If you’re Rhinebeck bound, we would love to see you at Jill Draper’s studio in Kingston on Saturday night. Details here.

Knitting-Free Handknit Holidays


Dear Ann,

[Is this thing on? I can’t find the cupholder. Where is the Jack White button?]

I love to knit. You know that. I know that. Most of the people reading this love to knit. But there is an aspect of knitting we don’t talk about much, which is The Specific Stuff We Don’t Like to Knit In Spite of Our Love of Knitting Generally. I think we don’t talk about it because we would quickly get into arguments about why a knitter wouldn’t love knitting the thing that is the favorite thing to knit of some other knitter. For example, I will confess only to the most broad-minded of sock knitters that I don’t have much enthusiasm for knitting socks.

And then there’s hats. Hats are cyclical with me. I knit a lot of them, or a lot of one of them, and then I don’t knit a single hat again for years. Not even a wee baby bonnet. They lose their flavor, like chewing gum on the bedpost overnight.

So what to do when your child, a knitter’s child, has no hat? My first step is to queue a bunch of hats on Ravelry, with all the will in the world to knit one. Perfect snack knitting, it will just take me an evening or two. But I find myself easily deterred by questions of fit and style, and which yarn, and then I pick up my other knitting and forget about it.  During this process, the child’s ears get cold, and her head grows.   I won’t BUY her a hat. She needs a handknit hat. She is a knitter’s child.

You see the problem.

I have found the solution to the problem.

The solution is Ricefield Collective. Read all about it. It’s a wonderful project, the kind of project knitters dream about. Well, some knitters are making it happen. But back to me and my hat issue? I bought a hat from Ricefield Collective.


It’s a great design. It was knitted beautifully, of wool that I’d knit with happily. The packaging is nice and includes a picture of the knitter who made it. It’s reasonably priced for the quality of the yarn and design, and for the time and skill of the knitter. And now my kid has a hat.

For me, this is a solution to the holiday knitting frenzy. I feel good about the knits, the source and the people, and my holiday giftees get a handknit, from me if not by me. Do they really care that I didn’t knit it myself? Maybe a little. But a Today Hat has a clear advantage over a Someday (Maybe, When I’m in the Mood) Hat.


Tags: ,



  1. Love that line that a Today Hat is better than a Someday Hat. Thanks for sharing the link – my daughter’s ears are cold too.

  2. perfect win-win solution!

  3. Yay, no capcha or however you spell that, and nice big black comment font and everything so spiffy on top all the other spiffiness. That Ricefield Collective also has a very nice webpage. And great hats and indeed good prices. One would imagine the knitter gets a decent amount for making a hat, unlike some places. Now, where can I buy a dozen dishrags?

    • Hi SquareMary. This is Meredith from Ricefield! Just to let you in on our payment scheme, right now we calibrate so that the slowest knitter gets the standard day rate for working in the fields, which is about P160, or $4. In practice most of our knitters earn around $10 a day.

      This isn’t much by American standards, but much higher than they would otherwise get. They’re also able to bring their kids to work, even the little infants, and can tend to the fields when they can. Right now we’re trying to grow so we plan to reinvest any profits we earn back into the enterprise so we can hire more knitters and help more people. But if we end up with money to spare, we plan to launch projects that would benefit the whole community, like an emergency fund for people affected by natural disasters.

      • Meredith, this is such a tremendous program. Thanks for explaining how it works.

        • Thanks so much Ann! Being able to provide better and consistent wages for people so they don’t have to be displaced is definitely one of my driving passions (along with knitting!) so I can talk about it for ages!

  4. I recognise that sweater…

    The hat looks lovely. As does the Girl. x x x

  5. What a great thing this is. I don’t mind knitting hats, but I often don’t get as many made as I need….good solution.

    I’ve been touring the new site some more….it is really well done. Love the tabs, and how easily I can find the notes on denim of which, happily, I still have a fairly large stash.

  6. Whoooooa! It’s all fancy here today! This is so great! Yeah! 10 years!

  7. What a cool idea for a knitting collective! And the projects they sell are really nice, too. I was expecting them to be either bland or very, ahem, “rustic.”

  8. I remember hearing Debbie Stoller at a trunk show once, and her advice to a knitter who sees a sweater they like in a store and then think, “I could knit that myself.” Her advice was: “Buy the sweater.”

  9. It really is an awesome project they’ve got going on. I test knit for them and then BOUGHT a hat knit by one of the women in the village. The packaging was gorgeous and they also sent a photo of the woman who knit it, handsigned by her (and her baby was on it, bonus!). So personal a service, and a gorgeous knit hat for Christmas giving (with a story behind it). Definitely a win/win!!

  10. I love to knit but HATE knitting hats because they NEVER fit the people they’re intended for (usually grandchildren). I swear I wear out the yarn frogging the thing multiple times – too small, too loose, too tight, too big…you name it, I’ve been there! I would pay a king’s ransom for someone else to knit the hat for me. And like you, I will not buy one – even the more expensive ones are made with synthetic yarns…no thank you! Thanks for sharing – I’ll be buying!

  11. Quick note, not even able to read today’s entry till later. Just logged on, saw the blue hat on the (God bless her) beautiful model, and decided to try to post a comment from a computer, rather than my phone (no luck from there).

    Hope it works!

  12. Lovely hat. Beautiful model, God bless her always.


  13. Can’t she just wrap a honey cowl around her head a couple of times and leave it at that?
    (seriously though, she could wear one of your swifty floor cleaner covers on her head and look gorgeous, though I think the Ricefield hat is a classier option)

  14. Wearer of hat looking beeeauteeeful!

    Hat’s nice too.

    I’m pretty sure that my Cara would love to know where the boots are from.

    Oh, but that’s not what you’re talking about. Right. Definitely. A hand knit hat, by anyone, better than a machine knit hat manufactured who knows where for who knows how much under one can only imagine what conditions. I am SO with you there.

  15. Just testing

  16. You’re daughter is more beautiful by the post! And thank you for the info on the Richfield collection – what a great organization. (And Kay – I’m with you on the socks)

  17. I am suffering from not-quite-enough-guilt because my 5’6″ 12yo son has asked for a sweater. He’s gigantic. He will be more gigantic very soon. A sweater for said gigantic boy would take every moment of knitting time from now until Christmas. And be outgrown by next Christmas. I bought him a sweater. Am I a terrible knitter/mom?

    • No. And I am unanimous in that!

  18. OK, this is my third post. I thought the first did not take, so I wrote the second. After a while, I saw both had posted. Now, does anyone out there know how to modify a comment? Like, before, we could preview it, make necessary changes, etc. Are we able to do that now?


    • Hi Diane! We are fine-tuning the Comments functionality, so we will see if we can add a preview. Hope to have unmoderated comments in the next day or so. Thanks as ever for hanging out with us.

  19. I too have no need to ever knit a sock. There is too much other knitting waiting for me. sort of like science fiction–there are just too many other books. I like the new site (I am pretty sure) but thought I was supposed to get notified about the new post via email.

  20. I feel the same way about hats and socks. I love wearing hand knit socks, but not so much knitting them (which I feel is a shame). I’ve done a couple of hats. Don’t love them, don’t hate them, just pulled in other ways. That said, I would feel no guilt giving these to all on my list!

  21. I love my Ricefield Collective hat. Beautiful design and great quality.


A bit of news from us, every now and again.

(Your email is safe with us.)