Sophie’s Universe, Part I

Part 1 of Sophie's Universe Crocheted Blanket

The second time I learned how to crochet, I was a resident assistant in a dorm in college (the first time, I was sixteen, and I didn't know that what I was doing was even called crochet). My hall director's wife taught me, and she sent me to A.C. Moore to buy an afghan's worth of yarn and a pattern book.

The yarn I chose was truly hideous. The book was a collection of patterns I had no idea how to assess.

Which is how it ended up that I started in on a project that would be described by people inclined to rate the difficulty of patterns as capital-I Intermediate.​ It was like a 12-row repeated pattern that involved post stitches and crossed stitches and all manner of shenanigans like that.

I got the hang of it eventually and ended up making about two feet of blanket. I moved with the bag of yarn several times before realizing I'd never finish it, then I chucked it.

It was a few years after I parted ways with that beast that I learned how to crochet for the third and final time – the time that stuck.

Since then, I've written books about crochet and taught thousands of people how to do it, and I've made a few blankets. I've always preferred simple, repetitive, meditative projects, though. The kind I can relax into at the end of the day. The kind I can use odd balls for, both because I love using odd materials and also because this way I don't have to plan my colours in advance.

CLICK HERE TO GET MY CHEATSHEET: 7 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR CROCHET SHINE

A few weeks ago, though, I stumbled onto a blanket pattern that – twenty years after I started the ill-fated project in college – led me to come full circle.

Not only does Sophie's Universe involve loads of post stitches and popcorns and clusters and all manner of complicated shenanigans, it's worked in the round then squared up.

The pattern was first released for free, in parts of several rounds at a time, over several weeks back in 2015 as a mystery crochet-along, and it became so popular that just recently the designer published the whole thing as a book. I ordered the book the same day I ordered my 4200 yards of yarn (I'm using Knit Picks Comfy Worsted). The book hasn't arrived yet, but the day my yarn got here I started working from the pattern online.

Above is the completed first part of the pattern. The first 25 rounds are a mandala; after that, you square it up and continue from there. I'm totally in love with this blanket already. Every round is different from the ones before it. The math of it is gorgeous. The cleverness involved in engineering such a thing is quite something to experience.

Here's the palette of colours I'm using – weighted heavily to the ivory colour. When I'm done, I should have a bed-size blanket.

Knit Picks Comfy Worsted yarn palette for Sophie's Universe crocheted blanket

I'm posting my progress somewhat frequently in my Facebook group, where some members are talking about joining in to make a blanket of their own. Come on over and crochet along with us!

And here's my project on Ravelry, if that's more your style.​

Pussyhats and Photos from the Women’s March

What a thing, the Women’s Marches, eh? What a day. What a force. What a feeling. (My photos from the Vancouver march are below.)

I first learned about the Pussyhat Project right after it launched in late November, 2016, and though I cast on for a knitted hat right away, it was only when the project reached its tipping point in the couple of weeks leading up to the marches that I felt compelled to do way more.

The crocheted Pussyhat pattern I released was downloaded a few hundred times before the march, and a few hundred times the actual weekend of the march. As of the time I’m writing this, it’s been downloaded well over 700 times.My blog traffic has nearly double over the last week. As far as I can tell, the Pussyhat is more popular than any crochet pattern I’ve ever published.

There was a time when I felt I had to be very, very subtle about my feminism in my crochet work, and I’m proud, relieved and downright excited that those days are over.

Don’t get me wrong – my work isn’t going to stop being about the fun of creative exploration and turn into 100% activism all the time.

It’s just that I may bring activism – which is a big part of my personal life and has been for a long time – into my work a bit more than I used to.

But also separately. If you’d like to get occasional emails from me about simple steps to take and about the intersection of art/craft and activism, sign up right here.

Anyway. It feels simultaneously like the worst of times and the best of times. I have so much to make, and so much to do.

Onward!

 

My Take on a Crocheted Pussyhat

With a super stretchy, simple to make ribbed brim, you can whip up this crocheted #pussyhat in no time!

Updated 1/13 to add a video on how the hat is constructed (see below!)
And again on 1/19 to add a troubleshooting video. And this link.

Perhaps you've heard about the Women's March on Washington on January 21st, with solidarity marches planned in hundreds of cities around the world? And perhaps along with that you've heard about the Pussyhats people are feverishly making to wear?

The official Pussyhat Project site offers patterns both for knitters and crocheters, but I don't love the look of the crocheted hat. I'm not a big fan of post-stitch ribbing, see. So I made my own using my preferred kind of ribbing, and I figured I'd share the pattern here in case you, too, prefer a ribbing that's good and stretchy (I've offered to send a PDF to the official project, too). Find the text version below, or download the PDF by clicking here:

CLICK HERE TO GET THE CROCHET PATTERN AS A PDF

If you have questions about your ribbing curling at the corners, or your edges coming out all wonky, watch this (and feel free to ask me for help!):

Pattern

Sizing

To fit an average adult head. It’s very stretchy, so will fit a range of sizes. And it’s easy to adjust: make the ribbing sections shorter or longer than 8” to fit smaller or larger heads, respectively.

