Crochet a Hat for Charity

chartThere are many articles listing charities that take crocheted items, and there are many worthy charities. However, I’ve decided to focus on making hats. For any charity, use a crochet stitch to produce a tighter fabric. Hats should always be handmade, new, and free from smoke and pet hair.

As Red Heart says, “make sure your item matches their guidelines before you send it in. Groups may have restrictions or guidelines on size, color, etc. on the items they can take”. They may only accept items made from an approved pattern list or only those items made with specific yarns.

Tips on better hat making:

  • Seamless hat:  The chain at the start of a round does NOT count as a stitch. Ch2 and hdc in same place [1 hdc]; or ch 2 and dc in same place [1 dc]. Join the last st of the round with slip st to the first st, not the chain. This will hide the seam.
  • Start with a twist: Sloppy Slip Knot adapted from
  • Color Change Join adapted from jogless color instructions at

Free Patterns by Yarn Weight

These are all patterns worked from the top down. I strongly prefer starting at the crown and working to the desired diameter (see the chart).

Worsted Weight

Alpine Nights Beanie. Crocheted in a waffle stitch with an I (5.5 mm) hook. Pattern recommended to me by someone who uses this to crochet hats for the homeless.

Basic Men’s Hat Seamless Crochet Pattern by Little Monkeys Crochet. hdc stitch.

Beanies for the Homeless. Similar to the Little Monkeys pattern, but with dc stitch.

Better Late Than Never Beanie. A wonderful striped hat pattern that I’ve made at least 4 times. Designer Kathy North alternates rows of dc and sc. I average 1.6 oz total yarn, 91 yds for both colors (52 yds main color and 39 yds contrast color).

Caron Cakes Slouchy Beanie. Worked in a cute yarn that changes color. hdc stitch, H-8 (5 mm) hook.

Cuffed Cutie Hat. For children. Uses K-10.5 (6.5 mm) hook and post stitching to create a turn-up brim. Recommended by Wool-Aid.

Double-Double Crochet Hat by Kathy North. Extra warm; made with 75 yds. each of 3 colors worsted weight yarn (light, medium, dark color) and a K-10.5 (6.5 mm) hook.

Shanti Hat. For children or adults. Uses K-10.5 (6.5 mm) hook and 60 – 190 yards (55 – 174 m) yarn. I’ve made this hat 4 times.Wool-Aid also recommends this pattern. Some of my pattern notes:

  • Medium size: 18″ head size, 5.75″ across and 10.25″ long, will fit a variety of head sizes. Looks better inside out. TOTAL: 2.44 oz, 132 yds (1.4 balls).
  • Medium size, with stripes: Total yarn: 2.64 oz, 143 yards. Work to 6″ across, then stop increasing. Work rounds 6 to 16 even, then add ribbing.

Two Stripe Beanie by KT and the Squid. A cute way to use up leftover yarn. Worked from the top down in a variety of sizes.

Chunky / Bulky Weight #5

Chunky Beanie Hat. This pattern uses a contrast color for the last round. She also provides tips for a neat finish.

Gumdrop Slouchy Hat. Uses a J-10 (6 mm) hook. Author says, “This is a really simple slouchy hat that even a beginner could handle! It’s a heavier slouchy hat that is perfect for colder days and nights. You can make it a solid color or change colors after every round to make stripes.”

Just Like That Hat. A thick and warm hdc beanie.

Lovely Lady Slouchy Hat. Uses a K-10.5 (6.5 mm) hook. Pattern calls for Homespun yarn.

Maia’s Hat. Free download from Ravelry. One of my favorite patterns. Because you work from the top down, you can actually use any weight yarn, not just bulky yarn. Work crown to desired diameter. Using the back loop only (blo) for hdc puts a lovely ridge on the hat and makes in stretchy.

Mama’s Easy Hat. A dc hat that is slightly slouchy. Note that pattern calls for Lion Brand Jiffy, which has been discontinued. Use 135 yds/123 m of any acrylic yarn with #5 weight instead.

Super Bulky #6

Lion Brand Junior Crochet Hat. Free pattern, but you must be a member of the web site to see the pattern. Uses a N-13 (9 mm) hook. One size; will stretch to fit a range of sizes. Finished circumference about 21 in. (53.5 cm). Finished length about 11-1/2 in. (29 cm).

Lion Brand Ridge Hat. Free pattern, but you must be a member of the web site to see the pattern. Uses a N-13 (9 mm) hook and J-10 (6 mm) hook. One size; about 20 in. (51cm), Hat will stretch to fit a range of sizes.

Under the Bridge Hat. Hat is worked in continuous spirals without joining. The author says, “I designed this hat to meet the charity group Bridge and Beyond Project’s specifications for donations, but it’s a great unisex project that works up quickly in super bulky yarn. Crocheting in the round in the half double crochet stitch’s third loop creates a look to mimic to the stockinette stitch in knitting.”

