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Let’s Knit an Antler Toque

February 9, 2017
Bodhi is wearing her Antler Toque in Malabrigo Rios and a fun faux fur pom pom from Stash in Calgary

Bodhi is wearing her Antler Toque in Malabrigo Rios and a fun faux fur pom pom I picked up at Stash in Calgary

Ready to knit a cabled hat?! In this tutorial we will go step by step through the Antler Toque, a great way to learn about cables, charts, and hat knitting in general. If you are looking for something a little simpler, try our free Barley hat pattern and tutorial from The Simple Collection.


Ready your supplies:

Step one, download the Antler Toque pattern, and gather your supplies. You will need:

  • worsted weight yarn (in this tutorial we are using Malabrigo Rios in ‘water green’)
  • a US #6/ 4mm 16″ circular needle
  • a US #8/ 5mm 16″ circular needle and double pointed needles
  • a cable needle
  • a stitch marker
  • a darning needle.
  • If you happen to have a surly bearded man around, it helps for modelling once your hat is done, but that part is

Choosing a size:

sizing: Baby (Child, Adult S, L)
To fit 16 (18, 21, 23)” head

While some patterns include ‘finished measurements’ you will note that the Antler Toque has ‘to fit’ measurements. That is because this hat has a little bit of negative ease built in for a proper fit (negative ease means the hat is a little smaller than your noggin, so the knitting stretches a little to fit snuggly). I’ll be knitting the child size.

Ready to cast on:

Using smaller needles, cast on 76 (84, 96, 106) sts, PM and join for working in the round. Work in 1×1 rib (k1, p1) for 1.5 (2, 2, 2.5)”.

So, start with your US #6 / 4mm needles and cast on. Remember to cast on a little bit loosely, this hat has to go over a head! I will be casting on 84 sts, the first size in brackets. If you have never cast on using circular needles before, check out our tutorial here. Once you have completed your ribbing your toque will look like this:

Ribbing complete!

Ribbing complete!

Next round, Adult S and L only: work in 1×1 rib to last 2 sts, k2tog [- (-, 95, 105) sts]

Why this little adjustment? Because the ribbing must be an even number, but the cable and purl repeat must be an odd number for these sizes, the Adult S and L need a little decrease. You’ll just have to trust us on this one!

All sizes, change to larger needles and work set up round:
[k16, p3 (5, 3, 5)] around

To change to larger needles you simply use the larger needle to start the next round, knitting off the smaller needle in your left hand, onto the larger needle in your right hand. Since I am working the child size, I will work [k16, p5] around.This is a 21 stitch repeat and I will have 4 cables. The square brackets tell you what your repeat is, and the round brackets indicate the number of purl sts for your size. If you are knitting the baby size you will work [k16, p3] around, the child size is [k15, p5] around etc.

Work antler cable pattern following chart A or written instructions.
All Rounds: [work 16-st antler cable, p3 (5, 3, 5)] around
Work rounds 1-6 of antler cable a total of 5 (6, 8, 9) times


You will be working the 16 stitch chart with 3 or 5 purl stitches in between, depending on your size. The chart is read from right to left, bottom to top. Why do charts work that way? Because that is the way your knitting goes!

For the child size round 1 will look like this: [k4, c4b, c4f, k4, p5] around

It is a bit more clear once a few repeats have been worked. You can see that I have 16 stitch Antler cables separated by 5 purl sts (your size might have 3 sts in between)

It is a bit more clear once a few repeats have been worked. You can see that I have 16 stitch Antler cables separated by 5 purl sts (your size might have 3 sts in between)

Never cabled before? No problem! Check out our full cable tutorial here. For the child size, I am working rounds 1-6 of the chart a total of 6 times.

6 repeats accomplished

6 repeats accomplished

Ready for decreases

The decreases for this hat are fairly straight forward written out line by line. If ssk and k2tog are new to you, click the links for a detailed explanation. For the Antler Toque decreases, just watch out for the cabled decreases. They are the c4bdec and c4fdec. You are decreasing and cabling at the same time.

