Speed Crocheting & A Little Energy Savings

I have a friend who has a friend who has a coworker who works at an energy company.

When I found this out, my first question was, “So tell me, is it better to keep my apartment cold while I’m at work, then crank it 10 degrees when I get home or should I keep it moderately warm during the day?” He told me it’s better to keep it cold, then warm it up.

jayna grassel fastest crocheter

Which means my apartment is a cool 53 degrees when I’m gone. I bump it up to 64 when I get home from work, but it’s a little frigid, brr. I keep whatever crochet project I’m working on in a basket in my living room so while my place warms up, I’ll work a few rows (and keep my hat on because again, brr).

My friends call me cheap for living in the cold, I call them fools for heating rooms when they’re not home. Since my apartment is over 100 years old, I’m always looking for ways to save a few bucks while staying warm.

When Duke Energy asked me to partner with them on an energy saving video, I was thrilled. I love saving money on my electric bill and of course, I love crocheting.

On a cold January evening, I literally packed a suitcase full of yarn (there wasn’t much room for anything else!), interspersed crochet hooks in my luggage in case TSA confiscated them (they didn’t, by the way – crochet hooks are fine to take on airplanes) and headed off to Boston.

The following morning, I found myself in Foxboro, Massachusetts working on an energy video and speed crocheting.

To prep for the shoot, I made three things:

  1. A chunky teal & green sweater (6 hours)
  2. A pair of mittens (20 mins)
  3. A draft door stopper (1 hour)

If you follow my blog, you know I like to stick to my hat-making so it was a treat to branch out and try new projects.

Making the video was SO MUCH FUN! We kept quoting the scene from Arrested Development where Lindsay and Tobias say, “…Cause then you have it,” when debating whether or not to take a particular shot. The team was incredible to work with and it was a full day for everyone. So much yarn everywhere.

Ironically, while we were making this video on how to winter-proof your home, Boston got slammed with the infamous Bombcyclone. This meant my flight the following morning was cancelled as feet of snow covered the city. I was stuck in my hotel room… with my crochet hooks… and tons of yarn… and a bottle of wine. I mean, I can think of worse ways to spend a Friday. J

I also got to do a little how-to video of working a front post double crochet. This is a stitch that works up nice and textured. It’s pretty similar to a double rochet, just worked around a stitch instead of in the top loops.

How to Make a Front Post Double Crochet

Pattern is worked across an odd number of stitches in the round. You can use any size hook and yarn, suitable for your project. I used worsted weight yarn and a size H hook.

Chain 10 + 2 (counts as first double crochet).

Rounds 1: Double crochet in each stitch across (11 double crochet). Turn work.

Rounds 2: Chain 2 (counts as first double crochet). Work front post double crochet into next stitch. Double crochet into next stitch. Repeat pattern across row, ending with a double crochet. (11 stitches). Turn work.

Rounds 3: Chain 2. Work double crochet into next stitch. Front post double crochet into next stitch. Repeat pattern across row, ending with two double crochet. (11 stitches). Turn work.

Repeat Rounds 2-3 for desired length.

I’m so thankful I got the chance to meet and work with some great people, sharing the craft I love and learning how to cut down on my heating bill.

You can check out the full write-up here (no judging!): https://illumination.duke-energy.com/articles/she-crochets-her-way-into-energy-savings

Energy efficiency tips provided by Duke Energy. Visit Energy.gov for more ways to save this winter.



How to Make a Faux Fur Pom-Pom for Knit & Crochet Hats

I’ve been crocheting and knitting so many hats it was hard to find pom-poms to top them all. I figured there HAD to be an easy and cheap way to make them myself. (Especially since each pre-made pom I was buying was close to $4!)

Learn to make a fur pom-pom

After reading a few blogs and trying different methods (circle vs. square), I found the best way to make faux fur pom-poms. 3 yards of faux fur later and it’s pom EVERYTHING.

Watch this one minute video to learn how to make a faux-fur pom yourself!


  • 6.5 inches faux fur (I purchased mine from JoAnn Fabric)
  • Polyfill (small handful)
  • Yarn (15 inches)
  • Big needle
  • Scissors

How to Make a Faux Fur Pom-Pom:

  1. Cut 6.5 inch circle from faux fur. (Tip: Cutting is easiest fur-side down. Pull ends gently to remove extra “fluff”.)
  2. Thread 15 inches yarn onto large needle.
  3. Sew big, 1 inch stitches around circle.
  4. Pull ends to form dome.
  5. Fill with polyfill. Pull ends of yarn as tight as you can.
  6. Close circle by sewing “X” across opening.
  7. Tie a tight knot.


How to Make a Faux Fur Pom-Pom

Step 1: Cut 6.5 inch circle from faux fur. 

Step 2: Thread 15 inches yarn onto large needle.

Step 3: Sew big, 1 inch stitches around circle.

Step 3: Sew big, 1 inch stitches around circle.

