Custom Crochet Beanie plus free pattern

In this tutorial we will discuss how to measure and custom-make a crochet beanie to fit. I’m going to deal with a lot of theory. Theory seems unimportant until you want to venture out on your own without the comfort of a pattern. Then a basic knowledge will stand you in good stead to make just about anything. Let’s do it!

Quick note: I make reference to the crown of the beanie a number of times, and that is what is critical for us to calculate. When crocheting a beanie the crown is made to fit up to the widest part of the head by crocheting a flat disc shape using increases. When we reach the size we require we stop increasing (usually) and continue with the number of stitches in the last round. This will then allow us to start working down creating a dome shape that will fit the head.

The scary maths part

Often on crochet groups I note that people aren’t certain of the maths terminology needed to do the calculations. Please don’t run away! Bear with me. It’s so simple once you know it. Here we go.

Working on the assumption that a beanie is basically circular, and our heads (bear with me!) have a circumference proportionate to the beanie we want to make we will use the geometry of a circle for reference. Let’s chat about the names of the parts we will use. Then I will give real-world examples of how to use them.

The circumference of a circle is the measurement of the outside., so basically the distance around.

The radius of the circle is measured from the center of the circle to any point on the outside of the circle. This value will be the same no matter where you measure.

The diameter of a circle is measured across the center of the circle from any two points along the outside in a straight line. The diameter is thus made up of two radii (plural of radius).

There’s a lot of other maths around the geometry of a circle, but we won’t really need that. The next important thing I need to tell you is about Pi, for which the symbol is π. Yes, pronounced just like the pie you eat. Yum! Same same. At least as far as shape is concerned.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Pi / π (this is Greek, and you see they weren’t just in casual repose scoffing grapes all day) is defined as the ratio of the circumference of the circle to its diameter. The beauty is that this ratio is the same for every single circle out there. Yep. Every one. That ratio is 3.14159… It’s a long number. Point is for our purposes we can simplify it down to 3.14.

By now I hear you wondering what on earth this has to do with making a beanie? Well, let’s put this into practice.

Putting theory into practice – the less scary part

If I take the measurement of my head, above the eyebrows and measure the circumference (this works in both metric and imperial) and let’s say it’s 57cm. I now divide my 57cm by pi (see above) which we’ve simplified to 3.14, so 57 / 3.14 = 18,15286624203822. Another big number. But don’t worry. Remember anytime you divide a number by a number with two decimal places it can get icky. We’ll simplify it down to 18cm (about 7 inches). What this tells me is that the crown of the hat must be about 18cm in diameter (give or take).

So let’s sum that up. To measure what the crown of the beanie should be we do this calculation:

Circumference of head / 3.14 = diameter of crown.

Another thought on rounding, if the stitch pattern is very tight I’ll likely round up, and if it’s quite stretchy I may round down. You should have a feel for what will work for the stitch pattern you intend to use.

This will work in both metric and imperial. The reason for that is that 3.14 is a ratio, so it really doesn’t matter what the base number you use is. You may just want to consider how much you round up or down by as if your base number is smaller (as in imperial) it will make a difference.

If you want a beanie with a snug fit you can also deduct about 2-3cm (about an inch) from the head circumference and then calculate the crown. This will ensure that you have negative ease (allowing it to fit more tightly).

With crochet we usually (not always, but usually) work from the top down starting with a flat circle. The flat circle will form the crown of our hat. The maths above works perfectly for this.

Assuming you’ve stayed with me thus far, we’re almost ready to crochet! Just a wee bit more theory first.

A bit of crochet theory…

Getting the circle of the crown to lie flat

Tension

Let me deal with the first and most obvious possible issue. If you follow the instructions for increasing to a T, but your crown buckles, make sure that your increases are correct, and if they are, address tension as a possible cause. If your tension is too tight your crown will not lie flat.

Now it doesn’t need to be flat as a pancake. A little curving is okay, but if it is totally convex, nope. I would recommend that if this happens you go up a hook size until it’s a bit flatter. This does mean starting again, but fortunately, you should see this happen three or four rounds in, if it happens at all. No number of sacrifices to the gods will fix it, so frog it and move on with your life.

