Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Warm for Winter Hat and Scarf Drive - with FREE hat pattern!

For the fourth year, Pacific Fabrics is collecting handmade hats and scarves for our local homeless population.  Thousands of men, women and children in Western Washington are facing another cold season without permanent shelter, and there are too many for even local shelters and services to accomodate.  The hats and scarves we make are tactile reminders that they are not alone, and that there are compassionate people who care for them. An unusually harsh winter is predicted for Western Washington, and the hats and scarves donated may even be life-savers as the winter approaches.

Warm for Winter, a local organization that works on homelessness awareness and advocacy, coordinates the distribution of the garments we collect, and they all go to people experiencing homelessness in the counties from which they are gathered. One of my best friends works in services for the homeless population, and I always remember her telling me about meeting two fellows sheltering themselves under I-5 one night, who had been given new hats and scarves from Warm for Winter - possibly from Pacific Fabrics customers. She recounted for me the pride in their voices as they told her that "someone knitted these - just for us!" 

If you would like to help, Pacific Fabrics will be collecting handmade hats and scarves for the month of October.  Knitted, crocheted, or sewn from fleece,  what is important is that they are warm, and that they are made with caring and compassion.

My wonderful friend Leah, who works at our Northgate store, wrote this simple hat pattern for the drive:

Warm for Winter Hat

This easy Beanie is simple and quick to make. Jazz it up with some stripes, and enjoy using up all your bits of worsted yarn!

Sizes 6 and 8 US 16” circular needles
US size 8 double pointed needles
Approximately 150 yard of worsted weight yarn - For example: Cascade 220 Superwash, Vanna's Choice

Cast on 93 sts on smaller needles. While being careful not to twist the stitches, knit the first and last cast on stitches together to join the round. Place marker to mark the beginning of the round. 92 sts.
K2, P2 for 1 inch, longer if a folded brim is desired.

Switch to larger needles and knit all stitches in round. Keep going till you have five inches in stockinette stitch.
After you have five inches in stockinette stitch, decrease two stitches in the next row – K2tog, K 44, K2tog, K44. 90 stitches remain. Now you will begin to knit the crown:

Leah’s Tip: For the crown, it is helpful to place markers where the decreases are going to be placed. The decreases happen right after the markers so you don't need to count.

R 1: K2tog, knit 8. Repeat till end of round - 81 sts
R 2 and every even round till Row 16: knit all stitches
R 3: K2tog, K7. Repeat till end of round - 72 sts
R 5: K2tog K6 Repeat till end of round - 63sts
R7: K2tog K5 Repeat till end of round - 54sts
R9: K2tog K4 Repeat till end of round - 45sts
R11: K2tog K3 Repeat till end of round - 36sts
R13: K2tog K2 Repeat till end of round - 27sts
R15: K2tog K1 Repeat till end of round - 18sts
R16: K2tog all the way around. - 9 sts.

Cut yarn and thread tail with yarn needle through live stitches to bind off. Weave in ends and keep Warm for Winter.


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