Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Exciting news!

I have heard from E3 (E3, as in "Praying for Elizabeth" box above left), that she has heard from Kalamazoo. The box of hats in the quilting shop in Kalamazoo now has MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED HATS!! Wow! Is that capital-w WONDERFUL, or what?!

I think we may have reached the goal of 310 hats! I have more than 100 here in my house. I bet E1 and her friend, P, have more than 100 in western Massachusetts. Add at least another 100 in Kalamazoo and I think we have 310 hats!

So, friends, fans, and fellow hat makers: Finish the hat currently in progress and then wait a bit before starting the next one. I will keep you posted.

I would love to ensure that every person who has contributed hats gets a proper thank you note. If you, or someone you know, has added to the 310 Hats cause, please make sure I have your (or the other person's) full name and address. Email generic Thank Yous are nice. Blanket blog post Thank Yous are nice. But this effort and this huge accomplishment warrants a REAL thank you note. Please send me your name and address at my email address:

esther SPAM BLOCK1 at SPAM BLOCK2 sombrereptiles SPAM BLOCK3 dot SPAM BLOCK4 org

Remove the spaces and the spam blocks, change the 'at' to an '@', and the 'dot' to a '.'. (Sorry for the inconvenience. I get way too much spam as it is. I don't need to invite any more. I know you're all smart enough to figure out how to turn that gibberish into an email address.) Please put something in the subject line that will make the message JUMP OUT at me from among the bajillions of messages in my (woefully cluttered) inbox. A good subject line would be "for the thank you notes project for the 310 hats project". :-)

If you and your needles, hooks, sewing machine, etc., just can't get enough of hat-making and you think you can't stop, we can start HATS ANONYMOUS (HA!) or you can donate to Knit-a-Cap:

From the bottom of my heart,

- E2

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

another amazing group of hats, lovingly made by another stitcher

E3 and I have a mutual friend, D in California, who knits and crochets. (Hi, D!)

She has made a beautiful collection of hats for the 310 Hats project. They aren't here on the east coast yet but they will arrive soon.

She has sent me some photos to tempt me. If these were food photos I'd be drooling. Instead, I have this "longing hand" sensation. I TOTALLY want to hold these hats!

Please share my "longing hand" feeling by viewing the photos she has sent!

The first picture of 20 amazing hats (some of these will appear again, closer up)

Hats made in the Knit-a-cap style

Striped beanie

This one SHOUTS "SPRING!!!" (crochet)

Two-tone beanie

Interesting ribs that go all the way to the top! (That's challenging.)

Crochet & knit - sky blues

Another truly pretty blue hat with ribs all the way to the top

Rib Cap in pinks and blues

Top Down Beanie
(from Barbara Walker instructions)

Fun Stripes

"got diamonds and triangles?"

Like a field in spring's full bloom

Crocheted royal blue (GORGEOUS!)

CABLES! (I am physically allergic to knitting cables. Really. I don't have the brain power. Any one who knits cables is a Knitting Hero in my book.)

"Mistake stitch red cap" (Why do 'they' call this 'mistake stitch'? It's looks wonderful to me!)

More shapes in lovely royal blue

An interesting stitch in a dark happy blue (half way between royal blue and navy blue)

Pretty in Pink - crochet

Seed Stitch cuff cap in wool - Hot pink!

"Goosebumps hat" in Hot Pink!

Supple Ribs in color "Ocean"

Is this two faces of the same pretty blue hat? I don't know. (D, please tell!)

I joyfully anticipate their arrival. By then, I'm sure there will be more photos of lovely D-made hats to share with you all!

I am truly humbled by the outpouring of generosity from coast to coast! It brings tears to my eyes. Truly.

And to answer questions from the comments ---
Every time I try to total the hats, the number changes! :-) I need a calculator.

And no, E1 and I haven't figured out what happens when the total reaches 310!

- E2

Is it sick to love a hat?

I love this hat.

It's soft. It's warm. It's fuzzy. It's orange and yellow and so cheerful*. Plus, I actually (GASP!) paid full price for the skein of yarn.

Is it wrong if I knit a cap for the 310 Hats project and then love it so much that I cannot part with it?

Lamb's Pride Bulky, color Prairie Goldenrod (m240), from Knitting Addiction on the Outer Banks for North Carolina (Kill Devil Hills).

