How To Knit A Rasta Hat

In order to wear a Rastafarian ensemble, you'll need to know how to knit a Rasta hat. A Rasta hat celebrates Jamaica and the religion known as Rastafarianism, or it's simply a fashion statement. Depending on the size of your head and your dreadlocks, long hair worn in a type of braid, the hat may need an oversized opening to fit. A Rasta hat can be a form of beanie or it can also be a close-fitting, ski-type form with a wide band that goes around the head.

To knit a rasta hat, you will need:

  • measuring tape
  • three colors of yarn, red, yellow and green
  • knitting needles
  • needle and thread 
  1. Measuring. The first step in how to knit a Rasta hat is figuring out how big your head is and how large the Rasta hat should be. Measure the circumference of your head and the approximate positioning of a hat. This is your base measurement. Add two inches for yarn shrinkage.
  2. Planning. The Rasta hat is a large pocket with a band. Figure out how long the pocket must be to fit over your head. If you have major dreads, you'll need to tie up your hair and measure over the top. Once you have this estimate, figure out how large you want the stripes to be. Guesstimate at least an inch for each stripe, unless you're going for your own unique knit pattern.
  3. Knit. Start with the first color and knit a stripe. The larger the needle selected, the larger the knit. Roll your yarn into a ball. Take the yarn coming from the ball and make a pretzel shape with a three inch tail on one side and the yarn ball on the other. Insert the needle under the first loop of the yarn pretzel, then tighten the knot over the needle. Add the other needle into the same loop. Wrap the yarn, still hooked to the yarn ball, around the last needle. Slide the first needle back towards you, with the end loop from the first pretzel and insert the needle and first pretzel side through the new loop of yarn. You'll make a series of new pretzel loops using the two needles. The knit lines up perfectly along the needle and as you make pretzels. The line on the needle becomes longer as you knit.
  4. Try on the Rasta hat. Hold up the stripe to make sure you have the look going for you and that the stripe is long enough to go around your head. Make sure you like the size of the stripe. 
  5. Knit. Go for the second and then the third colored stripes. This is more a judgement call here on how the stripes fit the Rasta hat. Knit the new color the same way as the first stripe, simply change the color yarn and keep knitting. Leave a bit of yarn when you change colors to tie off inside the hat. 
  6. Knit the band. Decide what thickness looks best on your head. An inch or more is recommended or half the size of the stripes. 
  7. Sew up the pocket on the back of the hat. You now need to close the back of the hat with yarn. Sew the hat tightly down the back, or underside, of the hat. Some knitters like to finish the seam with a machine. Do this inside where it doesn't show. Tie the inside leftover pieces of colored yarn so the knit doesn't unravel. 
  8. Try the band on the hat. Take the thread and loosely attach the band to the Rasta hat. This is a temporary thing, so don't use tight stitches. Use approximately one large stitch per half inch. This is just enough to keep the band on the hat to test the fit, but not too fast to be a pain in the neck to remove.
  9. Attach the band. Do the final stitching using the yarn. 


Junique, Kelleyana. "Rastafari? Rasta For You: Rastafarianism Explained."  Athena Press, 2004.

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