Wednesday, 10 December 2014

How to Crochet a Bobble Hat

Now, this is no means a definitive guide, but this is simply MY way of crocheting bobble beanies for my boys. (I cannot resist alliteration, sorry about that.) Lots of people have asked me how to make hats, and last year I published this pattern for ear flap bobble hats. I found that when I returned to it again this year, my sizing was WILDLY off kilter- I mean, HOW big do I think my kids' heads are, exactly? Either that or I actually wrote the wrong stitch on that pattern. My bad, I'm sorry if your toddler hats are enormous and actually fit your granddad instead. Of course, tension, hook and yarn has something to do with it, but if you want that pattern to work I'd suggest switching to htr.

 I wanted to give you a guide to creating your own crochet beanie hat pattern, with some helpful hints and ideas from me. This is all written in UK crochet terminology, with the bobble hat pattern in DK yarn. I'm assuming some crocheting ability, but this should help boost your skills if you're a total beginner. 

AAANNNNNND bobble hat make great gifts, yes? Certainly this time of year, anyway...

Crocheting flat circles
I begin my bobble hat pattern with a flat circle. I think, for hats, it's important to keep drafts out, so to avoid a hole in the epicentre of the hat, I begin with a magic ring. Like so:

 that's blurry, sorry. 

Here's a lovely video, made by lovely person I accidentally met on a train to London one day. She just so happened to be a knitting journalist. What a job! I'm so jealous. Actually she had left and was training to be a midwife but knitting THE most beautiful shawl when we met. 

To make an even, round circle, it's essential to have the right amount of stitches. I always start with 12 in round 1. You can use double crochet (dc)/single crochet, half trebles (htr)/half doubles, or treble crochet (tr)/double crochet. You could even vary the stitch each round for an interesting effect. 

If you're not happy making a magic/adjustable circle/loop/ring, then chain 3, join with a ss and work your first 12 stitches into the ring. 

Join your first round with a slip stitch (ss) to the first stitch in the round. We'll be working in rounds, dontcha know. 

Sizing your Hat
You can be very precise, if you wish, and measure the recipient's head for the circumference of their noggin. Then you need to work out the diameter- just divide the circumference by Pi (3.14 roughly) and you get diameter TADAH! Otherwise just wing it. Phew, that's better. Yes, winging it is the crocheter's friend. 

You'll need to work a certain amount of increase rounds to get a decent enough sized disc (diameter-sized!) that will be shaped into a hat. For each round, you'll need to increase by 12 stitches to get an even, neat circle. 

So here's a quick recipe/ hat pattern:-

To begin: With yarn A 4 ch, sl st to form a ring, or make a magic circle/loop/adjustable ring

Round 1: 3 ch (counts as 1 tr), 11 tr into ring. Join with sl st to 3 ch. [12 sts]

Round 2: 2 ch (counts a 1 tr), 1tr into first st , (2 tr into next st) 12 times, join with sl st into 2 ch. [24 sts]

Round 3: 2 ch (counts as 1 tr), 1 tr into first st, (1 tr into next st, 2 tr into next) 12 times. 1 tr into last st, join with sl st into 2 ch. [36 sts]

Round 4: 2 ch (counts as 1 tr), 1 tr into first st, (1 tr into each of the next 2 sts, 2 tr into next) 12 times, 1 tr into each of the last 2 sts, join with sl st into 2 ch. [48 sts]

Round 5: 2 ch (counts as 1 tr), 1 tr into first st, (1 tr into each of the next 3 sts, 2 tr into next) 12 times. 1 tr into each of the last 3 sts, join with sl st into 2 ch. [60 sts]

Round 6: 2 ch (counts as 1 tr), 1 tr into first st, (1 tr into each of the next 4 sts, 2 tr into next) 12 times, 1 tr into each of the last 4 sts, join with sl st into 2 ch. [72 sts]

And continue like that! I would say that 5 increase rounds is plenty for a newborn baby hat, 6 for a baby, 7 for a toddler and 8 for a child of around 4-8. Of course you can keep on increasing for an adult hat! 10 increase rounds would be about the right size, so round ten would look something like this:

Round 10: 2ch (counts as 1 tr), 1 tr into first st, (1 tr into each of the next 8 sts, 2tr into next) 12 times, 1 tr into each of the last 8 sts, join with ss to ch-2. [120 sts]

Shaping your Hat:

After this, you simply work as many rounds without increasing as you wish, in order to achieve the bowl-shape for your hat. I would say 8-10 rounds like the following will give you a cosy hat:

ch2 (counts as tr), 1tr into each st around, join with ss into ch-2. 

