UPDATE 2/13/15: Congratulations to winner Ruth! Ruth, check your email! ----------------------
Acorns are pretty unassuming little things. We kick them, we step on them, we watch squirrels thieve and pillage them... I did a lot of research on them before setting out to design an acorn-inspired hat and oddly enough, what I read was pretty interesting stuff.
The acorn, or oak nut, is the nut of the oaks and their close relatives (genera Quercus and Lithocarpus, in the family Fagaceae). It usually contains a single seed (rarely two seeds), enclosed in a tough, leathery shell, and borne in a cup-shaped cupule. Acorns vary from 1–6 cm long and 0.8–4 cm broad. Acorns take between about 6 and 24 months (depending on the species) to mature. It is known for its circular shape.
Acorns are attractive to animals because they are large and thus efficiently consumed or cached. Acorns are also rich in nutrients. Percentages vary from species to species, but all acorns contain large amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fats, as well as the minerals calcium, phosphorus and potassium, and the vitamin niacin. Total food energy in an acorn also varies by species, but all compare well with other wild foods and with other nuts.
My mom is famous for her quotes. Yes, she has some pretty good ones that came directly from her, but she has a talent for passing on particularly good ones she knows I'll like. My grandmother (who would have been 104 last Saturday and was a very talented crocheter) was a treasure trove of fantastic quotes, many of which pepper my conversations today. After going through a rough patch at a thankless job years ago, my mom sent me this gem... "Don't worry if your work is hard and your rewards are few. Remember the mighty oak was once a nut like you." I printed it out and taped it to my computer monitor. Whenever things get rough, that quote runs through my mind and I buck up and dig in. It's a mantra of sorts.
With that in mind, let me introduce you to the Acorned Hat, modeled after oak leaves and acorns. Knit in the fabulous Patapsco yarn from The Knitting Boutique ( 100% Falkland wool), it's made entirely of fleece from the Falkland Islands. Located off the southern tip of Argentina, this region is known for its cultivation of exceptionally fine wool. Falkland is a regional blend of fleeces rather than a breed of sheep. The environment in which the sheep are herded results in naturally white wools that need little chemical scouring or processing, resulting in a deliciously soft, crisp yarn. Falkland is a soft, durable, worsted weight yarn that has beautiful stitch definition.
This hat combines corrugated ribbing with Fair Isle work around the crown. Topped with a meaty multicolored pom-pom, this hat will be sure to keep you warm until spring comes and new acorns start popping out. I like the balanced color combination of a neutral and a bright, popping color. I love that it reminds me of my Grandma Myrt and my mom, mantras, being positive, and spring being right around the corner.
Let's give a copy of the pattern away, shall we? Leave an answer to this tricky trivia question in the comments section (open to readers worldwide) and you'll be entered to win:
What famous Spanish novel is this quote from, “They tell me there are big acorns in your village; send me a couple of dozen or so, and I shall value them greatly as coming from your hand...?"
A winner will be chosen at random on Thursday.