Knit a Simple Hat and Scarf in Bulky Malabrigo Rasta Yarn

Rasta yarn hat and scarf set

I had been wanting to knit something using a bulky yarn. I came across the “Rasta” yarn somewhere and decided to jump in and buy it. What I would decide to make came later.
Although I wasn’t too sure about the colors, I certainly love the feel of the Rasta bulky yarn by Malabrigo. I decided to knit a simple hat and scarf.

Bulky Rasta yarn hat and scarf
Bulky hat and scarf
Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 11.30.22 AM
Two balls of “Arco Iris” Malabrigo yarn, bulky

The hat and scarf in my photo was knit using only 2 skeins, but for a longer scarf, I suggest one more.
The only issue I had with this yarn is the color. I received 2 skeins of the same color name, “Arco Iris”, and as you can see in my photo, the colors are quite different.  One skein I liked, and the other was darker. I know this can happen with hand-dyed yarn. I used the “pretty skein” for the hat, and the darker one for the scarf, along with the hat yarn leftovers.
Have faith, this color yarn looks better once it’s turned into an item and the soft, plush feel is a joy to work with. If you can shop locally and see the yarn, I suggest doing that. I have to order online.

knitting divider

How to Knit This Simple Hat

Yarn used: For the hat, I used less than one skein of Malabrigo’s Rasta yarn in “Arco Iris”.

For this hat I used size 13 – 16 inch circular needles and size 13 DPN’s.
Cast on 48 + 1 , then slip the last stitch to the left needle and knit the first 2 stitches together to join in the round – make sure there is no twisting of stitches. This gives you a total of 48 on the needles. Or simply cast on 48 and go from there.

The pattern is simply knit one, purl one around to desired height, then do decreases at the top.

How to Decrease at Top of Hat

Knit around until hat measures about 7 inches – more or less for size needed.

Decrease rows:
1. *k1, p1 (twice), k2tog*, do that 8 times.
2. Knit around
3. *k3, k2tog* around
4. Knit around
5. *k2, k2tog* around
6. k2tog around
Cut yarn long enough and pull through remaining loops and weave in to finish off.

Finished circumference approx. 19 inches, height is 9.5 inches.

It could have a pompom on top if you like that look.

chunky knit hat in rasta
Hat completed, with yarn left over. Use less than one full skein.

How to Make the Scarf

I used US size 9 straight needles. End measurements, 7 inches wide by 40 inches long – used all remaining yarn.  I used one full skein, and the leftover ball from the hat.  (See photo above.)  This is a short scarf, so I suggest using 2 full skeins, or more, if you make it wider and want something longer.

Cast on using the Cable Cast on, which is like a basic cast on, but put the needle under both both strands of yarn. I have a page with videos of various cast-on methods, if you need help.
Cast on 14, or any even number.

Repeats are between the *stars*.

K2, *p1, k1* to last 2 stitches, p2
Next row and all rows: With yarn in back, slip 1 purl wise to begin the row. Each row ends with a purl and begins with a slip purl wise . Doing this makes a neater edge.
*K1b (knit one below), p1*, to the last stitch, p1.

Continue until the yarn runs out and bind off (before you run out, obviously!).

Be sure to hand wash any items made with this yarn.

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 2.28.45 PM
Rasta yarn knits up into plush wearables.

I am now working on a similar (but longer) scarf in white Rasta yarn.

Scarf and hat in bulky yarn

Washable Bulky Yarn

When I began knitting with the Rasta yarn I fell in love with the squishy feel and the color changes. Unfortunately this yarn must be hand-washed which can be tricky when the item is large – like a long scarf. The tough part is letting it dry. It must be laid out somewhere for a couple of days because of the bulkiness.

Bulky Rasta scarf white
Knitting a white Rasta scarf

I finished the white scarf shown above (same pattern as the other scarf on this page) and gave it to my son’s girlfriend for Christmas, but I included a note that she had to hand-wash. I felt guilty about giving her something that would be a bit challenging to care for.

