Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tornado Hats and A Whirlwind of Knitting

It's snowing outside.  The temperature is plummeting from unseasonably warm to uncommonly cold.  The wind is whipping up.  It is a good day to stay in and knit.  I think I will cast on for another Tornado Hat.  I've already knit 4 of these, but I don't mind making another, as they are so fun to knit.

My first tornado hat was made with an oddball skein of a discontinued yarn that I had in my stash.  I made it for the Mitten Tree Charity at my school. When I cast on,  I had no preconceived notion of the ultimate design. I thought I would make a simple beanie with a foldover brim suitable for a boy or girl.  However, the creative side of me just couldn't stand making a totally plain hat, so as I decreased for the crown, I decided I needed to add a bit of whimsy at the top, and the traveling stitch braid was born.

While I was pleased with that first hat, I gave it away as intended. (This photo was a quick snap before I tossed it into the donation bin).  I needed to start another hat as a prototype for the pattern that I had yet to write up, and I wanted to tweak the design a little bit. I changed the cuff from 2 by 2 ribbing to garter stitch and added traveling stitches to the body of the hat.  My second tornado hat was made with another oddball skein of yarn, this time from a yarn that is still available--Manos del Uruguay Classico.  Here it is:

By the time my second hat was finished, Christmas had come and gone.  Santa gave me a new coat, so of course, I needed a new hat to go with it. Here is the hat that I made to go with my new coat, made with Classic Shades:

Let me just say that not only did I enjoy making it, I love wearing it!  I have short, baby fine hair, and the braid hangs and feels like a ponytail.  Realizing that I enjoy wearing my tornado hat because it makes me feel like I have a real head of hair, I decided it would make a great chemo-cap for someone struggling with hair loss.  And so, I cast on for a fourth hat. Here is the hat that I made for a colleague at work who is currently battling breast cancer.  It is my favorite of all. I hope it makes her feel pretty!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Future Knitters

In December, I read The Mitten Tree and spoke to the senior kindergarteners about knitting, as I do every year.  They were a polite and attentive audience, as usual. I gave them a few hats and mittens for their Mitten Tree charity collection, and thought that was that--this holiday tradition that I so enjoy had come and gone without much lasting effect on my young audience.

However, the other day I got some  feedback that let me know I had indeed made a lasting impression.
As I was walking down the hall, one of my little SK friends ran up to me. "Mrs. P! Mrs. P!  I got a knitting kit for Christmas!"

"Me too!" Another little voice piped up.

"Wow, that is so cool!"  I replied.

On reflection, I realized that my slang is hopelessly out of date. When speaking to my five year old friends, I should have replied in the superlative used by today's children.   It isn't just cool, it's sweet!