Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Scrap-Buster Hats

Hat I made before I decided to write a pattern
Scrap-Buster Hats

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Creative Commons License
For personal use, gifting, and donation only. If you are involved in an animal charity, please contact me with details of the charity and event for permission to sell for fund-raising. Please do not sell or duplicate this pattern in whole or in part, claim any part of this pattern to be your own or ever use items made from this pattern for personal gain.

A pattern/tutorial for using up those scraps to make FUNky hats for the whole family!

Skill level: 
Easy/Intermediate (easy stitches, but some knowledge of regular decreasing required)

All sizes

We're not going to use gauge! We're going to measure our heads and go from there!

- 1-2 ounces of a worsted weight yarn for the band (depending on size)
- Scrap worsted weight Yarn of whatever amounts for the rest
- H or I hook (or whatever hook you find more comfortable with the yarn you are using)
- Measuring Tape
- Tapestry needle
- Scissors
- Patience (if your scraps are in as bad a mess as mine!)
- Nimble Fingers (see Patience)

Abbreviations Used:
sc... Single Crochet
hdc... Half Double Crochet
ch... Chain
sl st... Slip Stitch
BLO... Back Loop Only
FO... Finish Off aka Cut it!

Other hat I made before I decided to write a pattern
Useful Information: 
Common head circumferences by age (thanks to Tot Toppers for their online head-size survey)
Newborn: 13.5/34
3 months: 16/41
6 months: 17/43
12 months: 18/46
2 years: 19/48
3-5 years: 20/51
6-10 years: 21/53
Adult Small: 22/56
Adult Medium: 23/58
Adult Large: 24/61

If you don't have a head handy to measure, go by this. Unless you are breeding giants, it should work out.

Major Life Decision:
To sew ends or crochet them in. My opinion: sewn ends are always more professional. If you are making this hat as a gift for that critical mother-in-law type person, I'd sew the ends. If this is going to be your kid's favorite hat and it will need to be washed often, sew them in. If you are just making hats to be making them and someone might or might not like it and might or might not wear it, crochet them in. If you are a big risk-taker who buys lottery tickets and exceeds the speed limit and lets the dog eat off your fork, crochet them in. If your family and friends have a bunch of hats already cause you can't stop making things (like me) then crochet them in and take your chances. In your own house, if those ends start popping out, you can always sew them in later (with a trim and some spit) or just cut them off. Or tie two of them in knots and trim that. There are lots of ways of getting around sewing ends. I am sure you know even more. But that's just my opinion, about the professional thing. The rest is pure, undeniable fact. And remember there will be 2 ends to every color change, though. That's like an hour, hour and a half of sewing ends when you're done. You know what? Just crochet them in. Who are we kidding? This isn't a chapel ceiling. It's a ridiculous-looking hat that is gonna get your kid teased on the school bus.

Toddler girl hat
Note about hook preference aka Utter Nonsense:
Two very common yarns used by a lot of people (and they are cheap so more likely carelessly tossed into scrap boxes like mine) are Redheart Super Saver and Caron Simply Soft. These are 2 yarns I would not normally mix, but it the case of these hats I took my chances. I prefer an I hook for the RH and an H hook for the Caron (the labels may even say that and I probably knew that at one time back when labels were important), so I kind of had to suck it when I threw in rounds of Caron among RH and other thicker worsteds when I had already started with the I hook. 'Is there such a thing as a thicker worsted?' you ponder. I do, too, but there is. Even different colorways and different lots of the same colorways of RHSS are all different thicknesses, though they are all classified as worsted. This is because here in America, little emphasis is placed on WPI. All the emphasis is all placed on how many strands were twisted together, regardless of how bushy or sleek the individual strands became when they were put through the ringer and treated with cheap, smelly dyes. When you foray into foreign yarns, non-acrylic yarns, non-common yarns, hand-spun and other specialty yarns, you will begin to notice WPI on labels. This refers to Wraps Per Inch- how many times you can wrap the yarn going one way around somethingorother for an inch of width. RH and Caron are both made in the US, so they don't use WPI (even though Inch is almost exclusively an American measurement nowadays, but let's not think about that aspect of it as your ears will begin to smoke). I Love This Yarn is made in Turkey but sold exclusively in the US, so they also don't use WPI, either. This is all VERY important, isn't it? And I am sure it is all scientifically accurate and I am not just sharing my impressions without any true research or fact checking. I would never do that. After all, you can't make this hat without knowing all this stuff and having more to think about than to untangle tediously or to just snip. Or perhaps I am just rambling because I would rather type than dig into that scary box of scraps to actually begin this Tutorial. But since we mentioned the age-old delimna of untangle or snip, woe is the person that ends up with Caron SS in the scrap box because that stuff COMES tangled. It is just waiting for you to turn your back so it can tie itself into a few more knots. Caron Simply Soft, famous for vomiting your core for the person with enough folly to believe its claim of center-pull convenience, we still like you because you are shiny and soft and come in pretty colors. Redheart Super Saver, we secretly detest you but we buy you anyway because Walmart sells you cheap and we don't feel so bad if we pick up 4 or 5 of you at 7oz each which would cost the same as 2 3.5oz Vanna Whites or another actually almost-decent yarn made from petro-chemicals. We dream of someday being fiber snobs and not using anything that didn't come from a plant or animal, but until then we will continue to buy you, use what we need, and chuck the rest of you in the scrap box because you are worthless to us until we come across patterns like this one that help us ease our guilt a little and feel creative at our ability to group colors effectively. Ok. I will shut up now. Let's make some hats.

