Rainbow Pippi Hat — A Free Pattern

I love me a good ear flap hat. It’s the first real knitting pattern I learned to follow. I reckon I’ve made more than 100 ear flap hats over the years. The pattern is timeless and practical for Alaska winters.

I’ve posted my ear flap hat pattern before, but I thought with knitting season underway that I’d bring it back with one of my favorite color patterns: random stripes. I used to call these junk or leftover hats because I use bits and pieces of yarn from my stash, but after I finished this hat last weekend it made me think of my literary friend Pippi Longstocking. I feel as though Villa Villa Coola probably gets nippy in the wintertime and that if Pippi were taking time away from the South Seas to visit back home with her pals Tommy and Annika, she would wear a rag-tag hat like this one. The braided cords with long tassels also remind me of Pippi’s kooky pigtails.

Feel free to get creative with your stripes, but keep in mind the yarns should all have a similar weight. If you look carefully you can see the green-blue stripe in the middle of the hat is a lighter weight than the rest and it’s slightly inconsistent. But I like it that way. If you don’t have enough bulky yarn, knit two strands of worsted at the same time. Just divide your color into two balls and knit them as though they were one piece of bulky.

Rainbow Pippi Hat | free ear flap hat pattern from Alaska Knit Nat

Rainbow Pippi Ear Flap Hat

Sizes XS, S, M, L — I knit size small for a female’s head and size medium for an average male’s head. The BOLD text is the pattern I used for the Rainbow Pippi Hat.

Size US 10 circular and double point needles
Several colors of leftover yarn, either bulky or two strands of worsted knitted together
Tapestry Needle
Pom pom maker (optional)


kfb = knit one stitch, then without dropping the working stitch, knit in the back of the stitch, thus increasing your stitch by one.

k2,p2 = knit 2, purl 2

k2tog = knit two stitches together

Ear flap (make 2):
With two double point needles cast on 4 stitches.

Row 1 (right side): Kfb, k2, kfb (6 st.)

Row 2 (wrong side): purl

Continue to kfb in the first and last stitch of every right side row and purl the wrong side. This will create the triangle shape. Keep going until there are 16 stitches for the XS, 18-S, 20-M, or 22-L. Set this flap aside and repeat with second flap.

Hat: Start the hat using the same color as the ear flaps. With the circular needle, cast on 12-XS, 14-S, 16-M, or 18-L stitches for the back of hat; knit across stitches of the first ear flap making sure the right side is facing you. Cast on 20-22-24-or 26 stitches for the front; knit across second ear flap. There will be 64-72-80-or 88 stitches in all. Join stitches carefully without twisting. K2, p2 on the front and back part of the hat (regular knit the ear flaps) for four to six rounds. This will make the nice ribbing and will prevent the hat from curling up.

Cut yarn, leaving a six-inch tail. Bring in a new color and knit 2 or 3 rounds, depending on your preference. Cut yarn, leaving a six-inch tail.

Continue knitting and changing stripes until the hat is about 5.5 inches tall. I usually go with 31 rows from the edge of the hat. Bring in the original color you used for the earflaps and brim and knit one row.
Start decreasing as follows:
Round 1: K2tog knit 6. Repeat for one round.
Round 2 (and all even rounds): Knit
Round 3: K2tog, K 5 for one round
Round 5:K2tog, K 4 for one round (this is where you should probably switch to the double points).
Round 7: K2tog, K 3 
Round 9:K2tog, K 2
Round 11:K2tog, K 1
Round 13: K2tog

Gather remaining stitches with a darning needle and fasten off. Weave in all tails. The inside of your hat should look pretty cool, with all sorts of colorful ends. Tighten all the knots you made and then double tie them. Don’t pull too tightly as you want the stitches on the outside to look uniform. Just play with the tension of the knots before double knotting. I then knot the yarn ends vertically to one anther, if that makes sense, and trim them. 

Rainbow Pippi Hat | free ear flap hat pattern from Alaska Knit Nat

Braided ties:

Using all the colors from your stripes, cut 6 strands of yarn, about 24-inches long. Fold them in half and push the folded edge through the bottom of the ear flap from back to front. Draw the ends of the strands back through the loop and tighten the loop.  Divide the strands into three groups and braid them till they are about 8 inches long. Tie a knot at the end of the braid and leave two inches as fringe. Don’t cut the ends of the fringe until you’ve put in both ties. That way you can cut them evenly.

For the giant pom pom:

Use all your color strands together to create the pom pom. I love my pom pom maker, but you can also use the giant fork method. Once your pom pom is trimmed and pretty, secure it to the top of the hat using yarn and a darning needle. I like to go through the pom pom a few times to really get it to stay on the hat. Rainbow Pippi Hat | free ear flap hat pattern from Alaska Knit Nat

Rainbow Pippi Hat | A free ear flap hat pattern from Alaska Knit Nat

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