Friday, October 28, 2016

Freebie Friday - Droid Beanies!

Crocheted using the Built For Speed Beanie pattern.  If you need a different size, or have trouble sizing your basic bucket, there is an appendix in the back that can help.

The Droid Beanies pattern is available on Ravelry HERE, or you can download a .pdf HERE.

For an adult hat I used:

About 150 yards soft worsted like Caron Simply Soft. If you use heavier worsted like Vanna’s Choice or I Love This Yarn, reduce your increase rounds by one (i.e. stop increasing at 60 st)

Circles and squares were made from remnants – use what you’ve got, right?

H/5mm hook

Let's Make BB-8!

White worsted yarn, small amount of light gray, scraps of orange, red and black.

There are some color changes within some of the rounds, if you aren't comfortable making color changes, just work the entire round in that color. It will be great!

1. With white. Use Magic Loop or Ch 3, 11 dc in first ch, join with sl st to top of ch3. 12 dc

2. Ch 3, 2 dc in next st and each st around, dc in joining st, join with sl st to top of ch 3. 24 dc

3. Ch 3, *dc in next st, 2 dc in next st*, repeat from * to * around, dc in joining st, join with sl st to top of ch 3. 36 dc Change to gray by using it to finish your last dc.

4. Ch 3, *dc in next 2 st, 2 dc in next st*, repeat from * to * around, dc in joining st, join with sl st to top of ch 3. 48 dc

5. Ch 3, *dc in next 3 st, 2 dc in next st*, repeat from * to * around, dc in joining st, join with sl st to top of ch 3. 60 dc Change to white.

6. Ch 3, *dc in next 4 st, 2 dc in next st*, repeat from * to * around, dc in joining st, joing with sl st to top of ch 3. 72 dc Change to orange.

7. Ch 3, dc in next 60 st around. Change to white and work last 12 dc, join. 72 dc

8-12. Ch 3, dc in each st around, join with sl st to top of ch 3. 72 dc

13-16. Post stitch ribbing = Alternate front post dc and back post dc around.

Work 1 round white, 2 rounds orange, 1 round gray. Fasten off.

If you want to get extra creative with the orange in rounds 15 and 16, try alternating with white changing colors within the row like this:

5W, 2O (1W,2O,1W,4O,2W,5O) three times, (1W, 2O, 1W, 3O) once, 13W = 72 st

It's ok to just let the unused yarn "float" along the inside.  Be sure to allow enough room for a little stretching so it fits ok.

Your hat should look something like this!

Using photos as guides, crochet embellishments separately and sew onto beanie.

Small gray sensor:

1. Magic Loop with 10sc (or Ch 2 and work 10sc in first chain). Join with a slip stitch and fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing onto beanie.

Medium gray and black lens:

1. Start with black. Magic Loop with 12 hdc (or Ch 2 and work 12 hdc in first chain). Join with a slip stitch and change to gray. 12 hdc

2. 2 sc in each st. Join with a slip stitch and change back to black. 24 sc

3. Slip stitch into the back loop only around. 24 blo slst Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing onto beanie.

Large black and red lens:

1. With red, Magic Loop with 10sc (or Ch 2 and work 10sc in first chain). Join with a slip stitch and fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing onto black lens. Set aside.

1-2. With black, work the first two rounds of the hat, i.e. 12 dc and 24 dc.

3. *black loop only sc in next st, 2 blo sc in next st*, repeat from * to * around. 36 blo sc Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing onto beanie.

To sew pieces into place, I use a simple whipstitch around the edge.

It will show from the inside, but unless you plan on wearing your hat inside out., that's ok!

Be sure to tie off the tail and weave in the end.

Not a bad likeness!  Now that you know how to customize your Built For Speed Beanie... the possibilities are endless!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Freebie Friday - Built For Speed Beanie

This week we learned all about double crochet and Magic Loop... and today we're going to put those techniques to good use in the Built For Speed Beanie!

I call it "built for speed" because this is going to be the fastest hat you'll ever make.  It may even become your "go-to" like me.

The pattern is available as a free download on Ravelry, or you can download a .pdf here.

Instead of starting with the pattern, I'm going to start with the Appendix!  Let's do the math...

This technique is called a "Basic Bucket" because once you know it you'll be able to make anything round, AND be able to troubleshoot why it is or isn't the shape you intended.

You'll also be able to make a hat that fits - every time!


The term “basic bucket” refers to a specific progression of increases that create a flat circle… it’s all in the geometry.

You may hear this referred to as The Rule of 12. I find that sometimes I need to make it 8, or 10, so we’re going to have a more flexible interpretation. Your stitch count in row 1 is your “base”. Round 2 is your base x 2. Round 3 is your base x 3.

The Built for Speed Beanie uses 12 so:

Round 1: 12 stitches (base 10 would be 10)
Round 2: 24 stitches (base 10 would be 20)
Round 3: 36 stitches (base 10 would be 30)
And so on.

In other words, for every stitch in Round 1, there are 2 stitches in Round 2, 3 stitches in Round 3 and so on:

Round 1: no increases
Round 2: 2dc (inc) in every stitch
(repeat of 2 stitches in Round 2)
Round 3: dc in next dc, 2dc (inc) in next dc
(repeat of 3 stitches in Round 3)
Round 4 has a repeat of 4 stitches, round 5 a repeat of 5, etc.

You could continue this progression as many rounds as you like, and you’ll still end up with a flat circle! But if your circle of increase rounds doesn’t lie flat:

Cupping: edges are tight, pulling circle into a cup shape – if it’s just a little bit, it will be ok as the hat will eventually be cup shaped. If it’s a lot: Try using a larger hook or try increasing your base, i.e. 8-10-12-whatever is needed to make it flat.

