How to Knit a Brain Hat | March for Science
Ready to knit a Brain Hat for Halloween? This is such a fun project, perfect for Halloween. Knitting up a hat base, along with yards of i-cord brains, you will have fun coiling and designing your very own brain hat!

This free knitting pattern includes my fun video tutorial that gives you an overview of everything you need to know, so make sure to check it out! This knitting pattern is an easy level project, perfect for everyone who has completed my Absolute Beginner Knitting Series. What colors will you select to knit up your brains?



How to Knit Brains with Studio Knit


How to Knit Brains: Halloween Hat with Studio Knit

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.

If you’re new to knitting, you’ll love my Absolute Beginners Knitting Series!

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
Knit in the Round Circular Needles
Switching to DPNs


Brain Hat Knit Studio Knit

• 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

How to Knit Brains


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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.

How to Knit Brains: Halloween Hat with Studio Knit

Let’s Knit Up Some Brains!

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 are just three inches long.  Any sizes totally 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.

How to Knit Brains: Halloween Hat with Studio Knit

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!

How to Knit Brains: Halloween Hat with Studio Knit

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?  The anatomy books show that each side 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, or just tie and cut your yarn ends on the inside.

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VIDEO TUTORIAL for the Knitted Brain Hat

For a complete step-by-step tutorial of this knitting pattern, you can watch my video below. Subscribe to my YouTube channel Studio Knit for more fun knitting ideas!


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

If you’d like even more great knitting ideas, please make sure you join my mailing list. Subscribing to my YouTube channel Studio Knit is another easy way for us to stay connected and help support my work for free.

Kristen McDonnell Studio Knit

Happy Knitting to You!
Kristen of Studio Knit