Sunday, December 9, 2012

Two Roads Hat Free Crochet Pattern & Tutorial ~ Version One

When the wind is whistling out of the west and turning your eartips blue, it's time to pull out some snuggly yarn and make yourself a hat. (Or two.)

Dear me, I seem to have fallen into verse. Let's have a bit of real poetry instead:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could....
Robert Frost

The nice thing about crochet is that you can always go back and travel the other road, given yarn enough and time. Which leads us right to December's free pattern: the Two Roads Hat.

Two Roads offers so many styling options, it might almost be called the Many Roads Hat.

Version One, simply a tall beanie, is perfect for scrunching into your purse or jacket pocket, ready to pull on at a moment's notice. Worked in a mossy cluster stitch from top to bottom, it has a naturally curly edge that forms a lovely roll-brim...

...or folds for wearing watchcap-style.

Keep the edge flat around your ears, and it becomes a slouchy hat.

Version One also offers plenty of scope for variations:
  • Make it shorter and add a flower to the side, or gather up a bit of the brim for a cloche effect.
  • Add a decorative shell-stitch edging, or a simple band made from rows of single or half-double crochet. (Note: this will eliminate the curly brim.)
  • To make a tam, go up one hat size, then switch to a smaller hook and add a close-fitting band of your choice.
Looking for the road less traveled? Try Version Two, a shorter hat with a wonderfully textured band formed by back-loop-only rows:

Two roads meander around the stretchy
slip stitch band of Version Two

(Instructions for Version Two's slip stitch band will be posted separately in a day or so. But if you want to get started, follow the pattern until you have worked even rounds for about 2 inches.)

And now for the vital stats....

Gauge: 2 clusters (4 stitches) per inch. Row height does not matter as hat is custom sized.

S (will fit up to 21" head)
M (will fit 22" head)
L (will fit 23"-24" head)

Yarn Requirements: 170-210 yards of medium/worsted/#4 weight yarn

Yarns I Used:
Cascade Pacific, Clover
Cascade 220 Superwash, #1973 Seafoam Heather
NaturallyCaron Country (not pictured, but highly recommended)

How Did the Yarns Behave?
All very well. Cascade Pacific (lilac colour) was the test yarn for this hat, and even after multiple froggings stayed silky and sproingy, with very little splitting. Cascade 220 Superwash (aqua colour) has a lovely soft hand and worked up into a dense, cuddly fabric. NaturallyCaron Country (not pictured), a favourite yarn of mine, was used for swatching and gave beautiful stitch definition - definitely a recommended yarn for this project.

Hook Size:
Both versions: For the cluster-stitch body of the hat, choose a hook size slightly larger than is recommended for your yarn - this will give the fabric better drape.
Version Two: For the slip-stitch band, you'll need a second hook 1-2 sizes larger than the hook you used for the body.
(I used an I/9 or 5.5mm hook for the body of both hats, and a K/10½ or 6.5mm for the slip stitch rows on Version Two.)

Stitch marker or scrap of yarn
For Version Two: 3 medium buttons, a flower, or any trim of your choice to cover the joins on the band portion.

All crochet terminology is American.

For all you chart-lovers out there:

Two Roads Hat Shorthand Pattern (cluster stitch portion is the same for both versions):

Pattern Notes: Hat is worked in a spiral, so marking the last stitch of each round is recommended. Increases are not the same on every round; read instructions carefully.

(To make a child's size hat, measure the child's head circumference. Stop increase rounds when the crochet circle's edge measures about 1/2" less than the head measurement. Work all following rounds even.)

