A long time ago (well, about 6 months ago) I picked up some lovely handspun alpaca from Whitehorse. It's so soft and squishy and beautiful, and I bought it as an encouragement to take knitting lessons. I didn't want to use it for my first project because it's a bit on the pricey side (I think it was $24 for each 100g skein - although I think the yarn for Rowan's dress was actually a lot more expensive, altogether) and I sensed it would be harder to work with. And, it's special - I can't get Yukon alpaca yarn here.
With my first project successfully completed and feeling like I could actually knit, I set about finding a suitable pattern for the alpaca. I knew I had about enough for a hat or something about the same size (I bought two skeins, one brown and one beige - they are both natural colours, not dyed). I had no intention of buying a whole book of patterns, but the hat on the cover of this one was SO cute and probably well-suited to the yarn, plus there are loads of gifty-type knits inside, so I sucked it up and bought it.
Cute, no? And not too terribly difficult. In fact, this evening I managed to do the ruffles (which are two pieces knit together then continued to form the band) without messing up anything. I'm quite giddy about it, which is why I'm blogging instead of going to bed.
The alpaca is lovely to work with, soooo soft and silky. Some people find alpaca scratchy to wear, I don't think I do as I have fond memories of an alpaca sweater I had that sadly met with an unfortunate dryer accident and went to live with a coworker's five-year-old. But I digress. I think I *might* actually be able to get two hats out of my yarn. I'm going to try, anyway - worst case scenario I get the crown half-done in the same colour as the band and then have to unravel it and do the crown in the different colour. The pattern calls for one 50g ball, so I'm hopeful - although I did have to knit a tension swatch (and then get larger needles, and knit the swatch again) so that's a small chunk of it gone (I had to block the second swatch to make *sure* it was close enough to the correct gauge). I wonder who the knitting goddess is...? I've got a prayer or two coming her way.