“In the round”… sweet, sweet knitting love

So, I’ve been knitting for a year now.  I’ve learned a *lot* of things.  I still have a million light years to go.  There is just SO MUCH terminology out there!  It’s literally learning a new language as well as a whole world of knowledge that is completely non-existent outside the yarn microcosm, and therefore nothing you’d ever just pick up by osmosis, like watching people play poker in the movies and knowing that if it were ever you, definitely don’t bleed from your eye when you’re bluffing.  That will always get you killed.

For example, I have yet to try anything beyond a long tail cast-on.  They all have these weird, foreign, fancy sounding names and it’s just too much for me.  I recently found a website that listed no less than eleven ways.  ELEVEN.  The titles included such gems as “German twisted”, “Turkish”, “Italian”, “Channel Island”, “Estonian”… can these Europeans just get their act together and agree on one way to do it?  With crochet, you tie a slip knot, and start.  The end.

Anyhoo, with the weirdness that comes with knitting, I’ve also learned a few key terms that totally make my knitting day:

  1. As the title of this blog implies, knitting in the round.  I still haven’t quite figured out the science of how knitting in the round = stockinette while knitting flat = knit and purl, and my rows are always, ALWAYS lumpy and leave weird garter gaps in the back.  But oh, if you can make anything in the round, it’s just so much faster and easier.
  2. Seamless: knitting in the round naturally leads to seamless items.  It’s not so much that I hate seaming (it’s actually really satisfying to stitch the two pieces together and watch your ugly curled edges magically disappear), but there is just something about knitting something flat, and then knowing you still have to wash it, block it, pull those stray yarns out of the drain like unclogging hair (gag), dry it, and THEN seam it that just makes the work so unfulfilling.
  3. Sleeveless: Okay, I have a caveat on knitting in the round.  The one thing I hate more than washing/drying/seaming/undoing stitches/picking out rows/picking up dropped stitches, is knitting on DPNs.  As I mentioned before, it’s just hazardous, and I still haven’t figured out the ladders.  So, anything sans sleeves = fabulous.

Here are two recent examples of seamless + sleeves = sweet, sweet knitting love.  Sorry, future knitting recipients – you’d better all be having girls since sleeveless tubes of clothing don’t *really* lend to boys.

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Also, to that end, here are some of my queued projects on Ravelry if you want to experience your own knitting nirvana. (Click on photo to open pattern in new window.)

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Free Pattern: Crochet Elf Striped Pixie Hat

Hello all!  Here’s a free pattern for a crocheted striped elf hat.  You’ve probably seen these all over: long tails, Dr. Seuss-ian mojo, pompoms, babies in buckets, very Christmassy during the holidays, etc.  They’re really easy to make.  You just have to have patience during the tail part.  🙂

Free Pattern: Crochet Elf Stripe Pixie Hat | Classy Crochet

I make this hat from the bottom up.  Some people start at the skinny tail end and work their way down, but I found that it was easier to make the main hat part first and then decide how long I wanted the tail part to be.  I do use fpdc and bpdc here, so if you don’t know how to do them I’ve got tutorials or there’s always Google/YouTube.

(On a side note – WHAT did we crocheters do before YouTube?  Well, my 12 year old self will tell you.  I got really frustrated trying to learn how to crochet out of a book.  It took ten plus years and the advent of Internet technology for me to finally pick up my hooks again and have any motivation to make anything cooler than the 20+ pot holders lying around my house.

Second side note – admitting that I learned how to crochet before the Internet even EXISTED makes me feel really, really old.)

Anyway.  This particular hat uses the following stitches:

That’s it.  You can make a tassel for the tail, but if you want a pompom, I highly recommend a pompom maker for the tail.  You can always just make your own pompom from scratch, but I’ve found that using a ‘maker’ greatly reduces the chance of little yarn bits flying out everywhere.  I commented in a previous post my joy and anticipation for my extra large one.  It rocks.

I use a size H hook and Lion Brand Pound of Love yarn for this hat.  H hooks are my go-to for regular worsted weight – if yours is G or I or K or whatever, go with that.  I heart Pound of Love because it makes about a thousand hats in each giant skein.

This pattern is for a 0-3 month old.  You can make it bigger for an older child by making the first row longer (and adding an extra decrease row), but thus far my main audience for this pattern has been the adowable newborns and subsequent photo ops.  Feel free to edit this pattern or contact me with any questions (classycrochet@gmail.com).

Colors: Main Color and Second Color.  For the ease of writing this pattern with pictures, I’m just going to refer to Main Color as ‘blue’ and Second Color as ‘white’.  Obviously there is a lot of creative freedom here on color choice.

(Scroll down to the bottom of the post if you prefer the written pattern without pesky pictures and notes.)

Before we begin, a few notes about changing colors every row.  PLEASE do not fasten off each row and start a new color for this hat (the thought makes me gag).  To switch colors, first sl st to finish your current row.  Then, draw up the next color and pull the previous color yarn down flush with the row.  Don’t pull too tightly or your hat will buckle at the seam.

Also, (and this is very important for non-yarn-tangling sanity) make sure to be consistent on which side you draw up the yarn.  For example, when I make my hat, I always draw up the main color on the right, and draw up the white yarn on the left.  You can see in the photo below how the yarn is alternated when it’s drawn up (this shot is of the hat inside out).  It seems like a superfluous step, but believe me, when you switch colors 30-40 times in a hat, you do NOT want the two colors twisted around each other at the end.  I speak from personal experience.

Free Pattern: Crochet Elf Stripe Pixie Hat | Classy Crochet

Okay, whew.  Let’s start.

