WIP Wednesday: Braids and Weaves Hat

crochet cables

Gorgeously moody and perfect for unpredictable spring weather, Celtic Cable Crochet has quickly become one of my all-time favorite crochet books.

I tend to approach learning new skills with a bit of what my friends affectionately call “Lotz syndrome.” That is, after learning the bare basics, I usually skip the beginner level and plunge straight into intermediate waters. This attitude has definitely applied as I’ve been learning to work crochet cables.

I was looking for a new crochet project to start (only my third crochet project) and I knew I wanted to try a new skill using yarn I already had in my stash. We’ve been having a wet, rainy, and even snowy spring here in Colorado, so the gorgeous, moody photography in Bonnie Barker’s Celtic Cable Crochet was just the thing. When I turned the page to the Braids and Weaves Alpaca Hat, I knew I had found my project, even though I had no clue how to work crochet cables…yet!

I chose Ancient Arts Yarns 100% superwash merino DK yarn in the Tranquility colorway to match this project. Because this yarn is hand dyed, the yarn, which at first looks solid, is flecked with lighter blue and even white. However, the effect is subtle enough so as not to distract from my first-ever crochet cables.

The Braids and Weaves Alpaca Hat uses front- and back-post treble crochet stitches to work the cables. I was able to figure out front-post treble all on my own using Bonnie Barker’s excellent tutorials, which can be found at the very back of Celtic Cable Crochet, and was feeling quite pleased with myself as I worked my first round of cabling.

I had to learn some humility, however, when it came time to turn and work back the other way using back-post stitches. I couldn’t quite get the feel for the technique from the illustrations alone, and I had to ask my crochet mentor, project editor Susanna Tobias, to show me. If you haven’t worked back-post treble before, I will admit to you that it’s kind of a pain at first. But, persevere—it gets easier quickly, I promise.

crochet cables

crochet cables

See all those stitches packed in there between the crown and the cables? Until you work a few rounds of cables, all those stitches will make your hat curl. But don’t worry—the cables will sort everything out!

I hope you’ll decide to make this hat. After a few repeats, you’ll have the cables memorized, even if it’s your first time stitching cables, as it was mine. But I can’t stress enough the importance of checking your work OFTEN for mistakes in your cabling. My own hat has spent a lot of time in mistake-induced “time out” over the past weeks.

Tip: If you do give this pattern a try, don’t worry if the hat looks all wrong at first. The increases for this hat happen very quickly and you increase to what will seem like way too many stitches. As a result, the first few rounds of cables will be all bunched up and ruffled like some sort of weird anemone. As the cables pull the stitches across each other over more and more rounds, the hat will even out and all those stitches will prove necessary.

Have you recently tackled a new crochet stitch, technique, or milestone? Let me know in the comments and tell me how it went!

Yours in Stitches,

Don’t Get in a Twist…Learn to Crochet Cables!


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