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About a month ago I began a journey of exploration quite innocently by grabbing a hook and attempting a nice simple crochet hat.  The pattern I began with had some issues, which I am hopeful the designer will correct, so I won’t tell you which one it is to give them a chance to fix it up.  In any case, it set me off on a mission to figure it out for myself, of course.  I based my hat on a five section increase repeat, and since the pattern I had tried used a slip stitch and chain up to work in the round, I followed that method.  I added a narrow front and back post “rib” and made my first version of a basic, but elegant, hat.

bibaside

I was very happy with the result, and with the pink shades and wispy hair poking out it reminded my of the “Biba” style from the 60’s, and so it got dubbed the “Sundara Biba“.  I got to use my Sundara Yarn leftovers in “Arabian Nights” so that made it squishy and wonderful.

Of course, Lil One wanted one too, so I almost immediately made a second version for her in periwinkle Berocco “Comfort” and found the top down method allowed for very easy sizing.

whoosh

For my hat I had concealed the chain risers in the work with a duplicate stitch method I had worked out before when doing hdc in the round, and it did very well to blend the chains in.   But Lil One was impatient, and I handed off her hat before I got to this step.  You can see the holes on the right side in this shot created because the chain lacks bulk compared to the hdc stitch.

periwinklehatside

Whenever I design I do a “fit crit.”, and in this case I decided that there was ever so slight a point at the top that I didn’t care for, and that for an easy-going pattern I would have to use a different technique to work in the round to make the hat good-looking from all sides without the fuss of duplicate stitch at the end.

Research ensued.

I visited my local library, and fortunately for me they had a couple of new crochet books in.  I snapped them up to check out how many ways you could work in the round.  I knew about a few already.  Miss Adler’s Cowl uses slip stitches and chains to connect and turn to work back and forth in rows while creating a joined round, and my Pink Petals Tee used slip stitches and chains to raise each row for a shell pattern in the round.  Lastly, I was aware that like knitting, you could use a spiral method simply working around and around without any row height adjustments, and then blend out the height at the end.  That’s where I went next.

hatwind

This version was definitely the best yet for this project.  I modified the starting disc to be a little flatter, and the result was just perfect.  I’ll be choosing a final yarn recommendation (Malabrigo?) and publishing the pattern early this fall.

But, always being the curious stitcher, I endeavored to find out if a method existed to create truly stacked rows, without spiraling, and without holes.  It occurred to me that just like knitting, stripes and patterning might not work out so well worked as a spiral, yet crochet has the unique feature that you can indeed join a row and then rise up to begin the next one.  Enter the Noro Crochet Basket.

basketoyarn

This pattern called for a slight hybrid of the other techniques.  It is worked in single crochet, but I’m sure the method could adapt to half double easily.  You join with the slip and a chain, but then you work the first stitch into the same space you chained up from.  At the end of the round you slip stitch to that first stitch (not the chain) and do it all again.  This method creates a way to cleanly change colors, yet the stacked bulk of the chain and stitch into one closes the gap nicely.  I figured out to make the color changes the sharpest: I needed to draw up the new color in the last part of the last full sc st of the previous made. (i.e. yo with new color, pull through last 2 loops of last stitch in previous color).  Once I have the new color up, I go ahead and slip to the top of the first sc of the previous round, chain, and then place my first sc in the same stitch I joined to.

The basket was fun even if I wasn’t studying the color changes, and the Noro Crochet book is full of great crochet projects.  I played with scraps of worsted weight yarn, and tried a little true color work while I was at it.  My basket did not take advantage of the lovely Noro yarn, but I am planning on trying that out too!  I can’t wait to get started on a granny square handbag!

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