Stitch abbreviation: Cl (cluster) - sc, dc in indicated st

To start, knotless chain 2. (Click here for a very quick tutorial.)
Right side is facing at all times.
Round 1: Cl 4 in first ch = 8 st.
Round 2: Cl in each st around = 16 st.
Round 3: [Cl in next 3 st, sk 1 st] four times around = 24 st.
Round 4: [Cl in next sc, sc in dc, cl in next 2 sc] four times around = 28 st.
Note: Be careful not to skip over any scs; watch for the places where 2 scs are next to each other.
Round 5: [Cl in next sc, sc in dc, cl in next 3 sc] four times around = 36 st.
Round 6: [Cl in next sc, sc in dc, cl in next 4 sc] four times around = 44 st.
Round 7: [Cl in next sc, sc in dc, cl in next sc, sc in sc, cl in next 3 sc] four times around = 48 st.
Round 8: [Cl in next sc, sc in dc, cl in next 2 sc, sc in next sc, cl in next 3 sc] four times around = 56 st.
Round 9: Cl in each sc around = 64 st.
Round 10, Size S: [Cl in next sc, sc in dc, cl in next 15 sc] two times around = 66 st.
Round 10, Size M,L: [Cl in next sc, sc in dc, cl in next 7 sc] four times around = 68 st.
Round 11: Cl in each sc around = 68 st (S), 72 st (M,L).
Round 12, Size S,M: Cl in each sc around = 68 st (S), 72 st (M,L).
Round 12, Size L: [Cl in next sc, sc in dc, cl in next 17 sc] two times around = 74* st.
Rounds 13 and onward: Work even - cl in each sc around = 68 (72,76) st.

*(Special thanks to njsharon on Ravelry who pointed out a math discrepancy in Size Large Round 12. By Round 13, you should have 76 stitches for a Large hat.)

Continue even rounds until hat is desired length. For Version One: cut yarn a few inches from last stitch, and join w/invisible join to next sc. (Click here for the invisible join tutorial.) Weave in ends, and enjoy your new hat! :)

For Version Two: Do not cut yarn. Instructions for Version Two's slip stitch band will be posted in a day or so.

Two Roads Hat, Version One, Phototutorial with Instructions in Plain English:

Before you start:
  • Be sure to read the Pattern Notes above.
  • "Cluster" means to make a single crochet AND a double crochet in indicated stitch.
  • Remember to use a stitch marker at the end of each round, and keep moving it up. It will save you a lot of trouble and confusion. :)
  • The right side of the hat will be facing you at all times.
  • If you want to make Version Two, follow this tutorial and stop when you have worked about 2" of even rounds. Instructions for the slip stitch band will follow in a separate post.
To start, knotless chain 2. (Click here for a very quick tutorial.)
Round 1:
Make 4 clusters in first chain = 8 stitches. Don't forget to wrap the yarn tail around the hook when making the first stitch into the ring.

Option: For extra security, you can wrap the yarn tail around again at any point during the first round and catch it under some of the stitches.

Round 2:
Cluster in each stitch around = 16 stitches.

Now is a good time to place a marker on the last stitch of the round. I like to use a scrap of yarn or a bobby pin. Other options are bread bag tabs or twist ties. (You could of course use actual stitch markers if you have some.) :)

Round 3:
Make a cluster in each of the next 3 stitches, then skip 1 stitch. Do this four times around = 24 stitches.

Note: The last stitch of each round will always be a double crochet, and from Round 3 onwards, it will always be skipped.

Here we are at the end of Round 3:

Notice that your final cluster stops short of the final stitch from the round before - that is because you are skipping that stitch. (Every round will end this way.) To start the next round, skip over the marked stitch and work into the single crochet just after it. And don't forget to move your marker up with each round!

More helpful hints: Starting with Round 4, all clusters will be stitched in single crochets only. The only time you'll stitch into a double crochet is when you make the lone single crochets that form the quarterly increases on each round.

Round 4: Here is where the funky increases start.
Cluster in next single crochet,
single crochet in double crochet,
cluster in next 2 single crochets (skipping over the double crochets between them).
Do this four times around = 28 stitches.

Round 5:
Important Note: Watch for the places where there are 2 single crochets (from the previous round) next to each other. Be careful not to skip over any single crochets.

Cluster in next single crochet,
single crochet in double crochet,
cluster in next 3 single crochets.
Do this four times around = 36 stitches.

This is the last photo for several rounds. To be perfectly honest, it would take too long to add all the necessary text - and photos alone won't really show you how to make the increases. But I'm sure you have the hang of things by now - just read the instructions carefully as you go, and don't forget to watch out for the spots where there are 2 single crochets in a row.

Round 6:
Cluster in next single crochet,
single crochet in double crochet,
cluster in next 4 single crochets.
Do this four times around = 44 stitches.

Round 7:
Heads up for another funky increase change!
Cluster in next single crochet,
single crochet in double crochet,
cluster in next single crochet,
single crochet in next single crochet,
cluster in next 3 single crochets.
Do this four times around = 48 stitches.

