A Tale of Two Hats – a study in gauge

My friend Beth had the cutest little hat that she crocheted, and she kindly passed the pattern on to me. She found it on Craftster.org in a crochet post with several pictures of hats all made with the same pattern. I loved the hat, and since I I had my yarn and hooks with me, I started right away on making one for myself.

Here is the pattern (it can be found on page 2 of the Craftster post):

Use a K hook with worsted weight yarn.

Chain 4 or 5, Join
Round 1: dc 11 in ring
Round 2: ch3, 2dc in each dc around. Join with a sl st to 3rd ch of beg ch-3. (24dc)
Round 3: ch4. (dc, c1) in each st. Join with a sl st to 3rd ch of beg ch-4. (24dc and 24 ch-1 sps)
Round 4: ch3. dc in each dc and sp around. Join with a sl st to 3rd ch of beg ch-3. (48dc)
Round 5: ch3. dc in same st as joining. dc in next 3 sts. *2dc in next st, dc in next 3 sts. Repeat from * around. Join with a sl st to 3rd ch of beg ch-3. (60dc)
Round 6: ch4. sk next dc. *(dc, ch1) in next st, sk nest st. Repeat from * around. Join with a sl st to 3rd ch of beg ch-4. (30dc and 30 ch-1 sps)
Round 7: ch3. dc in each dc and sp around. Join with a sl st to 3rd ch of beg ch-3. (60dc)
Round 8: ch3. dc in each dc around. Join with a sl st to 3rd ch of beg ch-3.(60dc)
Round 9-11: repeat rows 6, 7, and 8.
Round 12: repeat row 6.
Round 13: ch1. sc in same st as joining and next 2 sts. Sc2tog over the next 2sts. *sc in next 3 sts, sc2tog over the next 2 sts. Repeat from * around. Join with a sl st to first sc. (48sc)
Round 14-17: ch1. sc in same st as joining and each sc around. Join with a sl st to first sc (48sc)

(From the pictures, we see that the artist has added a picot edging as well, so that could be added on either in round 17 or as round 18, depending on if you want to add a little extra length.)

The hat worked up really quickly and I got through most of it in no time. Now, at the point where I started round 13 I tried it on and realized that it was in no way slouchy. It was form-fitting just like a regular beanie, and it didn’t look very cute. Holding mine up to Beth’s hat, I noticed mine was about half the size of hers, even though we both used K hooks and worsted weight.

Just about very crochet book (and knitting book for that matter) takes time to stress the importance of gauge. I know that it is important to check gauge, and I do it all the time when I knit, because I usually knit from patterns. However, I rarely crochet from patterns and usually I just make it up as I go along. I know in the back of my mind that I crochet rather tightly, but I kind of forgot it in my excitement to make this hat and didn’t think to check until I was almost done.

Instead of ripping the entire thing out and starting over again with a larger hook size, I only ripped out rounds 13 back to round 7, leaving round 6 intact. I then went ahead and turned round 7 into another increase round just like round 5 (winding up with a total of 75 stitches), and also added one more repetition of rounds 6-8. Since there were an odd number of stitches I had to fudge the dc, ch1 rounds a little bit, but overall the extra stitches added just the right amount of slouch. On the very last round, I added the picot edge every 5 stitches. The end result was quite nice and I’ve been wearing it a lot!

Now I had been thinking about the pattern and how different my hat wound up, and thought it would be interesting to use a bigger hook and try the pattern out again. I used a size N hook this time, and this time the pattern worked out just fine as the artist wrote it. This hat was a little softer and less dense than the first one I made, as I expected it would be.

Here are the two hats, side by side. (K on left, N on right.)

Two Hats

Between the two, I like the K-hook hat best. The N-hook hat is softer and the lacy pattern is a little more evident, but the K-hook hat slouches a little nicer and the tighter stitches keep the cold out better. I made a cute little spiral out of 12-gauge copper wire and wove it into the hat near the brim, and I use a couple bobby pins to keep it in place. Paired with some dangly earrings, it looks totally awesome.

Here Beth and I are in our hats. Hat Twins!!

Hat Twins

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