Handspun Alpaca Polar Bear Chullo

I'm so chuffed with this hat, it's my second colourwork project. I'm still not a big fan of stranded work but I'm slowly warming to it. Warming being the operative word because with the floats at the back the fabric is almost double-thickness. Very cosy. Plus the earflap design (slightly oversize I have to admit) engulfs my massive head. It's unusual for me to have a hat that fits, let alone generously.

This project started with a request to take part in the Appleton Back to Back Challenge (please support if you're able, it'll be a fun event for a very good cause)

Worried about making a fool of myself when it came to the spinning, I asked for a sample of the fibre for practice. John, the owner of the alpacas sent me a very generous amount in three beautiful and complimentary shades; jet black, mid and dark brown (I'm sure that in the alpaca world these colours have official names - I'll have to ask).

The spinning went far better than I'd hoped and produced far more yarn than I'd expected.

Alpaca doesn't contain lanolin, so even straight off the animal it feels very clean. It's tempting to simply spin the locks without washing. However, the locks contain a surprising amount of dirt which (even after carding, during which much dropped out) turned into dust, went up my nose and covered my wheel and the room generally. In future I'll try washing before carding. Unfortunately that won't be an option at the Challenge because the beast will be clipped and we'll have to start work right away.

While spinning I was searching for suitable patterns. The gorgeous colours obviously ask to be used in a colourwork project, and I had enough for a hat and thought that an alpaca pattern would be perfect. After much searching I spotted the polar bear chullo and fell in love! The link between alpacas and polars eludes me but that incongruity amuses me. (I had to spin some white from white locks that I had already.)


Sue Doran said...

That's a super hat! The Appleton Back to Back Challenge sounds like just my kind of thing but a bit too far way (specially after spending 5 hours travelling back from holiday in the car last weekend). Hope the weekend is a big success and look forward to reading all about it. I've shared it on Facebook in the hope that some of my crafty friends can make it.

peahen said...

Thanks Sue and thank you for the share. I'll report back after the event!