Winter is coming – though you couldn’t tell it from the heat index warnings that we’ve had here in Iowa today. Our high was almost 100 degrees today. MUCH too warm for late September.

Even so…fall is on its way and winter is right behind it. Making hats for the homeless and for the people of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is something I do year-round, though this year I’ve crocheted more baby blankets and made fewer hats. Last year all of my hats were crocheted the old-fashioned way, with a crochet hook and yarn. This year I’ve taken up loom knitting and have really enjoyed making hats on the loom. I find loom knitting very relaxing, easy to learn, and a nice lap-sized project for TV time.

One of the problems with crocheting bigger projects at my house is that the cats like to sit on my lap at TV time and crocheting a bigger project with multiple cats can be a bit of a challenge. It generally means crocheting a row, pausing to move the project and rearrange the cats, then crocheting another row, then pausing to move the project and then rearranging the cats again.

With the loom knitting, the cats don’t seem to be bothered by sharing space with the loom. Most of my cats are pretty good about not messing with the yarn and most of them even leave it alone when it comes right across them.

These hats were made on the next to the largest (orange) loom from the Boye set of looms. Though the orange loom is supposed to be the size that makes hats for “most” people, either I have a head bigger than “most” people or the loom is a bit small. These hats are smallish. I think they’d best fit young children – toddler through five or six years old probably. Given that, I will donate these hats and the others made with this loom to one of the Pine Ridge organizations that serve children. There are lots of organizations to choose from. The Sew For Kids Organization which I belong to distributes through The Sacred Shawl Domestic Violence Shelter, Theresa and Jerome High Horse who distribute to those in need in their local area, and the Marty School which has a Feather Store where children and their parents can purchase things they need using feathers the children earn from displaying the Dakota values – courage, generosity, wisdom, and bravery. When the children receive feathers their parents also receive a matching number of feathers which they can use to buy things needed for their families.

In past years the number of feathers required to buy varied by item. This year, everything in the feather store is ten feathers…which is kind of nice. Having blankets priced the same as hats or crayons allows people to acquire the things they need most–and in an area with high unemployment, high poverty, and few resources, this is important because there are MANY competing needs.

Having made quite a few of the smaller hats, I’ve now switched over to the bigger loom and am working on some bigger (adult-sized) hats. Hopefully, I’ll have a few of those ready to ship before Christmas.

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