Crochet Winter Hats

Over the previous weekend, I managed to finish the hat in the previous post (just put in a black rim to keep it snug and let it fit over my ears).  I’m trying to use my existing stash of yarn, and unfortunately, I cannot identify the specifics of the yarn used here, but here is the finished product.

Winter hats

Then beyond that, I managed to finish two others. Talk about being productive.

One thing I’ve noticed is that you have to pay attention to your own head size and actually be patient with stitching and undoing and stitching again.  While I have found some great pattern references, I have had to adjust based on the thickness of the yarn, or the fancy stitch following.  So while with a certain yarn, I may end up stopping the increasing of the stitches per row at say, the fifth row, I might have to do that on the sixth for thinner yarns.  Some yarns are also wont to hug your head, and others will just lay over your head, so there is less need to be relaxed with the actual fit.  What I’m trying to say here is that it’s different for each project.

I tend to start with the required number of rounds from the crown of the head (top), rather than start from the rim and work my way up.  I like my winter hats to be snug, and I don’t like putting in a pom-pom as an accent, so I work from the top down.

I first wrote about my quest for the perfect hat back in 2016, and I referenced this pattern for a slouchy beanie.  Although the original pattern called for more give and fabric to hang from the back of the hat, I wanted something snug, but with enough give just to give the hat a bit of shape when on my head.  I have used the starting pattern for this beanie for many of the hats that followed, including the first two hats in the post.

I like to learn new stitches, and I have always fancied the texture and body of the basket weave stitch.  Since I am now unable to identify the video I referenced, suffice it to say that Youtube is one great tutor.  While the stitch usually requires a treble stitch, I worked on using a double crochet stitch but had to keep in mind that my pattern had to start at a row following a round that was divisible by 3.


Winter hats

After working my way to the 6th round, I started adjusting the pattern to accommodate the woven stitch.  This time around, I wanted to be able to put a rim around over the edge of the hat.  Again, keeping in mind that I was working on a pattern, I had to make sure that the rim fell on a row that would compliment the row above it when the rim was in place.

And finally this last hat, based on a pattern I bought from RubyWebbs over at Etsy.  While my finished product looks different from the photo accompanying the pattern on the site, blame it on the tweaks I did which came out as I had hoped it would.  You can see the cable stitch clearly even with the solid black yarn I used.

Winter hats

First of all, I highly recommend Joni’s patterns on RubyWebbs because they are clear and easy to decipher, no matter what your level of skill is.  I consider myself rather advanced since I can read both word and diagram patterns and have been crocheting since grade school, but you want to work with patterns which don’t presume that you would have the same skill level as the vendor.  I actually bought 3 patterns, but I haven’t had the chance to work with the other two.

I like that I learned a new way to start a beanie off, with front post double crochet and back post double crochet.  This gave the beanie an inner rim per row which I like.  It also started with a looser top, so for those hats that I don’t want to be as snug, this is a perfect way to start the hat.

I followed the initial pattern for the top before getting to the row where the cable stitches begin, but I found that the hat had gotten too loose, so I went and unstitched two rows back and started the cabling ahead of the pattern.

I also found that you can actually make the cables longer by repeating a certain row, or keeping the pattern as is.  Towards the end, I reduced stitches for a snugger fit by first, skipping the half double crochet stitch between the cables but retaining the one inside (on the second to the last row of the cable) and then for the last row with the cable, I omitted that half double crochet to “close” it out.

The pattern provides for a finish but I opted to use my own by just closing out the cable and leaving it “raw”.  Maybe for the next one, I will try to do the cable and the finish as is and see how that ends up.

Winter hats

Back into crafting

One of the things that I have found most rewarding about crafting is that you can lose yourself in it and just let go. Even when I’m reading a pattern or working with instructions, there is a sense of freedom in just going at your own pace and working on your project as you please.

I have a ton of yarn that was purchased for projects that popped up in my head along the way. Some projects came to fruition and ended up in wearable pieces, but there are still some unfinished projects that are hoping for a second chance. My projects are usually spurred by some other event in my day to day, and a cooler weekend spoke to me if the coming of spring and then of winter.

I picked up a ball of yarn that was already unraveled at one end, and I stitched a beanie pattern away from memory. Depending on the yarn and the size of the needle I’m using, I always get stumped when it comes to the row where I stop increasing the number of stitches. So there is that magic moment when I find my fit and I can go about crocheting a stitch design that makes up the entire hat.

This one’s probably my 10th or so now.. and I’m down to the ribbing at the end. I’m thinking I will go with black and end it there.

