Monday, July 21, 2008


Gifts are a funny thing. There are those things you give because you have an obligation to do so, whether it be due to an occasion (I got your name for the holiday gift exchange, enjoy the WalMart gift card, ya douche bag) or a relationship (you're my husband, it's Christmas, enjoy the underwear) and then there are the other gifts. The gifts you give because you care about someone and you think they will enjoy the gift (like a homemade music CD, given just because). Sometimes the two intersect, and you have a gift that you think your person will enjoy, but hey, it also works for an occasion. Kismet! Which ever way it happens, I generally find gift giving very stressful. If it is an obligatory gift, I worry that the person can tell that I really don't give a shit and am just buying something because I have to (Gah! Ending a sentence with a preposition! Bad!). If it is a random, thinking of you gift, I usually am so pleased with myself that I then worry that the person won't really like it and I am coming off as a weirdo-stalker-doesn't-respect-social-moraes-and-boundaries-a-la-Crazy*. If it is a gift for an occasion and I think the person will really like what I got, well, then I worry that the person won't like it and not only will my gift suck in general, it is the big loser gift for the occasion. No one wants to be the giver of the holiday dud. Yes, I am insane.

All signs point to no modeling career for Lady Bean. Can you say uncooperative?
And, refusing to smile? Oh, and manhandling the merchandise?

I am also blathering on, instead of getting to my point, which is: I knit a hat, a very specific baby hat, for my friend as a shower gift and then I had second thoughts about actually giving it as a gift. So why so anxious? Well, first, I am insane. We know this. Moving on. What if it sucks? Can you give a handknit gift to another knitter and not have it be perfect? (Apparently yes, if the giftee is very nice and kind.) I do have to say that part of my anxiety belongs at the feet of the Yarn Harlot. You see, I was catching up on my blog reading when I saw this post of hers. This post where someone knit what looks to be a modified version of the Bee Fields Shawl as a baby shower gift. Holy Fuck People! SOMEONE KNIT THE BEE FIELDS SHAWL AS A BABY SHOWER GIFT. This shawl, I love this shawl. But it is KICKING MY ASS. (I am stuck on row eleven in case anyone cares and wants to help! I don't have a marker to slip where the pattern says to slip ... um, hello?) Anyway, I can not imagine giving that shawl to someone as a gift (mostly because I am greedy and would never want to give it up if I ever got it done). Also, and somewhat unrelated, who do I have to befriend to get gifts like that? Anywho, talk about setting the bar HIGH. So I see that and then I think, if that is what you give as a shower gift, well then my little viking hat? Feh.

I put her where she can't move to get a decent picture and she's all indignant!

The hat confounded me because when I followed the *&@^%!# pattern, I ended up with a hat that fit my head. A head much larger than any baby could sport. To quote Boo, "HOLY CRAP! Birthing a baby with a melon that big would kill her!" I had to fidget with The Mathes. The Mathes who laugh uproariously because I need to use my fingers when I count/add/subtract/etc. I had to use my kid as a model/test dummy. My kid with the odd shaped head that requires physical therapy. I had to learn new techniques (though I must say, hellllllloooo i-cord, I love you). I had to be innovative and 'make it work' with a three-needle bind-off. I had to seam and I had to sew, which HA! Oh, and HA! Depsite all of my insanity, and my knitting hurdles, I am pleased with the hat and hope Jr. enjoys it.

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease in brown and beige. The grey area with the rivets were done in something from my stash that was a wool, acrylic, nylon blend. I have lost the tag in my travels though, so I can't give the name or the color.
Needles: Susan Bates Circs, size 3.75 mm (US 5), which I actually snapped in half and now are no longer cirs!?!
Pattern: Chile Con Yarne's Baby Viking Hat.
Modifications: Oh where, oh where to start? I cast on fifty-six (I think, it was some number divisible by eight) stitches instead of eighty. I knit the body of the hat for only and two and a half inches (as opposed to five inches) before starting to decrease. I decreased every row to make the hat more head shaped, based on my kid's lumpy head shape (which could prove to be problematic for a normal head-shaped baby but let's just ignore that). I knit the body of the hat double stranded to make it more stiff and able to hold up the horns. I used i-cord for the side strings on the flaps because my crochet chain was GAWDAWFUL. I didn't knit the "seven more rows of stockinette" for the horns because I was worried they would be to big and heavy to stand up if I made them that big (I knit three rows of stockinette instead). I also ended up picking up the stitches on the edge of the horns and using a three needle bind off because I could not seam them together without making a vomitous looking mess.
Time: 3 months.
Care: Hand wash, dry flat.

* Speaking of Crazy and gifts, I received yet another animal. A zebra. A black and white zebra. A black and white zebra just like the other black and white zebra we already have.


handknitbyafailedfeminist said...

OMG does she look like your DH!

The Woolgatherer said...

This being the mother-to-be of the recipent of said viking hat--I absoultely love it and it is an awesome gift! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Sorry it really kicked your butt! :)