Free pattern: Vanessa Headband

Download FREE Pattern:



Special thanks to Ravelry member Ruthieless for inserting my images in the pdf file.

The Vanessa headband is very cozy for those cold winter days when you need some protection for your head and ears. If you wish, you can also wear your Vanessa headband as a cowl. Very versatile little knitted piece!

This pattern is offered in a wide version (CO 26 stitches), which takes about 80 yards of chunky/bulky yarn and needle size US11:

Needles on Fire18 Needles on Fire19

And it is also offered in a narrower version (CO 14 stitches) , which takes about 40 yards of chunky/bulky yarn and needle size US11:

Vanessa32  Vanessa31

This is a super quick project! Great for last minute Holiday knitting.

Are you ready? let's get started with the picture tutorial!

Madeline Tosh Bulky


In this picture tutorial I am using Madeline Tosh bulky yarn in colorway Saffron. You will need needle size US11 and it is all up to you whether you work with straight needles or a 24" circular needle. Whatever works best for you!


I have chosen to work with my Addi Turbos (the metal ones) because I like the way they feel and it makes the yarn slide quicker and easier.

The pattern consists of 8 rows, which are being repeated throughout the headband. You will need cable needles to make the cables.

If you don't know how to do cables, go to Amy Finlay's video tutorial about cables. Click here, and go to decorative stitches/cables.

Or you can read my tutorial on cables by clicking here.

When you have finished your very first 8 rows, your piece should look like this:


Keep on repeating those 8 rows and see your piece grow steadily:


When to stop is entirely up to you. If you have a small head, I would say stop at 16".


If you have a medium head stop at 17".

And when you have a big old head like myself, I recommend you to stop at 18". 


Cast off, leave a long tail and get ready for some seaming!

Seaming with the invisible seam/mattress stitch

We are going to use the invisible seam/mattress stitch technique. If you have never done this before, go look at Amy Finlay's video tutorial. Look for the finishing section in Knitting Tips and click on "mattress stitch".

In my tutorial I will work with a contrast color yarn so that you can see what's going on. Of course, you will work with the same color yarn. Okay?

Let's go:

Fold your piece so that the right side of the ends are facing you:


Working with the mattress stitch means that you going back and forth from right to left and back again:



It is kind of like lacing a corset! Keep on going until about two inches, and then pull gently so that everything will be neatly closed:




Keep on doing this until your piece is all seamed up:


You can leave the piece as is, but you could also gather/do some ruching. All up to you. I like to do the ruching! This means your piece will gather and bunch up a bit at the seam:

Vanessa27 Vanessa29

Weave in all ends.

TADA! That's it! That's all it takes to make your Vanessa headband. Easy peasy simply terrific, right?


What yarns to use?

Use any chunky/bulky weight yarn you like. In my case, I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Super Chunky:


And I used some unidentified chunky/bulky yarn I found in my stash:


But the yummiest yarn I used for this project was MADELINE TOSH BULKY! So superduper delicious to work with!

Nancy, is the gauge very important in this projec???

Naaaah! Not very important at all. I made one of these headbands with a needle size US15 by mistake and I just knitted until it was 18" long and everything was fine. So don't worry about gauge, okay? Just have some fun knitting these and make yourself or somebody else happy.

Now go get started! Christmas is here before you know it... go on, crank out those headbands, I am sure there are ladies in your family and circle of friends that would love to get one of these.


Okay, I need a cookie now. Lots of 'em.

Thanks for reading and until the next entry!


Making one next week!

Thanks for the great photo tutorial! This looks like a super fast knit, and a good "reason" to buy some bulky yarn I've had my eye on.

This is awesome...


You Are Amazing

OMG- I have been struggling with learning to knit.  Cabling just kicked my butt.  I was ready to give up.  Then, I found this pattern and saw your explanation for how to cable, and I just got it.  You are the best at explaining in a way that even the most beginner of beginners can understand.  I am SO glad I found your site.  Thank you so much!

Glad my tutorial made sense

Glad my tutorial made sense to you!

Vanessa headband

Love the pattern. Already made 2.Hate finishing so did one with provisional cast on and 3 needle bind off. 

Thanks for sharing! I think

Thanks for sharing! I think my nieces would love one. Barbara

Cable Headband

Nancy,I am hopelessly lost in making your gorgeous cable head band. The cable is not the issue; it isin row 3: If I have only 14 stitches in a row and arrive to where I would k6 and *rep* is driving me crazy. It seems there are no stitches left  but one for k the next 3 stitches from the cable needle, Being a novice knitter,  I'm sure I'm  missing something or a whole  lot.Your work and art is awesome. Thank you^..^ 

As stated in the pattern, for


As stated in the pattern, for the narrower version you cast on 14 stitches.

With these 14 stitches you must be able to do the cables.

As stated in row 3:

You first knit 1 
- then you slip the next 3 stitches onto your cable needle and you leave those to the front

  • then you knit the next 3 stitches

  • and after this you knit those 3 stitches that you left in the front on your cable needle.