If I allow myself to put it in the giant bag of hats, it'll be my #57. If I put it in my dresser drawer (now that it's warm out), then I'm still at 56.

* The fact that such colors do NOTHING for me is irrelevant. So don't try to talk me out of loving this cheerful hat. The fact that it would go with absolutely NOTHING in my wardrobe -- summer or winter -- is also irrelevant. So don't try to talk me out of loving this cheerful hat.

Monday, March 22, 2010

photos of the Big Box from Kalamazoo

Remember the story of the Big Box from Kalamazoo?

I've been meaning to show photos of these fifteen fantastic, super-cute, super-warm hats for a while. Today I finally photographed them.

Here they are. Fifteen wonderful hats from Mrs. C.A. in Kalamazoo, sent in honor of Mrs. M.S. in Portage and E3 in Charlotte!

Hats 1-5

Hats 6-10

Hats 11-15

Thank you so much, Mrs. C.A.!
You are greatly blessing people more than you can imagine.


Dear Linda T.

Dear Linda,

Have I ever claimed that I can count? I am so sorry! Thank you SO VERY MUCH FOR THE THIRTY *EIGHT* HATS YOU MADE AND GAVE ME!

Aren't you glad that I haven't used my Physics degree to get a job in the Nuclear industry in any way??

Dear Reader - Please go see Linda's lovely hats!

1 - 10 from Linda T

11-20 from Linda T
21-24 from Linda T
25-33 from Linda T
34-38 from Linda T

Humbled when photographing and completely grateful,

Sunday, March 21, 2010

a (nearly) picture-free update

I have finished the prayer shawl for the F family to give to their friend. I made the prayer shawl in a pretty green yarn that Lion Brand no longer makes (sigh). It was Homespun in a color called Cyprus. I had three skeins and I used every last inch. I had it blessed at LaSalette Shrine on St. Patrick's Day, and gave it to the F family today.

I do have a photo of the prayer shawl I made, with Mrs. F wearing it. If I get it off my camera and onto the computer I can add the picture.

Meanwhile, my "I" hook became busy with a lapghan for a Wounded Warrior. How did that happen? Well, a few years ago I was blessed and privileged to attend a Prayer Shawl workshop with Victoria Cole-Galo and Janet Bristow, co-founders of the Prayer Shawl Ministry. The church that arranged that retreat workshop kept my email address. This past week I received a letter saying the church had an urgent need for some lapghans for the chaplain to bring to the VA. Gosh, if someone has bothered to keep my email address for YEARS and writes a heart-rending plea for help, how can I say 'no'? So, I picked up a pound of yarn and my "I" hook and started a waves afghan, about 38" wide. I'm at least half way to the suggested 50" dimension. I will finish that up for the church and drop it off as soon as I can.

I've started finished a hat (since hats are FAR more portable than afghans)! I'm doing a lavender Leader hat with that sand stitch/dotted Swiss stitch. (#56) (Acrylic) View of hat turned the other way.

E1 has done nearly 70 hats. Plus Saint Francis Knitters gave me some more hats this week. I have yet to take photos of the lovely hats that came from Michigan or the ones from Linda T, or even the last several from Saint Francis Knitters! ARGH! (Where DOES the time go????)

Also, K was telling her mother about the stress and miracles hat. Her mom is going to make some hats for the project, too! K, if you're reading this, here is the link to give your mom for the basic knit-a-cap cap. One skein of Wool-Ease doubled on 10 or 10 1/2 needles makes a very nice cozy warm hat.

[K logged in to the blog and found it quite amusing to find herself mentioned here. And so, I mention her again just to give her another chuckle. Good morning, K!]

Monday, March 15, 2010

... dancing as fast as I can! (updated with photo)

Wasn't that the name of a popular book a few years ago?

I'm WAY behind on photos and blogging. My knitting time has been consumed by working on a prayer shawl for a friend. (Additionally, my knitting has been slowed by a bout with tendinitis in my right arm. Heat, heat, more heat. It's on the mend, I think. I must have lifted something that was too heavy. That's usually the culprit. Couldn't possibly be TMK [Too Much Knitting]! No way. I won't even consider it.)

