Free Pattern: Double Crochet Beret

I made this hat with very thin bamboo yarn, but it’s easy to adapt this pattern for medium weight yarn.  For the bamboo yarn I used, I used a thinner hook, like E or F.  For medium weight yarn, use G, H, or I.  Just choose something that works well with the yarn you’ve chosen.  This pattern uses the first type of seam I learned for crocheting in the round.  This seam will be somewhat visible in the finished product.  The pattern is written out for medium weight yarn.  If you are using thinner yarn and a smaller hook, increase for more rows, until the diameter is the desired size.

This hat was my first experience with bamboo yarn.

Start With a Circle

Chain (ch) 4 and use a slip stitch (sl st) to join to the first chain stitch to create a loop.

Row 1:  Ch 3. Double crochet (dc) 11 into the middle of the loop. Join with sl st to the top of the first ch 3 in the row. 12 stitches.

Row 2:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same stitch (st), dc into the next st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 24 stitches.

Row 3:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same st, dc into the next 2 st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next 2 st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 36 stitches.

Row 4:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same st, dc into the next 3 st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next 3 st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 48 stitches.

Row 5:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same st, dc into the next 4 st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next 4 st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 60 stitches.

Row 6:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same st, dc into the next 5 st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next 5 st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 72 stitches.

Row 7:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same st, dc into the next 6 st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next 6 st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 84 stitches.

Row 8:  Ch 3. Double crochet into the same st, dc into the next 7 st. <2 dc into next st, dc in next 7 st> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 96 stitches.

Row 9:  Ch 3. Double crochet in each st around.  Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 96 stitches.

 

Beret vs. Slouchy Hat

At this point in the pattern, preference plays a role.  How wide do you want the beret to be? Do you want it to be more pancake shaped, or more of a slouchy hat?  I opted for more of a slouchy hat.  If you want it more pancake-y, start decreasing rows immediately.  For a slouchy hat, repeat Row 9 until your hat is the desired slouchiness.

 

Decreasing Rows

Row 10:  Ch 3.  Dc in next 6 st. Decrease the next two st together (yarn over and draw up a loop in first st then yarn over and pull yarn through first two loops, yarn over and draw up a loop in second st then yarn over and pull yarn through first two loops, then pull yarn through all remaining loops).  <Dc in next 7 st, decrease> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 84 stitches.

Row 11:  Ch 3. Dc in next 5 st. Decrease. <Dc in next 6 st, decrease> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 72 stitches.

Row 12:  Ch 3. Dc in next 4 st. Decrease. <Dc in next 5 st, decrease> Repeat <> until end of row. Join with sl st to the top of ch 3. 60 stitches.

 

Sizing

Continue decreasing each row until the opening for the hat is the desired size.  For each row after that point, dc in each st around.  Continue until hat band is desired length.

Finish off and weave in the ends.

 

Questions?

If you have any questions about this pattern, or you are having trouble with any part of it, leave a comment or find me on Twitter and I will help you!

Crocheting Without a Pattern

At the end of my last post, I mentioned that my great-grandmother could crochet anything without a pattern.  She didn’t even know how to decipher a pattern.  She would just look at something and know how to recreate it, or just create the pattern in her mind as she went along.

She crocheted a lot of doilies…

doilies

…and other decorative items like shoes…

tiny-shoe

…and tiny dresses.

tiny-dress

I wish I had such talent.  I’ve been seeing a lot of things on Pinterest lately that I would love to try, but often the patterns are not included, not free, or in another language.  I’ve been trying to figure out how one can crochet something so complicated without a pattern, and I think I’m finding some starting points.

Basic Shapes

I once learned in an art class that the first thing you should do when you’re going to draw something is break down the basic shapes.  Lightly sketch the oval of the frog’s body, the rectangle of the log he’s sitting on, and the circles of his eyes.  Then fill out the rest.  I think the same idea can be applied to crochet.  Learn how to crochet flat shapes like circles and squares, as well as some 3-D shapes like a sphere and a cylinder.  Hat’s usually start with a half sphere for the crown and straighten out about half-way down.  Squares can be stitched together to make cubes.

