What I’m Making: A Crocheted Pi Shawl

Photo of crocheted pi shawl in progress

I picked up a cake of Sheepjes Whirl yarn a couple of weeks ago, and it whispered to me that it wants to be crocheted into a pi shawl.

Now that I’ve been working on it for a while, and have ripped back to the third row a couple of times, I’m accepting that it’s not a true pi shawl, because the proportions of my stitch pattern aren’t working out exactly. Which is fine by me.

It’s a simple v-stitch pattern and I’m loving every minute of making it, even with the ripping back. ❤️

How to Make an Adjustable Ring for Crocheting in the Round

Crochet adjustable ring tutorial video.

I filmed this tutorial well over a year ago but forgot to put it here on my site! 🙄

Beginning a crochet project in the round with an adjustable ring means there won’t be a hole in the very centre of your project. (Sometimes you want that hole, but sometimes you really don’t.)

It’s a very useful technique to master, and it’s super simple. If you crochet amigurumi or other kinds of toys in the round, if you make non-lacy hats, or anything else where you want to eliminate the hole in the centre, the adjustable ring will be your best friend.

Learn everything about crocheting in the round in my online class, Crochet in the Round: Basics & Beyond!

New Class! Zigzag Crochet: A Beginner’s Guide to Ripples and Waves

I have never been excited about a new class like I’m excited about this one! Zigzag Crochet: A Beginner’s Guide to Ripples & Waves is all about my absolute favourite kind of project to crochet. (Uh, obviously, zigzags, ripples, waves, chevrons – whatever you call them.) Come learn how to bend stripes into cool shapes, from spiky chevrons to gentle waves. With texture or lace, and always with colour!
New Class! Zigzag Crochet: A Beginner's Guide to Ripples and Waves
I designed the class around a baby-blanket pattern made in machine-washable yarn (as every baby blanket should be), and I walk you through the project from beginning to end.
New Class! Zigzag Crochet: A Beginner's Guide to Ripples and Waves
There’s loads more in class, too! Learn how to use a zigzag pattern to make a project of any size, from a scarf to a king-size blanket. Explore how yarn weight and gauge affect the size of your projects, play with loads of colour, and learn how to handle all the pesky ends you have to deal with when you work in stripes. Discover how to make a wide variety of patterns, including the feather and fan pattern I’m using to make this epic scarf, and learn how to introduce variations into patterns so you can alter the way they look.
New Class! Zigzag Crochet: A Beginner's Guide to Ripples and Waves

Demystifying Double Crochet for Beginners

How to make neat edges in double crochet – http://kimwerker.com/blog

The single most common question I’m asked by students is why the edges of their crochet look awful.

For some reason, many crocheters make their first project in double crochet. I get it, it’s a very common stitch and it’s easy to make.

But the first and last stitches in a row of double crochet can be super duper confusing, which is why it’s so common for edges to look uneven and terrible.

I specifically designed this double crochet tutorial for beginner crocheters, but it’ll be helpful even if you’ve been stitching for years.

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 1: Here’s what it looks like as you approach the end of a row of double crochet. I’ve circled the tops of the stitches from the previous row that remain to be worked. The most common confusion is where to place the last couple of stitches; it’s very, very common for beginners not to work a stitch in the top of the turning chain from the previous row. So in the circle are the final double crochet (rightmost in the circle) and, to the left of it at the end, the top of the turning chain.

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes
Image 2: The arrow is keeping track of the turning chain, and I’m inserting my hook into the next double crochet.
How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 3: I’ve pulled up a loop in the double crochet. The arrow is still indicating the top of the turning chain.

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 4: I’ve finished the stitch and the arrow is on pointing to the top of the turning chain. See how easy it would be to skip it? After all, it sort of looks like the edge could straighten out after a little tugging. Alas, though, it won’t.

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 5: Ok, no more arrow. Here I’m about to insert my hook in the top of the turning chain. By “top of the turning chain,” I mean the topmost of the three chains. Notice how I’m using the fingers of my other hand to open that sucker up. It can be tight and/or awkward to shove your hook in there, but persistence will pay off.

