Every year around this time–just before Christmas, we knit hats on a special little round loom. These beanie hats are timeless and trendy, and kids adore them. There’s something irresistible about turning a piece of string into a hat! The little looms are really just a simplified variation on knitting, but the loom controls the process so kids don’t drop stitches so easily.
You just loop the yarn onto the loom (so the yarn crosses on the inside), twice, and bring the bottom loop over the top. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat and so on .
Even though the process is simple, kids often struggle with it. I like to do this project because it forces compliance, over and over, with delightful results.
Some kids figure out right away that I am supplying yarn, so they focus fiercely and make many hats. I allow them to keep them all! This rewards diligence and focus, and it gives the kids many gorgeous Christmas gifts to give. The beanies last forever, practically, and after many years, the kids love to see me and tell me they’re still wearing their hats.
Is this “real” art? Nah, probably not. However, I think the skills taught by the hatmaking are priceless in the artmaking process. We visited a local artist, Ben Steele, when the weather was still warm. Ben is a splendid artist and very funny, but he also has a workshop where he stretches canvas, makes frames, packs shipping boxes, and so on. All of these art-related skills take repetition, care, focus and tenacity.. . . . . Here is an image of one of Ben’s paintings, a visual pun linking Caravaggio’s “Doubting Thomas” and a pop work by Kinkade.
Well, at least these are some of my justifications for the hat project. Kids love making the hats and everyone fiercely grabs a loom and some yarn. Some of the kids have made such things before, but the majority of them have never done such handmade pieces before. You can make big hats, baby hats, scarves, and other interesting contrivances.
Want to try? Go to a craft store and look for the looms. They’re sold under such names as “Knifty Knitters.”