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!)