Baskets and Hats: A love affair

Still life: Basket with hats.

The closets of some are filled with shoes. Mine is filled with hats! I love hats. I always have. I’m not sure where it started but I remember just about every hat that I have had and, believe me, there have been quite a few.

The three in the picture are some of my favs. Starting from the left, there’s my gardening hat on top of my old jeans jacket. I found this hat in the little town of Esperanza on the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico when I attended the wedding of my good friend Kim O’Donnel to her sweetie, Russ Walker.

Living in the Northwest for the past 30+ years, I’m no longer used to the bright sun and with about only five minutes of packing time before I was rushed to the airport to catch the first of three planes to get to the wedding, I did an oops. I only found out that I had done an oops after I arrived and started to unpack at the beach front resort. I had not brought anything to shield my lily-white skin from the dazzling Carribean sun.

Oh well! It wasn’t the end of the world but a fabulous opportunity for me to keep my eyes open in case the perfect new hat should come across my gaze. Which it did! Downstairs in the gift shop of an outdoor café where a group of us had gathered, I found it while waiting for breakfast to be served to our table. I knew it was the one as soon as I spied it. I always think of Kim and Russ when I wear it, too. Funny how those things happen, yes?

On to hat #2. This one is a knock-off of a very expensive designer hat. It’s my “fancy hat”, the one I wear when I’m getting dressed up to go to an outdoor garden party, an indoor tea or a special Sunday walk in the park. I love the black ribbon that encircles the brim and how it is tied in a perfect bow. I found it at a real hat store in Seattle called Byrnie Utz.

I was introduced to this old-fashioned hat store, one of the few remaining in the US, by my friend Susan over 20 years ago. We were heading on a trip down the Colorado River and she needed a hat. I thought, she would get one at a local Olympic Peninsula sporting goods store.

No way! Susan knew that Byrnie Utz would have just what she needed and besides it was a wonderful quest, not to mention a trip to the big city when both of us lived so rurally raising our families.

It’s easy to spend an hour at Byrnie’s, trying on lots and lots of hats and it’s a heck of lot of fun, too! Susan got her hat, a Sou’wester type model that also boasted UV protection. Thanks to our day there so long ago, I knew where to go, when 15 years later I was looking for a hat that was a little more dressy.

As we are going from left to right, my market basket is next. Its an old friend that snugs up with a perfect fit on my back. I wear it to the grocery store daily, the farmers market on weekends and when I go out mushrooming, it’s second to none! The fact that it was made by my friend and master basket-maker, Kathey Ervin, makes it even more special. I love to come home from the market with salad, soup, pie makings and a blowsy bunch of colorful flowers spilling out over the top. If that isn’t happy, I don’t know what is! Just looking at it hanging on the hook in my entry way brings a cheery smile to my face.

And, finally, hat #3. My favorite blue hat. Yup, there’s a story here, too. Another trip to a sunny clime with no hat packed again. This time it was 2008 to San Francisco for Slow Food Nation.

You would think that I would have learned by now to pack my hat first but, no. It’s usually my rolling pins that have that honor!

On a magnificent sunny morning, I found myself at the Ferry Plaza stunned by the Bay Area light. I ducked inside that amazing building , for a cup of coffee and as I walked down it’s beautiful main corridor, I saw it. A brilliant sky blue hat that was clearly singing my name. I went right over, removed it from the peg it was hanging from, took it to the counter and paid for it before I ever put it on. I knew it would fit and it did…perfectly! And, then, I went out into the glorious sun and continued on my day smiling under mon nouveau chapeau bleu.

Do you have a favorite hat or basket and maybe a story that goes with it?

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  1. says

    That blue hat is so pretty. But it is hat #2 I love the most. That’s my type of hat. Gorgeous shape. I have one favourite hat which has seen me through the last 12 years. I bought it while visiting a winery at the cellar door. It rolls up into a tube so ideal for travelling. With the addition of a black velvet ribbon I wore it to a wedding in the
    UK. In 2004 it shaded me from the hot Spanish sun when I walked the Camino de Santiago. I continue to wear it every day on my daily walk.

  2. omma says

    I will always associate the blue hat with you, Kate: blue Olympic skies, blue eyes filled with wonder and love, blue moods fostering introspection, blue your cottage and your true blue loyalty to those who care about and love you. Hats are good. xoxox omma

  3. says

    Is the middle hat the one you were wearing when you popped over for your Bramleys? You looked so cute in your hat…

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