Monday, 9 September 2019

Secret Valentine Exchange Part VIII - Raffia hat

It's time for the September instalment in my year of the Secret Valentine Exchange.

In case you're not familiar with the original concept - two wonderful women organised a gift exchange between makers all around the globe. A short bio of who you are and what you like was submitted and a giftee would be assigned to you and someone else would receive your name and become your gifter. We made our small handmade things, whatever they may be, and posted them around the world in order for our giftee to receive it on Valentine's Day. A kind of insurance against feeling left out on that most crass, commercial day of celebrations.

With the illness of one of the organisers, the Secret Valentine Exchange is in hiatus this year and so I put out a call for ideas of things to make during my January vacation - when I'm usually crafting my gift to post at the start of February. The list was so long and there were so many fun ideas I decided to run with it all year. So here we are in September with the 8th instalment in my year of the S.V.E.


I'm particularly fond of this month's creation for the way it came to be.... The recipient @rou2an1_made politely put in a request for a straw hat like the one I'd made P way back when he was a gondolier for Italian Day.

I'm not going to pretend I wasn't flattered, but I quickly doused her flames by saying that had been far too much work, and I wanted to stick with using materials I already had.... In short, I told her she'd overstepped the mark :) But the idea stuck.

And then I was enjoying learning to crochet... And then Flipper came home with a ball of paper raffia that someone had given him to pass on to me.... This could just happen...


Except that I didn't have much of that paper raffia, and so as you can see it became a table mat instead.

I was really wanting to make this hat now, and in August I was off to the Gold Coast for a conference with nothing to do in the evenings. Perfect hat crocheting time. I put in an order with String Harvest for some of the Mondofil paper raffia: a large cone of speckled paper raffia in the cream colour and a smaller cone on the speckled brown, and had them delivered to the apartment I was staying in.


The hat came together over the week with a few late crafting nights and a few conference sessions where it came with me and prevented me from nodding off to sleep during the duller moments :)

The pattern is the Walk In The Park raffia sunhat from ABC knitting patterns (link here). I reduced from the suggested 3.5 hook to a 3 hook in order to get the tension about right. When I'd finished it was quite loose on me, and I consider myself someone on whom hats are usually tight...


I took a trip out to Torb & Reiner (who had assisted me so well with that ambitious straw boater project back in 2014) and purchased some Petersham ribbon and Hat Stiffener.

I sewed the Petersham ribbon such that it would be tight on me, then panicked and thought it was too small, so I ripped it out and made it a bit looser. It's still a tight fit for me but not too tiny. I hoped it would be right for my giftee. I knew nothing about her head size due to her tendency to never show her face on the interwebs and instead hide behind bunches of celery and other produce (#posingwithproduce)


Thankfully it turns out I got it just right!

I used my Hat Stiffener mixed 50:50 with Hat Thinner (very Alice in Wonderland) and painted the crown once and the brim twice to get a good amount of stiffness to the raffia. - and the table mat got a single coat too.


I delivered the hat today and we met for a lunch and had a lovely chat. She has already written a much better tribute to my hat than I could, so check out her Instagram post here.


I might need to make myself one of these hats since I never can find hats that fit me well, and in searching for this hat pattern I found a different super cute one I'd like to size down and make for A.


I'm sadly on a bit of a craft break as we pack up and move house to do some renovations. I have a bit of a blog back log though so while I'm not making I can hopefully catch up here. Or maybe I can leave one hook and a bit of string out of a box... ;)

2 comments:

  1. Lovely hat and an awesome gift.

    All the best for the move/renovations.

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  2. Yay, Team "One Size Fits All"-Hat-Does-Not-Fit! I tried on a hat in a shop once. It was too small - as always. The friend who was with me tried it on and it fell down round her eyes!

    As for your latest project, is there anything you can't do? It looks very professional. I like the dark contrast on the edge.

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