I have this rule when it comes to making things for people. I don't mind making something odd, ridiculous or otherwise out-there, as long as you promise to actually wear it. I don't want to take the time to make something, especially a specially requested item, and then have it just sit collecting dust somewhere. One of the weirdest things I remember making was a scarf made entirely out of large pom-poms, but as long as it's getting use, I'm happy.
That being said, I have come across a few things in my looking at knitted goods or traversing around knitting blogs/websites that have peaked my interest, but seemed impractical to actually make. As amusing and fun as I'm sure it would be to knit a wig, or a pair of musk ox slippers or a...uh...womb...who do I know that would actually use/wear these things often enough to be worth it? The "Jackyll & Hide" pattern was one of those things that I saw and wanted to make, but didn't think I ever would.
Meet my friend Sarah (on the right). She was my coworker and one of my absolute favorite people to hang out with while I was living in Shanghai. We went out drinking at our favorite skanky dive bar (Windows). We took turns cooking for each other. We watched movies and drank tea/hot chocolate late into the night. One of the things I missed most when I moved back to the USA was no longer having Sarah living right down the hall from me. Luckily, she was able to visit for two weeks earlier this year and we continue to stay in touch. I've been told that I'm invited to her wedding, which on top of being awesome in and of itself, would be a great excuse to actually go to England for the first time ever.
I forget how it actually came up, but somehow we were looking at the knitting website Knitty together and the Jackyll and Hide pattern came up. I mentioned how I thought it was a fantastic idea, but I would never wear it and didn't know if anyone would if I made it. She enthusiastically responded that if I made it...she would wear it.
Together we picked out some yarn. Since it was going to end up being right on her face, I wanted to make sure she liked whatever yarn I ended up using. This is one of very few times when I used a pattern and as an even rarer occurrence I actually followed the pattern. Learning from past mistakes I did a gauge swatch and took some measuresments before I even cast on the first stitch. Usually with a hat you only need one measurement...head circumference. You can take a second measurement for length if you want. For this project there were a lot of things I needed; circumference being the most straightforward.
I measured the distance between the crown of her head and her eyes. The distance from her eyes to her chin. The length of her neck. The size of her eyes. The distance between her eyes. This was definitely another example of how sometimes its best to have the recipient of your gift in the know so they can try it on as you go.
Sewing on the spooky mouth was my favorite part of the whole project. What do you think of the finished project? Its been a while since I made this, but I remember it being surprisingly heavy and warm. You'd probably have to wait for a bonechillingly cold day to actually need or want to wear it. I also seem to remember it being a little tight when she wore it as a skimask. I hope it has either stretched out in time, or that I was just being nitpicky or that I am remembering incorrectly. Either way, Sarah rocks the hat in both looks. Thank you so much for taking these pictures and sending them to me!
I really like making things for people. One of the main reasons is that I hope that whenever someone uses/wears/sees something I made for them it makes them think of me and know that I care about them. It becomes even more important when its a friend I don't get to see as often as I would like, such as Sarah. Miss you, Shanghai Sister.