Free Pattern: Crochet Bow and Ribbon Baby Hat

I have a confession to make: close on the tails of my yarn addiction is my ribbon addiction.  It’s mostly fueled by a discovery several years ago of a RIBBON FACTORY in Hagerstown, MD from where I used to live in Virginia.  The possibilities of ribbon decor are endless, but not the price – $5 for 10 yards at your local big box hobby store?  No thank you.  But, BUT… the Berwick ribbon factory gives their castoffs, remnants, and extras a very honorable resting place in the attached outlet store, where you can find 100 yards of 1″ grosgrain for – wait for it – $2.  I know, right??

Anyway, I love ribbon, I love it as decoration, but when it comes to hats, it can be difficult, because hats are stretchy, ribbon is not, ergo, wrapping ribbon around/through a hat = nonstretchy hat.  Kind of defeats the purpose.

Enter simple solution: crocheted ‘ribbon’ and bow right on the hat!  Huzzah!

Crochet Ribbon and Bow Baby Hat Pattern | Classy Crochet

This pattern is a very basic baby hat.  The only special stitch in it is the reverse sc on the border, which I learned just to make this hat.  It’s that easy.  I have a quick tutorial here.  (See how the pictures in the tutorial are from this actual hat?  Right.)

A brief pontification on hats in general:

  • Once you master the art of making a basic double crochet hat, you can do a zillion things with them – my favorite way to get creative is to add appliques (flowers, butterflies, hearts, etc.)  I used to experiment with different crochet stitches: fan, shell, lace, etc., and those are marvelous as well, but at the end of the day, I found that an unfussy, clean, simply decorated hat presented a nicer silhouette of the type of product I wanted to create.
  • I almost always end my hats with a few rows of sc.  It makes the band more snug fitting around the crown of the head.  I’ve had many customers comment how this feature makes their hats super comfy/fit right, or actually stay on their babies’ heads when other hats fall off.
  • This particular pattern only includes instructions for one size, but the premise behind all crocheted hats are the same: two st in one = an increase in size.  You basically make a flat increasing circle until you get the diameter you want, then just one st around until the hat is the length you want.  Your gauge will be different depending on your hook and yarn weight, so the only way to know for sure how big your hats will be is to experiment.  Feel free to jigger this pattern as you please and I’d love to see the results!
  • I took the liberty of writing out several different recommended baby hat sizes in my free striped earflap hat pattern, so feel free to download that and use it as a template for this hat if you want a different size.

MATERIALS

I used Vanna’s Choice yarn in two colors (hereafter referred to as “red” and “white” – I’m not big on labeling with letters when you can clearly see the red and white in photos) and an I hook for this hat.

*second pontification: Vanna’s Choice is actually quite thick for a worsted weight – most worsted weight yarns recommend an H or I hook, while Vanna’s Choice recommends a J.  Honestly it should be an aran weight yarn, but whatever.  I’ve made hats with G, H, and I hooks and get over an inch difference in each size, so feel free to play around.  My I hook resulted in a pretty decent sized baby hat, about 6-12 months.  A thinner yarn (such as Caron Simply Soft) and an H hook would result in a newborn size.  However you do it, you should end up with a hat sized to fit some baby at some point or another.

PATTERN

Row 1: Using red and I hook, ch4, sl st to form loop. Ch2, 12 dc into loop. Sl st to first ch2 (12 st).

Row 2: Ch2, dc in same st, 2 dc in each ch around, sl st to last st (24 st).

Row 3: Ch2, dc in same st, *1 dc in next st, 2 dc in next st* repeat from * around. Sl st to last st (36 st).

Row 4: Ch2, dc in same st, *1 dc in next 2 st, 2 dc in next st* repeat from * around. Sl st to last st (48 st).

Row 5-7: Ch2, dc in same st, 1 dc in each st all the way around. Sl st to last st.

Row 8-9: Switch to white. Repeat row 5 (1 dc in each st all the way around). Sl st to last st.

Row 10: Switch back to red (carry it up from the white, no need to cut your yarn). Repeat row 5.

Row 11-12: Ch1, sc in same st, 1 sc in each st all the way around, sl st to last st.

Row 13: Ch1, reverse sc all the way around.  (Click here for tutorial.) Fasten off and weave in ends.

