The pattern is written as infant size and, as you can see by the image, I was in need of toddler size. I made a decision to stick with the suggested yarn size, worsted or aran, and simply go with a larger hook. Admittedly, I wasn't sure if only changing the hook size would be a good plan to upsize the garment mostly because I crochet rather tightly. I was prepared to make a second just in case it didn't work. I ended up making a second - and ironically enough, the first one fit just fine.
What the pattern has:
The pattern itself is a free Ravelry download which means you will end up with an Adobe .pdf file. Personally - this is my preference. Being linked to a blog to retrieve a free pattern is acceptable, but if I want to print it out, that means there is a lot of copy/paste and reformatting on my part to get what I need out of the blog.
When it comes as a .pdf, that means the formatting is already done - I may have to review the page breaks of the pattern to make sure I print as few pages as possible. Some of the .pdf files I get can be pretty image intense (lots of pictures for pictures sake, not pictures that add true value to the pattern). For this pattern, the title page was a little image intense with a large picture, but the pattern started on page 2. I read over the 1st page to get a listing of materials and understand the stitches necessary and simply didn't print that page once I had all the info I needed.
Short story: saved me ink - that made me happy.
Getting to the pattern, it is well written and very clear. The row by row approach made it very easy to follow. In the end, I probably didn't need to print the pattern out at all. Lesson learned on my part. I like that the pattern offered up how to make the hood part deeper to accommodate a bigger head, which is nice.
One disconnect I noticed was that the images on the pattern appeared as if the hdc stitches for the main piece were created by doing the hdc stitches in the back loop only. Doing this creates a stretchier fabric. When I read the pattern, I could find no mention of doing all hdc stitches in the back loop only. Perhaps I missed it?
I believe that the ear instructions were very clear and would have produced a good ear had I not modified that part of the pattern to make a fuzzier ear.
What I would have liked to see:
I think the pattern would have been better if some additional instructions had been included on how to resize the pattern, ie making it fit an adult or teen by adding more rows to the first section or how to add more stitches for a longer garment.
Adding in instructions on how to calculate out making the hood longer or shorter would have been helpful. For the 142 cast on, you end up with 140 stitches across, so you have 40 on each side of the first rows and the hood is made from 60 stitches (40-60-40). If you want to make a shorter hood, then you add to the 60 stitches, and take the difference (say you made it only 50 so you end with a difference of 10), you add 5 stitches to each end so you end up with 45-50-45. making a longer hood would require making a longer starting chain and recalculating the stitch balance for the hood.
Of course, at this point, I would expect Ms. Stevenson to begin charging for her pattern - even if its 50 cents. While I was able to accommodate my needs, I do not think the majority of people like dabbling around in the math - so its always good to see it included in the pattern whenever possible. But - really, once the designer starts doing this, expect to pay a little something for the efforts - or at least consider a donation if the pattern is still free.
As for where to crochet into the stitches for the hdc stitches, when I looked at the finished projects of others who had made this pattern, they did not do the hdc into the back loops. I started out the first row not doing it and made a very quick decision that I wanted a softer, more pliable fabric. I ripped out that row and went with doing the hdc in the back loop only. Because of this, I do believe the pattern should have specified where the hdc stitches were being put.
With the ears - while the instructions provided were good, I would have liked to see some direction on
where to stitch the ears into the hood as well as perhaps some options for different ear types. I ended up crocheting the circles together as instructed but then surface crocheted around the back of the ear so the entire back side of the ear was fuzzy. I saw a picture on one of projects finished by other uses and saw some tiny, almost prairie-dog ears - those were very sweet and would be especially cute on a Yub Nub made for a newborn.
Because I cannot rate a pattern on what I *think* should have been included, I am going to give this pattern 4.5 balls of yarn out of 5. The clarity of the instructions was very good and the formatting of the pattern itself was nice. It is written well enough for a beginning crocheter to tackle with little to no issues. The only real improvement that could be made with the pattern as it is presented is stating where the hdc stitches are supposed to be: back loop only or under both loops. A more experienced crocheter may get the same impression I did with the images looking like they were hdc in the back loop only but no direction is given for this.
I will most likely be making more of these little hats. They are really adorable!