Saturday, July 2, 2011

Baby Beanies and Working in the Round

I have recently found reason to crochet a couple of beanies for baby-sized heads. There are over a hundred free beanie patterns out there and I spent a great deal of time sorting through them. I found two patterns that I thought I'd share here for those who are looking for cute, classic styles.

 These two patterns are easy to follow and, as you can judge from the picture, simple, classic styles that can be easily adapted for your own style/color/ideas. The basic baby-sized beanie to the left is found on the video tutorial here and the green one with ear flaps on the right is written out here.

Working in the round is the method for both of these beanies, as well as amigurumi. Although in beanies you find more variety in stitch type, whereas in amigurumi proper it is the single crochet across the board. For both beanies and amigurumi you can achieve working in the round two different ways:
1) Continuous Rounds       or
2) Joining Rounds

To determine whether you'd rather work in continuous rounds or joining rounds it is helpful to know the pros and cons:

CONTINUOUS ROUNDS: Continuous rounds simply means you circle up on top of each round without breaking (imagine a soft serve ice cream swirl).When working continuous rounds, you need to pay closer attention to stitch count since the start of each row will look no different from the middle of the row. This "burden" can be eased by using a row marker. Whether you purchase plastic ones from the store, or simply use a piece of contrasting color yarn at the start of the row it's purpose is the same: to serve as a visible marker for each row's beginning so you don't have to count.
Plastic markers or a contrasting yarn color help "mark" each row
If you are using different colors in a single pattern a continuous round will produce a "jump" as seen in the blue and tan hat.

I consider this to be the back of the hat and it doesn't bother me

In general, continuous rows have a very fluid look to them with no ridges or gaps, which I find to be a "pro" that outweighs the "con" of the color change issue.

JOINING ROUNDS: When working with joining rounds, each round is its own concentric circle (think of stacking rings on top of each other, like the children's toy). The round ends with a slip st into the first st of the round and then 1 or more chains are made to add height to start the next round, depending on which stitch you are using. I find the biggest "con" for joining rounds is a slight gap between rounds that goes out in a diagonal from top to bottom.

The "pro" to this is that counting rows isn't necessary as the gap created makes it easy to see when to end the round.

As I shared earlier, I personally prefer working in continuous rounds in spite of what some may think is a pattern flaw. And certainly when working with one color it's not an issue at all.

I hope that helps clarify your options for working in the round. If you encounter a pattern that does continuous rows and you prefer joining, you can easily adapt it by joining the last st with a sl st into the first st and starting the next concentric circle with as many chains as matches the height of the stitch you are using (1 ch for a sc, 2 ch for a hdc, 3 ch for a dc, etc).  If you prefer continuous rounds and the pattern suggests joining, simply skip the sl st and any additional chains and continue working on top each round.
I love the braids off the ear flaps!

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