The theory of increases

The theory of how we increase is we will start with a magic circle or chain joined to form a circle. Into the circle we will place a number of stitches. Let’s say it’s 12. In the next round we will increase by working two stitches into each stitch, which in this case will give us 24. So far so good. In round 3, we will work an increase (two stitches into one stitch) and then a stitch into the next stitch. We will repeat this and it will give us a total of 12 increases (totalling 24) and 12 stitches, which gives us a grand total of 36 stitches. In round 4 we will work an increase followed by a stitch in each of the next two stitches. We will repeat this all the way around giving us 48 stitches. In round 5 we will work an increase followed by a stitch in each of the next three stitches, and repeat this, giving us a total of 60 stitches. The number of increases will always be the number you initially crocheted into the circle. And the distance between them will usually increase by an additional stitch per round between increases from the previous round. You could do this in perpetuity. Fortunately we’re only making a beanie!

Using my handy measuring tape I will stop when the crown reaches as close to the diameter I calculated earlier. In this case 18cm. Then in theory I will stop increasing and work the same number of stitches for the subsequent rounds as I did on the last round of the crown until I reach the length I want the beanie to be. Generally speaking, this is measured from the top of the head to the base of the ear. When your beanie reaches this total length, you can fasten off. I must mention that you may want it longer, or shorter. You may want to add ribbing that folds over. There are myriad ways you might style a beanie, so the above is just a guideline.

Can we crochet now? Why, yes. Did you take the measurements of the head circumference and the length from top of head to base of ear (if that’s how long you want it)? Yes? Let’s go.

Petals & Posts Beanie Pattern

If you head on over to Ravelry, you can download the free pattern that will give you the exact steps for making your own Petals & Posts Beanie. You will find that the theory above will help understand the pattern. It’s a breeze to make, and so quick.

download now

If I don’t speak to you again before we celebrate Christmas, I wish you all a very happy and peaceful festive season, whatever you may be celebrating.

Gilby the Christmas Gonk (and Freya the Cranky Christmas Cat)

I am super happy to share with you my free pattern for Gilby the Christmas Gonk, and his companion cat, Freya the Cranky Christmas Cat.

The image shows the two beard options. One is merino roving which is felted directly onto the figure, and the other is made using the remaining yarn.

Gilby and Freya are made using Vinnis Nikkim and Scheepjes Softy. This can be substituted with any DK (3) weight cotton and fine eyelash yarn respectively.

The pattern is available on Ravelry as a free download. I hope you have loads of fun making these cuties.

download now

Whatever you are celebrating over the festive season, may it be a happy and peaceful time for you and your loved ones.

Ravelry and Funky Sheep giveaway on The Lekker Podcast

Hello there. I hope Monday is treating you well. I have two announcements to share with you.

First is that I am slowly but surely adding my patterns to my Ravelry shop. My patterns appeared in Jaarn Magazine, so you have the option to buy the magazine itself, which is a bundle of patterns, or the individual pattern at a lower rate. There are some new patterns in development, and I cannot wait to share them with you.

I recently discovered The Lekker Podcast. Jalene is a local crafter who brings out a podcast roughly monthly. She is so lovely and relatable. Give it a watch, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Check out her YouTube channel “Made by Jalene”, and visit her website: Website: https://www.madebyjalene.com.

Jalene is hosting a Funky Sheep giveaway. Be sure to watch Episode 10 for more details on how you can win. Good luck!

Have a great week.

Get to know me: 5 Facts about me

I thought it would be fun today to share a bit of info about myself so you can get to know me better. Some things you already know from reading my blog, but some not, so here goes.

Granny stitch corner to corner made in 2020

1. I learned to knit decades before learning to crochet

It’s true. I was six years old when my Ouma taught me to knit and Tunisian crochet. She was a good teacher and I never forgot the basics, nor some of the finer points that she taught me.

I was 37 years old when I learned to crochet. It was at a particularly difficult time, and it really helped me center myself, and relax. My great-grandmother was an incredible crocheter, and there’s obviously something in the genes because it came really easily to me. I continuously stretched myself (still do) and learned new crochet skills and techniques. Once I got going I never looked back. I have also taught numerous people to crochet, and some of them have, in turn, gone on to teach others. It’s been really rewarding to know that there are people out there who crochet every day, and love it, all because I took the time to teach them. The power of sharing our skills cannot be underestimated.

