Sunday 25 September 2011

Sleepy Polar Bear Hat - knitting pattern

There's nothing quite like a cute, cosy hat for your kid that knits up super fast to make you feel like the queen of domestic productivity.  So good, it had to be shared.

~ Sleepy Polar Bear Hat ~

2 x 100g skein of bulky-super bulky weight yarn (I used some delicious local natural yarn I found in my favourite craft shop which was unlabelled)
scrap of brown yarn, to embroider the bear's eyes and nose
set of 5 7mm DPNs
3 stitch markers or scrap yarn
yarn needle

Gauge: 1" = 3 stitches / 4.5 rows
Size: Child, fits ages 2 - 4

k - knit
p - purl
st st - stockinette stitch
k2tog - knit 2 stitches together
st(s) - stitch(es)
rnd - round
cont - continue
rep - repeat
SM - stitch marker
CO - cast on
BO - bind off

Starting with the ear flaps ~

CO 4 sts.  Knit 1st row.  Turn.
row 2: k1, m1, k2, m1, k1 (6 sts).
row 3: knit.
row 4: k1, m1, k4, m1, k1 (8 sts).
row 5: knit.
row 6: k4, m1, k4 (9 sts).
row 7: k4, p1, k4.
row 8: k4, m1, k1, m1, k4 (11 sts).
row 9: k4, p3, k4.
row 10: k4, m1, k3, m1, k4 (13 sts).
row 11: k4, p5, k4.
row 12: knit.
row 13: k4, p5, k4.
Rep rows 12 & 13 3 times altogether.  Cut yarn, keeping sts on the needle.  Make another ear flap in the same way.

Hat ~

CO 7 sts.  Turn the needle so the working yarn is on the left.

Knit 11 sts from one ear flap, then bring in another DPN to knit the remaining 2 sts.

Turn and CO 14 sts, turn (again so you have working yarn on the left) and knit 2 sts from 2nd ear flap.
Take a 3rd DPN and knit remaining 11 sts from ear flap, turn, CO 7 sts.

Join, being careful not to twist sts, to begin working in the round (you will have 54 sts altogether; 18 on each needle):

rnd 1: purl, knitting the 5 knit sts in ear flaps.
rnd 2: knit.
Rep rnds 1 & 2 3 times, then cont knitting in st st until hat measures 5" deep.

Crown ~

Prepare to decrease like this:
k9, place SM, k remaining 9 sts from needle.  Rep this on each needle, so you have 3 SMs in the centre of each needle.

Decrease ~

rnd 1: k until 2 sts remain before SM, k2tog, k until 2 sts remain on needle, k2tog.
rnd 2: knit.
Rep rnds 1 & 2 7 times altogether, until 12 sts in total remain.
Cut yarn leaving a 5" tail.  Thread this onto a yarn needle and slip each st purlwise, pulling tight to close the hole.  Secure and sew in all loose tails.

Bear Ears (make 2) ~

CO 3 sts.  Knit 1st row.  Turn.
row 1: k1, m1, k1, m1, k1 (5 sts).
rows 2 & 3: knit.
row 4: k2, p2, k2.
row 5: k2, m1, k1, m1, k2 (7 sts).
row 6: k3, p3, k2.
row 7: knit.
Rep rows 6 & 7 once more.
BO, leaving a long enough tail to sew the ears to the hat.
Using the picture as a guide, sew ears to hat.  

Using your scrap of brown yarn, embroider the sleepy bear eyes and nose - either copy how I did it using the picture as a guide, or make up your own.

All done!  And now I might just make a whole family of these... And try out various ear-style possibilities...


  1. This is too cute for words! The tutorial is all Dutch to me at the moment, but I'm taking a knitting course in October, so I hope to return to this and actually understand it! Hehe!

  2. So cute. I am going to look for yarn to make this today.

  3. This hat is ADORABLE!! Can you tell me what size/age child it fits?


  4. Peg: yes of course how silly of me! This hat was made to fit my 3 year old son, and I'd say would be fine for children ages 2-4. I will amend the pattern immediately! x

  5. Can this be made for adults?

  6. Anonymous: Yes of course this could be made for adults! Just as soon as I get some time after Christmas I'm going to grade it up... But in the meantime, just check the gauge on the ball band of your yarn, measure the circumference of the adult's head and cast on the relevant number of stitches in order to fit the head. Knit until the hat is about 6 inches deep before beginning your decreases. Happy Christmas and happy knitting! x

  7. Nice pattern, super cute and easy to follow. I knit it using 6.5mm needles and the hat is a little bigger than I thought it would be. It actually fits me, lol. Maybe I have a small head. I made it for my 2 year old grandson. Just wondering if I had the needle size right (7mm) not 7us size. Thanks for posting can't wait for him to try, and hope to make one for my niece. Thanks Lorie

  8. LOVE this pattern BUT do you have printer friendly or how can I print this off?

    1. Hi Carole, sorry you're having trouble printing this... I'm not quite sure how to create a printer friendly version (not so handy with computers!) but I'd be happy to email it to you if that helps? Drop me a line at and I'll reply with the pattern.

  9. I LOVE this pattern but had the same issue as Deborah - not sure about the extra stitches on the ears…? Is there a m1 missing? I just eliminated a stitch on the rows with even numbers, but the ears didn't look quite as cute as the pic. Thank you for your help!


I love hearing your thoughts, and if you have any questions at all, I will reply to them within these comments - so please be sure to check back to get your answer!

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