Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Holiday Headstart

When I learned last year that Marcia was setting up a Holiday Headstart group, I joined immediately. The basic premise of the group is that you knit at least one holiday gift each month so you avoid last-minute frenzied knitting.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a bit of a planner and I typically have all my holiday gifts knit by the end of the summer. But my daughter . . . well, she's not quite so far-sighted. Each year I swear I won't succumb to her last-minute pleas for hand-knit gifts for her friends, but when actually faced with the alternative--i.e., a trip to the dreaded mall--I usually give in and whip out a scarf or a hat.

So I viewed Marcia's group as an incentive to stock up on teenage-friendly gifts. Yah, I know, teenage girls are fickle and I run the risk my daughter will reject things in December that she approves in May. No matter. Anything she doesn't want next winter can be donated to a shelter or Dulaan.

Surprisingly, however, my first Holiday Headstart project is neither a scarf nor a present for my daughter's friends. It's a hat for my neighbor.

Picture 4484

I used this hat design as a guide and a chart from Nanette's excellent booklet for the stranded motif.

My neighbor's wife died last year. Although she was quite possibly the best knitter I ever knew, I swallowed my pride each December and knit something for both her and her husband. She loved felted items and he was usually on the receiving end of a hat or mittens. He’s a very fit octogenarian who walks every day regardless of the weather. Even last week, when the day-time temperatures here barely rose above the single digits, I saw him pounding the pavement early in the morning on my way to work. One day I saw him wearing a hat I gave him a few years ago knit from this pattern. The recent frigid temperatures convinced me it was about time to knit him a new hat--one with even longer ear flaps.

Picture 4485

My neighbor is Norwegian, so I thought he'd appreciate the Norwegian star. I had to fudge a little to work the decreases into the pattern but I'm pretty pleased with the finished hat.

It was a fun, fast project; I completed it in just one night and part of the next morning. You gotta love those size 6.5mm needles.

Or not.


Running commentary on my unending quest to knit up my stash.