How to Convert (Almost) Any Hat Pattern to a Messy Bun Beanie


A trend from the early aughts is back in the knitting and crochet worlds, only this time with a slightly different name. Back in 2005, Ponytail Beanies hit the stitching community. These hats were designed with a strategically placed hole to accommodate a ponytail by the wearer. Different variations were made available for low ponies, high ponies, side ponies and even the double whammy of pig tails. Here we are a decade later, however and the high-pony version is back only this time to cater to the mom/athletic/busy person hairstyle du jour: the messy bun.

The Messy Bun Beanie is here for your hair and, as long as you’re hair is, well, long it’s a great fit for the *colder weather. On this week’s Facebook Live Stream Series, Ask Me Monday I showed how to convert (almost) any existing knit or crochet hat pattern into a Messy Bun Beanie. I began with the more involved of the duo, the crocheted beanie, then gave a quicker overview of its less involved sister, the knit beanie. Below is the breakdown, as well as basic beanie patterns for you to experiment with. Here’ goes!

(*Those in seriously cold weather would likely debate the effectiveness of any hat with a hole in it.)

Watch the Tutorial



How to Convert a Crochet Beanie Pattern into a Messy Bun Beanie: Calculate Foundation Chain Number

Stitch Gauge x Circumference of Opening  = Approximate Beginning Chain

Recommended Opening Size: 3″ Diameter and 9″ circumference 


Basic Crochet Beanie Pattern

1 Ball each of  Vickie Howell for Deramores Mod Wool (or equivalent Aran weight yarn), in colors: (A) Apollo Aran, and (B) Black Cadillac.

Size US I/5.5mm Clover Amour Crochet Hook

Clover Jumbo Bent Point Tapestry Needle

Women’s One Size

Stretches to fit up to 22″ head

2 1/2 stitches = 1″/2.5 cm


Conversion Calculation:  2.5 sts x 9″ = 22.5 <—- Look for Stitch number that’s nearest to this number to know your starting point.


Crown: (As for Standard Beanie)

Rnd 1: With A, ch 4 (doesn’t count as stitch), 12 dc in center ring. — 12 sts

Rnd 2: Ch 3, 2 dc in next st and every st around. 24 sts. <— Bingo, this number is the closest to 22.5 that can be found in this pattern, so we now know where to start. To begin, we’ll just need to chain the designated amount, so 24.

Ch 24.

That’s it. That’s the only alteration you’ll need to make. Now, resume pattern as written!

Messy Bun Beanie Get Started

Rnd 3: Ch 3, *2 dc in next st, dc in next st; rep from * around. –36 sts.

Rnd 4: Ch3, *2 dc in next st, 2 dc in next two sts; rep from * around. — 48 sts.

Join B. You’ll carry whichever color is not in use, up along the inside of piece.


Rnd 5:  With B, ch 3, dc in every st around. — 48 sts.

Rnd 6: With A, ch 3, dc in every st around.

Rnds 7-13:  Repeat Rnds 5-6, ending with a Rnd 5.

Cut B.


Rnd 14:  With A ch 2, hdc in every st around. 

Rnds 15-16: Ch 2, *FPhdc, BPhdc; rep from * around.

Fasten off.


Weave in ends.


How to Convert a Knit Beanie Pattern: Just Stop Knitting…well, sort of.

Most knitted hats are worked from the bottom (band or brim) to top (crown.) This makes the conversation process to accommodate a hair, top-knot really easy. You can really, just knit the crown decreases until the opening is the desired size. Then, *simply bind off.

If you’d like a little more direction in your directions, you can use the same recommended opening size (3″ diameter/9″ circumference ) from the crochet hat conversation, and apply it to the crown portion of the knit hat towards the end of the knitting process. Here’s what that would look like.

Basic Knit Beanie Pattern


1 Ball each of  Vickie Howell for Deramores Mod Wool (or equivalent Aran weight yarn), in colors: (A) Apollo Aran, and (B) Black Cadillac.

