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inspiration monday: festivus minus the frenzy

Here in the United States, turkeys everywhere are getting pretty nervous. Next week we sit down for our Thanksgiving (being a bit tardier than Our Cousins to the North on the gratitude front), and after that it’s just one big landslide down into The Holidays.

If you weren’t Little Miss/Mister Organized this year, here are some thoughts for what to put on your needles ASAP so you can give thoughtful, handmade gifts this year without losing your everluvvin’ MIND.

HATS!

Hats are a godsend to the gifting knitter: the sizing isn’t crazy-critical, it’s a fun way to use a bit of yarn to make a statement, and unlike sleeves and socks, they are a ONE-and-DONE gift. And let’s face it – no matter where you live, a hat can come in handy this time of year (even if only occasionally, for an hour – like for our friends in Florida and L.A.).

Hat patterns also span the spectrum of mindless (great for parties and gatherings of relatives) to entertainingly complex (for plane flights or distraction from those same relatives). Here are two of my ‘go-to’ patterns for myself and my knitworthy loved ones.

photo © Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

photo © Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

One of my favorite, most-used patterns is Churchmouse Yarns & Teas’ Boyfriend Watch Cap. It has a pleasing thick gauge which knits up quickly and provides reassuring warmth while being stylishly unisex. And even better, it’s your excuse to use pleasing, plump PLUSHY!

Since each skein offers a generous 330 yards, if you get two skeins, you’ll have enough to make three Boyfriend Watch Caps. Two different colorways could give you one solid cap in each color, plus a striped or colorblocked third. Go crazy!

I’ve always been mad in love with ‘Manly Yes, But I Like It Too‘ – those browns and greys are welcome in so many wardrobes.

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And maybe zing things up with a skein of ‘Scumble Bumble’…? The simple construction of the hat would let Tina’s colorways be the star of the show.

scumble_bumble_sk

If you’re looking for a hat that gives back to you as well (in the form of entertaining knitting with cool texture), look no further than L’Arbre by Cirilia Rose.

l'arbre

photo © Jared Flood

This was part of a 2015 Hatalong hosted over on Karen T’s wonderful Fringe Association blog. The pattern is from the fantastic and inspiring book Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads, but the Fringe blog kindly still hosts a link to try this pattern for free (which will only whet your appetite for the full book – you have been warned!).

I loved everything about this hat – the pattern was easy to follow, the texture interesting and motivating (and distracting!) to knit … and it’s one of my go-to hats to wear. You know how good it feels when you put a hat on and it just *fits*? This hat does it for me. (I’ve got a 21″, fairly standard-adult head; but if you were knitting this for someone with a bigger head, you could just add more depth to the hat.) The ‘Little Tree’ pattern is just 4 rounds tall, so it’s easy to add a repeat or two or three for additional depth.

Bonus: if you have a super-knitworthy person in mind, there are mitts to go with the hat!

I’m toying with the idea of knitting a second one for me, with mitts to go with. Perhaps I’ll put a skein of CAKE Worsted in my stocking – I’ll have to check with Tina to see if she thinks I’ve been naughty or nice this year.

This is one design where it’s worth sticking with Shaded Solids, to let the pattern play stand out. Oh, but the Raven Clan… they would be so beautiful here! Or the Spirits…! You may have to indulge in a few. You have folks to knit for, right? Perfect excuse.

Place your order for some Plushy or CAKE now, and you’ll get a lovely package in the mail from Blue Moon just in time to pop these on your needles, knit them up lickety-split, wrap ’em up and put them under the tree!