*A* Box of Scraps
Pilot: Mother, what is this mess? I get in trouble for this sort of mayhem!
Me: Don't strew any of that! If you want to strew yarn, go look on the floor under the worktable.
 Yes, that means I have more than one box of scraps. I chose this one because it is the most organized.That means I combined other boxes into this one by mashing down really really hard.

To begin:

I am going to be making 3 hats simultaneously. One will be bright, boy colors. One will be pastel colors and bright girl colors mixed together. The third will be dark stuff and neutrals- closer to being dignified like a grown-up (who is boring and perhaps does not care to be stared at in public) would wear. I will just be yanking whatever out of the scrap box and adding it on whichever hat it matches. YES you have to consider, at some point, that this bit isn't very long better save it for the pointy end. There might be some trial and error when gross overestimation occurs. It happens. Yank it out and pick something else for that round. It's not the end of the world. It's a hat, not an afghan. You haven't lost that much time. And I only really have one rule: Don't put 2 variegated yarns touching.

We are going to start by picking out some colors in these categories for our beginning hat bands. I will dip into my actual stash for these because I do not want to have to try to hide ends on this part of the hat. You do it how you want to do it. I will not judge. How could I? Did you just see that picture up there?

Neutral, boy, girl

I like a wide band. You don't have to do a wide band. I will tell you what I do and you do what you do. This is scraps, after all. We are not trying to create a masterpiece. We are trying to make something not garbage from stuff that should probably be considered garbage.

Instructions are written for baby/child with changes for (adult) in parenthesis.

The Band:
Chain 11(13).
Row 1- sc in 2nd chain from hook and in each chain across. Ch1, turn. [10(12)sc]
Row 2- sc in BLO each sc across. Ch1, turn.
Repeat row 2 until your hat band measures to 1/2inch(1 inch) less than fit chosen head.

Tip: End with tails on the same side so you can hide them easier!

Match ends and sl st across to seam. FO.

My bands... ready to become hats

The Body:
Round 1- Join scrap color with a sl st at the seam. Ch2. HDC in the end of each band row around, hiding those ends as you go. Join with a sl st to the beginning ch2. FO.
Round 2- Join next scrap color with a sl st. Ch2. Hdc in each hdc, (hiding ends- not gonna keep repeating this- you get the idea) around. Join with a sl st to beginning ch2. FO.
Round 3-6- Repeat Round 2 (4) more times.
Adult sizes only- Repeat Round 2 (twice) more (for a total of 8 even hdc rounds)

Baby boy hat
What does it mean to decrease? Decrease means to turn two stitches into one. It's two stitches at the bottom and 1 stitch at the top. In this hat pattern, we are turning 2hdc into 1hdc. To hdc2tog (half double crochet two together) aka DECREASE, you will yarn over, insert hook in the first stitch, yarn over and pull through 2. Yarn over and insert hook into the next stitch, Yarn over and pull through all loops on hook.
Round 7(9)- Join next scrap color with a sl st. Ch2. Hdc around, decreasing every 7(9) stitches. Join with a sl st to beginning ch2. FO.

Note: It doesn't matter if it's not exact and there are stitches left over. The effect will be the same by the time you braid the end closed. 

Round 8(10)- Join next scrap color with a sl st. Ch2. Hdc around. Join with a sl st to beginning ch2. FO.
Round 9(11)- Join next scrap color with a sl st. Ch2. Hdc around, decreasing every 6(8) stitches. Join with a sl st to beginning ch2. FO.
Round 10(12)- Repeat round 8(10)
Round 11(13)- Join next scrap color with a sl st. Ch2. Hdc around, decreasing every 5(7) stitches. Join with a sl st to beginning ch2. FO.
Round 12(14)- Repeat round 8(10)
Round 13(15)- Join next scrap color with a sl st. Ch2. Hdc around, decreasing every 4(6) stitches. Join with a sl st to beginning ch2. FO.
Round 14(16)- Repeat round 8(10)
Round 15(17)- Join next scrap color with a sl st. Ch2. Hdc around, decreasing every 3(5) stitches. Join with a sl st to beginning ch2. FO.
Round 16(18)- Repeat round 8(10)
Round 17(19)- Join next scrap color with a sl st. Ch2. Hdc around, decreasing every 2(4) stitches. Join with a sl st to beginning ch2. FO.
Round 18(20)- Repeat round 8(10)

For Baby/Child Sizes Only:
Round 19- Join next scrap color with a sl st. Ch2. Decrease around. Join with a sl st to beginning ch2. FO.
Round 20- Repeat round 8, leaving end tail 1.25feet long.

