[This post has been edited for corrections]
Two of the most popular searches bringing visitors to this blog are something along the lines of “free crochet pattern for beanies” and “t-shirt rag rug” so I figured I’d tell you how they work!
These directions enable you to use any hook, yarn, or stitch.
When I make beanies (like this one) or rugs, I usually use single crochet (US- Double in the UK) stitches.
The key to any increasing in the round, is to increase each row by the number of stitches you’ve started with. My favourite number to use is 6. To increase, you simply work two stitches in the place of one.
I start with a chain of around 4, slip stitched together, and then work 6 stitches into that chain. From there, you just have to add 6 stitches to each row, evenly spaced.
Base row: 6 stitches
From here, the ending number is not a matter of the row times 6, but rather in anticipation of the next row multiplied by six.
1st row: increase every stitch, ending with 12.
2nd row: increase in every second stitch (6×2 is 12, but you should have 12 beginning the 2nd row and 18 to start the 3rd.
*increase in every third stitch (end with 24)
*increase on every 4th (end with 30)….
Each new time around is a row in this case- so the 6s are one row, the 12s are another row…
For hats, I tend to count each row since I make them in one sitting. The main thing to remember is that on the 4th row, you’ll only increase every 4th stitch and should end up with 30 stitches (5 x6). For the 5th row, every 5th stitch and 36 (6 x6) total…
For rugs this is the entire ‘pattern’ and I usually slip in 6 contrasting pieces of yarn like this rug here. That way, I can easily see where to increase when I come back to the project instead of counting. Here’s another example of a rag rug I’ve worked on.
This is where the ‘winging it’ bit comes in. For hats, I increase until I have a circle slightly smaller than the crown of the recipient’s head and then stop increasing each round. The yarn and stitch will influence how quickly the increase stops and the sides ‘begin’. Perhaps this isn’t clear, but as you work your first few regular, non-increasing rounds it will seem as though increasing is still happening. That is what creates the gentle curve into the side of the hat and why I stop increasing just before the ‘perfect’ size.
The more you make hats this way the more you’ll be able to tell when it will turn into the sides. Usually around 2-4 rows with a DK or worsted weight yarn.
Once the sides are long enough, slip stitch the last stitch to ‘even up’ the bottom, and do a row of decorative crab stitch (also reverse single crochet) around the edge! Here are links to reverse single directions and a video.
If this isn’t clear enough feel free to ask questions and I’ll clarify. If you do end up making your first beanie this way, let me know how it turns out!