When my son, Simon, was five we bought a winter hat shaped like a shark at the Gap on a whim. It was made from gray camouflage fleece and it tied under his chin. The face opening was a red jaw lined with fierce teeth.
Just a few months prior I’d had a baby and Simon went from being the youngest to being a middle child. He loved his little sister, but he’d also loved being the baby himself. When the weather here in Boston started to turn cold he wore that shark hat every day. It was fierce and he looked fierce in it. The hat protected his head against the cold wind and snow and it protected him in other ways, too.
Ever since then Simon has loved to wear hats. He wears a fedora when we get dressed up for fancy occasions and he wears a baseball cap when the weather is sunny. And each winter he chooses a new animal hat to bundle up under. He’s had a tiger and a raccoon and a monster, among others. This year it was tricky to find a hat he wanted. He’s nine and a lot of the fleece animal hats in stores are for younger kids.
So, I offered to make him one (you saw that coming, right?). I bought Fleece Hat Friends: 25+ Easy-to-Sew Projects by Mary Rasch and let him pick what he wanted.
This book was published by Lark in 2012. It begins by showing you how to make a basic fleece hat with or without ear flaps and then gives you lots of different animal variations including a bat, a beaver, a bee, a butterfly, a cat, a dinosaur, a giraffe, a fish a hippo, and many more.
She picked the rooster.
After the photo shoot Simon ran around the house in the rooster hat singing, “I’m so awesome,” as 9-year-olds are prone to doing.
The instructions are clear and easy to follow. Fleece is inexpensive and easy to find in all different colors (I buy it at Jo-Ann’s or on Fabric.com). It’s also warm and totally washable.
I feel like there are two types of craft book on the market now. There are beautiful craft books that are like art objects in and of themselves with incredible photography and photo styling and totally customized design with end papers and fonts and colors that are just amazing. Abrams publishes books like these as does Lucky Spool.
And then there are the basic project books. These are more pedestrian. The layout was done by tweaking a template. The photography serves its purpose, but isn’t about to win any awards. My book with Annie’s falls into this category and when I was considering accepting that project a friend of mine in the publishing world advised me against it saying it could hurt my reputation if I authored one of these less high-end craft books. I don’t think that’s true.
I like both kinds of books, but when I really want to sew things for my kids a book like Fleece Hat Friends is really perfect. I don’t need fancy. I’m not looking for an art experience when I turn the pages. I just want patterns that work for things that they’ll wear. For $17.95 this book gives me more than 25 hat patterns that are cute and fun to make (the rooster took me about 90 minutes from start to finish including tracing the templates).
The baby, Josephine, is almost five now. When she saw the rooster hat this morning she shed a few tears. “How come you didn’t make my butterfly hat first?” And then she wanted her photo taken for the blog, too. I have a pile of pink and purple fleece on my desk and soon Josephine will have a fleece hat to protect her from the cold with a handmade hug from mommy. Being the baby isn’t easy either.
Fleece Hat Friends is available from Amazon or at your local bookstore.
This post is so sweet! Isn’t it nice (sort of) when your kids are clamoring for you to make them things?
Martha Rideout says
I recently purchased this book – it’s indeed awesome – because people have been asking me to make hats for them. I’ve been trying to find out how to contact the author, Mary Rasch. I’d like to be able to make and sell some of these great hats. Do you know if I could do that as long as I gave her credit for the design and pattern? I’m not quite sure how to go about this and thought you might be able to help since you’re so knowledgeable about a great variety of topics. I suspect that there are a great number of at home sewists who have these questions on a fairly regular basis.
By the way, I never ever miss a single one of your blogs — really enjoy reading them!
Hi Martha, I haven’t been able to locate Mary Rasch on the web either. Typically book publishers don’t allow people to sell what they make from their books, but it might be worth reaching out to someone at Lark to ask.
Sandra Hathaway says
I loved hearing about the book Fleece Hat Friends and about your daughters’s enthusiasm for hats. It’s always nice when you personalize your writing with stories about your own family.
As long as I’m writing, I have a question to ask, maybe someone else may also be wondering: Am I correct that your Blog and your Newsletter are in fact two different things? If they are, I would like to get both. The only way I seem to be getting to your Blog is by way of links from your Newsletter.
Because I do not want to miss anything that you send out, I may have inadvertently signed up for your email today when I am already a subscriber. (I think.) I am admittedly confused. What I was really trying to do was to sign up for your Blog which I thought I had done before also. Every Wednesday (or almost every Wednesday I get your Newletter. (There were a couple of Wednesdays recently that seem to have been skipped. I’m assuming that was because you have been so busy with the launch of your CIA which I have joined)
Your newsletter and blogs were just what I needed to find for so many reasons. I want to thank you for all that you have been doing to encourage and inform all of your subscribers. Your patterns are charming and your written materials are very timely, very interesting and very well put together.
I happened to find you, all because you wrote an article a bit more than a year ago about why you were NOT going to Quilt Market . At the time I discovered you, I had been thinking that Quilt Market might be a way of marketing my business.. I need to reach people who can sew so I thought that might be a good place to start.. Now with your articles about Quilt Market this year I am fairly sure that I made the right decision in not going because it is very expensive for a start-up (and apparently for many people long in business) to attend..
Thank you for your message. Yes, my blog and newsletter are two distinct pieces of material. I write new posts here on my blog two or three times each week. You can subscribe to my blog using an RSS reader such as Bloglovin’ or Feedly. That way you’ll never miss a post. I do excerpt most blog posts at the start of each newsletter, but not all of them.
My newsletter goes out every Wednesday. I’ve never missed a Wednesday so if you didn’t receive it a few times over the last few months it has likely gone into your junk folder. You can prevent that from happening by adding my email address to your contact list.
It’s okay if you accidentally subscribed to my email newsletter twice. Mailchimp, the software that allows me to send out the newsletter, won’t allow you to register more than once so it will automatically sort that out.
Thank you so much for your support.