I love using the double crochet stitch for getting projects done quickly. But when I want to make a project go faster without the openness of the taller stitch, I rely on the shorter half double crochet. It's the stitch I've been using for my mittens patterns, and for the worsted weight gloves I'm still working on because I set that project aside for a hat. Of course, it's the stitch I chose to work the hat, too.
I hate making hats... Not because of sizes, or the way they're created, or because I hate hats... I just hate designing hats, because I never know exactly what to call them. There's beanies, skull caps, ski hats, cloches, bucket hats, tams, berets, and more. I made a beret once and was told it's a tam. I made a ski cap and was told it's a beanie. I give up. Have a half double crochet hat.
But you know, I hate the half double crochet stitch, too... Not because of the stitch, but because of what it's called. Who names these things? Every time I use this stitch, my mind starts wandering and I start wondering about how the half double crochet and it's taller siblings came to be known as they are. If you think about it, the single crochet is equal in height to one chain, and the half-double is equal to two. Why did this poor stitch get labeled as half of something, while the equal-to-three-chains double crochet gets to steal it's identity?
I've tried to make sense of it before. And okay, before you think I'm dumb or crazy, I suppose I should explain that the stitches get their names from the number of times you pull through two loops... Single crochet is once, double crochet is twice, triple is three times. So it makes sense that this in-between stitch that doesn't fit the same form would get named as some in-between thing. That still doesn't change the fact that:
Single = 1
Double = 2
Half of a double is a single. Math proves it, and you can't change that! Just like I can't change the label this stitch. Despite my wishes, it shall remain known as the half-double, even though half of a double is a single. And math proves it.
So, you can see the obnoxious turn my mind takes when working this stitch, which is probably why I didn't pay attention to the size as I once again pondered the naming of the half-double. See, this hat isn't really a pattern as much as it is a form in my head. It's probably been worked by many a crocheter in quite a few variations. Increase flat by so many rounds, then work even until you reach your desired length. You can do it in single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet, triple crochet... You get the point.
I use that tried and true method of hand measuring for hats. Which, if you don''t know, means increase until you reach the size of your hand. Then work even. Your hat should fit. However, I throw my own variations in there depending on the stitch I'm using. For the solid, non-stretchy single crochet, I work a little past the size of my hand. For taller stitches with more stretch, I work smaller than my hand.
I'm designing this half double crochet hat to fit a man, so I asked the Other Half to give me a hand with the sizing. He did, and it wasn't big enough yet, so I kept working. In his typical fashion, he took a nap. Not wanting to disturb his "peaceful" sawing of logs (even though sometimes I really want to disturb the snoring), I just assumed that three more rounds would be good. After that, I worked even and had the ends woven in before he woke up.
When he woke up I plopped it on his head, to sadly realize it was way too big. I know he's not some huge beefy guy, but this wasn't even close. This looked like Fievel wearing Papa's hat.
|From Google Images, scene from An American Tail|
Could I save it? Roll up the brim and attach an embellishment, making it a woman's hat instead? No, it was too short. Aside from finding a dude with a huge 28" noggin, the only thing left to do was frog it. I picked out the end, ripped back all the even rounds, and took out two rounds of increases. I worked even again from there, and I was able to get three extra rounds more than I originally had.
It looks horrible on my model, Head. That's because it was designed for a man, and Head is just a dummy with a measly measurement of 20". The Other Half won't model for me. This hat fits comfortably on 22", and will stretch to fit 24". (It's not so long like it is on Head when it's stretched to fit.) The length increased enough that it could be rolled up and worn by someone smaller, like you can see in the first photo. I think I managed to turn it into a pretty versatile hat. Or beanie. Or maybe it's a skull cap...