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

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


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.

Making a granny border lie flat

Hi everyone. I hope you are all well. I have left my beloved Eastern Free State and am in Pretoria. Getting used to the city again, but it has its perks. Will be in Pretoria for a while before I can go to the UK to join Matt.

I thought I would share with you my tip for making a border on a granny blanket lie flat. It works for other types of blankets where motifs are used too. All too often you will see borders on granny blankets ruffled and the reason for this is that there are simply too many stitches. This is very simple to resolve.

First join all motifs for your granny blanket. You can refer back to previous posts on this topic for joining granny squares as you go.

The following steps are explained using UK terms.

Once you have your blanket all neatly joined and the ends worked away ensure that the right side of the blanket faces you. Begin in a corner, as you normally would, by joining your yarn, working a corner and then three trebles (UK) into the next chain spaces until the point where you have two motifs intersect.

For row two onward simply work as normal. By working a tr2tog on row one you have created a total of 3 stitches across each intersection where normally one might make 6. This will help your border lie flat.

Here you can see that as subsequent rows / rounds are worked they lie nice and flat.

And that’s it. A simple trick that really makes a huge difference.

Wishing all a wonderful weekend filled with crochet.

Joining granny squares as you go

This tutorial is made using UK terms (although I have indicated the US terms where applicable in brackets). I am right handed, but if you are left handed simply work in the opposite direction turning the work to best suit you.

Working the first two squares

While on the topic of granny squares, today I’d like to teach you a join as you go method for granny squares.

To start with I have made a complete granny square of 4 rounds. If you missed the tutorial on how to make a granny square you can access it here. This completed square is the one I will join the next granny to on its final round.

This granny square has been made using Nurturing Fibres Eco-Cotton in Sunkissed Coral using a 4mm hook

The next step is to make another square and complete it up to and including the third round. Ensure that you are in a corner to begin the joining process.

This square was made using Nurturing Fibres Eco-Cotton in Paris using a 4mm hook

Now we will make the first half of the corner. To do this chain 3 (counts as first stitch), and then make 2 more treble crochets (US double). Then chain 1.

Now pull up a loop and remove your hook. Insert your hook into the top corner of the first granny square (coral) and make a slip stitch.

You will need to turn the squares as necessary while you work. It is important to always have the right side facing.

Next work 3 trebles into the corner of the second granny square corner, thus making a complete corner.

In other words you slip stitched into the coral colour square’s corner, and now you are completing the corner clusters on the purple square.

You will note the squares have been turned. The rotation will be different if you are left handed.

Now draw up a loop again and remove your hook. Insert your hook into the next open space on the first granny square (coral) from front to back and return the loop (purple) onto the hook.

Pull the loop through and make a slip stitch onto the first granny square, then make a cluster of 3 trebles (US doubles) into the next available space on the second granny square (purple).

Repeat the process of pulling up a loop, inserting your hook into the next available space on the first square (coral), from front to back, return the loop (purple) onto the hook, pull through and make a slip stitch onto the first square (coral). Next make a cluster of 3 trebles into the next available space on the second square (purple). Continue doing this until your reach the corner on the purple square.

At this point things might look a little off. It seems like the corners don’t line up. Please don’t panic. It’s all part of the plan. The next step is to once again pull up a loop and remove your hook from the loop. Next place your hook into the corner of the first square (coral), from front to back, and make a slip stitch. Now we are going to make the first half of the corner on the second square (purple) by making 3 trebles (US doubles) into the corner on the second square (purple). For now we are finished with the first square (coral).

Next chain 2 to make a corner and work another 3 trebles (US doubles) into the corner on the second square (purple). At this point it may feel a little off as the two corners don’t actually connect, but it is important that they are this way for when we join another square diagonally. This will be explained later on.

Now you will continue working around the second square (purple) in the normal manner and join with a slip stitch into the beginning cluster. Fasten off.

Your work should look like the image below. Don’t worry if it’s a bit wonky like mine. If you used cotton it’ll need blocking and the squares in the image have not been blocked yet. You can access a tutorial on blocking by clicking here.

Adding a third square

As with the second square (purple), you will begin another granny square and work it to completion of the third round.

The third square has been made using Nurturing Fibres Eco-Cotton in Vanilla

Ensure that you are in the corner of the third square (vanilla). We will be working from right to left, joining from the bottom right of the second square (purple). If you are left handed you will work in the opposite direction.