Increasing and Decreasing

Increasing and decreasing your stitches is usually a very important part of a pattern.  To make as spherical shape, you have to increase a certain amount every row (the amount depends on whether you’re using single or double crochet).  To make a cylinder less boxy, and more body shaped, increasing and decreasing in the right areas will make a stuffed animal come to life.

Modifying Other Patterns

I’ve talking about slightly modifying patterns before, but sometimes you can borrow instructions from several different patterns to get the look you want.  For instance, if I wanted to add dragon scales to a hat for my adorable nephew, I don’t have to buy a pattern for that.  I can use a basic hat pattern I already have, and add scales from a pattern book of stuffed animals that I also already have.  I just need to make the scales bigger by increasing for a few more rows than the pattern shows.

Start With Something Easy

I’ve really only created hat patterns from scratch before.  I had been working from a basic free hat pattern, and realized I could turn it into a beret pretty easily by making my circle bigger and bigger until I decided to decrease the stitches and bring it back in.  Through some trial and error, I finally got my rows increasing and decreasing at the correct rate.  A beret hat was a good place for me to start working without a pattern, because I’m comfortable working in the round and making hats already, and the only thing I was really experimenting with was increasing my stitches.  If you start of trying to crochet a stuffed giraffe without a pattern, you will probably be disappointed.

What’s Next?

In my next post, how about I share that beret hat pattern for free? I just have to remember what I did, since I didn’t write my “pattern” down!

Learning Cross Stitch

On a long car ride this past September, I decided to learn cross stitch. My mom was working on a cross stitch and said she would teach me, and we were stopping at a Hobby Lobby to get a couple of things anyway, so I picked out something that looked easy.

Cross Stitch vs. Needlepointcross-stitch-close-up

It turned out I picked a needlepoint kit rather than a cross stitch kit, but it was still a good project to start learning. Needlepoint, to me, is basically doing half of a cross stitch. In cross stitch, you use only a few threads of embroidery floss, and after you work a row with stitches slanting one direction you reverse your way back down the same row making stitches slanting in the opposite direction. In needlepoint, you use the entire strand of embroidery floss, and only make stitches slanting in one direction.

Getting Startedneedlepoint

Whether you’re doing cross stitch or needlepoint, you start the row the same. Most kits come with a chart of some sort to tell you how many stitches to count. Some beginner kits, like the one I chose, have the design printed directly on the canvas. As far as deciding which color to start with, my mom suggested I start with something with some straight lines that would start to fill in a large area. I started with the brown basket, then moved on to black, then the other colors with the background stripes last.

To get the thread started, the instructions said to leave a short tail, then work the tail into the next few stitches. My mom said to just tie a knot–no one will ever see the back.

Cross Stitchsampler

After I felt pretty comfortable with needlepoint, I started a counted cross stitch (the kind with a chart). I found a really easy one that looks like an old-fashioned sampler. The canvas was a little larger count than most kits, it didn’t have a lot of tricky angles or curves, and the colors didn’t blend much. I finished it quickly, which is nice for those beginning projects when you just want to see results!  I started with the red, then black, then the other colors.

Now I’m working on a much harder kit, and I got a couple of fun kits for Christmas. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the patience to do one of those kits of a peacock or a Thomas Kincaid or something so time-consuming, but I’m good enough to make some unique things for my walls!

What’s Next?

Crocheting without a pattern…my great grandmother could do it! Can I?

Baby Afghan – Reverse Single Crochet Border

The first project I started working on for my nephew was gender-neutral. My brother and sister-in-law hadn’t found out yet that he would be a boy, and I didn’t want to wait to get started crocheting. I looked over some free patterns online, and saw this adorable star blanket. star blanket

Adjustments to fix some problems

Pattern was wrong

- It’s entirely possible that I read the pattern wrong, especially since I taught myself to read patterns. Whatever the case may be, I had to do some revising. My problem really started to show around Round 5, but it started earlier. I think there may be a problem with where the asterisks are. As I worked the blanket, my seam was located along the line of “skip two dc” but when I followed the asterisks, I was adding extra stitches with each round. After restarting a few times, I got a star shape and kept going. My fix to the pattern was, essentially, to slip stitch into the dc on the far side of skipping 2 stitches.

