This is my blog to share my adventures, misadventures, exploration, and experimentation with fibre- and as it turns out, with life as well. There is some of both. One thing leads to another. Collecting, spinning, weaving, dying, learning, building a web of relationships. Here we are: welcome.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Peruvian earflap hat

One of my granddaughters really really wanted a Peruvian earflap style cap.  Together we selected a pattern for a crocheted cap I figured I could manage (it's been years since I crocheted).  I'd love to do one of the fancy patterns full of bright colors, but that wasn't in the cards, either for my current skill level or for my granddaughter's needs.  Often fancy patterned caps tend to be relatively thin, and what my granddaughter needed was something thick and both wind and moisture resistant.  Vermont winters are variable. 

The cap we selected called for a thick yarn, with 4 st per in.  I had come by a few skeins of worsted weight Corridale yarn spun up by a local mill (a test run, I think, while they were checking out their setup).  A lovely celedon green flecked with blue.  I plied two strands together, creating a four-ply strand, just right for the gauge called for.  For the pattern yarn, I chain-plied (sometimes called Navajo-plying) the "rainbow" yarn, also of Corriedale) I'd made last year.  The chain-plying kept the overall order of the colors, and added more through the visual mixing!  Finally, I had spun some triple ply yarn of white Corriedale that I could use for the trim.  Amazingly, each of the yarns came out the same gauge! 

Here are the yarns (except the white) as I began the chain for the cap:


This is the pattern part of the cap, before beginning the decrease for the tapered top: 

And here is the finished cap: 

The pattern turned out to be poorly written and with some significant design errors. I ended up unraveling the band once and the top twice in order to correct errors in the written pattern.  Actually, I tore out parts of the band more than once, as I learned that crochet fair isle is done very differently from knit fair isle! And if I were to do this cap again, there are still other changes I would make. My advice: do not use this pattern!  When one downloads patterns, one takes one's chances.  And even commercial patterns are not immune: this was originally a commercial pattern.  An advantage of non-commercial patterns is that the originator often makes improvements based on feedback from other people and posts it. Something to keep in mind.

However, at the end, my granddaughter had a warm, stylish hat just in time for the bitterly cold winds we had this winter, made by my hands.  She was even warm during the sleet storms that we had too many of this year.  I wish I had a photo of her wearing the cap, but those still reside on my son-in-law's camera! 

I wouldn't mind doing more earflap hats (I get the next one!), but if I do, I am going to go the traditional route next time:  my own hand-dyed spun singles, knit in a traditional free-form pattern from the crown down.  Or, I'll just buy one from one of the several cooperatives selling caps knit by Peruvian women.  I like that idea, too.  Truth is, I'd rather spin and weave than crochet or knit!

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