Secret Method

Dec 1, 2006
Views: 57,250
Comments: 12
Average rating:


by Chloe Nightingale


Secret Method Pompom Hat

I am about to divulge my secret method of making top-down hats. The pattern here uses a DK weight alpaca, but you can use my secret method to crochet a hat from any kind of yarn and for any size head. You don't have to confine yourself to working in sc, either. You can try all sorts of stitches and stitch patterns once you get the hang of it. For those of you who are nervous about working without a pattern, relax. It's not as tricky and inflexible as you think. I used the same yarn in this pattern as I used in Flappy, but I didn't peek at the other pattern when I wrote this one. If you compare this pattern to the Top O' the Hat section from Flappy, you will notice that there are a few minor differences between the patterns. This doesn't mean I made a mistake making this hat, it just means that there's some flexibility with pattern-writing.

There are three ways I start top-down hats:  

  • Method 1.  Ch 2.  Work X sts into first ch.
  • Method 2.  Ch X, sl st in first ch to form ring. Work X sts into ring.  
  • Method 3.  Make an adjustable loop. Work X sts into the loop, pull tail to tighten.

The second part of the hat is the increase section, which is adapted from the method of crocheting a disc in my favourite book, New Design in Crochet, by Clinton D. MacKenzie (Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1972).  The trick is to alternate rounds of increases (e.g., work 2 sc in each st around) with rows of regular stitches (e.g., sc in each st around) according to what looks best with your yarn, hook, tension, and gauge.  

At some point, you are going to stop working in a disc and start working your project into a hat shape. If you are lucky, your last round of increases will be the right size for your hat, but in many cases, you will have to space out your final round of increases (e.g., *work 2 sts in next st, sc in each of next X sts,* rep from * to * around; or *work 2 sts in each of next X sts, sc in next st,* rep from * to * around) in order to get the desired diameter. After that, work the hat in rows of regular stitches (e.g., sc in each st around) until your hat is the desired length. 

The last part of my secret method is the brim. If you're an absolute beginner, you don't need to do anything fancy, but the brim is a good place to practice new stitches, stitch patterns, and color changes. The brim in this pattern, "*sc-blo in next st, sc-tbl in next st,* rep from * to * around," alternates between front-loop and both-loop sc stitches. This produces a gentle ribbing effect that is more prominent on the reverse side (which you will see when the brim is folded up).

Now that I've explained my secret method, watch it in action.

Materials List

  • MC: 2 skeins Inca Cloud Artesano Alpaca (100% Alpaca, 131 yds/120m per 50g skein) color 2285 (electric blue) or approximately 260 yards/240m of any DK weight alpaca
  • US F / 3.75mm hook
  • Stitch marker (I find a dangle earring works well in lieu of a proper stitch marker)

Finished Size

Wee Noggin - 17.5"/45 cm circumference, 7.75"/20 cm brim-to-top

Normal Noggin - 22"/56 cm circumference, 9"/23 cm brim-to-top

Big Noggin - 26.5"/67 cm circumference, 10.25"/26 cm brim-to-top


19 sts x 24 rounds of sc = 4"(10 cm)


Special stitches

sc-blo: single-crochet, back-loop only (instead of working the sc through both loops, work the sc through the back-loop of the stitch).

sc-tbl: single-crochet, through both loops.  This is just a regular sc, but it is used to eliminate confusion when alternating between sc-blo and sc.

The Pattern

The Hat

All sizes

No-pompom versionMake a magic adjustable loop.

Round 1: Work 10 sc into magic loop, pull tail to tighten.  (10 sts)

Begin crocheting in a spiral.  To help keep track of rounds, place a stitch marker in the first stitch of the round to mark the beginning of the round. Move the marker up as your work progresses.

Round 2:  Work 2 sc in each st around.  (20 sts)

Rounds 3-4:  Sc in each st around.  

Round 5:  Work 2 sc in each st around.  (40 sts)

Rounds 6-10:  Sc in each st around.  

Round 11:  Work 2 sc in each st around.  (80 sts)

Wee Noggin Only

Rounds 12-27:  Sc in each st around.  

Rounds 28-40*:  *Sc-blo in next st, sc-tbl in next st,* rep from * to * around.  

Sl st in next st.  Fasten off.

Normal Noggin Only

Rounds 12-17:  Sc in each st around.  

Round 18:  *Work 2 sc in next st, sc in each of the next 3 sts,* rep from * to * around.  (100 sts)

Rounds 19-35:  Sc in each st around.  

Rounds 36-50*:  *Sc-blo in next st, sc-tbl in next st,* rep from * to * around.  

