Hats are one of the fastest gifts you can knit or crochet, but that doesn't mean they have to be plain. If you're creative, you could find dozens of ways to dress a hat up with yarn braids. Two of the most common methods are attaching braids for tying a hat's ear flaps down around your chin, or putting a single braid on the crown of the hat to attach a pom-pom, or as ornamentation on its own.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Yarn needle or crochet hook
Leave a "tail" of yarn long enough to form one strand of the braid when you bind off your work. The advantage of using this method is that you can make a slender, three-strand braid without having to use knots to secure an extra strand of yarn; however, it only works if you want to attach the braid at the same place you've bound off, such as the crown of a hat that you knitted or crocheted from the brim up.
Cut a piece of yarn to measure twice as long as your remaining yarn tail. Thread the yarn through a yarn needle, then run the yarn up into the fabric of the hat near the tail, through a stitch or two, and then back down on the other side of the tail. You can also use a crochet hook to run the yarn in and out of the hat. When you're done, the ends of the extra yarn strand should hang down on either side of the yarn tail, giving you three equal-length strands.
Braid all three strands together. You may find it easier to maintain even tension on the braid if you place the hat on a table and weigh it down with a couple of books. Secure the end of the braid with a tidy overhand knot, and trim the yarn ends even.
Using the "Tail"
Cut three equal-length strands of yarn, each twice as long as you want the finished braid to be, plus a few extra inches. Remember that the braid will be a little shorter than the strands you make it with, due to the length lost in the twists and turns of the braid.
Thread one strand of yarn through a yarn needle, then use the needle to thread the yarn into the edge of the hat, running each strand through one or two stitches to help fix it in place and distribute any force you put on the braid. Then run the end of the yarn back out of the hat, near the entry point. Tug on the ends of the strand until they're even. Run the other two strands through close neighbouring stitches, if possible, to make it look like they've organically come out of the hat. The end result is six equal-length strands hanging down from the hat, all close enough to braid.
Bring all six strands together. Treat both ends of each long, doubled strand as a single unit as you make a three-strand braid. In other words, you'll make each "leg" of the braid with two strands of yarn instead of just one. Once you're done, secure the end of the braid with a small, tidy overhand knot and trim the remaining yarn even. This technique is ideal for adding yarn braids to earflaps on a hat, or anywhere else you want to add a braid but don't have a cast-off yarn tail to work with.
Without a "Tail"
Tips and warnings
- You can also secure yarn braids -- and dress them up a bit -- by threading the yarn ends through a yarn needle and pulling them through a pony bead. Pull the bead as high on the braid as you can to get it out of the way, then tie a knot in the yarn just below the braid. Tug the bead down over the knot; if you get it just right, the bead will hide the knot, and the knot will hold the bead in place.