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 6: I’ve pulled up a loop in the top of the turning chain. It’s pretty apparent now that we need to work a stitch here to make the edge straight, eh?

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 7: Here’s the completed final stitch of the row. There’s nothing to the left of it to stick my hook in, so I’m confident it really is the end of the row.

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 8: Now we say to “turn your work.” This means to flip it around so your hook is poised to start the next row (in these photos I’m working right-handed, so at the beginning of a row my hook is on the right. If you’re a lefty and you crochet left-handed [hey, not all lefties do!], your hook is on the left at the beginning of a row).

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 9: Make 3 chains. This is the “turning chain” which serves the function of raising the hook to the height of the stitches you’ll be making. Since double crochet is a fairly tall stitch, most patterns say to “count the turning chain as the first stitch of the row.” This is because that turning chain takes up about as much space as a double crochet. Since we’re counting it as the first stitch, we work the first actual double crochet into the second stitch of the row, not the first. (If we work it into the first stitch, the edge will bulge out and look wonky.) The arrow is keeping track of that first stitch that we’re going to skip before making the first double crochet.

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 10: This might be a confusing photo. If it is, ignore it. I’m inserting my hook in the second stitch, and the arrow is pointing to the skipped first stitch.

The turning chain in double crochet.

Image 11: Ok, this is better. Here I’ve pulled up a loop for the double crochet, and the arrow is pointing to the first stitch which I didn’t insert my hook into. At the very right, you can pick out the chains of the turning chain; see how they’re pretty much rising from that first stitch? That’s why we skip it before working the first double crochet.

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

Image 12: I’ve completed the double crochet and the arrow is still indicating the first stitch from the previous row. So even though I’ve only worked one double crochet, you can see it looks like we actually have two stitches made. This is why we count the turning chain as a full-on stitch.

How to make neat edges in double crochet, for beginners - http://kimwerker.com/classes

It’s entirely possible that my familiarity with crochet has prevented me from really getting to the heart of any confusion you might have. Please leave a comment with any questions I haven’t answered—or that, eep, I’ve introduced—and I or someone in the community will chime in to help you out.

And promise me something, eh? In a few months when a friend begs you to teach them how to crochet, start with single crochet, wouldya? The last stitch of the row can still be tough to place, but at least you won’t have to contend with the turning-chain-counts-as-a-stitch thing.

Want to up your double crochet game with a super simple zig zag project? Learn how in my class, Zig Zag Crochet: A Beginner’s Guide to Ripples and Waves!

Crochet a Hat for Science! (Free Pattern, BYO Activism)

Crochet a Hat for Science! Show your support for the scientific community and for fact-based decision making, and learn how to crochet a 2-color spiral while you're at it!

Spirals! Spirals appear throughout the universe in spectacular displays of mathematics and science. Also, they’re really cool-looking. And spirals are very nifty to crochet in multiple colours (here’s a tutorial).

This hat starts with a two-colour spiral at the top, and I designed it in part to showcase this neat technique. I also designed it in the wake of the incredibly powerful visual impact Pussyhats made at the Women’s Marches in January. The Hat for Science is a simple craftivist project just in time for the worldwide Marches for Science on April 22, 2017.

A chilling report that major U.S. news shows spent a combined total of less than an hour reporting on issues related to climate change in all of 2016 means we need to get seriously loud about the importance of scientific enquiry and fact-based decision-making. Those words may not sound sexy, but ignoring our dire need to address the impending devastation of life on earth​ isn’t sexy either. So.

Grab your hook and make a statement! Phone and write to your elected representatives (no matter where you live – this is not only an American issue!) and tell them you expect them to support funding for scientific research and to consider solid, peer-reviewed scientific findings when making decisions that affect our environment, education, food safety, medicine and more.​

Find the free Hat for Science pattern below, or download it as a print-friendly PDF:

Crochet a Hat for Science - free crochet pattern
Note: A small mistake in the pattern was corrected on 29 March 2017, indicated in bold text. Another was corrected, again in bold text, on 12 April 2017. To make sure you have the corrected version of the pattern PDF, check to make sure the file name has “v3” at the end.