Round 8:
Cluster in next single crochet,
single crochet in double crochet,
cluster in next 2 single crochets,
single crochet in next single crochet,
cluster in next 3 single crochets.
Do this four times around = 56 stitches.

Round 9:
Cluster in each single crochet around = 64 stitches or 32 clusters.

Round 10, Size S:
Cluster in next single crochet,
single crochet in double crochet,
cluster in next 15 single crochets.
Do this two times around = 66 stitches.

Round 10, Size M,L:
Cluster in next single crochet,
single crochet in double crochet,
cluster in next 7 single crochets.
Do this four times around = 68 stitches.

Round 11:
Cluster in each single crochet around = 68 stitches (S), 72 stitches (M,L).

Round 12, Size S,M:
Cluster in each single crochet around = 68 stitches (S), 72 stitches (M,L).

Round 12, Size L:
Cluster in next single crochet,
single crochet in double crochet,
cluster in next 17 single crochets.
Do this two times around = 76 stitches.

Here we are at the end of Round 12. Those tedious increases are finished - we're ready to start working even rounds. (Yay!)

Rounds 13 and onward:
Cluster in each single crochet around = 34 clusters (S), 36 clusters (M), 38 clusters (L).

Keep working even rounds (a cluster in every single crochet) until your hat is as tall as you'd like. Try it on as you go to find the best fit. Because the brim is so very curly, leave yourself plenty of extra length if you want a nicely rolled brim (my hat measures about 9½" from center to edge).

For Version One, cut yarn a few inches from final stitch, and join with invisible join to next single crochet. (Click here for the invisible join tutorial.)

Weave in ends, then run to the mirror and see how many ways you can style your new hat. Enjoy! :)

For Version Two: Do not cut yarn. Instructions for Version Two's slip stitch band will be available in a day or so.

If you have any questions, or find any mistakes, please feel free to use the comment box below. You may also contact me in Ravelry as MrsMicawber.

You may do whatever you like with the items you make from this pattern, but you may not sell the pattern. If items made from this pattern are sold, please credit the designer. :)

Thanks for viewing, and happy crocheting! (And may your eartips never be cold again.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


  1. Haha lovely post Sue, just love the hats so versatile, thank you for patterns and tutorial, they are definitely going onto my to do list. :)

    1. Thank you, Linda! This was a fun hat to make (once I nailed down the increases, that is). :)

  2. Hey Sue, great hats and I can imagine how much you would need one when you're out riding in the cooler weather.
    Love the colours but hat no. 2 has caught my eye. Great design, love the interesting edging and the buttons. i've never crocheted a hat before, would love to give it a try.
    Hope you had a great's blue sky and sunshine here this morning heading towards 30deg....

    CLaire :}

    1. Thanks Claire - I love to make hats as they're usually pretty quick. You probably never need one in Oz - unless it's a sun hat. :)

  3. Dear Sue,
    I crocheted an adult cap just once in my life. I did it wrong though, I tried it on and it was comical...way too big. Richard took one look at it and said, "You know, we just got that new kitchen stool...". Sure enough, it fit it perfectly! It was a two roads hat! I still use it on there!

  4. Sue, you have spoiled us with these beautiful patterns. Thank you for the early Christmas present.

  5. Oh thank you so much for sharing this pattern. I just love the buttoned version, I have a thing for buttons and really love the sideways ribbing. I'm starting tonight :) and will join you again.

    1. Thanks so much, Mia - I hope to post the band pattern on Tuesday. :)

  6. Oh, these are awesome! Like Mia I have serious love of the buttoned version. So cute! You are one seriously talented lady. :)

    1. Did you notice how SMALL that buttoned one is? Know anyone it might fit? :)

  7. That blue hat really makes me want to crochet. And wear a hat. as I rule I don't wear them because I look uberdorky in a hat. I might risk it for that blue hat.
    Thanks for the awesome tutorial.

    1. I used to think the same, but now I really like wearing them. Give it a try! You might be surprised. :)

  8. hi, Mrs. Micawber!wow, thanks for taking time to make this detailed big tutorial for us:) I might try it out if I have time. Love both the hats,colors are lovely to brighten up our winters:)
    Have a nice day,

    1. Thanks, Anna. Do your winters get cold enough for hats? I imagine it always being sunny and warm there in India. :)

    2. Yes, it never goes below 0 here, however mornings and evenings (nights) are quiet cold. Fog is there too. So we do wear hats and shawls:)
      In my native country is -30...brrr.

