Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Question from Reader: Crocheting in Circles

I thought maybe I would spend some of that time making some 'chemo' caps in honor of Kim (and of course Pamela!). I have never crocheted in rounds, usually holding my crocheting to things like afghans and scarfs.... which brings me to the question I have for you! Do you know of a free (or know where I can purchase) a good -beginner- pattern for a cap? ~astaryth

Astaryth it's good to hear from you; Happy New Year!   I also think it's wonderful that you're thinking of crocheting some chemo caps in honor of Kim and Pamela. 

Crocheting in circles is, IMHO, addictive -- especially when it comes to creating hats & caps for those in need.  They work up so quickly once you unlock the mystery of how they're created! 

Prior to starting your pattern I suggest pre-reading the instructions to understand what type of circle it is that you'll be creating.  It will either be a circle worked in "rows" -- where each round is completed by joining to the top of a turning/lifting chain with a slip stitch, and then creating new lifting/turning chains for the next round -- OR it will be a circle that coils around and around and around, much like a shell one would find on a beach or in a tourist shop.

one of the many chemo caps Dee has donated over the years

Is there a benefit of one type of circle over another?  Yes and no; each circle has it's beauty, and each has a drawback -- it is in understanding the type of circle that makes each fun to create.  Take the completed each round circle.  When you're done with each round, you're done; there's no second guessing.  With the circle that coils around -- using a stitch marker is HIGHLY recommended; forget where you are it could mean disaster. 

Does this mean the coil version is not a good choice?  No!  The beauty of the coil version is that there are no unsightly turning chains!  So really, it comes down to what the individual crocheter likes.  My personal favorite is the circle that coils around as I can continue on without having to break my rhythm to create turning/lifting chains -- I'm one of those crocheters who like to go! go! go! once started.  {VBG}

How to CrochetDoes this mean I've always been good at crocheting circles?  Goodness no!  It takes practice -- and no matter which circle you decide to use -- it also takes serious counting of those stitches a must!  Too few stitches will cause the work to cup, and too many stitches will cause it to ripple. 

So, now that you know that there are two types of crochet circles involved in making hats (as well as many other items), and that counting is a must, you're good to go! go! go! too!    You can practice with my Textured Child's Spiral Hat pattern here, google other patterns available on the Internet, or check out various books available on the market and at your local library.  The caps I crocheted for Pamela, that she loved so much, can be found here: Lacy Chemo Cap.  One of the best books available with detailed information on crocheting circles is Pauline Turner's "How toCrochet" book.

Remember, Astaryth, I warned that crocheting caps is addictive -- I've crocheted nearly 50 chemo caps since mid-December!  Crocheting chemo caps in Kim's and Pamela's memory is a wonderful thing to do.  I'll crochet up some in their memory too.   :)


Anonymous said...

Dee, I was going to ask you if I could use your pattern for chemo caps in my new group Needlecrafts? I am starting for charities at church. Im just now in the beginning stages and Im looking for easy patterns and yours was my sister Jerris favorite cap to wear. She loved it, one of the last pictures I have of her she is wearing your cap you made her. She says she liked the ones I made too but she really enjoyed the one you made:) Oh what a great year to start off with chemo caps I pray there will come a day where we will not have to make them ever again! Gods Blessings, Sherri

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dee! I'm going out this afternoon and I'll be picking up at least one ball of yarn to give the Lacy cap pam liked a try. I knew you would be the perfect person to ask!