Basic Crochet Hat Pattern

Okay, today is seriously cold here in east central Indiana–my dad’s weather station says it’s 23.9 degrees right now, but it feels much colder. So, with winter clearly rolling in, what better project to start than a winter hat?

My cousin, who has the most adorable twin baby girls, asked me to make a couple of winter hats for them this last week–and I have to say, I was pretty pleased with the outcome. 

how stinkin' cute is she?!
how stinkin’ cute is she?!

Winter hats are generally pretty simple to make. For a basic hat, you start at the top with a flat circle, increasing the size of the circle to a certain size, at which point you then stop increasing and work down the sides. The tricky part is knowing how big to make that top circle, and for that, this handy chart has been my best friend.

Okay, so let’s make a hat. My friend needs one, so I’ll make a basic gray one for him. According to that above chart, a hat for an adult male will need to start off with a flat circle that’s 7.5 to 8 inches in diameter, and will measure about 9.25 to 9.5 inches from top to bottom once it’s finished.

Honestly, you can use just about any yarn and hook, and any stitch. As long as you have a flat circle of the right size to begin with, you can’t really go wrong. Using chunky yarns and big hooks will mean you’ll work fewer rounds than I did here.

Basic Crochet Hat Pattern

ch = chain
sl st = slip stitch
dc = double crochet (US double crochet, UK treble crochet)

Make a magic loop.  Ch 3.

Round 1: 11 dc in the magic loop. Sl st to the top of the first ch 3 to close the circle. Pull the magic loop tight. (12 total dc, including the first ch 3.)

Round 1
Round 1

Round 2: Ch 3. Dc in the same dc. 2 dc in each dc around. Sl st into the first ch 3.  (24 total dc, including the first ch 3.)

Round 2
Round 2

Round 3: Ch 3. 2 dc in the next dc. **1 dc in the next dc, 2 dc in the next dc.** Repeat from ** around.  Sl st into the first ch 3. (36)

Round 4: Ch 3. 1 dc in the next dc. 2 dc in the next dc. **1 dc in each of the next 2 dc, 2 dc in the next dc.** Repeat from ** around. Sl st into the first ch 3. (48)

Round 5: Ch 3. 1 dc in each of the next 2 dc. 2 dc in the next dc. **1 dc in each of the next 3 dc, 2 dc in the next dc.** Repeat from ** around. Sl st into the first ch 3. (60)

Round 6: Ch 3. 1 dc in each of the next 3 dc. 2 dc in the next dc. **1 dc in each of the next 4 dc, 2 dc in the next dc.** Repeat from ** around. Sl st into the first ch 3. (72)

Working round 6
Working round 6

Round 7: Ch 3. 1 dc in each of the next 4 dc. 2 dc in the next dc. **1 dc in each of the next 5 dc, 2 dc in the next dc.** Repeat from ** around. Sl st into the first ch 3. (84)

(Noticing a pattern yet? Continue, adding a stitch to the pattern in each round, until your circle is the right size. This pin might help you visualize what you’re doing. At the end of each round,  your total number of stitches should be a multiple of 12. I’m making a hat for a man, so according to this chart, my flat circle needs to be between 7.5 and 8 inches in diameter. 7 rounds got me to 7.5 inches. You may need fewer or more rounds, depending on the size of your hat and the weight of your yarn.)

Got your circle to the right size? Awesome. Now we start building up the sides.

Building up the sides of the hat
Building up the sides of the hat

Rounds 8 and on: **Ch 3. Dc in each dc around. Sl st to the first ch 3.** Repeat until the hat height is correct, and feel free to change out colors at the end of any round to make stripes. (My men’s hat should be between 9.25 and 9.5 inches from the top of the crown–the center of my magic loop–to the bottom edge.)

Ta-da! Your hat is finished. Stay warm out there!

A chunkier hat I made for myself
A chunkier hat I made for myself

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I get this question a lot less frequently than I do this one about crochet–but it’s an important one for me, and lately I’ve been thinking about it quite a lot. I honestly can’t remember a single aha! moment as a child when I discovered my love for books and reading. Instead, I remember the books which moved me, opened my eyes, and made me wonder.

