Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bringing crochet, and Yoda, back from the '70s

This being my son's first Halloween, I was inspired to try my hand at crafting his costume. It needed to be cute but not girly (my husband quickly vetoed a lamb) and, of course, inexpensive. After much scouring of Pinterest, I came across the perfect idea - Yoda. My husband loved the Star Wars theme and the key element of the costume - the hat - presented the perfect opportunity to dig my crochet hook out of the black hole it had fallen into.

Channeling the force...
I headed to my local yarn store (Yarns on First in Napa) and found the perfect shade of green yarn in the sale bin for $7.00. After a trip to the fabric store for some cream and brown felt for a coat and belt - for a grand total of $1.29 - I had all of the materials necessary to channel the 'force' and transform our little guy into Yoda.

The coat and belt were ridiculously easy - I cut a square of cream felt to wrap around him like a jacket and made two slits for arm holes. The belt was one long piece of brown felt cut about 1.5'' thick.

The hat was another story. I hadn't touched a crochet project in at least five years and the prospect of reading a pattern - let alone figuring out how to single/double/half-double crochet again - was a little daunting.

Somewhere along the line I discovered Ravelry, an online community of crocheters and knitters where ideas, projects and patterns are shared. After signing up for a free account, I searched for "Yoda hat" and came across a few patterns that offered me a starting point. I picked out two - here and here - that had the look I was going for and didn't appear too complex.

I then sat down with the yarn, a 6.5mm crochet hook, my two patterns, the Crocheter's Companion (a good investment on my part years ago), said a little prayer for patience, and started crocheting.

After many failed attempts (my prayer for patience must have been answered), I ended up with a hat that I'm very happy with. It's a little big and certainly not perfect, but was a manageable project for a novice crocheter. I used elements of each pattern for the final result and made changes along the way as I remembered how to wield my crochet hook. Below is the 'bastardized' pattern that resulted, along with some instructions that I would have found helpful the first time around. I thank the ladies that wrote the original patterns for guiding me along the way!

Yoda Hat

Begin by making a magic loop (watch this YouTube video for a how-to)
Row 1: 10 dc (double crochet) in the magic loop. Join with 1 sl st (slip stitch) in the first dc.
Row 2. Ch 3. Increase by making a cl (cluster stitch) in every dc from the previous row.
Row 3. [1cl, 1dc] (this means repeat the pattern 1 cl, 1dc, 1 cl, 1dc, 1cl, 1dc, etc. for the entire row)
Row 4: [1 cl, 5dc] (same as above, repeat the pattern in the brackets for the entire row - 1cl, 5dc, 1cl, 5dc, etc.) 
Row 5: [dc] Repeat row 5 until the hat is large enough.

Yoda Ears
Start with an 8-10 inch tail for sewing ear onto cap.
1. Chain 16, dc in 2nd ch from hook and continue down the chain. Ch 3 & turn.
2. dc in each dc across, ch 3 and turn. Repeat this row so that you have a total of three rows that are all the same length.
3. On the fourth row, sctog (this means skip) the first 2 dc, dc to the 2nd from last dc.  Sctog the last 2 crochet, ch 3  & turn (this will make the end of your ears into a triangle shape - in a nutshell, you are reducing the length of the row by 2 on each side as the triangle narrows). Continue until the ear naturally completes as you get to the end of the triangle. 

Attaching the Ears

Using the 8-10 inch yarn tail you left when you started the ear, begin by sewing that through the very bottom of the ear and then pulling the yarn tight so that you 'gather' the ear - this will create the cone shape at bottom of the year. Tie off the yarn so that the ear stays in that cone shape.  At that point, simply place the ears on either side of the head and use the remaining yarn to sew onto the cap. Trim any long ends and sew into the cap. You're done!

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