Fall is a time where the colors of the leaves begin to change, the weather gets a little cooler, and pumpkin spice everything hits the shelves! It’s also a time when makers across America search for the perfect beanie pattern to crochet for their loved ones or to sell at markets!
However, finding that “perfect” beanie pattern can elude some of us! Have you ever bought a beanie pattern, made a gauge swatch, hit gauge with the recommended hook, followed the pattern to a T, AND the dang thing ended up too big or too small? That’s happened to a lot of us! In today’s post, I want to share with you a simple secret to crocheting THE perfect fitting beanie for every size head!
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The secret is MATH!!
Yes, that’s right, math. Math is the secret sauce that every crochet designer uses (or should use) when they make any wearable item! It doesn’t matter if that design is a crochet sweater, gloves, skirt, dress, or beanie…. Math is at the center of it all! I’m sure I heard you groan! Not a fan of math? Neither was I until I took a few math classes at my community college.
Math was never my strong suit, and numbers intimated me! Give me words…all day, and I’ll be happy! My passion is words, language, grammar, and syntax! I’m in my element when it comes to language arts. Math? Yeah….no! I was so intimidated by numbers that I always told myself that I could never learn how to do algebra…. let alone pre-algebra! When I was in my 30s, I decided to go to community college and take a few courses. I loved learning, and my kids were getting to the grades where my basic math skills weren’t going to cut it! I signed up to take a pre-algebra class and absolutely loved my math teacher! He was so passionate about math and so patient with my constant questions and my “Can you explain that again?” inquiries. I don’t know if it was my maturity level or the fact that someone took the time to really explain these equations to me, but I started to really enjoy working out these calculations!
I fell in love with fractions and was able to work with decimals and square roots, and integers! I also started working with the symbols and formulas found in algebra. Did you know that algebra comes from the Arabic word (al-jabr) and means ‘reunion of broken parts’? Interesting, huh? Makes sense when you see algebra formulas like 5(x+4)=6x-5. It looks broken….or at least has the ability to break our brains!
It wasn’t until I started designing and tech editing crochet patterns that I started playing with Pi! Not that kind of pie, silly! Although, I love me some chocolate pie! This Pi…the 3.14 kind of Pi…the funny-looking Pi π symbol is what I’m talking about! Pi is going to help us create the perfect fitting crochet beanie every single time! Don’t believe me? Let’s do some math together, and I’ll show you how!
The first thing we’ll need to do to get that perfect fit is to measure the circumference of our noggin! Circumference is the measurement around a circle. Go get your soft-sided tape measure and measure around your head, right above your ears. Make sure the measuring tape is level all the way around. What number did you get? My measurement was 21½ inches. Since our heads are a circle(ish) shape, the measurement we just took is our head’s circumference. Did you write that number down? We’re going to need it several times as we work out these math equations!
Okay, now it’s time to figure out the diameter of our circumference. In the diagram below the C = circumference, which is the measurement around the circle and the D = diameter, the measurement across the circle. When we crochet a top-down beanie, the diameter is key to creating that PERFECT FIT!
Now is the time to play with Pi (π)! Pi is the Greek letter for p. In Greek, the letter p is written like π. And what does Pi equal? π = 3.141592653589793238 or simply, 3.14. Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Confused? Let me explain it in the easiest way I know how: Look at the diameter line above. That line within the circle can lay around the circumference three times with a little left over…like .14 left over. That’s how we get 3.14. No matter what size circle we deal with, Pi will always equal 3.14. Let’s figure out the diameter of our heads, and then I’ll show you what I mean!
To figure out the diameter of our head, we need to divide our circumference by 3.14. The circumference of my head is 21½, and if I divide that by 3.14, I get 21.5 ÷ 3.14 = 6.8. What number did you get? Make sure to write that number down as well! So, the diameter is the measurement across our circumference. If I cut three strips of paper 6.8 (a little more than 6½) inches long and tape them together, those three pieces would almost wrap around my head…I would have about a .14 space left. Is your brain amazed or fried? Don’t give up now…. we’re almost there!
Remember how I said that Pi will always equal 3.14? Let’s see if I’m correct. Measure the circumference of any circle, then measure the diameter across that circle. Now, divide the circumference by the diameter. What did you get? Uh-huh…. that’s what I thought! 3.14
Beanies crocheted from the top down are done so by increasing a certain number of stitches each round until you reach the diameter needed. So, if I were making a beanie for myself, I would crochet a flat circle in whatever stitch pattern I desire until my circle was as close to 6.8 inches as possible. If you have a number with a decimal like 6.8, you could round down to the nearest tenth (6.5 in), and that would make the beanie fit a smidge snugly OR you could round up to the nearest whole number (7 in) and the fit would be a smidge loose. Once you have your increased rounds to the diameter needed, you’ll need to figure out the depth or how tall you want your beanie. Depth is the measurement from the center of your crown to the bottom of your ear. To figure this out, we’re going to need to do a little more math!
