Winterberry Beanie – unisex hat

Winterberry Beanie – unisex hat
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This year  my contribution to the Crochet Cancer Challenge is the Winterberry Beanie. For the past two years we have highlighted colon cancer, which is a cancer that both Sara and her Dad have fought. You can read more about Sara’s story here if you would like to.

For 2021 I am highlighting oesophageal cancer. The ribbon colour for this one is periwinkle.

Why I designed the Winterberry beanie for oesophageal cancer

With this design I am honouring my own Grandad. He fought oesophageal cancer when I was in my late teens. I have a vivid memory of my Mum crying at the kitchen sink while trying to peel vegetables for dinner the day she found out. My Nana and Grandad had such a strong marriage that they got each other through the treatment and kept each other going…. mostly with surprisingly good humour! Of course I am sure they sobbed and worried in private but that is not something that they would have hinted at with us.

Newrick and Margaret certainly set some standards of the marriage I strive to have with Richard.

This is a photo of them both on my Grandad’s 70th birthday.

I look at this picture every day and am instantly transported back to my childhood – the smell of my Nana’s house, the loud ‘Hello Childrens!’ when we walked in (that ‘s’ was always emphasised), checking out the garden to see my Grandad’s latest make.

A little about Newrick

Newrick is quite an unusual name. It’s been passed down to the eldest son for generations – in fact since the Vikings invaded. He was a stone mason by trade and very good with his hands. My grandparents had a garden full of wooden windmills, wheelbarrows etc that Grandad had made. He was also a keen gardener, always making sure to grow dahlias as they were my Nana’s favourite. In my pre-teen years he entered several leek shows. He was the treasurer of the Palms Leek Club in his village. My mum has often joked that Grandad loved his leeks as much as his kids. He used to feed them some wonderful things and play them Shirley Bassey music – he was a BIG Shirley Bassey fan too.

Grandad was also a big football (soccer) fan. He was an avid Sunderland supporter.  My sister once took her daughter in a Newcastle strip to visit my grandparents. Grandad sent them home to get her changed. Luckily they only lived 5 minutes away at the time!

My overwhelming memory of my Grandad was our leaving ritual.  Grandad would always get a cheeky grin on his face when it came time to go. As I gave him a kiss and cuddle before leaving he would wrap his arms around me and rub his stubble on my face. At the time I didn’t like it because it itched. Now I would give anything for him to do that one more time!


The NHS in England is fantastic! we are lucky that everyone gets the same opportunities to health care and medicine in the UK. Grandad did his chemo during my first year of university. I never saw him on a bad day – I suspect he would have never allowed that. And I do not ever remember him being in bed when I visited either.

Only once all of the treatment was finished did Nana slip up one day. Grandad mentioned he had a sore throat and I asked whether the treatment was irritating it. He told me he had finished his last round. Innocently I asked if it had been successful. Apparently the consultant had said that they would not scan him again to find out. They explained that he was too old to do another round of chemo so he would either live for a while longer having been cured, or it hadn’t been successful and he would find out soon enough.

As you can imagine we were all livid about this. I see the logic but having that uncertainty is also a heavy burden. It wasn’t until Grandad went in for another scan for something else (I want to say his emphysema) that they also confirmed that the cancer had gone!

Grandad died in the early hours of December 27th 2003 due to his emphysema.

The Winterberry Beanie

I designed the Winterberry beanie during our summer heatwave! Richard (my hubby) was working away for a week and because it was the school holidays we rented a house and all went with him. It was too hot to take our great dane, Hugo, anywhere during the day while he was at work so Jorja and I stayed in the house and sat on the patio reading and crocheting together.

It was on the hottest day of the year that I started designing a winter beanie.

Pattern links:

As always you can get the pdf pattern for the Winterberry Beanie in any of my shops.

Winterberry Beanie Pattern Specifics

This pattern is definitely for intermediate crocheters. It uses SC, HDC, Camel stitch and Bobble stitches. It is the placement of the bobble stitches that new crocheters may find confusing. I have included figure photos on where to place the bobble stitches, and once you have it you will fly with this pattern.


#3 weight yarn of your choosing – I used 1 skein of King Cole Glitter DK for sizes small – large and a little more than 1 skein for extra large.


4.5mm hook

Stitch markers (optional but recommended) 
Tapestry needle 

Gauge:     11 SC across and 7 rows = 2” x 2”

Sizing    This hat is written for adult sizes Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large.

Small – 18” wide by 6.75” high

Medium – 19” wide by 7” high

Large – 20” wide by 8” high

Extra large 21” wide by 8” high