Pattern Reviews

Pattern Review: Melody’s Makings Knitted Diamond Bear Beanie

I quite like knitting and crocheting hats. I think it’s because I quite like wearing hats, so I make a lot of them for other people. I made this Knitted Diamond Bear Beanie by Melody Makings for my daughter. Like most hats I have made, I had to give it a few goes (nothing to do with the pattern, more me working out the best way for me to do it. And I’m a bit of a perfectionist!) There is also a crochet version of the hat (Crochet Diamond Bear Pattern).

Age

  • There are instructions for doing the hat from newborn to age 3. I did the 1-3 year old pattern.

Yarn

  • The designer used Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Grande (a chunky yarn). I used Drops Andes in Blue/Purple colour. This is a super chunky yarn, but it seemed to work ok. I’m quite a tight knitter though which might explain why!

Needles

  • You can use either 5.5mm Double Pointed Needles or Circular needles using magic loop method.  For anyone not familiar with the magic loop method, it allows you to make smaller circumferences using longer cables (click here for a video tutorial of this method). In my final attempt I used 5.5mm 16″ circular needles for the main part, but switched to a 32″ cable (doing magic loop) for the decreases.  I have interchangeable needles, which made this possible to do. If you don’t have interchangeable needles or DPNs, then do it all using the magic loop method but read my tips below.
  • You need 5.5mm straight needles to make the ears.

Pattern

  • All of the instructions are written in text. I made the hat a few months ago so my memory of making it is a little hazy. But I don’t recall having any problems reading the pattern, although as I said I had to do it a few times until I worked out a method that worked for me.
  • The rim is a standard ribbed rim and the main body of the hat is done using simple knit stitches.
  • The travelling stitches (which create the diamond pattern) involve working with two stitches.  I was going to try to explain how to do them, but I think I would just make them sound confusing and they are actually very simple to do.  The designer has a link to a video tutorial which I highly recommend you watch before you start.
  • The ears are worked on single pointed needles doing stockinette stitch and then the two ends are joined together.

To Sell or Not to Sell

  • The designer is happy for you to sell your finished work, as long as you post a link to her website.

Tips

  • My first attempt was doing it all on 32″ circular needless using the magic loop method but this got a bit confusing with the travelling stitches, as sometimes the split in stitches occurred over a travelling stitch.   If you’re going to do the magic loop method for all of it, then I recommend having more stitches on one side than the other (so for the 1-3 year old pattern I’d split it 32 stitches on one side, 40 on the other). This will mean you’ll always have the stitches you need to work with to do the travelling stitches.
  • My next attempt was to do it all using a 16″ cable and standard circular knitting, but it was impossible to do the decreases as there wasn’t enough cable to work with.
  • My third and (final!) attempt was using a 16″ cable for the main part and then switching to a 32″ cable doing magic loop method for the decreases.  It was definitely a case of third time lucky as this method worked the best for me.  It was a bit fiddly unscrewing the needles from the cable, but I got there eventually with a bit of patience.
  • The ears were easy enough to make up.  You use one of the tails to join the two ends together, and I then also sewed the middle bit together as there would have been a bit of a hole otherwise.
  • The hardest part by far was sewing the ears on to the main body (seriously, I was about to stick the needle in my eye). I needed a much longer piece of yarn than the 12″ tail recommended in the pattern. In the end, I pulled the ends of both ears through, tied them in a knot to secure the ears to the hat then took a separate piece of yarn to sew them on. When I finished I untied the knots and weaved the ends in.  Alternatively, you could just make the hat without the ears, especially if, like my sister, you believe children aren’t bears (no fun, I say).
  • I blocked it using a balloon.  I tried to make the ears a bit rounder when I was blocking it, but as you can see from the picture below right, they ended up narrowing.  I think I would spend a bit more time when I was sewing them together to try to make them more circular.

I hope that all makes sense.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask and I’ll do my best to help.

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