'Dignified' Adult Hat
For Adult Sizes Only:
Round 21- Join next scrap color with a sl st. Ch2. Hdc around, decreasing every 3 stitches. Join with a sl st to beginning ch2. FO.
Round 22- Repeat round 10.
Round 23- Join next scrap color with a sl st. Ch2. Hdc around, decreasing every 2 stitches. Join with a sl st to beginning ch2. FO.
Round 24- Repeat round 10.
Round 25- Join next scrap color with a sl st. Ch2. Decrease around. Join with a sl st to beginning ch2. FO.
Round 24- Repeat round 10, leaving end tail 1.5 feet long.

The Braid:
Cut 24(30) pieces of various yarns 2.5(3)feet long. Using your hook to pull through, distribute pieces as evenly as possible around top opening of hat, pulling to match ends as you go. Divide evenly into 3 groups (there will be an extra one because of the long tail you left, so 16, 17, 16 -or- 20, 21, 20... or, you know, whatever...). I try to mix them up here- not get all the blue, for example, into one braid. Braid to near the ends and knot tightly. Trim the fringe evenly.

Alternatively, you could make a solid braid to match (or not match) the hat band.

Okay, Guys! I get asked A LOT about how to add the braid. Let's look at the instructions literally: 
Using your hook to pull through,  This is telling you to pull the yarn THROUGH stitches. Which stitches? The obvious last stitches since you just stitched those. 
distribute pieces as evenly as possible around top opening of hat, Again- the last stitches. Distributing evenly? Because you have more pieces of yarn than you have stitches. Some stitches will have more than one piece of yarn threaded through 
 pulling to match ends as you go. This is pretty much telling you that you don't need to do anything but just make sure they are all even. 
Got it? If not then go here and do them like this: Attaching Fringe to a Scarf (or a hat, as the case may be) It will be more bulky but maybe it will make more sense to see pictures. 

Really, though, just think of the SIMPLEST POSSIBLE WAY you can get a long of long pieces of yarn to hang, pretty much all the same length, off the end of something and do that.

Go back and sew in those millions of ends if you are the ambitious sort and decided not to just stitch them in.

If you've gotten this far and got here to start with because of my dog sweater patterns, you are saying to yourself 'gee this seems familiar'. Yep. What can I say? I like the half-double crochet. It's mah thang.

Self-striping yarn (probably bought on clearance) alternative:
Hat that started this entire nonsense
Because that stuff looks like plain old variegated yarn crocheted in dc and hdc and shells. Stop doing that, people! There is no excuse for it! If you can't knit, at least crochet self-striping in single crochet!

Proceed EXACTLY the same, only using SC (single crochet) throughout. Double the rounds for the even (non-decrease) rounds (you will now have 12/16 instead of 6/8) then do 3 even rounds after each decrease round. AND just crochet in the round instead of joining, so whip out that stitch marker if you can't see where the seam is down there. That is all. You will end with 40(48) rounds doing it this way, but it's totally worth it to get your money's worth out of this yarn that costs twice as much for half as many ounces.

Actually, those Lion Brand self-striping tweeds and the I Love This Yarn paint stripes are like 2 of my favorite yarns ever. I would crochet underwear out of the ILTY stuff, though.   


  1. I really like this hat. You have spun gold out of straw :-)

  2. Awesome hat! Love it! :) :)
    Lee Ann
    My blog: Crochet...Gotta Love It!
    Crochet...Gotta Love It!
    My website: Crochet...Gotta Love It!
    Crochet...Gotta Love It!

  3. I LOVE these hats and can't wait to try one for myself! I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed your commentary before the pattern - you are a real stitch! Have you ever considered writing a book? I would buy it! I especially love the part about Caron SS 'vomiting your core'!
    Thank you so much for sharing your lovely pattern and your precious wit! Happy Stitching!!

  4. I just sat here and read your "Major Life Decision" section to my teenage son, and we both laughed our heads off. Thanks! And I can't wait to make these hats -- I have been searching for a GOOD scrap pattern for months, and this one is great.

