Crochet Hats De-Mystified

It is interesting that you completely forget how you felt about something before it became common place. Okay, that sentence could apply to many things in today’s day and age, however I was personally thinking of my crochet. A conversation I had with a student juggled a little something free in my mind about hats.

I find crocheting hats a pretty relaxing past time at this point in my life, enough so that the yarn I post about on Fridays … that swatch usually becomes a hat…but I didn’t always feel that way. Hats were intimidating to me, probably because the only crochet hats I had seen as a kid growing up were usually worked vertically with short rows. I had never really seen a top down, or even bottom up worked crochet hat, until probably college.

Top down hats start as a flat circle

That does make my crochet life sound a bit sheltered, maybe it was. I did teach myself after all and I primarily crocheted with “hand-me-down” yarn form other people’s stashes. I made doll clothes and scarves, but if it was something to be adorned or admired, I made afghans …hundreds of them.

Anyway, when I would contemplate working a hat, I was always befuddled by the dome shape, and having it actually fit. Little did I realize how easy it was to make, so easy that since I learned it I have never looked back. Essentially a top down crochet hat begins with a flat circle. Yes, a flat circle. This seems a little counterintuitive, but it works. Creating a flat circle simply requires adding the number of stitches worked in round 1 to be added evenly throughout all other rounds. Meaning if I begin the first round with 12 double crochets, then I add 12 double crochets evenly in each following round, so round 2 would have 24 double crochets, and round 3 would have 36 double crochets.

After the circle is worked to a point where the outer edge, the circumference, measures the circumference of the head (usually somewhere between 20” and 22” (51-56 cm) for a typical adult), then you quit working any increasing stitches and continue working even (a single stitch in every stitch around), until you have the hat the desired length.

Here is a really basic pattern for a hat, nothing fancy…

Using any yarn and a corresponding hook,

Rnd 1: Ch 4, 11 dc in 4th ch from hook, sl st to top of beg ch. (12 dc)

Rnd 2: Ch 3, dc in same st, 2 dc in each st around, sl st to join. (24 dc)

Rnd 3: Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next st, [2 dc in next st, dc in next st] around, sl st to join. (36 dc)

Note: Depending on your yarn and hook only continue working Rnds until circumference of hat is met with circumference of the circle, then work Body of Hat.

Rnd 4: Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 2 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 2 sts] around, sl st to join. (48 dc)

Rnd 5: Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 3 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 3 sts] around, sl st to join. (60 dc)

Rnd 6: Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 4 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 4 sts] around, sl st to join. (72 dc)

Rnd 7: Ch 3, dc in same st, dc in next 5 sts, [2 dc in next st, dc in next 5 sts] around, sl st to join. (84 dc)

Body of Hat

Ch 3, dc in each st around, sl st to join. Repeat this Rnd until hat is desired length.

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Make a few hats, and considering helping your local community by donating a few to your local homeless shelter.

A Simple End Two Ways for Crochet

I have found some debate on how one ends their work. This might seem like a something quite simple, but there a couple of different ways I have seen it done, and I am sure there are others.

Finish off. www.lindadeancrochet.com

Pulling the cut yarn through the last loop on hook.

At the end of a pattern it will say finish off or fasten off, both essentially mean the same thing, cut your yarn and end your work. It is the process to end your work that can get some discussion. No one really talks about it, as many are afraid that they may not being doing it correctly and they don’t want anyone to know. So this gets discussed in small private groups that people do not feel judged in, or when a brand new crocheter asks the question to a large group.

The two most common I have found in my discussions are to complete the stitch, leaving 1 loop on the hook, cutting the yarn and pulling through this one loop. This does leave a slight “bump” at the end of your work, because in a sense you are creating a knot. I will be honest, this is the approach I most often use, I like to feel that the end will not come undone, basically it is a piece of mind for myself.

Finish off. www.lindadeancrochet.com

Pull cut yarn though the end of last stitch.

The second is to finish the last stitch, cut the yarn and pull it through the last stitch. This is the method used when working an invisible join, and l feel it can have a really nice finish off, if you are prepared to weave in your ends immediately. There is the benefit of not having any extra little knot at the end of the work, giving a soft even feel across the entire fabric.

There really is not right or wrong way to finish off, it is a matter pf personal preference. You may feel that in some instances a different finish can benefit your work, and that is fine. As always as long as you are happy with your work, that is all that is important.

Cotton Classic- a Little Different than “Traditional”

Some yarns always inspire me, some always tell me what they want to be, others, well maybe not so much. Cotton Classic by Tahki Stacy Charles is one of the former, it can always find a design in my mind.

