The Amy Irving Was Not Wrong To Put Her Faith In Richard Dreyfuss Hat

The Amy Irving Was Not Wrong To Put Her Faith In Richard Dreyfuss Hat

Not every hat name rolls off the tongue. I knit most of this while watching The Competition, a movie made in 1980 about a piano competition, in which Amy Irving and Richard Dreyfuss play rivals who fall in love. There’s a lot of romantic tension about whether the male lead can handle being a boyfriend to such a talented fellow piano player <eye roll> and there is definitely one unfortunate scene where Irving’s character tries to placate the guy’s bruised ego by pleading that she really isn’t as talented as everyone thinks <eyes roll back farther, circle all the way around, come back>, but other than that it’s not a thoroughly awful way to spend two hours and three minutes.

I get this nostalgia sometimes when I’m flipping through movie options, I’ll turn one of them on just because I know that most of the scenes will be filled with artifacts from days of yore, like cars with pop-up locking mechanisms, rotary phones (or phone booths!), stacks of books, desktop computers the size of our Labrador, or totally unlikely situations like where person A is at home and won’t be able to reach person B all day because B is driving. In a car. Somewhere. And there are no phones in cars. Back then we just had to hope people eventually decided to come home. It was a tense time.

Greg is making some weird sandwich with his own homemade mayo. I thought this was peanut butter toast but clearly I wasn’t paying attention, he has the pickles out.

Lol, I just realized in this photo you can see A PILE OF WATNEY BISCUITS off to the side, on the left, on the counter, just tossed in front of the toaster. Hahahahahaha.

ANYWAY, this hat: Same ‘ole, same ‘ole! I’m still doing the same thing, and it’s getting to be more meditative and enjoyable each time. Friends are starting to take note of the rapid pace at which I seem to be pumping these out. One friend asked if I’d knit her a hat, and I thought sure, until I realized she had been on Ravelry and was thinking maybe I’d make one of those patterns. I had to explain that I’m currently in this phase where I have created my favorite basic hat pattern, cobbled together from bits of other patterns and Kate Atherley’s book Custom Fit Hats, and that I’m just doing that one thing right now.

What I didn’t say, but what I realized later when I asked myself why learning a new pattern felt like such a giant, impossible task, is that I think we’re all doing what we can to hold ourselves together, and I think this is my thing. And it must be done the way I do it, it’s like casting a spell. On myself, on the world. I’m trying to calm down. I need consistency right now. I need to something to rely on, something to steady myself against.

I was asking him a question and he has to read my lips because his hearing aids aren’t in, so he is looking at my face, away from the camera. I mean I know I’m biased but he’s one handsome kid. His microphone was live, so all his friends got to hear about how adorable I think my hat models are.

It’s meditation, for sure. I love everything about it. I love that I can just pick up two sticks (well granted these are circulars so it’s really “pick up four sticks connected by two lengths of plastic tubing,” but that’s way less poetic) and walk over to my yarn stash, grab anything worsted, and just sit down and cast on. Whether I’m parking in front of the computer, the tv, or just sitting on the floor with the doggos, my hands know what to do. Cast on 8, join in a round, use the increases Kate taught me (in her book, we aren’t actually friends, although I WISH), until I’ve got a few rounds, and then put in my favorite stitch markers, and start knitting away.

As the crown takes shape, a lovely spiral forms by the increases (you can do increases so this spiral doesn’t form but I mean why), and I get pretty mesmerized watching that take shape – I have to remember to stop and check the measurement, which I do by laying my hand over the top. When it gets to the top of my ring finger, stop increasing, and knit on until morning. Or the end of the movie, or the end of the playlist, or the podcast, or until the dogs tell you there is someone at the door, probably a murderer. It’s definitely not someone delivering a package. Murderer, for sure.

I tried to put this on Cal and he jerked his head back and looked at me like, “What do you take me for, ONE OF YOUR DOGS??” So I just set it down in front him, and he sniffed at it in his usual attitude, and then curled back up.

This time I added in a purl in between each increase, just to see what would happen. It added a pretty little divide to each spiral. And then I got partway down and knew I needed some different colors, so I added in some of the leftover yarn from the Aracorn hat, and then some old blue Malabrigo, and then some soft blue stuff I don’t remember the origin of.

And then at the end is just this warm, fuzzy little hat-beast you can wear on your head, it will keep you warm and toasty. Yes, I adore knit hats. I have ideas for about three dozen more, all of them based on this one simple pattern. The next hat is neon orange, for a friend who hikes on trails in parks that allow hunting. Hers is the first hat I’m making for someone else, and her head is much smaller than mine (hello, ALL your heads are smaller than mine), so I’m hoping I can break out of casting my hat spell long enough to remember to shorten the diameter of hers up a bit.

This hat definitely looks best on Greg, and he really likes it, so now it’s his.

The Aracorn Hat

The Aracorn Hat

The name is a portmanteau of Aragorn and corn, as this hat was finished mere minutes after we ended The Return of the King, and it looks like Flint corn (rainbow corn). The yarn is Malabrigo Mecha, in the colorway Archo Iris, and I love it to bits. It’s soft as heck, just butter through the hands, and it knits up in this gorgeous muted jewel-toned rainbow.

A couple nights before the new year, we were sitting at the dinner table mulling over our New Year’s Eve plans, and our son Miles said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we could time it just right, so that Sauron’s eye would be falling right at midnight?” We usually watch Lord of the Rings every year, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and after The Hobbit movies came out, we watched those too. This year we’d been a bit late and still had The Return of the King to get through before the clock struck midnight on December 31st. We loved Miles’s idea.

Greg scrolled through the movie and got the timing:

It worked perfectly! At midnight Sauron’s eye fell and exploded, and we all held up glasses of sparkling cherry juice and yelled, “FUCK 2020!!”

Earlier that day I had started a new hat, and then found myself knitting furiously all through the movie. I began to see that I could actually finish the hat if I knit fast enough and I loved the idea of having a souvenir of these last hours of the year. I had to stop for all the parts of the movie that I really love (and make me cry). Every scene with Eowyn of course. When Aragorn asks her what she fears, and she says, “A cage.” And of course her “I am no man,” moment! But oh, after that, battered and spent, when she crawls over to Theoden with the last of her strength, and he says, “I know your face,” and she says she’ll save him, and he says that she already has, and then makes that little speech about how he goes now to his fathers, in whose mighty company he will no longer feel ashamed. <weeps>

Oh here, you can watch it on YouTube if you want:

I also love the scene in the night before the great battle, when death seems certain. Pippin is afraid, and maybe for the first time understands that this is truly likely the end, and Gandalf looks at him with such gentleness, and describes what death is like. The rain-grey curtain of the world falling away, and then you see it: the white shores, and the far green country beyond. And Pippin says, “Well, that isn’t so bad.” My knitting slowed down a few times to soak these (and some other) moments in.


Bulky yarn that I chose to knit up on size 4 needles, because apparently my hands needed a workout (and got one, hoo boy). But the fabric is tight and warm and windproof, so that’s a fine trade (won’t try that with a sweater, though, ow ow ow).

Pattern was simple, just CO 8, join, K1 M1, then K2 M2 for the second row, and then knit, then place markers. Knit one row, then knit an increase round (spiral increases, I love that effect), keep going until the circle is almost as long as my hand, then straight on until Sam marries Rosie. I found some worsted weight green yarn from somewhere to make the little line of green at the brim, but next time I ought to make that section longer, as it rolls up and disappears. CO with Jenny’s stretchy cast-off.

And then make everyone wear it: