Last week I shared with you a free crochet hat pattern from a reader of this blog. I hadn’t worked the pattern, yet, when I posted it (which I noted in that post for full disclosure) but I’ve worked it now. What I realized as I worked it is that as an experienced crocheter you make a lot of assumptions as you read a crochet pattern, assumptions that you may not know to make when you are just beginning with crochet. I thought today I would share with you the assumptions I made as I worked that pattern, to give you better insight into how to read a crochet pattern and also more information if you want to work on that hat yourself.

So, below is the original pattern that Pamela sent us for an 18-month-old’s crochet hat and then in blue you can see my notes about the assumptions I made when working this pattern.


Medium #4 white yarn or any color you prefer
H Hook

I made my first version of the hat using Paton’s Silk Bamboo Yarn, which is actually a weight #3 yarn (although I didn’t really remember that until I checked it later). The hat came out a bit too drapey. I assumed that this was because of the yarn I chose, not a problem with the pattern. I then made the assumption that medium #4 yarn in this case refers to acrylic or possibly wool yarn, which is stiffer and drapes less than silk bamboo.

crochet hats

Free Crochet Hat Pattern, for 18-month old

Start with a magic circle so you can pull tight after Row two. Chain 4 joins with sl st.

Row 1: make 12 hdc in second chain from hook. (12)

In reading those first two lines I made the assumption that the point is to create a starting circle that begins with 12 hdc. I don’t like the magic circle technique (even though I understand why a lot of people do). I chose to go with a slightly different starting method. I chained three, did a slip stitch into the first stitch and then made 12 hdc stitches into the circle that this created.

I made a further assumption here and in all subsequent rounds that the row always ends with a slip stitch into the beginning stitch to close the circle.

Row 2: 2 hdc in each of 12 hdc you made in row 1 (24)

At the beginning of this round and all subsequent rounds I made the assumption that each chain begins with a turning chain (a traditional turning chain for a hdc stitch is two chains – so here I did chain two and then started my hdc stitches). I further assumed that this turning chain counted as the first stitch. So in this case I did a chain two, 23 additional hdc and then slip stitched to the starting chain to close the circle.

Row 3: 1 hdc in each (24)

Row 4: 2 hdc in each (48)

Row 5: 1 hdc in each (48)

Row 6: 2 hdc in each (96)

Row 7: 1 dc in each hdc (96 dc)

Row 8: 1 sc in each dc (96 sc)

Row 9: 1 sc in each sc

Row 10: dc 2tog every 10 stitches (87)

Here I made the assumption that this means to do one dc in each of the first nine sc in the previous row, then to dc2together, then to do another dc in each of the next 9, etc. My count came out to 89 instead of 87. Judging on the fact that the circle looked right, I assumed that either my count was wrong, her count was wrong or it didn’t matter much. You’ll notice at the end of this pattern that the designer had actually added the note of being off a count of one in this row and the next doesn’t matter; that’s why you should always read a pattern through to the end! Mine was off count of two but it was fine.

Row 11: repeat row 10 (79)

Note: my count was off two here as well; I got 81 stitches.

Rows 13, 14, 15 dc in every stitch

Row 17: sc in fp

For this row and the following row I made the assumption that although the designer writes “fp”, she means FLO. There aren’t any post stitches to crochet around so I’m making the assumption that she means to crochet in the front loop only (and then back loop only on the next row). I should note that this instruction could also mean to do a FPSC (front post single crochet) in each stitch around.

Row 18: sc in bp

Row 19: sl st all the way around, finish off, weave in ends.

Pamela’s Note: don’t worry if rows 10 and 11 are off by 1, it won’t hurt the hat.

As I mentioned before my original hat was definitely too big for a baby but I attributed it to the drapiness of the yarn I chose. On my second try with different, the hat seemed more like it should be. I don’t have a baby in my life to test it on but it still seemed a little bit bigger than it should be. I know from experience, though, that I tend to crochet really loose so most of the time I adapt the size of a pattern downward from what’s suggested. In this case I would normally choose to use an F or G hook instead, for example. I didn’t do that because I figured a bigger hat that I might even be able to wear myself would be a better choice for me personally. Nevertheless, I actually did talk to Pamela, who wrote the pattern, and she checked and said that it actually was an F hook that was supposed to used.

