Messy Bun Beanie Technique

Commentary:  I woke up one morning and the entire internet had gone crazy for beanies with holes in the top. Having made about two million beanies in my life, I found this amusing. Just when you thought they could not improve on crocheted winter head gear, here it was, the bun beanie.

My social media feeds were full of pictures of them, my personal Facebook page had requests from friends for them, I was being bombarded in virtually every social feed with “here’s my version” and “I used so and so’s pattern and made one for myself!”

So here is my method, not a pattern really, just a method to turn any stitch pattern you like into a messy bun or ponytail beanie. (Free pattern coming soon for folks that need an exact step by step and stitch counts…)

Instructions: Beanie is worked from the bottom up.

  1. Find a stitch pattern you like the look of, if it can be worked continuously that is even better since you can work in a continuous spiral and not have to connect and turn at the end of each Round. If not, no worries, it’s easy enough to connect the ends of your Rows, chain a couple, turn you work and stitch another Row.
  2. Pick your yarn, and a hook that is 1-2 sizes larger (.5mm or 1mm larger) than the recommended hook size for that yarn. Using a larger hook will give the fabric more elasticity. If you tend to crochet loosely, do not go up more than 1 size (.5mm), or possibly don’t go up a size at all. The recommendation to increase hook size is for people who have a pretty steady and accurate gauge or who tend to crochet tightly.
  3. Make a chainless foundation 19-21 inches long. For me, 19 inches works (for a regular beanie fit, I’d got up to 20 for a slouch), my head circumference is 22 inches. The chainless foundation is incredibly elastic, it can be a few inches smaller than the head circumference and it will stretch to accommodate. Adjust your foundation length to accommodate the stitch pattern you have chosen. For example: If you need an odd number of stitches for your pattern, be sure to end your chain on an odd number count.
  4. Join the ends of the foundation together with a slip stitch into the top of the first foundation stitch. It is important that you also use a tapestry needle to join the tail from the beginning of foundation Row to the bottom of the last foundation stitch worked, this will create a perfect foundation to build your pattern on with all the foundation posts standing like little soldiers in a row. If you are working a continuous pattern, skip steps 5-8 and just work your pattern in a round until you’ve made a band that is  6-7 inches high, 6 inches for a regular beanie fit, 7 or more for a slouchy fit and go directly to Step 9.

    TIP* Depending on the stitch you use and the tension of your own stitches, it is possible to shorten this foundation length inadvertently. After your first round of stitches, measure the loop and make sure it is at least 9.5 inches wide (for a minimum of 19 inches round).

  5. Chain 1 or 2 stitches (depending on the stitch pattern you chose, taller stitches like Double Crochet will need 2 stitches), and start your pattern in the next stitch.
  6. Work your pattern all the way around your foundation, when you’ve worked the last stitch, slip stitch into the chain space created at the beginning of this Row. SEE TIP* ABOVE.
  7. Chain another 1 or 2 stitches (again, depending on your stitch pattern), turn your work (in this case turning will also involve flipping the work right-side then wrong-side out as you turn you work).
  8. Repeat Rows 6 – 7 until your band reaches 6-7 inches in height. Do NOT cut yarn.
  9. Gather the top of the band. [NOTE- I totally cheat here and drop down one full mm in size (that would be two letter sizes). I know this is against all the rules of crochet but it works really well and I consider it a valuable cheat.] Continuing where you left off, alternate 1sc in one stitch, and sc2tog in the next two stitches around continuously two to three times around OR until the top closes into a hole about 3-4 inches across. Then go around one more time with a round of single crochets.  This will decoratively decrease the top of the hat and also create a semi-elastic opening for the bun or ponytail.  Finish off, weave in end.
    You’ll notice that the first round of decreasing will bring in the top slightly, the next round will bring it in more dramatically. This ends up looking a bit like a crochet fez until you make the brim on it and put it on. Let’s face it, most hats don’t look too amazing without a head in them. Finish off yarn and weave in end.
  10. Add a band to the bottom edge of the hat. Using smaller hook size again. There are a variety of band options to add to any beanie you can use your favorite. You will only need a few short Rows to cinch the bottom of the hat so that it grabs a bit and stays on better. This is what I do:
    Row 1: (sc in next stitch, FPDc around immediate post, skip nxt stitch) and repeat around.
    Row 2: (sc in next stitch, HDCc around immediate post, skip nxt stitch) and repeat around, finish off, weave in ends.
    Now if you wanted a wider rim, and if you were making a more slouch version of a hat, go ahead and made more rows.

I’ll be adding a free pattern as well soon for beginners, but you can turn any stitch pattern into a bun beanie by following these instructions. Challenging yourself to free form crochet without a pattern is the best way to expand your skills and understanding of crochet.

Enjoy! I’d love to see your work and hear about your crochet adventures too.

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