Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Christmas Hats 2009

The blog seems to have taken a break for the holidays right along with me, but now there is much to report, since the vacation from school has given me a chance to do some serious knitting. In the interests of efficiency, I think I will break it down into several installments between now and next Monday (when classes start), rather than trying to cram everything into one enormous post...

I ended up making three different hats as Christmas gifts for 2009. One had been planned for several months. It was a repeat for my elderly mother of the Stained Glass Beret that I made for myself over the summer. I used Madeline Langan's lovely pattern again and dipped into the very same bag of leftover Brown Sheep wool, so the two hats are virtual twins. Here are pre-felting pictures of both the outside and the inside of my mother's hat, plus one of the outside in its finished form. As always, click on any of these images to get a closer look.

Mom was absolutely *delighted* with her present!! The vibrant colors (all her favorites) strongly appealed to her, just as I knew they would, and when she put the hat on her head, she discovered to her immense satisfaction that it fits perfectly and is extremely warm. The felting actually makes it wind-proof, which is a Godsend in the midst of a New England winter. We visited with her several times after Christmas, and she was never without her new favorite headgear. Chalk this one up as a BIG WIN.

The other two hats were much more impromptu affairs, inspired by my brother's suggestion that we give his two sons Barnes & Noble gift certificates, allowing them to choose what they wanted for themselves. As he spoke, I suddenly got the idea of making a hat for each nephew so that I could label the gift card as follows: "For your head and what's inside it..."

After casting about on Ravelry for the appropriate pattern, I lit upon Thorpe by Kirsten Kapur. This popular design features earflaps and tassled ties. The pattern was extremely easy to follow and adapt from bulky to worsted weight yarn. I chose two different bright colors of 100% wool from my stash, both with white trim, and improvised a striped pattern for the brim that would set off the jewel tones to good advantage. A clever suggestion from Kathryn Ivy's blog allowed me to make the stripes without an unsightly jog at the start of each round. Click on either image for a larger view.

The blue hat was for the 8-year-old, and I was able to finish it in time for Christmas. The red one, for his teenage brother, took a bit longer, so he got yarn & needles (a.k.a. the knitter's promissory note) under the tree & the finished hat a day or two later. Both brothers loved their new headgear. The younger one did not want to take his off!! I am still waiting for photographic evidence from their father, to document the end result, but I think it is safe to chalk up two more BIG WINS for Christmas 2009.

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