February 23, 2015

Gray Totoro Hat

Since I had what felt like at least half a skein left of the gray and blue, and a little less of the white, I figured that would be enough yarn to get out one more Totoro Fair Isle hat. However it would have to be a different scene to use the colors that I had more of. So I decided to rework the chart for a nighttime scene since I had the most gray left. I chose to try to replicate the part of the movie where the totoros are in the top of the tree and are hooting through some strange musical instrument coconut thing.

I kept them together so they would be on the front of the hat again and added snowy white trees around them. The moon and stars are over head. I thought about leaving the moon out of the image and pretending the white pom on top would be the moon, but nah. Also thought about a half moon or crescent moon, but neither really looked right to me. I had to make the big one in blue, but thats ok. I tried to use the white and blue colors as moon-highlights on their fur. Not sure how it is going to turn out, but that is half the fun.

Since the last one is still pretty snug, I decided to use a J 6.00mm hook. I am hoping that this larger hook size and remembering to work loosely will make the hat fit much better.

I started with a foundation single crochet row of 72 stitches. Then did a second row of single crochet around, increasing up to 78 (11sc, inc around). That will help the brim I add later be a bit more snug and stretchy size in comparison to the hat body. Row three is the first row of the chart and the first rows of the waistcoat stitch.

After about 6 rows of pattern I tried the band on to find it fit nicely. I figured that was ok and much better than being too tight. This time it was also a lot easier to get into the center of the single crochet to make those waistcoat stitches, so I know the larger hook was doing what I had hoped.
Pattern came out great!
As before I used my arrow keys to keep my place on the chart and work along. I do think this time around went a bit faster as well, both because of the larger hook and knowing what I was doing.

I used the same decrease down for the top of the hat as the last one. Again adding a few more white "star" pips as I went along:
Row 23: *decrease, 11 stitches* (72)
Row 24: *decrease, 10 stitches* (66)
Row 25: *decrease, 9 stitches* (60)
Row 26: *decrease, 8 stitches* (54)
Row 27: *decrease, 7 stitches* (48)
Row 28: *decrease, 6 stitches* (42)
Row 29: *decrease, 5 stitches* (36)
Row 30: *decrease, 4 stitches* (30) - from here on I stayed in gray.
Row 31: *decrease, 3 stitches* (24)
Row 32: *decrease, 2 stitches* (18)
Row 33: *decrease, 1 stitches* (12)
Row 34: *decrease around * (6)

Once the design was done I went back and added two rows for the brim. The first took the 72 down to 66 stitches as I felt it was too loose, then I added one more row of single crochet around. To finish it off I added a pom like last time, but I used both the gray and the white to make a two color pom! 

Surprisingly, I still have bit of yarn in each of the colors left. I kind of doubt it enough to make another full hat in this waistcoat stitch, but probably would if I just did regular single crochet. Perhaps I'll make a striped hat with the rest. I hate to toss even a small bit of good yarn, but I hate to increase my stash too...

Difficulty: Intermediate if you have done this before, Hard if not.
Total time to complete: 14 hours!