Outside of plush, the most popular crochet items I have found at cons are hats. While they’re not as common as the fleece ones, they are starting to gain popularity due to the versatility the working in yarn offers. One of the best examples of this is the viking/beard hat that made rounds online about 2 years ago.
While crafty sewers can easily make a fleece version of the helmet, they will have to work much harder to create the ‘natural’ look that yarn provides for long beards. The application is also easier for a crocheter as they simply crochet the base under ‘beard’, and then use the scarf tassel method to attach the hair in large chunks. Which can then be braided and styled to the crafter’s liking. This is a bit on the more complex side though, so let’s scale things back.
When starting out on your first hat, I highly recommend making a beanie first, especially if you have interest in making amigurumi/plush in the future. Most beanies are worked in the round but are fairly large, allowing you to get some experience with this method of crocheting before working with smaller hooks that making plush usually requires. When making beanies you’re also not limited to the average weight yarn as well. One of my favorite hats was made using left over homespun yarn that was large/chunky and just wonderfully soft and warm. I wouldn’t recommend think yarns for the hats if this is your first experience with them, however, as depending on the dye style/texture it can get quite difficult to see your individual stitches. Not all brands have this issue of course, and you should definitely shop around in person to see what your potential yarn looks and feels like.
The issue I come across most often when teaching people how to make hats in the round is losing count/failure to increase evenly. While the former issue isn’t so bad as you can always stop working and count how many stitches you’ve done; the later can be quite a problem if you’ve gone several rows before you notice and have to pull out all your hard work. Stitch markers are your friend here, and while you may feel silly marking every increase the first few times, it will drastically help your accuracy and allow you to develop a rhythm and tension to your work.
As just a little aside (a foot note if you will) on hats, don’t be afraid of making pom poms for decoration. These little accents are incredibly cute and only require the multipurpose Hair Pin Lace Tool. Most craft stores carry one and all you have to do is set your width, loop the yarn around about a hundred times or so, take a separate string and tie it around the middle section of the bundle tightly, remove from tool, cut loops, and you’re done! 😀 Think of all the body heat you can now save with your future warm and stylish hats. ^_^