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Sunday, February 01, 2015

My Favorite Hat

Well, maybe not my very favorite. Pretty close to my favorite. Dear to my heart. 

A few years ago, I designed a hat after one I saw on TV. On a Real Housewives show. (Yeah, I know. I gave up the Housewives not long after, and I am happier for it.) I didn't know who made the hat, and I couldn't get a picture that showed details, but there were some features I responded to: a folded up brim, a slightly peaked top, and its bright orange color. I'm not even sure it was a knit hat. It's possible that it was made from wool felt or some type of fleece. Still, the general shape called to me. I grabbed orange stash yarn in two weights and cast on. This never, ever happens, but I landed on something that pleased me almost immediately. I made one specific, significant design choice dictated by where I live, frigid, windy, wintery Chicago. I decided the the band should be permanently double thickness to keep the wearers' ears warm, and it is the only slightly challenging part of making it. Since I had two weights of yarns, I wrote the pattern for both. I ended up giving away one of the prototype hats, and I've since knit a few more, but I had yet to make the pattern legible for anyone who wasn't me. Well, as the snow is currently blowing and drifting to heights nearing my ear lobes, that's all about to change. I am tweaking the pattern for yarns in my Fleur de Fiber line, and the Notting Hill Hunting Hat will soon be finished! Stay tuned!

Fleur de Fiber Great Lakes Worsted Gray in Punky Rooster

Making Moments Momentous

In these gray, cold days of winter, after the holiday decorations have been put away, and before the first crocuses push through their blankets of dirt and snow, one has to seek light and color. Nordic and Scandinavian cultures do this brilliantly, and the more I learn about them, the more I appreciate how they find the bright moments in the long winter days. 

In Denmark, they embrace hygge, which can't be translated, but is embodied by the absence of anything unsettling or annoying. The dark is chased with candles, the cold is held off with soft blankets and cozy wraps.  

The Swedes have fika, both a verb and noun that means a coffee break with friends, coworkers or family. It's similar to the English tea, but with a social bent.

Working at home, as I do, I am often alone, so no one to fika with. It doesn't stop me from taking some time to brew a proper pot of tea (or make a cappuccino with my Italian stovetop moka pot) and savor the ritual. I have been burning more candles, even during the day, and I have a pile of chenille blankets, wraps, and handknit shawls on the sofa where I often sit working on paperwork or sample knits. These cold, wet, dark days need all the warmth and brightening I can muster.