CROCHET BOW

Crochet Ribbon and Bow Baby Hat Pattern | Classy CrochetUsing white and I hook, ch 33.  (Leave a 6-8″ tail to sew up the bottom.)  Skip first st, sc into each st.  You could also use chainless foundation, but I find it a little finicky with sc.  Plus, nobody can tell the difference for this project.

Crochet Ribbon and Bow Baby Hat Pattern | Classy CrochetSl st into the top loops of the first sc, being careful not to twist your stitches.  You’ll now have a loop and will be basically sc a very wide, flat cylinder.

Crochet Ribbon and Bow Baby Hat Pattern | Classy CrochetCh1, sc in first st, 1 sc in each st all the way around.  Sl st to the first st at the end of each row.

Crochet Ribbon and Bow Baby Hat Pattern | Classy CrochetRepeat until you have 6 total rows of sc.  Do not cut or fasten off.  Use the bottom tail to sew up the bottom of the bow. Take your yarn and wind it several times tightly around the center of the cylinder to create your bow – this will determine how much you need before you cut off the final length.  Wind it until you like how it looks, and add a few feet to sew the bow onto the hat.  NOW, cut off yarn and fasten off.

Crochet Ribbon and Bow Baby Hat Pattern | Classy CrochetTada!  Finished crochet bow.

Using a tapestry needle, sew the end through the back a few times to secure it, then sew the bow onto the hat.  I like the sew all my appliques directly over the seam of the hat – that way if the wearer wants to put it on the right or left side, the seam isn’t running down the middle of the forehead.

Happy crocheting and as always, if you have any questions or comments, you can email me at classycrochet@gmail.com.

Follow along with the project gallery on Ravelry.

Thanks for stopping by!

Crochet Ribbon and Bow Baby Hat Pattern | Classy Crochet

Crochet Little Pumpkin Hat Pattern

This is one of my favorite go-to patterns when making a baby hat.  It’s adorable, it’s quick, it’s unisex, it’s easy, what else can I say?  The design was inspired by a friend – originally I’d thought to just do regular dc with a few fpdc posts interspersed, but she, creative one that she is, remarked “the ribs go the opposite way, don’t they?” and so opposite way, more anatomically correct, ribs we have.

This hat was a best-seller at the AOTA fair a few years ago – so much so that people started wandering into our booth and asking “are YOU the guys with the pumpkin hats???”  I should have listened to my sister and made like twenty of them, instead of oh, six.  My most favorite transaction of the day was the mother who walked in with her baby strapped to her chest, put a pumpkin hat on the baby’s head, flipped the tag over to check the price, pulled a bill out of her pocket, handed it to me, and left without a word.  The entire thing took about four seconds.  Those are great sales.  😉

You’ll have to know how to fpdc and bpdc for this pattern, but once you pick it up it’s really simple and the end results are way more impressive than the time and effort you put into it.  It kind of reminds me of that old school commercial where the mom makes Rice Krispie treats, then powders her nose with flour to make it look like it was really hard (but c’mon, hopefully by now we all know that they aren’t that hard.  Actually wait, I made them a few years ago and my fully grown adult brother marveled and asked me how long they had taken to bake.  So never mind.)

Buy yours on Ravelry, Etsy, or Craftsy today, and when you’re done, follow along with the project gallery on Ravelry!


Crochet Little Pumpkin Hat Pattern | Classy Crochet

Crochet Little Pumpkin Hat Pattern | Classy Crochet

How to: Reverse Single Crochet (rev sc)

Today’s tutorial is brought to you by the elusive reverse single crochet, also known as crab stitch.  When I first encountered said stitch in a pattern, I got confused trying to decipher the images and written instructions, and just thought it meant, “turn your work around and sc in the opposite direction”… which is what I did, for years, until a mere few weeks ago when I 1) discovered that my presumption was completely untrue, and 2) yesterday, when I actually tried the stitch for the first time.  *sigh*

Anyway, here it is.  Before we start, I just want to summarize the stitch so you don’t think it’s anything fancy or new: you are sc (single crochet) as you normally do.  You’re just going in the opposite direction.  Got it?  Instead of sc right to left, you are sc left to right.  That’s all.  No fancy loops, turns, nothing.

