My approach to most of my knitting and crocheting projects is to design it myself and to play it by ear -- I like knowing the gist of how to make something, so that I can make my own version, customized to my needs. Earlier this month, I wrote about how to knit a basic hat. In today's post, I'm going to give you directions for crochet a basic beanie. Of course, as with all things, there is more than one way to do it, but I think that these directions will give you a good basis.
You will need:
- 1 skein of your favorite yarn (Jiffy, Vanna's Choice, Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, and Fishermen's Wool are all great choices)
- Crochet hook in your preferred size (see step 2 below for more details)
Here’s how to do it:
- Measure around the head, above the ears, of the person who the hat is for and write down how many inches around their head your hat will need to be. (If you can’t measure their head--it’s for a gift or they're not available--estimate based on your own head size.)
- Crochet a gauge swatch in single crochet to find out how many stitches per inch you get with the hook and yarn you are using. (If you’re not sure what size hook to use, start with the size recommended on your yarn’s ball-band, and adjust up or down a size if you want a tighter or looser fabric.)
- Multiply the number of stitches per inch you found in step #2 by the circumference of the head (from step #1); then multiply this number by 2/3 (or 0.66) and round to the nearest number. (You do this so that your hat will fit snugly against the head and not be too loose.) Save this final number for later.
- To start the hat, you'll need to crochet a circle, using joined rounds. If you've never done this before, don't worry. A little practice and you'll be a pro. To do this, chain 2. Single crochet (sc) 6 times into the second chain from the hook, slip stitch (sl st) into the first stitch to close the circle. Now you have your first round, a tiny circle with 6 stitches.
- For your second round, chain 1, sc 2 times into each single crochet, and sl st into the beginning of the round. Now you have a circle with 12 stitches.
- For your third round, chain 1, *sc 2 times into the first sc, then sc 1 time into the next sc, repeat from * to the end of the round. Sl st int the first stitch. Now you have a circle with 18 stitches.
- For the next round, chain 1, *sc 2 times into the first sc, then sc 1 time into the next 2 sc, repeat from * to the end of the round. Sl st int the first stitch.
- This next round chain 1, *sc 2 times into the first sc, then sc 1 time into the next 3 sc, repeat from * to the end of the round. Sl st int the first stitch.
- Are you starting to see the pattern? For each consecutive round, the number of single crochets in bold above increases by one. (So the next round will be sc 1 time into the next 4 sc, then the next 5 sc, etc.)
- Continue in this pattern until the number of stitches you have in your round is equal to (or very close to) the number you wrote down in step #3.
- Now, for each of the following rounds, you will chain 1, sc in every sc to the end of the round, sl st to join. Do this until your hat is deep enough for you/your recipient's hat.
- Then fasten off and weave in your ends.
Following these steps, you get a solid hat, similar to the one above. A hat like this is also good for practicing working in the round, which is useful for many of our amigurumi animals.
The great thing about a basic pattern like this is that you can do so much with it. Make stripes instead of only using one color. Switch out the single crochets for half-double crochets or double-crochets. Alternate stitch patterns. Add a pom-pom on top. Add earflaps. Cross-stitch a design on top of your basic hat. You could even use these steps to create a beret by making the base circle larger than the circumference of your head , then decreasing until you get to the circumference of your head (that you wrote down in step #3), and then working a band in a contrasting stitch pattern for the brim.
Now that you have the basic tools, get creative and make the hat that you've always wanted!
Of course, we always have many great hat patterns for knitters, crocheters, and loom-knitters available on LionBrand.com, for those who prefer traditional patterns. (You can also click on the Wool-Ease Thick & Quick hat pictured above, if you’d like that exact pattern.)