2. Crochet helps me cope with chronic illness

Many people don’t know this, because I don’t always talk about it, and it’s not immediately obvious, as is the case with these illnesses. I have auto-immune issues, the primary one of which is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. A mouthful to be sure, and quite a huge issue to cope with. I also have other concomitant auto-immune issues: Sjögren’s, Raynaud’s, Antiphospholipid Syndrome, polyarthritis, and then some. More recently I have nervous system damage which has led to dysautonomia. This affects my blood pressure, heart and breathing. The point of sharing all this with you is that I think it is important for people with what are known as ‘invisible’ illnesses to raise awareness around their struggles. Not for pity, rather for understanding. I look quite fat (thanks cortisone) and healthy, but it really belies what is just under the skin.

The other thing crochet makes a massive difference to is my ADHD and OCD. Both are well managed, and the crochet really helps me reign in the attention and focus it on one thing.

Having crochet during the really rough times makes the world of difference to me. The meditative and repetitive quality of it can make it very mindfulness-inducing. If I need to meditate I choose a pattern that has easy repeats, little to no counting, etc. If I really need a mental break and need to tune out a bit, I choose difficult patterns. They consume my attention so fully that I can’t think of anything else. This really makes a massive difference to my ability to cope, especially with severe chronic pain. I work on my designs a great deal and really enjoy the process. I do find that sometimes, though, I need a break and would like to just work on something that someone else has already done the thinking and calculations for. I can occasionally be found working on a knitting project, but it’s about 20:1 crochet.

3. My favourite thing to crochet is amigurumi

I love blankets and other homewares too, but hands down ami is my fave. Garments are my least favourite, but that doesn’t mean I don’t make them.

With amigurumi I love seeing the characters emerge. It can be very structured and mathematical, but once you’ve done some basic calculations it’s generally pretty easy from there. When you are creating a character, and the cuteness exceeds even your expectations, it’s a thrill. Seeing others enjoy your work, well, that is on its own level.

I am half logical, systematic, and detail oriented. The other half of me is creative and rebellious. This combo can make things interesting sometimes to be sure. I try to avoid getting too bogged down in the logical brain, but really let the creative brain out to play. Ami gives me the best of both.

4. My favourite place to buy yarn

This was probably the hardest thing to narrow down. Until recently I lived in a remote part of the platteland and didn’t get to the cities as often as one needs to keep your stash running smoothly. The result is I got to know online purveyors of yarn pretty well. Some of them are Jaarn, Be Inspired, Colours of Amalfi, The Yarn Room, and others. Forgive me if I didn’t mention you.

Nothing beats the real, tactile experience though. My daughter lives right around the corner, so with visits to Gauteng I couldn’t miss this destination. There is a shop in the heart of Linden in Johannesburg called Arthur Bales. This is a jewel. As a fairly visual and tactile person, nothing gives me more pleasure than walking down the steps from the fabrics into the yarn section. It is a joy from the moment you behold it. Shelf upon shelf of yarn you can only dream of. The colours! The textures! Local and imported yarns practically burst off the shelves begging you to give them a squish. I can spend absolutely hours there. The staff are so friendly and helpful, and they really know their stuff. If you want to spend a morning escaping from the world, this is the place for you. Visit. You’ll be so glad you did. Afterward you can have coffee at one of the many cafe’s in the area.

Hasten to add this mention is not sponsored. They don’t need to pay me to sing their praises. They are just that good. Just up from cnr 7th St and 4th Ave, Linden, Johannesburg. Tel: 011 888 2401 https://www.arthurbales.co.za/

5. Crochet technique I think everybody should learn

Hands down, for me the technique we should all know is the double magic ring. Many have heard of the magic ring. This takes it a step further, and a step sturdier. I always use the DMR for my ami projects, and other projects where I need to start with a ring. It is very important to remember that whether you are using the normal magic ring, or the DMR, it’s magic, not a miracle. It doesn’t stop you from having to weave in the ends. Please do not just crochet over them or think the ring is done once you’ve closed it. We spend so much time on our projects. Using these techniques properly will ensure work that lasts a very, very long time.

Look out for the video I’m making about amigurumi tips and tricks. It’ll be out in 2022. Can’t wait to share all the things I’ve learned over the years of making ami, including the DMR.

The other thing that was almost a tie for first place is corner to corner. I do it in knitting and crochet. I am obsessed with C2C. My one friend always teases me that if I can find a way to corner to corner it, I will.

If you’d like to share info about your five things, and a pic, use the hashtag #5thingsaboutmefs on Instagram. I’d love to get to know you better, and see your photos. You can find me on instagram as @ginaandthefunkysheep.