Da Bomb, or How to Make the Bomber Hat Pattern work with Bulky Yarn

In which our heroine describes the trials and tribulations of using a lighter yarn than the Bomber Hat pattern calls for…

I’ll be honest, I was seriously tempted to give up on this hat a couple of times.

Da Bomb, left side view
Da Bomb

Da Bomb, front view Da Bomb, right side view Da Bomb, back view Da Bomb, front flap closeup

The pattern calls for “chunky” yarn.  So, when my sister asked me over the phone what kind of yarn I’d need to make a bomber hat for her, I couldn’t remember whether the Lion Wool-ease Thick and Quick yarn I’d used before was bulky (category 5) or super bulky (category 6).  So, it came to pass that I ended up with 2 skeins of Lion Jiffy sent via personal messenger (my mom) from the southeast corner of the country to the northwest.  That’s when I discovered the mismatch in yarn weights.

Undeterred, I figured I’d just make a few modifications and everything would just work out…  And of course, after a few false starts it did.  I tried a few options to avoid modifying the pattern, including just using larger hook sizes.  I didn’t think the hat looked right with more space between the stitches.  I ended up using a US J/6.0 mm hook.  If I had it to do over again, I’d probably go down to an I/5.5 mm or H/5.0mm hook so the fabric would be a little more solid.

Fortunately, the pattern revisions followed by blocking resulted in a hat I was happy with.  I daresay that my sister was happy with it, too.

Without further ado, here’s what you need to do to make The Bomber with bulky weight yarn instead of super bulky (adult size only).

  1. More stitches in the main part of the hat.  I increased up to 54.  I probably only needed to go to about 48-50, but 54 worked, too.
  2. More rows in main part of the hat.  I unfortunately forgot to
  3. Lengthen the ear flaps.  I added 3 rows: 1 nondecreasing row after patterns rows and 2 nondecreasing rows after pattern row 3.  Note that this does flip the pattern in terms of which direction you’re going.  For example, normally you’d start row 4 in the 1st earflap by decreasing at the end of the row.  If you follow these modifications, you’ll be coming from the opposite direction on row 4 (now row 7 since you’ve added 3 rows), and you’ll need to decrease at the start of the row instead to keep the earflap shape the same.


Yarn Proliferation

Recap of knitting & crochet projects over the last couple months, particularly recently completed: Fluffy Pink Scarf (of Doom), Trophy Scarf, Dirty-Girl Washcloths, Rainbow Hook Roll, Da Bomb, Steelers Bomber, Myrtle Beach Washcloth, 5th Bomber, and Making Links. Also, a look at upcoming projects!

So many projects, and many of them from the last two months!

1. Fluffy Pink Scarf (of Doom), a present for my youngest niece’s birthday.  This was my “first” knitting project.  It was super simple garter stitch with two strands of Fun Fur held together using very large needles.  Being so new to knitting, this project was quite difficult as the Fun Fur made it very hard to see what I was doing.  Of course, it also meant that my (many) mistakes were not visible!

Fluffy pink present Test

2. In January, I finished off the Trophy Scarf.  (Big thanks to Allie for coming up with the best name!)  It’s a pretty easy crochet pattern, which I will post in a future blog entry.  I’m happy with how the scarf turned out; I almost kept it for myself!  I can’t tell you all how much I loved the yarn I used on this, Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend.  This ended up  taking a lot more yarn than I had anticipated.

Trophy Scarf, wrapped

3. After my experience with the Fluffy Pink Scarf (of Doom), I started working through the Dirty-Girl Washcloths (from Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting) in order to improve my knitting skills.  There are three washcloths in the pattern, one in garter stitch, one in stockinette, and one in basketweave.  Although the washcloths look a little sad (the edges are all uneven), I consider this project a success.  My goal was to practice some basic stitches and start training my muscle memory, get a feel for how things should look, etc. and this project was very successful in that regard.

