches that of the pattern (3sts = 1”), if you wanted your beanie to have a circumference in-between that of the stated sizes, complete the number of increase rounds specified for the smaller size. Then work a half increase round by only increasing in every other segment (*k1, m1l, k to marker, sm, k to marker, sm* x3). Likewise, if you notice the beanie is bigger or smaller than you anticipated, it is easy to go up or down sizes as you work by working more or less increase rounds.
  • The length is also easily customisable, measure and/or try on as you go and simply start the ribbing/cast off whenever feels right!
  • If you decide to work a ‘half’ increase round, you will need to decrease 1 stitch on the first round of the ribbed brim to make the stitch count even again. e.g. k2tog at the beginning of the round or p2tog at the end of the round.
  • It is important to bind off VERY loosely to maintain the stretch of the hat. I found that a stretchy bind off was untidy, therefore I recommend a standard ‘k1, p1, pass first stitch over the second on the R hand needle’ bind off, worked VERY loosely on the larger needle used for the hat. Alternatively, the ‘Ribbed Sewn Bind Off’ for a stretchy, ‘invisible’ bind off similar to that of the tubular bind off used in some of my other patterns is an excellent choice. This technique is not explained in this pattern but a good video and written tutorial can be found on the Purl Soho Blog.


BOR                  Beginning of round

CO                    Cast on

DPN’s               Double Pointed Needle(s)

k                      Knit

kfb                    Knit front back

L                      Left

m                     Metre

m1l                   Make 1 left

p                      Purl

pm                   Place marker

R                      Right

rm                    Remove marker

sl                      Slip 1 (purlwise)

sl1 wyib            Slip 1 with yarn in back

sm                    Slip marker

st(s)                 Stitch(es)

wyib                 With yarn in back

yds                   Yards

Pattern Instructions

Crown Cast On

Starting with larger gauge needles and using the Pinhole method, CO 6 stitches for all sizes.

If starting with DPNs, spread the stitches between 3 needles ready to start working in the round.

If using magic loop, move the stitches along the cable to the other needle ready to start working in the round.

Place BOR marker at the start.


The beanie is worked in 6 segments with a slip stitch at the start of each segment (thus, creating 6 slip stitch columns). 1 stitch is increased in every segment every other row directly after the slip stitch. The recommended increase is the ‘m1l’

Setup Round 1: *kfb* x6 (12sts)

Setup Round 2: *sl1, p1, pm* x6 (the last marker placed is the BOR marker so needs to be distinguishable from the others)

First increases have been worked, the pattern has been established and each segment has been defined by the markers.

Round 1: *k1, m1l, k to marker, sm*

Round 2: *sl1 wyib, p to marker, sm* x6

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 a TOTAL of 5 (6, 7, 8, 9) times.

Stitch Count = 42 (48, 54, 60, 66)


Round 1: *k to marker, sm* x6

Round 2: *sl1 wyib, p to marker, sm* x6

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until the beanie measures approximately 6.5” (6.5”, 7”, 7.75”, 8.25”) / 16.5cm (16.5cm, 17.75cm, 19.5cm, 20.5cm) OR 1” (1.5”, 1.5”, 1.5”, 1.5”) / 2.5cm (3.75cm, 3.75cm, 3.75cm, 3.75cm) shorter than desired finished length, slightly stretched, measured from the top of the crown, along the curve of the beanie. If you have a willing recipient (or participant with the correct size head), trying the beanie on as you go will help determine the exact length/fit and how the stretch affects the length measurement.


Change to smaller gauge needles.

Round 1: k1, p1 around, removing all markers except the BOR.

Repeat round 1 a TOTAL of 6 (8, 8, 8, 8) times OR until the brim measures approx. 1” (1.5”, 1.5”, 1.5”, 1.5”) or 2.5cm (3.75cm, 3.75cm, 3.75cm, 3.75cm) OR your desired brim length.

Using larger sized needle, bind off loosely in pattern. See pattern notes above for more info about bind off techniques.


Weave in ends. Block by soaking in your favourite wool wash, remove from water and remove any excess water by rolling in a spare towel. Allow to dry flat, no need to pin. Check your measurements and lightly manipulate by hand if really necessary. Allow to dry fully.

I would love to see your projects! Tag me on Instagram @catcraftyknits and use the hashtags #gartersquishbeanie and #catcraftyknits.

Having trouble? Please don’t hesitate to contact me!

The small print…

I am so pleased to be able to offer this pattern free as a thank you for supporting my pattern design adventures. I hope that it can bring you happiness in the form of warm woolly head in squishy hats! I would really appreciate it if you checked out my other patterns and/or gave me a like/follow on Instagram!

I would also like to bring your attention to my Ko-fi page, where, if you feel you would like to, I would appreciate a small donation. I am using this platform to raise funds for the Bristol Royal Children’s Hospital, specifically the cardiology and respiratory units who have looked after my son so well so far and will likely continue to do so in the future. 100% of any donations received there will be paid directly to the Hospitals charity ‘The Grand Appeal’ If you would like to read about my sons heart condition, I have written about it in two (very long winded, sorry) blog posts all about it!


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Pattern Library full details of all my patterns

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Technique Demonstrations video library of commonly used techniques in my patterns

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