Rippling: edges are loose, making a ruffle – if it’s just a little bit, it will be ok as the shape of the hat will camouflage it. If it’s a lot: Try using a smaller hook or try decreasing your base. 

 Here's quick example:


If we do the math, you can use this same “basic bucket” formula to make a hat from any gauge yarn for anyone of any size. A great rule of thumb is that the diameter of the circle (straight across the widest part) at the end of your increase rounds should be a little less than 1/3 of the final circumference you need. In terms of geometry, the circumference is equal to the diameter multiplied by pi (3.14).  

So for these approximate circumference sizes, the flat circle should have a diameter of about:
Regardless of how many increase rounds the pattern says, if you stop increasing at these measurements and start working “even” the hat ought to fit ok. This is how you can substitute yarns with an appropriately sized hook and still make it to size.

If your circle is smaller than you need, add one more round of increases and remeasure. If your circle is larger than you need, rip out one round of increases and remeasure.

If you have to decide between slightly larger and slightly smaller, go with slightly larger. The post stitch ribbing will bring it in enough to be worn comfortably. If it’s still slightly large after post stitch ribbing, rework the ribbing with one size smaller hook.

If you've come this far, you won't need me to go step by step with the actual beanie pattern.  The step by step photos make it particularly suited for beginners, and everything about basic buckets and sizing is included in the Appendix of the pattern for handy reference. 

The pattern is available as a free download on Ravelry, or you can download a .pdf here.

Once you know this technique.  You can customize it using colors and added details.  Like this!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Tutorial - Magic Loop!

There's one more thing you'll need to know for this week's free pattern... the difference between using a chain start for a circle, or "magic loop". 

I tend to use magic loop for garments and toys, where I want that gap tightly closed..

Here... let me show you.

Tutorial - Double Crochet!

Double trouble!  Well, maybe double mischievousness? 

Regardless of which applies better to these two characters, you'll find double crochet to be quite handy to have around.

If you've just found us and have missed earlier tutorials, take a look at our ongoing Table of Contents to find them all.

Just as single crochet starts with a single loop on your hook, double crochet (dc) starts with two loops.  We create that second loop with a yarn over.

Next, we insert the hook under the top two loops of the next stitch in the row below.

Yarn over...

... and pull up a loop.

There are now three loops on the hook.

To remove loops in taller crochet stitches, we always remove them in pairs.  Begin with a yarn over.

Pull that loop through TWO of the three loops on your hook. Afterwards, you will still have two loops remaining.

To remove the final pair of loops, repeat the process.  Yarn over,

and pull through remaining two loops to finish the stitch.

I worked several double crochet (dc) so you could see how they look together.

But just as with the stitches we've learned above previously, there are increases, decreases, front loop only, back loop only, even "post" stitches that are worked around the center post of the stitch to create texture.

Here... let me show you!

Don't forget to check back in later this week for a free pattern based on double crochet... which reminds me, you'll also want to practice your Magic Loop!

Til next time, keep on crafting!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Weekend Update! Try not to try too hard...

One of my favorite songs is Secret O' Life by James Taylor.  It's worth a search if you haven't heard it.  It is chock full of inspiration and little gems like this one:

"Try not to try too hard."

It's so easy to get wrapped around our own axles, when really the secret is to relax, and learn to enjoy the passage of time.

My mantra this week is try not to top last week's high point.  It was a big deal for me to finish that gorgeous shawl, and that's a lot of pressure.  Reminds me of the show business adage - Never follow kids or animals... or intricate shawls.  Ha!

After all that stitch counting, it was time for something I can just relax with, enjoy the yarn passing through my fingers.

I broke out the Tunisian cabled hook and decided on Tunisian knit stitch.

Yes - that is crochet my friends!

We'll have a tutorial on Tunisian crochet once we get past the basics.  Generally speaking, it's worked with a single hook, but in two passes.  The forward pass determines the stitch type and the return pass closes the loops.

The result is this cozy dense fabric, particularly suited for blankets... Tunisian simple stitch is also called the afghan stitch!

I'm about 1/3 of the way through the length, and then I'll add a regular crochet border around all four sides.

I know what you're thinking - who needs heavy blankets in Arizona?!  That's why I'm using a soft cotton yarn.  It should be cozy but not hot.

I hope to have it completed in the next week so cross those fingers.

The Tiberian Shawl by Shannon Sanchez is finished!  It's a great scarfy size, and the beads are *wonderful*.

Look at that iridescent glow! 

The ship is a bit subtle in photos, and shows up  better in person.

Overall I like the boomerang-like shape which makes it very easy to wear... .and it should be easy care in this soft acrylic yarn which makes it a perfect charitable donation.

I also made a couple of smaller projects this week.  If you follow Freebie Fridays you'll recognize this gift bag! I wanted step by step photos for the pattern update

It is particularly suitable for beginners as it's made entirely in single crochet, and the Tuesday Tutorial shows you how to make all the variations needed to complete the bag.

This pattern is also my favorite every day purse, and I have one in just about every color.

Lastly... a little something fun!  Our youngest grandson is a snuggler, particularly with his favorite blankie.  His Mom requested this Astronaut "Lovey" by A la Sascha.

Adorable right?  Stuffed toy at the top, blankie at the bottom.  Perfect.

Because he's so young, I left off some of the details that are worked separately and sewn on.

Til next time... "since we're only here for a while, might as well show some style".  And go check out that James Taylor song. You can thank me later.