Some time ago, Mother Twisted (my mum) asked me to knit her a hat for Christmas. If you type the word ‘hat’ into the knit part of the Ravelry pattern database, you’ll get 68 624 alternatives. Yes, that is the real number. You might think that’s a lot, but we Twisteds are fussy blighters, and I wasn’t very optimistic that we’d find the right pattern amongst such a small collection. My pessimism was justified, and all 68 624 were rejected, lovely though most of them were.
So I realized that I’d have to design the hat, as well as make it. And I’d have to do it quickly, because illness and my aversion to planning ahead had left me figuring this stuff out mere days before Christmas.
Possibly I should have kept the process secret from my mum, but it’s difficult to disguise the fact that you’re making someone a hat when you’ve just spent five minutes measuring their head. (“Oh, no reason, really… I’m just interested in people’s head sizes…”) So Mother Twisted knew that I was actively working on The Hat Situation. The Yarn Harlot has a secret method for gauging someone’s sock size by measuring their left nostril or something like that – I forget the details – but I’m not aware of an equivalent for hats.
Also, we Twisteds have big heads. (STOP SNIGGERING! Yes, that means YOU!) There was the time long ago when Mother Twisted and I took up horse-riding, and our trip to the shop to buy riding hats pretty much ended with the staff rummaging out back for a bucket, or an old tin bath, or indeed anything that would fit over our heads.
But I digress.
I stuck to Mother Twisted’s Hat Design Brief: must have a fold-back brim, must match her red coat, must have a bit of pattern, and I started doodling. If you follow this blog on Instagram, then you’ll already have an idea of how the process played out as I began to knit (NO SPOILERS, PLEASE!)
Slowly, the hat grew, then shrank, then re-grew in a different shape, then shrank, then re-grew again. Being Christmas, it was hard to snatch much knitting time. Work was busy, children were busy, and there were important events to attend such as our pub knitters/hookers’ Christmas meal. Just to detour from the hat for a moment, the event was held at the house of one of us:-
There was lots of luscious food and wine, and nobody batted an eyelid if you counted stitches whilst passing the vegetables. Missing from the photograph is The Little Room Of Rachell, who was very much in attendance, but who managed to evade the camera every single time. She was good at catching the rest of us for a shot, though:-
…Which was all very well, but which didn’t really help The Hat Situation. If only Christmas didn’t arrive so completely unpredictably every year.
I knitted and knitted, in the sparse spare moments that presented themselves. One of the reasons why I tend not to knit or crochet Christmas gifts is because I just know I’d be the sort of knitter who is up at 1am on Christmas day finishing a present. Guess when I completed Mother Twisted’s hat? Sigh. (And yawn.)
Anyway, she seemed to like it… or at least she was too polite to say THAT’S THE UGLIEST THING I’VE PLACED ON MY HEAD SINCE I WENT HORSE-RIDING WEARING AN OLD TIN BATH! (She’s very polite, my mum.)
So how was your Christmas? Here, all was well. As always, we hosted my people and the Stoic Spouse’s people, so there were eight of us under this roof, munching our way through an enormous turkey (cooked by the Stoic Spouse) and a boozy Christmas cake (cooked by me). The twinnage have reached the age of peak over-excitement so despite the fact that I’d crawled into bed at 1am, I was woken at 4am by a pair of hysterically happy seven-year-olds. And if the weather was distinctly un-festive on the 25th, we did at least have some snow a couple of days later which I photographed on my run:-