29 Dec 09

Crochet is Totally Metal Now

Behold, my minions. I give you: the Viking Beanie. I made one for the little bean, and then everybody wanted one for Christmas. That meant I spent the first half of December running a masochistic crochet sweatshop on my boyfriend’s couch. After all the effort to really get the pattern right, I can’t not write it down and share it with the world. Now you too can tell the world you rock so hard that even your winter attire throws horns.

You can make this pattern for any size. I don’t recommend it for beginners. If you find my instructions frustratingly open-ended, it’s because as a lifelong crocheter, I know that set-in-stone patterns are pointless. Everybody stitches differently, and nobody is shaped exactly alike. Luckily beanies are pretty hard to screw up. Unless they have horns and braids on them.


  • Patons Classic Wool medium weight in “Chestnut Tweed” for beanie. (It’s a nice rich brown color with flecks of yellow, orange and green in it)
  • Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in “Honey” for trim on beanie
  • Bernat Cotton Tots in “Sunshine” for fake braids
  • Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in “Linen” for horns
  • Size H crochet hook (8 mm)

The Beanie

Measure the intended noggin. A good beanie should be snug and yarn stretches, so subtract an inch (1/2 inch if it’s a newborn, 3/4 inch if it’s a little kid). This is your target measurement. Follow this pattern to make a flat disk, which will spread over the crown of the head. Start with the dark brown yarn and:

  1. ch 1. 6 sc in ch = 6 sc in round
  2. 2 sc in each sc = 12 sc in round
  3. 6 times: 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next st. circle = 18 sc in round
  4. 6 times: 1 sc in next st, 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next st. circle = 24 sc in round
  5. 6 times: 1 sc in next 3 st, 2 sc in next st. circle = 30 st in round.
  6. 6 times: 1 sc in next 2 st, 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next 2 st. circle = 36 st in round
  7. 6 times: 1 sc in next 5 st, 2 sc in next st. circle = 42 st in round
  8. 6 times: 1 sc in next 3 st, 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next 3 st. circle = 48 st in round
  9. 6 times: 1 sc in next 7 st, 2 sc in next st. circle = 54 st in round
  10. 6 times: 1 sc in next 4 st, 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next 4 st. circle = 60 st in round

And so on, stopping or continuing based on noggin size until you reach a circle that is about three inches smaller around than your target measurement. Check your gauge early and often. Each round adds 6 sc, or about an inch and a half. I usually end up with 72 sc as the final circumference with 35 total rounds, resulting in a 22″ beanie that reaches just past the earlobes. That will fit most heads, although it’s easy to adjust for smaller or bigger heads. (This site has a great size chart.)

When the beanie is three inches smaller around than its final intended measurement, do one or two rounds of just one sc in each stitch, depending on if the intended noggin is more square or pointy. This will help to shape the beanie down the sides of the head. Then do a round where you add 6 extra sc, distributing them evenly around the hat as in the pattern before. (Feel free to reduce this number to reach your desired size. The important part is to distribute extra sc evenly as you go around the hat.) Then do two rounds of 1 sc in each st. In the next round, add any more sts that you may need to make the hat just right, then do 1 sc in each st for as many rows as you need to make it just cover the tops of the ears when you put in on. When you’ve completed enough rounds to cover the tops of the ears (about 29 rounds total for me), finish off the dark brown yarn with a slip stitch and weave the loose end in or crochet over it with the light brown yarn later.

The Braids

Before you start putting the lighter colored band on, you need to make your braids. If you don’t want braids on your hat, lucky you. This hat just got easier. Just slap a couple of rows of light brown using sc, dc, or a combination of the two until the beanie is the length you desire, then skip to the horns.

For those of a truly Wagnerian persuasion, get out another crochet hook, pencil, knitting needle, or something straight and firm. Don’t use a pen. Trust me, things will go badly.

Take the crinkly sunshine colored cotton yarn and measure out a length about an inch longer than you want the finished braids to be. A distance from your earlobe to mid-chest looks pretty good. Placing the cut end of the thread at the bottom, measure out loops of the thread until you have 13 loops at the top. There will be twelve loops at the bottom, with a loose end on each side.

Run the extra crochet hook through the loops at the top. Have somebody else hold it steady for you. Divide the loops at the bottom into three groups of four (the two at the sides will include a loose end) and braid until there’s about two inches left. Make sure the section without a loose end in it ends up in the middle. Use the loose ends to tie the braid off in a square knot. It helps if you cross them across the back so that they really enclose the braid. If the loose ends are all wonky, poke them back down through the braid so they hang down. You could make the braids thicker by adding loops in multiples of three, but this thickness looks good with the hat and any more would make them heavier, bending the beanie out of shape.

