Monday, December 26, 2011

Day 40, 60 to go: Finishing the Hat

The last tendrils of yarn with the finished hat.
I love Sondheim.  I am so excited I got to use the name of a song from Sunday in the Park With George in the title of this post.   Today was actually “Sunday teaching crocheting with Maggie and Lily.”

First, the finished hat. Zoe asked for a hat in earth tones.  I ordered some, but when it came, the yarn designer’s idea of “earth” was coral, shrimp, white and brown.  It was a fairly small skein of yarn and I didn’t have any additional solids to augment it with, so I needed to create a hat that would make the yarn go as far as possible.  This is the finished hat surrounded by the 2 yards of yarn that were left. I can’t imagine coming much closer to designing a hat that would use just the amount of yarn available.

Not a gnome hat
Here is the fabulous gnome-and-hat-loving Zoe modeling said finished hat.  Sadly this shot is a bit washed out, so you can’t really get a sense of the color.  The yarn is called “self-striping.”  This means that they dye several yards of it one color, then the next color for several yards and then the next.  The hat looks like I made it from 4 different yarns, when it was, in fact, just one skein with all of those colors in it. I really like the effect.   Most multi-color yarns are called “ombres” and they have maybe 18 inches or a yard of one color before they switch.  They create a more random color effect.  (You’ll see what I mean in tomorrow’s riding-the-bus hat.)

I worked with Lily (age 5 ½) and Maggie (age 4) on crochet and knit lessons for quite a while.  Lily got the fattest knitting needles I have ever seen for Xmas.  They must be close to an inch in diameter.  I showed her how they worked, but they are really difficult to get the tension right for an experienced knitter.  She gave it a shot, but the two ginormous needles were beyond her (and me.) 

I showed Maggie how to finger-crochet chains.  She was starting to get the hang of it.  I remember doing a lot of that at Grandma’s feet. Sometimes Grandma would even take the really long chains I made and stitch them into a coiled mat I could use as a doll rug.  I was so proud.  Since Lily is intent on learning to crochet, finger-crocheting is Maggie, ever the little sister’s “me too.”

Lily is quite good at chain stitching with the crochet hook.  Using the hook rather than fingers is actually pretty sophisticated.  We worked on some single crochet stitches, but she will need to sit and practice and practice if she wants to learn.  Getting the tension right in the stitches and the feeder hand takes a lot of dexterity.  At 5, she might not quite have the fine motor skills she needs. 

Luckily, I was able to recruit someone to give them follow-up lessons.  Rachel, my Mini-Me niece lives near Lily and Maggie, is a great crocheter (I taught her when she was about 10 and she picked it right up) and most importantly, is a rightie.  She is excited about continuing to coach them.  I think it’s important to let Lily set her own pace so she falls in love with it rather than gets too frustrated by it. 

All the cool kids know how to crochet.
Here is a picture of Maggie, her Mom (Borg #6 of 8) and Lily after the crochet lesson.  On the left, providing an excellent photo bomb is Mini-Me (in case that isn’t immediately obvious) ready to carry on the tradition of crocheting to the rest of her generation.

Rachel loves Zoe’s hat, by the way, so I am making her one in greens and blues.  I also showed her generally how I made it.  She is plotting to have a little crochet circle with her friends to all make hats now.  I think she just needed the concept of how they go together (as opposed to afghans).  I love it. I can’t wait to see what she’ll do.  I gave her a quick Intro-to-Pom-pom-Making tutorial too  Seriously.  I can’t wait to see her hats.

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