I had the pleasure of meeting two soon-to-be first-time moms in my birthing class who came to be good family friends and our go-to local play-dates. It’s really quite interesting that all three of us ended up having girls and they were all born within 1 week of each other. Since our daughters have been born, we have made a point of meeting up at least once a month to catch up. I have dubbed our three girls the “3 musketeers”. This upcoming week is a real milestone for all of us because our girls will all be turning 1 year old! Time to celebrate!!!!
I still remember the three of us as moms frantically e-mailing or texting each other, asking if certain baby behaviors were normal (weird sounds – babies make lots of weird grunting sounds, random sleep patterns, endless spit-ups, you get the picture). To mark their first birthday, I wanted to give each girl something that really spoke to me about them as an individual. Each girl is so unique and wonderful in her own way and I wanted to be able to speak to their emerging personalities.
This week-end, my daughter attended her first birthday party in celebration of the eldest of the “musketeers”. I remembered on a number of our play-dates how she had a toy owl her parents would bring with them and I thought this would be a great idea for a hat for her! Armed with this, I started looking on Etsy and other sites to see what others had made. Wow. There is A LOT out there. I started dissecting the various different “looks” and planning my mode of attack.
Now, I have very particular ideas of what makes a hat successful, based on a number of my daughter’s hat successes and fails. Living in New York, winters can be brutal (although you wouldn’t know it from this past winter). My daughter survived on a very simple fleece skullcap all winter and I recall looking enviously at babies who had earflap hats. They didn’t even have to be that cute, they were just functional! I was always fretting that my daughter’s ears were too cold, especially since when the baby sits in the stroller in a bunting, the friction between the hat and the bunting as the baby moves her head will tend to cause the hat to ride up and cover the baby’s eyes but leave the ears exposed or pop off the head. So, I decided. Earflaps and a tie under the chin to hold it in place.
If you recall from my previous post, I had lamented the fact that the Martha Stewart Extra Soft Wool Blend had such limited colors. I decided to try the Vanna’s Choice Baby, which is acrylic, instead of wool, and also machine washable and dryer friendly. It’s interesting because while these two lines are listed as the same gauge (4) and both recommended a 6 mm hook, I found that Martha’s yarn was finer, which means that the hat with Martha’s yarn would have looser stitching and would stretch more. This also means you shouldn’t use the two together if you want your project to look correct. In my opinion, Martha’s line felt silkier and softer. However, Vanna’s had much more selection of color, and you could cross over to her other lines without having to worry about matching gauges of yarn. This won me out this time.
That being said, I started working on a multi-colored earflap owl hat with ties. I modeled this for a toddler’s head since the birthday girl won’t be needing this until next winter, so I hope it fits. Also, I did use my daughter as a size model and she does tend to have a longer head, so I hope that it will fit its owner correctly! I had some fun with the owl’s expression. The birthday girl is pretty sassy and has a lot of spunk. I thought that the expression on the hat should match that of its owner, so I decided to make it wink, bringing to mind her mischievous character.
I did learn a lot from making this hat and I can’t wait to try out other color combinations and other expressions. I ended up making the horns and eyes at least 3 times before I was satisfied with their size and proportions. All in all, I’m very happy with the result and hope the new owner is as excited as I am! Happy birthday girl!