My knitting life is overrun with seemingly endless projects. A shawl to test knit. A sweater (or two or three) needing a body to go with its sleeves. That dreaded second sock. So when the opportunity to pause and knit a hat for a well deserving person presented itself, I leapt with both feet. And knitting needles, of course.
My daughter, Hanna came to me the other day, wanting to knit a hat for a friend going through chemotherapy. Hanna knows how to knit - quite well as a matter of fact. But, believe it or not, she doesn't like to do so. A daughter of mine? Totally baffling. But occasionally, she'll take on a simplish hat. 5-year-old Sophie's best friend was admiring one I'd knit for Sophie, so Hanna made her one to match. Fat yarn and big needles are her preference. When I pointed out that a pretty, feminine cap might be a better choice to a chunky, snowy weather design, she groaned but agreed. We found a number of nice options, but all were knit with tiny yarn and needles. Argh! Finally, a co-worker showed me a new design that uses US 6 needles and sport weight - the Magnolia Hat. Hanna approved. Quite a fetching pattern, as a matter of fact. Chose some lovely blue, silk, alpaca and cashmere yarn, printed the pattern and packed it up for Hanna to give it a go. It occurred to me that I should give the pattern a look through, just to be sure there weren't any quirky challenges she might not be ready for. And wouldn't you know it, there were. The Magnolia Hat is knit from the crown down. Meaning a trickier than usual cast-on (Judy's Magic Cast-On) Hanna hadn't done before. And a lot of make-ones. Back to the drawing board.
Alas, after further searching, we couldn't find a design we liked as well. The Magnolia Hat had captured our hearts. So, I put aside my test knit, grabbed my 40" needle, and started knitting Hanna a crown. After a few false starts - four to be quite honest (it always helps to really read the pattern correctly before diving in) - it took me only a few hours to knit through the increases and pass it on to Hanna for the main body and brim. Hmm? That was pretty fast. I actually do need a couple knitted accessories for my nieces Christmas gifts. Can you see where this is going? A little longer break from my other knitting commitments than planned, but hey. The beauty of hats are that they're small, quickly finished projects, allowing one to try new techniques and yarn more often than whilst working a sweater, shawl, or even socks. Let's hear it for hats!