My then-boyfriend wanted a Jayne hat, though he didn’t voice this desire outright, and the only thing stopping him was the fact that a lot of the ones people were selling were, well, wrong. They were usually the wrong colors (not the only time this has bothered me in fandom – the famous scarf of the Fourth Doctor comes to mind), with fans tending to assume the original was much brighter than it appears on screen. The Jayne hats were also frequently knitted out of cheap yarn, probably Red Heart Super Saver (which is not a bad product at all – I have used it many times – but it is thin-stranded and 100% acrylic). They were fine for strolling around convention halls, but my boyfriend wanted one he could actually wear as a winter hat and not have his head be cold.
I decided to venture back into knitting and provide yet another man in my life with yet another shitty knitted item.
I had no idea what I was doing. I knitted in the round on circular needles, but by the time I got to the top I had exhausted my knowledge. How was I supposed to join it all together at the peak? If you flip the resulting item inside out you can really see the depths of my ignorance. It’s a monstrosity. I joined the top using a canvas needle, like using a drawstring to close a bag. Thankfully the pom-pom hides this.
There is definitely a bit of pride in knowing I found colors that much more closely resembled the original than most other Jayne hats. It’s a warm wool/acrylic blend, good for keeping one’s noggin warm.
Above all, the saving grace of this piece is that the original is very ugly, so a replica can be pretty bad and still be pretty good.
The guy I was dating must have thought it was pretty cunning, because he wears it, and, well, he married me.
After this relative success, I felt a lot bolder, and I went on to make hats in the same style for all three of my sisters and a handful of friends. The last one I made was a gray and orange construction that actually isn’t all that ugly, which my friend wears while playing video games in his poorly-heated upstairs gaming room.
Maybe the trick is not to try and make something that looks perfect, like it was knitted by a machine. People have a certain level of tolerance and fondness for things that are imperfect because they are unique and required effort to make. That’s my hope, at least.
If you’re interested in an ugly hat, I’m planning on making and selling a few through my sister’s Etsy shop: