I don't know why I sometimes get so excited about a work-in-progress, really love the finished item, but then don't have the courage to wear it.

It's with some delight that I've just set the Ravelry status for my grey fluffy peaked hat to 'Finshed' and put a big smiley face beside it. Yes, it has joined the very select group 'FPs that I'm really pleased with'. It's taken less than two weeks, including spinning the yarn (alpaca - blended natural white and natural black - see an earlier post).

My friend Jenni was kind enough to model it for me today. She generously said that it looked OK on me, but it certainly does look far better on her.

not peaking too early

Nearly on the decreases now. This must be one of the quickest projects I've made so far. I guess it's partly thanks to the 6mm needles, but mostly thanks to a real burst of stitching activity. I'm not sure where it's come from, I don't think the hat will really suit me.

I took this a little earlier today (when the sun shone briefly). I really like the variation in the colour.

Going on ahead

Is casting on the most exciting part of any project? I love casting on, and it keeps me going through the fibre preparation and spinning.

I've got myself fired up about making a fluffy grey hat. Alpaca will be perfect, and I know from making some grey yarn before (which I called Carrara) that I can mix natural black and white to get varying shades of grey. It's amazing how a creamy white and a chocolatey dark brown make a beautiful slightly bluey-grey. I wasn't sure how to get the same effect with a drum carder that I'd achieved with hand carders, but I found that making several passes and blending the colour well still gave me enough variation in the spun singles.

At first pass it looks as if I'm carding a badger...

I'm not happy with the alpaca I have. It's allegedly been carded, but has lots of VM and has a high proportion of very short fibres. After a good carding (and throwing away the resulting fluff) it's much better.

You can see how there are dark and light areas in the singles - perfect.

I've gone for two-ply. I've managed to make quite an even 12 wpi.

I couldn't find exactly the right pattern. I've written my own pattern by 'hybridising' a few that were nearly right.

Having cast on and knitted the peak, it's the long mile now through the increases and then downhill through the decreases until finishing with a bit of stitching up. (When we have some sun I'll take a better picture!)