Thursday, May 7, 2015


Shhhhhhhhhh, I know a secret!  Someone very special to me is pregnant and it isn't public yet*.  I still can't hold in my excitement so I needed to crochet a hat RIGHT AWAY.  PANDA!
*Not public at the time of crocheting.  I made sure to schedule this post at a time when the pregnancy was public knowledge so that way no one could guess who was getting a PANDA hat from me!   Especially Keith, Keith would have figured it out, or at least would have been suspicious.  

The panda bear crochet hat pattern contains some non-standard crochet terms that I didn't find when googling.  There are instructions in the pattern itself, so we'll see if I can figure it out.   There were some free panda hat patterns out there, but I really liked the shape of the eyes of this hat.  I should have heeded the fact that very few people had purchased the pattern, but hey, maybe I can be up for the challenge, right?

I pulled some KnitPicks worsted Wool of the Andes yarn out of my stash (see, be proud of me) in coal (black) and white.  I'm starting with the 0-6 month size since it will hopefully fit the little cub at some point.

I started with a size H hook and a chain 3 into a magic circle.  I see why there are non-standard abbreviations, I've never seen stitches like these before!  They are like little clusters which should make the fabric denser.  Cool!

When I started round 2 I quickly realized that my gauge must be way too tight.  There is NO WAY that the circle will have a 3.5" diameter after I'm done with this round.

Since my gauge was way off, I skipped I and went to a J hook (6 mm).  Doing two of these cluster stitches in one st really made some gaps (since it is almost like 4 sts in 1 st each time.)  These may no be too noticeable in the end, though.    I didn't quite hit the 3.5" diameter, but I think I'm close enough and that I'll be able to compare with some of Lucky's past hat measurements.

With the beginning of round 4, I wasn't quite sure how to start the TSC (two stitch cluster) I know that these clusters will each span two stitches, but there is not information on what we do with the first or the last, so we'll see how it turns out a the end.  I may have to fudge it a bit.  I chained 3 sts, then started with the first TSC exactly as written.

The first 3 TSC stitches. 
In the last sitch, I did the first half of the TSC I then did the second half of this THC at the base of the Ch3.  Phew, this worked out!

I could tell that by the time I was on round 7 that this hat was not quite long enough (4.25").  I mean, my gauge was a little short so this was to be expected.  I therefore did an 8th round in the #4 instructions.  I was comparing the size to the slightly bigger owl earflap hat (that Lucky never wore).  I know that this would fit a young baby.

There is an error with row 3 of the earflap.  It has you count 10 sts to join for the second ear flap (I counted across the FRONT of the hat), Ch3 and then TURN.  This makes both ears almost right next to each other.  Don't turn!  Ch3, and then continue the instructions.  You will be crocheting on the WS so it works and fits with the other ear flap.

I used the J (6 mm) hook for the trim, and switched back to a H (5 mm) hook for the spots and ears.  

There wasn't a lot of advice on how to position the pieces (with the exception of the ears.)  I did the nose first since it was easy to place that equidistant between the two ear flaps.  Then it was easy to do the eyes (I secured the eyes to the black pieces first) and then the ears.  

Looking at the yardage totals (25 g white, 28 g black), I'm surprised that this project used more black yarn that white.  If you are close on the yardage, you can help your project by using another color in the braids.  24 yards just went into the braids!

This was a great project for an afternoon spent feeling giddy over a new baby on the way.  I cannot wait to meet him/her!!