Now make another braid. Make sure you leave each braid’s top loops on the crochet hook or the whole thing will come undone.

Bottom Band and Attaching Braids

Go back to the beanie and cast on the light brown yarn. Put 1 sc in each st for one round. Put 1 dc in each st for one round.

Now it’s time for math. Algebra II is about to pay off big time, kids. Work this out:

x = (C – 4) / 4

Where C is the number of stitches in the beanie’s circumference and x is the number of sc that you’re about to put on.

If you had an odd number of st (bad crocheter), put the extra st in the back of the hat. Crochet x number of sc. Now it’s time to add your first braid. DON’T TAKE IT OFF THE CROCHET HOOK. Oh. You did anyway. Really quick and careful, put the loops back on the crochet hook so the damn thing doesn’t unravel. Position the braid next to the hat as it should hang when the hat is done. Here’s how you get it on. (The braid, silly. The braid.)

  1. Push the hook through the next st, as if to grab the thread for another sc.
  2. Except first run the hook through half the loops sitting on the other crochet hook, moving horizontally and being sure not to miss a loop.
  3. Then pick up the light brown yarn, pull it through the braid loops, and pull it back through the st. You may need to tighten the yarn loop a bit.
  4. Close the sc. It should be nice and snug and not appear looser than a normal sc.
  5. Repeat this, attaching the other half of the braid loops onto the hat. Make sure that you don’t twist the braid so that it lays correctly against the head and hangs down straight.
  6. NOW you can take out the extra crochet hook.

Crochet 2x number of sc, then attach the other braid. Crochet x number of sc to finish out the round.

The hard part is done.* Finish off the hat with a round of dc (or sc, or whatever, as long as it’s a length you’re happy with. Put the hat on and go to a mirror so you can grin at yourself like an idiot while you play with your braids. You will need to do this so that you can be happy before you do the horns.

The Horns

*I lied.

These suckers were tricky to figure out, but worth it. Take the linen colored yarn:

  • Make a slip knot and then ch 2. Look at the first ch. There are three loops that are part of it. Put 1 sc in each loop of the first ch, then pull the loose end down the middle of it. This will be the tip of the horn.
  • Next round: 2 sc in next 2 sts. 1 sc in first st (this will be the “home st”).There are 5 st in the round.
  • Next round: 1 hdc in next st, 2 dc in next st, 2dc in next st, 1 hdc in next st. 1 sc in the home st. There are 7 st in the round.
  • Next round: 1 dc in next st, 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 2 st, 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 2 st. 1 sc in the home st. There are 9 st in the round.
  • Next round: 1 dc in next 2 st, 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 2 st, 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 2 st. 1 sc in the home st. There are 11 st in the round.
  • Next round: 1 dc in next 3 st, 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 2 st, 2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 3 st. 1 sc in the home st. There are 13 st in the round.
  • Put a slip stitch in the next st. Finish off. Mush the tip so it’s more pointy. If it doesn’t look like a horn, we have a problem.

Make another horn. Now for the stuffing, ch 33, then turn, put a sc in the third st, and sc to the end. Make two of these. Take this strip of sc and wind it into a coil. Push the spiral up inside the horn, squishing it up in there so that the horn’s shape will hold. (After it’s on you can mush it so it looks just right.)

To attach the horns, pin them in place. I thought they looked good with the bottom aligned 13 rows up from the bottom of the dark brown portion of the hat. Make sure the tips point toward the very center of the crown, unless you are going for a forward-slung demonic look, which would be metal.

Go underneath the hat and poke the crochet hook up, going through the tops of the sts on the bottom of the horn. Pull linen colored yarn through and do 13 sc from the inside of the hat, connecting the horn (WITH THE STUFFING INSIDE) to the hat. When you go all the way around, pull the loose ends down inside the hat, make a square knot, and then stuff them back up into the horn. The inside of the hat will have two linen-colored circles inside it, and if you did it right the horns should be snugly attached. Squish them into shape.

The Finishing Touch

Now hold your beanie aloft and consecrate it to Odin. Then put it upon your brow, widen your feet to an appropriate rock stance, and throw some horns while sticking your tongue out. I have provided the following demonstration for those of you in need of an example.

Shortly after this photo was taken, lightning bolts crashed through the sky, sounding Asgard’s approval. It’s official: this hat rocks. I think all I need to do now is make some gauntlets to go with this bad boy . . .