Cotton Classic is 100& Mercerised Cotton and this sometimes causes people to pause. The term cotton is generally understood, it had a great marketing campaign throughout the 1980’s about how it is a naturally grown product that lets the fabric breath. Cotton also is stronger when wet, has limited stretch, and many think of it shrinking when first washed. This first wash shrinking, is not like felting of wool, this is essentially because cotton, being a short in length fiber, has more “twist” worked into the yarn in order to hold the fibers together (if a strand is long it does not need to be twisted together as much to hold, while something short needs to have more twists to ensure the hold) this puts a lot of tension on the fiber. When the yarn (of cotton shirt) finally gets fully submerged in water it actually allows the fiber to relax, this allows it to release the tension, and this caused the fiber to contract. So cotton will only shrink in the first washing whereas wool will continue to shrink with washings.

Cotton Classic by Tahki www.lindadeancrochet.com

Cotton Classic by Tahki Stacey Charles

The term that confounds many is Mercerised. Mercerised is a process that removes the slight halo effect that can accompany a cotton fiber, this is essentially the tiny ends of the fiber protruding from the yarn. To Mercerise the yarn, or thread is brought over an open flame to burn off the fibers. This creates a yarn that has a nice smooth finish that has great stitch definition. Another side effect of this process is that it does not allow the cotton to absorb water as is normally considered. Thus Mercerised Cotton is not recommended for dish clothes, where regular cotton will work wonderfully.

I find Cotton Classic is wonderful for warm weather projects, dressy scarves, home décor items, a great market bag. I even love it for tank tops and cover ups. This yarn has a wide arrange of colors available, and it shows of lace work stitches and textural stitches fabulously. It comes in small hanks of 1.75oz/50g with 108 yds/100m. It is a light weight and has nice drape on larger hooks.

Consider it for your next summer weather project, and don’t worry about this cotton reminding you of a dish rag.

Crocheting the Mark

The other day I was going through an old box and I stumbled across some “early to me” crochet. I recall, about the time I was learning to crochet at age 10, at school I received a crocheted bookmark. My teacher had a friend who crocheted and she had created a bookmark with a “curly q”. My teacher gave them as prizes to students that had met her reading goal, I cannot recall exactly what the goal was but I remember the prize.

Curly Q bookmark in use

I remember being in awe of how it was made. Being a new crocheter I had no idea how the twists were created. I used that bookmark for years, and several years later, after becoming more proficient in crochet, figuring out how it was made. I have since recreated this bookmark for teachers of my children. They have used them in much the same way as my teacher years ago, meeting a goal and getting a reward.

I am sharing this stitch pattern for this bookmark in the hopes that you might make a few and share them with teachers or your local library, helping sharing the gift of reading. I know that many think that all books are going digital, but there is something about holding a book and moving your bookmark through the pages that has a gratification that can’t be completely explained.

More of the Curly Q bookmark in use

This is a really loose pattern, I don’t know if I should even all it a pattern, I am basically sharing how I create mine, and none of the stitch counts are really important. The gauge does not matter, it doesn’t matter what yarn or hook your use. To begin you chain anywhere between 6 and 8, slip stitching to the first chain to create a ring. I then chain 1 and place about 12 single crochets in the ring, slip stitch to the beginning single crochet. Now create a chain of about 18” to 24”, then double crochet in the 4th chain from the hook, add 2 more double crochets to the same stitch as the last, work 3 double crochets in each of the next several chains, working until you feel the “curl” you are making is long enough. Finish off, and weave in all ends.

That is all there is to it. The chain section lays in between the pages while the “curly q” can slip through the ring to secure around the book binding. This is a simple scrap project, and one I find fun and fast.

Big Squeeze by Ancient Arts- A Lofty Experience

I have played with a lot of yarn over the years, but I do not think that I have ever found a yarn that is so forgiving, or as “squishy” as Ancient Arts Big Squeeze.

This yarn is 100% Superwash Merino, as a result it will not felt or shrink but has a very soft feel. The way this yarn is spun it has a great loft to it, and this has a couple of benefits. Not only is it forgiving in the stitches, and adjusting well for uneven tension, but it also holds more air making it warmer.

Ancient Arts Yarn www.lindadeancrochet.com

Ancient Arts Yarn Big Squeeze color Frolic

This bulky weight yarn comes in a skein size of 127 yards (116 meters), which is comparable to other skeins of this weight, and one skein can easily complete a scarf or hat project. With the larger yarn, it garners a need for a larger hook a J/10/6.00mm will give you a pretty dense fabric, and you may prefer working with a hook size of at least K/10 ½ /6.5mm or greater.

The smooth even ply of this yarn also gives great stitch definition so it makes your stitches the star of the show, even though it comes in over 125 brilliant colors.

I feel this yarn will work up nicely in any home décor, simple accessory, or outer wear garment project. Due to the weight and lofty, it is obviously not the choice for small delicate items (in either look or feel). I also would not necessarily recommend it for projects that have a lot of fine detail, as the large bulk and hook make the details almost disappear.

My overall impression of this yarn is that I could just wrap myself in it and it would be a pillow and a blanket, maybe an all in one cocoon, which I could happily go about my day. It is a dream to work with.