Grab your handy dandy circumference because we’re going to need it to figure out the depth of our beanie. To figure out our depth, we’ll need to take our circumference, divide by 10 then multiply by 4. Please don’t ask me why. It’s what I learned years ago and it’s a tried-and-true formula!
Here’s how it will look when working with the measurement of my circumference:
21.5 ÷ 10 = 2.15
2.15 x 4 = 8.6
What number did you get? Make sure to write it down! Now, here’s a little fun exercise. Take your soft-sided measuring tape, starting from the center point of your crown, and measure to your earlobe. What number did you get? Was it the same or very close to the product that you just figured out? It should be. If not, double-check your measurements OR double-check your math! These measurements should be very close to each other.
Okay….so now that we have our depth. I’m going to continue working in the round (without increasing) until my beanie measures 8.6 inches from the top of the beanie to the bottom! This will give me a nice, snug (but not tight) fitting beanie.
If you’re wanting to add a border (some call it a brim) to your beanie, you could totally do that! Just keep in mind if you want a more fitted beanie, then subtract about an inch or so from your depth. If you prefer a slouchier beanie, then work your rounds until you reach your depth, then add about an inch of a border.
I recently taught ‘The Perfect Fitting Crochet Beanie‘ class at my local coffee shop, and these ladies did a wonderful job! One of the ladies just learned how to crochet last month!!
If you’re wondering how to make OR design the perfect fitting bottom-up beanie, make sure to sign-up to become part of my flock! All my private email subscribers get early access to online classes, and many times, I only offer online classes to those who receive my weekly emails! My flock also receives insider design and business tips, special pattern writing help, exclusive access to new and free patterns and authentic connection! Click Join the Flock to sign up today!
Easy Double Crochet Beanie Pattern
- Hobby Lobby ‘I Love This Chunky’ Yarn (100% acrylic, bulky size 5 yarn, any color) 1 Skein
- Hook: US H-8 (5mm) crochet hook
- Stitch Marker
- Measuring Tape
- Tapestry Needle
- Fur Pompom (optional)
- Sewing Needle
- 1-inch button
- Ch: Chain
- dc: double crochet
- sc: single crochet
- sl st: slip stitch
- st(s): stitch(es)
- Pattern is worked from the top down in continuous rounds, joining at the end of each round.
- Do not turn after joining
- Place stitch marker in 1st stitch of the round to indicate the beginning of the round. Move stitch marker up each round.
- Ch 1 does not count as stitch.
- Increase stitches each round until the measurement of your flat circle reaches your desired diameter.
Round 1: Ch 2, dc in the 2nd Ch from hook, place stitch marker, place 11 more dc into the same st, join with a sl st to 1st dc. (12 dc)
Round 2: Ch 1, 2 dc in each st around, join with a sl st to 1st dc. (24 dc)
Round 3: Ch 1, [1 dc in next st, 2 dc in next st] repeat 11 more times, join with a sl st to 1st dc. (36 dc)
Round 4: Ch 1, [ 1 dc in the next 2 sts, 2 dc in the next st], repeat 11 more times, join with a sl st to 1st dc. (48 dc)
Round 5: Ch 1, [ 1 dc in the next 3 sts, 2 dc in the next st], repeat 11 more times, join with a sl st to 1st dc. (60 dc)
Round 4: Ch 1, [ 1 dc in the next 4 stitches, 2 dc in the next st], repeat 11 more times, join with a sl st to 1st dc. (72 dc)
To continue increasing, follow the same sequence increasing the beginning double crochets each round (5, 6, 7, 8). Your stitch count should increase by 12 stitches each round.
Once you reach your target diameter measurement, then continue below.
Body Row: Ch 1, dc in each st around, join with a sl st to 1st dc.
If you want a snug-fitting beanie, repeat the body row until your piece measures about 1 inch shorter than the depth measurement you desire. If you want your beanie slouchier, then repeat the body row until the piece measures your depth or a little more.
Try your beanie on as you go! That’s what’s really fun when you crochet a top-down beanie. You can truly customize it to how you want it to look!
Ribbing Row: Ch 1, sc in each st around, join with a sl st to 1st sc.
Repeat the ribbing row until your piece measures the hat height you desire. Once you reach the height measurement you want, fasten off and weave in your ends.
To Add Pompom:
Take a 6–8 inch tail of yarn and sew a button on the inside of your beanie about half an inch from the center hole. Tie off and weave in your ends. Take the elastic that’s attached to the pompom and thread it into the center hole and wrap elastic around the button to secure it. You can take the pompom off before washing your beanie so it doesn’t get ruined!
If you share your beanie on social media, please tag me using #sweetbirdcrochet