After the alpaca cowl I knit for my stepmom for her birthday last winter didn’t go exactly according to plan (felting fiasco), I picked up some alpaca yarn (100% baby alpaca by Blue Sky Fibers) when I was at Cozy, planning a hat for her for her birthday this year. I wanted her hat to be knit with 100% alpaca fiber (she loves alpaca, no wool for her) and I also wanted it to have a design on it with alpacas. (Oh, I should mention that my dad and stepmom have an alpaca farm! My stepmom adores animals, including her alpacas, and I wanted a total alpaca theme with this hat.) I was having a hard time finding a hat pattern with an alpaca design, but I finally came across the Tioga Alpaca Chullo hat pattern by Beth Lutz, and was so glad.
I had some alpaca yarn left from my dad’s hat (from Black Wolf Ranch & Fiber) in a tan color, that I thought would look nice with the deeper brown yarn I already had picked out. However, I knew the tan and brown wouldn’t have enough contrast for the colorwork band with the alpaca and snowflakes to show up well enough. While I was at Stash, I picked up another skein of alpaca yarn, this time a light grey, again from Blue Sky Fibers. That color combination worked out well, the grey and dark brown had a nice contrast that really made the design pop.
I have been loving knitting colorwork projects. (Truthfully, I can’t get enough of them. Watching the designs form with each round is like watching magic happen right before my very eyes.) When I found out the hat was knit with two strands of yarn at one time, though, I wondered if things would get a bit chaotic knitting with two strands of yarn at one time while knitting a hat with three colors. It ended up being just fine. Not only was the alpaca yarn so incredibly soft to knit with, but knitting with two strands at once and then having the strands in the back from the colorwork made it turn out to be the warmest hat ever.
I made great progress on it during our drive to California and back in February. (While I finished it up with some braids I thought about how my stepmom is the best french braider I know.) The hat needed to be blocked to flatten the design a bit, but after getting the hat wet to block it, it was wanting to stretch a bit too much. It ended up a tad too long, but my stepmom didn’t complain one bit- she just said she could fit her hair up in it while she did her farm chores. Bless her! I felt bad the hat wasn’t the exact fit I would have liked, but when her hair was up (which is how she likes to wear it with her hat anyway) the hat was a great fit so perhaps it was meant to be after all.
I was really proud of the finished hat because I had challenged myself with the pattern, and thought it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever made. (Ravelry notes here.) I was really excited to give it to my stepmom for her belated birthday present when we visited. Making nut butter was not all that we were up to while we were there, we also went down to visit the girls for a little hat photo shoot- alpaca style. (I owe them some carrots next time.) I think the gal in that first alpaca picture looks a bit suspicious, like she is not really sure if it the hat is genuine alpaca or not…“doesn’t smell like alpaca…” 🙂