I hope that this doesn’t all go off in a very sentimental direction, but I would go to exceptionally great lengths to keep Scott happy and comfortable. When he asked me for a hat last year, I lovingly obliged. In fact, within a day of his asking, I had produced a finished cap for his cold head. And in my misstep—that being, the great hurry with which I completed said hat—he ended up with a hat about two sizes too big for his head, because I didn’t wash my swatch knit in superwash merino yarn. After the first snow of the season, it swallowed up his head, and was quickly tossed into the closet, where it has resided since. He has, instead, worn an acrylic cap like the kind you can find at the stands of street vendors and army/navy stores. It hasn’t been problematic for Scott, but it has frustrated me to see my boyfriend—the partner of a knitter—walk around the streets of Boston in a machine-made cap.
After all, this is the man who watched the full season of Firefly within two days for/with me, who constantly takes life advice from Ravelry (I get most of our book/movie/TV recommendations from the lovely fiber-enthusiasts of the Rav world), who makes me breakfast in the morning before I wake up, and who recently surprised me with a 10-pack of Noro Kureyon so that I could finish up a blanket I’ve been working on. This is the man who does not complain that I promised him a quilt three years ago, and still haven’t finished it (I really just have two lines of hand-quilting and a binding to go, ugh!). And, most importantly, this is a man who watches me knit for others, watches me feel the crunch of holiday gift knitting, and does not receive—nor ask for— anything. I felt compelled to do something about the situation.
It all started with a benign trip to Jo-Ann Fabrics. I needed flannel to make us both some new pajama pants, and when they didn’t have any, we wandered over to the yarn department to check on the state of things. After meandering past aisles of acrylic ribbon yarn and fun fur, we stumbled upon something I didn’t expect: a whole aisle of predominantly wool yarn, in jaw-dropping prices, and a pretty impressive color palette. Now, I don’t by any means consider myself a ‘yarn snob,’ but, as a yarn store employee, I’m rather spoiled by the luxurious yarns that are out there and have found myself scoffing at ‘squeaky’ acrylics time and again.
Now, I’ve learned that everything has its place.
This is Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Maltese Fisherman’s Hat, knit from Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick (in oatmeal), on size 10 needles. Scott picked the yarn first, becoming completely transfixed by it in the store. He typically prefers more fine-gauge yarns, but loved the hand of the yarn and the big, nubby, tweedy bits. The yarn felt surprisingly good, looked like it would hold up considerably well, was aesthetically appealing to Scott, and cost less than five dollars. More importantly, the acrylic content of the yarn meant that, no matter how the wool reacted to the fickle New England climate, the hat should hold its shape. Within a few hours—including a full on frog-session because of accidentally grabbing the wrong needle size—he had a new winter hat. The long side flaps are perfect for keeping drafts away from his ears; he uses a scarf I made him to tie them closer to his head. Most of the time, however, he wears them flipped up (as seen in the first image), and seems to thoroughly enjoy it.
I can now take comfort in knowing that I have a warm, happy boyfriend, walking around Boston in a handmade cap.