Hat for Science

Sizing

To fit a medium/large adult head.

Finished brim circumference: ​22″ (56 cm).

To make the hat smaller or larger, work fewer or more increase rounds before working even (and adjust the number of work-even rounds). If you want to learn more about sizing hats of all sorts, you’ll enjoy my class, Crochet in the Round: Basics & Beyond!

Materials

Yarn: Worsted weight, about 75 yards colour A and 85 yards colour B. Shown here in: Cascade 220 (100% Peruvian Highland Wool; 220 yards [200 m] per 3.5 oz.) [100 g], 9452 Summer Sky Heather (blue; A) and 2429 Irelands (green; B).

Hook: 5.5mm (US I/9).

Notions: Removable stitch marker.

Gauge

14 sts and 9 rows = 4” (10 cm) in alternating rounds of dc and hdc.

Abbreviations

American terms are used.

A = colour A (shown here in blue)
B = colour B (shown here in green)
ch = chain
dc = double crochet
hdc = half double crochet
rep = repeat
sc = single crochet
sl st = slip stitch
tch = turning chain

Notes

Hat is designed to have each colour worked in a different stitch (A in dc, B in hdc), so that one colour is slightly more dominant than the other. Choose whether you’re, say, more inclined to advocate for land-related science (green) versus water-related science (blue), and make that colour your dominant colour A. The other will be colour B. (Obviously, you can make this hat in any colours you want, not only in blue and green!)

You will not join each round at the end, but rather work in a continuing spiral.

Use a removable stitch marker to indicate the final stitch of the round; move the marker up as you go.

Pattern

With A, begin with an adjustable ring.

Round 1: Insert hook in ring and pull up a loop, ch 1, work (2 sc, 2 hdc, 2 dc) in centre of ring, remove hook from A (pull the loop long to prevent unraveling); leaving a 6” tail, join colour B by pulling up a loop, ch 1, work (3 sc, 3 hdc) in centre of ring, place marker in stitch just made (this is the last stitch of the round) — 12 stitches total.

How to crochet a 2-color spiral: first round

Round 2: Continuing with B, [2 hdc in next stitch] 6 times, remove hook and reinsert in loop of A; with A, [2 dc in next stitch] 6 times — 24 stitches. (Note that a pattern has been set up: You will always work B into A, and A into B.)

Round 3: Continuing with A, [dc in next stitch, 2 dc in next stitch] 6 times; remove hook and reinsert in loop of B; with B, [hdc in next stitch, 2 hdc in next stitch] 6 times — 36 stitches.

Round 4: Continuing with B, [hdc in next 2 stitches, 2 hdc in next stitch] 6 times; with A, [dc in next 2 stitches, 2 dc in next stitch] 6 times — 48 stitches.

Round 5: Continuing with A, [dc in next 3 stitches, 2 dc in next stitch] 6 times; with B, [hdc in next 3 stitches, 2 hdc in next stitch] 6 times — 60 stitches.

Round 6: Continuing with B, [hdc in next 4 stitches, 2 hdc in next stitch] 6 times; with A, [dc in next 4 stitches, 2 dc in next stitch] 6 times — 72 stitches.

Continue in colour pattern as established, without increasing, as follows:

Round 7: Continuing with A, dc in next 36 stitches; with B, hdc in next 36 stitches. (Bold indicates corrections to mistakes in the original pattern. It’s all good now!)

Rounds 8-16: Continue to work even without increasing, working A stitches into colour B and B stitches into colour A.

Now smooth out the jagged end-of-rounds and begin the brim, as follows:​

Round 17(ish): (This is really a half round, for reasons that will become clear.) Continuing with A, dc in next 27 stitches, hdc in next 3 stitches, sc in next 3 stitches, sl st in next 3 stitches, fasten off A, move marker to final sl st (this will be the new “end” of the round).

Rounds 18-20: Continuing with B, sc all the way around (do not join your rounds); at the end of Round 20, sl st in the next 2 stitches, fasten off.

Weave in loose ends.

Close-up of last round of hat.

When you share your finished hat, make sure to tag me (@kpwerker) and #hat4science!