My name is Robyn. I make hats and give them away.
I give hats to big people here in Omaha via the VA Hospital and Outreach Center, and to little people here in Omaha thanks to Crieghton Med Center’s amazing maternity ward. I give hats to folks in Maine, in Chicago and to active-duty Naval sailors on ships in various oceans. I give hats to friends and family, clogging up their winter wardrobes with just one more hat all season long.
The only person I don’t give hats to is my son Owen, who refuses to wear hand knits. I’m hoping it’s just a phase.
People often ask me why hats. Hats are simple -- they take just one skein of yarn, can be carried with you wherever you go, and don't need any special measurements. Most people's heads fall under one of three or four sizes (baby, child, smaller adult, larger adult) so you can be fairly certain the hat you've made will fit one of these four sizes of person depending on the number of stitches on your needle.
Hats can do quite a bit to keep a person warm. Little babies have a hard time regulating their temperature, so a hat can mean the difference between health and sickness. For folks living on the street, a hat can help stave off sickness in the coldest of temperatures. Naval ships run cold (something to do with all the metal ...) so a hat can help keep soldiers warm while on and off duty.
Plus, I've always loved wearing hats. Suffering ear infections most of my life, I've found simply wearing a hat can mean the difference between ear pain all winter long and some amount of comfort.
I learned to knit when I was 20, thanks to a co-worker. I’ve never looked back, although my love for hats didn’t come about until 2009 when I challenged myself to knit 100 of them in a year.
I remember thinking it was extremely difficult to knit 100 hats in one year – now I make over 300 in a year.
My mother taught me to crochet when I was very young. I forgot almost everything she taught me, and then re-learned in my early twenties thanks to a book. Now she and I battle it out for who can make the most hats in a year (and she wins every time)!
Generally speaking, I’ve got yarn and knitting needles on me at all times … and darning needles and scissors. Perfect for finishing up a hat while driving to dinner, or for scratching that spot on your back you can’t ever reach. And if you ask, I’ll most likely give you the hat off my head. It’s how I roll.
I run the small charity Nebraska Hats for Hope Initiative, which is a spin-off of Emily’s Hats for Hope Initiative. I collect hats all year long to donate around the Omaha area, and folks have been super generous in helping me out with that.