the dillon beanie

July 24, 2019 update: Welcome to TWL’s very first pattern post! Since it’s debut, this post has received a much needed photography upgrade. The commentary is still the original post so enjoy some cringey blogging!

A free crochet pattern from thewanderinglines

The Dillon Beanie is a stunning blend of aesthetic and functionality. Your little one will be ecstatic to have a beanie as unique as them while you can take comfort in knowing they won’t be catching a cold this winter!

Designed with customization in mind this base pattern features a unique ability that promises the perfect finished product – no matter your preference. As written the beanie has a band circumference of 17 inches and a height of 7 inches (not including pom-pom). It is intentionally a bit shorter for those kiddos who aren’t so crazy about having their ears fully covered; though it can be stretched to cover the ears as written. The band is perfectly stretchy to ensure that it stays on even the wiggliest of bodies without digging in and leaving marks – even after prolonged wear! And best of all, it isn’t too hot!! Remember those wiggly bodies I mentioned earlier? They are more likely to keep the Dillon beanie on because it allows their head to breathe a bit. Basically, my goal was to create a beanie that young children genuinely enjoy wearing and if I do say so myself, I think I’ve done a damn good job.

The Importance of Pattern Adaptability

Before we venture any further into this pattern, you should all be made aware that I find pattern adaptability to be one of the most important aspects of a pattern. Unfortunately, I find it is also one of the most difficult things to find in a pattern. With that being said, it was vital that when I create any pattern I do so in such a manner that it exemplifies the necessity of adaptability. That is why when penning my debut crochet pattern, the Dillon Beanie, I did so bearing in mind that not everyone is searching for the same thing. We all wander along our own paths and we each have specific expectations of a project. This is the precise reason why the yarn weight, finished size, general durability and overall appearance of the Dillon Beanie are all easy to customize.

And I must emphasize the easy portion of that statement. There is no additional math required to alter the size of this beanie beyond changing your initial round count. All other rounds can be worked exactly as written and the finished piece will still be a beanie. You can utilize a lighter yarn weight to make the perfect slouchy beanie without having to figure out how many new rounds you need to add. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy as my little one says. That’s the way it should be for a project such as this. There shouldn’t be any frustration when attempting to make a project for any kiddo. It should be a pain-free process so you can focus on presenting the perfect piece and enjoying the knowledge that you have given a tiny body exactly what they wished for.

More often than not…

I am certain I am not alone when I say there have been countless times where I have adored the pictured finished product. Like head over heels in love with the bloody thing, but my client wants to make a little tweak or hell, I want to make a tiny tweak. You would think that wouldn’t be a big deal, right? It’s just a tiny change after all. What could possibly go wrong? As we know, MANY things can go wrong and they often do.

Imagine this: you are scrolling through Pinterest trying to find some project inspiration. You find a lovely little purse that you think would be adorable if you just changed a few things. But you’ve been here before. In fact, you were here about 5 minutes ago when you found an adorable cardigan that was nearly perfect but in need of some tweaking. Even knowing the likelihood that you will discover the pattern flexibility is next to none, you read on anyway. Hoping against hope to discover that golden adaptability. And while you were prepared for it, the disappointment still hits when you discover the pattern is about as flexible as your hamstrings after a run.

In other words, pattern adaptability SUCKS. Most patterns are written to be followed as is and that’s just ridiculous. We all like different things in life, why would it be any different when it comes to our crochet interests? If I was so inclined to make a tiny change in most of the patterns I’ve read, I couldn’t. Well, technically I could but not without compromising the integrity of the pattern and risking a wonky finished product. (Been there, done that, not really interested in going back). And I simply refuse to believe that I am the only one to find it to be plain frustrating when a pattern doesn’t have wiggle room. Sure, if you’re looking to make an exact replica of the product pictured then an uncompromising patter works for you. But again, everyone looks for something a little different and so, to me, it seems only logical to have crochet patterns that can be tweaked. So naturally, as I felt the world was lacking decent adaptable crochet patterns, I set about designing adaptable patterns! The Dillon Beanie is the first in this installment of fantastically free crochet patterns and I do hope you enjoy it as I have.