Dirty Girl Washcloths: Basketweave, Garter Stitch, Stockinette

4. The Rainbow Hook Roll I mentioned in a previous post.  Most of the construction went pretty smoothly, but I had a fair amount of trouble with crocheting into the row ends, which is why the hook roll is not square.  I belatedly discovered that Interweave Crochet’s Winter 2010 issue had an article specifically about crocheting into row ends.  I’ll likely make another one of these (more hooks, plus need to store DPNs somewhere!), so maybe that article will help me figure out what I’m doing wrong.

Rainbow Hook Roll: open Rainbow Hook Roll: closed

5. My 3rd Bomber Hat (aka Da Bomb), for my middle sister.  After she saw the bomber hats I’d sent for Christmas, she requested one of her own in hot pink and black.  The yarn I’d used for the previous two, Lion Wool-Ease Thick & Quick does not come in a pink any brighter than the one I’d already used, so she sent me a couple skeins of Lion Jiffy.  Jiffy is a bulky (category 5) yarn, rather than a super-bulky (category 6) yarn, so I had to make several modifications.  I’m pretty pleased with the final result.

Da Bomb (hot pink bomber hat)

6. My 4th Bomber Hat (aka Steelers Bomber) for my stepmom (interestingly also requested by my middle sister).  I went back to a super bulky yarn, but tried yet another one (again, needing specific colors): Lion Hometown USA.  I actually really like this yarn.  It’s easy to work with and feels surprisingly nice for a 100% acrylic yarn.  Unfortunately, 1 skein of Hometown is not quite enough to finish the main portion of the hat, so the project is on hold until my additional yarn arrives next week.

7. My knitting group opted to do the Myrtle Beach washcloth as a knit-along.  This was another great learning pattern: seed stitch and color changes!  Unfortunately I did the simplest color change method – cutting the yarn every time – rather than something more elegant, so I’m still working on weaving in all the ends.  A helpful fellow Raveler gave me a great suggestion about how to avoid all the cut ends, but it came too late to help me on this project.  I’ll definitely be trying this next time I have this sort of frequent color change.  I did find working with Lion Cotton-Ease to be much easier than most of the pure cotton yarns I’ve worked with before.  It’s a little bit splitty, but it does have a nice almost microfiber texture.

Myrtle Beach Washcloth - not quite finished

No, I don’ t know what I’m going to do with all of these washcloths!

8. My 5th Bomber Hat (sorry, no clever name) for my youngest sister.  All of the crochet work is done; it’s just waiting on me to block it and attach the buttons.  This one was made from Berroco Peruvia Quick, which I also enjoyed working with.  Although categorized as super bulky, it worked up a little more open than the Lion yarns I’d used for my nieces hats and the Steelers Bomber.  However, I didn’t have to make modifications to the pattern as I did when using Jiffy for Da Bomb.

Brown and Blue Bomber: almost done

9. Making Links Chain Reaction Afghan Square, from Interweave Crochet’s Summer 2010 issue.  I’ve decided that I want to attempt to make an afghan utilizing all of the Chain Reaction Afghan squares.  To date, I believe that 15 have been published (Interweave Crochet Summer 2010, Fall 2010, Winter 2010), plus 3 more “bonus” squares over on CrochetMe.com.  I think there are 10 more official squares to come.  I haven’t decided what I’ll do with said afghan, or set any sort of timeline on it.  I figure I’ll just work on the various squares as I feel like it.  For example, I started this one because I needed a backup project for my most recent flight.  I knew I’d probably finish the (undisclosed baby item) I was working on, but I wasn’t quite ready to start on the next big project during that trip.  I’m reserving judgment about this square until I block it; I think it’s growing on me, though.  This was done using some of the Lion Cotton-Ease left over from the Myrtle Beach Washcloth.

Chain Reaction: Making Links (pre-blocking)

10, 11, and 12. And three super secret projects for a friend’s baby… more on those after said gifts have been delivered!

