Maw Cobb's Hand-done Hat for Her Boy Jayne
Rosie, Diana, PlazaQueen, PandaCat

My Dear Boy,

It warms your old mother's heart to know you love that hat I sent you that last time I was able to send you post. I wish I could knit the hats for your friends with my own hands, but my fingers are overworked and the arthritis makes anything other than the cooking, the washing, the mending, the cleaning, the tending, the calving, and the gardening and digging just too painful. Still, it's not like I have the damp lung like your Uncle Maddy, have to count my blessings.

To make up for it, I splurged on some pictures and I'm talking the instructions into the recorder. I'm tickled that you want to learn to make the hat which I designed just for you. So I'm making one more, just to show you properly. This one is for you, so you'll have two! That's more hygienic.

With love,
Your Mother

Step #1:
The first step is called "castin' on" and it means you got to put the right number of loops on the needles so your hat is the right size. Remember that if a person had a biddy head or is a young 'un, you hafta use less loops. If the person has a major melon, you put on more. It's gen'rly better t' put in more loops than less. For some mysterious reason, loose hats are warmer, which I think is of interest to your friends, travel'n through the black like you do.

Step #1 ag'in:
It's important that you not let the loops go too tight. They get a mite twisty and the next thing you know, you aren't knitting a hat, you're knitting a math-geometry-trig problem. Ever done heard of a Mobius Strip? I didn't think so, but don't let it go twisty on you. If you do, then you have to unravel it all and start again. It's easy to unravel, just pull out the needles then pull the yarn thread by the loose end. Be sure to ball it up as you go.

Step #2:
Keep knittin' round and round till you're ready to change colors. You got to get them new-fangled circular needles so you don't have seams to rub up against your skull. That could lead to particular baldin' patches where they rub the skull, which are a mite unattractive, to my mind!

Step #3:
Don't this color look right pretty? Jezabella got it into her head that she's got a great fashion idea, and she dyed the sheep befor'n they were sheared! As you can see, they don't dye up proper after that, but I reckon it's a pretty color. You can use any color yarn, whatever you can get. But I like mixin' mine up, it's right festive!

Step #4:
Jest tie on the new color good and tight in a knot, like you used to do with your shoelaces till Clemmie taught you proper. Unlike the proper knot for a shoelace, this kind ain't supposed to open up, not ever.

Step #5:
So you keep knittin' round 'n round till the hat's big 'nough to cover your head, as tall as you like. You can knit taller if you fancy that and you got enough yarn for it. You can even add more colors if Jeza's been at your sheep afor'n shearin' time.

Step #6:
When you've knit the hat big enough, it's time to get it off the needles. Knit together two stitches by pulling one loop through the other, then pull the first stitch back over the second. Knit another stitch then pull the stitch on the right of'er the one on the left.

Step #7:
Keep doin' that till all the stitches are off the needle. Cut the yarn and pull it through the last loop to make sure you don't unravel all your work. This is called "castin' off" but you knew that. My boy is smart!

Step #8:
Here's your Little Sissy trying on the hat and acting up like you did. I swear boy, you were a right bad influence on the younger 'uns! But you can see the hat fits her too, the very one you're wearing on your noggin.

Step #9:
Now, this is important, so pay attention. This is the right way to make loops for the earflaps. There is definitely a wrong pay. This is kinda tricky, Son. Remember to pick up the loops so's when you start knittin' the chin piece it looks smooth like it was knit in one piece.

Step #10:
This here's the wrong way. Notice the loops stick out like your Paw's holy underjohns! That is not the mark of a carin' woman, no-how. (Oh, I know you'rn thinking about the cuffs on your hat, but I did that special for you.)

Step #11:
While you're keeping your ears warm, think about that chin of yours. Your chin is like your grandpappy's, and you know he gets psoriasis there. The travellin' medicine man says to keep the skin warm there and your skin will stay soft and pretty for the ladies. Want my boy to look his best in the big cities and core planets! So knit them down the right size, not too short. But if'n it's too long, it won't tie right.

Step #12:
Okay, now the pic with the needle is where I sewed the top of the hat closed. I turned the hat inside out, which means the side that shows is now on the inside. I used a tapestry needle, which is big enough for the yarn to pass through the eye. Use yarn the same color as that part of the hat! And tack together the center, but only at that center point, not all the way out, yet.

Step #13:
Then you need to pinch each half by pulling the edge corners to the center. This forms four pleats, so you have like a cross-shaped seam.

Step #14:
You have to whip-stitch each section closed. Remember this ain't quite like sewing, you need to go through the holes in the knittin', not go through the threads, kinda like needlypoint. Tie the knots twice, good 'n tight, so they don't come undone.

Step #15:
I could say it's for our Good Lord, being that with your line of work, you need every prayer comin' your way! That's the way the hat is made, but it couldn't hurt that it's shaped like a cross, ain't it?

Step #16:
Young Missy couldn't resist trying on your hat, you know how she worships the air your breathe! Her head's a mite smaller than your'n, but you know she's a bright little whip. She did good in school, thinkin' about bein' a companion someday, like the one that travels on your boat! Think you can get in a good word for her?

Step #17:
Now here's a part you were always good at, but I'm including these so you can remember it all. You don't need to put a pompom on the top of your crown, but I think it's right cunning, a powerful finishing touch! And like the other Cobb men, you're right tall, and this will add more stateliness to you, doncha think?

Step #18:
You can make only one if you like, but make two rings. Maybe a lady friend of yours can be persuaded to help? You always had a nice way with the ladies. So cut a circle or'n two from some good stiff board. Then cut out another circle in the middle, making sure it's even all the way around. I don't want my boy to be wearin' a lopsided pompom!

Step #19:
Now do like that dance when you weave in and out of the maypole. You remember? So dance the yarn through the hole, loop it round and round. I think more'n one color is best, use the colors you used in the hat already.

Step #20:
The way I learned how to make pompons, you wrap the yarn around those cardboard donuts and you do need two, come to think of it. When the middle is completely filled in with yarn you cut around the outside edge of the donuts through the yarn then take another length or two of yarn and pull it tight and tie between the cardboard donuts then pull the donuts out and fluff. It's easier'n it sounds.

Be sure you used enough yarn so you have enough to sew onto the middle of that cross on top of the hat.

Step #21:
You know, your noggin's bigger than most ... but I think it looks cunning on everyone!

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