Learning Lessons

There are a lot of crochet patterns out there from different designers who are at different levels of experience. Some are professionally written and tech edited by other professionals and super detailed so that every single possible reader question is anticipated. Most are not. I hope that this post has taught you more about how to use your own crochet experience to infer some of the underlying assumptions that many patterns are based on.

And another lesson I hope you’ll take away from my experience is this … If a pattern isn’t working quite right, first try a few things. In this case, I thought that maybe the large size was my yarn choice or the way that I crochet. If it’s not quite working right after two or three tries, contact the designer or ask for help in a forum on a place like Ravelry to find out if it’s actually a problem with the pattern.

Free Crochet Hat Pattern

Hopefully with the added details in this second post you will now know all that you need to know in order to complete the free crochet hat pattern for a young todller that is shared here. I’d love to see yours if you do make it!


San Francisco based and crochet-obsessed writer, dreamer and creative spirit!


  1. CrochetWithCris Reply

    As a person that writes patterns and offers them for download on my blog and Ravelry (shameless plug HAHAHA), I think the hardest part IS remembering that not everyone is going to be experienced. While I agree that when patterns are written and a “scale measurement of difficulty” is given, you have to assume that at higher levels, some things are going to be assumptions by the experienced crocheter BUT if you have a more advanced pattern I think it should be written with one level down in experience in mind – how can these people get better if they don’t know what jumps you are making.

    Honestly, I think even the most difficult of patterns can be made readable by the novice crocheter – its just how much space do you want to use :)

    • CrochetBlogger Reply

      @CrochetWithCris I absolutely agree with what you’ve said Cris! I definitely think pattern writers should try to go the extra mile to include that additional information for people who aren’t as experienced. That said, it’s not always going to happen so I hope that readers of patterns can get some insight into what to do when the pattern is missing some of the info.

  2. Crafting Fingers Reply

    This is very helpful! I started learning to crochet a couple weeks ago and have found myself baffled by quite a few patterns that forget the assumed stitches. Turning chains especially had me confused for a while, and I kept wondering why my projects were turning out so wonky!

  3. Sacredcrocheter Reply

    This is a wonderful article! I am a crochet designer who writes patterns for magazines. If I had my way there would be much more info in patterns at all levels. Unfortunately, magazines are limited to a certain amount of pages- so my patterns have to adhere to their specifications. The good news is that most are very happy to answer questions for readers and print corrections online. Thanks for this informative piece Kat.

    • CrochetBlogger Reply

      @Sacredcrocheter Yes, I’m so glad that you made the point that corrections and details are often available online for the magazine patterns and also often for the patterns in books that are published. Thanks for the feedback – so glad that people are resonating with this post.

  4. I feel the need to post here, as another (IMO) experienced crocheter.”Start with a magic circle so you can pull tight after Row two. Chain 4 joins with sl st.
    Row 1: make 12 hdc in second chain from hook. (12)”

    MY assumption from these two lines is that this person clearly has no idea what a magic loop is. They tell you chain 4, join into a loop with a slip stitch, and then make 12 hdc into the loop (which is basically what you did). But THEN she tells you to make it in the 2nd chain from hook instead of into the loop. So now she has mentioned THREE different ways of starting a project, because magic loop doesn’t require you to make any chains and then crochet into them.By the time I got to the part where the pattern was off by a stitch, I was itching to re-write it with more standard terminology, and a legend to help with what stitches are, and with proper stitch counts, and with yarn suggestions to get the desired result.

    • CrochetBlogger Reply

      @calophi Thanks for the feedback. You are correct in saying that the “magic circle” and starting loop instructions were incorrect. And actually, since I’ve been in touch with the pattern writer she had already realized that and let me know it needed to be fixed. However, I decided to leave it as it was when writing up this post so that people could see how to use their own experience and knowledge to mentally adjust patterns like that. The truth is that there are many, many free crochet patterns all around the web and a lot of them have minor flaws even though they can make a great item, so I think it’s important for crocheters to get a sense of how to work with that when they see it happen.

      • @CrochetBlogger I agree and I loved the experiment. Maybe I should take a beginner pattern request and try it myself.

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