Pi Recipe

For you that know me well, you know that isn’t a spelling error. I’m really not one for cooking or baking, and no one wants a recipe for Pie from me.

But when it comes to recipes for crocheting creativity that are related to applied geometries, that is a whole nuther story.

Some of you may remember that old equation from your school days of  “Pi R square” (and the standing joke was, “No, Pie are Round”).  Pi is literally the secret to understanding circles, and the secret to making hats that fit perfectly.

Baby Doll's New Hat

Pi = 3.14  in reality it is a much longer decimal than that.  But taking the number to 2 decimal points is more than sufficient for our purposes.  In fact, with a little adjustment to our calculations, taking away the decimals all together works too.

I love making hats as gifts and often they are my “go-to” project when I just need some instant gratification crochet. I don’t know that I have ever made a hat from the brim up. I much prefer the ease of working with top down construction.

My favorite thing about working top down is how simple the foundation is. Start with an adjustable slip knot, then chain a couple stitches, work the first round of stitches into the first chain…Voila! You are off and running. Crown down construction also allows for some really simple decorative stitch work for the brim.

There are lots of fabulous hat patterns out there, and you can make sure that your hat fits yourself or your giftee perfectly by using some simple math. 

Baby Doll's Head Circumference Measurement

You are going to need a couple of measurements.  You need the circumference of their head, which means the distance around their head measured at eyebrow level. 

Baby Doll's Hat Depth Measurement

And you’ll need the “depth” measurement, which is referring to the length of the finished hat from middle of the crown to the edge of the brim.  Being I like my ears covered by my hat I measure to the bottom of the earlobe.

Target Diameter Measured

Baby Doll’s head circumference is 17.5 cm and her “depth” measurement is 6.5 cm.  So my calculation for figuring out how big to work my beginning circle is: 17.5 divided by 3.14 = 5.57 cm. Which I round down to 5.5 cm.

If you are making a gift hat and can’t measure the recipient’s head there are a couple of online sites that  have some helpful measurements for averages.  TotToppers, Wooly Wormhead,

Some other things to consider when personalizing a hat are preferences of the wearer: how snug they prefer their hats to be, if they want the hat to cover their ears, if they like extra coverage over their ears.

Typically you want a hat to be a bit smaller than the head circumference.  This is called “negative ease”.  Negative ease depends on the fabric of the finished hat (or garment) to have some stretch to it. The amount of stretch needed is dependant on how much negative ease is planned for.

Target Depth Measured

Once I achieve my target size for the diameter of my circle I will then continue working rounds without increases until I reach the depth (or length) that I want.  If I am just winging the depth, I’ll stop when I think I am nearing the length I want. Then flatten the hat so the center of the crown is halved I measure the length.

Now it’s your turn.  Using a hat pattern you love see if you can make a hat that fits you perfectly. Or try winging a hat using your favorite stitch in the round.

Tempus Fugit

How about that?! Two weeks have flown by so I come back with a bit of Latin.

It’s been a wild August here on the mountain. Between my boys starting back to school on the 15th, 2 very large design projects I’m working on and all the swatching for proposals…..I’ve been wishing I had either a live-in assistant or that I could clone myself.

So I promised some substance for this post.  Let’s take a quick look at WPI.

Worsted Yarn, WPI = 9

WPI – Wraps Per Inch. It’s a measurement used to tell the thickness or weight of a yarn. Spinners use this term a lot. It simply refers to the number of times that a particular yarn can be wrapped around an inch wide length. You don’t want to wrap the yarn tightly as it will distort the yarn and you want each strand of yarn to lay flat next to each other on your measure.

I had never heard of it until I joined Ravelry in 2008. Once I had though, I was amazed that it isn’t used as part of yarn labeling.  It is a fairly accurate measurement and far less subjective than the categorizations of “worsted”, “dk”, “sport” and “fingering” etc that we see. Or the nifty little drawings with the number on a skein.

On that subject, I purchased this ball of yarn at Hobby Lobby ages ago. I liked it because it was a bright-colored light weight yarn. Imagine my surprise that it was labeled as a # 5 “bulky” weight yarn. Seriously?

Now sometimes with a really fluffy mohair kind of yarn that has a thin core I can see a yarn being labeled bulky.  But there is no way this is a bulky yarn.  Being I’m an experienced yarner, this sort of labeling mistake doesn’t bother me, but for your new yarn consumer or those less experienced this can be quite confusing.  Particularly if you are looking to substitute a yarn.

Measuring by placing ruler at 90 degrees on top of ball.

It is easy to measure WPI in a store, especially on many of the larger commercial skeins. You can do it by laying the ruler at a 90 degree angle to the yarn wraps on the ball, or by slipping the ruler under one layer of wraps to see the number of wraps across an inch.

Measuring by slipping the ruler under one layer of yarn.

I’ll talk more about how this all helps when you want to substitute yarns. For now I challenge you to play with measuring WPI on your own. See if you start to get a feel for the WPI of various yarns.

Fueled by Chocolate

Well, it’s the truth. Chocolate is one of the main food groups in my book. I know, that is a terrible confession from a woman reputed to be a health and wellness writer.


The blog might be a little quiet this week as August has found me with a crazy busy schedule. I am pretty certain that my Mutant To-Do list has been either taking vitamins or doing steroids. 

My boys are headed back to school in less than 13 days, I have 4 rather substantial designs to finish and ship in the month of August as well as all the prep stuff I need to take care of for the Fall Knit and Crochet Show.

I promise to be back soon with a nice juicy new post.