Hats are fun
I love to crochet
I am always looking for new patterns or ideas of what I can make. I have crocheted blankets of many different sizes, Mostly baby blankets, but some full-size blankets. I have also crocheted a scarf and several different hats. I discovered that I really enjoy crocheting hats, once I figured out the pattern.
Hats are fun because I can make a hat in about 5-6 hours, or one to two days. Some hats take longer if I chose to add faces, and ears to give make them look like some character, like a pokemon, or a troll. I recently finished making a hat that is supposed to look like Squirtle.
For anyone reading this article that doesn’t know who Squirtle is you are not alone. Apparently, he is a popular pokemon character. I am not really familiar with pokemon, but my friend's son is, so I made the hat for him.
I also like to use different colors or yarns that change colors as you go. So it is fun to see how it will turn out. Another fun part about crocheting is giving away the finished product and seeing the joy of others, and a little praise for my talents in return is also appreciated.
The hardest part about starting a new crochet project is the pattern
To me, the hardest part about starting a new crochet project is the pattern. I do not why they make patterns so hard to read when crocheting is so simple. I think they are just trying to deter people from trying it.
I will admit there are still a few stitches or references on a pattern that I seem to forget how to do. So I end up looking them up online. I also have a tendency to change the pattern or use a different stitch to get the same result.
There are several different patterns on how to make hats. Some start with a chain and then connect with a slip stitch. Others use what is called the magic ring.
I like the magic ring better because it doesn’t leave a bump or tiny hole at the top of the hat like the chain does. But I always forget how to do the magic ring, so I look it up on youtube. Here is one of many links on how to do a magic ring. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEq48ABHRZo
Ways to alter Patterns
When I crochet hats, I also mix patterns. I have a pattern for a hat and one that has ear flaps and braids. So I use the hat pattern I like, and then I use the ear flap pattern and add the braids.
Obviously, there are different patterns for different Pokemon characters or even troll hats. The differences are the colors used, maybe the shape of the eyes, or the mouth. Then, of course, some will have ears on the top of the hat, or a tail, or like Squirtle, there is a shell on the back.
The troll hats you just add hair that stands up on the top of the head and makes a larger nose. There are several variations of patterns for each type or style of hat.
How Patterns Start
Basically, each hat pattern will start with a chain that forms a ring, or a magic ring. Then each row will add stitches or chains to it in some sort of pattern. Like putting 2 chains in one stitch, then one chain for the next stitch and then 2 chains in the next stitch, and alternate all the way around.
Each row would increase the number of single chains or multiple chains per stitch. If your pattern calls for 6 stitches or chains in the first row, each row will increase by 6 stitches or chains. If the pattern calls for 10 chains in the first row, then each row increases by 10.
Really once you figure that out you can create your own pattern. The number of rows depends on the length and width of the hat. At some point you get the width, then you stop adding or increasing the number of stitches or chains, and you just add rows to the desired length.
Each pattern also gives you a list of materials needed. Like how much yarn is required, what size crochet hook and some even tell you what color or colors to use. I am of the opinion that all colors can be substituted based on what I like or what is available at the store.
What Yarn to Use
Often patterns from name brand yarn companies will tell you to use their yarn. I like to go to the store, look at the colors, and then feel the yarn. I pick the yarn in the color I want, with the texture I like.
The color and texture I like varies on the project I am working on. I try to find softer yarns for baby blankets, but maybe not as soft for hats. But, sometimes getting I compromise the texture in order to get the color I want or vice versa.
The pattern I like to use for crocheting hooks is one I found online at favecrafts. Now I know that says for men’s hats, but I found it fits my head, and kids head just fine. I have a small head.
The Size of the hook Determines the size of the hat
I did make a bigger hat for a man but I ended up using a J hook instead, which made the hat larger without having to add extra rows to the pattern. A smaller hook like a G hook would make the hat smaller for little kids or toddlers. I imagine a G hook would work for babies as well; you just don’t do the repeat rows at the end of the pattern.