When your stitches start to feel too stretched you can change to DPNs (double pointed needles). Why the DPNs you ask? You can knit things larger than the circumference of a circular needle, but not smaller, in order to work on the few stitches left in the decreases you will need DPNs. Alternatively you could use a long circular needle and the magic loop method.


Switching to DPNs is easy peasy, just the same as switching from the smaller needles to the larger. You will pick up your first DPN in your right hand, and your circular needle will be in your left. You will work the stitches off of the circular onto the DPN.

When I distribute my sts on DPNs I like to put about 1/2 the sts on the first needle and about 1/4 of the sts on each of the other 2 needles. This way I don’t need the BOR marker, I know the beginning of the round is at the start of the ‘full’ needle.

Stitches distributed per my favourite method

Stitches distributed per my favourite method


Break yarn leaving an 8” tail. Thread tail through remaining sts, pull tight and secure end. Weave in your ends and give your hat a block.

Using your blunt darning needle, thread the tail through the remaining live sts

Using your blunt darning needle, thread the tail through the remaining live sts and take them off the needle.

Done and ready for a block!

Done and ready for a block!

The biggest question is to pom pom or not to pom pom. Bodhi went wild with a hot pink faux fur number, but it’s really up to you. If you are looking for a tutorial on how to make a pom pom, we have that too!


That’s it! You are ready to wear your Antler toque out and about. Now that you are confident with your cables you can go forth and conquer a matching set of mittens, or even an Antler sweater!

More cabled knits from TCK












33 Comments leave one →
  1. December 17, 2020 5:12 pm

    hi I’m confused. I Got up to the part where it says all rounds and for me I thought would work the cable pattern then p3 but round 2 below under the chart it says knit 16 – I’m confused and I’ve now messed up already and not sure how easy it is to tink cables.

    • December 17, 2020 5:26 pm

      Hi Suzie – Round 2 of the chart is knit 16, but you will have 3 or 5 purl stitches between the charts depending on what size you are knitting.

  2. January 27, 2020 8:19 pm

    I love this pattern. So beautiful and the color is great! Thank you for sharing!

  3. aryeeka permalink
    October 18, 2019 6:27 pm

    How do I do the cables decreases?? I’m at such a loss. Thank you!

    • October 21, 2019 9:33 am

      Hi – The instructions for these decreases are within the pattern, in the abbreviations section. It involves slipping sts onto the cable needle, holding it front or back and working a decrease from either the cable needle or the left hand needle.

  4. aryeeka permalink
    October 18, 2019 6:26 pm

    Halp! How do I c4bdec and c4fdec??? Thanks!!

  5. Mary permalink
    October 10, 2019 5:22 am

    I would really like to make the antler hat in 8ply (DK) because I have a lot of it.
    What stitch adjustments do I need to make for the largest adult size please.

    • October 11, 2019 9:41 pm

      Hi Mary – It would depend on your gauge etc. but you would want to add a repeat of the chart plus the purl sts, so 21 sts.

      • Mary permalink
        October 15, 2019 5:34 pm

        Thankyou Alexa!
        I’ve just finished my hat and everything turned out well. I’m now part way through antler toque number 2! The 8ply yarn knitted up without any problems and my daughter will be taking it to Bhutan with her in a couple of weeks. I also made her both the long and short Simple Yet Effective cowl in a beautiful hand dyed Australian alpaca from Adagio Mills. The hat and cowl should keep her warm in the Himalayas. Many thanks again for your assistance and I am very happy to have discovered your website, I love your patterns and tutorials.
        Happy Knitting

  6. Katya permalink
    October 6, 2019 7:49 am

    Can the you knit this without using the smaller size needles? Like, only using the one size all the way through?

  7. sharonhumphrey permalink
    February 8, 2019 10:08 am

    I love this hat! Why is my purl three very gappy I’ve tried tightening this part up but doesn’t make any difference

  8. Jane permalink
    January 7, 2018 5:07 am

    I’ve never seen double pointed needles like that! They look awesome, and like thee yarn wouldn’t slide so easily. Can you tell me where I might be able to get them (online)?

