As mentioned in the post below, cable knit hats have been my jam recently. I’ll wake up before work and knit a few rows. I’ll pull out the needles before going to bed. I’ve even skipped the gym (more than once) because I just had to finish a cable.
We’ve all been there, right?
Knitting, however, is not my first love.
As the name JJCrochet suggests, my heart belongs to the knotty loops of the crochet world. But there’s something about these chunky hats with pom-poms that have pulled me deeper and deeper into the world of two needles.
I think the thing I like most about these chunky knit cable hats is they take me a while to make. Not too-too long since I’m still using chunky yarn, but each hat takes about 90ish minutes to finish. Compare that to my normal pace of 20-30 mins for a crochet hat and you could call them an invested labor of love.
Which means I care a little bit more and have spent time finding the perfect yarn, the perfect pom-poms (Pat Catans!) and the perfect tags (Etsy). Instead of just a hat, it’s a blended component of things I’ve hunted down. Sure, the cost to make each hat goes up (the pom-poms run me about $4 each and the tags are $.75), but it’s SO worth it.
Some hats were made just to be made, while others were crafted with a specific person in mind. Sarah likes black, no pom-pom – Brianne likes gray – and Britt would look adorable in a floppy beret. The hats sit piled on my countertop, patiently waiting until they’re ready to be given away and it brings me SO. MUCH. JOY.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to pick up some more yarn with my 25% off coupon from Michael’s.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably seen the chunky knits and pom-pom hats that are E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E. J.Crew, Burbery, L.L. Bean, American Eagle, Loft, etc. etc. As a hooker, I’m obsessed. They’re the perfect blend of warm texture and a little playful fun!
Of course, there’s no integrity in purchasing one from a big-box store, so I decided to knit my own.
While running errands on Wednesday, I found myself in Michael’s (I swear I don’t know how that always happens!). I started perusing the yarn aisle even though, you know, I don’t need anything. The deals were too good, the skeins were too cozy.
I let my guard down and envisioned a weekend of chunky cables and pom-poms. So I bought 22 skeins of yarn and 16 pom-poms. Oh the shame!
(Fun note: the fuzzy pom-poms are actually keychains that are attached to the metal with a small elastic band. A little prying apart of the attachments and I had a simple way to sew onto the hats using the elastic loop.)
I’ve worked up 4 hats yesterday and this morning: two cable knit black hats, one cream and another crocheted maroon one. The black and cream ones are based off a pattern from Premknits, the Braided Cable Beanie Pattern ($4.99).
I hate (hate!) knitting in the round (the tubes always twist and turn on me) so I modified the pattern so I could knit on my ever-trusty straights. After following most of the pattern for two hats, I decided to scale it down to only 5 cables instead of 6 and I like how that looks. Less yarn, less time, less bulk.
The crocheted maroon hat was a pattern I made up as I went along and didn’t write down. I can if there’s interest! It takes some time since you have to go back and work slip stitches onto some stitches after you finish to give those 5 rounds their lines of texture.
I love how these knit pom-pom hats are turning out! It’s fun to experiment and see how each one is a little different.
I plan on gifting a few as Christmas gifts since they work up quickly and everyone loves a good hat. Might also be on the hunt for some new pom-poms, but TBD, it’s going to take me some time to use up the other dozen…
After eating Thanksgiving left-overs for dinner, it’s time to decorate my apartment for Christmas! Carols are playing, crochet hooks are out, my balsam candle is lit and a glass of merlot is poured.
I found this great star pattern from Persia Lou and knew it’d be the perfect accompaniment to the minimalistic Christmas decorations on my bar cart. The stars were festive, they were crocheted, they were PERFECT.
I followed Alexis’ instructions exactly, minus the blocking since there’s no time for that when you’re too excited. If you look closely, you’ll spot my crochet hook on the bar cart – I told you there was no time for formalities – I wanted to see how this looked hung up!
Because I skipped the blocking, the stars do look more like flowers with rounded instead of pointy petals so I might make some DIY blocking liquid (equal parts glue + water), but TBD on that.
I made 5 stars using cream Vanna’s choice worsted weight yarn and joined them together with a chain of burlap string I had left over from another craft project. For the burlap cord, I used a K hook (same as for the stars) and did 13 chains between each star, joining as I went.
30 yards Vanna’s Choice yarn
Size K crochet hook
5 yards Burlap cord – I used some from Ms. Sparkle & Co.
I love how it turned out. So festive! So fun! If you’re looking for a quick, easy crochet project to make your house look festive this Christmas, I highly recommend this pattern by Alexis at Persia Lou. https://persialou.com/2015/12/crochet-star-ornaments-free-pattern.html
I could see the crochet stars being great as tree ornaments, light switch hangers or laid down on a counter top – really anywhere you need some extra cheer!
Looking for an easy, uncomplicated men’s crochet hat pattern? Something that’s good for a beginner? Search no more!
I’ve written out the pattern and avoided crochet abbreviations so you know exactly what to do. Sized for a man, but will also fit women’s heads, too.