So for this pattern, it says round 15-18 single crochet in each stitch, you would just do round 15 and then skip to the last row to finish it off. It is always a good idea to check the size of the hat on the person it is being made for, or someone with a similar sized head. I usually just check it on my own head, even if I do look a little silly.
Patterns can be tricky to read sometimes
I have found some patterns that leave out details, or instructions. I am guessing that is because they label it as a hard or expert level of experience required. Which to me means I get to spend a lot more time taking out and redoing it until I figure out what they mean.
Usually, once I figure it out, it is not as complicated as I was making it out to be, and it makes the rest of the pattern go smoothly. Like this pattern for hats has the chain 4 and slip stitch to make a ring. Then it says to work 6 single crochet in the ring.
I kept trying to figure out how to make 6 stitches in the 4 stitches used to create the ring. I finally figured out that it means to use the hole in the middle of the ring to do the 6 stitches in. That is what makes the hole in the top of the hat, and adds a little bump to it. Which is also why I prefer the magic ring to start a hat because it starts with the six stitches, and I can pull it tight so there is no hole and no bump. :}
A Round is the same as a Row
I noticed the hat pattern refers to each new set of instructions as a round. I just think of it as a row, probably because I made a lot of blankets before I started making hats. So round, or row are interchangeable.
The other weird thing about patterns is that each stitch made is referred to as crochet in the row or round it is being stitched. But it is referred to as a stitch in the previous rows or rounds. I just said crochet because there is single, double, half, triple etc., with crochet at the end of it.
It is just the type of stitch or crochet required to make the pattern for the hat. All the stitches are abbreviated in the patterns. So it helps to know what the abbreviations stand for. So sc stands for single crochet, dc for double crochet, st for stitch, hdc for half double crochet, and ch for the chain.
Now this pattern said work 6 single crochet in the first row or round. It then says to work 2 single crochet in each stitch in the row or round. For the second row, it means to put 2 single crochets in each stitch from the previous round.
If done correctly you will have 12 stitches in the second row. See my confusion with work in the ring versus work in the row. All the rows after that it does not say work in.
So work in is not necessary, or it is assumed that after 2 rows I should know what it means, so it is simply implied for the rest of the pattern. Either that or they just really like to make the patterns as short as possible. Thankfully, it is really easy to pull out and start over if you mess up.
Keeping track of rows can be tricky
The hardest part about crocheting a hat is keeping track of the rounds or rows. Unlike blankets, the rows are not easy to figure out, and it is too easy to lose count, especially the more stitches required for the row. That is because hats are round, which is probably with they are referred to as rounds and not rows.
I am not that great at keeping track of the rows especially when I have to remember 2 chains, and then 1 chain and then 2 chains for a total of 12 chains or more. The chain can be used as another word for stitch, or crochet.
A chain is actually the number of stitches or crochets used in a row or set. For example, the 3rd round is chain 2 single crochet in 1st stitch of the previous row, then chain 1 in the next stitch from the previous row, and alternate 2 chains and 1 chain for the whole row. But the chain can be how many stitches in the whole row, or how many in just one previous stitch. Chain mostly refers to the first row or starting row of any pattern.
The best way to keep track of the rows or rounds is to use a stitch marker or a safety pin, or something that hooks shut without stretching out the stitch. I tried using a needle or another crochet hook to mark my spot but they just get in the way or fall out too easily, and then I have no idea where the row ends. Because each row or round in a hat just run blend in.
So stitch markers or safety pins in can be placed in the first stitch of each new row. Now you can take them out once the row is completed or you can leave them in. If you leave them in then you will hopefully end up with a straight row of them, unless you missed a stitch or added one too many.
When I get to the end of each row I like to go back and count it just to make sure I did it right before I start the next one. Sometimes I don’t. If I was short one or two stitches they can easily be made up with the next row. Or you can take that row out and fix it. I have learned over the years that a little mistake here and there just makes the hat I made unique, and it adds a little extra character.
You can use the link to the pattern I used for these hats, or find another one you like, or better yet make your own. I think making hats is fun and easy. If you choose to try it, just remember to have fun and don’t forget to add a little bit of creativity or mistake to make the hat unique to you. :}