Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I am proud (and relieved) to finally present to you: the vintage flowered cloche!
This hat has been in the making for years. Literally, years. For those of you in the crochet ‘know’, you may recognize this hat, most likely from Anthropologie back in something like 2010. I saw it online and began my long and arduous journey to try and recreate it myself. The friggin cluster stitch! That elusive brim! Let’s just say I didn’t get very far those first few tries.
A year or two later, imagine my surprise when I saw the very same hat (at least, it looked the same to me) being sold at World Market for a fraction of the cost. I should have just bought the darn thing and taken it apart, but my stingy Asian self just couldn’t pony up the $16.99, so I made my poor husband take a zillion photos of the hat in store instead. (“Why are we doing this again?” “JUST TAKE THE PICTURE.”) More experimenting followed.
Anyhoo, I discovered that my biggest obstacle to success was finding the right kind of yarn. All of my regular worsted weights were just looking kind of weird. It turns out that single ply, roving medium weight yarn is really the key to the hat here, and unsurprisingly, really. hard. to. find. I started out with Berroco Lustra, but was reticent to sell a hat/publish a pattern that required one specific kind of (rather more expensive) yarn that wasn’t easily obtainable. I like the fancy yarns and all, but I really also like my hats and patterns to be accessible to the ‘regular’ folk that aren’t on first name bases with their local yarn store aficionados, y’know?
Fast forward MORE years later, and finally Caron has come out with its own big-box brand! Vickie Howell’s Sheep(ish) yarn is a great bargain substitute if you don’t have access to the Lustra (which I’ve found is often discontinued and sometimes still hard to find). However, my snobby self has to make an appearance and say that comparing the final product of the two brands, Berroco really is sooooo nice. Use it to make the hat for yourself and the Caron brand for your friends. There, I said it.