Also, from what I can tell, reverse sc is usually reserved for a border.  Since you’re going in the opposite direction, your stitch definition is kind of lost.  I mean, if you wanted to go all crazy and creative you could probably continue to add stitches, but in my little world, it’s a border, and a nice corded one at that.   The end.

That being said, here are the requisite photos:

Reverse Single Crochet Tutorial | Classy Crochet

Start your row by ch1 as per usual.  Do you see the black arrow?  This is where you’ll go in your next stitch.

Reverse Single Crochet Tutorial | Classy Crochet

Insert hook through previously labeled ‘black arrow’ st…

Reverse Single Crochet Tutorial | Classy Crochet

Yarn over, draw a loop up…

Reverse Single Crochet Tutorial | Classy Crochet

Yarn over and draw loop through.  Completed reverse sc.  Remember: you just did a regular sc.  You just did it in the opposite direction.  Once your brain wraps around this, it’s really, really easy.

Reverse Single Crochet Tutorial | Classy Crochet

It takes a few stitches before the ‘pattern’ of the reverse sc appears.  Your yarn will sort of slant towards the right as you go.  Keep your tension even the way you would a regular sc – don’t freak out and pull too tightly.  You’ll use a little more yarn than a regular sc due to the opposite direction and added ‘distance’ to travel, but I like the results.

Et voila!  You’ve got a new stitch to add to your repertoire and a fun new border to add to your projects.  I think all my hats will have reverse sc borders from here on out…

Happy stitching and if you have any questions, leave them in the comments!

Crochet Daisy Tutorial

Good morning yarning friends!  Today I’m going to walk you through a super easy crochet daisy tutorial.  I came up with this flower several years ago in my first few months of rediscovering crochet, and I thought it was time to revive it.  It’s a pretty cute flower – the only gripe I have is sewing it on, since the petals are a bit floppy and since I’m anal retentive I tack each. one. on.  But the end results are well worth it!

Crochet Daisy Tutorial | Classy CrochetCrochet Daisy Tutorial | Classy Crochet

(Personally I think the hat itself is kind of ridiculous, since it’s really not a hat but a doily, but if you want a pattern, I can probably figure it out again.)

Okay, to start: you’ll need daisy colored yarn (I used white and yellow) and your crochet hook of choice.  This flower is easily adaptable to different weights.

Crochet Daisy Tutorial | Classy Crochet

Start with yellow yarn.  If your dc are 3 ch high, ch4.  If they are 2 ch high, ch3.  12 dc into the first ch.  You could also use magic ring, but I never really figured it out and crocheting into the first ch always worked just fine for me.  Sl st to first st.
Crochet Daisy Tutorial | Classy Crochet

Switch to white yarn.  Sl st and ch8. (9, if your dc are 3 ch high).  Starting on 3 ch from hook (or 4, if you have 9 ch), you’ll crochet into the remaining six ch: 3 dc, 2 hdc, 1 sc.  Make sense?  You’ll have three stitches of dc, two stitches of hdc, one stitch of sc, six stitches total.

Crochet Daisy Tutorial | Classy Crochet

When you reach the end of the petal, sl st into the very next st of yellow (see arrow above).  Ch 8 (or 9) and repeat petal.
Crochet Daisy Tutorial | Classy Crochet

Again, you’ll be sl st into the very next st when you are finished.  You’ll end up with 12 petals of six st (3 dc, 2 hdc, 1 sc).
Crochet Daisy Tutorial | Classy CrochetCompleted daisy.  Sl st the white yarn to the first petal, fasten off yarn, leaving a looooong white tail to sew onto desired project.

Hope this tutorial makes sense, and if not, you know where to find me!  🙂  Good luck and happy daisy-ing!

I love it when a sale comes together!

On a rare trip to the U.S. to visit my parents, I obviously had to patron a local yarn store in the nearby town.  My mom and I were walking her dog (which was a challenge in and of itself) and on the way back to the car, I hurried into the store under pretense of “buying something for my neighbor” – which I mean, I was, but y’know, if I found something I liked, I can’t be held accountable…

Anyway, imagine to my surprise, and most marvelous delight, a sign advertising a mega sale in honor of the PGA in town (because yarn and golf = inseparable, right?) – 25% off all yarn AND a free skein of yarn per customer from the bargain bin by the front door.  Wahooo!  Who doesn’t love free things?  So of course I perused – quickly, since my mom’s dog is not a patient animal.  I found some Berroco Vintage chunky on sale for 30% off, and quickly rifled through the free basket.  As politely as I could, I asked the owner if it was one per customer.  As the sale was about to end the next day, she shrugged – “free is free, take a few.”  More magical words could not be said to a yarn lover.  So, true to her word, I took a few… less than I would have liked, but there were other people hovering, so I didn’t want to be *that* person.

