Put a cap on itPosted: February 7, 2010
I can’t stop staring at people’s hats. Seriously. It’s completely subconscious . I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve come to after a brief daytime reverie – usually while sitting on the tube or a train – to find myself staring at a spot about four inches above a pair of curious and occasionally peeved eyes, staring right back at me. I promise you I’m not a hat fetishist, nor am I planning to liberate these hats from about their owners’ ears and run off into the distance. All I want to know is if they’re handmade.
One month in I’m still pretty new to knitting, so I’m not yet able to tell the difference between hand-knitting and machine. Plus I’ve spent the last month spurning the high street knitwear, preferring to gaze lustfully (and ambitiously) at yarn and patterns in specialist stores and online so I have no idea what’s in-store at the moment. There’s one hat that I’ve seen five or six times now in a variety of colours: a slouchy beret with a chunky star-like stitch for the first ten or twelve rows and then a stockinette stitch with a spiral pattern. I can only assume this is high street and, given the frequency, my money’s on Topshop or Primark. But I just don’t know.
Plus as a new knitter who’s relied primarily on books and the web thus far, I have no real understanding of how many knitters are out there. Stitch ‘n Bitch London regularly have 100-150 knitters at their weekly meetings in Central London. That’s a lot of people. I’ve yet to make it along to one of their meetings but it’s firmly on my list of to-dos in the coming weeks. Until then though, I’ve no idea what any of these other knitters look like, or what age group many fall into. Any one of them could be the girl who sits opposite me on the train, with the wide variety of excellent wooly hats (I’ve counted six so far and they all match different handbags, seriously). It would also explain why she regards my train knitting – still the scarf – with a faint glimpse of amusement in between pages of her Metro free-sheet newspaper; it’s not exactly advanced knitting and it’s far from perfect in places.
I don’t know. They could all be shop-bought. Perhaps she scours Accessorize with the same childish excitement that I get when I go through Café Knit or Texere. Maybe the shops of London are currently full to the brim with chunky knitwear that could rival even the most expert of knitters. Or maybe – just maybe – there’s more knitters out there than I think. Either way I really need to stop staring at random people’s heads. Sooner or later someone’s bound to take advantage of my knitting needles.