So I am a very non-conformist when it comes to crochet. I don't like to follow patterns in books unless absolutely necessary. The process of looking at a pattern, deciphering it, buying the right yarn, in a correct quantity, etc. doesn't fit my lifestyle right now. I usually crochet with many things going on at once or while waiting to pick up family members during practices, lessons, etc. So carrying around a complicated stitch pattern that requires concentration is impractical. Plus, it is hard for me to read the small type usually used to set patterns. I have to copy them enlarged.
A hat I made up as I went along at a youth conference we attended last year.
Okay. So. I just wing it. I know when I start I'm making a hat but depending on the yarn and hook I use, I have to check for fit as I go. So I use myself, or my family members or my mannequin. I recently made a baby hat for my nephew and used my daughter's bitty twin doll to check fit. Granted, I went to one of my many books and found a baby hat pattern (too girly for this project) to get the finished size dimensions I would need. Then I just crocheted it.
Do you ever just wing it? Do you write down what you're doing as you go so if it turns out great, you can do it again?