I emerged with my hasty purchases and triumphantly showed them to my mom, who had been cautioning me against my ever-growing yarn collection since I’d arrived.  I mean, she’s right – I’m living out of two suitcases, one of which was *already* full of yarn I’d brought to work on while I was here.  But, that magical word – “FREE”, and suddenly it’s totally okay.  So okay, in fact, that I returned bright and early the next day.  I asked, again, politely, if it was one per customer (I didn’t want to be presuming) and the ladies, again, shrugged and said “eh, it’s the last day, and you need at least a couple to make something, right?”  I mean it’s like manna from heaven when someone tells you that.  I took my time this time, but pretty soon other customers entered and immediately started snatching up any ‘potentials’ I’d set aside, so I figured I’d better get out while the out was still good.

At the end of the day, I think I still got a pretty awesome stash:

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Purchased: Cascade 200 Superwash, Berroco Vintage Chunky, Cascade Pacific Chunky, Plymouth Encore Bulky. Total price = $64 USD.

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Pilfered for free: Cascade Eco Duo +, Arauncania Worsted, Berroco Abode, Plymouth Encore Chunky, Cascade Eco Cloud. Total value = $125 USD.

Okay, I realize from this angle that my free yarn all looks kind of poopy and boring… but I was trying to go for “neutral” and “giveaway-able” and the other customers stole my Noro.  Whatevs, I scored 649 yards of Cascade Eco Cloud.  FOR FREE.  Two of the skeins had completely fallen apart in the bin, making them quite unsightly and presumably undesirable, but nothing a true yarn lover can’t fix/twist back into shape in a matter of eight seconds or less.

God bless you, Yarne Source Pittsford.  Drop by if you’re ever in upstate New York and bid them good day.  🙂

Crochet Penguin Birdy Hat Pattern

Many moons ago I saw an idea for a little bluebird baby hat which was just darling – teeny earflaps, cute little beak, the works.  It was made with fuzzy wuzzy baby blue yarn, which I did not have the luxury to search out (being in China and all).  Plus, I had this gigundous skein of baby blue Lion Brand Pound of Love that, up until this point, had sat quite stagnant in my stash since winter of 2010.  Ergo, I did the next best thing – I used that yarn and added a fluffy white trim.

The trim totally sold me – so soft and fluffy and fuuuun!  When I begged a friend to photograph her a-dor-a-ble newborn baby boy in it, she kept referring to it as the ‘penguin’ hat.  Well… not to be outdone, it was pretty easy to swap out the blue for black.  Add a few whimsical ‘owl’ eyes, a three dimensional beak, and *voila*! TWO AWESOME HATS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE!!  How can it get any better than this??

Pattern is available on Ravelry, Etsy, and Craftsy.  Get yours today!

Crochet Penguin Birdy Hat Pattern | Classy CrochetCrochet Penguin Birdy Hat Pattern | Classy Crochet

Crochet Penguin Birdy Hat Pattern | Classy Crochet

The Art of Gifting…?

I was wasting hours of my life browsing through Ravelry as I tend to do…today, I filtered by “most projects” and went from there.  As I was perusing different items, many of them mentioned making said items as a gift – for a baby shower, for a holiday, for a birthday, etc.

This got me thinking, and my thought process went as such:

  • Wow… some of these are kind of really ugly.  I wonder if the recipient is as excited to get this item-of-a-really-unfortunate-color-combination as much as the giver thinks they are.
  • Wow, that’s a super judgmental thought coming from someone who has spent a substantial part of her life for the past four years giving away homemade gifts that, in her mind, were the most awesome things ever created.
  • Hmm… if A = B and B = C, then how many of my own awesome homemade gifts were met with the same “…that’s unfortunate” reaction that I’ve had to some of the things I’ve seen others make?