In the top right corner of the third square (vanilla) chain 3 (counts as the first stitch), and make two more trebles (US doubles) in the same space, and then chain 1. You have made the first half of the corner.

Turn your work as needed. You will note my work is turned frequently.

Work the third square as you did the second square to the first, until you reach the corner. Once you have reached the next corner of the third square (vanilla) make the first half of the corner by working 3 trebles (US doubles) and then chain 1.

We are now going to join the third square’s corner diagonally to the first square’s corresponding corner. As indicated in the image above remove the loop from your hook, insert into the correct corner on the second square (coral). Pull the yarn through and make a slip stitch. Now complete the corner on the third square (vanilla) by making 3 trebles (US doubles) in the same corner you started in.

Now continue working around the third square (vanilla) in the normal manner until it is completed. Fasten off.

You will note that this join looks lies diagonally. You can experiment with how you insert your hook into the joining square, the number of chains you do before the cluster, and so on . All these factors will give a different looking join. The principles of joining, however, are the same, and remember to always join a corner on the diagonal to ensure a neat and symmetrical join.

Now for something a little different

As per the above, I’m going to show you how inserting the hook differently, and using chains, can change the look altogether.

To begin make a new granny square up to and including round 4. Do remember that you can join after any number of rounds, you just need to make sure that you start with one complete square, and join the rest on the final round.

The third square has been made using Nurturing Fibres Eco-Cotton in Ruby Pink

Next make another square up to and including round 3. We will be joining on round 4.

You can turn your work as needed, but remember to always work right side facing.

Ensuring that you are working from the corner of the second square (in this case vanilla) chain 3 (counts as first stitch) and make 2 more trebles (US doubles) in the same corner. This will make the first half of the corner. Next chain 2. Pull up a loop and remove from hook, insert the hook into the first square (ruby pink) from back to front. You’ll note I’ve turned my work to make this easier. Return the loop to the hook and pull through. Now make 3 trebles into the same corner, thereby completing the corner, and chain 1.

Remove the loop from the hook, and into the next space on the first square (ruby pink) insert the hook from back to front, pull the yarn through and make a slip stitch. Now work 3 trebles (US doubles) into the same space completing the cluster for that space. Chain 1.

Repeat into the next chain space until you reach the corner. In the corner of the first square, pull the loop through and make a slip stitch. Now make 3 trebles (US doubles) into the corner on the second square (vanilla) and chain 2. Make 3 trebles (US doubles) in the same corner, completing the corner for the first square (vanilla).

Complete the rest of the second square (vanilla) as per normal.

Those corners may seem a bit odd but once you join other squares, on the diagonal as per previously, they will straighten up nicely.

This join is not quite as angled as the previous method. You can play around a great deal with where you put your hook and how many chains you use. That’s the awesome thing about crochet. You’re only limited by your imagination.

That’s it for today folks.

Glorious Grannies

There are few things as simple and fun to make as your traditional granny square.  It’s dead easy, and the simple repetition is a meditative set of movements that calms the harried mind.


This week, while working on very complicated projects, I had such a strong urge to make a few grannies.  Normally when I start something I have a pretty good idea from the get go what it will be.  This time I simply wanted to make for the sake of it, and felt I would figure out the details later.  So, I grabbed some yarn and just began.

2019-04-15 19.48.48-1.jpg

My week is not without deadlines, and I daren’t procrastinate, but I derived immense joy from the colours and simplicity.  For the newbies out there I thought I would share a few bits of info on granny squares, how to make them, and securely weaving in ends.

In the end I decided that this set of grannies would become a cushion cover.  I made it from Scheepjes Stonewashed, which is a blend of cotton and acrylic.  It’s gorgeous to work with, and comes in an astounding number of colours.  What amazes me most is they managed to assign a colour appropriate gem or stone to each colour.  That was surely no mean feat.

Righto then, lets start with how to make a simple granny square. I will demonstrate how to make a solid colour square, but should you wish to change colours at any point, simply fasten off and join the new colour in any corner.

How to make a granny square

For this tutorial I am using Scheepjes Stonewashed in colour 819 “New Jade” and a 3.5mm hook.  If you are using DK use a 4mm hook, or for any other weight the ball band should give you an idea of the hook size to use.

This tutorial will use UK terms.

Explanation of stitches

Slip stitch: insert hook into stitch, grab yarn with hook and pull through stitch to the front of work, pull through loop on the hook.

Treble: yarn over, insert hook into space, grab yarn with hook, and pull through space to the front of work, three loops on hook, yarn over pull through two loops, yarn over again and pull through remaining two loops.