Work in progress

I’m looking to get some projects finished before it starts getting cold again. That’ll help me get my yarn stash down by a but at least, and I’ve promised not to buy any new spools until I complete a few pieces. I’m setting my sights on maybe even making a coatigan or a shawl at the very least. Maybe I might yet get some freeform crochet done! More to come..

Hello, 2018!

I always greet the new year with optimism, because it always brings in a new beginning.  In my mind, no matter how chaotic or tumultuous or completely bland the year that just ended was, there is that forever hope of things getting better, more so as we restart the clock so to speak.

So happy new year.

I’ve been ramping up my creative streak of late and can happily report that I have managed to finish a winter hat, a pair of hand warmers (only because I don’t have an existing pair of the ones I did last year!) and my embroidered scarf is almost “almost there”.

My new slouchie beanieYet another slouchy beanie.  I have spools and spools of yarn that are begging to be knitted or crocheted, and in the midst of tidying up, I actually came across a few skeins of pompom yarn that I had meant to work with as an embellishment to a white or black slouchy beanie.  Even if it took forever and a day to decide between using black or white for the actual beanie, the process of actually crocheting the hat was rather easy because I worked with an existing pattern.  Then there was the actual figuring out of (1) how to incorporate the pompoms, and (2) the placement between stitches — or how close or far I would put them together.  But voila!

New hand warmersPink hand warmers.  When fall came, I actually couldn’t remember where I put my leather gloves.  I did find my hand warmers, but only one of each pair.  I could pretend I was being funky and wear a different pink on the left and another on the right.  Besides, does anyone really pay attention?  (Yes, they do.  I know because I do.)  And again, maybe because of last year’s practice but I nailed this one despite the unstitching every now and then because I was working freeform using the fan stitch.  (Not quite sure that’s what you call it.)

At first I thought 30 stitches for the actual cuff was too tight, but then again, crochet stitches actually stretch as you pull on it this way and that. It worked well enough because I meant for the warmers to reach up to just beyond my wrist, and not all the way up my arm. That’s another project maybe for another winter.

I know it’s February and I’m going to start drafting my next post the moment I hit send.. more, more, more!

Winter Crochet Blitz

IMG_1537As of this writing, I’ve made four hats and three pairs of hand warmers.  Documenting them, though, has been a bit of slow, and posting them hasn’t been all that easy– even on my Instagram feed.  I have been happy using my yarn stock (and I am happy they are finally being put to good use!), and I am so thrilled for all the compliments I’ve been getting.  It has so inspired  me to keep trying new methods and stitches along the way…

Temperatures in New York City have been  dropping and rising unpredictably,  and yes, we’ve had our taste of snow. Occasionally, we are back to rain, but the cold sore on my lip is not a welcome occurrence.  These are the things we have to deal with, living here in the big apple.

I am very happy about how my hand warmers have literally taken shape.  Stitching a plain one for my first pair, I did the stitches vertically which helped me lay the foundation for the next.  The idea was to embellish the plain one with separately crocheted pieces later, but I found this too bulky and decided it wouldn’t work.  Maybe I should stitch a design a la embroidery by yarn instead?  I will try that later.

Hand warmers Fall/winter2016I did a square pattern as the base for the second, which meant a slightly bigger than desired form.  The hands, after all, are are not without its curves.  They worked out pretty well and received compliments, but they were too wide around the fingers.  I also made the mistake of trying to tuck yarn ends into the beginning stitches of the next spool.  I tried something different for the next which proved to be more helpful and cleaner both on the front and inside of the warmers.

Just remember that I’m doing this without a pattern, same with my hats, and that means undoing rows and rows when the fit doesn’t work out.

Learning from hand warmers #s 1 and 2, I decided to try and work the rows horizontally instead of vertically, starting from the top.  I figured I would have an easier time increasing stitches down the rows rather than decreasing them if I worked from the wrist up.  Besides, the problem was really about the top where the warmers grip the fingers to keep them all cozy.

Hand warmers Fall/winter2016The first step was about figuring out how many stitches would be smug enough to hold all 4 fingers.  I settled on 20 using a size J needle.  I measured after the first row of single crochet stitches which I joined to a round to see how it worked out.  (My hands, by the way, are average in size.  When buying gloves, I usually fit nicely into a Large.)  I wanted to use a stitch that I could work with without too much trouble in terms of counting, and which would hug the fingers together nicely when actually worn.  I did a shell stitch using 5 double crochet stitch, and while I had thought the 20 would fall snuggly into that scheme, it left me with half a shell at the end which required some work around.  That actually gave me the idea to bridge that row to the next by completing the shell, giving me the “increase” I was looking for to give my knuckles room.

Here’s my first attempt at trying to do a pattern:

Row 1: Chain 21, join last stitch with first.  (Leaves you 20 free.)

