When my now-married friends met, she owned a hat that featured earflaps, a big pompom, and pompoms on the ends of the earflap ties. And according to my friend, that hat is the reason her husband fell in love with her. (We all know the reasons are much more varied than that, and include her intelligence, beauty, and kindness.) But she lost that hat within their first year, and he’s been wanting her to get another.
So when I told them over dinner that I was in a knitting slump, they didn’t offer sympathy, or try to find out if there was a deeper reason I wasn’t knitting. No, they said “Knit the earflap hat!” And I didn’t need to be asked twice. We looked at yarn online, and I’d ordered and received it within a week. I started knitting it last Tuesday.
I’d never designed an earflap hat before, and I debated all the ways to approach it. I thought earflaps that were knit beforehand and then joined to the brim would create a neat, continuous effect. I thought, let’s put a stitch pattern on the earflaps, continue it as a hat “brim,” and then switch to stockinette. Great idea, right? I knit on this happily away, and then I stopped and tried it on.
And realized what a horrible mistake this was. Don’t deny it. It’s hideous. It looks like a helmet, right? Like something from ancient Rome.
The truth is, I tend to look bad in hats, but this is atrocious. I can’t even believe I’m posting this picture on the Internet for all to see, but you need to recognize JUST how awful this hat was turning out. I couldn’t give this to my friend! I even showed these pictures to other friends, who were trying to convince me the hat was going to be fine, and then they’d stop mid-sentence at the sight of these photos and say, “Oh, wow. Yes, it’s bad.” Friday morning, I frogged the whole thing and tried to really learn from my mistake.
I ruminated. The biggest problem, to my mind, with hats, is that you need it to be thicker right at the brim. It’s why so many hats have a folded-up cuff. Without that, it hugs the shape of your head and is rarely flattering. So I tossed aside the idea of having earflaps continuous with the brim, and found a way to make a thicker brim using the same stitch pattern, which I liked.
I know this is more flattering light, but this is a more flattering hat in every possible way. I might venture to say it’s a perfect hat. I’m going to knit another version for me–and leave it just like this. But this hat is not done yet–still have to figure out the earflaps.
Can I just say that earflaps are tougher than you might think? At least, getting the perfect earflap is. I’ve got the second one on the needles–FO soon!
* “Learn from your mistakes” in Latin (you know, ancient Rome)