Finding a Charity By Fiber

Start with this section if you want to work through your stash by fiber (such as, “I have a lot of wool hats on hand; where can I send them?” or “Which charity wants washable acrylic only?”)

Wool Only

Generally, these charities serve children and adults in cold climates.

  • Wool-Aid: Fiber used must have 80% wool content. Their biggest need is for children 8 to 12 years old. Hats should be thick and dense, not lacy; consider adding a cuff.
  • Hats and More for War-Torn Syria (wool preferred but not required). Washable fibers preferred.

Acrylic or Cotton Only (Washable and Soft)

Generally, these charities serve cancer patients, who need extremely soft yarn and seamless caps. Hats should cover the ears.

Any Fiber

These charities will accept hats made from any fiber.

  • The Hat Box Foundation collects hats for cancer patients and others in need. They accept hats for all ages and genders. They say, “Hats for children should be at least 18″ in circumference; hats for teens and adults should be at least 22″ in circumference.” They prefer soft yarns (see the approved yarn list from Knots of Love).
  • Operation Gratitude (sends care packages to US military). Items for adults only, 21 to 23-inch heads. Since items sent in care packages are not regulation, they can only be worn by people who are off-duty. They request colors “on the subtle side–blues, browns, olives, grays, maroon, and black.”

Camo Cotton Cap

Crochet, project #364, completed June 2012

PATTERN: This project is based on a free crochet pattern from Suzetta (link). My changes are noted below. This is an awesome hat pattern that I would definitely make again. The shaping was nice and Suzetta’s instructions were easy to follow.

Project Notes
Hat worked in soft cotton for a friend who just had brain surgery. She really liked it.

Finished Size
Head circumference: 18″ (will stretch to fit 19″ head). Hat is 7″ long.

TO FIT: Teen/Adult Small
To make a larger hat, work increases in round 10 as follows: Ch 2, [dc in each of next 4 dc, 2 dc in next dc] — 72 dc. Join round. Then work rounds 11 through 15 per the full pattern and finish as desired.

GAUGE: Not important: worked top-down to a specific diameter (6″ across)

Crochet Hook: US Size H-8 (5mm)
Yarn: 1.68 oz, 84 yds worsted weight cotton: from 1 ball Lily brand Sugar’n Cream (100% cotton); 3 oz/85 g; 150 yd/138 m. Color: Renegade
Notions: tapestry needle for weaving in yarn ends; scissors

Start at the crown and work until the hat has a 6-inch diameter. Work even rounds without increasing until the hat is the desired length (at least 0.5″ / 1.25 cm longer than the diameter).

a) This hat is made in joined rounds (not spirals). Work rounds without turning.
b) Starting with round 2, work in the back loops only.
c) Ch 2 at the start of each dc round does not count as a double crochet or a hdc (just as the ch 1 turning chain does not count as a single crochet). The ch-2 just provides the right height for the round.
d) The square brackets [ ] denote a set of instructions to be repeated all the way around. Each increase round adds 12 sts.
e) Join each round with slip stitch at the end.

Start with the EASY MAGIC RING technique (link) from freshstitches.
Work 5 sc into the ring. Join – 5 sc.
1.    Ch 2 (REMEMBER, THIS IS NOT A DC). Work 12 dc evenly spaced into the 5 sc — 12 dc. Join.

Note:    From this point on, work stitches in the back loops only. This will create a ridged effect.

Work rounds 2 through 9 per the full pattern.

10.    DO NOT INCREASE. Ch 2, dc in each sc around — 60 dc. Join round.

Work rounds 11 through 15 per the full pattern, but with 60 sts per round.
At the end of round 15, the hat is 6.5″ long

16.    Ch 2 (not a hdc), hdc in each sc around — 60 hdc. Join round. Slip st in next st.
Fasten off, leaving a 6-inch tail. Weave in all ends.


  • Photos by QC Tester Hobbies blog,
  • Adapted from instructions by Suzetta (link)
  • “Easy Magic Ring” by Fresh Stitches (link)
  • Thanks to “Crochet abbreviations” article for language about brackets (link)
  • Written instructions were edited with standard pattern language suggestions from Kim Guzman and the “Crochet on Ravelry” group (“Pattern Grammar” post)

American crochet terms are used in this pattern.
ch = chain
dc = double crochet
hdc = half double crochet
sc = single crochet
slip st = slip stitch
st(s) = stitch(es)

Projects in August 2011

These are my completed knitting and crochet projects for August 2011, 13 in all, including the flower embellishment. I’m working diligently to create warm items for the “12 Days of Christmas” charity project in Baltimore. The “All-American” hats went to my friend E for his birthday. The rose hat I’m keeping. All the remaining hats here are going to the charity.

