I wanted to try my hand at crocheting a unique “straw” hat, so I picked up a couple rolls of jute string from the hardware store. There are different kinds—some are stiffer than others, so I recommend that you choose the most pliable type you can find. I found working with such a coarse fiber a little rough on the fingers at times, so it’s not the type of project you want to attempt to finish in one sitting.
I created a hat band and added embellishments using jute ribbon, buttons and beads that I found at the dollar store. As you’ll see in the photos, part of the embellishment includes a pair of miniature crocheted doilies that I had stashed away in my craft cupboard, not knowing what to do with them. Feel free to experiment with your embellishments—you could also use some velvet ribbon and fabric flowers. I also picked up a cheap dollar store straw hat in a similar colour, and sewed it inside the finished jute hat to create a more comfortable barrier between my head and the roughness of the string.
At first, the string carried a strong, fuel-like smell, and I wondered if wearing that hat was going to give me a headache! But fortunately, the odour has pretty much disappeared over the past couple of weeks.
Once the hat was completed, I was really pleased with the results. Yes, I could have gone out and bought myself any one of the gazillion summer hats currently in malls all over the city, but it wouldn’t be my very own, one-of-a-kind jute hat, designed by moi!
2 rolls of jute string (I used one full roll plus a quarter of a roll for this project)
5.5 mm hook
Yarn needle for weaving in ends
Sewing needle and jute-coloured thread for sewing on embellishments
Chain (ch) 8. Turn.
Round 1: Ch 3 and dc in same space (sp); 2 double crochet (dc) in each stitch (st) around; slip stitch (sl st) in top of ch-3 to close. Turn.
Round 2: Ch 3 and dc in same sp; 2 dc in each st around; sl st in top of ch-3 to close. Turn.
Round 3: Ch 3 and dc in same sp; 1 dc in next st; *2 dc in next st; 1 dc in next st;
repeat from * around, ending with 1 dc; sl st in top of ch-3 to close. Turn.
Round 4: Ch 3 and dc in same sp; 1 dc in each st around; sl st in top of ch-3 to close. Turn.
Round 5: Ch 1 and single crochet (sc) in same sp; 1 sc in each st around; sl st in top of ch-1 to close. Turn.
Round 6-8: Repeat Round 4.
Round 9: Ch 1; 1 sc in back loop only (BLO) of each st around; sl st in top of ch-1 to close. Turn.
Round 10: Ch 3; *dc in each of next 4 sts; 2 dc in next st; repeat from * around; sl st in top of ch-3 to close. Turn.
Round 11-12: Ch 3 and dc in same sp; *1 dc in each of next 6 sts; 2 dc in next st; repeat from * around; sl st in top of ch-3 to close. Fasten off and weave in ends.
I sewed 1-1/2” wide jute ribbon around the hat to make a band, then I used the same jute ribbon to form a couple of big flowers, and sewed them on too. Then I embellished the flowers with the miniature doilies as well as some shell buttons and glass beads.
Then, I trimmed the brim on the dollar store hat so it would fit neatly inside my jute hat as a barrier, and I used my needle and thread to sew it securely in there.