Sunday, December 10, 2017

Basic Hat Construction

To crochet a basic beanie you will need yarn and a crochet hook. You can use anything from crochet thread to super bulky yarn with appropriate hook for it. Then you will need to decide which stitch you want to crochet your beanie with. Single crochet will give you a nice, tight material and it will be easier to control the size. My favorite is the half double crochet. You get the convenience of a small stitch, yet slightly bigger than a single crochet. You could go double crochet, but then you get into a more loose fabric which might let in more cold air. Still, it's your decision.

You want to start off with a small beginning ring, or as I like to do, crochet into the first chain of your beginning chain. It should be large enough to hold your first round of stitches and will give you the smallest crown 'hole'. For single crochet hats chain 2, for half double also chain 2 and for double crochet chain four, with the ch-3 being your first stitch, you will need 11 more.

Your first round will depend on which stitch you select. Single crochets should only need a starting number of six, half double crochets need a starting number of eight and double crochets need a starting number of twelve.

Your next rounds will consist of increasing by your starting number each time, evenly around, until your crown is large enough. This will depend on if the hat is for a preemie, a newborn, a baby, a toddler, a child, a teen or an adult. Your best bet here would be to measure the head that the hat is meant for, and then crochet a circle that has a diameter of roughly one quarter that. My head is 22” around and I usually make my crown to about 6” diameter. For a beret-style hat, make the crown roughly half the measurement of the head it is meant for.

Then you will crochet in even rounds until the hat is the right length. That's just about it. Easy-peasy.

Now if you want a slouchy hat, you can simply crochet around until it's slouchy enough before ending off. For a beret-style you would make an even bigger starting circle, crochet evenly for four to six rounds and then decrease (Using the beginning number of stitches you started with-6/8/12/etc) until the hat is the right size. Here you might want to attach a single crochet ribbing band.

To attach a ribbing band, you will want to switch out your hook for another that is at least two sizes smaller than the one you were using. In other words, if you were using a size K hook, then you would switch to a size I hook. Then you will chain a length for however wide you want your ribbing to be, plus one to turn. Then single crochet into the second chain from hook and all other chains. Then you will slip stitch into the next two stitches of your hat and turn. You will now work in the back loops only of your band. Skip the two slip stitches and single crochet into each single crochet of your band. Chain one and turn. Single crochet back up to your hat and slip stitch into the next two stitches and turn. Got the pattern? Do this all the way around the hat, until you reach the beginning of the band and end up at the outside edge of the band. Slip stitch the last row of the band to the free loops of the beginning chain and you're done!

Now if you'd rather start at the hatband, you would make a strip of single crochet ribbing, crochet the ends together, then start crocheting on the edge of the ribbing evenly around. When you reach the crown, then you decrease evenly to shape the crown, or continue until hat is the right length, end off, leaving a long tail, weave the tail through the last round of stitches and pull tight. Secure the tail to the inside of the hat. Slouchy hats would follow the same construction, just crochet till it's slouchy enough and end off. For a beret-style you would increase stitches until it is right, then decrease towards the crown.

Really, it's all up to you what you want to do with your hats, I'm just giving some basic guidelines to get you started.

Monday, May 29, 2017

As promised

Here's a picture of the finished sock. I finished it quite awhile back (weather was still very cold too), and have been wearing them since.

They're just a little big on me, even though I used a needle one size smaller than the pattern author did. I think I could go down another two sizes if I wanted.

I also got an inspiration from this pattern and wrote my own. It's constructed the same as this one, in that you knit them on two needles. However, you knit each row. Yes, it's a garter stitch slipper sock with short row toes and heels. I have it up on my Ravelry store as a free download. Here's a peek at it:

This one doesn't have a mate because I didn't have enough yarn to do one. As it was only so I could add an image to the PDF file, it's okay. I'm working on several pairs right now. Black, blue, mauve, a pair for the granddaughter with heels/toes/ribbing in a varigate and the rest in blue.

I think a size 5 needle will give a typical adult sock, while a size 3 needle will give a kid size. I wouldn't go smaller than a size 3 with WW yarn though.

And since I put the pattern up last week, it's had around 236 downloads and 62 favorites. I'm quite happy that so many like it. I just hope the directions are clear enough for them to get as pretty a sock as I did.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Knitting socks on straight needles

That's the way socks were first knit. Before the invention of dpns or circular needles, knitters had to knit socks on straight needles. I wanted to try this for myself and I found a very easy pattern for doing so. Best thing of all, it was free!

The Easiest Knitted Socks Ever

And it is easy. The author gives the pattern that fits their foot, so you'll have to adjust for your own foot. Any competent knitter can do this easily. However, I did make a couple of other changes.

I made short row heels and toes rather than decreasing/increasing at heel and toe. When they're sewn up they look like short row toes and heels. I also didn't go down as many stitches as she did. I have wide feet and heels, so I only decreased 16 stitches at the toes and heels. I also didn't need as many rows for the bottom of the foot. Only 30 rows. I also added a couple more rows of top ribbing (for 6 rows), which made the top ribbing an even inch in width. As I made changes, I noted them down in notepad in a condensed format since this sock is a plain, stockinette sock.

Here's a couple of in-progress photos of it, so you can see, I'm using straight needles and knitting both socks at the same time. Though I'm only knitting them *almost* flat. Doing it like this and I'll only have to close up the two side seams, since the heels and toes are already done.

The top one is the back of the leg and heels. The bottom one is the bottom of the foot and the toe almost done.

Now, to go this route, you will have to do each heel and each toe separately. I didn't cut my main color when I did the toes and heels since I knew I could just pick it back up for the last purl row of the short rows. All in all, it's been a great knit. I'll post finished pictures when I finish them. I'm already almost finished with the insteps, so I'll just need to knit the front of the leg and the ribbing. I'm toying with a stretchy bind off for that since this sock is basically a top-down/toe up sock. We'll see.