When I first started crocheting (again) a few years ago, I swore I wouldn’t be *that* friend who gave out lumpy, oversized misshapen mittens for a good girlfriend’s birthday and expect her to be happy with the present.  Lamentably, thinking back, I know for a fact I’ve given out equivalents in wrong-sized hats, weirdly shaped scarves, and other sad accoutrements.

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I don’t… I can’t… there are no words.

I know there’s the whole “oh you spent so much time on it, it’s the thought that counts”, but let’s be honest here – some things simply don’t translate well. I feel very sad for my friend’s mother who spent what must have been HOURS painstakingly knitting a seafoam, mint green (no they are not the same color), and white striped onesie for her precious new grandson, complete with forty buttons down the one leg for ‘easy’ removal, but yeeeeah… that thing is never going to get worn.

Sometimes I think back to the first gifts I gave out – my 10″ baby hat (before I understood that baby heads are ridiculously massive), that first knitted cowl that didn’t sit right on top OR bottom, the ‘matching’ hats I made for my husband’s females that didn’t fit any of them, and so on and so forth.  Sometimes the perfectionist in me wants to go back to those people and be like look, I have to apologize for <insert weird item here>, I was a beginner at the time, and I recognize that <weird item> was totally inappropriate now.  Can I give you a much better replacement?  But then the lazy procrastinating “wait, why would I give two gifts for the same occasion…?” side rears its ugly head… let’s just say I haven’t actually gone around regiving newer and better items.  😛

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I mean, I’m sure there’s SOMEONE out there who would love this… you just gotta find the right recipient…

Up until very recently (like… last month), my yarning had been a very solitary past time.  I did it by myself, in my own company, or with non-yarners who would merely blink in confusion/amazement/whatever while I did my thing.  Whether out of good form or ignorance, nobody ever said “that color?  Maybe you don’t want to use that…” or “…are you sure the mother to be is going to want <whatever weird thing you’re making>?”

Last month I discovered the beautiful society of ‘yarn guilds’.  In Beijing, this constitutes, for the most part, expat wives of wealthy oil/airplane/partsandotherrandomthings husbands working in jobs that take them to exotic places.  Since many countries don’t allow random expat wives to work, well, you might as well knit, and you might as well do it with company.  I’ve only gone two or three times but have already met an astounding array of talented women from a kaleidescope of backgrounds that I never thought I’d meet.

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Now, they are all MUCH more talented than I, and I haven’t yet seen anything they’ve made that is anything less than extraordinary, but if I do… what are the rules/etiquette of yarning groups?  Or your fellow yarners in general??  I know the natural reaction of such gatherings is “AAAAH THAT’S SO CUTE!” “OMG THAT’S FABULOUS!” “HOLY COW I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THAT FINISHED!!!”  But… have you ever encountered a “um… that’s an interesting color choice” or “… so who exactly is that for, again?”  If so, what do you do???

I recognize that my past self-titled failed gift efforts are a sunk cost, the cost of any learning curve of any new talent or skill.  I recognize that, for the most part, people (hopefully) aren’t wrinkling their noses whenever I show up with my signature kraft gift box wrapped in ribbon.  I recognize that it’s probably not my place to pass judgment on anyone else’s yarning choice, especially because I can’t possibly know or understand the story behind each and every carefully and lovingly created object.

However, my one public request is, though, that if you ever do see me starting down a yarning path that will unequivocally end in tears, disappointment, and dashed dreams, please, don’t be polite.  TELL ME.  =D

Thoughts??

Yarn Adventures in Beijing (Part II… and III)

Several weeks ago, my birthday arrived, as it always does around this time of year.  I didn’t have any huge plans, and I wanted to spend the day doing something that *I* wanted, and not feel obligated to anything else.  I’d recently been re-inspired by this post to find yarn in Beijing, and was determined to buy some (even though I have, on my estimation, approximately 100,000 yards of yarn in my spare room).  Whatever, it was my birthday, my party, I could buy pointless yarn if I wanted to, etc.

I’ve now learned my lesson when exploring unknown territory in China – I pack a large purse filled with water bottle, lots of small change, subway card, hand sanitizer, sometimes camera, and most importantly, snacks.  It’s pretty much like traveling with a small toddler, except said small toddler is me.