Start with a slipknot and chain 5.  Join to form a ring.  For round 1 we will be working into the ring as indicated in the following image by the needle:  

Work into the ring as indicated

Next, chain 3 (this counts as the first treble.  Work two more trebles into the ring.  Chain 3.  This will be your first corner. Work another 3 trebles into the ring.  Your work should now resemble the following:

First corner of round 1 made

Chain 3 to make the next corner, and work 3 trebles into the ring to form the next cluster.  Repeat this step to create the 4th and final cluster ending with a chain 3.  Join to the top of the beginning chain 3.  Your work should now look like this, with 4 clusters of 3 trebles and 4 chain 3 spaces.

Round 1

If you were to change colour for the next round you would fasten off your work and join the new colour into any corner. Since we are making a square using one colour you need to slip stitch into the next stitch (as indicated by the needle). See the following image for guidance:

Slip stitch into indicated space

Slip stitch again into the corner. Now you are ready to do the next round.

For round 2 we once again need to chain 3. This counts as the first treble. Next work 2 trebles into the corner space and chain 2. Work another 3 trebles into the same corner space. You now have your first corner of the second round made. The reason we chained 2 instead of 3 in the making of the corner on the second round is I like to make a fairly compact square that isn’t too loose with the holes too big. To this end, while you may find many patterns for granny squares chaining one between clusters, we will not be making chains between the clusters.

The first corner of round 2

We will repeat this first corner by working 3 trebles, 2 chains, 3 trebles into each chain space around. End off with a slip stitch into the top of the beginning chain 3.

You will note that you now have four corners, made up of two clusters of 3 trebles, with a 2 chain space between clusters. You also have an additional space between clusters. This is important for the next round.

Round 2

To begin round 3 you will need to once slip stitch your way into the corner space. Then chain 3, and work 2 more trebles to form the first corner cluster, then 2 chains and another 3 trebles into the same space. Corner made. Now you will also need to work a cluster of 3 trebles into the newly formed space between the clusters (as indicated by the needle in the above image). Next you will make the second corner by working 3 trebles, 2 chains and 3 trebles into the next corner space. Repeat this all the way around and join with a slip stitch into to the top of the beginning chain 3.

At the end of this round your square should look like the one in the image below, and note that you now have 2 spaces between corners. For each round you work you will find additional spaces between corners on each side of your square. You will always work a 3 treble cluster into these spaces.

Round three, and the additional spaces indicated.

You can make the square any size you please, from a few rounds, to a massive square blanket. When you have attained the number of rounds you require, simply fasten off your work. Change colours as you please, or use just one colour. The possibilities are endless. I’m going to go ahead and work another two rounds, leaving me with a five round square.

Square with five rounds

Weaving in ends

I don’t know a single crocheter who enjoys the process of weaving in the ends. You will hear people try to find all sorts of ways to avoid doing it properly, which results in their work inevitably coming undone. My way of thinking is that if you are going to spend all that time and money on a project it really isn’t that much effort to work in those ends properly, thereby ensuring they never, ever come undone. I have seen beautiful heirlooms with sad holes in them because people avoid this step. So to you, dear crocheter, I say spend a little time on this and you will be glad you did.

Fortunately my five round square above only has two ends. The more colours the more ends. Lets start with the end that is left from making the first round, and centre of the square.

Turn your work over so the wrong side is facing you. You will always, unless instructed otherwise, work your ends into the wrong side.

Wrong side of work facing

First thread the yarn onto a sharp needle. I prefer metal needles with a nice point, but use whatever works for you.

Work the needle through several stitches at a time of the centre ring, working your way once all around.

Next you are going to work backward. Skip a stitch in the opposite direction, and work your needle back through the stitches working several stitches at a time. Repeat the process a few times and snip of the end close to your work. I like to use embroidery scissors as they are precise, reducing the risk of accidentally cutting the work itself.

Next we are going to work on the end where you finished your work off. If you changed colours you can apply the same method to any part of the work. Thread your needle with the yarn end, and work your end in several directions, skipping stitches and working back over sections already worked. Once you are satisfied that you have repeated the process enough times, you can snip the yarn end.

The work is turned as needed while you work the end, always into the wrong side of work.
Wrong side of granny square with ends worked in

And voila! You have a completed granny square. If your granny square is a bit wonky, or isn’t as flat as you’d like, check out my tutorial for spray blocking your work. It makes a huge difference.