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Hat Description

Rainbowret is a beret with a ribbed brim, stocking stitch body and cartwheel decrease pattern at the crown. It’s designed to work with scraps of yarn joined in a rainbow sequence.


Pattern Availability

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Pattern Support

If you have a question about this pattern, pop it in a comment below. Sorry, but I’m unable to help with my free patterns or tutorials via email or private messages.


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44 [54, 66, 78, 94, 108] m/ 49 [59, 73, 86, 103, 118] yd
DK/Sports weight oddments


Needles & Notions

Set 3.25mm/UK10/US3 & 3.5mm/UK–/US4 DPNs/Circular or size needed to obtain gauge
Stitch marker as necessary
Tapestry needle


Sample Details

Shown in DK/sports weight oddments
(see the Rainbow Ball tutorial for yarn requirements)

Shown in size 23in/58.5cm on model with 22in/55.75cm head



The yardage requirements can only ever be an estimate for the Rainbowret, because the yarns in your stash will likely vary from those used in the sample. The yardages estimated for this pattern were calculated from the average yardages of the DK yarns used.

Fear not! The absolute beauty of this Hat is that if you run out of yarn, you can simply continue your colour sequence and add extra yarn as needed!

For the sample used, the colour lengths were approximately a 1.9yd/1.75m long, give or take. (The sample is shown in the 20in size) However, what makes this design more organic, and what makes it more fun, is that the colour lengths can vary and don’t have to be exact – gentle overlapping of colours can be quite effective, especially if semi-solid of softly variegated yarns are used.

Why not experiment a little and try your own colour sequence?



24 sts x 36 rows to 4in/10cm on 3.25mm needles over St.St
22 sts x 34 rows to 4in/10cm on 3.5mm needles over St.St



To fit sizes: 15 [17, 19, 20, 21, 23] in/ 38 [43.25, 48.25, 51, 53.25, 58.5] cm
Finished size: 13.25 [14.75, 16, 17.25, 18.75, 20] in/ 33.75 [37.5, 40.75, 43.75, 47.5, 51] cm

Not sure which size to make? Check my handy size and measuring guide!


Skills Required

Alternate Cable Cast-on
Knitting in the round
Increases and Decreases
Draw-through Bind-off
Blocking a Hand Knit Hat



K: knit
P: purl
rpt: repeat
R/rnd(s): rounds
st(s): stitch(es)
M1: pick up the horizontal loop before the next stitch, place it onto the left needle & knit into the front of it
k2tog: knit next 2 sts together

How To

Using 3.25mm needles and Alternate Cable-cast on method, cast on 80 [88, 96, 104, 112, 120] sts. Join in the round, being careful not to twist sts. Place stitch marker to indicate start of round.



Now work K1, P1 rib for 1 [1, 1.25, 1.25, 1.5, 1.5] in/2.5 [2.5, 3.25, 3.25, 3.75, 3.75] cm then work increase round once as follows:

Inc Rnd: *K2, M1; rpt from * to end [120, 132, 144, 156, 168, 180 sts]

Change to 3.5mm needles.



Now work stocking stitch in the round (knit every stitch) for 3.5 [4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6] in/9 [10, 11.5, 12.75, 14, 15.25] cm



15in size jump to Rnd 11, 17in size jump to Rnd 9, 19in size jump to Rnd 7, 20in size jump to Rnd 5, 21in size jump to Rnd 3, 23in size start at Rnd 1.

Rnd 1: *K13, k2tog; rpt from * to end [168 sts]

Rnd 2 & all even rnds: Knit all sts

Rnd 3: *K12, k2tog; rpt from * to end [156 sts]

Rnd 5: *K11, k2tog; rpt from * to end [144 sts]

Rnd 7: *K10, k2tog; rpt from * to end [132 sts]

Rnd 9: *K9, k2tog; rpt from * to end [120 sts]

Rnd 11: *K8, k2tog; rpt from * to end [108 sts]

Rnd 13: *K7, k2tog; rpt from * to end [96 sts]

Rnd 15: *K6, k2tog; rpt from * to end [84 sts]

Rnd 17: *K5, k2tog; rpt from * to end [72sts]

Rnd 19: *K4, k2tog; rpt from * to end [60 sts]

Rnd 21: *K3, k2tog; rpt from * to end [48 sts]

Rnd 23: *K2, k2tog; rpt from * to end [36 sts]

Rnd 25: *K1, k2tog; rpt from * to end [24 sts]

Rnd 27: *k2tog; rpt from * to end [12 sts]

Break yarn and draw through remaining 12sts, tighten to close.

Alternatively, for an I-cord decoration, work the following rounds before closing the stitches:

Rnd 1: *K2tog; rpt from * to end [6 sts]

Rnd 2: *K2tog; rpt from * to end [3 sts]

Work as per I-cord for 1in/2.5cm. Break yarn and draw through remaining 3sts, tighten to close.



Weave in all ends. A gentle wash and blocking is required to help the decrease lines settle in and lay flat.

Introducing Rainbowret:

Rainbowret was designed and knit for my sister-in-law as a (belated) xmas pressie. Rainbow is her name (tho’ she might not thank me for posting that) so what better Hat than this?

The pattern is free, and 6 sizes are included, and it’s provided in written format only. The I-cord finish at the crown is optional, though I do think it finishes it off nicely.

The Hat pattern itself is incredibly simple; what makes this one special is how the yarns are used, how they’re prepared and how you work out your colour sequence.

I’ve published the tutorial and pattern separately, as I figured it might be fun to apply the Rainbow Ball method to other small knitting projects, besides Hats. You could use the method for a simple beanie and matching gloves and much more besides. Or folks may wish for a simple beret pattern without the rainbow effect, and Rainbowret would be perfect for that.

I also considered making this a paid-for pattern, but that would have meant making the design much more technical, to include, amongst other things, exact yarn requirements, which not only would be pretty tricky to do with yarn oddments (unless I used a single commercial yarn all the way through) but would also take the fun out of it. This design is all about playing with colour, experiementing with your oddments, and published this way, you can do just that! A guide based on the yarns I used for yardage etc is included, so you do have a jumping off point.

So, there you have Rainbowret! It’s fun and bright and cheery and provides another perspective to yarns and Hat knitting.

Need Help With This Pattern?

If you’ve a question about this pattern, please pop it in the comments below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can! I’m afraid I’m unable to offer help via email or private message, but you’re welcome to post in our forum.


Print This!

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Woolly Wormhead

Woolly Wormhead is an internationally reknowned knit designer, specialising in Hats, technique and construction. Their patterns and techniques have been used by thousands of knitters worldwide. Join The Woolly Hat Society to be the first to learn of their latest projects and special offers!

1 Comment

  1. Bonnie

    Thanks for posting your nag. I had never thought about posting to the .pdf as eating up your bandwidth (or being redistribution). I always just thought of it as being the fastest way for people to get to the pattern. Thanks for letting me know the problems!

    Oh, and the beret? Fantastic.


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