Ok. So here it finally is. Probably the blog you have all no doubt been waiting for ever since I started up this blog - yep! About crochet. A crochet VENT to be more exact. Sherry has been getting at me for some time now to do some how-to's and put them on youtube. She mentioned that she had found several really helpful one's on there - probably not too helpful though considering she learnt to crochet here in NZ and using British terminology though! You're a clever girl though - sure you have it all sorted. ANYWAY. I decided I would go on youtube and check out what was available. I clicked on pretty much the first one I saw - how to crochet a hat. GRRR! I saw 3 things straight away that made me want to gripe!
1. Too many stitches to start with - 6 stitches to form the starting ring? You can fit your finger through that!!- MY advice - start with a few stitches - 3 is good. This will form a tighter ring and no big gaping hole at the top - after all it's meant to keep your head warm and how much warmth is escaping through that hole on the top of a hat? REALLY!!
2. To form the first stitches into a ring they advised joining it together with double crochet (single crochet for you Americans) - WHAT are they THINKING?!? That will make a big bump at the start of the round and it will be uneven - Yeecchhh!! Slip stitch my dears will give a nice seamless join and it's VERY simple. Take your hook which should have the last stitch you made on it and put it through the very first stitch you made. Wind yarn/wool round your hook and pull it through both stitches or loops. There. Done. Seamless. THAT easy. Lovely.
3. When they began making the hat they crocheted into individual stitches instead of crocheting into the middle of the ring they had just formed. This is just untidy. For me - crocheting into the middle of the ring just gives it a more tidy and appealing finish. Why do it the other way when it could be pretty and neat? I always crochet INTO the ring. Much better.
Oh and I forgot - there was actually another thing that bugged me.
4. When you make a hat you are making a round or circular shape - or at least initially. To do this you crochet or work your rows in either a spiral or in rounds - basically rows that go around as opposed to back and forth. To get your circular shape (the size of this initial circular shape will determine what size or what size head the hat can inevitably fit) you need to increase regularly and evenly - to increase you crochet two stitches into one stitch ie. you crochet two stitches into the space where you would normally crochet two. But how frequently to increase? And how to keep track of stitches? How to know how many stitches you should have? How to know when you have completed a round (row)? - particularly difficult when you're crocheting in a spiral. Not so hard when you are working with bigger stitches like trebles (US double crochet) - however then there is the matter of the "seam" showing and how to keep it from being a ghastly diagonal line across the back of the hat - oh ho ho you say - does she have the answer? Why yes, of course!
To the matter though - how to keep track of stitches - which means how to know where and when to increase, how many stitches you should have and how to know when you've completed a round (row). It's as easy as times tables. On youtube the thing that got ME was that the would-be "instructor" said "an easy way I find for remembering how to do this is...." and then no helpful method was offered whatsoever - what's up with that?!! For me the easy way to keep track of everything is to know your times tables. This is a pretty typical formula for hats - start with a small number of stitches - 3 for instance. Slip stitch end to the beginning - forming a ring. For your next row double the amount of stitches so - let's say we're using double crochet (US sc) - 6 double crochet into the middle of the ring - if you were working rounds you would join the last stitch to the first with slip stitch, IF spirals then you would just keep going. Next round (row) - double again so 12 stitches - you're increasing so 2 stitches into each of the previous round's 6 stitches. 6 is basically the base number here so you're working in multiples of 6 - so you've had 6 for your first round, then doubled it for 12 in your second round - OR increased in EVERY stitch
(2 times 6) so the logical progression from there is that you're going to be increasing in every SECOND stitch (think 3 times 6) which will give you 18 stitches. You carry on in this fashion till you've created a "base" (top of the hat but it's your base in so far as the hat get's its shape and size from it) that you think is sufficient and then you work straight on those stitches till you get your desired length and finish off. There. Basic hat. I count as I do each row and it's particularly helpful when you're crocheting in a spiral as if you are counting as you go and find there is an extra stitch in between increases you will know that you've finished the previous round and are onto the next. You can also see and count the stitches to check your count is correct. No stitch counter or marker necessary - and it's faster!
So basic rules. Double the number of stitches to make the ring. Increase in every stitch next round. Increase in every second, then third and so on till you get the shape you want. Crochet into the ring at the start for a neater finish and appearance and use a smaller amount of stitches at the start for your ring for a smaller or virtually no hole at the top.
I didn't watch the youtube vid any further as I saw only the first few seconds and it annoyed me so I had to come and type up this blog. In fact it's riled me so much I may just have to do some how-to's and post 'em to youtube. grrrr.