Today we start some actual crochet and we’re kicking off with Santa’s bonce. His noodle, his noggin, his loaf of bread. His head.

We’re using the loveliest Rowan Summerlite DK in LINEN. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO GET THE TENSION RIGHT! Please make a tension square in this yarn as per Kate’s guidance in the pattern:

Using a 3.5mm hook, chain 24 and starting in the second chain from the hook, work 1dc in each chain to the end (23 sts), ch 1 and turn. Work 26 rows in total. Your finished swatch should measure 10x10cm. if It comes out larger than 10×10, your tension is too loose for this project so try again with a hook a half size smaller.

 

As you can see above, my square using the 3.5mm hook (on the left) came out too large but was just right with the 3mm hook.

Frog the square(s) once you’ve achieved the right tension so that you don’t run out of the yarn.

Make sure to maintain that tight tension throughout this section – it’s easy to loosen your tension somewhat as you relax into a pattern.

The head is worked using the amigurumi technique (the Japanese art of crocheting small stuffed 3-D objects) and the correct tension will give your Santa head a lovey neat finish and mean that your stuffing won’t peep through.

We start with a magic ring. Moo has made this marvellous little movie to show you how:

Magic Ring

Amigurimi is worked in continuous rounds (no slip stitch to finish the round) so your best friend here will be a stitch marker to ensure you don’t lose your place. I pop one into the first stitch of each round and move it up as I begin the next.

And then it’s just a case of going round and round and round…

Keep track of your rounds by writing them on a piece of paper and crossing the off as you complete them. Or use an row counter (there are some fancy apps that do this). Watch out for the repeating rounds in the pattern – such as rounds 10 to 12, 16 to 30 etc. If you miss these, your Santa will have a squat little head!

By round 30, I’ve created half of Santa’s head – or a nice wee beanie for Wilfie:

If you want to use safety eyes for your Santa instead of embroidering them on at the assembly stage, this would be a good time to add them:  to round 21 and approximately 3-4cm apart. I used 10mm safety eyes – pretty much the same size as Kate’s embroidered version 👀

DECREASING

Decreases are introduced from round 31 where you’ll see the instruction dc2tog. This is when we shorten the stitch count of each round by crocheting two stitches together so that they become one. The most common way to do this is:

1 Insert hook into first stitch

2 Yarn over and draw through the loop

3 Do not complete the stitch as normal

4 Instead, insert the hook into the next stitch

5 Yarn over and draw through the loop

6 There should now be 3 loops on your hook.

7 Yarn over and draw through all three loops on your hook

8 Your two stiches will now be joined into one at the top

You’re probably familiar with this and it will work just fine for your Santa head. However, with amigurumi, these decreases can be quite visible and you may like to try the Invisible Decrease Technique demonstrated here:

Invisible Decrease Tutorial

With the smooth cotton that we’re using for the head, I think you can really see the difference using this technique:

Made with usual decrease stitches
Made with invisible decreases

With the subsequent Santa amigurumi elements where we’re using the fluffy Felted Tweed yarn, I stuck with the regular decrease method.

At the end of round 47, swap in the CLAY Felted Tweed at the very last yarn over to begin the neck:

Once completed, stuff the head firmly and then use a length of the LINEN yarn to close it up (the Felted Yarn isn’t strong enough for this job).  The head circumference should be around 34 – 35cms.