My dad always said, “Leaper, if your toes are cold, put your hat on.” And all of us have heard that we lose 50% of our body heat through our heads. This last was recently debunked, sort of, by the scientific community. Evidently the heat loss “myth” is based on murky science from the 1950s where study participants were dressed in arctic-worthy clothing, but hatless, and placed out in the freezing cold where it was discovered that the heat escaped through their heads. If they were dressed in Speedos, we are now told, the heat would have escaped at a relatively equal rate from their entire bodies. Thanks for that–I’ll be sure to remember it next time I’m rattling around my freezing cold house in my Speedo. As it is, I wear woolly socks, and slippers, and two sweaters, and sometimes even fingerless gloves in a happy effort to use as little heating energy as possible as I go about my daily household tasks. With no hat, my head is still the heat-escape route. So I do wear a hat, and I can tell you I feel much warmer with it on; my daughter and I both wear hats indoors all day in the colder months. We wear hats to bed at night, too. And we have “scientific” evidence that this helps–our heating bills show that when we wear hats indoors we feel comfortable keeping the house a full six degrees cooler during the day, and it is one of the things that allows us to turn the heat completely off at night. You know how people used to wear “nightcaps?” They were for night-time warmth before there was central heating. Why not bring the practice back?
For inspiration, I want to share my favorite knitted hat pattern. It’s everything a knitted hat should be: quick, easy, and super-cute. The pattern was created by Amanda Blake, and is shared on her Soule Mama blog. It can be whipped up in a day or two, or a very leisurely three, and makes a perfect winter gift for knit-worthy friends and loved ones.
If you know how to knit and purl, you can make this hat. Knitting is the most peaceful, grounding, and practical of pastimes, and if you don’t know how to knit, I hope you’ll consider learning this winter. There are lots of good books and online tutorials, but the best way to learn to knit is from a friend, or uncle, or sister, or mother, or neighbor. Most local knitting shops have circles where people gather to knit and share knowledge. You will never, ever feel like a nuisance–everyone LOVES to help a beginning knitter.
A note on Amanda’s pattern: It is knitted on short circular needles (double pointed work fine, too), in a multiple of six stitches. She has you start with 67 stitches, assuming you will lose one when you join the round. If, like me, you don’t lose a stitch when you join, then start with 66 stitches. Enjoy.