297. Textured Stripes Roll-Brim Hat

Crochet, project 297. Completed 6-Apr-2011

Adapted from instructions by Lisa Gentry, published in Leisure Arts #75358, Crochet Celebrity Slouchy Beanies for the Family. I like the roll brim look. You can also unroll the brim and wear it like a, well, slouchy beanie hat.

Adult male

Adult L; worked top until it was 7″ diameter, should fit 22 to 23″ around. 8″ length minimum

Yarn: 152 yds / 2.2 oz worsted weight yarn

MC = main color. 1.7 oz, 116.6 yds worsted weight yarn

  • Suffolk & Dorset Solitude Wool (70% Wool, 30% Nylon). 3.5 oz / 99 g. 240 yds. Color: Handpainted Blue.

CC = coordinating color. 0.5 oz, 35 yds worsted weight yarn

  • Suffolk & Dorset Solitude Wool (70% Wool, 30% Nylon). 1.7 oz / 48 g. 120 yds. Color: Speckled White.

Crochet Hook: US Size H-8 (5mm)
Notions: Stitch markers, tapestry needle for weaving in yarn ends, and scissors

294. Sunburst Beret (crochet)

Crochet, project 294. Completed 23-Mar-2011

Wonderful yarn

I found a free pattern online for a cute beret. Unfortunately, the pattern called for discontinued yarn and had several serious problems (stated gauge was incorrect and other errors). I combined elements from at least three patterns to make a new beret pattern. The Berrocco Vintage DK yarn is pleasure to crochet with and withstands being ripped several times (as I discovered during pattern testing!)

This pattern is adapted from instructions and inspirations found in (“Phannie”),, (“Girlie Hat”), (“Sun Ray Slouch”), and Lily Chin’s book Crochet Tips and Tricks.

Crochet class

About 11” across; to fit women’s average size head.
GAUGE: Not essential. We’re working top-down until the beret is a specified size.

Yarn: 2.3 oz, 189.3 yds (0.65 skein) worsted weight yarn
1 ball Berrocco Vintage DK (50% Acrylic, 40% Wool, 10% Nylon), 288 yds / 263 m, 3.5 oz/100g ball

Crochet Hook:  US Size G-6 (4 mm) and US Size 7 (4.5 mm, which can also be called ”G”)

This pattern uses a special “back loop only” stitch from “Under Victoria’s Hat”:  insert your hook under the back loop and the rear horizontal bar, which is located below the top loops in the back of the stitch. This causes the top front loops to bend over and look like a long dash on the side facing you, which will be the wrong side when you are done. This is similar to “in the back loops only” but it is more stable.

“Color change join” — Adapted from Lily Chin. Work the last dc stitch until you have two loops on the hook. Insert hook into the top of the turning chain, yarn over hook, and pull through all loops on hook (both the turning chain and the 2 loops on the hook).

291. Urban Appeal Hat

Crochet, project 291. Completed 24-Feb-2011

Very slouchy beret

Adapted from instructions by Lisa Gentry, published in
Leisure Arts #75358, Celebrity Slouchy Beanies for the Family

Stage prop (1960’s costume)

Head circumference: 22.25 inches. (Actually about 23 inches around.) TO FIT: XL/XXL head.
GAUGE: 3 sts per inch

Yarn: 3.4 oz, 185 yds worsted weight yarn
1 ball Cascade Eco+ (100% Wool), 8.8 oz/ 250 g, 478 yds. Color: Black
Leftover Yarn: 5.4 oz, 293 yds worsted weight yarn

Crochet Hook: US Size H-8 (5mm)

Top is very rippled and puckered (as designed). It looks like it is supposed to, but the fit is very loose, even with the decrease row I added. Will fall right over the nose on a 22-inch foam head.

288. Alaskan Gulf Shores Hat (crochet)

Crochet, project 288. Completed 8-Feb-2011

A Gulf Shores hat...made with Alaskan yarn

Hat adapted from the Gulf Shores pattern by Melissa Rotert — great pattern, have made it several times.
Flower adapted from a detail for a sweater pattern in Interweave Crochet, Fall 2010 (page 72).

A friend’s birthday

SIZE: Adult Med, 19-inch head
GAUGE: Top down construction; gauge is not important. Worked until 6.5” diameter

Yarn: 2 oz, 137.5 yds worsted weight yarn

  • 1 ball Raven Frog Fiber Arts (100% merino wool), 8 oz / 550 yds. Color: Dark Winter Nights.

