A Rastafarian tam, or Crown, (also known as a Rasta hat, or Rasta tam) is like a loose and roomy tam, shaped almost like a flattened bubble (or a bubble with a flattened top), large enough to safely tuck your dreadlocks inside from time to time. It may or may not have a visor or a band.
I suppose you could knit one instead, but crocheted fabric can more easily be made dense enough to avoid being pushed out of shape when worn. After working a few rounds, you can decide which side is the right side which is the wrong side.
If you use this pattern, please send me an image of it, and I'll display it here. I didn't have enough yarn to finish mine, and besides, I have no one to give the completed article to. :)
Special Thanks to: Ivan (and his Grandma) for the first photos (one is shown below)! And to Melinda for the newest photo (further below) in the true Rastafarian colours!
- wool (preferred) or cotton yarn in worsted, sport or dk weight, in the following traditional colours - red, gold, green, black (black is optional)
(Check out the selection of yarns at
- crochet hook in size which will produce a dense fabric
- With a dark colour, chain 4 or 5 sts, join into ring. Be sure to leave a long tail and work over it on your first round (so you can tighten it up later).
- Round 1 - Work 12 hdc into ring (as work progresses, always presume your first st of each round is a chain of appropriate height if joining every round).
Note: You can either join each round with a slip stitch, or work in a continuous spiral as desired. A continuous spiral looks nicer - no "seam" - but you must be certain to keep an eye on the end of the rounds for purposes of placing increases. You don't need fancy yarn markers, simply attach a safety pin, bobby pin, paperclip, etc. to mark your spot, or just eyeball it.
- Round 2 - With same colour, work 2 hdc into first hdc, work hdc in next hdc. Repeat this all the way around (you'll now have 18 sts).
- Round 3 - Work 2 hdc into first hdc, work one hdc in each of the next 2 hdcs.
- Round 4 - Work 2 hdc into first hdc, work one hdc in each of the next 3 hdcs.
- Continue increasing in the same manner - having one more st between increases - til you have about 6 or 7 rounds altogether.
- Now review your piece of fabric. If it's beginning to ruffle at the edges, you should begin with 10 sts in your first round instead of 12 - you'll be increasing by 5 sts per round. If it looks almost pointed, you should try beginning with 14 sts - you'll be increasing by 7 sts each round. In either case, rip it out and start over. If the fabric looks almost flat or just slightly cupped, continue on to the next step - you're increasing by 6 sts per round. Oh, by the way, you just made a swatch. :)
- Continue increasing as described above, changing colours to create triangular points and stripes where desired. Place your increases where they best suit your pattern, as long as they total the correct number per round (5, 6 or 7 as determined earlier).
Note: To make your increases less noticable, make them while using darker coloured yarns. Also, try to stagger them from round to round so they're not lined up in a column.
- Continue until your work is about the size of a large dinner plate. If the wearer has a lot of hair, you may want to work a few additional rounds for extra room. If the wearer doesn't intend to tuck their locks inside, work a few rounds less.
- Work 2 or 3 more rounds without increasing.
- Basically, you'll work your decrease rounds at the same ratio you worked your increases - 5, 6 or 7 sts per round. This will give you almost a mirror image of the shape of the top of your hat, stopping when it's the correct size to fit around the wearer's head.
- For a flatter shape, work extra decreases per round. For a more gradual reducion in circumference, work fewer decreases or skip the decreases every 2 or 3 rounds. In any case, once you're working your decrease rounds, it's time to switch to stripes only (no points or triangles) or a solid colour.
- Once the hat is reduced in size enough to fit the wearer (probably in the neighbourhood of 20-21 inches), work 5 or 6 rounds even to create a band if desired, then end off. If you don't want the band, work a round or two in slip stitch or crab crochet to firm up the edge, then end off. If you want a visor, sorry, but you're on your own - I have nothing but trouble with those things. :)
- You could use single crochet instead of half double crochet if you like, but you'll need to adjust the number of increases per round. I advise against using double crochet, the fabric would simply be too flimsy and unstable.
- There's lots of fascinating info about the Rastafarian culture on the net, so I won't attempt to repeat it here. Do a web search to find out more about the significance of the colours of the hat, and for some examples of the triangle and stripe patterns.
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