This simple men’s crochet hat pattern is easy. No frills, no weird stitches, just a tried and true shape that’s guaranteed to fit the guy in your life. Make one for your brother, you hubby, your friend or mailman. Side note: I have curly, thick hair which means I need a bigger hat. This hat fit my head so don’t let the “men’s” part of the title scare you away – this would be just as good for a women as a guy!
All you need to know is how to make a double crochet, single crochet, chain stitch and slip stitch.
Chain 3, slip stitch into first chain to form loop.
Round 1: Chain 2 (counts as first double crochet now and throughout). Work 12 more double crochet into ring. Slip stitch into top of chain 2 to join into a circle. (13 double crochet total).
Round 2: Work 2 double crochet into each stitch around. Join with slip stitch to top of chain 2. (26 double crochet total).
<<Stop and measure work to check your gauge! Laid flat, circle should measure just under 3.25 inches across. If smaller or larger, adjust your hook size or yarn.>>
Round 3: Work 2 double crochet into first stitch, 1 dc into the next stitch. Repeat pattern of *2 1 2 1 double crochets* around. Join with slip stitch to top of chain 2. (39 double crochet total).
Round 4: Work 2 double crochet into first stitch. 1 dc into each of the next 7 stitches. Repeat pattern of *2 double crochet…. 7 double crochets into next 7 stitches…. 2 double crochet into the next stitch* around. It’s ok if you don’t end perfectly. Join with slip stitch to top of chain 2. (46 or 47 double crochet).
Rounds 5 – 13: Double crochet into each stitch around. (46 or 47 double crochet).
Round 14: Chain 1 (counts as first single crochet). Single crochet in each stitch around. Slip stitch to top of chain 1 to join. Fasten off. (46 or 47 double crochet).
You did it! This pattern is basic and simple enough that you can customize to your liking. You can add a stripe in of a different color for Round 11. Or maybe you’d like to make a fold-up brim? Simple repeat Round 5 a couple more times and your hat will be longer so you can fold up the ends.
I’d love to hear if you make your very own men’s hat for someone. Leave a comment below!
Knitting and crocheting are similar, yet different. Both crafts use yarn to make items, but knitting is done with two knitting needles and the stitches are loops. Crocheting, on the other hand, is done with just one crochet hook and the stitches resemble small knots. The resulting projects look different, too.
Knitting can be easier to learn because only two stitches are used: the knit stitch and purl stitch. It’s a very logical craft – knitters move stitches from one needle to the other, then back again. The loops remain on the needles which makes for very organized projects. Stitches look like straight lines or little V’s.
Crochet stitches build from each other and range from very short and small (chain stitch) to very tall and twisty (triple crochet). In between are other stitches, the most common being the single crochet and double crochet stitches. Stitches are bumpier and more textured.
Comparing Crocheting (left) vs. Knitting (right)
Knitting is great for items that need delicate stitches such as soft sweaters or fluffy cowls. Crocheting is perfect for when bulkier stitches are needed – hats, scarves or dishtowels.
Knitting is your craft if you:
Have patience – Knitting projects can take more time and be more detailed (the stitches are also smaller!)
Want to save money (but only to buy expensive yarn) – crochet projects take a third more yarn
Prefer logical projects and directions
Want to enjoy an extensive library of patterns – knitting patterns can be more popular and more readily available than crochet patterns
What you’ll need: yarn + knitting needles (size 11 for beginners)
Crochet is your craft if:
Quick projects excite you (bigger stitches = projects work up faster)
You aren’t afraid of making mistakes – it’s easier to rip out work or fix a mixed stitch
Your mind works spatially – you like going up, down and around or over
You’re creative – crochet patterns can be scarcer to find and you might have to forge your own path
What you’ll need: “normal sized” yarn + a crochet needle (size H for beginners)
I learned to crochet when I was 8 so it’s my first love and I’m obviously biased, but knitting is a close second! If you’re adventurous, I’d recommend trying both crafts and seeing what you like. I’ve taught both to friends and it seems to be an individual basis of what is easier or harder – some people hate the structured stitches of knitting, while others find crocheting too cumbersome and need boundaries.
If I had to recommend just one, I’d recommend knitting since it tends to be easier for people to pick up quickly.
Either way, you can’t go wrong! Which one have you tried?
For 8 reasons why crochet is better than knitting, read here.
THE most random experience of my life began a few months back on November 23, 2015. A few days before Thanksgiving, I received this email:
I work on the Casting Team at Condé Nast Entertainment, which is the digital arm of all of the Condé Nast brands (GQ, Wired, Vogue, Glamour, etc). Condé Nast Entertainment is producing a cool video for The Scene and is looking for people who can do things impressively and incredibly fast with their hands. This will likely shoot at our studio in downtown Manhattan.
We would love to have you casted in our video for Speed Crocheting.
Speed crrocheting? Yes please.
This could be fake.
NYC? How cool!
Wait, how did they find me?
I reeeeeally hope this isn’t fake and/or an elaborate plot to kidnap me.
