What winter demands is a hat that does the job of keeping your head and ears warm, and does it without making you look like a Smurf. Our Top-Down Ear Flap Hat is such a hat… the good kind, that is!

Top-Down Ear Flap Hat | Purl Soho

Basic, yes, but beautiful, and in Season Alpaca, our Top-Down Ear Flap Hat is as soft as it gets. Warm? Check. Cozy? Check. There’s not much more to ask of a winter hat, except…

Top-Down Ear Flap Hat | Purl Soho

Except that it have ear flaps and adorable I-cords and tassels! And how about constructing it from the top down, so you can determine exactly when the rim falls just to your eyebrows, the flaps hit the bottom of your lobes, and the back perfectly covers the nape of your neck.

Top-Down Ear Flap Hat | Purl Soho

Sized from babies to adults, you’ll need just one skein of Season Alpaca to make one adult hat, two kid hats, or three or four baby ones. Choose from 14 straight-from-nature colors and cast on for this wear-everywhere topper!

Top-Down Ear Flap Hat | Purl Soho

Designed by Purl Soho designer, Laura Ferguson.

Share your progress and connect with the community by tagging your pics with #PurlSoho, #PurlSohoBusyHands, #PurlSohoTopDownEarFlapHat, and #PurlSohoSeasonAlpaca. We can’t wait to see what you make!


Top-Down Ear Flap Hat | Purl Soho
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  • 1 skein of Purl Soho’s Season Alpaca, 100% baby alpaca.  Each skein is 218 yards/ 100 grams; approximately 40 (50, 70, 85, 115, 145, 170) yards required. We used Heirloom White, Peony Pink, and Raw Sienna.
  • US 3 (3.25mm), 16-inch circular needles (for Kid and Adult sizes only)
  • Set of US 3 double pointed needles
  • Stitch markers, including one unique

NOTE: One skein is enough to make 1 Adult hat, 2 Kid Small hats, or 3-4 baby ones.


25 stitches and 32 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch


Newborn-3 months (3-6 months, 6-12 months, Kid Small, Kid Large/Adult Small, Adult Medium, Adult Large)

  • Finished Circumference: 14 (15¼, 16¾, 18, 19¼, 20½, 21¾) inches
  • Finished Height (from crown to center front): 6 (7, 7½, 8, 8¾, 9½, 10) inches

SAMPLES: We knit size 3-6 months, Kid Small, and Adult Medium.


Lifted Increases

LLI (Left Lifted Increase): Lift the left leg of the stitch 2 rows below the stitch on right-hand needle onto left-hand needle and knit it through the back loop. [1 stitch increased]

RLI (Right Lifted Increase): Lift right leg of the stitch below the next stitch on the left-hand needle onto the left-hand needle and knit it. [1 stitch increased]

To see both techniques in action, visit our Lifted Increase Tutorial!


ssp (slip slip purl): Slip one purlwise, slip one knitwise, replace slipped stitches back onto left-hand needle, p2tog through the back loop. [1 stitch decreased]


csd (centered single decrease): The centered single decrease is worked over three stitches and is essentially an ssk followed by a k2tog. Here’s how to do it…

Slip 2 stitches knitwise, one at a time. Insert left-hand needle into front of the two slipped stitches, knit together. Now, insert tip of left-hand needle into the second of the two just-worked slipped stitches, k2tog (the next stitch on the left-hand needle and the slipped stitch you just picked up). [1 stitch decreased]

Confused? Watch our Centered Single Decrease Tutorial for all the step-by-steps!


Shape Crown

Using Long Tail Cast On, cast 8 stitches onto a double pointed needle.

Distribute stitches evenly on 4 double pointed needles.

Join for working in the round, being careful to not twist the stitches.

Round 1: [Knit into front and back (kfb)] eight times. [16 stitches]

Row 2: For needle 1- K2, place unique marker to indicate first needle, k2; For needles 2, 3, and 4- K2, place marker, k2.

Round 3: For each needle- Knit to next marker, LLI (see Notes), slip marker (sm), k1, RLI (see Notes), knit to end of needle. [8 stitches increased]

Round 4: Knit.

Repeat Rounds 3 and 4 eight (9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9) more times. [88 (96, 96, 96, 96, 96, 96) stitches]

Sizes Newborn-3 months and 3-6 months only

Go to Continue Even section.

Sizes 6-12 months, kid small, kid large/adult small, adult medium, and adult large only

Round 1: [Knit to next marker, LLI, sm, k1, RLI] four times, knit to end of round. [8 stitches increased]

Round 2: Knit.

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 – (–, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4) more time(s). [– (–, 104, 112, 120, 128, 136) stitches]

Continue Even

Change to circular needles and on the next round, replace the unique marker with a regular marker, and when you reach the end of the round, place the unique marker for end of round.

Continue in stockinette stitch, knitting each round, until piece measures 6 (7, 7½, 8, 8¾, 9½, 10) inches from cast on, ending the last round 10 (10, 11, 12, 12, 13, 13) stitches before end of round.

Shape Ear Flaps

Set-Up Round: Bind off 20 (20, 22, 24, 24, 26, 26) stitches for Back, removing end-of-round marker when you come to it; k20 (22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32), place previous 21 (23, 25, 27, 29, 31, 33) stitches on stitch holder for Right Ear Flap; bind off 26 (30, 32, 34, 38, 40, 44) stitches for Front, knit remaining stitches. [21 (23, 25, 27, 29, 31, 33) stitches remain for Left Ear Flap]

Left Ear Flap

Note: Work back and forth in rows on two double pointed needles.

Row 1 (wrong side): Purl.

Row 2 (right side): Knit.

Row 3: Repeat Row 1.

Row 4: K2, ssk, knit to last 4 stitches, k2tog, k2. [2 stitches decreased]

Repeat Rows 3 and 4 three (4, 5, 6, 5, 6, 7) more times. [13 (13, 13, 13, 17, 17, 17) stitches remain]

Next Row (wrong side): P2, p2tog, purl to last 4 stitches, ssp (see Notes), p2. [2 stitches decreased]

Next Row (right side): Repeat Row 4. [2 stitches decreased]

Repeat last two rows 0 (0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1) more time. [9 stitches]

Next Row: P2, p2tog, purl to last 4 stitches, ssp, p2. [7 stitches]

Next Row: K2tog, csd (see Notes), ssk. [4 stitches]

Work i-cord

*Without turning the work, slide stitches to right-hand end of needle, pull yarn from left-most stitch behind back of work to right-most stitch, k4, repeat from * until I-cord measures 1 (1, 1, 8, 10, 12, 12) inch(es), or desired length.

Next Row (wrong side): P2tog, ssp, bind off first stitch by passing it over second stitch and off the needle, cut yarn leaving an 8-inch tail and pull tail through remaining stitch.

Right Ear Flap

Transfer 21 (23, 25, 27, 29, 31 33) on-hold stitches to a double pointed needle.

Join yarn to wrong side and work as for Left Ear Flap.


Add a Tassel

Cut eight 7-inch lengths of yarn. Using a tapestry needle, thread each length halfway through the tip of I-cord at bottom of Ear Flap to make 16 strands of fringe. Wrap the I-cord tail several times around the base of the fringe where it joins the I-cord. Thread the tail down through the wraps and trim the fringe and tail to desired length.

Repeat for other Ear Flap, weave in remaining ends, and block as desired!

Top-Down Ear Flap Hat | Purl Soho
Top-Down Ear Flap Hat | Purl Soho