I'll admit, my first response to this problem was not terribly charitable--something along the lines of a nice, but non-joking, "People who lose hand-knitted hats have to make their own replacements."
He dutifully began a new one, in the easy "Hat Fit For a Boyfriend" pattern. But it was clear he wasn't enjoying himself.
After watching him curse his way along for about three inches of rib pattern, my better nature took over. After all, this is the guy who has rubbed my back for the past seven-and-a-half months, readily forgives when I put too much red pepper flake in our dinner, and cheerfully pitches in with all of my hair-brained schemes--like starting an urban chicken flock.
Further, as the goddess-of-knitting, Elizabeth Zimmerman, says, "If you hate to knit, why, bless you, don't . . . ." He hates to knit. I love to. And, as a result, I'm considerably faster at it. I'm not sure how long it would have taken him to finish on his own, but I was done in about three hours.
I think this may be a little deep for a simple, fuzzy hat, but it's sort of a metaphor for happy marriage. Forgiving mistakes, each person pitching in with what they're best at, and (a big one for me) not getting so caught up in "the principle of the thing"--particularly when both the thing and the principle are ridiculously small--that you forget that you're on the same team. A collaborative hat, indeed.