A few years ago a local yarn store decided to have a meetup for Ravelers, and they were holding contests for oldest UFO, best in show, and that sort of thing. One of the prizes would be awarded to the Raveler who wore the most handknits. You could not repeat an item (for example, you could not wear two pairs of socks), but you could wear as many knits as possible to compete for the prize.

I put on everything I had that qualified, and looked pretty silly as a result. I don’t mind that kind of silly, as a general rule. I was wearing seven items. Only one other person competed in this category with me.

Denise came in, looking as silly as me, wearing exactly seven handknits. We both won first prize. She also beat me in the Best in Show category, because she is a really, really fabulous knitter.

Since that meetup over two years ago, Denise and I have become great friends. One thing we share is a love of silly hats. Did you ever see that pompom hat (officially the Champagne Fizz Hat) from Interweave Knits Weekend 2009? It came out about the same time as Diane von Furstenberg had a pompom hat in her collection.

Gorgeous, right? (ahem) I love it and Denise loves it, but judging from the comments from the page on Knitting Daily (and the rest of our knitting group, frankly) we’re in the minority. Sure, it’s sort of hideous, but also totally awesome.

When the pattern came out, Denise and I decided we’d make our own champagne fizz hats, in a two-person knitalong. But we never got around to doing it, other projects keeping us both busy.

Well, as luck would have it, Denise is celebrating her 50th birthday this week. While some women might be happy to let this milestone pass without acknowledgment, not Denise. She has been talking about it for months, ready to greet her 50th year with a big bang.

A few months ago it hit me – I would finally knit the Champagne Fizz hat, and brazenly attach fifty pompoms to it in celebration of my dear friend. Although the other members of our knitting group don’t particularly see the brilliance of this hat, they were still willing to play along. They each delivered their share of the pompoms in nondescript brown paper bags at our weekly knitting night. Right under Denise’s nose, too!

My job was to knit the hat and attach the pompoms. I used the Thorpe pattern from Through the Loops and doubled Ultra Alpaca.

For now, Maggie and I will have to show you the hat. We’re giving it to Denise tonight at her birthday dinner. I think she will be surprised, and I hope she’ll love it. No, I take that back – I know she’ll love it. Happy Birthday Denise!

Stay tuned for more of Denise’s Birthday Celebration, which will include both flamingos and yarn crawls. Some girls just know how to party.