The Land Rover Owners Wife

A Christmas hat-trick

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The alpaca content of this yarn gives it a lovely soft feel

The alpaca content of this yarn gives it a lovely soft feel

Having finally finished Eldest Mudlets Christmas gift, I was left with trying to decide what to make for my middle child. Not being a girly girl, a pretty lace knit pattern such as my ‘Fern Gully’ bolero style knit which was for our fairy mad youngest Mudlet, wasn’t an option.

With Christmas racing towards me at break neck speed, time was fast becoming an issue and when an online trawl failed to provide much needed inspiration, I began to despair of ever coming up with a workable solution.

Then one cold morning a couple of weeks ago, I watched Middle Muddlet running around the school playground with her friends, dressed in her warmest outer garments and suddenly it hit me ………….. yes! In that moment of clarity I knew exactly what to make her – a hat! A nice warm bobble hat to replace the tatty old red one she has had for the last 5 years or so.

Now to find a pattern and some yarn.

A trip into town was needed and my first port of call was Kates’ wool shop and a browse through her patterns. There was no time to order a specific one in but try as I might I couldn’t find a child hat pattern at all. Frustratingly, Kate wasn’t about and her husband couldn’t help but thankfully, just as I was about to leave the shop she popped in, was able to immediately put her hands on a basic hat pattern sized from child to adult and a couple of minutes later I left the shop clutching my pattern.

This hat had seen better days!

This hat had seen better days!

I managed to find a lovely Alpaca/Acrylic mix yarn (20%/80% respectively) in blue and started knitting shortly after returning home, with a nice coffee by my side and a Christmas film on the telly.

Of course some duplicity was required to enable me to have the project to hand without the Mudlets suspecting anything and so I told them it was an extra gift for their sister.

“I like the yarn,” said Middle Mudlet, “Could I have a new hat please mummy?” she asked wistfully.

“Of course you can,” I assured her absolutely thrilled with her request, “But it will have to be after Christmas, okay?”

Happy with that, she wondered away and I carried on with my knitting.

Having chosen the plain stocking stitch hat as the base for this project I wanted to jazz it up a little without over doing it, mindful at all times that this was for our tomboy. So about 15 or so rows above the rib of the rim I knitted a row of holes, using a basic p2tog yrn sequence which, for those of you unfamiliar with knitting parlance, means knit 2 stitches together purl ways then wrap yarn round the needle.

Once the actual knitting of the hat was complete, I sewed up the seams and craftily asked Middle Mudlet if she would try it on so I could see how it looked (I was actually checking for size). How to complete the jazzing up of what was quite a plain looking hat was my next problem but a quick rummage through my left over bits of yarn presented me with what I thought was the perfect solution.

Taking 9 identical long lengths of wool, I first plaited them, using three lengths of wool for each strand of the plait and then threaded them through the holes, starting at one side and aiming to create a bow at this point once I had fed the plait all the way round the circumference of the hat. Unfortunately it just didn’t look right and so I pulled the plait back through and had another think.

Yarn ribbon, bow and sequin detail

Yarn ribbon, bow and sequin detail

Eventually after another coffee and some head scratching, I decided to undo the plait itself and instead knotted one set of the ends of the strands together and then I started to thread them through the holes, again starting from one side of the hat. Once the yarn ‘ribbon’ had been fed all the way around and evened up so the tail ends were the same length, I tied them into a bow, positioned at one side of the hat and slightly angled up. That was much better.

Next I secured the bow by sewing a white snowflake button to the centre of the bow, taking care to pass the needle and thread right through the centre loop several times, there by securing the bow into its’ final position. I was really pleased with how this looked but it still needed a little something more and so I went on a rummage and came across a stash of sequins left over from a craft project, some of which were just the right shade for use on the hat. One sequin was sewn onto the ‘bridge’ pieces created by the threading of the yarn ribbon.

Excellent! Just what I wanted to produce, a practical hat which will appeal to Middle Mudlet but which still has a touch of style (I hope) and glitz ……. and the best bit is that Middle Mudlet really wants me to make her one just like it!

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