It’s a Wonderful Life with My Santa Hat

SantaHatWhat do you think of when you hear the term, “Christmas classics”? I guess for me I pull up my list of family traditions,  a movie or a song that reminds me of that special time of year.  It’s a Wonderful Life was a classic we watched as a kid and I love that my children follow the fun tradition of going out Christmas caroling.  They added the twist of collecting canned goods for the local food bank. Either way, some of us have some pretty interesting Christmas stories to share. Christmas on a Nebraska farm tends to be a snowy time. We will spend hours checking on the cows and calves. Shoveling paths to the barn or driveway and dreading going out in the constant wind. A snow storm at Christmas is almost a staple.

I avoid the trouble with hanging lights on my house.  One, I live where only my neighbors drive past and two, no one wants to be up on a ladder in a snowstorm hanging silly lights.  It’s just not practical.  I was asked by a company to design a simple, straight-forward Santa hat.  (It seems most designers will add all sorts of odd elements that the average person just sort of doesn’t want to see when making a hat). I didn’t want 2 tails or an attached beard… I went for a classic… My design is a classic Santa Hat with just the right amount of fun to knit.

W583eI picked a classic type of yarn. Cascade Yarns® makes great superwash yarns.  I picked 2 classic colors of 220 Superwash®yarn. What I like about this yarn is that it is truly something I can toss in the washing machine and throw in the dryer without the worry it will become a felted mess. Just remember that superwash isn’t acrylic.  You will need to take care to use the cold setting on your washing machine and a low heat setting on your dryer.  Just remember that it’s still wool, just not regular wool.  Make sure you use the proper amount of water and the right kind of soap that is designed to be safe for wool.  Today’s current detergents often have ingredients unsafe for wool.  If the detergent eats or dissolves enzymes, this is an UNSAFE product to use with wool. Wool is a type of protein or enzyme and a detergent with this feature will essentially eat your yarn. So, find something safe.  Yarn shops often carry soap safe for your special knits.

I recommend checking for color fastness.  Because of the high contrast of colors which we all know is common for a Santa type of garment, I recommend checking for colorfastness by washing your test swatch. To do this, when you knit your gauge swatch knit using both colors. Knit 12 rows in red, and 12 rows in white and bind off. Place in a mesh bag and wash according to recommended washing instructions. In the event that your swatch bled, you can set the dye of the yarn by hand washing the skein in a vinegar bath and let it air dry (I’d wind the yarn out gently to avoid stretching on a swift). Regardless of colorfastness, I also recommend when washing the finished hat, to use a “color catcher” and a soap that is suited for wool. I definitely checked my swatch this way because I didn’t want a pink and red hat.  Though I am using superwash, it still could bleed and I would prefer to know that before I spend hours knitting a project.  SantaHat

I find that as I use this yarn, my gauge doesn’t match the ball band.  Keep in mind that no two knitters are ever the same.  I listed my gauge based on the knitting needle size I used.  Check your gauge not just because of the chance it might bleed but also to make sure your hat will fit the size I listed.  It takes a little bit of time and it’s worth the effort.

I created a folded brim knit into the hat.  What this does is add thickness in that area and additional elastic strength tho the brim.  Also, you will find it pretty simple to make a pom-pom or as some have done, attach a bought one.  Either way, it’s a fun addition to the classic.

Once the hat was complete, I went hunting for the perfect place to photo shoot my daughter in my version of the classic Santa hat.  This became quite an adventure. Who knew my neighbors would have so many questions like what is this for and where will this be displayed and please don’t put me in the photo… I think the hat is exactly what I meant it to be… A classic.

You can find the pattern and more information. By visiting my Ravelry link here: Santa Hat Pattern

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