Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Some foraging, and the making of a slouchy hat

Autumn has come to my part of the woods. The first storms of the season are hitting our coasts, and people cuddle up in sofas and comfy chairs after their day is done. The days are drawing shorter and the evenings are darker. I love the long bright days of summer, but somehow I greet the fall with joy.

I've been to the forest to stock up on berries for the winter, it just feels good to prepare and also harvest the bounty. But now the freezer is packed, so forest wandering is purely for leisure.

These are 6 kiloes of  lingonberries.
 Lovely as jam accompaning savoury foods.

We have not yet had any frosty nights, but the mornings are getting quite nippy, so why not stock up on hats? They are quick to knit, and Ravelry are brimming with lovely patterns.

For my pattern, I chose the Fruju hat, which is free on Ravelry. It's a simple slouchy hat in feather and fan stitch pattern, that creates interest and life to a simple shape.

The yarn I used, is spun from my first self dyed wool roving. Wool roving is carded wool that is arranged in a long continous sliver. This format is great for making multicoloured effects on the spinning fibre, as you can lay it out and paint the dye directly onto the fibre "sausage". It is much fun, and of course I had to learn how to do it!
The wonder machine in question, the Ashford drum carder.
Image borrowed from the Ashford website

I was really really lucky this summer, because I stumbled upon a used drum carder for sale, and that NEVER happens! Spinners usually hold on the their carders like treasure, and now owning one myself I can see why. They are awesome, and provides so much possibility!

The process is simple, you card your wool onto the drumcarder, and when it is fully loaded (mine takes 50grams) you pull off the fibre through a tiny hole to form a long strip/sausage of wool. See a short demo video here. The wool can now be either spun, or dyed if you wish.

I used a washer to pull my fibre through.
Worked like a charm!

I love colour so I tried to dye the roving into a gradient, with a darker purple that would fade down the roving. As with so many trials, there was error, and it didn't come out as planned. There was more undyed wool than I wanted, but when I spun it, it turned out kind of gorgeous :)

And when I knit it, I liked it even more :) The pattern was great for selfstriping yarn, and it is so much fun to see ones own yarn turned into something useful.

I went up a needle size from what is suggested in the pattern, because it fit the thickness of my yarn better. I ended up with a loose fit, but it's ok. I love my Fruju hat :)


  1. Turned out great - I can't believe you spun and dyed the wool too, such skill!

  2. So Jealous! I've only been spinning wool for a little over a month, but I am on the hunt for an affordable second hand drum carder, but I'm not sure I'll ever find one! Your wool turned out so gorgeous!

    1. No, they are quite hard to come by... But keep your eyes and ears peeled, and someday your luck will strike ;)

  3. You are so talented! I love wool, it's the touch and the smell, and the cozy warmth it offers. There's no match to this material. I am amazed that you are able to make your own wool yarn almost from scratch (I see you growing sheep in the future...). Unlimited possibilities! I envy you, as my knitting skills are so poor.

    Enjoy your lovely hat. It's autumn here in Switzerland too, we had very hot days until mid-September, now it's suddenly awfully chilly in the morning. On the positive side, I can wear now my woolen cardigans.

    1. Thank you Doris, for your kind words:) I love wool too, it is such a versatile medium! But I'll have to say, I don't think I want to be a sheep farmer. But alpacas.....??? Yes!

  4. The hat is splendid! I have an Ashford drum carder too.

  5. Mmmmm..those lingonberries look wonderful! I love the fall too. After the heat of summer (it is still hot here), I welcome the cool fall breeze and snuggly nights.

    You look beautiful in that hat. I am just throughly impressed by your knitting skills.