How to Crochet a Hat for Beginners
The art of crochet is a beautiful hobby. It is an old yet simple craft that is quick and easy to learn, and it yields beautiful textiles such as:
- Blankets and afghans
- Baby booties
Hats are one of the easiest projects when beginning to crochet. The stitches are simple, and the hats work up quickly.
Seeing tangible results when learning the stitches does wonders to keep you motivated to continue crocheting. Hats are also a great way to practice the basic stitches that are the foundation of crochet such as the single, double, half-double and triple crochet stitches.
Not to mention they make great gifts!
Crochet uses a hook to essentially make knots out of yarn. When done in a pattern, the result is a textured cloth that is durable, yet soft and comfortable.
Hooks vary in size and are labeled with letters that correspond to a specific size "head" of the hook which is designated in millimeters.
The Various Sizes of Crochet Hooks
Unlike knitting which only has 2 stitches, crochet has six. However, three of these stitches are simply variations of the primary crochet stitch commonly called the single crochet. The other stitches include:
Six Different Types of Crochet Stitches
Half Double Crochet
Once these primary stitches are mastered, you can make as intricate a pattern as you like or add in novelty stitches like the puffed heart. You can also manipulate the various crochet stitches to create a number of different patterns and designs.
There are a few basic things you will need before you get started:
1.Yarn – You can’t crochet a hat without yarn! In the beginning, it is best to use a yarn that is easy to work with, such as a worsted weight yarn. Novelty yarns (like eyelash yarns) and bulky weight yarns are difficult to work with because it is hard to see the individual stitches clearly. Plain worsted weight yarns are the easiest to work with because the stitches are easy to see.
2.Crochet Hooks – Crochet hooks come in many different sizes and styles. There are bamboo, plastic, and metal hooks in sizes A through Q. The type of yarn you are working with determines the size hook you will need for your project. Since we’re working with worsted weight yarn for this project, you’ll want to use either a G or H size hook. I personally prefer the G hook because I like how the yarn fits nicely in the crook of it. To me, the H hook is slightly too big, but it is a matter of preference.
3.Scissors – Preferably a sharp pair with a point on the end. The point allows you to be more precise when you cut, and you can get into small places should you ever need to do so!
Gauge, or tension as it is sometimes called in European instructions, means the number of stitches of a particular kind that you get with a particular thread or yarn at a particular time in your life with a certain hook in a certain width and length (p.22).— Maggie Righetti - Crocheting in Plain English
Guides for Beginners
Did your eyes glaze over? Mine too. Essentially, gauge will determine the size of your finished project. It is a certain number of stitches in a particular section of cloth.
For example, 5 single crochet stitches may equal 2 inches in a hat pattern that uses worsted weight yarn and a G hook. However, you may not get the same gauge using the same supplies.
Everyone crochets differently, some people make their crochet stitches very tight, others make loose stitches. This is why it is recommended to make a gauge swatch, or a sample swatch of the pattern to see what your gauge actually is.
For this simple hat pattern, gauge is not important. However, for more advanced patterns, like gloves or sweaters, you will most definitely want to crochet a sample swatch prior to starting the actual project.
Starting the Hat
Hats are crocheted “in the round.” This means the foundation chain created is joined to form a circle.
The next few rows build the crown of the hat. Usually, the amount of stitches in each row doubles with each successive row. This is why it is best to chain an even number of stitches as the foundation row because it makes doubling much simpler.
Let’s take this step by step:
Step One - Create the Foundation Chain
You only need a few stitches for the foundation chain because in the next round you’re going to double that number of stitches.
Many patterns start with a foundation chain of three stitches. Personally, I start with four, mainly to give myself a little bit of extra room to work. My stitches tend to be tight, and my foundation chain needs to give a bit to accommodate them.
- So let’s chain four stitches and then join that chain with a slip stitch.
Step Two - The First Round
- Ch 3 (counts as first dc now and throughout) 11 dc in ring, join with ss
The instructions above mean to chain three times, which will be counted as the first double crochet of the row.
Next, double crochet eleven times in the ring and join with a slip stitch to the beginning of the round. You can do this one of two ways:
- You can double crochet two stitches in each chain stitch of the foundation chain
- You can simply double crochet eleven times in the ring itself.
The latter method is much easier since you don't have to locate each chain stitch which can be difficult when you are just beginning.
Some people also crochet very tightly and the foundation chain stitches may be too tight. To correct this, you can use a slightly larger hook to create the foundation chain, and then switch to the correct hook size to continue the pattern.
Step Three - Build the Crown
- Ch 3, dc in same stitch, 2 dc in next dc and in each dc around, join with ss to first dc
This is round increases the width of the hat. The instructions are telling you to chain three stitches then double crochet in the same stitch as your beginning three chains of the round. You will then double crochet twice in the next stitch and in each remaining stitch of the round. Slip stitch to the beginning chain of the round.
This round is the one used to build the crown of the hat. Repeat this row until you have 60 double crochet in the round.
Note: Your "crown" won't lie flat at first and that's okay! You should notice as you crochet the crown, it ruffles a bit. When you begin crocheting the sides of the hat, it should fix itself.
However, generally speaking, the hat won't lie flat even when you're done. Only after you hand wash and block the hat will it lie flat.
Step Four - The Sides of the Hat
- Ch 3, dc in next dc and in each dc around, join with ss to first dc
You may notice these instructions tell you to double crochet once in each stitch in the round. This is to lengthen the sides of the hat, while keeping it the same width.
This row is repeated until the hat is the desired length. This is also where you can vary the pattern a bit. You can throw in a few rows of single or half double crochet to create a “stripe” of variation.
You could also do a bit of intricate crochet and create a row (or rows) of puffed hearts, or popcorn, whatever your heart desires. Be creative! This is a great way to play around and learn different ways to manipulate crochet stitches.
Guided Instructions for Crocheting a Hat
Step Five - The Final Round
- Ch 1, sc in same stitch and in each st around, join with ss stitch to first sc. Clip yarn leaving a 6”tail for sewing
Once the sides of the hat are the desired length, you want to create a finished “edge.” Single crochet is a great way to do this. For this final round, you will chain one stitch, and single crochet in the same stitch as the initial chain.
Finish the round by single crocheting in each remaining stitch of the round and join with a slip stitch to the beginning chain. Then clip the yarn 6 inches from the initial chain stitch.
Most patterns will tell you to thread the remaining length of yarn into the hat with a tapestry needle. While you can do this, you can also use the crochet hook to weave the tail through the last round. It’s a matter of personal preference. I prefer to use the crochet hook because I inevitably lose my tapestry needles!
Congratulations! You have completed your first hat! The next step is to hand wash the hat in cold water. You can wash the hat in the washing machine if you want to do so; however, if you've used a vibrant color such as red or green, do not wash it with anything of value as the color might run.
Once the hat has been washed, lay it on a towel on a flat surface and "pull" it into the shape you want. Once you have shaped your hat, let it dry. I let my crochet hat dry overnight. In the morning, your hat should be flat.
Congratulations, and Happy Crocheting!
Righetti, Maggie. Crocheting in Plain English. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1988. Print.
© 2012 Melissa Flagg OSC