Thursday, January 30, 2014

Buffalo Hat

Since I posted the picture of the buffalo hat (made for a charity benefit) on Facebook, I have had a number of people ask me for the pattern.I don't have the hat in my possession any more to count stitches or make measurements, but I can give some guidelines on how I made it.

When I was asked to make a hat that looked like a buffalo for the upcoming Janice Cline Stem Cell Transplant Benefit, I did some internet searches for "buffalo hat". I've grown up seeing cartoons of buffalos all my life... living in the Buffalo, NY area. I had a very definite idea of what a buffalo should look like!  So, I just kept a few pictures in front of me and started working.

When I design a hat, I'm working with two basic tools: a chart of measurements so that I know what the finished size should be, and a basic pattern for a top-down hat.

Here is a link to a great chart for hat measurements: How to size crocheted hat I could see from my chart that for an adult hat, I needed to make a circle about 7" across.

The second item is a basic pattern for a top-down hat.
Round 1: 6 stitches in a ring (either a "Magic Ring" or chain 3 and slip stitch to form a ring)
Round 2: increase in each stitch
Round 3: *increase in first stitch, one stitch* repeat around
Round 4: *increase in first stitch, two stitches* repeat around
You get the idea... with each round, you're putting one more stitch between your increases. If you're doing single crochet, you don't have to join your rows. You can just keep working in one continuous row, using a stitch marker to let you know when you're starting a new row and need to change your increase numbers. For taller stitches, like half-double crochet or double crochet, you would need to join your rows and make a starting chain to start the next row.

You'll notice I just said "stitches"... you can make hats with single crochet, half-double crochet, double crochet, loop stitch, etc. Once you're got the basic pattern down, and a chart to tell you what size you're shooting for, you can adjust the hat to your own liking. The hat above used loop stitch to start out, for the shaggy look, and double crochet for the body of the hat.

You'll need:
Size J, H & G crochet hooks
Two shades of brown yarn
Small amount of white yarn for eyes
Small amount of off-white yarn for horns
Two small black buttons for eyes
Two medium black buttons (or "gemstones") for nostrils
Yarn needle
4 stitch markers

Okay, on to how I made the hat.
I had some yarn in my stash that was a bit heavier than knitting worsted. It was brown with black highlights (a thin, textured black yarn with a little bit of "eyelash" to it). I only had a little over an ounce of it, so I asked my daughter to find me a coordinating brown for the rest of the hat (I'm awful with matching colors). Shout out to Bethany for going down into the cold, cold basement to search through the brown yarn tote for me!

I started with a size J hook and did my first round of 6 single crochets in a magic ring. Then I switched to loop stitch and just keep on going until I ran out of yarn. Since it was hard to keep track of where my rows started under all those loops, I kept a stitch marker on the back side of my work.  My circle was about 6" across when I ran out of yarn. I was in the middle of a row, but loop stitch is forgiving... I switched to the brown knitting worsted and changed to double crochet, making that the new start of my row. When my circle got to 7" across (one row of dc), I stopped increasing. I worked even on those rows until the hat was long enough (I tried it on rather than measuring).

Marking earflaps:
Set the hat down flat with the seam where you joined your rounds at the center back. Place a marker one inch from each side. Flip hat over and place two more stitch markers, each 2" in from the sides. You'll have two 3" sections marked off on your hat for where the earflaps go. Now join yarn by one of  your markers.
Row 1 (and all odd rows): SC in each stitch. Chain 1, turn
Row 2 (and all even rows): Decrease over first two stitches. Work to within two stitches of end, work a decrease over those two stitches. Chain 1, turn.
Keep repeating those two rows until you have one or two stitches left. Finish off, leaving a 12" strand that will end up in your braided tie. Repeat for other 3" marked section for other earflap.

Braided tie:
I wrapped yarn around a 3-ring binder (top to bottom)  24 times and then cut it to get a bunch of strings for the ties. I put 8 at a time through stitches at the bottom of the earflap and then braided them. When I tied the end and trimmed them, I saved the yarn for stuffing the snout. (Can't you just hear your Grandma's voice saying "Waste not, want not"?)

Several of the pictures I looked at online had button eyes for their buffalo hats. I thought "Buffalos are BIG creatures. They have BIG eyes. I want something that pops out... something like those eyes I put on the octopus cup cozy a while back. So... I borrowed the eye pattern from this pattern. 

Horns (make 2):
I started with a size G crochet hook and off-white yarn. I made 3 sc in a magic ring and kept doing SC in a continuous round, increasing here and there, and doing half-double crochet on one side to give it that little bit of a curve. When I got to about 2" long, I ended off, leaving a long tail for sewing them on. Here is a pattern for horns if you would like more exact details.

Using the same color as the body of the hat and Size G hook, I made a chain about 1.5" long. I did one SC in the second chain and each chain across, then two more (total of three) in last chain. Then I did one SC in the back side of the chain, ending with two more in the same chain as the first sc on other side. This makes a long oval. I kept working around the oval, increasing at the four "corners". When the snout got to the right size (about 3-1/2 inches), I did 2-3 rows of single crochet without increases to make it "cup up" a bit. Finish off, leaving a long tail to sew on. Sew two medium size buttons or black gemstones on for nostrils.
Gemstones on Amazon

Ears (make 2):
Using the same color as the body of the hat and Size G hook, chain 5 (leave yourself 6-8" of yarn before your chain to sew ear on later).
Row 1: SC in 2nd chain from hook and each chain across. Ch 1, turn
Row 2: Increase in first stitch, sc in each stitch across rest of row. Ch 1, turn.
Row 3: Increase in first stitch, sc in each stitch across rest of row. Ch 1, turn.
Rows 4-6: Work even in SC
Row 7: Work a decrease over first two stitches. Work to last two stitches, work decrease. Ch 1, turn
Repeat Row 7 until you have one stitch left.  Finish off and weave in yarn end.

Sew on parts according to picture above. For an added touch (I thought of this while getting ready for work this morning), you could put a snap-ring in the bottom of the nostril.


  1. I love it. It is sooo adorable, you are so talented. Thanks again, I'm going to try this.

  2. I love it. It is sooo adorable, you are so talented. Thanks again, I'm going to try this.