Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Guide to Crochet Headbands - Regular and Tunisian Crochet

Happy Thanksgiving!

For the blog post before Thanksgiving, I decided to share a guide to crochet headbands. But, if you're looking for delicious recipes instead, I've already shared recipes for Corn Casserole, Refrigerator Mashed Potatoes, and bread among many others. So there's plenty to pick from!

But, if you're interested in making crochet headbands, then stick around. I've got lots of tips for ya. And lots of words.

Awhile ago, I made (and used!) three crochet headbands using a pattern from a video by Bronislava Slagle. She incorporated an elastic band, which gave the headband some stretch. I loved that idea!

When I made my most recent headband, I used elastic again and wanted to share the idea with you, along with tips for making your own headband.

Instead of writing a pattern, I've decided to give you steps and guidelines to make truly customizable crochet headbands with elastic.

Why? Well, for one, I'm not an expert at writing patterns and writing instructions for my headband seems tough. And two, I don't like to be always tied down to a tutorial video or pattern. I like patterns, but sometimes I want to know what I'm doing and branch out on my own.

If you've never experienced crochet freedom before, then I welcome you to jump from the crochet pattern airplane and skydive into the world of creative expression. *queue sarcasm* That was an amazing analogy. You're welcome.


  • Yarn - feel free to pick any yarn you want! I used Lion Brand Wool Ease in the color Rose Heather. It's so pretty!
  • Crochet hook - choose a hook that works well with your yarn. If you're not sure what hook size you need, check the label. Somewhere, the label should show the recommended hook size for that yarn. Going with a little smaller or a little bigger than the recommended size is fine. If you no longer have the yarn label, try looking the yarn up online. Sites like Love Crochet show the recommended hook size. For my yarn, I used a 5.5 mm (I/9) crochet hook. Bonus tip: If you're new to hook sizes, try to learn them in mm (milimeters). Many crocheters (U.S. or abroad) seem comfortable with mm, which makes following along with a lot of tutorials a smidgen easier.
  • Elastic band - select a new or barely used elastic band, which I like to call "hair pretties". Make sure that the elastic is stiff and not too stretchy, so that it can easily retract to it's original size.
  • Yarn needle - if you don't have one already and you  love to crochet, then consider buying one. They're typically inexpensive (I think I got two pack for 99 cents) and wonderfully useful.
  • Scissors - there's not much I wanna say about this one. Does it cut yarn well? Yes? Bingo. It's good enough for this project.

Step One: Choose Your Stitch
  • Select the main stitch you want to use for your headband. If you wanna try out a stitch but don't want to make a scarf or a washcloth, why not try it on a headband?
  • For beginners, both single crochet (abbreviated sc) and half double crochet (abbreviated hdc) are great options. If you're interested in Tunisian crochet, the Tunisian Simple Stitch (abbreviated tss) is a great place to start.
  • Of course, the headband can be made with advanced stitches, too. I'm not sure that every stitch will work, but there's still plenty of workable stitches to choose from!
  • The main stitch for this guide's featured headband is the Tunisian Knit Stitch (abbreviated tks). I made mine with a normal hook (the 5.5. mm I mentioned above), but it looks like knitting! If you want to learn the stitch, there's some really great tutorials online (like this one from One Dog Woof and this one from Crochet Lovers).
  • If you want help learning a stitch, remember that there's plenty of great tutorials online and in crochet books.

Step Two: Single Crochet a Number of Stitches Around the Elastic Band.
  • No matter the stitch you want to use, start with a row of single crochets that incorporates the elastic band. The more stitches you crochet around the band, the wider the headband will be, and vise versa.
  • Make sure the stitches cover less than half of the elastic! For my headband, I single crocheted 10 stitches and had plenty of room leftover.
  • If you don't chain before single crocheting around the band (I didn't), the first stitch might end up tough to crochet into. To help with this, either 1) make that first chain loose enough or 2) pull the first stitch tight and don't crochet into it. I did the latter and it worked out fine!
  • If you have a stitch that requires a specific number of stitches (odd, groups of four, etc.) make sure to single crochet the correct amount.
  • The first row of single crochets is essentially replacing a chain foundation. But, if your stitch requires, say, 12 stitches and you need to crochet into the 3rd chain from your hook, then only crochet 10 stitches around the elastic and chain the extra 2 chains afterwards. Hope that makes sense.
  • If you want help with this step, see Bronislava Slagle's video (from 0:16 to 1:11). Don't worry about crocheting six times or chaining before you single crochet. You can, but I didn't!

Step Three: Crochet Until You Reach the Correct Length
  • After you've incorporated an elastic band into your first row of stitches, crochet with the stitch of your choice.
  • Like I mentioned above, the single crochets are basically a substitute chain row. For normal crochet, chain to the height of the stitch, turn your work, and crochet using that stitch. Repeat. 
  • To get the headband to the correct length, try the headband on you (or the person you're making it for if possible). To do so, pull the piece around your head and try to touch the elastic band and working end together. If you can't touch them or it's too tight, then keep crocheting. If the elastic doesn't stretch at all or the stitches and/or the elastic overlap, take out rows until it does.
  • Keep in mind that the elastic band - and probably the stitches - are bound to stretch. Make sure that the elastic band has to stretch to fit. Ideally, the elastic will be able to retract as the stitches stretch, keeping the headband the right size.
  • In this case, a little too short is better than a little too long!
Isn't the Tunisian Knit Stitch pretty?
Step Four: Attach the Working End to the Elastic and Finish Off
  • After you've made the headband and long as you want it, hold the elastic band against the back of your work. Single crochet around the headband, incorporating the elastic. Then, cut the yarn and make a knot. Make sure to leave a tail!
  • If you want help with this, see Bronislava Slagles' video again (it's great, isn't it?) from 3:55 to 4:45.
  • After you've attached the working end to the elastic band, weave in the ends. To weave in the ends, sew part of the yarn tails into the project using a yarn needle. Cut any excess yarn.

Step Five: Add Applique (Optional)
  • If you want to make your headband super cute and/or if it looks a little plain, why not jazz it up with an applique or two?
  • If you want help making (or choosing!) an applique, there's some great patterns from Jayda InStitches and Happy Berry Crochet.

Woo-hoo! I hope you found this guide useful in some way. I had so much fun writing it! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to send me an email (at castironstew@gmail.com) or write a comment (below, on Google+, or on Facebook).

Have a wonderful day!

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