Sl st in next st.  Fasten off.

Big Noggin Only

Rounds 12-18:  Sc in each st around.  

Round 19:  *Work 2 sc in next st, sc in next st,* rep from * to * around.  (120 sts)

Rounds 20-43:  Sc in each st around.  

Rounds 44-60*:  *Sc-blo in next st, sc-tbl in next st,* rep from * to * around.  

Sl st in next st. Fasten off.

By all means feel free to adjust the number of rows to your preference if you want a taller or shorter hat! The number of rounds given is enough for a hat with a folded brim (as pictured).


Weave in all ends.  Fold up brim.  

Use the rest of the yarn to make a pom-pom. (Large size may require an additional skein of yarn, though you could mix in a different yarn if you want to get a little crazy. It's your pom-pom, after all.)  For particularly large pom-poms, like the one pictured, use 100% cotton yarn to tie the pom. Cotton is strong and does not tend to stretch or break so your pom-pom will be more secure.  

Note: Here's a very good pom-pom tutorial.

The author has licensed this page under a Creative Commons License. Some rights reserved.

+ Add a comment


Marieke wrote
on Dec 5, 2006 2:25 PM


I need to make a couple beanies for gifts and I was having issues finding the right pattern. This is EXACTLY what I needed!

margie wrote
on Dec 12, 2006 1:28 PM

what is a "long double crochet?"

Chloe wrote
on Dec 12, 2006 8:50 PM

According to Annie's Attic, "Long double crochet (long dc): Yo, insert hook in designated st or row, pull up long lp on hook, (yo, pull through 2 lps on hook) 2 times."

Chloe Cumbow wrote
on Jan 11, 2007 6:12 AM

Sweet. I make hats without patterns all the time (yea sometimes they fail) anyway I have been crocheting with my 15 yr old daughter(we are making alligators right now) and needed to try to explain to her how the increases work on the 'disk' - & you did it well. Thanks!

Judy W wrote
on Feb 8, 2007 7:20 AM

I tried this and found the increase rows showed up more raised, did I do something wrong? (could be the thread too, i spose). I got a smoother cap joining rows, and just continuing the flat disc increases and trying it on my head until it looked like it needed to go straight, and then doing the straight all at once ... anyway, love your stuff, both your music and crochet.

Lora WIse wrote
on Feb 25, 2007 2:23 PM
Chloe- I love you patterns and have quite a queue of them backed up for question; when you state DK weight, do you mean DK in the UK, which is similar to American worsted/aran weight, or are you using American yarn weight terminology?

Thanks again for the terrific patterns.

BarbaraL@53 wrote
on Oct 21, 2007 11:35 AM

This is a great hat! I cannot get to the adjustable loop link. Will you explain it?

Kim Werker wrote
on Oct 21, 2007 2:08 PM

Sorry about that! The links to the adjustable loop tutorial have been fixed.

Fueling the crochet revolution...

psdumas wrote
on Oct 26, 2007 12:59 PM

Thanks! Very good base for working a hat in the round.

I find thatI have to adjust the increases.. but.. I also find that I can "feel" when an increase should be coming by the way the round may be curling up.. just a matter of experience in this.

I'd like to put a question out here.

I saw a great hat crocheted by a Nepal Women's group. It was like granny square style in the round. beautiful.. I tried it, but can't get it down..

It was done alternating 1 and 2 shells(6 crochet chains and then back 3 crochet chains) Just like granny style, but in the round. It was perfect.. and I even tried to replicate it by analyzing the hat.. no luck.

Any pointers on this out there? thanks..


on Dec 2, 2009 7:28 AM

I just realized today that this pattern mightily resembles the hat of everyone's favorite yellow-haired terror from "Calvin and Hobbes". Well played, madame, well played.

I reeeallllyyy have to make one of these now...! *runs to find yarn*

-And the Mome Raths Outgrabe-

on Dec 13, 2009 12:33 AM

Great link to make a pom pom thanks,i was searching everywhere and all the pom pom hats said " make a pom pom and sew it on" Is that your site or just something cool you found?

tricia_d wrote
on Dec 26, 2009 10:12 PM

I've just started to crochet this week, and I'm making this hat using double crochet stitches. Could you translate row 18 and rows 36 to 50? And, where's a good place to see that weaving in all ends in action?

I'm at row 8, and it looks a little like a beret.

And, I have to wonder why are crochet patterns written so cryptically. I know it's not cryptic if you understand it all, but I'm really just curious! Maybe my grandma could tell me. :)