In my universe, there are essentially two ways to comfort someone who is going through a rough time: wool or baked goods. That's why when my coworker's father passed away earlier last week, my first inclination was to knit her something. Admittedly, I might have thought of baking cookies first, but she's gluten free and I've been out of rice flour since late 2010 I do believe.
When those around a knitter suffer sorrow, it is a common practice for said knitter (or knitters) to create a prayer shawl. This shawl could then be used to drape the exposed shoulders for the grieved or serve as a lap blanket as the depressed rest on the couch, just not ready to move yet. In addition, as the shawl becomes knit into existence, the knitter encloses a prayer of well-being into each stitch.
I'm not big into prayer for prayer's sake. I don't think of myself as a prayer. Though I do wish for things for myself and others (happiness, health, good fortune, strength, life), I never ask a deity to bestow these things and when I have at any point in the past, I have felt like a fraud doing it. For this reason, I'm not sure the prayer shawl is the way for me to go, now or in the future. However, there is one thing I do know about this particular co-worker. She is a fan of the hat in all its forms.
The solution seemed obvious. She needed a hat. I had a single skein of caron paints in the Oceana colorway and a near-memorized and decidedly familiar beanie pattern at my disposal, as well as the gift of time in the form of two lengthy car rides to and from a business trip on thursday afternoon and friday evening.
By friday night, I had finished the bind off, and the hat was finished.
I adapted the pattern to make the decreases look "prettier" than in the original. This worked, though it also created a slightly more squarish shape in the hat itself. This boxiness does not show up when the hat is on a head.
I completed a second hat too in the last week, but this second one you'll have to wait to see. It's a gift that I'll post as soon as it reaches its owner. In other Christmas knitting news, I may have a plan of attack for that Michigan stained glass afghan that adapts the Mason Dixon Knitting Moderne Log Cabin Blanket. I'll keep you posted.