The Crocheted Fantasia Hat

I have been spending time at the spinning wheel of recent happily spinning Merino fleece while barefoot in my comfortable chair in the early morning hours of the day, spinning sometimes into the wee hours of the night. Merino spins so easily, and there is nothing like the feel of soft spongy Merino as it passes through your fingers winding onto the bobbin shaft. It is almost time to Navajo ply the current bobbin of Merino that I am working on, and as you all know, once I get distracted with an idea, I am on to creating another FO. This time as I sat quietly spinning Merino, Sari Silk began to call my name, and I immediately decided to crochet a hat with Sari Silk yarn. The texture of Sari Silk creates a really pretty crochet project loaded with color-upon-color, and the end result is not known until you get there. The single crochet and the double crochet stitch marry to create intricate lacy patterns combined with a shell stitch pattern, here and there. The colors are jewel toned, bright, vibrant and inviting to any wearer. The look is sassy, fun and radiant. Makes me want to shout…and run around the house barefoot and fancy free.  OK, enough. So, here are the pictures of my latest FO. And, FYI this is the introduction of my stand in model, Feebie. Don’t laugh at her….well I did.

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Almost Lime Almost Peach

After deciding that  I should spend some time spinning I closed myself off in the spare bedroom and did some carding and spinning of a beautiful silky Mohair fiber that was a gift sample to me along with an order that I had placed for Wensleydale fleece.  This gift sample came from Natalie Redding of Namaste Farms out in Temecula, California and was several different colors.  I decided to blend the colors by carding and see what the end result would be. Well I blended the fibers on my carder until I was pretty much satisfied with the results and took the fibers to my spinning wheel. I used several different spinning styles such as spinning from the rolag, spinning from the fold, and spinning from pieces of the batt from different areas of the batt until I obtained the blend in fibers that I was happy with. Mohair is a very soft, slick and silky long fiber. It also has a very curly loc formation that sometimes has the appearance of tight ringlets of hair that has been tightly set on sponge rollers, and requires a great deal of work to obtain the results you seek. My goal was to spin a yarn that was worsted in nature, but still maintain the softness that Mohair fleece offers. I was very pleased with the results and ended up with two skeins of fiber that are what I would like to call Almost Peach & Almost Lime. The two color combinations in my opinion are quit awesome and the process I used on the fiber retained the silky sheen that Mohair has naturally. After spinning the fibers I heat-treated the fibers to set the twist even further after letting the fibers rest on the bobbins a half day or so. Again, I am very pleased with the results, and this is what I got for my final result.

Note: This is a similar sample of fiber I received with my order from Namaste Farms owned by Natalie Redding from Temecula, California. The fiber in the plastic bag is what I started with. The picture credit goes to Namaste Farms.

Note: After processing this wonderful sample fleece this is how I spun the fleece into such a beautiful yarn. Love the resulting colors. This is a 2 ply yarn.

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Just A Little Lace Hand-Warmers

Well, winter is upon us. And, it seems as though the dam has opened and the creative juices are flowing faster than I can design and knit. Once again, I have put my vest aside and decided to create a new pattern for a pair of hand-warmers. Over the years living in Florida I have never really thought about wearing them. But, on second thought I couldn’t think of any reason not to. So, after doing the math and calculating my stitch gauge for an acrylic yarn I have on hand I came up with a hand-warmer that is partially lace that still gives the hand enough coverage to stay nice and toasty warm. Dragging out the stash of Teal acrylic yarn I have yet to use all of, I cast on the needed amount of stitches and created my pattern as I knit. Took me an afternoon of knitting, and after weaving in the remaining end, happily I slide the hand-warmers on to each hand and hoped for a perfect fit. With a sigh of relief I was very happy to see that the pattern worked with the math I had previously figured out. They fit just right, and I really must find something to knit that will take up the remainder of this Teal yarn. Well now that the hand-warmers are complete I can make my way back to the spinning wheel and spin my yarn for my upcoming vest pattern. I pray in secret that I shall not be side tracked again, as the pattern is in my head just waiting to be knit.

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Sari Silk and Churro Fleece Beret

Finished at last. It took me two days to knit my newly designed beret while sitting and listening to some of my favorite music. The hat was an easy knit and I designed the pattern as I knit. Sari silk yarn coupled with the Churro fleece is a welcome accent. The colors blend well with that of the Chestnut Churro fleece. After measuring my head circumference I decided how to go about creating my hat design. Once the two-inch rib stitch along the lower edge of the hat was completed from there I decided where to make my increases and decreases in stitches. Now that I have completed the Sari Silk and Churro fleece beret I can turn my attention to a vest I originally had in mind before I was side-tracked and urgently needed to complete the beret as thoughts of its outcome were more important to me.

Note: I must admit I did run out of yarn and had to return to the spinning wheel to spin a few yards more. No problem though, I had plenty of Churro fleece already teased, and ready for spinning. Pictures of Sari Silk & Churro Fleece Beret to come.

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Wensleydale Fleece

Just purchased this absolutely beautiful fleece from Natalie Redding at Namaste Farms out in Temecula, California. Natalie works as a shepherdess on her farm.  The fleece is almost as black as black can get, as Natalie would say. I was lucky enough to get 3 pounds of the fleece. I simply can not wait to get my hands on this Wensleydale fleece, as it is considered to be the fleece of fleeces. Some would call it black gold. As I write this bit of information to share with you all…it is in the mail and making it’s way to Bradenton, Florida. When it comes to fleece…well any kind of fiber, I am like a kid in a candy store. Already my mind is racing about and thinking about something lovely to knit from my new Wensleydale fleece. I am so excited. I can’t wait, but will have to wait for it’s arrival by mail. Here is a sneak preview of what the fleece looks like. I think the first night I have the fleece in hand I will sleep with it, just to enjoy it a little longer before processing it to work with. Black gold. I’m smiling from ear-to-ear just thinking about the feel of the fleece. Have a blessed day.

Chestnut Churro Fleece Off the Bobbin (What a beautiful yarn)

The chestnut Churro fleece is finally off the bobbin and ready to knit into my recently designed hat. This hat will consist of the chestnut colored Churro fleece and Sari silk in multiple colors. I decided to do something a little different with the Sari silk. It is being used as an art yarn to create another dimension of texture along with the Churro fleece which was spun with the short and long fibers of the fleece.

Spinning the Churro was interesting in that the long fibers created a coarse texture in the yarn. But, when combined with the short fibers the result is a yarn that is slightly spongy in nature. Churro fleece is excellent for outerwear in that the fibers tend not to felt with continued use.

Prior to setting the twists in warm water the yarn was left to rest on the bobbin for a day to help set the twist before the final setting of the twist in warm water and fabric softener. The fabric softener also helps to lessen the coarseness of the Churro fleece during the final rinse when setting the twist in the newly spun yarn. The yarn will be weighted and sun dried to relax the twist creating a perfectly balanced yarn.

Here is what the yarn looks like after it has had the twists set in, weighted and dried. I must say the results I am very pleased with. The fabric softener helped in softening the finished yarn. Now all I have to do is knit a swatch with this yarn and see what I have in relationship to using it for the rib stitch pattern for the edging in my new Sari silk knit hat design.  Nothing could be more satisfying than to complete an object from the fleece off the sheep to the finished wearable object.

Note:  The yardage on this particular spin was 128 yards from 3 ounces of Churro fleece. The  Sari silk hat design has already been drawn out…now to the knitting of it.