How to Experiment with Your Crochet Hat
When I’m crocheting a project, it seems like one of two things always happens: either I end up playing yarn chicken (when you’re almost finished with a project and you’re not sure if the end of the project or the end of the yarn will come first) or I end up with a whole lot of leftover yarn. This dilemma has caused me to forego starting many one-skein projects, including the ubiquitous crochet hat. If I run out of yarn, how will I finish the project; if I have a lot of yarn left over, what will I do with it?
I know what you may be thinking: “If she gets gauge, why would she worry about having too much/not enough yarn?” Well, if you’re a compulsive modifier like I am, the threat of having too much or not enough yarn may plague your every project. Therefore, after finding an awesome hank of Sparkle Sock Yarn from KnitStitch Yarn at Interweave Yarn Fest, I decided to do my level best to use the entire hank to make a hat.
Once I found the yarn, I had to decide on the pattern. Having made the Honeysuckle Hat before, I decided it would be the perfect hat to modify for my experiment.
Then, like any good “scientist,” I had to decide on the constants and variables. I used the yarn as the constant—while not an exact match for the original, it was the same weight (fingering/sock), about the same amount (438 yds vs 433 yds), and most importantly, had a similar yarn gauge (7 to 8 sts per inch on US 1-3 needles vs 7.5 sts per inch on US 3 needles). By the way, I realize that the yarn gauge is given for knitting needles, but I needed something for comparison and one of the yarns didn’t have a crochet yarn gauge.
Now for the variables. I increased the hook size, modified the stitch pattern, and extended the length of the hat in order to try to make the hat fit the hank. What did each of these changes accomplish? By using a hook 1 to 2 sizes larger, I changed the gauge, which in turn increased the finished size. I also modified the stitch pattern by 1) switching out some of the smaller post stitches for larger post stitches and 2) adding some stitch crossings and/or switching the direction of the cross.
When neither of these techniques used up as much yarn as I wanted, I made the hat longer. The pattern calls for a repeat of Rnd 12 until the hat reaches the desired length, so, I not only repeated this round, but also changed the stitches as I worked the “repeats.” After reaching the end of the repeated section, I didn’t work the decreases, but instead kept my stitch count the same and repeated Rnd 30.
All in all, I only added a few rounds, but by making the other changes, I was able to increase the overall size of the hat. Was I able to accomplish my goal of using the entire hank? Unfortunately not, but I have enough left to make a matching pair of mitts, so the experiment wasn’t a total bust!
What about you? Do you prefer to play yarn chicken or have extra yarn? If you do end up with extra, what do you do with it? Let us know in the comments!