But repeat this round until you're happy with the length. 

To change colour at the end of the row, simply work the first part of your stitch in the old colour:

Then drop the old yarn, and prepare your new yarn. Complete the stitch in your new colour. This will make sure you have a neat join with no weird colour blocks where they shouldn't be:

Finishing your Hat

Ribbed cuff: 
A cosy ribbed cuff ensures a tight fit and looks marvellous. Here's an easy (cheat's) way to achieve it in crochet. First count the stitches in your hat. Turn the hat upside down and count the 'V's; if you have counted correctly, you should have stitches= 12 x (amount of increase rounds). Yes? Make a note of this. Good. Then let's proceed. 

ch 16, Beginning in 2nd chain from your hook, dc (sc) into each ch to end, turn. 

Round 2: ch1, 1dc into back loops ONLY (blo) of each st along. Turn. 

Repeat row 2 until you have as many rows as stitches in your hat round. Hurrah! Clever, eh? Now join the cuff by placing wrong sides together and slip stitch the cuff to hat, matching each row end of the cuff with a stitch of the bottom of the hat. Sew up the little cuff seam, and turn up!

If you want to make ear flaps, check out the tutorial on my ear flap hat pattern. 

Adding a bobble (pom pom) will increase your hat pleasure considerably, as Albie demonstrates here:

And George, well he refuses to wear his hat. End of. This is best I could do. Please don't judge my parenting on his dummy, if you knew the noise that kid makes you would pacify him too. (he is teething canines and it's the only thing that makes him happy). 

I have used Stylecraft DK Special (acrylic yarn) for these hats, and used a 3.5mm hook. 

Albie's hat is in the following colours:

George's Hat is in:

So there you have it. A simple, adaptable DK yarn crochet hat in treble crochet. 

Merry makings!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Cosy crochet slipper tutorial

I've been wanting to crochet a pair of slippers for absolutely YONKS. I tried and failed at making the beautiful slippers in my Japanese crochet book, and didn't fancy making thick, chunky boots. Just something simple to slip over bare feet or tights, in economical DK yarn. 

I spotted the ever-so-lovely Paula (@polly_pet) on Instagram had made her own pair inspired by some she had seen on Pinterest, and she kindly advised me on how she made hers. I just couldn't get them to work like that, either. Either too long, or too tight, or too wide. My feet are quite wide, you see. So after an evening or two of trial and error I finally came up with a workable design, and here it is. Hook them up to your heart's content! They'll make lovely (sorry) Christmas presents! 

They're ladies sizes, and crocheted in DK yarn so ideal if you have stash that needs using up. 

The pattern is worked in rounds until the piece measures the ideal length until you hit your ankle. I've written the pattern in three sizes- SMALL (size 36/37), MEDIUM (size 38/39) and LARGE (size 40/41). Size medium and large are in the brackets. If you need to adjust the length, just add extra rows or stop as you get to your ankle, basically. The the remaining piece is worked back and forth.

All terms are UK, if you're in the US please note this is all worked in hdc and sc :) 

You will need:

  • 100g DK Yarn (I used 2 x 50g balls of Drops Karisma bought at a bargain price from the shop where I teach), plus extra contrasting yarn for pom poms
  • 4mm hook
  • 2 stitch markers (free gift with issue 24 of Simply Crochet! more on that later...)
  • Some spare time (lucky you!)
  • A good film (I recommend I Capture the Castle, which is what I watched while I hooked these up)

To begin, Ch4, join with ss into ring.
  1. Ch2 (counts as htr), 11htr into ring, join with as into ch-2. [12 sts]
  2. Ch2 (counts as htr), 2htr into each st around, 1htr into last st. Join with ss into ch-2. [24 sts]
  3. Ch2 (counts as htr), *2htr into next st, 1htr into next, repeat from * to last st, 2htr into last st, join with ss into ch-2. [36 sts]
  4. Ch2 (counts as htr), 1htr into each st around, join with ss to ch-2. [36 sts]
  5. Repeat round 4 17 (19, 21 times more). Fasten off.                                                

Positioning the joining seam so that it sits at the sole of the slipper, place two stitch markers 7 sts apart at the top of the work, to indicate the 9 st space for the foot opening. Rejoin the yarn in the st next to the marker,

  1. Ch 2 (does not count as htr), 1htr into  same st as ch-2, work 1htr into each of the next 26 sts. Turn.
  2. With right sides facing place ends of slipper together and slip stitch to join together. Fasten off.
Assembly: With right sides facing place ends of slipper together and slip stitch to join together. Fasten off.

