30 December 2010

A Christmas Miracle

This year for Thanksgiving Daughter, Husband and I went to visit Brother and his family in the Detroit suburbs. We had a very enjoyable time which included eating a lot of food, as well as a little of a new hobby that Daughter and I have taken up called geocaching. Before we left for Detroit I looked up a few caches that would be close to Brother's house and got the details.

Here we are after finding the first cache. It was a little chilly out, and there was a very brisk breeze blowing that day, so we only found two of the three that I had looked up.

While we were digesting our turkey feast, brother mentioned that his hunting hat was getting too stretched out for his taste, and would it be possible to make him a new one? He wanted a Liberty Cap in hunter's orange, if possible. It seemed like an easy enough request, so I said yes.

The first step in the process was acquiring the yarn. In case you haven't checked your local yarn purveyor recently, you may not know that hunter's orange is not a well stocked item. Perhaps the problem was that I was trying to find it just after hunting season, but the yarn proved tricky to find. I eventually turned to the internet and found a company selling hunter's orange wool. I ordered a cone of their HunterSafetyOrange just to be sure I didn't run out. It came soon after and I made up a gauge swatch to see how it would work up.

Next I had to locate a pattern for a Liberty Cap. The internet came to the rescue in this department as well, although the first pattern that looked promising turned out to be sized for an 18 inch doll rather than a real human being. I finally located a pattern here that I was able to use with a few modifications.

The next step, of course, is to actually knit the thing. For reasons unknown to me, at least on a conscious level, I didn't start doing the real knitting until Christmas Eve. To make it an even better challenge for myself, I needed to have it done and ready to go by 9:00 in the morning on the 26th, which was when Brother and his family were leaving Parents' house to go back down south.

I got ready to start and discovered that I had everything that I needed except a crochet hook. The pattern calls for a provisional cast on, and the only way I know how to do one is using a crochet hook. I asked Mom if she had one, and after searching in several locations she told me that she did not. I was momentarily concerned that the hat might not happen, but then brother asked me for the specification of a crochet hook. I told him that it was just a long piece of thick wire with a hook on the end. He then borrowed a piece of old coat hanger from Mom, went down to the workshop, and came back minutes later with this:

It's not particularly pretty, but it got the job done. I spent most of Christmas day knitting. I took a couple of breaks to play Scribblish and watch a family movie classic (Boxman, for those of you in the know.) Most of the day, however, looked like this:

(Thank you again, Honey, for the cool new Blackhawks jammie pants.) At the end of the day, the very end of the day, I finally finished it off, built a tassel using no instructions whatsoever, and washed and conditioned the hat. I set it out in the living room hoping it would be at least mostly dry by morning.

It did not dry completely, but that didn't stop Brother from putting it on and modeling it just before getting into the car and speeding away.

Looks pretty good for a hat knit in a day.


MissMarsha said...

Darn good lookin' hat. One day, eh ? Dp's or circular ??

Kathy said...

I used a 16" circular for most of it and switched to dps when there were too few stitches left on the crown.

MissMarsha said...

Have you ever used the Magic Loop system ? I took a class at Uncommon Threads a while back and am slowly incorprating it into my patterns.

Kathy said...

I have used magic loop, but not very often. It seems like too much fiddling around with the needles, which is also why I don't use the 2 circulars method very often. Only when I don't have the right size DPNs or a short circ.

kbsalazar said...

Love the hat! The tassel gives it an especially rakish air. Glad you found the pattern useful. And delighted that it will see use in future Geocaching expeditions.