It was October when we met Genie and Ed. We had recently moved back to Iowa City, Iowa, after 16 years in Minnesota. My husband, Rody and I were settling into our new life, our new neighborhood, and our new house. Our three children, two of them teenagers, were adjusting to their new schools.
Sometime after school had started in mid-august, our youngest daughter Lelia and her classmates were tested by the schoolís band director for the appropriate musical instrument. They had played their instruments for a mere 6 weeks and now they were having their first concert. Attending this concert could only be described as an expression of faith. And love. In the audience were parents and siblings and a few grandparents. Relatives.
The 6th graders had been playing a year. They came after the 5th graders. There was an intermission sandwiched in between the two groups to give the bands time to trade places. Thatís when Genie and Ed introduced themselves.
"We're your neighbors," Genie told us. "We live near the end of the block. Lelia invited us. And we try to never refuse an invitation to see a concert at Opstad." Opstad, the neighborhood high schoolís auditorium is a source of great civic pride. It had just been renovated and restored to its original grandeur.
I understood the civic pride part. But a fifth grade concert? Well, that was a gigantic demonstration of neighborliness that touched both my husband and me. And it marked the beginning of our friendship. Since then Genie and Ed have attended many more of our families' events: graduation and birthday parties, band concerts, and even a bat mitzvah. They've helped us in times of need and we have tried to do the same. They've taught us much about what it means to be a good neighbors. So when Ed called me last week in the middle of the coldest winter that this prairie town has experienced in years and asked if I might be able to knit him a hat that was warm and covered his ears, well, I was ready to get work and make him the best defense against arctic weather hat.
I knew the perfect pattern. Simple, fast and sure to keep Ed's ears snug and cozy even on the very coldest of days. Iíve had made many of these hats over the years. And in celebration of good friends and neighbors everywhere, Iíd like to share this pattern with you.
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick makes an unbeatable winter protection. And it comes in great colors. If you are making this for someone else, be sure to check out their coat color. It's always nice to make a hat that matches the recipient's winter apparel. When in doubt, knit a basic color like navy, brown, oatmeal green or black. You will need less than one skein, you'll have enough left over to use as a stripe in your hat.
Needles: size 13or whatever needles give you the gauge of approximately 2.25 stitches per inch. Get a set of double point needles. I prefer bamboo, aluminum in this size are a bit clunky.
Notions: A stitch marker will come in handy when you are decreasing at the top where you need to know when you are starting a new round.
Take a deep breath, and relax. Now cast on 40 stitches. Be careful here to make your cast on row loose and elastic. If it's too tight, the hat will be hard to put on. Divide the stitches among your double point needles, and join.
This very deep folded brim is what gives Edís Hat extra warmth. And the rib keeps it snug.
Round 1: Knit 2, Purl 2
You will continue the rib (knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches) for 5.5 inches
First, *knit 19, knit in front and then back of the next stitch to increase, repeat from * once to adjust to 42 stitches.
Now you will switch to stockinette stitch. Since you are knitting this hat in the round continue to knit until the hat measures 9 inches.
Remember the marker you placed at the beginning of the round? Here's where you need it. Itís easy when you are knitting the body of the hat to forget where a round begins and ends. Now you must pay attention.
Round 1 *Knit 5, k2 together,* 6 times
Round 2 Knit
Round 3 *Knit 4, Knit 2 together* 6 times
By now youíve probably figure out where we are going with this decrease. But there are knitting days when it really helps to have everything written out. Just in case youíre having one of those days, Iíll continue writing the instructions.
Round 4 Knit
Round 5 *Knit 3, Knit 2 together* 6 times
Round 6 Knit
Round 7 *Knit 2, knit 2 together* 6 times
Round 8 Knit
Round 9 *Knit 1, Knit 2 together* 6 times
Round 10 Knit
Round 11 Knit 2 together 6 times
Cut yarn, leaving approximately 15-20"; with yarn needles, draw yarn through remaining stitches and pull tight.
For a standard-format version of this pattern, click here.
For more stories by Michelle Edwards, click here.