Tag Archives: Indiecita DK baby alpaca

Stars and Stripes for Barbara

gillianknits.comI am sure Alan is happy I am finished this hat because I kept humming and singing snippets of America the Beautiful as I knit it.  They sang it during the 7th inning stretch in the ALCS playoffs between the KC Royals and the Toronto Bluejays and it kind of got into my head.  You gotta hand it to the Americans they have some catchy patriotic songs.  I even secretly like their national anthem.gillianknits.com

It has been a long time since I knit alpaca.  When I was a young adult, my Uncle Robert was friends with a yarn wholesaler in England.  He brought Mum a suitcase full of mohair and one of alpaca.  If I remember correctly, it was the first time alpaca knitting yarn started to become available.  The alpacas themselves were still unavailable outside South America as breeding animals and the yarn was just starting to be marketed in England, I had never seen it in small town Canada before.  The alpaca yarn we got was about a fingering weight and mum and I knit sweaters galore out of it that year, lots and lots of stitches per sweater.  My sister Phil gave one to Heather when she cleaned out her closet last year.  We made the mohair into sweaters and afghans.  It took both of us ages to knit it all up.  My sister Penny pitched in and crocheted at least a couple of afghans.gillianknits.com

As soon as I saw the Star Tweed pattern on pg 67, this hat jumped into my head.  I decided to use the stripes to take care of a few extra patterns, so each stripe has a different stitch.  Sometimes when I look forward too far in The Book, I get scared by the magnitude of the project and panic a little bit, then I load a couple of hats with stitches before I calm down again.  I don’t actually think this makes necessarily bad hats. I kind of like the rich texture it gives them. I cast on 120 stitches.  Starting from the bottom, I used Single Woven Rib and Woven Stitch from  page 95. then Mock Ribbing from pg 97.  I finished with a stripe of Double Woven Stitch from pg 95 before doing the Star Tweed pattern.  I am not sure how much this is cheating, but I tried to do the stitch as it stands and found the white stars to be too close together for the flag effect, so I ripped back and added an extra blue row in between (two knit rounds instead of one).  I could do something else with the pattern stitch, but I think I will go with this.  My house, my rules and all that.


Alpaca it is then Barbara


Heather went to Peru a couple of years ago with her Scout troop.  She brought me back some medium brown alpaca.  It has been waiting in the freezer since then.  I bought a mixed bunch of colours this time to go with it.  Two balls each of five different colours.  I will now make as many hats as 20 balls of Indiecita DK Baby Alpaca will do.  One hundred and twenty stitches will probably be my baseline number of stitches for this yarn.  It is a finer yarn than the worsted weight I have been using for a while.  It has 5.5 st to the inch on 4 mm needles vs 5 st to the inch on 4.5 mm for the worsted.  I like 120 stitches, it is divisible by 3, 4, 5. 6, 8, 10, 12 and 15 so it gives lots of scope for pattern repeats as well as decreasing.gillianknits.com

For this hat, I cast on the 120 stitches and did 14 rows of Woven Stitch, pg 95 with turqouise., Then I  joined back into the cast on edge with white.  I did 2 1/4 inches of Bubble Tweed, pg 66, then back to Woven Stitch for 10 rows, then joined back in again to form a roll.  I then used Twisted Basket Stitch, pg 118 for the top of the hat.  There were 15 repeats of the Twisted Basket Pattern, I decreased in every third one, leading to 5 points of decrease.  I used double decreases every other row to the top.  it went as planned from the beginning and I didn’t have to rip out at all along the way.gillianknits.com