So I replied and chatted with the recruiter. They wanted to plan something for December. Didn’t hear details so sent a follow-up email cause if there was speed crocheting happening, you’d better believe I wanted to be a part of it.
Then in February, things got real.
They sent a few dates when other fast-fingered-friends (a Yo-Yo guy, fast clapper and a fast pizza maker) would be filming in NYC and asked which date would be best. March 4th, 2016. It was settled. They booked me a flight, sent me a hotel reservation and told me they’d see me in a few.
People have asked how they found me and I don’t know. If I had to guess, I’d say they saw this 5 year old video of me speed crocheting and thought I’d do. (I laugh thinking how I do SEO for a Fortune 500 company so it’s literally my job to optimize content; the other three speed crocheters never stood a chance.)
Leading up to my departure, I FaceTimed with the Producer and his assistant, Jeff and Joe, and they asked what I could make in about 2 minutes. They suggested a coaster or a circle. I said, “How about a flower?” Their reactions were the most excited I’d ever seen two men get about crocheting. “A FLOWER?!” Uh yeah, sure, I told them, 2 mins is enough time to make a flower.
A flower it would be.
I got a call from Marco, the prop guy, and we talked about colors of yarn and what he could buy. I asked what I should wear. He said there was no wardrobe guy. Fair enough, Marco, my hands will be the main focus. I told him I’d get a manicure instead of a new outfit and awkwardly laughed.
The filming was on Friday at 2pm so I arrived Thursday night. I had Friday morning in midtown to myself and couldn’t be more excited to explore the city alone. (My sister was planning to come, but with the short notice, I couldn’t convince her to buy a $550 plane ticket.)
Friday morning, I woke up at 6am, walked .75 miles to Times Square to watch Good Morning America film. I met Robin Roberts when she came to greet the fans. Hearing I was from Pittsburgh, she responded, “WTAE!!!” Heck yes, Robin – WTAE!!
I then picked up $17 tickets to see Les Mis (thanks to my friends at GMA who gave me the tip on Broadway for Broke people and cheap same-day tickets), treated myself to brunch of eggs benny (my fav), and headed off to Conde Naste’s studios.
I got lost trying to take the subway there, but they’re right next to the World Trade Center Memorial. I went up, saw the studio, met a bunch of people and they told me to stand behind a table and crochet while they shot aerially.
Um, I don’t crochet standing up. That’s crazy.
So they got me a chair and I repositioned myself. But to be honest, it still wasn’t great. As any crocheter will attest, when you crochet your elbows rest almost at your hips, hands at about mid-stomach level. Normal. To get a shot, they had me stretch out my hands so they were centered over a table. Elbows on the table.
Imagine telling a basketball player they had to shoot free throws sitting down at the foul line. Same thing. Possible, but awkward. It was strange and I’ll admit didn’t set me up to do my best. I was dropping stitches and wasn’t as fast as I’d been practicing.
It was still great, though, and the camera man said my skill was the one he was most excited to see.
After 8 or so takes of crocheting in a silent studio of 10 men watching, it was a wrap. They did one final take with just sound to get the sound of the yarn scratching over my hook. Marco the prop guy fed me the yarn as I was crocheting so it looked like the yarn was almost appearing out of nowhere. So fancy!
Conde Naste paid me $200/hour, said thanks and I left.
And here it is!! My 1 minute, 43 seconds of fame. Enjoy.
After filming, I made my way (yarn and hooks in tow like a bag lady) to McSorely’s, the oldest Irish pub in NYC (thanks for the recco, boss). I sat down, ordered light beer–you’re given a choice between light and dark–and also got the fish ‘n chips.
I’m fine traveling and eating by myself and was enjoying the atmosphere.
Before my meal arrived, an elderly gentleman wandered over and sat down. I heard his life story. Turns out, he was an 86 year old actor and we joked about him being old, his kids never visiting and his wife who attends two Broadway shows a week. God bless NYC.
I spent the rest of the weekend putzing around NYC doing touristy stuff. Stayed in Times Square, read in Central Park. Took selfies at the MoMa, devoured Shake Shack and muddied my way through the subway. It was a fantastically relaxing weekend. I even got to see an old friend, Sam, though we took zero pictures to prove it.
Overall, one of the most bizarre, thrilling moments of my life. I told my mom this trip was a clear picture of how God blesses us. This trip served no purpose besides bringing me joy. I wasn’t saving lives, I was crocheting. A talent God gave me and led me to discover when I was 8 years old. It’s as though He thought up something that I would LOVE and made it happen–just for the fun of it.
Crocheting has marked many seasons of my life.
I remember dealing with death when my crocheter teacher lost her battle with cancer four months after we had our first lesson. I remember recovering from scoliosis surgery when I was 14 and crocheting while learning to walk again. I think back to long drives I made in college to go to craft shows. I remember moving yarn to each new home. I think of the conversations I’ve had with The Knotty Knitters. God’s given me so many good, sweet moments in life and some of the big ones have been marked by this simple hook-and-needle craft.
Thankful I can add this crochet weekend in NYC as another reminder in my life of God’s faithfulness.