Check it out:
It’s “Ela’s Favorite Hat” from the book One-Skein Wonders, done in Noro Silk Garden. I didn’t choose the color bands; Silk Garden is self-striping yarn, and it comes in all these crazy colors.
This one is for the donation pile, and I prayed for the recipient while knitting. I don’t know anything about the eventual recipient, but it might be someone homeless or someone in a shelter, and those are pretty awful places to be. I figure people in that situation ought to at least have a brightly-colored warm hat, and I pray for them. I pray that they can be one warm hat away from turning it around.
Originally I donated to a charity that sent all the scarves and hats to Mongolia; it wasn’t until I dropped off that beaded scarf at the Angeltown Food Pantry that I realized I might see the scarf again one day — I might meet the recipient. And that weirded me out because it feels like violating someone’s privacy. Angelborough is an even smaller town. The women’s shelter in the next town over doesn’t seem very far away.
While knitting this hat, I thought about it again. Standing in line at the supermarket, I look up and the woman in front of me is wearing the hat. What do I do? If she turns and sees me staring, I would never say “I made that,” but I might say, “I was looking at your hat. Is it hand-knit?”
And what if she says, “Yes, but I don’t know who made it. It was given to me at a very dark time in my life, and I know this seems silly, but right after I got this hat, everything turned around. I found the courage to apply for a job, and I got it. I was able to move to a safer place with my kids. And everything’s good now.”
That doesn’t happen in real life. It happens in my head during rows of knits and purls and while making whimsical iCords for the crown. She’d probably just say, “Yeah, I think it was,” and leave it at that.
I do like to think, though, that maybe a woman would receive a hand-made hat and think, “Someone must have cared to make this,” and maybe that can be enough to fight off the despair when it’s all gone wrong.