Step 4: How to Make a Faux Fur Pom-Pom

Step 4: Pull ends to form dome.

Step 5: How to Make a Faux Fur Pom-Pom

Step 5: Fill with polyfill. Pull ends of yarn as tight as you can.

Step 6: How to Make a Faux Fur Pom-Pom

Step 6: Close circle by sewing “X” across opening.

Step 7: How to Make a Faux Fur Pom-Pom

Step 7: Tie a tight knot.

Make a Fur Pom-Pom


Make a Faux Fur Pom-Pom for a Crochet Hat

Snowbird Crochet Hat – Free Pattern

I’ve got a confession. I recently purchased 2.65 miles (😮!!) of my favorite yarn, Lionbrand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick. I found “bonus pack” skeins from Michael’s and picked up oh, just a couple… It was too good of a sale to pass up!

I knew with all this yarn, I had to come up with a classic crochet pattern I’d like. Something that was quick to make, had texture and I wouldn’t get bored crocheting. And so after a few frogggings, the snowbird hat was born.

The hat is crocheted from the brim up. It uses half-herringbone double crochet and relies on decreasing to shape the top. It’s probably not good for beginners, but if you’ve been crocheting and are familiar with a few stitches and typical hat construction, give it a try!

crocheted ribbed hat brim


85 yards of chunky yarn – I used Lionbrand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Fisherman (1 skein)

Size K (6.5mm) crochet hook

Abbreviations & Special Stitches

HDC – half double crochet. Yarn over, insert hook into stitch. Yarn over, pull through one. Yarn over, pull through 3 loops.

HHDC – half herringbone double crochet. Yarn over, insert hook into stitch. yarn over, pull through 2 loops. Yarn over, pull through 2 loops.

SC2TOG – single crochet two together. Worked across two stitches: insert hook into first stitch, yarn over, pull through one. Insert hook into second stitch, yarn over, pull through one. Yarn over, pull through 3 loops.


Brim is worked by making a long, skinny band.

To begin the brim:

Chain 5 + 2 (counts as first HDC). Work 1HDC into each of 5 stitches across. [6 HDC]

Row 2 – 26: Ch 2 (counts as first HDC), turn. Working in back loops only, HDC into each stitch across. [6 HDC). This will give it a textured “ribbed” look.

Slip stitch short ends together. This is the brim of your hat!

crochet hat band bottom up

To begin the hat body: 

Hat is worked in the round, do not turn between Rounds.

Round 1: Chain 2 (counts as first HHDC, half herringbone double crochet). Working across long side of brim, work 39 HHDC. Join with slip stitch to top of chain 2. [40 HHDC]

Rounds 2 – 5: Chain 2, work HHDC in each stitch around. Join with slip stitch to top of chain 2.  [40 HHDC]

Round 6: Chain 2, work 7 HHDC. *SC2TOG, 8 HHDC*. Work from * to * around for 5 decreases. Join with slip stitch to top of chain 2. [35 HHDC] Note: HHDC stitches are the same height as SC so while it feels odd to use SC as a decrease  next to HHDC, it will look ok!

Rounds 7 – 9: Chain 2, work 4 HHDC. *SC2tog, 5 HHDC*. Work from * to * around. Join with slip stitch to top of chain 2.

Round 10: Chain 2, work one SC. *SC2tog, 2 HHDC*. Work from * to * around. Join with slip stitch to top of chain 2.

Round 11: To tightly close top of hat, work one slip stitch into every other stitch around.

Repeat Round 11 again if needed. About 5 stitches should be remaining.

Fasten off, leaving long tail. Sew top of hat closed. Attach a pom or leave plain – whatever you’d like!

chunky cream crochet hat

Wooden Tags for Hats

As you know, I’ve been knitting pom-pom hats like there’s no tomorrow. Big ones, small ones neutral and colorful. There was just one missing piece. Something that would make the hats more “finished” and professional.

Browsing other knitter’s and crocheter’s accounts on Instagram led me to All That Wood, a custom shop on Etsy that offers engraved tags in all shapes and sizes. Just what I wanted!

I ordered these tags: https://www.etsy.com/listing/497038802/product-tags-customized-with-your-text

And they’re PERFECT. They’re 0.5 x 1 Inch and I ordered 40 in cherry.

Ana was great and helped me find the right looking text for the tags. If you’re selling your hand-made goods or just giving them to friends, I’d highly recommend your DIY game by getting professionally made tags. They’re a great way to brand your company, do some word-of-mouth-marketing and they’re so stinking cute.

Cream Chunky Knit Cable Hat

chunky knit cream hat

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.

chunk knit cream hat pom pom

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.

pom pom knit hat

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. 

Hat for sale on Etsy: Chunky Cream Knit Hat with Pom-Pom ($30)

fuzzy pom pom knit hat

chunk knit hat with pom pom

Chunk Knit & Crochet Hats with Pom-Poms!

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…