He Said She Said

I loved paper dolls as a kid. I liked the process of painstakingly cutting out the clothes, fiddling with the tiny accessories, the organizing of outfits and the occasional freak-outs when a hand or leg had been accidentally chopped off by my too-hasty scissoring skills.

My mom and her sister had been into paper dolls as well. Growing up with an artist mom with constant encouragement to “make it yourself” rather than go with the cookie cutter molds of store-bought art project kits, I started making my own dolls, designing my own outfits and getting down with the glitter and glue.

Then came the fun part, the actual playing.

On the rare occasion my dad would play paper dolls (or Barbie’s, or My Little Ponies) with me (he usually took us on outdoor adventures rather than playing inside), he was always relegated to the “boy toy.” Whether it was the lone Ken doll I had, the “male” Pony or one of my brother’s random Transformers or Matchbox cars that had gotten mixed up in my stuff, there was never a question of who my dad would get to “be.”

My dad brought this up when I had a son of my own last year and commented on just how weird and overly dramatic some of my storylines were. I notice this myself while hanging out at the playground every day or listening to kids amusing themselves in the doctor waiting rooms. Kids are weird. Very creative, hilarious and charismatic, but definitely weird.

We all started here. We all had crazy storylines running through our brains and had no qualms about playing them out without abandon. We joined into our friend’s fantasies and became a superhero, a rock star, a princess or a dinosaur without batting an eye. I wonder around what age we start to lose that? When do we become so self-conscious, pack up the paper dolls and Barbie’s and start worrying about what other people think? When does the glitter glue get replaced by glitter eye shadow, the crayons with lip gloss, the matchbox cars with mobile phones?

An ode to my fondness for paper dolls, making my dad always be the sole “boy toy” and my favorite color combination of cranberry and turquoise, I offer up another free pattern, the “He Said She Said” hat.

I adored this yarn, Lana D’Oro from Cascade Yarns. A fiber combination of 50% alpaca and 50% wool gives this yarn a lovely little halo and a softness to die for. I love alpaca and this yarn is strong, buttery, cozy and ideal for the encroaching chilly months. It makes me think of fires in huge stone fireplaces, sheep’s wool slippers, hot cocoa and candles in the windows (a wintertime New England thing, another memory from childhood I loved). Generous yardage assured I could get a couple of hats out of this fantastic worsted and I found myself petting it while it sat on my desk. Yes, it’s that yummy.

And you sometimes pet yarn too, admit it.

Knitting up nicely on US 7’s, this hat has a few of my favorite techniques – multiple icords, Fair Isle and corrugated ribbing. If you haven’t dipped your toes into any of those skills, this would be an ideal hat to give it a go. The yarn really showed off the stitches and gave the hat a perfect drape.

With almost 65 colors to choose from, you can come up with the perfect color combination. Make one for your childhood friend (I had one of mine model this hat, thanks Malley!) or for your sister or mom who sat there all those winter evenings, helping you cut out your paper dolls. Change the girls on the Fair Isle pattern to all guys and make one for your dad or brother. Remind him how much you appreciated his willingness to be stuck with the “boy toy” and playing along with the crazy storylines.

I can’t wait until my son is old enough and hands me the “girl toy,” allowing me to join him in his imagination. It’ll be a wild ride.

Free pattern available here.