Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Walking, Chewing Gum, and the Need for Lace

I am frequently walking and chewing gum--yes, at the same time--outdoors. Being outdoors here means that I am usually walking (and chewing gum) in either a breeze or the wind. My hair is fine and does not stay up, back, or any other direction besides that in which it wishes to go, no matter how many clips, barrettes, scrunchies, or tiny elastics I stick it in. This means that when I am walking and chewing gum I am also pulling strands of hair out of my mouth and trying to get it out of the gum. This is annoying, so I avoid it by wearing hats.

 I became obsessive passionate about hats over 5 years ago now when a friend sent me a wee hat ornament for Christmas. She'd crocheted it. For some reason, that little hat sparked something and, while I had made a few hats before that, and wore those few, after the wee hat there was a time when making different kinds of hats using different kinds of string was pretty much the whole of my yarny life. I started wearing hats all the time. Bill started requesting hats--he is such a wonderful enabler. Eventually I went back to making other things along with the hats, but I still love my hats, never go for very long without making a new one, and wear one almost every day. We both have big piles of hats, and you could be forgiven for thinking that we actually have quite enough hats--more than enough, even. But what I have learned living here is that one can never have too many hats! Besides the fact that the wind is almost always blowing, people here like to talk about the fact that we can have all four seasons in one day in Ireland and after 2 1/2 years, I can say that this is correct. Sometimes I walk around with my wool/mohair mittens, a heavy cowl, a hat that is good for the cold and rain, and a hat that is good for less chilly weather all at the same time. We set out never knowing what it will be like out in 10 minutes or 3 miles. So the wardrobe of different hats comes in handy.

Then there is summer, which sometimes dumps days like yesterday and today on us--sunny and blue, too warm, and windy. So there I was--walking, chewing gum, and pulling the loose strands of hair out of my mouth. It was too hot to wear any of the hats I had, even the lightweight ones. Clearly my hat collection was incomplete. Best to remedy that as quickly as possible.

I needed something that was tight enough at the brim to stay on my head, but not so tight that it was uncomfortable. It should be loose elsewhere, lightweight, and very open and lacy to encourage air circulation while at the same time keeping my hair out of my mouth. It should be made from crochet cotton rather than yarn. I decided to use the ball of thread (size 10) that caught my eye as I was walking by a shop window in Sligo a couple of months ago. Because it is variegated--a dark greeny-grey colour, a sort of yellowish cream, a light yellowy green, and a pale periwinkle--I did not want a busy design because it would not show up anyway. I picked up a couple of lace books and started looking at the charts, focusing mostly on the centres. I picked one that would work with a bit of tweaking, got out a size D crochet hook (I wanted it to drape well and not be tight, and I am a tight crocheter) and began. I changed a few things as I went and when I got to the place where I no longer wanted it to grow out, I started working even.

I just kept sticking it on my head to see how long it would be and when it was about where I wanted it, it was time to improv a few decrease rounds. I ended up doing three. I had a round of slip stitch at the end, but that made it too tight, so I ripped it out.

Then I rummaged around in my button tin and chose the button I liked best for this project, sewed it on with the long starting tail I'd left when I began, and wove in my ends.

I am very pleased with this. I have more thread and the lace books are right beside me, but I might not make another one quite yet. I have my fingers crossed that this will be the last of the summerlike days we see this year. They say big rain is on tap for tomorrow and then again Friday and Saturday. By the weekend it should be cooler too, so I will not need my new lace hat for a while anyway. It's here when I need it though!

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