Anyway, snacks in hand, directions printed out both in Chinese and on a map, I hailed a taxi and was on my way.  The entire process was much easier than I had anticipated… I hadn’t realized that they had recently jacked up prices on taxis, which is a very minor con (at the end of the day it’s like $1 USD more per ride), but it has resulted in LOTS MORE empty taxis, because let’s face it, Chinese people are super cheap,  and in this regard I am a spendy American, so I’m thrilled.

I got to Wansha (no camera, I was trying to travel light), and it was exactly as pictured.  A woman latched onto me the minute I walked in, which was simultaneously super helpful and super annoying, but I reminded myself that this is service in China (it’s either completely nonexistent, or really, really, really, really overbearing).  She kept asking me what I wanted the yarn for, and I kept telling her I just wanted to buy yarn for the sake of buying yarn.  This concept is very foreign to the extremely pragmatic Chinese, but I persevered.  I made sure to examine every. single. skein. of yarn in the store, and have to say, didn’t really see anything I loved (most of it was simply too expensive for my China expectations), so I walked out with several skeins of DK wool of “Australian origin”, in some gorgeous fuschia/lime green that, sadly, my camera simply could not capture. (it turned the colors olive green and reddish purple, so I won’t torture you with that.)  The nice part was, I got 8 skeins of 100g merino wool for a total of about 125 RMB, or $20 USD, and I can’t complain about that price.

Turns out, yarn in China is mostly used for making actual clothing (What? USEFUL yarn?!  Surely not!) which translates to, most ‘yarn’ is actually ‘nice thread that you hold double’; the heaviest weight plied yarn you’re ever going to find is DK or sport.  Occasionally you’ll find bulkier yarn, but it’s usually novelty and has, in my opinion, unnecessary lumpy things worked into it.

Next stop: Wool City.  Now, I have heard many varying opinions of said ‘city’.  The first person told me they wouldn’t want to sell me yarn, they only would want to sell me clothing.  The second person had sweaters made and said she found yarn for sale just fine.  The third person said it wasn’t worth the trip and the yarn was extremely shoddy, filled with poisonous dyes that stained her knitting needles.  (She being an epidemiologist for the CDC, I was inclined to believe her and be very, very careful.)  And so on.  But, a friend offered me her driver for the day, and I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to head out there. *tip: if you ever live overseas, try your best to get a job with a soul sucking oil or aviation company, and they will hook you up with the nicest expat benefits packages ever.  Including a driver with a ginormous  minivan, who is at your beck and call to navigate these insane streets, find parking, and magically show up when you’re ready to go, massive life-size terra cotta warrior purchase in hand.* For the sake of adventure, and because I had a free, hassle/headache free ride out there, I was going to go.

I tempered my expectations accordingly (i.e., I was expecting even less than Wansha), and since I didn’t have to walk miles, packed my camera.  I tried to research Wool City online, and was the most intrigued by this article written for The Beijinger, a great magazine geared towards the multitudes of expats living in this marvelous city.  It is through the Beijinger that I discovered Jason Mraz was coming to concert here last summer, which was one of the saving graces that helped me through my move here.

Anyway, the article was well written, it had great pictures, and best of all, it stated that the particular store the author visited had enthusiastic employees who were willing to go out on a limb for those thinking outside the box.  I appreciated all of these things, since I, too, am tired of people who only try to push on you their most expensive item and sneer upon you if you don’t buy it, or outright scold you for going cheaper.

Upon arrival, I was greeted with this ‘city’:

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Yes my friends, no building in China is complete without a McDonalds at the bottom.  I figured at least it would be a good place to get a snack after my proposed morning of exploring.  Filled with determination, I ventured in, fully prepared for a warren of open stalls and screaming vendors and overwhelming, copious amounts of THINGS.

Instead, I was greeted with dimly lit, cold, would-be-sterile-except-it’s-China-so-they’re-nasty-dirty hallways, with small signs labeling each storefront and a practically hushed atmosphere.  It looked like a former hospital had been converted to a warehouse.  In fact, at one point I reached the end of a corridor, and through glass doors and the rest of the hallway, the signs turned from “yarn shop 133” to “microscopic lab” and “testing engineering room”, so I don’t think I was too far off.  Leave it to China to house both a yarn city and a laboratory in the same building.

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I peeked in a few doors as I tiptoed by.  Many were closed, several had yarn, and many were also filled with fabric and other such sundry items.