Awkward seam

- I wasn’t happy with how my seam looked after about half a skein of yarn. It looked like there were too many holes in the blanket. I stopped where I was, made another the same way, and that’s how I got my bonus pillow. Then I started a third time, with the fix to the pattern and an adjustment to the seam. Instead of counting my ch 3 as the first double crochet, I would chain only 2 then dc in the same stitch. When it came time to join the round with a sl st, I ignored my ch 2 and slip stitched into the first actual dc. It made it easier, and the seam less noticeable.

Cheap yarn

- I’ve almost always used Caron Simply Soft yarn. It’s soft, it comes in almost any color, and I used to be able to find it anywhere. However, Hobby Lobby seems to have stopped supplying it. I didn’t want to go to another store since I was already at Hobby Lobby, so I bought the closest they had–Yarn Bee Soft Secret. I was unimpressed. It’s nice and soft like Simply Soft, the yarn had many knots, weak spots, loose strands, and thick spots throughout each of my 3 or 4 skeins I used on the pillow and blanket. It was very frustrating to work with. I kept telling myself it was just a bad dye lot, but I had the same problems with two skeins of red yarn a few months later. Next time I will definitely make the trip to a different store to get my tried and true Simply Soft!

Curling edges

- The edges of my blanket were curling pretty badly. I don’t know if I had tension issues, or if I’m used to working a blanket back and forth instead of in the round, or what the problem was. I decided to do a reverse single crochet border. This gives a sort of corded effect, and since you’re reversing the direction you’re working, it pulls out curling edges a bit.

Bonus Pillowstar pillow

- Like I said, I ended up with a bonus pillow out of this pattern. I bought some yellow flannel the same color as my yarn, and traced one of my star pieces on it. I cut out the fabric about an inch bigger all the way around for a seam allowance. Then I sewed my fabric, turned it right side out, stuffed it, and started sewing the two crocheted pieces around it. I just used a yarn needle to whip stitch it.

Lessons Learned

Downloading a pattern online, even one that’s from a reputable company, doesn’t always give you the results you want. Either through pattern error or user error, you should pay attention to where your project is going as you crochet. Fixing problems early is the best way to save a project.

Don’t start a huge project with untested yarn. At the very least, try out a hat or something with it first to make sure it’s going to work for you.

And finally, try to turn your mistakes into something you still like. No one has to know you screwed up unless you tell them!

What’s next?

I’ve been working on learning cross stitch! I’ll share some of my attempts with you!

Crochet Baby Afghan

When I first found out my sister-in-law was pregnant last Christmas, I started crocheting almost immediately.  Unfortunately, I had to take a break from crocheting to do school work, and found myself without a completed hand-made gift a few days before the baby shower.

Pipsqueak Blanket

It makes a really soft and fluffy blanket!

So, I used my usual method of when I need to get a project done quickly…I go big.  When you use bulky yarn, a fat crochet hook, and double crochet, you can whip something up in no time flat.

Pattern and Yarn

I wanted an easy pattern, so I just found an afghan square I liked and kept repeating the rows until it was blanket sized.  I think that’s faster than making smaller squares and stitching them together.  I used this square.  I used Bernat Pipsqueak yarn in Baby Blue and Funny Bunny with a size N hook. I started with one skein on Baby Blue, then two skeins of Funny Bunny, then the final skein of Baby Blue.

Baby Blanket

All snuggled up!

This yarn was a little tricky to work with at first.  The fuzziness makes it hard to see the crochet loops, so I mostly went by feel.  I completed the whole blanket in a few hours, and was really pleased with the result.  I guess my little nephew, Abram, was pretty pleased with it too.  My brother and sister-in-law tell me he LOVES the blanket!

What’s next?

Next up, I’ll have a post about the blanket I made that took me a lot longer to complete.  Finishing it as we pulled into the hospital parking lot is what I call “meeting a deadline!”

