However, a week and one day before his birthday, The Tim said casually, "I hope you are thinking of knitting me a hat for my birthday, I could use another knit hat." Let's ignore the fact that he waited to mention this until his birthday was nearly here, and know that I was kind of excited to hear that, since I'd just seen a newly-released hat pattern I'd wanted to try. I wasn't really convinced that I'd have it ready for his birthday, but I could at least get started.
Another thing in my favor was that I had stash yarn I could use, so I was able to cast on right away. I got started, and was going along merrily, until my osteoarthritis flared up. Sigh. So I had to put things down for about three days. Meaning that it was even less likely to be ready for the intended day. But at this point, I wasn't going to worry about it, because it could always become a Christmas gift.
The most surprising thing is, on the weekend before the actual birthday date, I ended up getting quite a lot of it knitted - so much so that I was able to finish it the morning of the day in question!
Project: Welsh Gathers
Pattern: Gather, by Alexa Ludeman, at Tin Can Knits
Needles: Size US4, US6
Yarn: Garthenor Organic Pure Wool Organic Shetland DK (received in a swap)
Comments: This was fun to knit, as I had never done smocking stitch before, and enjoyed learning something new. I like the look of it, and this yarn really showed it off well. The yarn itself was really nice to work with, and made a lightweight but cozy hat.
I called this "Welsh Gathers" since the yarn was Welsh and the pattern is called "Gather." I made the Large size, but if I made this again, I would consider making it shorter than the pattern indicates, as it turned out to be a very long hat. The Tim was thrilled, and just turned up the brim/ribbing, so he was happy with some extra warmth on his ears. The pattern is very well written, and though the smocking doesn't go all the way around (as I thought it did),* the end result is really attactive.
So for something that had a questionable and shaky start, it all turned out in the end. I don't know which one of us was more surprised!
*I'm sure I could have figured out how to get it to work so that the smocking was all around, but had neither the time or the strong desire to do so ...