Ideas to customize your beanie

The adaptability of this pattern is so great that I am saving an in-depth break down of possible alterations for a separate post. For now, though, I want to delve a bit into the most substantial and simplest way you can make this beanie your own. Play with the size. It is ridiculously easy to make this pattern the size you need. That’s part of the reason why there isn’t a gauge for this pattern because it’s designed to be flexible! Here are some super simple ways to ensure you get the size you desire:

Try utilizing a different weight yarn. A lighter weight (nothing below a 2) will give you a naturally smaller beanie. A heavier weight (nothing over a 5) will give you added durability, bulk, and warmth. Whatever size you go for, just be sure to decrease or increase your hook size appropriately.

Perhaps you alter the number of starting double crochets because you are a crochet expert and you know what you’re about. If you like working with a weight 4, but still need to alter your size, play around with your initial starting count. All the other rows can be worked as written. Your beanie will still come out just as perfect (no wonky shapes here).

Play with the tension of your yarn (oh yes – this makes a huge difference). By the gods and goddesses, this technique has not only saved me some yarn but also saved a few of my projects. Tighter tension leads to a smaller beanie while a looser tension leads to a larger one. It’s a quick and easy way to make a small size change!

Some other, non-size related changes you can make to create your perfect Dillon Beanie include:

  1. Picking a different color combination or simply going for a solid color. Sometimes it really is that easy.
  2. Working with multiple hook sizes isn’t as difficult as it sounds – give it a try it! It creates awesome texture throughout and can really make a piece stand out.
  3. Adding length by repeating Round 6 additional rounds. Slouchy beanie anyone?
  4. Alternating when you use a front or back loop only stitch. Top notch way to create something unique without having to change your stitch count.
  5. Changing the pom-pom or removing it all together can completely transform this pattern.
  6. Brims are the perfect time to play with texture and fit. A few decreases can keep a beanie on a smaller head while texture can provide additional grip to keep a beanie on a larger head.
  7. Appliques are so much fun and so easy to make. Does your little one want an alien, dinosaur princess hat? No problem! Make yourself some fun appliques and sew them on wherever you see fit.
  8. Button, button, who’s got the button? You do my friend. Got a fashion forward little one? Pop a few buttons on this baddie and you’ve got the makings of a spectacular cap.

I could continue for hours but I think you get the idea. There are countless ways to make this beanie perfect for you and your little one. You can try any of the above mentioned, a combination of a few, or make up your own version! The only limits this pattern has are the ones you put on it.

Please note: If you have an idea in mind but aren’t sure if it will work out, feel free to contact me and I will talk you through your ideas! I would be more than happy to help a fellow wanderer make their vision a reality.

A bit of crochet philosophy

In next week’s post, I will delve further into some of the aforementioned alterations. Breaking them down in such a way that you not only know how to make an alteration but what the effect will be on the overall look of the project. As I always strive to encourage exploration, I won’t be giving you all the possible ways to customize this pattern, but I will give you some of my favorites. I believe that crochet is such a personal craft; each piece should reflect who you are at the time you made it (yes, even if you are making something for a client). Often, those who crochet get caught up in creating a perfect finished product that photographs well and we forget to simply enjoy our craft. When we enjoy our craft, it shows in our finished products. Then those we gift those products to enjoy them more for it.

But that’s enough crochet philosophy for now…back to this ridiculously adorable beanie!

Next week’s wanderings…

To recap, the Dillon Beanie is a fairly basic crochet pattern with a focus on simplicity to allow for a wide variety of models to be created. It also whips up in just about 2 hours (who doesn’t love a quick project?) making it a great donation item or last-minute gift. Not to mention the stash busting abilities! My goddess is this little beanie a champ or what?!

As I said earlier, the possibilities for this pattern are endless. And I do mean endless. Each time I think I’ve exhausted my list of possible alterations, I think of something new. Though I must admit, I happen to find it to be absolutely charming as written. The durability, mobility, warmth, and cuteness that will have any fashion-forward little one jumping for joy are impossible to beat. Especially in my house where we are a very opinionated bunch. Realistically, what’s not to love? Plus, bonus points, it has already been busy body tested and approved!! See what I mean? A true champion.

Let’s chat

As I create different variations, I will be sure to share but only if you do the same! I am inspired to create new crochet patterns when others put that content to use. I literally ran through my house shouting my excitement when I got my first re-pin on Pinterest for this pattern. I would love to hear directly from you so please comment below or use the contact TWL form should you find any errors within the pattern (featured on page 2), have a question or just wish to share your variation of the Dillon Beanie! I can’t wait to see what you do with this pattern!! And remember…

…Happy wandering

the original photos

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