I spun up some alpaca seconds that Kate had given to me into a 2-ply yarn on my Schacht Cherry Matchless wheel. I had the alpaca processed into roving and rediscovered it as I unpacked my craft items after our move. I started off with the 11:1 ratio in double drive with a semi-worsted draw and switched to 9:1 ratio as I was getting too much twist. I made a center-pull ball and plied on the highest ratio, 22:1. I have read about to a larger whorl size for plying worsted, but with my Matchless, I ply even faster with my smallest super hi-speed whorl. On my Lendrum, I was limited to the whorl sizes on the plying head flyer. The Matchless set-up allows me to use any whorl for plying so I went with my fastest one.
I have to be careful when I spin alpaca as it can take a lot of twist and become wiry. I was disappointed, though, in the stitch definition for this pattern and wonder if a little more twist would have improved it. The hat is the Lace Beret from Vogue Knitting Fall 2009. I started off with my 2.00 mm (size 0) Addi bamboo dpns, but they a little short to handle so many stitches so I used my 40" Addi 2.00 mm Circular needles and the Magic Loop. I moved up to the 2.75 mm (size 2) Addi Lace 16" Circular needles for the patterned section of the hat switching to my 32" Addi Sock Rocket needles to work the Magic Loop for the crown . This project used 3.2 ounces of my 3.4 ounce ball of handspun alpaca. I'm glad I had enough for this fun project. Although I checked the errata for this pattern, there were a few mistakes in the chart. I did not recognize the wrongly placed purl stitches on rows 21 & 22. I did see something wrong on row 49 and then read all about it in the helpful Ravelry comments for this pattern.
Here is the Fenimore hat I knitted with my next handspun Icelandic sample. I spun this sample with less twist than my previous sample by increasing the Scotch Tension on my wheel. I also weighted the hank as it dried with a hand towel to help ease out the extra twist. Plied yarns work best for knitting, however, this Icelandic would be too heavy if it were plied. I just need to achieve a yarn that is soft and not over-spun, yet not so underspun that it will fall apart.
Some sections of this 4 oz skein were slightly overspun and this interesting pattern hides them well. I went down a needle size to size 7 for the body of the hat and size 4 for the ribbing to compensate for the thicker yarn I used for this pattern. I like how the cables show up more prominently versus the knit and purl design from the Amstel hat pattern. I certainly learned a lot about the qualities of my processed Icelandic fleece and my resulting handspun yarn from this hat project. Now I can start the spinning for my sweater.
Here is my completed cotton Habitat hat for John. I had trouble selecting a pattern and a needle size. I was almost to the crown decreases on Windschief and realized it was going to be too small. Habitat's cables will cooridinate nicely with Dryad's cables. I used my size 8 Addi Click Lace needles for the ribbing and changed to the size 9 tips for the body of the hat. I worked Norwegian purls between the cables to even out the purl stitches. I'm concerned about the pilling I noticed along the edge of the ribbing, but with cotton being such a short fiber, pilling is to be expected. At least John will have a hat to go with his scarf and all before the end of winter.
I have been having a lot of fun spindle spinning my Cormo/Possum roving. I even plied it on my All-Day Lollipop spindle. I used about two ounces of it with some handspun alpaca two-ply yarn to make this Fair Isle hat. I casted on 84 sts and worked k1, p1 ribbing on size 7 Addi Turbo needles. I changed needles to size 8 and worked two rounds plain before starting the Fair Isle pattern which I found in 1000 Great Knitting Motifs by Luise Roberts. I minimized the jog which goes through the middle motif diagonally. I worked two plain rounds after the motif and then decreased six 14 stitch sections every other round until the last few rows where I decreased every round. This hat is about 19" around and it was a joy to knit with my spindle spun yarn.
Here is the Rosebud Hat I knitted for Jared Flood's BT Fall 11 Collection. He has two sizes for this hat, a small tam version and a larger slouchy version. I knitted the slouchy version in Shelter's Nest colorway. I used the Norwegian purl for the ribbing and that really tightened up the edging so I needed a size 6 (4.00 mm) needle for the ribbing. I find the Norwegian purl makes my k2, p2 ribbing look much more even.
I used a size 7 (4.5 mm) needle for the rest of the hat. The cable design is very interesting to knit along with the small cables that frame it. The garter stitch background was accomplished by knitting a row then purling a row as this hat was knit in the round. This hat is yet another fun project designed by Jared.
Here is my completed Kittiwake from Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting book. I used 1 skein of Blue Sky's Royal 100% Alpaca yarn and size 3.25 mm Addi Lace needles. I stopped Chart A at row 24 and then worked row 37, making the hat a little shorter and less slouchy. I kept the cable twists in the same direction for Chart B, instead of reversing them as per the pattern, and I worked the purl 2 together decreases of row 24 in row 23. Once I had 24 sts on the needles, I worked 1 more round of purl followed by a round of k2 tog and then I closed the top of the hat with 12 sts. I left the tassel off and later sewed the folded edge down to make it more stable. This alpaca yarn is very nice, but a bit drapey for this project. At any rate, it will be a warm hat for winter.
Here is my completed handspun & handknit Droplet hat. The yarn is a 2-ply spindle spun yarn from my Sugar Coma Art Club Batt. The pattern is from Knitting Nature. I used my Addi Lace Clicks in sizes 6 and 8. It is a quick & fun hat to knit plus nothing beats knitting with handspun yarn.
I have donated this hat and my Four Corner Hat to my friend, Gina's, Kenya Calling Benefit to raise money for her upcoming trip to Kenya. Gina is a talented artist and she continually inspires and encourages me. One of the wisest things she shared with me is that one does not need to attend art school to be an artist, something which I found to be very profound for me on my path as a fiber artist.
I have completed this Four Corner Hat which I have wanted to knit it for a long time. Our local library has Hats: A Knitter's Dozen and that version of the pattern only has one size. I used Knit Picks Telemark yarn in Columbine and Drift and my size 5 Addi Lace Clicks, going down a needle size as my yarn was thicker than what the pattern called for. The hat is knit in four different sections and each section is joined to the previous section as it is knitted. There are two inches of plain knitting followed by the Fair Isle band. The original has three colors, but I just went with two colors. It took nearly two skeins of the Columbine (purple) and just one skein of the Drift. It was nice to use my 20" needles in my set of Addi Lace Clicks for the Fair Isle band, a bit roomier than 16" needles would have been. I did my best to eliminated the jog (which starts between the middle diamonds). Sewing the Fair Isle band neatly to the hat was a challenge, and overall it was a fun project to knit.
Here is the Fenimore hat (designed by Jared Flood) I knitted for Al's niece who recently graduated from high school. I used Pinguin Jarre which is a textured cotton/wool/acrylic blend and size 7 Addi Lace Click needles. This was a fun pattern to knit and Jared cleverly hid the crown decreases into the cabled pattern. I went down a needle size as the yarn was a bit thicker than the Shelter yarn knitted in the sample. I really like my Addi Lace Clicks, too. It is so nice to have a range of needles sizes in one kit (sizes 4 through 11) and a range of cable lengths to go with the needles. I do notice the needle join when I move the stitches over it, but the yarn does not get snagged, it's just not as smooth as a fixed needle join.