Crochet Hook: US Size G-7 (4.5 mm)

The yarn is hand-dyed in Alaska and has generous yardage. Leftover Yarn: 6 oz, 412.5 yds yarn

287. Felted Bucket Hat (crochet)

Crochet, project 287. Completed 6-Feb-2011

After felting, on a 22-inch head

Adapted from a free pattern by the Purl Bee


Hat circumference: 24 inches. TO FIT: Adult XL.
GAUGE: 1.5 single crochet sts = 1 inch (unfelted)

The original pattern called for Cascade Eco+ (100% Wool), 8.8 oz/ 250 g, 478 yds.
Yarn: 7.5 oz, 333 yds worsted weight yarn held double

  • 3 balls Stitch Nation Full O’ Sheep (100% Peruvian Wool) 3.5 oz / 100 g, 155 yds / 142 m. Color: 2012, Black Sheep
    Leftover Yarn: 3 oz, 132 yds (0.85 ball) yarn

Crochet Hook: US Size Q-19 (15.75 mm or 16 mm). Adjust hook size as needed to get gauge.
Tools: Stitch markers, tapestry needle for weaving in yarn ends, and scissors

From the original pattern: “We decided to send the Bucket Hat to the Laundromat! The result is a beautifully felted topper, good for protection from rain, sun and snow and for increasing general well being.” Now, who wouldn’t like a hat that increases your “general well-being”? Also, I needed a warm hat to wear in the snow, and this one was perfect.

The yarn is doubled throughout this pattern. I used two full balls to start, with the yarn strands held together. I finished the hat with two ends of the last ball held together.

Before felting, 22" across bottom (44" around)

Before felting: Hat is about 22” across the bottom (shown here draped over the 22-inch glass head). Felting instructions in the original pattern were brief. Here’s what I did:

Felting the Hat
Place the hat in a zippered pillow case to control the fuzz. Toss the pillow case into a top loading washing machine with some soap and a tennis ball. Set the water for HOT and the smallest amount of water. Check progress after 10 minutes, and then every 5 minutes until felted to the right size. Do not let it spin out.

Remove the hat from the zipped case and gently rinse it in cold water. Roll the wet hat in a towel and gently pat to remove water. Unroll the towel, smooth out any creases in the hat, and place on a glass head to dry.

Let dry for about 3 days, until all the water is gone.

After felting, on a 19-inch head

286. Feed Your Creativity Fair Isle Hat Kit

Knitting, project 286. Completed 1/29/2011

Slouchy Fair Isle

January 2011 kit #4 from Kollage Yarns. Their “Feed Your Creativity” series features 10 classes with “10 fibers, 10 patterns, and 10 techniques in 10 months to enhance your knitting skills.” I love this yarn — it was a joy to work with!

Unknown. I wanted to learn the Fair Isle technique, and this was a fun project to work on. The hat is very slouchy and could be a bit shorter.

Forehead circumference: 21.5 inches. TO FIT: Adult L (shown on a 22-inch head).

GAUGE: 4.5 sts per inch

Yarn: About 170 total yards of yarn in 3 colors —
3 balls Kollage Fantastic (100% merino wool). 50g / 1.75 oz, 93 yds.

  • 83 yds, Color A: Plumeria (purple)
  • 40 yds, Color B: Porcelain (light teal)
  • 46 yds, Color C: English Manor (gray)

Knitting Needles:

  • US Size 7 (4.5 mm): set of 5 double pointed needles (DPNs)
  • US Size 7 (4.5 mm): 16″ long circular needles
  • US Size 8 (5mm): 16″ long circular needles

Notions: Stitch markers, tapestry needle for weaving in yarn ends, and scissors

$35 to $61.50 estimated fair market value.

Cast on 108 sts + 1 st = 109 sts to start.

284. Checked Beanie

Knitting, project 283. Completed 1/1/2011

Stranding the yarn makes the hat extra warm

Designed and knitted by CD Cooper. 3-in-1 join method adapted from techknitting. Top shaping instructions adapted from the free “Skull Beanie” pattern by Polar Knit. Checker chart by CD Cooper.

My father-in-law

Adult L, 19-inch to 22-inch head

Gauge: 3 sts/inch

Yarn: 2 colors of bulky yarn:

  • Main color (MC): 1.5 oz, 52 yds bulky yarn
    MC: 1 ball Bernat Roving (80% Acrylic, 20% Wool), 100g / 3.5 oz (120 yds). Color: 33, Flint (dark gray)
  • Contrast (CC): 0.8 oz, 28 yds bulky yarn
    CC: 1 ball Bernat Roving (80% Acrylic, 20% Wool), 100g / 3.5 oz (120 yds). Color: 32, Putty (light gray).
  • Knitting needles: US Size K-10.5 (6.5 mm), 16″ long circular needles and set of 5 double pointed needles (DPNs).
  • Large-eye yarn needle;  scissors

NOTES: Could work the ribbing on smaller needles, such as US 10 (6 mm) or US 9 (5.5 mm) needles.