Treat yourself to a funky colourwork set with this free Fair Isle hat pattern and matching mitts by Sophie Jordan, taken from Simply Knitting issue 169.


Stranded colourwork doesn’t always have to be wintry or Scandi-inspired. Sometimes thinking outside the box with your colours can deliver the prettiest of results. "A large range of brilliant colours always gets me excited about Fair Isle," says Sophie. "There’s nothing like playing with wonderful shades to make a pattern really pop."

Scheepjes Stone Washed comes in more than 30 beautiful marled shades, so you can mix and match the colours in your free Fair Isle hat pattern to your heart's delight!

The choice of a cooler cotton-blend yarn and fingerless gloves means you'll wear this accessory set all the way into spring. If you're looking for something a little warmer, why not try our woolly cable hat, or cast on our cosy bobble hat for men or women?

Things to note before casting on our free Fair Isle hat

Ready to cast on? Skip to our shopping list for all the yarn and tools you need.

This pattern uses UK knitting terms and Gathered's standard knitting abbreviations.

See our yarn weight conversion chart for help converting from UK to US yarn weights.

You can get a PDF version of our colourwork accessory set here: Free Fair Isle hat pattern PDF

Getting the right tension for our Fair Isle hat pattern

The finished hat measures 53cm circumference, and the fingerless mittens are 18cm circumference and 13cm long.

To make sure your finished hat and mittens are a good fit, check your tension using our guide to knitting tension squares before you begin.

Scheepjes Stone Washed yarn knits as sport weight to this tension: 27 sts and 30 rows to measure 10x10cm (4x4in) over pattern using 3½mm needles.

Free Fair Isle hat pattern

You will need

  • Scheepjes, Stone Washed (78% cotton, 27% acrylic, 50g/130m)
    1 ball of each: Yarn A Peridot (827)
    Yarn B Turquoise (824)
    Yarn C Morganite (834)
    Yarn D Rhodochrosite (835)
    Yarn E Lepidolite (830)
    Yarn F Malachite (825)
  • A pair of 3mm needles
  • A pair of 3½mm needles
  • Stitch markers

All the charts for our free Fair Isle hat

The Fair Isle pattern on this hat and mittens is knitted from a colourwork chart. If you haven't worked from a chart before, see our guide on how to read charts in knitting patterns to learn how it's done.

Fair Isle knitting pattern hat and gloves charts

Work the brim of your Fair Isle hat

This hat is knitted from the bottom up, so you'll start by working a simple 2x2 rib stitch to create a stretchy brim, then increase the number of stitches for the main body of the hat, ready to start the colourwork chart.

Step 1

Cast on 128 sts using 3mm needles and Yarn A.

Row 1 (WS) *K1tbl; rep from * to end.

Row 2 (RS) *K2, P2; rep from * to end.

Row 2 forms 2x2 rib.

Work in 2x2 rib for 7 more rows, ending with a WS row.

Inc row (RS) *K7, kfb; rep from * to end. [144 sts]

Change to 3½mm needles.

Next row Purl.

Knit hat pattern
Top your Fair Isle hat with a big, colourful pompom.

Work from the chart

Now it's time for the fun part – working the Fair Isle! In this step you'll follow the Hat Chart above to create the colourwork pattern. You may want to print this out and mark off each row as you complete it, to make it easier to keep track of your progress.

The colourwork repeat is completed before any decreases are required, so you can focus on knitting perfect Fair Isle without worrying about shaping or other distractions.

Step 2

Work Rows 1-42 of Hat Chart.

When Hat Chart is complete, continue in Yarn A only.

Shape the top of the hat

Now it's time to start decreasing to create the crown of the hat. Use knit two together (k2tog) (see how to decrease in knitting for full instructions) and keep a careful count of your stitches at the end of every decrease row to make sure you have the correct number.

Step 3

Next row (RS) *K6, k2tog; rep from * to end. [126 sts]

Next row Purl.

Next row *K4, k2tog; rep from * to end. [105 sts]

Next row Purl.

Next row *K1, k2tog; rep from * to end. [70 sts]

Next row Purl.

Next row *K2tog; rep from * to end. [35 sts]

Thread yarn tail through remaining stitches, pull up and fasten off.

Sew back seam using backstitch.

Finish with a pompom

Give your hat a bobble by making a colourful pompom and attaching it to the top. Follow our how to make pom poms guide for four different pom pom-making techniques to try.

Step 4

Make a pom pom using all 6 yarn colours and sew securely to the top of the hat.

Fair Isle knitting pattern gloves
Keep chilly wrists warm with a pair of knitted fingerless mittens.

Cast on your matching fingerless mittens

Complete the set with a pair of mittens to keep your hands warm on chilly days. Follow these steps twice to make both mittens.

Step 1

Cast on 48 stitches using 3mm needles and Yarn A.

Work in 2x2 rib as for hat for 8 rows ending after a WS row.

Change to 3½mm needles.

Work from the chart

Follow the Mitten Chart above to create the Fair Isle pattern, as you did for the hat.

Step 2

Work Rows 1-14 of Mitten Chart.

When Mitten Chart is complete, continue in Yarn A only.

Shape the thumb

Next you'll add some shaping for the thumb. Use stitch markers to help you see where you need to work the increases.

Step 3

Next row (RS) K22, PM, M1, K4, M1, PM, K22. [50 sts]

Next row and every WS row (WS) Purl, slipping markers.

Next row and every RS row K22, sl sm, M1, K to sm, M1, sl sm, K22.

Repeat the last 2 rows until there are 16 sts between the two markers, ending with a RS row. [60 sts]

Next row P to sm, cast off the 16 sts between the markers, P to end. [44 sts]

Next row K21, (1 st remains on the RH needle before the thumb gap), K into the back of the first stitch on the LH needle, then the stitch that remains on the RH needle, take both sts off the needle, K22. [44 sts]

Next row Purl.

Work 8 rows in 2x2 rib.

Cast off.

To finish your mittens, sew the side seam using backstitch.

More cosy colourwork

Why not use up any leftover yarn from this project to make a colourful Fair Isle mug hug?

one ball knitting patterns free

Shopping list for the Fair Isle hat and mittens

Show your true colours

Every knitter needs a great colourwork hat in their wardrobe, so make it this one! Our free Fair Isle hat pattern is a classic you'll want to make time and again, and with a change of colour palette you could get a completely different look. Whether it's bold brights, on-trend ombré or muted monochrome, you're sure to be ahead of the crowd.


Improve your Fair Isle with Gathered

Does your colourwork look less even than you'd like? Do your yarns get in a tangle as you knit? There's a simple way to work quicker and get better results – and Gathered can show you how. Check out our guide to catching floats in stranded knitting for neater Fair Isle every time.


Sophie Jordan
Sophie JordanDeputy Editor, Simply Knitting magazine

Sophie Jordan has been the Deputy Editor of Simply Knitting magazine for 4 years and an avid knitter for 42. Passionate about all crafts, you can often find her sewing, crocheting and embroidering in her spare time

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