Size US 9/5.5mm, 16″/41 cm Clover Takumi Bamboo Circular Needle

Set, Size US 9/5.5mm Clover Takumi Bamboo Double Pointed Needles

Clover Jumbo Bent Point Tapestry Needle

Women’s One Size

Stretches to fit up to 22″ head

4 stitches = 1″/2.5 cm



With A, CO 80 sts.


Rnds 1-5: *K2, p2; rep from * around. — 80 sts.


Rnds 6-7: With A, knit.

Join B.

Rnds 8-9: With B, knit.

Repeat Rnds 6-9 until piece measures 6″ from CO edge.

Cut B.


Switch to double-pointed needles as necessary.

Before we get started, let’s do a little crown math. 

Conversion Calculation:  4 sts x 9″ = 36 <—- Look for Stitch number that’s nearest to this number to know where your approximate stopping point is.

Rnd 1:  With A, *k2tog, k6; rep from * around. –70 sts.

Rnds 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14:  Knit.

Rnd 3: *K2tog, k5; rep from * around. –60 sts.

Rnd 5: *K2tog, k4; rep from * around. –50 sts.

Rnd 7: *K2tog, k3; rep from * around. — 40 sts. <— Ok, this number is the closest to what we’re looking for, so we know that it’s the point when we’ll stop using the existing pattern. Since the nearest number happens to be about 1″/2.5 larger than our goal we now have a couple of choices: 1.) Make peace with the discrepancy and bind off, or 2.) Work one more round, decreasing 4 sts evenly around. You do you.

*PRO TIP: Work a round or two in K1, P1 rib, then bind-off in that rib pattern for a stretchier opening!

Rnd 9: *K2tog, k2; rep from * around. –30 sts.

Rnd 11: *K2tog, k1; rep from * around. — 20 sts.

Rnd 13: *K2tog; rep from * around. — 10 sts.

Cut yarn leaving a long tail. Using tapestry needle, feed tail through live sts, letting them fall off the needles. Cinch shut.


Weave in ends.

Now that you know how to convert knit and crochet hat patterns to messy bun beanies, get stitching! Don’t forget to post pictures of your beanies online and tag @vickiehowell and @cloverusa!



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9 Responses to “How to Convert (Almost) Any Hat Pattern to a Messy Bun Beanie”

  1. Ann Russo

    Love your information you give us it is so helpful. Thank you so much

  2. Karen Cole

    Hi Vickie. My ? is how do you feel about croheting in the ponytail elastic. at the opening . I actually have no hair so I am totally stumped. I have seen patterns both ways. Maybe it holds it’s shape longer through use etc.
    bBy the way must tell you that I am VERY much missing your PBS Knit & crochet show . My location anyway in NC no longer has it. lol I complained to pbs as yours was not the only one gone but no response from them. Such a bummer & artistic loss for us. Thank goodness we can still see you here.

  3. Tamala

    Thank you so much for doing this. I have a number of favourite hat patterns, and have had many people ask me for a ‘bun’ hat. This one is added to my list; it’s nice because I can either use yours or convert mine to one.

    • Vickie Howell

      Tamala — I’m so glad it’s going to work for you!

      Karen — I think the ponytail elastic is a smart idea, as long as it’s large enough to not further mess the wearer’s messy bun. 😉

      Knitting Daily is no longer in productions, so it’s not just your area that’s missing it. Thank you so much for the kind words about the show. I’m working on trying to make something new work in the digital realm. Stay tuned! xx

  4. Beth

    This is great information!
    Shouldn’t round 4 of the crochet messy bun pattern have 2 stitches in between the increases? … to go from 36 to 48?
    Thanks for the patern!

  5. Rebecca Rowell

    Ok I am crocheting this messy bun hat , I’m at end where I start hdc in front and back post , I’m lost can you help me with this please

  6. Brenda Snyder

    Thank for the messy bun pattern going to try it .