Adding Cat (or just general critter) Ears to a Knit Hat

critter knit hat

Last winter or spring sometime, I knit a quick newborn hat in this beautiful brown alpaca yarn.  Since then, it’s been sitting.  I thought it’d be a great idea to add some quick ears, a bow, and BAM!  A super cute ready-to-wear critter hat to throw on my newborn baby girl when she decides to show up!  I couldn’t decide what type of “critter” my hat looked like until my friend decided it looked like a cat.  So call it what you will, but this hat has ears…

Here’s how I added ears and a bow to my hat.  Do not be intimidated at adding ears this way, as I think they look nicer than sewing them on (or maybe I’m just bad at sewing ears on).  Either way, below you’ll find my easy ear solution.

Again, I was starting with a newborn sized hat (click here for the pattern), so I didn’t want my ears to be too big.  My directions below are for ears for a newborn sized hat.  I used worsted weight alpaca yarn on the hat, so did the same for the ears.  If you choose to do a contrasting color, make sure the size of the yarn is the same, or it’ll look weird.  I also used the same size double pointed needles as I did circular needles when making the hat.

1.  First, you need to choose where you’ll want to put the ears.  This is always an intimidating step for me, but once you “just do it”, you’ll be happy you just made a decision (and it’s easy to pull the needle out if you change your mind).

2.  Once you decide, use your dpns to pick up 8 stitches evenly on each side of the hat.

add critter ears to a knit hat adding critter ears to a hat

3.  Start knitting your ears.  Depending on which way you start knitting, you’ll either knit or purl first.  The first row should be purls to the front of the hat and knits to the back.  I am writing the ear patterns as if you started knitting to the back (purling to the front) on row 1.

  • row 1 — k8
  • rows 2 — k2, p4, k2
  • rows 3 — p2, k4, p2
  • row 4 — same as row 2
  • row 5 — same as row 3
  • row 6 — k2, p2, m1, p2, k2
  • row 7 — p2, k5, p2
  • row 8 — k2, p2, p2tog, p1, k2
  • row 9 — p2, k2tog, k2tog, p2
  • row 10 — k all
  • row 11 — p2tog 3 times

Break yarn, leaving a tail.  Use darning needle to draw through remaining loops and weave in ends.

add a knit ear to a hat

The other ear will be the same.  Just make sure you start by purling to the front of the hat (if you start row 1 by purling your first row instead of knitting as I did, reverse the ps and ks in every row of the ear pattern to match).

4.  Make a bow.  I used pink alpaca worsted weight yarn to make the bow.  I like to make my bows in the “seed stitch” because it helps the bow hold a nice shape.  I used size 6 needles.

knit seed stitch bowBow —

CO 10 stitches
Knit seed stitch until piece measures about 5 inches in length.
Seed stitch:  (k1, p1) repeat
When doing the seed stitch you will always be knitting into a purl and purling into a knit from the previous row.  If you ever find yourself knitting into a knit stitch, you’ll be ribbing, not seeding.

close up seed stitch

Next, find the middle of the bow and wrap yarn around the bow until you like the way it looks.  Tie a knot in the back of the bow and leave tails on either end of the knot.

5.  Use the tails you left in the back of your bow to sew the bow onto your hat.

cat baby hat

6.  Enjoy your adorable, cute-ified beanie!

I hope to get lots of adorable photos of my soon-to-arrive baby girl in this hat!  Stay tuned!

Looking for the beanie hat pattern?  You’ll find it here.

As a reminder about my patterns:

Want to make this hat to sell it?  I’m OK with that.  As long as you do the following:

  • If selling online, please include the following: “Original pattern by Lace and Yarn by Betsy Busch available at”
  • If you sell on Etsy, please include the following in your listing: “Original pattern by Lace and Yarn by Betsy Busch available at”

I’m, of course, not OK with you distributing or selling the pattern.  For personal use only, please!

Making this hat?  I’d love to see it!  Also, I’m happy to answer any questions you have about the pattern.  Feel free to leave questions in the comments or message me.

3 thoughts on “Adding Cat (or just general critter) Ears to a Knit Hat

  1. This is great; thank you. I am knitting hats for the women’s march this weekend. More and more people want hats, so I wanted to find an ear pattern to retroactively make a regular hat a cat hat. I do have two questions. 1) I don’t understand if you pick up 10 stitches, why you only knit 8. 2) For a grown-up hat, would you expand the pattern by a few rows, and make it 10 or 12 stitches? Thanks again.

    1. Sounds like you’re busy knitting! Thanks for your comment!

      1) And good call, that doesn’t make any sense. It should’ve said pick up 8 stitches. (corrected)

      2)I would definitely make the ears larger for a grown up hat. The post is for a newborn hat. But it all depends on what type of yarn you’re using and what size needles you’re using. Pattern is for worsted weight yarn with size 6 needles. Really, you could probably pick up as many stitches as what looks about the size you’d like the ears to be and then follow the same type pattern I did.

      Good luck!

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