I finished my 55th hat. It's Lamb's Pride Bulky in aubergine. (I think I did a few too many rows at the top. It's a bit too 'peaky' for my taste. But that yarn doesn't un-knit ("tink") gracefully, so I let it be. I'm sure some child will find the the peak funny and relish that particular hat.)

Plus, there are some gorgeous hats coming from D in CA. She has sent me pictures and will send some text to go along with them. I am excited to share them with you.

As soon as I can. Promise.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Wow! I went to St. Francis Knitters today and they gave me more hats. I think maybe 10. Then I came home after picking a child at school and found THIRTY THREE LOVELY HATS FROM LINDA T! Linda, Thank You So Much!

Fifty-four and MORE!

Friends and fans, I'm getting woefully behind on my photographs and blogging! I have to show you some from of the hats that came from Michigan. I have to show you some hats that came from Saint Francis Knitters. I'm behind!

But I can show you "54 and more".

My hat 54 is Lamb's Pride Bulky in color Charcoal Heather. A simple knit-a-cap in super-warm yummy yarn. How'd I happen upon so much Lamb's Pride Bulky? My favorite shopping partner, my seven year old, can spot the word "SALE" at a mile. I swear. My shopping partner found a bin of Lamb's Pride Bulky under a table at 50% off. Single skeins of various colors. But one skein does a hat so I bought a BUNCH!

... and more!
More from Delightful Dale of Toastmasters! She brought me three more last night at our mutual meeting in Foxboro, MA. See them!

(I'm particularly fond of the "springy ring" hat! It reminds me of some very special mittens made of very special yarn. Elizabeth D (see "Praying For..." box above) and I own matching "springy ring mittens" and socks to match our mittens!)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

53 - The Never-Inside-Out hat

This hat has two personalities. One side is SAND STITCH. The other side is DOTTED SWISS STITCH. These stitch patterns are from a Barbara Walker book. The stitches happen to be opposites of each other, just as knit and purl are opposites of each other. Hence, while the hat is only one layer, it is never inside out. This is made of more yarn from North Carolina's Outer Banks' Knitting Addiction store. It is Brown Sheep Company's Lamb's Pride Bulky in the color "khaki", a plant green color.

Friday, March 5, 2010

slow progress and a big boost

I have made my 52nd hat, from yarn I bought at Knitting Addiction on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It's "misty blue" Lamb's Pride Bulky from Brown Sheep Company. It's a simple seed stitch cuff and stockinette top.

E1 is WAY ahead of me with more than 57 hats.
Her friend, P, has made at least 20.

I'm slow on the hats at the moment because I'm working on a prayer shawl for a friend of a friend who was recently diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer.

The Project has received a BIG BOOST! Ms. C. A. from Michigan has send a BIG BOX OF HATS in honor of Elizabeth D (of the "Praying for Elizabeth" box in the upper left) and her mother, Mrs. S. of Kalamazoo. (I will let you know how many hats and show some pictures when I get a chance.) Thank you SO MUCH to Ms. C. A. of Michigan!

Monday, March 1, 2010

the stress and miracles hat

Behold the Stress and Miracles hat: a simple cap with a tug-able top made of Lion's Alpine Wool in color Blueberry.
From 310 Hats

I (E2) and my family vacationed in North Carolina recently. The night before the ride home was to begin, I cast on the blueberry wool hat. It was yarn I had brought with me on the trip. It was high time I knitted yarn I actually BROUGHT rather than only knitting yarn I had to BUY while in North Carolina. :-)

We loaded the car and set off for the journey home. We planned to drive 1/2 way home on Saturday, and finish the trip on Sunday. School was to resume on Monday. Halfway between where we vacationed and home is somewhere around Philadelphia. Give or take. Geography is not my forté! If you are smart, you'll never leave me in charge of navigation, either.

I was driving as we approached the greater DC area. The GPS (bless its silicon heart) was giving me confusing and contradictory information. The screen said to take a particular turn and the voice said to take a DIFFERENT particular turn. If you can imagine Washington, D.C. on a Saturday afternoon with road repair going on, traffic jams, and those crazy confusing beltways that go in all directions at once, and me driving... Well, you've already got the shivers.

But that's just the beginning of the tale. Just the beginning my friends. You are reading a message I'm typing from my netbook at home, so you can surmise that we all made it home safely. Yes, we did. Not even a new dent on the car. But that doesn't mean it was stress free!