  9. Katie permalink
    November 7, 2017 10:23 pm

    I knit a swatch for the Antler hat, which I will be knitting in a size large. It came out with 24 sts in 4″ unblocked. Is that too much of a difference or can I proceed? I knit the swatch in the round. I’m soaking it in hot water as I type. Thank you!

    • November 8, 2017 9:31 am

      Hi Katie – I would probably swatch again with a larger needle and block your swatch. Then you will have an idea if you are close.

  10. Lynn permalink
    September 9, 2017 4:27 pm

    I just finished knitting the antler toque. When I clicked on the link to read how to block the toque it didn’t address that in detail. Are there any special instructions??
    Thank you

  11. Dallas Nixon permalink
    March 8, 2017 7:40 am

    I have knit one of your hats 3 times and I am up to row 79 on the estuary shawl. I love your patterns. I believe the hat was stove top. I am terrible with names. They turned out well. It is difficult for me to get a hat to I have a big head. I have a 22.5 head and I made the 23inch hat. It was a bit big so I thread some elastic thread in the brim and it was much better. Thank you for your wonderful patterns Dallas Nixon

  12. February 19, 2017 12:08 pm

    I’ve finished my Antler hat a week ago (to use up the yarn leftover from my Antler cardigan) and got good use out of it today in the rain in Limerick. Going to cast one on shortly in green for my grandson in time for St. Patricks Day. It’ll pair with his Flax sweater. I adore your patterns and advise every knitter I meet to try them.

  13. GeniaKnitz permalink
    February 13, 2017 9:30 pm

    “Thread tail through remaining sts, pull tight and secure end.” And if you’re a cautiuos (paranoid?) knitter, thread the tail through the remaining stitches twice. ;o)

    And a question: Are your superclear tutorials stored somewhere on your site or should I save this one to my own computer? Thanks

    • February 14, 2017 9:30 am

      Hi Genia
      Our Antler toque tutorial might not be up on the website yet, but it will always be on the blog!

  14. Cathie permalink
    February 12, 2017 12:10 pm

    First of all thanks for letting me join your site. I look forward to your emails. Your sock pattern was used in my first class at Stash. Great sock pattern. Thanks for sharing all you do.

    • Joan oconnor permalink
      May 9, 2019 11:56 am

      Can I knit this hat with two needles

      • May 12, 2019 8:57 pm

        Hi Joan – the Antler Hat is done in the round, so you would either need circular needles or 4 (or 5) double pointed needles.

  15. mariposaknits permalink
    February 10, 2017 3:31 pm

    Super cute hat, and I love the colors :)

  16. February 10, 2017 7:35 am

    Love that color combo! I think I just might need to make my surly un-bearded man a hat. But no pom-pom. LOL!

  17. February 10, 2017 6:32 am

    I am loving this color combo! I haven’t tried this hat pattern yet, but it’s going on the list!

  18. February 10, 2017 6:25 am

    You are going to be the death of me….I need to really hurry and finish my current project so I can try this one in a timely (as in wearing it this year!) fashion. Thanks for all your amazing patterns and tutorials!

  19. Lucie permalink
    February 10, 2017 4:50 am

    Merci beaucoup! Jài déjà tricoté cette tuque pour mon mari et il l’aime beaucoup!

    • Lucie permalink
      February 10, 2017 4:51 am

      Elle est très jolie en couleur aqua et le pompons rouge, c’est magnifique.

  20. February 9, 2017 2:51 pm

    Tincanknits is one of the most giving designer duo EVAH!!! Thank you so much! <3

  21. Shelly Mitchell permalink
    February 9, 2017 12:55 pm

    This is absolutely adorable in aqua with the pom-pom! I have made this hat pattern over and over. It is such a great pattern for men and women and looks spectacular in every yarn and colorway I’ve used. Thank you, thank you!

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