The March Hat: Part I

If you've been following the Well-Traveled Hat series, you know that I aim to make use of my "found" travel time to make a crochet hat, then give it away.

This month's hat is particularly well-traveled.

About my trip out to the home office, I'll give the short version: I got the last seat on the last plane out of Raleigh and into Denver. The last seat was not a bad seat:

They serve coffee in real coffee cups in 1A. (This is a purely gratuitous shot. No crocheting was done on this part of the trip.)

If my week was a cocktail, it would be two hefty shots of work, with a dash of zzzz's, shaken not stirred.

So, toasted it was that I boarded the plane for my return home. I started my hat right after I got on the plane. I had to power down the iPhone, so by the time we got to 10K feet (the altitude for powering up), we were here:

(Yup, the nifty back-of-the-seat map is back — the little white thing in the middle of the screen is the plane heading east out of Denver.)

The crochet is heading north, working from brim to top.

This is the Hot Cross Slouch Beret by Jennifer Appleby from our free eBook, 6 Free Crochet Hat Patterns. The yarn is Manos Serena (60% baby alpaca, 40% pima cotton) in color 2621. This kettle-dyed yarn is as nice to look at as it is to work with. Super-soft with a good twist, it is happy on a G (4.25 mm) or even F (4.00 mm) hook. (It would be really great for a garment. You should add some of this to your stash).

As it happens, I packed a 7 (4.5 mm) hook in my project bag and all the rest of my hooks were in the belly of the airplane. So a 7 hook is what I used.

As you can see in the lower left of the picture there, I've put my 24K Hook Catcher (Fast & Fabulous pattern in the Winter Issue of Interweave Crochet) to work holding my hook so I don't have to chase it down the aisle.

When I set up shop, the fellow next to me looked over and said, "I really should learn to do that." Clearly, today wasn't the day to learn, because right after that he fell asleep.

I've tweaked the pattern just a touch:

Instead of starting with a chain, then working sc across, I've started with a foundation single crochet base. This takes the place of the chain and one row of single-crochet. It's stretchier than the chain base.

And I've also made another change:

Instead of working sc blo, I'm working sc, ch-1, then working subsequent rows by working sc in the ch-1 spaces. I have a fear of squished heads.

My headphones are, I fear, in the seat back of a seat on some other plane. Or maybe on my desk at home. At any rate, they are not with me. So the only music I hear is the occasional snuffle and snore. The only video worth watching is this:

which tells me that I have an hour and 45 minutes until we reach our destination.

I'm not really very far along:

I haven't really embraced the fact that I probably won't finish this hat on the plane. I keep moving forward.

I can't really explain the blurriness of this photo. Depression? Turbulence? Too much caffeine? Oh, now I remember! I had to rip out half a row because of haphazard increasing. So the blurriness results from a combination of the work cocktail, too much caffeine and slight depression.

I re-read the pattern and increase appropriately. The plane is continuing to move forward:

The first stitch of the lacy portion was a bit of a challenge, but the second was easier, and after that it was downright addictive.

But with only 39 minutes left in the flight …

I have just begun the sturdy row that balances the lacy rows (with another haphazard increase, another rip-out, reference slight depression above)

We are clearly near our destination:

And finally, finally, I have embraced the fact that the hat will not be done. It's not even close to done. It doesn't even look like a hat:

And, curiously, the crochet is a happier thing. Without the stress of having to finish it, the stitching moves more smoothly. I am enjoying it. I am thrilled, actually, that I was able to coax my brain into learning one more new thing at the end of this long week.

I finish up that second lacy row as we descend into ATL. Then we sit for a bit:

(see? The plane is angled south, although we are actually at the airport, taxiing, then waiting.) My seatmate, now awake, asks about the hat. I show him what I've done. Both my seatmates are impressed. They allow as how it doesn't look like a hat, but it also doesn't look like the ball of yarn I had sitting on the tray table when we started our journey. One kindly suggested that I call it a frame and be done (bless his heart). It's nice to have an appreciative audience.

Inside the airport, I set up shop at the gate during the layover:

(purple yarn, purple hat, purple pen, purple book, purple bag, purple iPhone. I might need an intervention.)

Then I board another plane and crochet more of that addictive lace stitch pattern. By the time the plane lands, I'm much farther along.

I think it's very pretty. But it's still not a hat.

Stop back by on Friday, and I'll tell you about the rest of the journey.



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