Konichiwa! Watashi Wa Katie Betty!

(Japanese - Hello! My Name is Katie Betty!)

That introduction may seem a tad random, however it will all become apparent. And don't worry, that's pretty much all the Japanese I know ;) Though I warn you, the random words I do know will get dropped in, teehee!

Many people will tell you I am *obsessed* with the Far East. I love Korean Cinema, Thai Street Culture fascinates me, and Chinese festivals are simply amazing. However, Japan is my first love and when I saw this spanking new range come into store I knew I had to be part of it.

"MyBoshi" is a jazzy new brand to the game of crochet, with a super interesting back story. Very quickly, two guys were teaching children to Ski at a Japanese Ski Resort, and at night they got very bored, very quickly as the resort was really rural. Their colleague taught them to crochet a Boshi (Jap. - Beanie) and when someone literally bought the hats off their heads when they went to Australia, an idea was born, MyBoshi.

Now, I had never crocheted before in my life. As my mother will tell you, yarn based activities for me were a no-no, but I HAD to be part of this. The hats are so kawaii (Jap.- Cute), and the shade range in a-maz-ing! What sold it for me, really, was they teach you how to do it. They've released not only the yarn range, but instruction booklets and they recommend the exact hook you need, and you can get the little tags to finish off your hard work. "My Self Made Boshi". They look great, and when someone asks you "Where'd you get that from?!", you can point to the label and say "I made it!"

I would recommend a bit of practice before you jump straight into this, but it is definitely the perfect goal to aim for. I learnt the basics of crochet in a week! You can follow my progress of learning to crochet in My Crochet Diaries on my blog, all leading up to this, My Big Project!

"But Katie Betty," I hear you cry, "this seems a bit branded, isn't it expensive?" Fear not! I have not strayed from my frugal roots. The pattern book recommends 120g per hat, and they give 50g balls. Just too much to get away with only using two balls? Nope :D! Someone suggested that it could be done with just two balls. I took this challenge on my Crafty Crafters and.....*drumroll*.....it can be done! For a Medium Boshi, you only need two balls of yarn. You don't even need to tweak the pattern instructions too much, simply use Colour 1 when you would change to Colour 3. When you go to finish, you may only get 4 - 5 rows then the Double Crochet, but it doesn't affect much, you'll be fine. I lost a bit of yarn at the start and got 4 rows when my Double Crochet, which means I lost just under an inch in length, but I have a small head and got away with it! You can save yarn by following this simple tip: The booklet recommended leaving 15cm spare when starting a new colour to tidy it up at the end. I have no idea why this is the case, you can leave an inch and still be able to tidy it up properly. Trust me. If you're using two balls, like me, you'd waste 30cm per colour!

This is quite a tight fitting beanie, with the trendy sag at the back which in exactly what I wanted. If you want it really baggy, I'd crochet loose and maybe opt for a third ball to be safe, but for this Super Stylish Medium Boshi the Kit is perfect.

The booklet is really good. Not only does it give you the patterns for three hats, it tells you how to do everything from your Slip Knot to a Treble Crochet. If you're good at learning from written instructions, the booklet will sit you right. I took to YouTube for some guidance, and did some practice with a cheaper yarn and hook first, as I didn't want to waste my Boshi yarn! I discuss this in my Crochet Diaries, so there are links to good tutorials on there! The other good thing about the booklet is that it uses British Terminology. (The Americans have a slightly different system, typically ; D). Don't be put off by this; it's super easy to "translate", if you will.

Before you start, READ THE BOOKLET. I can't stress this enough. You know when your teachers would tell you to "read the exam questions carefully" and you didn't, then you got older and found yourself telling your younger siblings to do the same and not make the mistake you did? Yea, this is that!

This is Stage Ich (1).

It took me a good 4 - 6 hours of re-starts and unwinding until I got it down. I promise it gets easier. I'd never done anything like this before, so it took me a while but it's the foundation for so many projects that it will never take as long again! The first two stages are about building the width of your Boshi so you'll be putting lots of stitches in, but once this is done the rest is "feet up in front of the telly as you crochet" easy :).

This is a finished Stage Ni (2).

Half way through and, as you can see, plenty of yarn left! The hat pattern I was following shows you how to do it in four colours, so you could really get 2 hats out of those 4 balls! It doesn't actually tell you when to move to colour 3 in the hat instructions, which is why you need to read the booklet itself first, as on the first page of the hat pattern, it tells you that each strip is 6 rows. So one you've done you 6 rows in your second colour, that's when you move onto colour 3.

Stages San and Shi (3 and 4) are really simple. This is where you stop crocheting your hat to size, and just crochet for length, so it's stitch for stitch.

Something to remember is, you're working your hat inside-out, so don't worry about how it looks! Stage Go (5) is where you turn your hat right way out, and Double Crochet to finish. All that's left is to sew your tag on and Boom! Your very own Boshi!

I'd recommend this as a weekend project. You could rock it out in a day if you had nothing else to do but sit and craft, but those perfect days are rare, aren't they?

I'm really new to the Crochet game, and though this was frustrating, it was that frustration that brought on my love because you want it just right! I am IN love with my Boshi, I truly am, and I wear it almost all the time! Much to the relief of my colleagues here at Minerva as they don't have to be seen with me in my usual oversized sack of a hat, or my thermal winter hat...with ear covers...and fluorescent yellow fur... yeaa, hehe!

Well, all that's left to say is Craft or Glory, Origato Gozaimas! and

Sayonara!

Katie Betty ^_^

xoxo