  5. LOL I just read "Major Life Decision" to my 9 yr old and she and I had a great laught as well!! I, too, have a box full of Simply Soft vomit. Might need to dig in and make one or two of these very cool-looking hats. Thanks for a nifty hat pattern and a great read!

    1. Loved the part about the Caron SS too lol! That and the one time I bought Herrshners brand yarn without knowing how it was... I have a bag of those two sitting there probably making the biggest yarn knot known as we speak.

  6. LOVE your pattern and even more so LOVE your sense of humor....letting out the dirty little secret of why we buy cheap RH yarn - too, too true! Thanks for sharing all of it.

  7. I really like this pattern, I'm going to try it out. But I just had to stop and comment because you are so funny!!!!


  9. Tempting me to delve under my stairs, into boxes long hidden, seeking scraps. Enjoyed reading this so much!

  10. alittle more info on attaching the braid to hat please?

    1. "Using your hook to pull through, distribute pieces as evenly as possible around top opening of hat, pulling to match ends as you go." Simply thread them through the ends of the stitches.

  11. first hat is wonderful and very popular when given to my daughter! thanks for your help and posting the patterin!

  12. Thank you so much for sharing! My grandchildren are going to love this hat (I have 9 and lots of scraps!!)

  13. I made this in couple of hours. I love it!! Thanks!

  14. Love this pattern! Hope you won't mind me linking tomorrow at Tangled Happy. Thanks for sharing this! :)

  15. Am in the process of making this hat and am loving the brim. Haven't decided on which scraps that I will use, but it will be great fun! Thanks for your wittiness. It was fun to read what you wrote.

  16. Very inspiring. Now I have motivation to clean out my hauls of scrap yarn. I added a link to this on the crochettalk.com forum and a link to you tube video showing how to do a russian join so you don't have a million ends to weave in.It is a knotless join for knitting and crochet. Here's the link to the russian join technique on Youtube.


    1. Thanks for sharing with my readers. I use this method when needing to start a new skein while knitting. Personally, I find it less desireable than sewing ends in crochet because you have the same number of needle-threadings, sewing into a single strand is more difficult to do neatly, the result can be bulky with some yarns, and the placement is iffy when starting a different color. I am sure some people will find it useful, though!

  17. You are amazingly awesome & hilarious just thought you should know :) <3

  18. Is it possible to make the band and attach it to a hat at the end rather then start out with the band and work from there? Thanks!

    1. Why in the world would you want to do that? LOL

  19. This is so awesome! I have to make one, right now. LOL Thank you for sharing it!

  20. Is it crazy that I want to go buy yarn to make this hat? Someone stop me!

  21. You are such a hoot! It makes crocheting a hat so much fun! Thanks for sharing your great sense of humor and pattern.

  22. I'm always looking for something to do with my 'scraps' so, of course, I took a look at your pattern. I was laughing so hard about to-sew or not-to-sew in the ends. After reading all of your commentary I decided this hat is a MUST DO to add to my list. Thank you so much for posting!


  23. Hi! Thanks for sharing the pattern! I've made three hats for charity using your pattern, just slightly modified it to make it look like a gnome hat: http://crochetomania.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/hat-mood-charity-and-some-scrap-buster.html

    1. Everyone be sure to check out Darya's small alterations to this hat! (^that URL up there!^ Cut and paste!) It looks WONDERFUL! I also like what she did with the colors! Thanks so much for sharing, Darya! I am going to make one of these for my new granddaughter!

  24. I would like to print off the pattern for this crazy hat, but I can't seem to do it without all the side notes printing, too. Any advice?

    1. Saving Patterns Help is at the top of the blog.

  25. Love this post. I love making something out of next-to-nothing. And I really like your writing style. Never be afraid of giving your opinion. Laughed out loud about making undies out of ILTY . I would do that. 'Cuz I do love that yarn. :-)

  26. This is the first hat I've made using crochet and it turned out so professional looking and lovely! I must admit I didn't use scraps (I'm still learning so I don't have that much) but your tutorial was so great I just had to say a big thank you!

  27. OMG !! You are hilariously funny besides being generous and talented. I had to read your tutorial to my husband. You had us both laughing. I look forward to making the hats to give to Helpline for Christmas 2014. Thank you again for your sense of humor and generosity.

  28. I know what I am going to crochet at the ball field today!

  29. You are one hilarious lady!!! I still have tears of laughter in my eyes after reading about Caron SS being "famous for vomiting your core for the person with enough folly to believe in its claims of center-pull convenience"!!! YESSS!! Despite many, many dealings with "core vomiting," only today I recklessly squandered several precious hours of my life attempting to wind off several skeins of CSS with a ball winder - via the infamous core. Yep, pre-tangled, every one. Only by the final skein did I give up and wind off the outside, defeated and humiliated. But hope springs eternal and I know I still have "folly enough to believe" . . .