To finish: 
Rejoin yarn at seam and dc around edge, working 1dc into each row end and 1dc into each front st. Fasten off.

Make up 2 x 30mm Pom Poms in whichever manner your prefer (I use the clever Clover Pom Pom makers- so quick!) and attach. Weave in any remaining ends. Pop on feet and enjoy. 

Apologies for the rubbish pictures, I though I ought to quickly snap what I was doing but the light was poor and my lens is still scratched. 

But I sure do love these slippers! And so will you. Happy feet all around. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Hooked on Simply Crochet!

I've been banging on for ages about being involved with Simply Crochet magazine. It's really exciting for me, as I'm delighted to be one of their regular designers! I think the mag is so fresh and fun, and although crochet tennis shorts aren't up everyone's street, I'm really honoured to share the pages of a magazine with some of my crochet heroes. Kat Goldin, Lara Messer and of course Lucy of Attic 24 are all regular contributors too. As well as affirmation for me as a designer and crochet lover, I'm really excited to be able to share my designs with such a big audience of crocheters. And working to different briefs often challenges me to go outside my usual comfort zone!

Here are some of my designs in the current issue 23...more from me in issue 24 out on Thursday! So get gettum while you can...

A nifty, quick ear warmer in my favouritest of favourite colours...

And a lovely geometric design including (you guessed it) MORE MUSTARD hurrahhhh! 

I absolutely LOVE the styling of this cushion, I would like to have it on an Ercol Windsor chair in my front room but I have neither the cushion nor the Ercol Windsor. Ha! 
I will share more from issue 24 next week. 

In the meantime, happy hooking!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Mollie Makes chevron cushion special appearance!

I'm so excited at the moment because as well as all the exciting work I've been doing for Simply Crochet lately, a pattern I designed for Mollie Makes last year has gained lots of new fans. If you remember, these were in issue 30 back in 2013, and I'm so excited to see them again. 

All photos by Eyeshine Photography

For those who missed it first time around, the tutorial is now online! Visit the Mollie Makes blog to find out how to crochet these zig-zag cushions. Tune in tomorrow for more cushion news...

Happy hooking!
Sunday, 12 October 2014

Back in the fold

It's taken me a while to get back on the 'blogging horse'. To be honest I wasn't sure if I wanted to blog again. I just sat and waited patiently for the muse to return, and finally, returned it has. I try to capture the beautiful moments in a busy, creative life. But my camera lens on my iPhone has scratched and really I need a new phone but can't afford it. so I'll soldier on with blurry photos instead ;-)

Life has changed so much lately, and sometimes it's hard to adapt, isn't it? My eldest started school in September, and his new routine has set a new routine for the rest of the family. George and I have our own 'home' routine, which involves: coffee, play, nap, work, lunch, play and then the school run again. It leaves little time for much else, and I've so been craving the downtime we spent together on weekdays. I've been very busy with work, too busy lately really. But it's exciting to be involved with more crochet work! 

I've made time for some creative projects, so here's a little picture diary of the last few months. I have so much more to share this week, but I thought I'd share this first, so I don't forget!
 New clogs
 Christmas (!) inspiration
 George's first Tunnock's teacake
 Styling up my clogs for the changing seasons
 We went up here...Anish Kapoor's Orbit at the the Olympic Park
 More stripes, more clogs
 RHS Hyde Hall- the most beautiful spot in Essex (and Monty Don was there filming for the BBC)
 I took my clogs out with my handmade skirt for a special friend's birthday
 Brotherly love; they miss each other's company now the big one is at school
 I became obsessed with knitting these bracelets from Mollie Makes
 Finishing old projects...
 ...and starting new ones
 A proud day as he set off for a big, new adventure
 and a proud day for me as my design is published in Simply Crochet
 My friend Hannah and I visited Hampton Court Palace for the Handmade Fair
 World Pomination!
 The beautiful festival site at the Handmade Fair
 An accidental green gathering...all my favourite shades
 A Frank and Olive dress I made for Flo
 Some knitting progress at last!
 These boys <3 p="">
 Autumn colour is so pure and lovely
 a scarf for my sister; never again will I crochet with black yarn! (I say that every time- but doesn't it look amazing?!)

So that's it. Not much crochet, and no sewing as my machine is broken. But I have borrowed my Nan's beautiful old Bernina which is dated 1964 on the guarantee! I have a basket full of promise and some really exciting projects to work on for Simply Crochet coming up. I can't wait to catch up with you all!