Making Hats in the Cold

I’ve been making hats. 

It’s a pastime I began a couple of years ago and I picked it up again this winter. When you arrive at the confluence of time, isolation, terrible weather, and a supply of random leftover yarn, that’s what you do.

I’m not a great knitter or crocheter, but I can handle a beginner’s pattern like nobody’s business. I am making the most of the internet’s supply of free patterns for beanies, toques, and bobble hats (without the bobbles).

In my imagination, I’m making these hats for homeless people. I would prefer to be doing something personally, practically, helpful for them, but when it is  -20C or below for a couple of months, the urge to walk about the streets leaves in a hurry. So, I’m making hats.

To be honest, I’m doing this more for me than for them. I need something to do. I have been housebound for several weeks aside from one excursion to extended family for Christmas and one trip to the grocery store. Otherwise, this is it. I’m enjoying the warmth and comfort of my suite and occasional visits with my family upstairs, but I have been outside almost never.

I have taken out the trash, shovelled the drive once, plugged in my car’s block heater twice, but otherwise have not experienced the outer world for longer than about two minutes. It is bl**dy cold out there, folks, so I need something to do.

I have cleaned my suite a few times, done laundry, walked up and down my short hallway, looked out of my window, read too much news online, watched far too much television, and tried to sketch the faces of TV hosts, but otherwise have been almost entirely unproductive. Eventually, the need to be useful kicked in.

This effort began by finishing a blanket that I had started last year, but then I had leftover yarn and, well, I’m a boomer. We don’t waste anything. I wondered what I could do with a supply of about one ball each of three colours of yarn, and the answer (as per Google) was crocheted hats.

Then, when I was sorting out a storage drawer, I discovered a supply of similarly inadequate quantities of yarn. They were all of different weights and purposes, but I figured that with enough determination and flexibility I could make them work. So, that is what I did. I made hats.

They are of various sizes and colours, the stitches are not all “according to Hoyle,” but I think they might serve a useful purpose. I tried them all on and some of them fit me, some are too small, and some are too big. Without even trying, I think I covered the target market.

I have no idea whether homeless people want homemade hats or not, but I’m going to assume they do. If not, I really have nothing to do while I’m watching television. If they take them, they are doing me a favour, and I want them to know I appreciate it. Very much. These hats are keeping me sane.


  1. I do this too and I haven’t met a homeless person who didn’t like a nice soft hat or a pair of socks, mittens or a scarf or whatever it is. If you want to do a little extra, make a hat in fleece too and put it inside the hat. That way the wind won’t go wooosh through it and it’ll be a little warmer. Just a tip 🙂

    1. Go for it, Barb. It makes sitting all day feel productive.

      Afterthought: If you live near a thrift store, they often have a collection of miscellaneous balls of yarn. That’s where I got most of mine.

  2. I knit and crochet hats, and I think yours look delightful! I made a set of hats for my daughter and her family that look like Pokeballs (The ball used to catch Pokémon in all of the Pokémon games). She and her family loved them, but two of the four are too small, so I am making two more. People’s head sizes vary widely!! Who knew?

    1. I had to look up Pokeball hats and right away found a crochet pattern! I may have to buy yarn just for this.

      There is one member of my family who says hats are always too small, so yes I agree that head sizes vary a lot.

      1. Nice! If you have family members who like Pokémon, they will probably like this hat. They’re pretty cute as a hat style for a family too.
        I can not make too many hats for my husband (he’s like a kid in a candy shop in yarn stores!) but he needs an extra-large. I have found patterns on Ravelry that work for him.

  3. Our library at home has a clothesline strung along the bottom of a large bulletin board. Hats are clipped there for people in need to take. I am always in awe of those who make those hats. So, I applaud your efforts which have a two-fold effect.

      1. We have a local guy here who uses a knitting machine to produce tubes and tubes of material. Then sewers like me cut it and sew it into socks and toques. Yours are so much nicer! Bernie

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