Sunday, February 22, 2015

Graph Hats ~ A Comparison and Pattern Review

** I originally had this post written up a month ago but some technical difficulties with computers and drivers got the best of me. However, hats are always in season!!**

It's hat season and I have suddenly found myself addicted to graph patterns!
There are two different graph hat patterns that I have found and been working with:

Oikos Handmade and Playin' Hooky Designs, 'The Graph Beanie' 

It started with running in to a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle graph pattern from Playin' Hooky Designs. She had a sale on it for her son's birthday a while back and Big C *loves* TMNT, so I figured, let's give it a shot!

The TMNT graph pattern accompanies her base beanie pattern, found HERE on Ravelry.
** You will need the base beanie pattern before using her graph patterns. **

I have seen MNE Crafts Graph Hats on Pinterest and in the Facebook world before, even more-so lately with the addition of her Valentine's Day designs, and I loved how clean the graph transfers.

Since they are two hats using graphs in a completely different way, I decided to see which one worked best for me. 

 To start, here are some things I was looking for and comparing:
  • Difficulty in the pattern/instructions.
  • Size of graph allowed.
  • How well the graph transferred to the hat.
  • Finished Product
    • weight
    • feel/texture
    • stretch/sizing
    • appearance when worn
* Please note: The following comparison is just my experience. Extra tips or ideas regarding either of these designs is welcomed and encouraged to comment below! Size used in comparisons was a child large/adult small*

  • Pattern Difficulty:
Both patterns are fairly easy, however one ended up being easier to follow than the other due to less details involved.
* MNE's hat is made in the round using a front-post double crochet (Fpdc). The first 3-5 rounds, depending on hat size, use increasing stitches. Because of the increasing stitches, this means it's harder to work a graph pattern in the top portion of the hat. 

* Playin' Hooky works in rows with a back-loop stitch through-out, no increasing stitches are needed.

The simplest pattern, for me, ended up being the Graph Beanie from Playin' Hooky Designs. The pattern instructions consist of a few rows which you continue until your desired width while adding the graph when necessary.

  • Size of Graph Allowed:
This is where I found the two differed the most. One has a much smaller area to work a graph pattern than the other. 

* MNE's hat can fit a 15 X 60 graph (small adult size). This works great for smaller graphs and because the hat works in the round, you can easily carry the yarn and add the same design multiple times. 

* Playin' Hooky's beanie can fit a 27 X 63 graph (small adult size), allowing for most of the hat to be used. I felt this gave me many more design options.

Note: You can easily adjust the size of hat & graph by switching your hook size. Smaller hook = larger graph.

Online Crochet Class

  • Graph Transfer:
How well each graph transfers between patterns is a personal preference, but because each one uses such different techniques, I used the same graph with each pattern to show the difference.
One uses a front-post and the other a back-loop, not only does the appearance differ, but so does the size.
With Playin' Hooky's pattern, I was able to carry the yarn and continue using the one strand, creating less bulk and ends to weave in.


MNE's working-in-the-round design created extra padding behind the ghost and Pac-Man when carrying the yarn. You could snip the yarn at the end of each round, keeping in mind this creates more ends to weave in.

Below I used the same Pac-Man ghost graph for each pattern. The ruler shows the size difference and you can clearly see how the front-post compares to the back-loop version.

Which one do you choose?

  • Finished Product:

    • Weight :: MNE has a lot of bulk to it. This is most likely due to the use of the Fpdc, as well as the stitch increases in the beginning rounds. Playin' Hooky Designs has a much lighter feel.
    • Feel/Texture :: Playin' Hooky Designs use of the back-loop throughout gives their beanie a ribbed/bumpy feel and appearance where MNE's has more of a smooth line look to it. 
    • Stretch and Sizing :: (As stated earlier, I used the child/small adult size for both test pieces.) With the added bulk in MNE's design, I felt it didn't allow much stretch. You can see in the picture below, that it's slightly tight on Big C's head. Playin' Hooky's beanie with the back-loop not only gives the ribbed effect, but it's also very stretchy and extremely forgiving if your sizing is slightly off.
    • Appearance :: This is also a personal preference, because they both turn out amazing in the end!!! I love them both for different reasons, but more importantly, they are both addicting!!

UPDATE: MNE Crafts recently released a photo tutorial for her graph hat patterns showing different methods for carrying the yarn and sizing options. She is even starting on larger graph designs!! Check all this out in the link below:

So, have you fallen in love with graph hats, too?? Are you on your way to make a ton of them?!?

This is the Snowflake Color Grid made for Little C


Here are some Adventure Time designs that I have been working on, requested by Big C.


And a team beanie for when he races his BMX!

Fun, right?!?

If you are like me and can't get enough of the graph hats, check out my Pinterest board HERE, completely dedicated to graph patterns. You can easily work any of these in to either patterns, just remember, size matters ;)

Graph patterns have so many uses: cross-stitch, latch hook, crochet, knit, perler beads..... what have I missed??

Now, go get hookin'!!!

A BIG 'Thank you!' to MNE Crafts, Playin' Hooky Designs, and Oikos Handmade for their amazing patterns and designs!