This fall, Sean and I have had the joy of hosting our oldest niece, Iona, in our home. Iona is from Strasbourg, France, where she has lived all of her thirteen years. This semester, Iona is living here as an exchange student, attending an American middle school and having all kinds of American middle school fun. We have loved having her here and are already sad to think about her leaving just before Christmas.
When you are used to having two little boys, it's a big change to suddenly have a teenaged girl in the house. Someone to watch Glee with me! Someone who loves going grocery shopping with me! Someone who wants to find broadway soundtracks at the library with me! Imagine my delight when, a few weeks ago, she mentioned to me, "Auntie Hopie, I need a winter hat. Do you think you could make me one?"
This is by no means the first thing I've knit for Iona. I've got eight nieces and nephews in my family and three more nieces in Sean's, so over the years I've made all kinds of hats/scarves/mittens/sweaters/booties/etc. for the lot of them. I've even got little customized labels that say "Hand Knit by Auntie Hopie." The first piece I remember knitting for Iona was a yellow and red sweater vest with her name across the front that I made while living in Mongolia; she was three at the time:
|Iona and Me, Christmas 2001|
As far as I can recall, this is the first project I've knit where the recipient was privy to the pending gift. I let her pick the yarn from the stash, and she checked in on the progress frequently.
The pattern is The Rosa Hat from the amazing Amanda Blake Soule. As written the pattern calls for wool, but as Iona is sensitive to wool, I went with a super soft acrylic instead. Honestly, I'm not positive what it is as I didn't have the label with the ball of yarn, but it's fuzzy and pink and it is what she wanted. I absolutely loved this pattern and will make it many more times in the future. It's knit on small needles so it's very warm, and the miniature cabling pattern on the rim adds a lot of visual interest:
I finished the hat last night, and my pink-loving temporary daughter is ready to face the dark days of winter. She looks adorable, and I can rest knowing she will be warm on the walk to school. No one told me how hard it was to convince a teenager to dress appropriately for the weather!