Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflecting on 2010

All in all, not a bad year.  Yes there have been some challenges (some still ongoing), but when I think about the bigger picture and what could be, I know that I've got a pretty darn nice life.  Over the Christmas holidays I was fortunate enough to spend time with both my husband's family and my own.  Both visits allow for sitting around, chatting, and catching up.  It is also the perfect time to make a hat and over the past several months I've become very adept at making certain patterns while talking.

What was a bit surprising was that there were family members who were not aware of my challenge and my "need" to make hats.  Needless to say, there was a lot of explaining to do.  I shared Pam's (Halos of Hope founder) story and explained how this blog came about.  I then held brief  show-and-tells because they wanted to see what kind of hats I made.  It was nice that they were interested.

The best part for me - it made me think about all the hats I've made this year.  I decided that although I had started an spreadsheet to keep track of them, it needed to have more details.  I also decided that I wanted to name my hats.  Kind of corny, but fun.  Some of the hat names are obvious (Santa or Cranberry Lace), others I had to think about for a minute or two (Krasniy or Pourpre).  And even though I'm now officially half way through my challenge I have my next already planned.  Making hats for Halos of Hope can be addicting, but it's a good addiction...

Monday, December 27, 2010

December hat #2 - Rudolph Hat

Keeping with the seasonal theme knitting I thought Santa would need Rudolph if the presents would make it to their destinations. The original pattern calls for the hat to be dark brown with tan antlers, but I choose to switch the two around for a lighter look. I really wanted to use googly eyes, but I couldn't get them to stick. The button combo works, but just isn't as fun. Although now that I see the hat worn by Ms. White (my styrofoam head) I think the eyes should have been a bit closer. The other issue is that since it is being modeled I'm afraid it will be too big for most of the children who would be interested in wearing it, even if it is a bit stretched on the form.

The pattern is available for free from Carissa Knits. I used a partial skein of Berroco Comfort Hummus for the main hat with Bittersweet (dark brown) antlers and a Pimpernel (red) nose. The hat is knit on a 16" size 8 circular needle and 1 set of size 8 dpn. The antlers, ears and nose are knit on a set of 6 dpn. Stitches used are knit, purl, kfb, ssk, slip stitch, and K2tog. The antlers and nose were stuffed with polyfil and I used 25mm white buttons w/smaller black buttons from my button box. The placement of the antler, ears, nose, and eyes are probably the most important part of the finishing in order to give the hat its child friendly appeal.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December hat #1 - Santa Hat

I really wanted to make a hat with seasonal flair this month and decided to make a Santa Hat. You know when you have a picture in your head, but you just can't find the right pattern? Well it took some browsing through Ravelry before I finally found a pattern I could adapt. The original was done in camouflage colors with no fur and a very solid looking pom-pom. Needless to say, mine does not look like the original. I like mine better, which is always a matter of opinion. In fact, I liked the hat so much, I decided to keep it. Which meant that I had to duplicate it in order to have a hat to donate. I've never done this before.

The pattern is available for free from MAGINtht. I used a partial skein of Berroco Comfort Chalk mixed with white Lion Brand Fun Fur for the ribbing and almost an entire skein of Wild Cherry for the main color. The hat is knit on a 16" size 7 circular needle and 1 set of size 7 dp. Stitches used are knit, purl and K2tog. Very, very quick and easy to make.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Comfort and Joy

First published in 1827 the Christmas Carol "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen" includes the words from my post's title in the chorus. Now that you've sung a few bars I'll tell you that my comfort and joy rests not in song, but in yarn. Berroco Comfort has become one of my favorite yarns (as you can tell by the wide range of colors I've collected). It is soft and easy to work with and is a nice worsted weight that is perfect for many of the hats and caps that I make.

Recently a newer member of the 12 months = 24 hats Ravelry group shared a story about a VIP in her life that was just beginning her chemotherapy treatment and her VIP's reaction to receiving a cap. This made me thing about previous stories I've heard and the mixed feelings I have each time I hear one. On one hand, my heart goes out to the individuals touched by cancer. I've even cried a time or two (which is always difficult to explain to my husband as to why I'm crying about someone I've never met). Yet on the other hand, I receive such energy from the stories I hear. It reminds me of my purpose and it re-motivates me to continue making hats and caps.

Which brings me back to the topic of Comfort and Joy. My mom recently told me that I was spending too much money on the yarn for all these hats. Maybe I am. However, when I think of what I'm doing with the yarn I don't want to use something cheap and ugly. I want to use yarn that will create a hat that I would want to wear. So pardon me while I steal some words from American Express.

Yarn bought, $6.25....Time spent, several hours...The joy brought to the hat's recipient - priceless!