Here is Salem, multitasking in the Studio. She is cleaning the drum carder with that wire brush in her right hand, and she is also graciously modeling Devan's Pink Hat. Devan is back at Bennington and so her head is unavailable for modeling. This hat is knit from a blend of alpaca, silk, and Bella's white wool which was dyed a really bright pink. Blending on the drum carder with the white alpaca/silk and some peachy merino got us this specific color. Devan was quite particular about the color....a pink that wasn't too purple, nor too peachy. Also Dev is quite sensitive to scratchiness in wool so the blend with alpaca and silk helped to ameliorate that.
Once the fiber was all carded together I spun it up at roughly a worsted weight (2 ply) on my trusty Ashford and knit it according to the directions for Ann's Red Hat. I am including a picture of it before I felted it to give you an idea of how the hat looks at this interim stage. Not too promising is it? It is best when you are going to felt, particularly if you are going to felt with handspun, to knit up a swatch and throw it in your washing machine to see what happens. I got a 20% shrinkage, from 5 sts/inch to 4 sts/inch. The felting also changed the texture quite a bit, from this really open loose knitting to a lovely thick tweedy felt.
The felting process also raised the halo of the alpaca which you can glimpse here at the very top of the hat. See that fuzziness? The embroidery is done with left over bits of sock yarn before folding up and sewing down the facing. I thought you would like to see how fetching the hat is in pink.....I'm seriously thinking about making one in purple for me. In the meantime I'm shipping it off to Devan today as her early birthday present. Hopefully she'll be able to wear it a couple of times before spring comes to Vermont.