Just about a year ago, Nancy Bates released her blockbuster pattern book, Knitting the National Parks. The book includes one hat pattern for each of the 63 national parks in the United States, and the response has been absolutely amazing. People knit hats for friends and family's favorite parks... or knit hats in anticipation of being able to wear them on their trip to those parks... or just to have some fun, eye-catching headgear for cool weather!
Our shop community is full of travelers, hikers, and nature enthusiasts of all stripes, so of course this book has been a hit for us, too. As of last week, we had had about 18 different hats brought to the shop to show them off - it's been awesome to see what people have been drawn to! (Far and away, Mount Rainier is the most popular hat as of this writing; North Cascades, Crater Lake, and Denali have been close behind.)
As you may know, I try to post customer work on as many Fridays as possible over on our Instagram account - the hats have featured prominently for much the past year. When Kris brought in her Shenandoah hat a few weeks ago, I grabbed a photo on the porch and then saved it to post last week. I wondered idly in the caption if perhaps - between now and the first day of spring in 2024 - the shop community could manage to complete at least 1 example of all 63 hats in the book.
And then this happened.
We are nothing if not up for a good challenge - especially with the reward of an amazing designer coming to visit us - and so the shop community leapt into action.
We're officially inviting all shop community members to participate in The Great National Parks Hat Challenge! Between now and March 18, 2024, pick any hat (or hats!) that you want to make, let us know which ones you're working on, and we'll get you on our spreadsheet. If you're looking to help us fill holes in the spreadsheet, you can see it here - with some help from generous shop community member JH, we even have difficulty ratings for each hat if you're having trouble figuring out which one might be a good starting point for you.
Once you've finished your hat, please submit it through the Google Form so we can keep tabs on how close we are to reaching our goal!
Even if you see that the hat you want to make is already being worked on or completed, we want you to join us in this group effort - no one has exclusive dibs on any of the hats, no one gets a prize for completing the most, and we're not requiring that yarn be purchased through the shop. Of course that would be lovely, but we also know that everyone's budgets are running tighter than normal this year - use as much as you can from your stash, find a stash buddy to share partial skeins or split the cost of a single skein you can use in multiple hats, but most importantly... HAVE FUN!
Nancy Bates is ready to do this. Let's give her the chance to experience the unique welcome and community that you can only find at Stilly River Yarns.
Lindsey Spoor is the owner of Stilly River Yarns in Stanwood, WA.