Row 2: (Shell Stitch) make 5 DCs on Ch3, skip two and connect shell to Ch6, SC.  Repeat until end.

Row 3: connect 5th DC into DC3 of row 1 shell, do all stitches, end row correctly. (No overlap)

Another thing I wanted to do was to be able to incorporate a change of colors in the design.  As you can see, I used three different yarns to make this particular pair.

One issue I have with the stitch is that it left open gaps were I did a shall on shell to create a round design, but I’ve found that even with those little holes, the warmers serve their purpose well.  Your hands will keep warm even with the fingers extending out like it did.

Hand warmers Fall/winter2016The third was definitely an improvement on the second, and I am still looking to improve the stitching.  I might just end up undoing the first because I think it’s been shown that the better direction to go would be horizontally stitching rows to give it its proper shape.  Here are the two that I’ve worn and which people have seen.  Even shapewise, the one on the right is less clunky, and it definitely wears more comfortably.

I stitch a round of 10 single crochet on all my hanwarmers with no decrease.  You really need more allowance where the thumb is because of all the directions it moves in, more so when texting.  Besides, the stitching eventually pulls at each row making it adjust.  Any more even just by 2 and it would be a tad too wide.

Hand warmers Fall/winter2016This is how it actually looks like on my hand. Not bad, don’t you think?  I’m almost afraid to try and make another one because I just loooooove the pink of this one.  Keep warm, everyone..

Looking for the right hat

Slouchy Beanie #1 in Heathered Grey yarn. Pic looks black and white but the speckles are actually more colorful. Been wearing this as the temperatures started dropping here in #NYC. Finally a beanie that doesn't give me hat hair, and hair finally longWith Fall here and winter just around the corner, the temperatures have started dropping and we’re pulling the coats out of the closet along with the usual cold weather accessories that we all don this time of the year.  If you’re like me, there’s the perpetual search for the right head gear that will keep you warm and not give you the dreaded “hat hair”.

Last year, I resumed knitting and crocheting which led to a lot of craft experiments.  (Translated: I didn’t quite finish a project.)  A year later, I’m actually hoping to make better progress.  For starters, I’ve found a crochet pattern for a slouchy beanie which I hope I can finish and wear.  I have my coterie of crochet hooks in all sizes and quite the healthy stash of yarn.  I picked out a spool of tweed yarn this morning and started the so-called “magic loop”.  If it’s as easy as it’s touted to be, it shouldn’t take me long to find out if I’m going to make another one.

Choosing a hat can be quite the dilemma.  I have no problem with wearing beanies because I have a perfectly round head (being a c-section baby), but then I have a round face and my hair used to be perpetually short which wasn’t quite flattering underneath any sort of headgear.  That’s changed a bit now with my shoulder length hair.   I also quite like the look of slouchy hats which aren’t as snug on the top of your head, giving your head room — literally.  We will see.  I haven’t seen any slouchy hats to try on so I’m making one.

So for starters, I reviewed if I am doing my double stitch right and found that I have been actually doing an extra pull all these years.  This video was helpful in reminding me how it should be done.  The pattern only uses the single and the double stitch and switches between two crochet hooks but only at the end.  The increase in the stitches in the first 9 (original) and in mine (8) are pretty straightforward and a no-brainer to follow.

I started crocheting and finished this in less than a day, and I know I would’ve been able to finish it sooner if I wasn’t doing it during breaks only.  I followed the pattern to a T and used the two hooks specified, but the hat turned out to be too big.  Following the suggestion from JennyLikesYarn who authored the pattern originally, I undid the stitches to the rows where the increases stopped and am working on 64 instead of 72 total stitches in the final rounds.  This was the second to the last row before you worked without increasing the rows.  I am also trying to gauge how much of a slouch I want my final product to have.

Although the first was obviously too big, I liked the way the adjusted hat sat on my head and yet felt warm enough to cover my ears in a comfortable yet snug way.

This pattern is easy enough even for younger crocheters to take a stab at, and it’s a pattern you can do in various colors and dress up with a button or ribbon in unlimited ways.  I’m already thinking of how I can dress up the next version I make.  Just be warned that the size of the beanie changes not only depending on the hook you use or number of stitches per round you use, but the yarn itself.  The nice thing it’s easy enough to make and undo as needed, and you can tailor fit it according to the style you want.  More coming!!

 

Crochet Pieces

Disclosure: The post below provides links to the products I am using in my project which will take you to Amazon’s website in case you are interested in looking up the product.  I have also provided suggested sites you can visit if you are interested to learn more about Crochetting or purchasing Crochet kits. Please note that clicking on the link might mean a commission for me if you do purchase it from the vendor.  

