cafe mama

finding magic every day

a hat for noah and a quietly handmade christmas . december 24 . 2008

hat for noah with cupcake
In both my side of the family and Jonathan's, Everett was the first of his generation. And for a very long time, there were no cousins on the paternal side of the family. Two years ago, we were awaiting the first, child of Jonathan's younger sister, Betsy, living far away in Salt Lake City. Where it is (or so I hear) quite cold in January.

It was a different time, a time before: when Everett was just four years old, Truman a quiet, happy toddler, Monroe barely the size of a fruit in my belly. It was before I launched head-first into the project of the garden, the chickens, the change-everything-utterly. We ate cold cereal for breakfast, and watched prodigious amounts of Nick Jr., and I worked a lot.

Everett was taking ballet classes, and while he was in ballet I would walk my pregnant belly to the Bakery Bar for cupcakes, coffee and a few minutes of knitting. In January, the baby was born, and his name was Noah, and I had decided that any nephew of mine, far distant from his every aunt and uncle, must have something lovely and handknit and cabley. And so, eating cupcakes to burgeon my belly, I designed this hat. One day while I was knitting, I took a photo, and it ended up on the cover of my friend Larissa's book, Knitalong. I was thrilled to find my photo on the !cover of a book! but this brought up a small problem: I hadn't written down the pattern I'd improvised, and the hat was several states away on a sweet little boy's head. When a detailed, richly-colored process-knitting photograph is on the front of a book, and the pattern for the hat is not inside, it deceives.

knitalong with starbucks coffee
I felt not a small amount of responsibility to the book-buying public. But I did not have time to knit a new hat. And then, one day, it snowed. And I was thankful.

So at long last I knit a new hat, photos of my process at hand, and wrote it down. The new hat is for my niece Angelica, who is sweetly cold-eared here in Portland in the middle of a snowstorm while I knit. I am offering the pattern free until I finish two more sizes; this one will fit a small-to-middlin' baby, three to nine months old, depending on how warm his ears should be. It's made of the tiniest bit of yarn; I encourage you to find leftovers in your stash and not buy new. The pattern will work in any weight of sock yarn (I've made it in both lightweight and worsted weight) and the contrast yarn could be anything worsted-weight. For Noah's hat, I used (appropriately enough) the leftover yarn after I finished knitting Socks 101.

a hat for angelica
You may download a pdf of the pattern here for free, temporarily. (ravelry link to bookish) Consider it my Christmas gift to you, as a marker of the quietly handmade Christmas for which I strive. Here we are (I am) knitting hats, mittens and little soft balls, baking a very large quantity of cookies, drinking hot cocoa with maple syrup, and generally doing with the barest minimum of shopping. It is the greatest gift I've ever given myself: a quiet, snowy, handmade Christmas. In the mornings after breakfast, I sit in my rocking chair in front of the window and watch the quiet pass by as I finger these yarns, I wish I could keep this time forever, just as Noah's hat is forever unfinished, the cupcake uneaten, on the cover of Knitalong. If only.

paying the bills

read my previous post . bundle . unbundle . december 16 . 2008