Picture this: I've chosen to listen to the GPS's voice commands rather than to take the turn the screen indicated I should take. Hubby is totally confused and futzing with the GPS. Traffic is bumper-to-bumper. The youngest is whining that it's time to stop and take a potty break. We're near, I'm told, Pennsylvania Avenue. We're right by an overpass or a bridge that wasn't.

By "an overpass or a bridge that wasn't" I mean the following. You know how construction crews will close off a road or a ramp, let the traffic adjust to new traffic patterns, and THEN take down the bridge or the ramp? By the time the bridge or the ramp is removed, no one should EVER consider getting onto the road, bridge, or ramp. Right? Well, we were right next to an overpass or a bridge that wasn't. It had already been dismantled. All that remained were the columns supporting a bit of roadway that lead to perdition. I'm serious. The road that ended in mid-air had to be at least 30 feet above the road we were on. We thought nothing of it. Hubby was playing with the GPS and I was concentrating on inching along in bumper-to-bumper traffic. The youngest continued to whine about needing to use a necessary room.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a car DROVE OFF THE BRIDGE THAT WASN'T. I'm SERIOUS! The car just drove right off the edge of that bridge or overpass that had been dismantled. KABOOM! Down it fell and landed on its roof! Can you say "FREAK OUT?!" The drivers of the cars in the right lane pulled into the breakdown lane to park, ran across our part of the highway, and immediately assisted the people in the car that had fallen from the sky. Other people got out cell phones and started phoning 9-1-1. I tried to phone 9-1-1, too, but my phone wouldn't connect. I don't know why. The people who had parked in the breakdown lane helped the people out of the car, and then returned to their own cars saying "They're all fine!" What a miracle!

I was a nervous wreck. I was totally freaked out by this accident. How in the world did it happen? How could it be that a car could even drive onto a bridge that isn't? Where were the jersey barriers to prevent such a catastrophe? And how does a driver not see that the road vanishes? We heard no screeching of brakes or any other indication that the driver might have realized the potential disaster before falling. Perhaps the driver was talking on a phone. May be. But even if that were the case, how did the driver get onto a ramp that wasn't?

I inched my way along the highway, seeing and hearing the emergency vehicles come to the scene of the accident. Found a restroom, of sorts. (Let's just say that the ladies' room we found was padlocked and so the youngest had to resort to the misdemeanor crime of going behind a building. She was not happy about that; nor was I, especially since we had to walk through goose-doo and seagull-doo, mud and snow in order to get behind the building that housed the padlocked ladies' room.)

Hubby said he'd drive and I was fine with that!

We continued to inch around DC as the sky darkened. We came upon another 'event'. This time it was a car that had pulled over and put up flares. A road construction truck that happened to have a flashing arrow had parked behind it in the breakdown lane and put on its big flashing arrow sign. The car had started to burn. Someone, perhaps the driver of the arrow truck, was directing traffic around the burning car so that there wouldn't be a logjam when the emergency vehicles arrived. We were inching along with the rest of the traffic as the car fire turned into a consuming car conflagration and the car EXPLODED IN FRONT OF OUR EYES! I'm serious. It was like rockets and fireworks in front of us. The heat was tremendous. We inched by with the rest of the traffic as the sirens wailed and emergency vehicles tried to reach the fire. My second child saw the report later on the evening news that said the passengers from the car were all safe, and that one of them had even managed to retrieve something important from the car before the conflagration and explosion.

Quite a trip, eh? But wait, there's more.
As if that weren't enough!

It was getting late. We were all tired, hungry, cranky. We knew we weren't going to reach the half-way point in any reasonable time so we decided to find a hotel relatively close to where we were. At this point we had only made it to the greater Baltimore area.

We found a hotel, checked in, brought our bags up. Got everyone comfy and washed and then headed out to a drug store for some necessities and a McDonald's for dinner. Ate at McDonald's after a huge difficulty of trying to order three "allergy meals" when the crew didn't speak the same language I spoke. Rounded up all the kids and the freebie toys and headed back to the hotel. We got back into the room and I went to put my car keys in my purse when I discovered ... to my horror!... that I didn't have my purse. I had left my purse in McDonald's! Hubby's face sunk. I was horrified and cried and started praying. I prayed for JUST ONE HONEST PERSON to find my purse and give it to the restaurant manager for safe keeping. I prayed and prayed and cried and prayed as hubby drove me back to McDonald's. Hubby was certain that we'd be spending the night trying to cancel credit cards, that I'd have to get a new license, and that my cash and medicine were gone. I was hoping and praying that wouldn't be the case but I was fearing that it might be.