Materials

Yarn of any weight in a sufficient amount to complete the hat, and an appropriately sized hook. Shown here in worsted weight yarn (Cascade 220, about 180 yards), worked with a 5 mm hook.

Gauge

Varies based on the yarn weight you use. Just work to the dimensions specified.

Special Stitches

Single crochet through the back loop only (sc-blo): In next stitch, insert hook through back loop only and pull up a loop, complete single crochet.

Sc-blo ribbing: Work sc-blo in each stitch of every row.

Abbreviations

American terms are used.

ch = chain

hdc = half double crochet

sc = single crochet

sc-blo = single crochet through the back loop only (see above)

First Ribbing Section

Make a chain slightly longer than 4” (10 cm). Work in sc-blo ribbing as follows:

Row 1: Skip first chain, sc-blo (see sidebar) in next chain and in each remaining chain across, turn.

Row 2: Ch 1 (does not count as a stitch), sc-blo in first stitch and in each remaining stitch across, turn. (Note: The final sc stitch can be hard to see – be sure to dig for it and not skip it!)

Repeat Row 2 until piece measures about 8” (20 cm) from foundation-chain edge. Fasten off and set aside for now.

Second Ribbing Section

Make as for First Ribbing Section but do not fasten off. Without turning at the end of the last row, begin working Middle Section of the hat as follows:

Middle Section

Ch 2, rotate work 90 degrees to crochet across the ribbed edge. Placing your stitches consistently as you go, hdc in each row-edge across, turn.

Hdc Row: Ch 1 (does not count as a stitch), hdc in first stitch and in each stitch across, turn. 

Repeat Hdc Row until piece measures about 13” (33 cm) from bottom edge of ribbing, fasten off.

Note: The hdc section of the hat will be wider than the ribbing section. It’s supposed to be that way!

Finishing

Layer First Ribbing Section behind Middle Section, lining up one long edge of the ribbing with the last row of hdc.

Holding both pieces together and working through both thicknesses at the same time, with a yarn needle sew the two sections together using whipstitch. Use stitch markers if needed to distribute the narrower ribbed fabric across the wider hdc fabric as needed if the stitches of each piece don’t line up perfectly. Don’t sweat it! When you get to the end, fasten off. The total length of the rectangle from one ribbing edge to the other should be about 17".

Fold the hat in half so the ribbing sections are lined up. Whipstitch the two sides of the hat together (or use whichever seaming technique you prefer), keeping the bottom edge of the ribbing open – that’s where you’ll put your head!

Weave in loose ends.

If your seam is on the outside but you want it on the inside, turn the hat out, et voila.

Wear your hat with pride!

With a super stretchy, simple to make ribbed brim, you can whip up this crocheted #pussyhat in no time!

Free Pattern: Simplest Crochet Hat!

Free pattern for the simplest crochet hat! http://kimwerker.com/blog

My friend recently pulled a hat out of his coat pocket and said, "Kim! I hope you can help me. This is my favourite hat, and I want a few more of them. What's it made out of? Where can I buy more?"

It was the simplest crocheted hat ever. Beanie length, double crochet with a single crochet brim in a contrasting colour. By my best guess it was made from soft acrylic yarn. I was like, "Friend, you can probably find more of these at any craft fair in town, and probably at the farmer's market when the weather warms up. It's the simplest hat ever! You know what, I'll make you one."

So I went home and dug around for some yarn. I'm pretty sure his original hat was made in DK or sportweight yarn, but I found some of my favourite worsted weight, and whipped this up in an evening of Netflix.

Then before I gave it to him, I was like, I should write this pattern up. It's so simple!

And so I did.

Get the Free Pattern:

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FREE SIMPLEST BEANIE CROCHET PATTERN!

To crochet the hat, you'll need about 100 yards of worsted weight yarn, plus a small amount in a contrasting colour – about 10 or 12 yards. That and a 5mm (US H/8) hook, and you can whip one up in one sitting.

Don't know how to crochet but want to make awesome projects like this? Take my beginner crochet class at Craftsy, and I'll have you crocheting in no time!

Already crochet but want to seriously up your game? Take my class Crochet in the Round: Basics & Beyond and you'll learn how to size this hat so it'll fit a head of any size, from newborn to gigantic – and you'll learn so much more, too!

Free pattern for the simplest crochet hat! http://kimwerker.com/blog
Make the simplest crocheted hat! Get the free pattern at http://kimwerker.com/blog

The Ripple Blanket Grows

Crochet ripple blanket WIP. http://kimwerker.com/blog

One stripe at a time...

See that lone purple stripe a couple from the top? Yeah, with this blanket I'm not sticking to a strict two-row-stripe scheme, in the interest of using up smaller bits of yarn. I thought I wouldn't like it when I gave it a shot, but I do like it. I like it a lot.

Something else I like is taking photos of the blanket as it grows.​ :)

Crochet ripple blanket WIP. http://kimwerker.com/blog

CLICK HERE TO GET MY CHEATSHEET: 7 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR CROCHET SHINE!

Crochet ripple blanket WIP. http://kimwerker.com/blog
Crochet ripple blanket WIP. It's growing!  http://kimwerker.com/blog