My older brother James graduated from Oxford University yesterday and I wanted to make him a little something to mark the occasion. A couple of years ago I crocheted him a dalek for Christmas, using a pattern I found on Ravelry (‘I don’t know whether he’s scary or adorable,’ said James), and since then the dalek has diligently sat on James’ desk at uni, accompanying him throughout his degree. It seemed fitting, then, that his dalek should graduate with him.
And so I did the only thing I could do, and crocheted the dalek a mortar board.
And here’s the pattern, just in case you ever feel the need to crochet a mortar board for any soft toys or small creatures of yours that happen to be graduating. This is my first proper pattern, so bear with me and please let me know if you find any mistakes. The finished cap is quite small – it fits into the palm of my hand as you can see – so if you want to scale it up just use a larger hook size and heavier weight of yarn. The pattern uses British stitch terms.
Crochet Mortar Board/Graduation Cap
Cap: the cap is worked in the round, with a slip stitch join at the end of each round. Using baby weight yarn and a 3mm crochet hook, make 6dc into magic circle, sl st into 1st dc.
Round 1: ch1, 2dc into each st around, sl st into 1st dc. (12sts)
Round 2: ch1, *2dc into 1st st, dc into next st* 6 times, sl st into 1st dc. (18sts)
Round 3: ch1, *2dc into 1st st, dc into next 2 sts* 6 times, sl st into 1st dc. (24sts)
Round 4: ch1, *2dc into 1st st, dc into next 3 sts* 6 times, sl st into 1st dc. (30sts)
Round 5: ch1, *2dc into 1st st, dc into next 4 sts* 6 times, sl st into 1st dc. (36sts)
Round 6: ch1, *2dc into 1st st, dc into next 5 sts* 6 times, sl st into 1st dc. (42sts)
Round 7: ch1, *2dc into 1st st, dc into next 6 sts* 6 times, sl st into 1st dc. (48sts)
Rounds 8-11: dc into each st around, sl st into 1st dc. (48sts)
Break off yarn.
Board: the board is worked in a continuous spiral, without slip stitches at the end of rows. Using baby weight yarn and a 3mm hook, ch16.
Round 1: dc into 2nd ch from hook, dc into each ch, 3dc into last ch, now working along other side of ch, dc into each ch, 2dc into last ch, dc into first st.
Continue working in dc, in a continuous spiral, until height matches width.
Cut a square of cardboard measuring 5cm by 5cm, and place inside the crochet board. This helps the board to hold its shape, and keeps it lying flat. Crochet a row of dc across the top of the board, inserting the hook through both sides to join them together. Break off yarn.
Tassel: wrap yarn around a fork about 8-10 times. Tie a length of yarn around the tassel between the first and second prongs of the fork, and secure with a dab of clear nail polish if needs be. Then slide the tassel off the fork and snip through the loops at the bottom. Trim so they are all the same length.
Finishing off: Thread a length of yarn through the loops at the top, line up the crochet board on top of the cap, then stitch through all layers. This attaches the tassel to the middle of the board, and the board to the cap. Use the long tail from the magic ring at the start of the cap to make a couple more stitches for extra security. Weave in all ends.
And we’re all done! Finally, all of your little companions – furry, crochet or otherwise – can have the opportunity to graduate. Equality for all!
Sidenote: my brother now reckons that not only am I the only person in the world who has a handmade stuffed panda called Epimetheus, but I am also the only person in the world who has crocheted a mortar board for a dalek. What can I say? I’m unique.