By Denise Renee Grace
Recently Rebecca Mezoff and I went sheep shearing. This is one of my favorite times of year. The coats of the sheep are big and fluffy around their pregnant bellies. They get sheared before lambing to make it easier on everyone. After the ewes are sheared, they tend to want to have their lambs in the warmth of the barn instead of in the cold field. Shearing always inspires me to dig into fleece. I love the smell and feel of it. I love everything about it!
One of the sheep that got sheared was named Georgia. I took a pound of her CVM fleece and got brave enough to try washing it in the washer. I put the wool in lingerie bags, filled the washer with HOT soapy water. (To make sure it was really hot, I added a kettle full of boiling water). I gently put the bags into the water making sure they were submersed in the water with a wooden spoon. I followed with another soapy wash, one rinse with vinegar, and one with just plain hot water, not agitating at all, only going through a soak and spin cycle. It worked!
Usually, I use a drum carder, but I wanted to try the method of holding a 72 psi carder on my lap, taking a lock of hair, "flicking" it, and then spinning one right after the other. It was an interesting experience. I thought this would be a shorter process than drum carding. Now writing that, I realize that it might have been an unrealistic expectation, but I had the crazy idea that it would be quicker. It was not. Also, it didn't homogenize the color, so it had patches of darker spots. I did like that look for this project. In the end I had spun about 3 ounces of fiber into 195 yards of a two ply DK weight yarn, using my Schacht Matchless to spin and my Ladybug to ply.
I like the circular nature of crochet hats, but love the ease and flexibility of a knitted rim. So I thought, why not do both? I used the appropriate size crochet hook for the yarn (I love my Addi Swing hooks), then I switched to knitting needles picking up stitches around the edge of the crocheted portion. I gradually went down a few sizes to make the brim fit tighter.
The warmth of the fleece paired with the open-knit fabric makes this the perfect spring or fall hat! Thanks Georgia!
Ben likes the hat too.