This is my favorite pattern release day of the year, because today is my daddy’s birthday!
Each October, my dear friend Christine from Sweet Potato 3 hosts the Crochet Cancer Challenge, and all of the participating designers are so gracious to allow me to claim the October 5th slot in honor of my father’s birthday. He should be 70 years old today, but 17 years ago he lost the fight against his glioblastoma and went home to Jesus.
I wonder what my dad would be like as a 70 year old man. He was greying quite a bit once he reached 50, and his dad bore a striking resemblance to Colonel Sanders. I imagine my dad would look a lot like The Colonel these days as well.
My dad was full of wisdom, patience and humor. On their wedding day, my dad promised to make her laugh at least once a day and held on to that promise until the day he passed away. I am so thankful for all of the lessons he taught me as a child, but I am always saddened that he left too early to give me the wisdom I so need as an adult.
My dad had this incredible way of telling someone that they were being a jerk that would always be met with a smile. (Please don’t ask me the secret because I have tried his technique many a time and is has NOT landed the same way- somehow I just end up the jerk instead!) If a cashier was rude to him, he would look them in the eye, smile and say, “Thank you so much. You keep having a great day!” With a 100% success rate, he would get them to smile back and you could see their attitude change immediately. I do it the exact same way and just get met with a nasty glare.
My dad taught me that honesty was the most important trait for a person to have. The more dishonest people I have met over the years, the more I realize he was 100% correct. I despise being lied to far more than anything else in the world. As a result, I never lie to others- even when bending the truth would be to my advantage, I prefer to take responsibility for my actions and own up to my mistakes immediately. I expect no less from my closest friends and family. (This is why my husband is able to say “that outfit looks terrible on you” and I will go change without having my feelings hurt.)
Not only was my dad exceptionally patient and wise, but the man also really enjoyed flatulence. The “pull my finger” trick had nothing on the many gas-related stunts my dad had up his sleeve. One of his most favorite things to say was “Nuthin’s funner than a fart-and its FREE!” I was in my mid-20s and getting to know my husband when I first realized that apparently not everyone comes from a farting family. Thankfully, I have over the years convinced my spouse that farts are in fact funny and one should not be shamed for them!
My dad passed away on my parents’ 26th wedding anniversary. My mom said he planned it that way so she wouldn’t have to have 2 sad days so close together. My dad was sent home on hospice a few weeks before he died, and due to the brain cancer didn’t always make sense or completely understand what was happening. A few days before he passed, he asked my mom what the date was. She told him, and he whispered, “Anniversary.” My mom said that was his way of telling her that he would hold on until then.
Growing up, my parents showed me what a good marriage looked like. They were best friends and genuinely enjoyed being around one another. They were slow to anger and quick to forgive. When struggles came up, they worked together to overcome them. I am so thankful to have had their example to fall back on when times got rough in my own marriage. We worked through our issues and came out the other side stronger and closer. I don’t think I would have worked so hard if my parents hadn’t shown me what marital love really looks like. Folks always say that marriage is hard, to an extent, I agree. My marriage was hard for many years- probably even a decade. But now it is so easy. I live here with my best friend and our sweet puppy dog. Our biggest disagreements these days are whether or not the television is too loud. (For the record, if Bear has the remote in his possession, the TV is indeed too loud!)
I know today is my dad’s birthday and I have rambled quite a bit already, but my mom joined my dad in heaven nearly 11 years ago and I miss her too.
My mom loved Jesus, singing, crafts and cooking. She sang in her church’s worship team, and my dad played the guitar as well. She loved doing all sorts of crafts, like artificial flower arrangements, sewing, painting, and flower pressing. She went through a phase when I was about 8 years old of plastic canvas projects and made an abundance of coasters and tissue box covers, but that was the extent of her enjoyment playing with yarn.
Before either of my parents got sick, the mother of my mom’s childhood friend crocheted her a giant granny square blanket. That blanket was so cozy and I was insanely jealous that nobody made me a crocheted blanket. That blanket, and the fact that my mom wouldn’t give it to me or even let me borrow it, is the reason I am now a crochet designer. I stewed in my jealousy over that blanket for several years, and one evening after work, I stopped by Michaels and purchased yarn, hooks and a thin book on crocheting. The first blanket (and first project for that matter) I ever made I gave to my mom for Christmas. It was far wider on one end than the other, and some stitches were quite tight while others were quite loose. As a now professional crocheter, that blanket is frankly an embarrassment. But my mom loved it, as it was the first crocheted item she received after her ovarian cancer diagnosis. She took it with her to wrap up in during her chemo treatments, and several years later when my dad began his treatments, that blanket again toured the cancer wing of the hospital.
Bet you thought all of my rambling and reminiscing was never going to tie into crocheting, didn’t you!? This is actually the first year since I started participating in the Crochet Cancer Challenge that I have written my annual sappy blog post without crying! It feels good to share things about my parents and honor their memories (yes, even mentioning my dad’s affinity for flatulence) in order to make sure they are not forgotten. After long court battles and several moves, I have lost most of the physical items I once had to remember them by. Now I have stories and a few photos, so sharing things about the people who made me is important to me!
I know that you more than likely have just skimmed everything until this point (and maybe you’re still skimming) because you’re really here for the pattern release:
I designed the Snowflake Hat for this year’s Cancer Challenge using my favorite yarn to work with- Lion Brand Ferris Wheel. If you want to know why I love the Ferris Wheel line so much, I wrote a whole blog post on just this topic which you can read:
Because today is my dad’s birthday, my hat design is technically in honor of Brain Cancer. But the “official” color for that cancer is grey, and my yarn came in multiple shades of blue. So here’s a photo of the hat in black and white- a good compromise, I think!
I absolutely love the look of the star stitch, and years ago when I tried to learn it, I guess I just wasn’t ready yet. I simply could NOT figure it out! A couple of months ago, I decided that I would try again, and to my amazement this stitch is actually super easy to master. I knew that I was going to incorporate it and one of my favorite easy techniques for adding texture in my design for this event. What I didn’t know when I started this design was how much I was going to LOVE creating it- I loved it so much that for the first time ever, I designed 3 versions- Standard beanie, Messy Bun, and Slouchy!
You can grab a copy of the Snowflake Hat PDF, which includes all 3 versions, for FREE today (10/5/23) when you pledge to make and donate at least one hat to someone fighting cancer. You’ll find the code in the main 2023 Crochet Cancer Challenge blog hop post:
If you need a little help learning the star stitch, I have you covered! Check out my Rumble channel and find stitch tutorials for all of the special stitches used in the Snowflake Hat! I have included the star stitch video in this post and provided a link to my full channel in the Snowflake Hat PDF.
If you haven’t already subscribed to the Straight Awesome newsletter, I hope you will consider it. This month is an especially great month to join, because there are SO many great events going on, with freebies and discounts galore! I do my best to keep emails to the weekends only, unless there is something really awesome happening in the week that I want to share with you. And, you’ll receive exclusive freebies and discounts just for signing up!
Be sure to keep visiting Straight Hooked as well- there are more patterns to be released in 2023 and even more chances to snag some of my most popular patterns for free!
Until next time,