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I figured I would just start at Store 321, as per Beijinger’s recommendation.  Shockingly, it looked just like the pictures in the article!  Not to mention, the women were just as nice as the author had stated.  It was clear that they had gotten quite a bit of foreign business from the article, as the woman immediately offered me the option of a custom made Totoro hat.

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I refused, but was thrilled that I could ask her questions about yarn and quality and she actually did NOT try to push products on me.  When she asked what project I needed the yarn for and I said I was just there to look and buy, she laughed and stood aside.  This was a good thing.

The selection itself wasn’t too terribly different from Wansha (technically, Wansha had more ‘variety’), but I was pleased with their less expensive options.  And, true to the Beijinger, they had a million zillion buttons, which I also perused.

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After I made a few purchases (I had tried to discipline myself by only bringing 200 RMB or $31 USD), I went and poked through as many other stores as I could handle.

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Doesn’t the sight of this just make you want to squeeeeeeeee?

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One of them drew me in with several women knitting, and one of them was a beginner learning to make this hat.  I was intrigued by the fit – it looks like a super baggy toque/beret in front, but the design has puckered up the back so it doesn’t slouch, which is fabulous! I also loved the yarn, and ended up buying it in two colors, a gorgeous purple/green gradient and a blue striped one.

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Sadly, I don’t remember the store number but I’m sure you could find this yarn in other shops.  If anyone can figure out this hat pattern, please share!

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The mannequin head had that weird faux-hawk thing going on, hence the odd lump on the top

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At the end of my adventure, I wound up with the following:

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The yellow and red were to make this apple dress from Ravelry, but I was thrilled with the orange/yellow, because I have been looking FOREVER to find the perfect yarn to make THIS, which has been on my queue for months.

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FIRE HAT!! *insert maniacal giggle*

I immediately got home and cast on, and am pretty pleased with the results (the yarn is nice and springy and blocked well).  Total damage? 97 RMB ($16 USD) for 750 g of DK merino yarn, and 40 RMB ($6.50) for 200g of the gradient yarn.  WIN!

Final verdict: Wool City can be hard to get to (it’s a few blocks away from the nearest subway, most expats live on the east side of town and it’s on the west side), but for sheer variety and options, I would highly recommend it to any yarn-lover willing to embark on a small adventure to find some pretty cool yarn.

Crochet Chunky Flowered Cloche Pattern

I made up this pattern a few winters ago after a failed attempt to replicate a crocheted beanie/toque I’d found at Nordstrom Rack, made by some fancy jeans company – Seven for all mankind or lucky or something else I’ve never purchased.  I spent weeks creating the pattern, and when I finally perfected it, I proudly put it up for distribution, only to have the mass majority of people comment that they “didn’t know how to wear slouchy hats”.  Noses were turned up, hats sat forlornly on shelves.

So, a few months after said failed sales attempt, I took apart one of the hats and recreated a ‘regular, smash down on my head’ hat that I could wear out and about.  Ironically, for all the hats I had made, none really fit me or looked good on me, and my head was getting cold!  It was charcoal gray, very neutral, but I liked how the chunky yarn made my really huge head look not-so-huge.  Seems rather counterintuitive but there you go.  I distinctly remember waiting at Good Stuff Eatery in Washington, D.C. after work for a friend’s birthday gathering, and out of excessive boredom, I whipped out a ginormous mustard flower. It was a hugely bold move for me (large statement pieces + large heads = extreme fashion failure)… I even left all the strings on the flower dangling and shoved them inside the hat for weeks, ready to rip it out at any moment.

The summary of said experience since, however, is as follows: of all the hats I’ve ever carefully crafted, designed, tested, modeled, sold, displayed, etc., this hat, by FAR, has received the most compliments, “where did you get that”s, and “Can I please buy one” than any other I’ve ever made.  I suppose I should pay closer attention to supply and demand and provide on a more timely manner.

However, timely or not timely, here’s the pattern, available for your own fine creation, and modified to also include children and baby sizes.  Hooray children and baby sizes!  (Make a matching set for mommy and daughter – I’ve witnessed the cooings firsthand!)

Buy your pattern from Etsy, Ravelry, or Craftsy.  Email me at classycrochet@gmail.com with any questions.  Enjoy!

Crochet Chunky Flowered Cloche Pattern | Classy Crochet Crochet Chunky Flowered Cloche Pattern | Classy Crochet