Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Gift Knitting (Part 4)

Whereas some of my spinning-to-knitting projects in the past have been from ALMOST first principles, this one could not have started at an earlier point in the process without owning livestock.

A few years ago when I was first learning to spin, a friend of my in-laws sent me a raw fleece from one of her alpacas. It was a beautiful caramel colour and wonderfully soft. I consulted You Tube, decided not to try to wash the fleece but spin it dirty instead, purchased a pair of hand carders and set to work.

I still don't really think I'm carding properly or efficiently, but I managed to produce some rollags from which I could spin and produced a reasonably respectable single (if a little thick and thin in places).

This was N-plied to form a 3 ply which was approximately DK weight and given a good wash. And here the yarn sat for a couple of years until December last year.

We were going down to my in-laws for Christmas and for the first time since I received the fleece, the friend who had sent me it would be there, so I decided to knit her a Christmas gift from her own Alpaca.

A little swatching told me that the Basic Cable Hat by Christine Quirion would be a good match for the yarn so I crossed my fingers that I would have the yardage needed and started knitting.

I knitted the hat on 5mm DPNs and gave it a good wash post-knitting in soak. I sqeezed in on the yardage front with less than a metre left over. The wonderful caramel colour of the original fleece had been a bit obscured during the prep and spinning process by the dirt and oil on the fibre, but it really came out again after a good wash.

Sadly, the remainder of the fleece that I had stored unprocessed was discovered by some mice who found that it made a wonderfully soft and warm winter home. It's now becoming lovely rich compost in my compost bin!

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