  9. New to your blog but not your lovely patterns. I enjoy how much detail you add! I will be making this hat as I have a thing for making hats even though I never wear one. The hats are all given away:) The slip stitch band is very interesting, will be watching to see how you did it!
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks so much for commenting, Deborah. I've been having so much fun with slip stitch designs - this one will be up very soon. :)

  10. I love this hat and will definitely be making one! Love, love, love all your patterns :)

  11. Such super cute hats!! I love how the stitches swirl around the hat!! As always you have the best tutorial, too!! I think I will give this a go this week!! Thanks, Sue!!! :)

    1. You're welcome! I loved that swirly effect too. :)

      Thanks, Laura!

  12. I love patterns with lots of options, and you've created yet another! All your hat patterns are so wonderful and versatile. I especially love your background mini quilt!!!

  13. Goodness, all this designing and pattern writing must have taken you forever! The hats are lovely Sue ... long may your head be warm!

    1. Thanks Annie - the time-consuming bit was figuring out how to make the increases so as to keep the swirl heading in one direction. :)

  14. I adore the blue cloche. It's definitely one i'll be trying after Christmas. Thanks for the patterns. it looks like it was so much work for you! Oh what you'll do for your fellow bloggers.
    Rosie xx

    1. Thanks Rosie - I'm working on the Version Two post right now and thinking, "Gosh, I didn't realise it would take THIS long." Feeling the Christmas pressure! :)

  15. What an amazing woman you are! I do envy your talent. I look forward to trying out the hat, am not one with the patience to follow a pattern, but you make it all so simple with the photos and the dots. Don't you just love to crochet all cosy and warm when the snow is falling...We are also having a fair bit this year in Stockholm.
    The run up to Xmas is so stressful. 4.56 am...time for bed. Cheers from insomniac eva

    1. I'm a bit of an insomniac myself - or perhaps I should say that I like to stay up late (and sleep late if I can). Thanks for commenting! :)

  16. I love the pattern but have a couple of questions..I am having a hard time with making the knotless chain with only 2 stitches and joining it to make round. Can I use the magic circle instead? Also is your cluster just a singe and double crochet as pattern states? I have seen a video for a cluster stitch and it has much more to it than that?I appreciate your response.

    1. Yes, by all means use a magic circle! (The knotless chain is really just a magic circle flipped around to the opposite side.) And yes, the "cluster" in this pattern is just the sc,dc in one stitch. Cluster is a very flexible term in crochet - anything that involves two or more stitches worked into a single stitch can be called a "cluster".

      Good luck with your hat and please feel free to ask again if you have more questions. :)

  17. Love the stitch look for the pink hat. But currently I am making a schoodie (scarf hoodie) I was searching for a new pretty cluster like stitch your would be perfect however Since the face is open I can't do the swirl patter and I can't seem to get the stitches to look like your since I go back and forth and not around. Any advise? Great work =)

    1. Thanks Lachelle! Regarding working back and forth - I wonder if reversing the order and doing (dc,sc) on alternate rows would give a similar effect? Haven't tried it myself. You could probably substitute something like the Trinity Stitch or the Star Stitch (if you google them you'll find lots of tutorials). Good luck and I love the idea of a schoodie. :)

    2. Well thank you I tried to work out the stitch going back and forth in many different ways but nothing looks the way the spiral hat cluster stitch of yours does. So I decided to make your hat then spruce it up with an attached scarf with 2 strands for extra warmth. Not sure which stitch to use for the scarf yet but just LOVE love love the stitch pattern for the hats. TY I really needed a new stitch I get so bored with the same ones over and over. Most I don't like because of the huge gaps and holes between stitches lets in too much cold air. Feel free to email me with any ideas, I will try to remember to update you when the schoodie is done maybe share a pic.

    3. For a practically windproof stitch, try working half double crochet in the back loop and back bar, using a smaller hook than you might normally use. It makes a very solid fabric. Or try the Trinity Stitch - here's one tutorial for it:

      P.S. I can't email you because you're listed as a "no-reply" blogger ... this is something you can change in your Blogger or Google profile. :)

  18. What a creative person you are! I love your hats!!
    And I secretly hope you will invent some more. How about a school boy cap?

    Many many thanks from the bottom of my heart!
    I have never seen nicer crocheted hats.


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