Between now and then I have found yarn that is similar to the Rasta but can be machine washed.

  • “Franca” by Manos del Uruguay is 100% superwash merino wool. I have a skein which I have not used yet, but I love Manos yarn. It is similar in look and feel of the Rasta by Malibrigo. You can find Franca yarn at Purl Soho in pretty colors, or search for a sale. I bought mine cheaper at Etsy but there were only 3 color choices.
  • “Fire” by Wool Addicts is a yarn that is new to me, but is now on the top of my list of favorite bulky yarns. I’m using it in dark gray to make the Winter Morning ear-warmer. It is a Superwash yarn made in Italy and it is so soft and lovely.

Once I use the yarns listed here and wash them, I will post an update.

Basics For Machine-Washing Hand-Knit Items

By machine-washed, I mean put into a zippered laundry bag made of mesh and tossed into the washing machine. Tossing an item in with the regular load of laundry could stretch it out. I suppose socks and hats might do okay, but personally I would always use a mesh bag. And most knits must still be dried flat. I’ve seen very few nice yarns that can safely go into the dryer.

Yarn is usually pretty dirty, and sometimes the color will bleed quite a lot in a first wash. This happened to me while washing the Fine Sand sweater. Usually Miss Bab’s yarn does not bleed color, but the “Tarte” I used certainly did. I was glad I hand-washed it the first time. So, I suggest either hand-washing the item the first time, or wash it separately in the machine, with wool-wash. Most people who know a lot about yarn suggest using a cleaner made especially for washing wool. I’m going to look into the best ways to wash hand-knits and write about it one day…!

Keep Reading: Recent Blog Posts

21 thoughts on “Knit a Simple Hat and Scarf in Bulky Malabrigo Rasta Yarn

    1. Pam

      Hi Beverly, I really can’t say how many rows. Your best bet is to measure the height of the knitting and compare it to height of head, or a favorite hat you have. Those decrease rows will not add much height, so don’t do them until your hat is tall enough for your liking.


  1. Pingback: Knitting Hats in Hunter Orange Yarn – New England's Narrow Road

      1. Pam

        Hi Mary, the pattern notes are in this post. It is very simple. I included more information for finishing the top of the hat, but it is basically knit one, purl one around. See the section, “How to Knit this Simple Hat”.


      2. Julie Ann Sheridan

        Hello there!
        I’m Julie and I’ve just purchased a skein of Malabrigo Rasta in ‘Piedras’ and I know what you mean it’s super squishy but the skein I saw online had lilac, light bronze, purple with dark & light green .. totally gorgeous I couldn’t wait to purchase it! When it arrived to say I was disappointed was an understatement.. I got no lovely lilac, hardly any shimmering bronze just dark green & purple. I checked the label but no it definitely says ‘Piedras’ but mine doesn’t look anything like it should!
        All very dark greens & dark purples so I’m struggling what to knit but your lovely hat is gorgeous so I’m hoping it knits up better than it looks lol


      3. Pam

        Hi Julie, I do hope when you begin knitting you will like the colors a lot better! I was not very impressed with my skeins to begin with and I know most yarn places say that you may not get the exact colors shown. Maybe hidden down inside the skein you’ll find a nice surprise! Thank you for reading and hope your project comes out better than expected.


  2. Pingback: Knitting The “Skiff” Cable Beanie Pattern – New England's Narrow Road

  3. Pingback: Frogging the Moose Hat – New England's Narrow Road

    1. Pam

      Hi Sandra, I knit the white scarf just like the colorful one and the directions are in the post. It is done in Fisherman’s Rib and there is a link to the video for help if you need it.


  4. Pingback: Super Quick Knit Gifts in Bulky Yarn – New England's Narrow Road

  5. Pingback: Just Finished Knitting My First Pair of Socks! – New England's Narrow Road

Leave a Reply to Pam Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.