Tag Archives: special hat

Delivery of the special hat

The hat is delivered.


A great fit

 The journey of making this hat is complete.  It is now on the job, keeping my brother-in-law’s head warm.  Like a prayer shawl, this hat carries my blessings for the one who wears it!  May he wear it for many years!


Step 5 of my special project

All the previous steps of this special hat project have led to this — knitting!  First, I knit a little swatch.


My sample swatch

By measuring this and doing some math, I conclude I will need 88 stitches for the hat. 

stretched swatch

Can you see the difference?

I knit a few test rows, then change to a smaller needle.  When the stitches are stretched out, you can see that the last rows (at the top of the photo) are a little tighter.  This will make a warmer hat, so I choose that needle size. 

beginning of a hat

And so I begin

I cast on and start a 2×2 rib in the round.   My plan is to continue this rib to the end.

more hat is done

And so it grows

Black is so hard to photograph, but it is still ribbing as I continue to knit round and round.

finished hat

The hat is a foot!

The hat looks quite strange when done.   Really long and skinny!  It is nearly a foot long. 

hat on a styro head

Ah, that is more like it!

The 2×2 rib is so stretchy that is easily stretches to fit my styro head with plenty length to fold up for double warmth over the ears.  It is so soft and immediately warms the wearer!

I’m very excited to turn this over to the one who needs it.  I hope he likes it.

The Special Hat – Step 4

So far I’ve washed, carded and spun my black alpaca fiber.  Step 4 of the process to make this hat is to ply the singles I’ve spun and set the twist.

spinning wheel

Ready to ply

This is view from above my spinning wheel looking down.  The two bobbins that I have just spun are sitting on long pins on the right (you can see the ends through the tops of the bobbins).  They will turn freely as I spin those two single ply yarns into a 2-ply yarn which will get wound onto the bobbin at the top of my wheel.   I have a bit of brown yarn on the bobbin, but I will just put the black over it. 

new yarn

Yarn completed

It was getting dark outside, so I had little natural light for this photo, but wanted to show this step.  The bobbin on the left is the 2-ply yarn.  The center bobbin shows the amount that was left on one of the bobbins of singles when all the other bobbin’s yarn had been used up.  Not too bad! 

yarn on niddy noddy

Onto the niddy noddy


Then I wrap the yarn around my niddy noddy.   This allows the yarn to be wrapped into a big hank that takes up a relatively small amount of space.  I made this niddy noddy of PVC pipe, so once I have the yarn on there, I just hold it under water to dampen the yarn and then let it drip and dry in a bath tub.  This will do to the yarn what blocking does to a knitted piece – it sets the twist in the yarn so it will stay the way it dries. 

skein of yarn

Big loop of yarn

This big loop of yarn came off the niddy noddy once it was dry.

ball of yarn

Ready to knit

Then it gets wound into a ball.  Next…. swatching and knitting. 

Just a couple more craft shows left for the season.   Dec 1 at Oak View Elementary in Maple Grove, MN and Dec 8 at the United Methodist Church in Zimmerman, MN.  Then I plan to have store hours here at the farm until Christmas.

Step 3 of my Special Project

This is the next step in the hat I’m making for the member of our family who is going through chemo treatments and has lost his hair. 

Step 3 is to spin the fiber I carded in Step 2.  But first, I need to empty two bobbins. 

yarn wound off bobbins

2 empty bobbins

I wound the yarn from 2 bobbins into balls to be used later.  Now I have the bobbins I will need to spin the black fiber into singles.

black fiber

Divided in half

I use my scale to divide the fiber into 2 equal amounts.  Each bag of fiber will be spun onto a bobbin as a single-ply yarn.  My goal is have the same yardage of yarn on each bobbin.  That will require me to spin the same thickness of yarn on each bobbin. 

spinning wheel

Ready to go

Yes, those are my bright magenta knees before my spinning wheel.  I wear a pair of very slick nylon jogging pants when spinning fine alpaca fiber from batts.  The fiber does not stick to the slick fabric, which helps the spinning process.

tiny fiber bits

Fiber bits

Each bag of fiber is a bit over 3 ounces and took about 3 hours to spin.  After completing the first bag, I had a bunch of tiny second cuts which I pulled from the fiber as I was spinning. 

2 bobbins of yarn

Bobbins complete

After a second spinning session, I had spun all the fiber onto these 2 bobbins. 

Step 4 will be to ply the singles and set the twist. 



My special project – Step 2

With the black fiber washed and dried, the next step is to card it.  But my carder has most recently been used to card fiber for cat toys or felting soap.  Neither of these requires a clean carder or concern of mixing colors.  In fact, I usually switch from brown to white without cleaning the carder, so I get some tan fiber to use.

dirty carder

My carder – Before

 My carder needed to be cleaned.

dirty carder

From the front

I didn’t want this mixture of white and brown, coarse and fine fiber on the carder to be mixed with the very soft black I would be carding. 

clean carder

My carder – After

So I cleaned my carder until it was looking like new.

clean carder

Front view of clean

 With the help of my vacuum cleaner, I got nearly every stray fiber removed from my carder.   A long over-due cleaning was completed.

pile of batts

Batts carded once

First, I carded all the fiber one time and piled up the batts.  The fibers were not quite ready for spinning.

fiber carded once

First time through

Above is a batt held up to a window.  You can see that there are still clumps of fiber.  Another time through the carder is needed.

fiber carded twice4

Twice through the carder

After a second time, the carded fiber is much more aligned and ready to be spun. 

batts rolled and bagged

Batts are ready to be spun

I roll each batt up into a roll and pile them into a bag.  Step 2 is done.  Step 3 is spinning the fiber into yarn!

Starting a special project

Last summer when I got 60 pounds of white alpaca fiber from Kinney Valley Alpacas in Wisconsin, I also got one black fleece for me.  My goal was to join in the group knit-along with my spinning guild and make a Danish Tie Shawl.  My lofty goal is to card varying amounts of a white fleece I saved for me and the black fiber together to create yarn from light gray to black and then knit the shawl from this yarn starting from dark to light. 

But as the fiber sat and waited for my busy summer and fall to wind down, a member of our family was diagnosed with cancer.  His chemo treatments have caused his hair to fall out and he is in need of a hat to wear for the Minnesota winter.  He offered to trade pie for a hat!  That was the perfect incentive for me being oven-challenged as I am! 

And so I will share the making of a special hat: 

Step 1 – Washing the fiber.  I knew I would have plenty of black fiber for my shawl, so I pulled about 6 ounces out of the bag and washed it. 

fiber on drying rack


I hung the wet fiber on my drying rack which is on an old sheet on my bed under the ceiling fan.  In no time it was dry.

pile of fiber

All fluffed up

Compared to an egg carton, 6 ounces of fiber looks like a big pile once dry and fluffed up.  This fiber is so soft!  It will be a dream to work with.   

Stay tuned for Step 2 – Carding the fiber!