He dropped me at the door of the McDonald's, and what did I see? My purse was still hanging on the chair where I'd sat! Just hanging there as if it belonged there. It hadn't been touched. The cash was there. The credit cards were there. The license was there. My medicine was there. MIRACLE. Hubby couldn't believe it. I was amazed and extremely grateful for the miracle. I just prayed "Thank you Thank You THANK YOU" all the way back to the hotel.

And then I took my medicine and headed to bed after taking Tylenol for the monster pounding headache in my skull.

Or so I thought.

The next morning I realized that my regular medicine was still in my suitcase. I had mixed up my migraine medicine with my regular medicine! They start with the same letters and the bottles are the same size! I hadn't read the label carefully enough to realize that I was taking migraine medicine instead of my regular medicine! I had taken Tylenol for my headache atop Tylenol-based migraine medicine! Oh my! When I discovered that error the next morning I was very grateful that I was alive and well and able to discover the error. I didn't follow the five RIGHTs of medicine dispensing! Right person, Right medicine, Right dose, Right time, Right method: I'd taken the wrong medicine, and therefore an extra large dose of Tylenol for the pounding headache. Ugh. I'm glad it wasn't a lethal dose of Tylenol.

What's all this to do with a hat? During the times that hubby was driving that day, and when it was quiet and peaceful in the hotel, I knit that blueberry hat. The tug-top used up the very last inches of that skein of Lion Alpine Wool. I can't even look at that hat without getting shaky, revisiting in my brain the horror of seeing the car on its roof after falling from the bridge that wasn't, seeing the car explode, leaving my purse in McDonald's, and discovering I'd taken the wrong medicine.

I live my life in the land of little miracles. Or big miracles. I'm so happy that the people got out of the car that fell OK. I'm so happy that people got out of the burning car OK. I'm so happy that I got my purse back OK. I'm so happy that I'm still typing after goofing up my medicines at the end of a long stressful day.


It's a Monday. That must mean...

It's Monday. Must mean there are seven new hats to show.


Coincidence does not imply causality!

Yes, it's Monday. Yes, I have seven new hats to show you. But it's merely a coincidence. I do NOT promise to have seven new hats to show on every Monday!

Hat 50 - simple wisteria hat with seed stitch cuff made of Paton's merino wool

"Diamonds and Wisteria" --- Is that the name of a sad country song about drinking too much and sleeping out of doors, or is it the name of a hat?

More wonderful hats by Dale of my Toastmasters club! She knit five very clever hats and brought them to the Toastmasters meeting on Saturday morning. Thank you, Dale, so much! Your blessing will have ripples beyond your ability to imagine. I'm sure! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!


Crochet Basic Roll-Brimmed Hat

From 310 Hats

Worsted weight yarn
I hook (5 mm)

  • Chain 2
  • 6 sc in 2nd chain from hook. Place marker in last stitch.
  • 2 sc in each sc (12). Move marker.
  • (1 sc in first stitch, 2 sc in next stitch), repeat around (18 sc). Move marker.
  • (2 sc in each of first 2 sts, 2 sc in next stitch), repeat around (24 sc). Move marker.
  • (3 sc in ea of first 3 sts, 2 sc in next stitch), repeat around (30 sc). Move marker.
  • Continue in this manner for 13 or 14 rounds (increasing the number of scs before the increase by 1 each round) until your radius is about 3", diameter about 6", and circumference about 18". (78 scs or 84 scs). This should make a nice flat disc, which is the hat top.
  • Work even without increasing. It will start making a bowl shape. Continue even until the depth is about 6". It needs to be long enough and and big enough around to cover a Kindergarten-age child's head and ears.
  • To create a rolled brim, increase the stitches by 50%: (1 sc, 2 sc in next stitch) repeat around.
  • Work a few rounds even.
  • Slip stitch around to give a nice tight, neat edge.
  • Cut yarn. Work in ends.
  • If the hat is too "airy", you can weave colored yarns through the stitch spaces. Colored yarns will be very decorative.