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Dear Ann,

Who knew people had so many thoughts on fingerless mitts? I’ve had some good laughs of recognition going through the comments to your last letter. I find myself vehemently in both the pro- and anti-fingerless mitt camps, at the same time. But here’s the thing: my dog-walking jacket has a pair of fingerless mitts in the pocket. Mock all you want, but there really is no other way to manage the hardware on a leash and maintain a tolerable hand temp.

You know what everyone agrees about? Hats. Hats are good. Hats are necessary. Hats get lost all the time. Hats need to come in sizes for everybody, because everybody needs a hat sometimes, even (especially), people like me: the people who have terrible hat heads.

Hats generally look bad on me, so I avoid them except for maybe 10 days a year, when it is, to borrow a phrase, damn cold. And on those days, when I go to the Hat Shelf in the hall closet, invariably there is NO HAT FOR ME. Someone has run off with my emergency hat and left it in a dorm room or on a form of public transportation, and I end up wearing some godawful plastic fleece giveaway from a sportsball event or something, which would look bad even on someone with a fantastic hat head.

Therefore, approximately once a year,  I speed-knit myself a new hat. I look forward to it.

This year’s hat definitely is Thea Colman’s festive, bulky, speedy, pom-pommy wonder, the Slip-Stitch Cap from MDK Field Guide No. 8: Merry Making. This hat is about living your best life and generally being a jaunty person.


Photos by Sara Remington.

I mean, look at these people: they are having a blast wearing their Slip-Stitch Caps. They are enjoying the heck out of the squishy, hand-dyed yarn that is Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Chunky, with its oh-so-subtle shifts of rich color.

Photo by @beesinthepines.

And this darling girl, the model-slash-daughter of test knitter Patrice, enjoying a toasty ear embrace from her Slip-Stitch Cap. It’s always a good day when your mom knits you a new hat, even if it’s 90 degrees out.

Photo by Cristina B. Shiffman.

I’m not sure this method of pom pom making has been fully vetted, but MDK’s own social media czar and chief of special effects, Cristina Shiffman, is nothing if not inventive.

Mmmm. That yarn though.

When I get mine done, it’s not going on the community hat shelf.



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  • I swore off holiday gift knitting a few years ago, but I think my family needs a set of jaunty hats to wear.

  • I’ve just re-started chemotherapy — twelve treatments over the next six months. I’m borrowing an idea from a knitwear designer who might not want to be outed as a cancer patient, whom I met in the chemo room last time around. She was knitting a pair of socks for each treatment, but I can’t knit socks that fast, so I’m embarking on a project called Twelve Hats — one for each treatment. The first one is done, I have plans already for the second and third, and I’m SURE this is going to be one of the twelve! Thanks for the idea!

    • Ditto, wishing you a full recovery. And enjoy the hat knitting.

    • Such a great idea! I hope the chemo goes smoothly and you end up cancer-free and with a great hat wardrobe!

    • I am also very sorry to hear you are going through chemo. I had my second (of six) treatments a week ago. I can’t knit a pair of socks in a week either. I do think if I put down my never-ending cowl, I could have a basket full of hats ready for caregigivers by the holidays though.

      Take care and speedy recovery.

    • I’m very sorry that you’re going through this. My mother had cancer and I sat with her through her chemotherapy appointments. She lived in the desert and so knit, wool hats were not on the menu. Especially in the summer. I sewed several different hats for her out of fabric that would be cooler. She also found that after she lost her hair, her scalp was very sensitive. It might be a good idea to make a hat out of of fiber that would be kind to your newly exposed scalp just in case. I wish for you a complete, total, and speedy recovery. Please be kind to yourself. Hugs!

  • I, too, have a terrible hat head and now that I wear glasses all the time, it’s even worse. But, oh, those pom poms! Now that it’s dark when I walk the dogs in the evenings, I’ll just wear a hat anyway when it gets cold!

  • “When I get mine done, it’s not going on the community hat shelf.” That was definitely my first thought when I read about your disappearing hat woes. Might I suggest the back of your underwear drawer? I’m willing to hazard a guess that no one goes through there!

  • Kay, I’ve reached the age that I don’t care if I don’t look good in a hat. I’m going to wear them anyway! I’m knitting them for charity now but I’ve also knit my self one. Or two…….

    • I have always been at the age where I don’t care if I look good in a hat! Vermont winters can get cold, so hats are a necessity. I was wearing them long before they were the cool thing to do. Now I need a few of these in my favorite color combos!

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