Week Six: More Hats

So I’m still making hats. I suggested that Dan might want me to make him one (because he doesn’t own a hat and while he didn’t seem to care, I had to point out that all those days he’s had to shovel? It would probably be better if he had a hat). I tried to convince Dan that an all-black hat would be supremely boring and unfun, but he never wavered: he wanted a black hat. No stripes, no colors, just black. A hat.

Okay, buddy, then that’s what you’ll get.

Meanwhile, my brother saw Lindsey’s hat and requested one for himself. But he wanted stripes. In gray and blue. I was all set to evenly distribute the stripes, but it turned out that he really, really wanted random stripes. (Just to make my orderly brain suffer, I think.)

handmade52.6 more hats

Dan’s hat turned out too big once he tried it on, so when I made John’s hat, I made it match. And John’s was too small. I took this picture before I added two more gray rows to John’s hat.

Oh, and I almost forgot my favorite part of this week’s crafty endeavor. When Dan saw John’s striped hat on Superbowl Sunday, he looked at me and said sheepishly, “So if I ask you something, will you promise not to be mad?” “Of course,” I replied. “I think I want my hat to have stripes.” “You mean ‘You were right, Elizabeth, stripes ARE the best!’?” “Yes. Would you make me a hat with stripes?”

So I’m making Dan a new hat, this time with stripes. He even let me suggest a foresty green for his stripes. And black, because we wouldn’t want to get crazy or anything.

Week Four: Lindsey’s Hat

My sister has been very patiently asking me to make her a hat ever since she saw the first hat I crocheted for the first of all of the babies back in August. Once the time-sensitive hats were all made, we finally started deciding what kind of hat she wanted. There were a lot of emails back and forth; she knew she wanted earflaps and braided tassles, but wasn’t sure about the rest, and she really wanted to leave it up to me once she picked the colors (light gray, dark gray, and a small amount of red, to match her winter coat and the snow boots that she just got).

braided tassles

So I made her a hat, with earflaps, braided tassles, and a really fat pom pom on top for good measure.

with a pom pom on top.

The pom pom caused some grief on my part, just because I couldn’t get the plastic pom pom maker I bought to work properly on the first couple of tries. The hat itself is just a teensy bit too big, but Lindsey has really thick hair so it sort of balances out in the end. There are a few details that I’m not happy with, mostly because I was expecting to need quite a few more rows than I did, so I would have added more light gray on the brim, but that really doesn’t matter too much in the long run.


I think she looks totally adorable in it, and she loves the hat, so that makes it a success!

handmade52.4 Lindsey's hat

Stripes in the City

I had the day off for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, and decided to take the opportunity to spend the day in New York City, just because it feels like it has been such a long time since I have been there just to explore. Luckily, Jodi was off, too, and despite the weather and some other circumstances that prevented a few other friends from coming (boo!), we had a great day. Jodi had actually been saving up stripey destinations for the next time I visited, which was AMAZING. (Also amazing: the insane Italian lunch we had, the decorations in Kate’s Paperie, the Impossible Project Space, the tiniest, fattest Moleskine ever, and a superfun dinner with Erin where we bonded mightily over rule-following.)

Anyway, here are my favorite stripes in the wild from the day:

magenta, diagonal

ribboned, sad

upholstered, fancy

tiled + houndstoothed

swirly stripes

holy stripes, you guys

stripes of texture and color at the same time!

the. best.

toothy, spraypainted

tired eyes.

reflected, arty

gold, architectural

collaged, unidentified

rainbow-ordered, pretty

stark, weathered

A Much Bigger Mental Challenge Than I Expected

As I finished the last rows on the scarf I made for Dan for Christmas, I realized with a jolt that I haven’t made a scarf for MYSELF in a very, very long time. I used to crochet scarves a lot. Because crochet is so mindnumbingly relaxing. And because while I’m not the word’s best crocheter, I sure have mastered the long, narrow rectangle. Anyway. I looked back in the archives and discovered that I was right, and I haven’t made myself a scarf in four years. (Unless you count the only thing I ever made from the Happy Hooker book, which I don’t, not really.)

So it was past time to make myself a scarf. I decided it should be aqua and red, partly because it’s an awesome combination, and partly because I have a red winter coat and I have a brand new turquoise down vest waiting impatiently in my closet for the weather to get warmer and all this damn snow to melt. I’m nothing if not practical, people.

January 18, 2010

And as I polled the universe about how to arrange my stripes, a challenge emerged. My own mother dared me to crochet my scarf in a completely random pattern. I should toss my carefully randomized graph-paper rendering. And ignore mathematical sequences like Fibonacci numbers, or the random stripe generator. No, she dared me to just wing it. Because I think the thought of me struggling over what counts as really random made her giggle. Friends advised me to drink copiously while working. And I learned that I’m not the only one who feels a little creepy-crawly when thinking about a scarf whose ends don’t mirror each other.

Is my brain really that inherently ordered? (I’m of course thinking back to that fateful personality test we took at that librarian workshop. You know, the one where I was deemed to be the gold personality – the rule-following, order-loving, organized one. The geeky, stick-in-the-mud, no-fun-for-you one! Not the creative, emotional, sensitive one! Or the logical, questioning, scientific one! And surely not the outgoing, party-lovin’, loud one.)

random stripe scarf is ready for its closeup

Crocheting the scarf turned out to be quite the mental challenge. With each new stripe, my brain started whirring. “Okay, the red stripe you just finished was two rows. I did a blue stripe with two rows before that one. Am I putting in a pattern of two-row stripes here? Am I using red enough? Maybe I need a really, really big blue section here instead. And after that a short blue row with some longer red ones. No! Short red ones. No! One long red one and one short blue one and then a short red one and a short blue one. No! That’s a pattern!”


my brain horrifies even me sometimes

After I measured out to just past where I thought the middle should go, I decided it would be a good idea to count the rows of each color, just to make sure I wasn’t using way too much of one color or the other. So I counted the rows at the point where the above picture was taken.

And to my utter HORROR, there were EXACTLY 50 rows of red and 50 rows of aqua. And I DIDN’T DO IT ON PURPOSE. I was trying to be random! My brain IS that inherently organized?

I’m so embarrassed.

February 17, 2010

But I kept going, and at the very end counted the rows again to make sure I’d end up with the same number of rows of each color. I suppose that’s against the spirit of the project, but even I have my limits.

ready for its closeup

In the end, I’m pretty happy with the result. Is it a little TOO overly long? Yes. Does it need some breaking in thanks to the cheap yarn? Yes, especially compared to the pashmina style scarves I’m used to. Am I totally psyched with the random-ness of the stripes? Hell yes. Will I embark on another “random” project soon? Probably not, no. And that’s okay with me.