One of the myriad benefits of being proficient in some sort of DIY is that you always have gifts on hand — they just probably require some assembly.
I recalled that when Tara and I went to some local street festivals over the summer she was looking for a cloche hat. There were plenty of options around — it's a shape that's back in style again — but for something so recognisable, there are infinite variations.
There are plain cloches, and then there are ones with fantastic spiral sculptures wandering all over the standard cloche shape. There are cloches adorned with ribbons, feathers, silk flowers, sequins.
I found a free pattern on reliable Knitty, and dug through my stash for suitable yarn that would match Tara's winter coat. My stash being what it is, it did not take much digging.
(I only blocked the brim because the crown's shaping was good as-is.)
The pattern is one of those ones which seems daunting at the outset (240 sts for a worsted-weight hat, whaaaaat?), but which resolves to a reasonable and easy bit of work in short order. Half of those 240 sts make up the spiral, and they get decreased away to nothing in very few rows. The remaining stitches get decreased by 20% and then form the crown.
I gave the hat the hair-conditioner treatment prior to blocking, since the hat sits low enough to touch the skin at the forehead and back of the neck. This had the added benefit of making the fabric quite a bit more limp than it was during knitting, and flattened out the curl at the cast-on edge.
I'd like to make this again in different colours. It's super-retro but classic at the same time, with the benefit of being practical for Canadian winters.