Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Crocheted Viking Hats

Never walk away from home ahead of your axe and sword.
You can't feel a battle in your bones or foresee a fight.
--Viking Proverb

It was a seemingly innocent email on a Friday afternoon, dropped like a challenge to an obsessive craft-a-holic such as myself. "My son and I are headed out to Eastern Oregon. I need a bearded Viking Hat by Tuesday..." The tone was playful, but the message was serious: "Make one of these if you dare!" I dared. Yes. I dared.

I went in search of a pattern online. My time was short, so I knew it had to be a crochet project since knitting would have been too slow. In my search I discovered Instructables, a website devoted to craftiness of all kinds: repurposed computer parts jewelry, papercrafts, toys, robots. There's even a section for manly crafts. I used the Crocheted Mustache Hat Costume posted by momwithahook.

I bought two kinds of yarn: Lemongrass Lion Brand 100% Wool and Lion Brand Homespun in Edwardian Gray. Using a size J hook I tackled the green hat first. I realized pretty quickly that the pattern suited itself much better to the thicker Homespun yarn. The opening for the face was too large, so I had to pick up and crochet a few rows around it. The top developed a visor effect, which I liked. The steel gray hat had a completely different effect. While it crocheted up quickly, I had to get used to the squiggly, non-stretchy yarn. After I lightened up my tension, I had an easier time seeing the stitches. In contrast to the the wool hat, this one was soft. The beard looked more realistic. I considered crocheting an optional piece of food for an accessory.

I finished the two hats by Monday. Father and son would head east in style. Mission accomplished. I breathed a sigh of relief. But then things got complicated. His
9 year old daughter asked me for a hat with a hot pink beard. Her hat would have to be much smaller than the Homespun hat for dad so I used a light gray, red-heartish kind of acrylic yarn for the hat and pink Homespun for the beard and mustache. I wanted the mustache to be less intrusive, so I worked it to have a more upturned structure. The result was a snug fitting hat with a beautiful furry beard.

Having been beaten down by requests from this family, I gave in and offered to make one for the mom. To my surprise, she didn't want to look like a hirsute Viking. This turned o
ut to be my biggest challenge: A lady Viking hat complete with horns and yellow braids. I started with the boy beanie hat in The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller. I used the same light gray for the hat. The pattern uses double crochet throughout, but I'm tempted to try it in all single crochet next time for a more solid look.

My next task was the horns. I started with a tube. After a few rounds I began to decrease on one side only to create the upturned horn look. I kept the horns small, so that they wouldn't be floppy when I stuffed and mounted them on the hat. For yellow braids, I used Lion Brand Cupcake . It had a pleasantly kinky/shiny effect. I liked it so much, I'm making one for myself!

My work is done. Go forth and enjoy your hats, but don't wear them into a bank or government building.....

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1 comment:

  1. love it. can you put a tutorial for the horns please?


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