I was a voracious reader as a kid–annoyingly so to my family. I read at the dinner table, in the bathtub, everywhere. My parents, though of course thrilled that I was a reader, would get understandably frustrated when I sat down to dinner with a book in front of my face. To make matters worse, I have a strangely intense focus when it comes to reading, or even watching a good TV show or movie–I get so drawn into the story, I simply do not hear the people around me, even if they’re saying my name. It takes serious concentration on my part to break away from a good story, a trait which has caused me some grief. The people around me often think I’m ignoring them when in fact I didn’t even register that they were speaking to me in the first place. Anyway, back to me reading.

My elementary school had a Talented and Gifted program (TAG) which both my older brother and I were a part of. When my brother was in the sixth grade, his TAG class read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, and the following year my third-grade-self found it in the school library and decided that I ought to read it, as well. I pulled it off the shelf and took it to the librarian to check out. She peered over her glasses, glancing from the book cover to me.

wrinkle in time

“This book isn’t for third graders.”

I, being the awkwardly shy little person I was, said nothing.

“You probably won’t understand it.”


“Are you sure you want to check it out?”

I nodded.

And so began my love affair with Madeleine L’Engle’s books (as well as my long-standing distrust of school librarians).

I remember this incident so vividly, perhaps because of my own persistence in the matter. I really was an awkwardly shy kid, always going along with whatever was asked of me, and I think this was one of the first times I stood up and defied an adult–even in my own silent little way. And when I read A Wrinkle in Time and not only understood, but loved it, I felt vindicated in my defiance of the librarian’s recommendation.

So, I was clearly a reader. But writing? I do remember the first moment I discovered that gift and was encouraged in it. It was in TAG again, and once again, in the third grade. Mrs. Watson showed us a painting and asked us to write a paragraph describing it. The painting itself was fairly obscure, if I remember right–there was a lot of blue, and what looked like a light shining through mist. So I named it “A Misty Morning” and wrote about the little house with a single light on which I imagined existed behind all that blue fog. When I received my graded paper back, Mrs. Watson’s comments were glowing. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I do remember that she was enthusiastic in her praise and encouragement–and that I realized, in reading her comments, my love of writing.

The moral of this story, I suppose, is in how we as parents, educators, and role models respond to young people when it comes to reading and writing. If I had let the librarian talk me out of reading that particular book, or if Mrs. Watson had been less encouraging of my work, my life might have followed quite a different path.

Where did you learn to crochet?

I get this question all the time. Pinterest seems to have piqued a lot of people’s interest in crochet, as well as other domestic-y activities–but I first picked up a crochet hook several years before the Pinterest-verse exploded.

My freshman year of college, back in the dark ages of 2006, there were several girls in my dorm who crocheted. They made such colorful blankets and throws out of such beautiful yarn, and I’ve always been a pretty crafty person, so I decided to give it a try myself. My mom, who had learned as a kid, was able to show me the rudimentary idea–but there was a lot she couldn’t remember. So, she picked up this kid’s book on learning to crochet, and I took it from there.

Now, my first few years of crocheting were full of fits and starts. I would pick up a project for a little while, get frustrated, and leave it in the closet for the next three months. I think one of the biggest mistakes I made in my early crochet career was that I nearly always tackled big projects–blankets and throws, rugs, etc. This is a huge mistake for the beginning crocheter. Even now, I rarely take on big projects like that, and when I do, I try to chop them up into smaller bits. Because just like every other big project in life (writing and noveling included), you have to be able to meet goals, see progress, and get a sense of accomplishment now and then in order to keep going with a big crochet project. That’s why granny square blankets are so great–you win a small victory every time you complete a square, and that sense of accomplishment keeps you motivated and working toward the bigger goal.

I really got into crochet in graduate school, when I met my roommate, Kayla. Our favorite way to de-stress after class was to sit in the living room with a bottle of wine, our crochet projects, and an episode of NCIS on the television. Yes, we were twenty-three-year-old-grandmothers, and yes, we were awesome.

It was during one of these evenings that I found this pattern for crochet sunglasses cases on Pinterest. I absolutely adore this project–it’s small, simple, practical, and oh-so-cute. Check out my own well-worn case:

sunglasses case 4 sunglasses case 1

I tweaked the original pattern a bit, to fit my yarn/hook/sunglasses, but it’s essentially the same. I make these little cases all the time for my friends and family–they’re great gifts, and you can whip one up in less than an hour.

So, if you’re just learning to crochet, here’s my advice: start small. Go ahead and inundate your friends and family with all the homemade washcloths and coasters and sunglasses cases they could possibly need. Because especially when you’re just starting out, you’re going to need that sense of accomplishment that comes from finishing a project.