Friday, February 27, 2009

Knitting: Hat Projects - My first Handspun Hats

I created three skeins of my own handspun and dyed it a purple/blue colour. This fibre was made from Francis the sheep's wool.

I bought the whole fleece, smelling like a barn and washed it, carded it by hand, spun it and then dyed it using blue and purple Kool Aid (see my earlier blogs for 'how to' details).

I wanted a really warm hat that would not let me down on cold and blustery days while standing at the bus stop.
I'm a real wash and go person so I'm always leaving the house with wet hair. I needed a hat that would keep my head warm despite the wet head.

I also wanted something to cover my ears like a head band and I wanted extra room at the top so that I could have my long hair up in a comb and not have to remove it to put the hat on. This hat pattern from Tahki-Charles fit the bill perfectly.
Being a beginner spinner my fibre was pretty bumpy and woobly. I didn't mind that, knowing these would be my early works and that in time my spinning would even out and improve.

Neither did I want to leave my early works in skeins which I knew would eventually find their way to the back of a closet, forgotten and never used. They needed to be made into a garment of some sort so they would be put to use.

I used a double strand of the two ply yarn and to make it even bulkier I added one strand of the Rowan Plaid yarn. For the top of the hat I just used the Rowan Plaid (a three ply of purple, gray and white).



I've been wearing it for a few months now so it's certainly been given the test of time. Now to point out some features that wouldn't be obvious on first glance. You may see some spots that are a little more rouge/purple than mauve. The dye took that fibre a little differently than the sheep's wool. That's because those spots are a different fibre.... but what fibre you ask?

It's Tigger's hair. Tigger, my orange tabby cat. I have been saving his fur from when I comb him and when I was carding the sheep's wool I carded in some of Tigger's fur. Although his fur is naturally orange, it took the dye amazingly well.

I plan to do more experiments in future with Tigger's combings. He's a very willing contributor and lines up with the other cats each night for his brushing. I can't use the carders with him around because if he hears the "scritch" sound of the carder he comes running. He thinks they're giant cat brushes made just for him.

I liked this hat so much that I decided to make another in the white alpaca roving. I needed a white hat to go with my white scarf. I used up the last of my larger spun (WPI 8 Very Bulky) Alpaca yarn that I made my scarf with.
I wore it today for the first time and I found it very warm. It's interesting how the fibre is warmed up by body heat.
I notice that when putting on the alpaca hat it is warm instantly, even though the fibre is much lighter than the wool. The wool hat takes a little longer to warm up.
Wool is warm even when wet, so I'll have to wait and see how warm the alpaca is with wet hair.
I suspect that since alpaca is supposed to be considerably warmer than wool that it's probably still warm when wet.
Currently I'm knitting the Razor shell scarf for a second time, this one for my sister. My spinning is very different this time and the yarn is much finer.

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