an awkward hat

It occurred to me this Sunday at church that I was surrounded by people who had lived a lifetime of holiness, and I can barely raise my kids.

I’m also easily-distracted, so during Mass, I also noticed one of those holier-than-Jane people, whom I’ve seen around the church often and around Angelborough sometimes, was wearing a hand-knitted hat. Even from a distance, I could see it had been strangely made.

Later I saw why: the hat consisted of five garter-stitch square panels which had then been sewn together. The garter-stitch panels themselves were awkwardly made, and the seams were puckered because that’s not really the way you’re supposed to make a hat.

I thought, “I could offer to teach her how to knit in the round.”

It seemed like a good idea until the next moment, when it dawned on me that she probably hadn’t made it herself. That it might have been made by one of her children, or maybe even a grandchild,and for supporting evidence, I’ll offer the fact that the hat was magenta-colored. That’s the perfect color to knit with if you’re a child because it’s an exciting color: everyone loves magenta.

I remember being eight years old, and using my weaving loom to make a scarf for my father. It may have been for Father’s Day, or maybe his birthday (but given my common sense, I probably did give him winter gear in June). The finished product was only about twelve inches long. But my father assured me it was just fine for a scarf, that see, it fit around his neck (barely!!! Don’t try to swallow your coffee, Dad!) and that this was just the right length to have it lie flat beneath his coat collar and keep him warm.

Delighted, I took a picture of my dad proudly wearing this thing that he might have taken home and used as a place mat. But I’d made it for him. Awkward, clumsy, well-night useless, but his kid had made it.

And here I was in church, confronted by a woman proudly wearing a rather awkward magenta hat, and she might as well have been holding a sign saying “I love the child who made this.”

I only hope God loves our awkward offerings the same way, that God would turn up at church wearing our good deeds and showing them to his friends. “Oh, Jane made this. Isn’t that neat?”

Or maybe not mentioning it at all, just knowing that He was carrying a part of us around with Him (and us knowing it too), and it was keeping Him warm.


About philangelus

Mom, freelance writer, novelist, angelphile, Catholic, know-it-all.
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9 Responses to an awkward hat

  1. Ivy says:

    You actually can make a hat with panels sewn together, and it can look really cool if you do it right.

    Let’s say you want a 20″, you make 10 panels, 4 inches wide by 3.5 inches long. Add two stitches to the width for seem allowance. Add one row for the same purpose.

    Now, it gets funky. First you seam the panels together to make a tube, two squares high and five wide. You can knit a single panel for the crown and have a boxy hat, or knit wedges to taper it. My preferred method is to at this point pick up stitches around and do a normal crown decrease in garter stitch. I don’t gather the top–that leaves a hole–I kitchener it closed. Just keep in mind garter stitch flat is knit every row; garter stitch in the round is knit a round, purl a round. Decreases are hidden better on the recessed knit round that the protruding purls.

    These styles, done in brightly colored blocks, go over great with kids. Done in shades of gray and black, can make a more dignified hat. For that make the squares twice as long and turn the garter blocks sideways (so knit five 7 X 4 squares and sew along the longest edge–this will make the hat stretchier as it acts like ribbing. For the person who can’t get enough of Christmas, do it in an even number of squares and make them red and green. For a trickier pattern, use short rowing to taper each rectangle at one end, so to form the crown as you go.

    Simplest form, make squares and join them until you have something the right width and maybe 9″ long (11 if you want to fold the brim). Gather the top and sew it closed. IIRC, that kind of simple construction–knit, seam, and gather a rectangle–is what I used in your 7AA Annihilation tribute hat.

  2. philangelus says:

    This one appeared to be four square panels joined up to form the sides of the hat, and one square panel sewn across the top. Like a box, but with the corners sewn in a bit so they didn’t jut out.

  3. cricketB says:

    Corners jutting out used to be trendy. Attach tassels.

  4. Good point. It is important to pause and consider an alternative view before committing to action.

    It is also important to remember that God loves us no matter what the “final product” is, as long as our heart is in the right place and our intentions are good. Thanks for the reminder, philangelus.

  5. capt_cardor says:

    This kind of love is not limited to adult/child relationships. Often when adults exchange gifts we sometimes err and give things that are not really appropriate or properly appreciated. Most of us tuck these things away without comment, because we do not want to offend people we care for, but for some we display/wear them with pride because we love the person who gave them to us.

    In the end it really is the thought that matters,

  6. Ivy says:

    I think I just found the pattern for this. (Sorry, it’s only on Rav)

  7. Jason Black says:

    I have to say, about half the time I find your blog posts leaving me kind of flat. But then the other half, you come in with posts like this one that are just wonderful. They’re so sweetly written, and they have such a lovely message at the heart of them, that they’re worth the rest.

    But what it makes me think is that you should take all of those really good ones and make a book out of them, a spiritual book about the personal growth you’ve experienced through parenting (which is what many of the really great posts seem to be about).

    That, I think, you could do very well with while at the same time making the world just a little bit better for sharing your message.

    Just a thought.

  8. XDPaul says:

    You write the most incredible stuff. I’m guessing God stuck this one on the fridge. Thanks for praying it.

  9. Pingback: Ivy’s Vine » Just because you can hat

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