How to Knit a Brain Hat

Learn how to make a knitted Brain Hat. After knitting up a hat base, you will create yards and yards of i-cord brains. Then enjoy coiling and designing your very own brains with any color yarns of your choice.

This free knitting pattern includes my fun video tutorial that gives you an overview of everything you need to know, so make sure to keep reading to check it out! 

Oh, and make sure to see all the amazing Brain Hats created by knitters like you. You’ll get a lot of inspiration when you see all the knitted designs over on Ravelry!

Knitted Brain Hat in pink color yarn.


Need to brush up or learn a new technique? Check out my entire library of Knitting Techniques to help you along as you knit up this project.

Slip Knot
Cast On
Knit an I-Cord
Spool Knitting I-Cords on a Loom (for non-knitters)
Embellish Knit Machine (for non-knitters)
Knit Stitch
Purl Stitch
K2Tog = Knit Two Stitches Together
P2Tog = Purl Two Stitches Together
Knit in the Round Circular Needles
Switching to DPNs


Brain Hat Knit Studio Knit

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• Worsted Weighted Yarn, in any fiber/colors of your choice
• 1 Circular Knitting Needle (for Hat) – Size 8 US, 16″ long
• 4 Double Pointed Knitting Needles (for Hat) – Size 8 US
• 2 Double Pointed Knitting Needles (for Brains) –  Size 10.5 US
• Tapestry Needle – Clover Chibi Jumbo Bent Tip Darning Needle Set
• Scissors – Gold Stork Crane Scissors

Knitted Brain Hat in pink yarn




You may either knit up a new hat base or recycle any existing hat. The more gray matter you add to your hat, the less you’ll be able to see the hat base. So, you can use either the same color hat as your gray matter or different. It’s totally up to you.

How to Knit Brains: Halloween Hat with Studio Knitt

To begin, we will use our circular needles and the four size 8 DPNS to knit up an easy 5 by 3 ribbed hat as our base.

1 – Size 8 US Circular Needle, 16” in length
4 – Size 8 Double Pointed Needles
Worsted Weighted Yarn

Cast on 80 Stitches using the Cable Cast On Method.

Join in the Round, being careful not to twist your stitches.

Knit in the 5 x 3 Rib Pattern (K5, P3) until your hat measures 5 ½ inches in height.

Crown Decreases (Switch to DPNs when necessary)

Row 1: * K2Tog, K3, P3 * (repeat between each *)
Row 2: * K2Tog, K2, P3 *
Row 3: * K3, P2Tog, P1 *
Row 4: * K2tog, K1, P2 *
Row 5: * K2, P2Tog *
Row 6: * K1, K2Tog *
Row 7: * K2Tog *
Row 8: * K2Tog *

Draw Yarn through remaining loops with a tapestry needle, cinch, weave in ends.


This is a great project if you love making I-Cords since we are going to knit up a lot! I mean, a LOT!!! Feel free to get really creative with your yarn weight, color, and even fiber.

Hands and knitted icords in pink yarn

Knit I-Cords:
• Cast On 4 or 5 Stitches and Knit an I-Cord in various lengths of your choice
• Bind Off each completed I-Cord once they reach the length you desire.

I-Cord Length:  My longest I-Cords are 28 inches in length and my shortest is just three inches long. Any length of i-cord works because you will create your own brain pattern onto your Brain Hat.

I-Cord Volume:  I knitted up over 17 feet of I-Cords for my brains… that’s over 200 inches total!

Pro-Tip:  Knit up pairs of I-Cords in similar lengths to achieve a uniform design on each side of your brain hemispheres.

Hands holding a straight knitting needle with knitted icord in pink yarn

Learn How to Knit an I-Cord: I have a video located on my How to Knit an I-Cord post that shows you exactly how to knit an I-Cord in detail. In just under 4 minutes, you will learn everything you need to know to make your brains with just two double-pointed knitting needs and some yarn.

Alternatively, you may wish to use a Spool Loom or Embellish Knit, which are little tools to help you make up your I-Cord quickly! I have a new video tutorial that shows you everything you need to know to start knitting up brains without needing to know anything about knitting!


Once your hat base is ready and a whole lot of i-Cord brains are knitted up, the fun begins!

A close-up of hands adding knitted icords onto a Brain Hat in pink yarn

It’s really helpful to have a mannequin head (or head-shaped item of your choice) available as you attach your brains, but it’s not necessary.

Brain Design: For your design, you’ll want to have a clear definition between the right and left hemispheres of your brain. Just weave a temporary strand of differently colored yarn down the middle of your hat to help keep track of each side.

What do your brains look like?  Anatomy books show that each brain hemisphere looks somewhat similar, but maybe not completely identical, right? So, we just begin by tacking our brains into whatever curly brain coil patterns you chose onto our hat. To do this, use the same color yarn and a tapestry needle and lightly “sew” your brains directly onto your hat.


Since we’re using the same color yarn as our hat and brains, you really can’t see the yarn we’re using, so you can be pretty loose and not worry about it looking perfect. I like to attempt keeping each side somewhat similar by using identical lengths of brains on each side as I go in similar patterns, but no need to have them perfectly mirror each other.

I like to attempt keeping each side somewhat similar by using identical lengths of brains on each side as I go in similar patterns, but no need to have them perfectly mirror each other.

Just keep tacking your brain coils to your hat until it’s totally covered. When your entire brain is full, you can either weave-in, or tie and cut your yarn ends on the inside.

How to Knit Brains with Studio Knit


I hope you are inspired to knit up a Brain Hat for your next knitting project.

If you’d like even more great ideas, please make sure you join my mailing list. It’s a free and easy way for us to stay connected.

Kristen Signature in red ink


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