Crochet has been a new-found passion the last couple of months.  I have been working on smaller pieces I hope to eventually “stitch together” later into something wearable for the coming fall and winter.  I have actually been knitting and crocheting my scarves in recent years, that is why I only buy fabric scarves, but I haven’t really gone beyond that.

I think I’m finally ready to try and craft something from the bits and pieces I have gathered in various ziploc bags, but I am a bit wary of how it will come out.  I have grouped them into patterns based on color and type of yarn and hope to create a good mix of the many pieces instead of just pulling in similar ones for a project.  I bought a grey fleck (speckled?) yarn that I hope to piece the rounds together with against an all black background.  (I am hoping to post the work in progress after the weekend.)

Meanwhile, I have been intrigued by this Icelandic sweater crochet pullover I’ve been seeing online, but a pattern for which I cannot find.  I am hoping to mimic it for the sweater tunic I’m making out of the Bernat blanket yarn I am experimenting with.  I also stocked up on the Caron one pounder which went on sale over at Michael’s around two weekends ago.  That, plus an additional 25% off coupon, allowed me to buy it at half off the original price.

I try to stick with the cotton and acrylics so that I don’t have to worry about fabric care later on.  When working with yarn, it’s always a good idea to check fabric care before purchasing it so you know it’s I remember knitting with some fancy wool-blend yarn years ago and when it was washed, it became a rag. (I had given it as a gift to my mother-in-law.). Back then and even now, I worked with fancy threads and yarns for my knitting projects because I couldn’t do the complicated stitches.  I would work designs into the scarves by switching yarn or needles.  Crochet is a different matter altogether, because I had learned this firsthand in grade school.  I can even read patterns in both the word form and diagram.

Switching yarns and needles is a little trickier for me in crochet, because I worry about how the finer and softer yarns would hold up against the tension or pull of the actual piecework.  It would be horrible to see parts of the final project fraying or hanging loose because it was carrying too much weight. But then again, I wouldn’t know until I finally pulled it together.  I am trying to confine the finer yarns as embellishments to the chunkier, hardier spools.  The set you see below will be part of a bigger crochet collage.

I will try to focus on getting a “draft” layout of the collage going this weekend, and trying to work piecing them together as I have envisioned it.  Sometimes planning one thing turns out another way when you actually execute it, and I want to see how it works on a small piece before going for the entire thing.  I guess my weekend is cut out for me.

If you’re interested in buying crochet kits, Craftsy has Crocheting kits around $10 or less, excluding shipping!. You can also visit their site below to look at available classes.
Craftsy

Busy with my crochet hooks

I may not have had the chance to post anything here all of June, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy.  Sometimes crafting and blogging don’t go at the same pace and I end up doing more of one than the other.

I have been busy collecting crochet hooks, mostly from the dollar store, of all places!  It’s the same ones being sold in the craft stores, and I’ve been lucky that my store has a stock.  I had decided to stick with the G but I’ve lost two so far, and the store is all out.  I will probably have to just swallow the full cost and get it from one of the stores in the city, if not my always reliable Michael’s.  I don’t know why but hearing the metallic hooks jingling in my pencil case cum crochet hook case is just music to my ears.
Work in Progress; Freeform CrochetMy yarn stash has also been growing, mostly in shades of pink.  (And then some..). One of these days, I will show you where I get my yarn here in Manhattan and you’ll see the varied offerings.  I have also gone up to my attic to dig through my yarn box which I had pulled together mostly to knit into scarves.   Work in Progress; Freeform Crochet

I continue to experiment with new stitches and the more complicated ones are proving to be a challenge.  But I am enjoying learning them and trying to get better at doing them.  With everything that I’ve managed to stitch up so far, I haven’t quite decided yet what I am making first — a scarf, a pull over or a hat.  Decisions, decisions!
Work in Progress; Freeform Crochet

I’m thinking there’s still plenty of time before fall when I expect I would get to use all these things eventually.  And then there’s the trip to Manila where threads the threads are a whole lot cheaper than here.  While the variety in yarns is lacking  (the ones we have here are more colorful and artsy), the cotton threads available there are hard to find here at the same price.  I grew up with the cotton threads that became those fancy adornments in houses of old.  Now if only they didn’t weigh so much!

I like the way the hook pulls the thread and weaves each stitch and gets you into a certain rhythm that can be hypnotic sometimes.  It can be very relaxing once you know what it is you want to create.

I’ve started a Pinterest board for Crochet inspirations, and another for Crochet by me.  It helps me to be able to see others who have created these fabulous pieces, be they just bits of freeform crochet or swathes of intricate stitches that make an elegant stole or shrug.  There is inspiration aplenty.  Dreamy!