Whew! That’s a lot!  I’ve started 8 new projects since the beginning of the year.  The Fluffy Pink Scarf (of Doom) was completed last year.  Two projects I started last year completed this year (Trophy Scarf and the Dirty-Girl Washcloths) were completed this year.  I’m 100% complete with 3 projects I started this year (Rainbow Hook Roll, Da Bomb, and one secret baby project), and have 4 more just waiting for some finishing touches.

So, what’s next?

  • Finishing off those almost done projects!  After reading a post on the crochet me blog about blocking crochet lace, I’ve ordered a small set of interlocking foam mats to use as a blocking board.
  • Baby project #3, a knitting project, is already in progress.
  • With more yarn due to arrive this coming week, I hope to be able to finish the Steelers Bomber soon.  (Although getting from crochet-complete to really done seems to take me a while.)

The next new project will probably be another Adrienne Engar hat, the Newsie.  This hat will actually be for me, and I picked up a really cool looking yarn for it: Gedifra Riana Big Color.  At a glance, the Newsie looks to be constructed almost the same as the other Adrienne Engar hats I’ve made, so I expect it to be another quick project.  (Possibly finished in a weekend if I decide it doesn’t need to be wet-blocked.)

Further out than that, it’s hard to say.  I’ve decided that I really want to make myself a Geometry Dress; I think it would be a great summer piece for me.  I’ve also been wanting to make some Fluffy Bunny Slippers, but given that we’re moving out of slipper season those will probably wait for fall.  I’ve been considering making a Moth Wings Shrug to wear to my youngest sister’s wedding in May.  Also, I’m eager to try making the Artisan Belt from Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting.  I guess you’ll just have to keep reading to find out for sure!

Bomb(er)s Away!

Catching up on finished projects – first up, the Bomber Hats I made for my nieces last Christmas.

This past Christmas I decided to make Bomber Hats (pattern by Adrienne Engar) for my nieces.

Modeling the Fig Bomber Modeling the Blossom Bomber


These were done in Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick (Fig, Blossom, and Charcoal colorways), as recommended.  The buttons for both hats were from a stash of mixed buttons I picked up at a craft store in Chicago years and years ago.

I actually ended up making these twice.  Although I was following the pattern size 3 (child: 3-8 years), the hats turned out far too large; one of them was even a bit large on me!  As you can imagine, by the time I really finished them, I was quite familiar with the pattern.

The hats went over so well that my sisters and stepmother all requested their own!  (In other words, expect to see more about this pattern soon!)


Fig Bomber: front view Fig Bomber: left side Fig Bomber: back view Fig Bomber: right side Fig Bomber: closeup on flap Blossom Bomber: front view Blossom Bomber: left side Blossom Bomber: back view Blossom Bomber: right side Blossom Bomber: closeup on flap



Donation Hats

Review of Adrienne Engar’s Chunky Ear Flap Hat crochet pattern.

Christmas crafting is almost done!  Only a little while longer until gifts are opened and I can start posting about what I’ve been up to for the past few months.

In the meantime, here are two hats that I worked on earlier this fall.

Fig Ear Flap Hat, 3/4 View Fig Ear Flap Hat, Side View Blossom Ear Flap Hat, Side View Blossom Ear Flap Hat, 3/4 View

Pattern: Adrienne Engar’s Chunky Ear Flap Hat ($5 in her Etsy store, The Fuzzy Noggin)

Size: Child (ages 3-8)

Yarn & Hook: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick (Fig, Blossom, and Charcoal colorways), using size K (6.5mm) hook

Modifications: None

How it went: The pattern itself was very easy and very quick.  I think each hat took me just a few hours.  I could have done both of them in a single dedicated day of crochet. Gauge turned out to be more important than I would have expected for a project of this nature.  I found it very easy to make this hat far too large with the recommended yarn & hook, but going down a hook size resulted in a hat that was far too small.  I attribute this to my interaction with the yarn rather than the pattern itself.

Bottom Line: I’d definitely recommend this pattern to someone looking for a warm, stylish winter hat – particularly if you’re looking for something quick.