Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Holiday Knitting: Mitten Tree Hats

To fill some of the holes left by my long absence from blogging, here's a catch-up on some of my holiday knitting. At our church every year, pride of place at holiday time is occupied by the mitten tree. It's usually spear-headed by our youth group (known as YRUU, or Young Religious Unitarian Universalists) and it's no coincidence that at least two (of which I was one- now that Brendan is in the group, I've departed to give him some privacy) of the youth group adult leaders are needle-workers. Our youth room has bags & bags of yarn, needles, hooks & time for teaching needle arts as well as addressing religious matters. And really, tackling the issue of getting warm clothing to those who don't have it is a religious issue.

This year I decided to make hats for the mitten tree (of course :).  I decided to use some of the Scheepjes Voluma (mentioned in my neck warmer post) that I had a great deal of still laying around, but as it's a sport-weight-ish yarn, I needed to combine it with something to bring it to the worsted weight called-for in the hat pattern. I decided to use Lion Brand's free earflap hat as my jumping-off place, pattern-wise. I've made this hat many times (oooh, reminds me that I should post the wig/hats I made for Brendan's class play last year, when they did The Hobbit and he played, Elrond, a goblin, and Gollum, among others...) and have basically re-written it for various sizes & uses. Since the Voluma yarn is grey (soft & fuzzy, but definitely grey) I decided to use left-over sock yarn in bright colours to balance it out & make it appealing to kids. After all, who's going to wear a hat that isn't fun or interesting?

The combination of yarns made it a bit bulkier than the worsted weight called-for in the pattern, so I went up a hook size (I used a I/9/5.50mm) & made a variety of sizes to make sure they'd fit a variety of heads. Plus, to make them more than just warm hats, I decided to embellish them in fun ways. Hence the pony-tails, loopy fringes, and stripes.

I had a lot of fun making these hats, & making each one different kept it interesting.
I ended-up with 6 hats for the tree, which is hopefully 6 more kids with warm heads this winter. All the the mitten tree items were donated to a school in our community with which our church has a partnership to provide school supplies & tutoring. And let me tell you, that tree was covered by the time Christmas rolled around. The tree was barely visible for all the warm items covering it. It was a beautiful tree indeed :) 

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