PATTERN

Row 1: Using chainless foundation and blue, dc until your foundation row measures about 12″.  For me, this was about 43 st.  Make sure it’s an odd number of stitches.  Sl st into first dc to create a ring.  This will be your first row.  (You will use your tail to secure the bottom of the row when you finish.) Your gauge isn’t *terribly* important as long as the first row is about 12″ for a newborn.

Free Pattern: Crochet Elf Stripe Pixie Hat | Classy Crochet

Row 2: Ch2, alternate fpdc and bpdc around.  Using the foundation row ch2 as the last bpdc, sl st to first dc.  This will create your ribbed brim.

Free Pattern: Crochet Elf Stripe Pixie Hat | Classy Crochet

Row 3: Switch to white.  Ch2 and fpdc/bpdc as per previous row.  Sl st to first dc.

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Row 4: Switching back to blue, dc in first st, and continue dc in each st around.  At the end of the round, sl st to last st at the end of the row.  From here on out, for every row you will: switch colors, ch2, dc in first st, and sl st to last st at the end of the row.

Row 5-9: Ch2, dc in each st around.  Row 9 should be blue.

Free Pattern: Crochet Elf Stripe Pixie Hat | Classy Crochet

Row 10: Ch2, *1 dc in next 5 st, dec over next 2 dc. * Repeat * around as many times as your stitches will allow.   1 dc in each remaining st to end.  Here is a tutorial for dec over dc.

Row 11: Ch2, *1 dc in next 3 st, dec over next 2 dc.*  Repeat * around as many times as your stitches will allow.  1 dc in each remaining st to end.

Row 12: Ch2, *1 dc in next 2 st, dec over next 2 dc.* Repeat * around as many times as your stitches will allow.  1 dc in each remaining st to end.

Row 13: Ch2, *1 dc in next 2 st, dec over next 2 dc.* Repeat * around as many times as your stitches will allow.  1 dc in each remaining st to end.

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At this point, you should have somewhere in the vicinity of 10 dc left.  The remainder of the hat is the tail, and you can make it as long or as short as you want.  I like to have a slight taper in my tail, so I go for about 10 rows before doing one more dc dec:

Row 14-24: Ch2, 1 dc in each st around.

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Row 25: Ch2, dec over next 2 dc, 1 dc in each remaining st around.

The rest of the tail can be as long as your patience lasts.  I aim for about 25 more rows (!) before finishing off.  It seems like for-e-ver, but it goes pretty fast.  Once you’re done, leave about 6″ tails to attach the pompom/tassel.

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Make your fringe of choice.  The trick I’ve learned with a pompom maker is to wrap the yarn around a. lot. and make it pretty thick before cutting and tying off.  This way, you get a nice thick pompom and the tie is squished in there and therefore you don’t have random strands of pompom coming out every time you touch your hat.  I actually originally started with the tassel because my handmade pompoms were extremely sad and frustrating and I lost a lot of sleep over them.  Then I finally caved  and paid $9.32 for a Clover maker, and have had sweet sweet pompom dreams ever since.

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Use the ties and your tails on your hat to secure the pompom.  I like to use a needle and ‘sew’ the pompom on, sticking the tails through the pompom several times to make sure it’s really secure.

Voila! Awesome stripey hat completed!

Free Pattern: Crochet Elf Stripe Pixie Hat | Classy Crochet

PATTERN

Row 1: Using chainless foundation and blue, dc until your foundation row measures about 12″.  Make sure it’s an odd number of stitches.  Sl st into first dc to create a ring.  This will be your first row.

Row 2: Ch2, alternate fpdc and bpdc around.  Using the foundation row ch2 as the last bpdc, sl st to first dc.  This will create your ribbed brim.

Row 3: Switch to white.  Ch2 and fpdc/bpdc as per previous row.  Sl st to first dc.

Row 4: Switching back to blue, dc in first st, and continue dc in each st around.  At the end of the round, sl st to last st at the end of the row.  From here on out, for every row you will: switch colors, ch2, dc in first st, and sl st to last st at the end of the row.

Row 5-9: Ch2, dc in each st around.  Row 9 should be blue.

Row 10: Ch2, *1 dc in next 5 st, dec over next 2 dc. * Repeat * around as many times as your stitches will allow.   1 dc in each remaining st to end.  Here is a tutorial for dec over dc.

Row 11: Ch2, *1 dc in next 3 st, dec over next 2 dc.*  Repeat * around as many times as your stitches will allow.  1 dc in each remaining st to end.

Row 12: Ch2, *1 dc in next 2 st, dec over next 2 dc.* Repeat * around as many times as your stitches will allow.  1 dc in each remaining st to end.

Row 13: Ch2, *1 dc in next 2 st, dec over next 2 dc.* Repeat * around as many times as your stitches will allow.  1 dc in each remaining st to end.

At this point, you should have somewhere in the vicinity of 10 dc left.  The remainder of the hat is the tail, and you can make it as long or as short as you want.  I like to have a slight taper in my tail, so I go for about 10 rows before doing one more dc dec:

Row 14-24: Ch2, 1 dc in each st around.

Row 25: Ch2, dec over next 2 dc, 1 dc in each remaining st around.

The rest of the tail can be as long as your patience lasts.  I aim for about 25 more rows (!) before finishing off.  It seems like for-e-ver, but it goes pretty fast.  Once you’re done, fasten off both colors and leave about 6″ tails to attach the pompom/tassel.

Make pompom/tassel.  Attach to hat.  Revel in stripey cuteness.

Follow along with the project gallery on Ravelry!

Small disclaimer: some people have expressed concern for the potential for choking when putting hats with really long tails on small babies.  My answer: please be a responsible adult and be responsible for the hat and the baby.  Since I’ve only made this for newborns who don’t really have a whole lot of self-induced physical motion, I haven’t been in many situations where the hat would be potentially dangerous.  Use your wise judgment and hat your baby accordingly.