Jewelry 101 – Bauble Earrings

A bauble is a shiny trinket, so when I make earrings that are just a simply shiny bead hanging from the ear, I call them bauble earrings.  These earrings are very easy to make.

3-in-1 pliers

These pliers can cut wire, create eyes, and pinch crimp beads.

Materials

3-in-1 jewelry pliers

2 Fish hook earring findings

2 Jewelry end pins (also called head pins)

2 pretty beads

4 seed beads

Getting started

end pin and eye pin

The one on top is an end pin, the bottom one is an eye pin.

There are two types of jewelry pins–end pins and eye pins.  End pins look like the end of a sewing pin, and eye pins have a loop at one end.  Choosing which you need for a project is easy when you think about the purpose of each type.  An eye is meant to be connected to another eye, such as in making a chain or connecting to a clasp.  And end pin is used when nothing is connected to the end, and a bead needs to be prevented from sliding off the pin.  When using an end pin, you’ll need to create an eye on the opposite end using jewelry pliers so you can connect the pin to the jewelry.

Placing the beads

forming the eye

The pliers are tapered so you can make larger or smaller eyes.

Sometimes the hole is a bead is too large for the end pin.  To make sure that’s not an issue, I almost always include a seed bead in between the end of the pin and the central bead.  Then I put another seed bead on top so it looks symmetrical.

Cutting and forming the eye

Keeping all the beads on the end pin, trim any excess metal with the cutting function of the 3-in-1 pliers.  This takes practice to know how big you typically form your eye, but it’s better to err on the side of cutting off too little rather than too much.  Then clasp the cut end of the pin between the round parts of the pliers, and roll the pliers to create a circle.  Do not close the circle entirely yet.

Finishing the earring

finished earring

Close up the eye and you’re done!

Take the fish hook finding and look your mostly finished eye through the eye of the earring.  Keeping the two eyes linked, use the round pliers to finish closing off the eye you created on the cut part of the end pin.

What’s next?

Next I’ll write a two-parter about baby blankets.  One blanket is super easy and very quick to make, the other took a long time but looks more unique.

How I Made Past Halloween Costumes—Part 3: Toad (from Mario Bros)

I think Halloween might be my favorite holiday! I wrote posts last year about how to create a pumpkin, Batman, Superman, and M&M costume, and I thought I’d write about some of the costumes I’ve made in the past.  I’ve already written about my panda and Batgirl costumes.  Now for another one that was part of a group costume!

mushroom hat

Try to space the spots out evenly

Toad (from Mario Bros)

This costume works best when you’re accompanied by other Mario Brothers characters.  I was going with two people dressed as Mario and Luigi, and I didn’t want to spend the evening in a formal gown as a princess.  So I looked at all the available characters and got my creative juices flowing.

The most important part of the Toad costume is the mushroom hat.  I started with a plastic colander.  I wanted a plastic bowl that was cheap and the right size, and after trying on all the bowls at Wal-Mart, I decided the colander was the best.

50_505816363012_6218_n-duo

That’s my friend, Beth. She’s dressed as a nerd.

Even though the colander looked mushroom-sized on my head, it wasn’t a snug fit at all.  So I went to the floral area and bought one of those foam rings you use to make a flower wreath.  Again, I tried them all on until I found one that would fit my head and fit inside the colander.

Then I bought some white fabric to cover my hat.  I don’t remember if the fabric was from the remnants shelf or if it was from the bargain bin, but if all you’re looking for is white, you can usually find something cheap.  I also bought red felt for the spots.

I started off by wedging the floral ring into the colander.  I think I had to shave it down a little with scissors.  Then I centered the white fabric, gathered it neatly over the contours, and stapled the heck out of it on the inside upper edge of the foam.  I pulled the fabric nice and taut so the hat wouldn’t fall apart.  Then I traced red circles using the inside of a role of tape and glued them on.  I added a purple vest I found on sale, a white shirt, and khakis.  I don’t have a group picture that I’d like to use, so here’s a picture of me by myself as Toad.

What’s next?

I might come up with a few more costume ideas, or I might get started on some of the posts I’ve already promised, such as newborn hats and cross stitch.  You’ll just have to come back and see!