So at this point you have worked 7 stitches! And there are another 7 stitches left to do!

So now you knit 6 stithes PLUS the last one.

So all in all this makes 14 stitches.


Love It!

I didn't have any chunky yarn, so I just used what I had.  I will totally make this again and again and again!  Thank you for posting this project!!

Vanessa headband

I don't know how to knit but was wondering if this would be hard to learn on.  Also, could it adapted to fit a child or baby?  Thanks,Nancy

Knitting is not hard to

Knitting is not hard to learn. The technique in the headband requires cabling. Why don't you sign up for a class with a yarnshop near you.This pattern is easy to adapt to fit child or baby. Simply use smaller needles and smaller yarn.

Such a nice easy pattern!

Thank you for posting this amazing pattern! Beautiful colours aswell, wish we would have the same wool here in Holland! I have yet to buy some yummy wool so I have to postpone knitting these, but I can't simply wait! They look so silky smooth.. I want to make some for me and my mom :) Love from the Netherlands <3ps: thanks for posting the mattress stitch link, I've been doing that all wrong!

This is perfect! I've been

This is perfect! I've been looking for a headband with some sass for a while now. I was able to whip one out this afternoon just in time for our first (only?) snow here in Vancouver, Wa. Thanks! Mary

The Wonderful Vanessa Headband

Oh my goodness, am I delighted to have stumbled upon this amazing pattern! I can't wait to make it for my two daughters and myself.Thank you!Cheers,Merryl :-) 

Merryl, you are so welcome...

Merryl, you are so welcome... happy knitting :)

This is a Great Pattern

I met you at the trunk show at La Casita last week and I just finished this headband! Thank you it came out beautifully!   You advice about the website helped as well with the stitching!

Glad it worked out for you!!!

Glad it worked out for you!!!

Beautiful, simple, your usual!

Nancy these are really so great!  I love the way the seam is part of the style..or maybe you just make them look so great, beatiful pictures!! I'll have to gie it a go.  Hiope you are well.  Kirsten, Portland, OR

Thanks, Kristen! I made one

Thanks, Kristen! I made one of these out of cashmere yarn... delicious! 

thanks for this pattern

Hi Nancy, thanks for Vanessa. I am gonna make myself one. I was looking for something cooler than a headband but then not quite a hat, for my noggin while out walking. Happy Holidays to you. Liz form Portland

Hi Liz! How's everything up

Hi Liz! How's everything up in Pdx? I miss you all so much...

Have fun knitting the Vanessa Headband. It's a quick one!

love it!!

just finished my first one! already shopping for new yarn colors. 

That's what I like to hear :)

That's what I like to hear :)  Knit many, it's so easy! Glad you are loving it :)

many thanks for a furiously

many thanks for a furiously fast and fun knit!!!

You're Welcome!

You are so welcome!!!I appreciate you leaving me this message. It truly makes me smile!Make many Vanessa headbands! 

Lovin' it!

Great job on the tutorial and the new free pattern. Too cute!-Ve,

Thank you!

Thank you, Ve!!! So glad you came by :)

P.S. Amazing visual tutorial

P.S. Amazing visual tutorial on the mattress stitch, I remember when you first taught me that one on one of my visits to Portland! 

So happy I was able to show

So happy I was able to show you how to do the mattress stitch in person... hope this tutorial is clear enough though...

Amazing as Usual

Nancy!!! I am so in love with the narrow version, because as you said, what a fantastic holiday gift! I will be hitting up Close Knit to get some fun chunky, delicious yarns! Miss you lady! 


YAY, get yourself some yarn and crank them out!!!When you go to Close Knit, say hi to everybody for me :)

Nancy love the pattern your

Nancy love the pattern your hair is getting so long! it looks fabo.

Hi thanks so much :) Yes, my

Hi thanks so much :) Yes, my hair is getting out of control...I look like a banshee in the morning, hahaahaaa! A headband will keep it all under control!!!

I found you. I was in Knitty City

Hi Nancy, I just wanted to give you a shout and let you know that "Na Na Na Na Na Na" lol has found you and I will make this pattern and the cowl and the lace fingerless.

Thanks for visiting!

Hi there "Na Na Na Na Na" ! I am so happy that you came to my website!!!I am sure I will bump into you again at Knitty City as I cannot stay away from that shop!


Hi Nancy,I like your Vanessa Pattern,  I plan on using some Malabrigo Chunky I have in my stash.  Thanks for sharing.Sharon  

Your welcome, Sharon! Send me

Your welcome, Sharon! Send me a picture if you can!

Very sweet! Thanks for

Very sweet! Thanks for sharing.


YOU ARE SO WELCOME! Have fun knitting!


Thank you soooo much! Guess what I'll be knitting for gifts this year?

Crank 'em out!!!

OMG, you can crank 'em out like there's no tomorrow. I bet those younger gals would go crazy over those too...