I’m just, you know, kninjating

You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t posted at all this week. The temperamental camera of DOOM has been on the fritz again, and I find my own blog posts far less interesting when there’s nothing to look at. This seems to be generally true for you, too, because I’ve noticed that my posts without pictures get far viewer hits than those with pictures.

With that in mind, here’s a picture.

Get it?? That’s the pot calling the kettle back! Get it?? Ha!

Yeah, well, shut up. I thought it was funny.

Look, just because you don’t have the same sense of humor as me, it doesn’t mean it isn’t funny. It isn’t funny to you, OK? It’s funny to me.

I do too have a sense of humor! Many, many people think I’m funny.

Actually, no. My mom doesn’t think I’m very funny at all. But other people do. A lot of them.

Look, maybe we could talk about something else, OK?

In knitting news, despite my lack of camera, I’ve braved ahead and made a basic blue hat for my older son out of the Koigu Merino Crepe I showed you before. I’ll post a pattern, simply because I looked for a pattern for a basic kid hat and didn’t find one that was intended for children older than age three. I also noticed that the way I do my decreases when I make a hat seems to be different than the way other people do it. I always end up with a spiral on top. I like the spiral, because I like spirals and round shapes in general, but when I looked around at other hat pictures, I saw no spirals*. So I figured writing up a pattern would be a nice thing to do, because it’s possible that other people will like spirals, too, even people who don’t think pots calling kettles back is funny.

The Koigu Kersti is good stuff, but a little disconcerting. It does not feel like wool at all. Crepe is an accurate description, actually, because it has that dry, slightly crunchy feeling of crepe paper, but manages to be very soft at the same time. I’m not usually one for a changing colorway, but I like the watercolor look of a handpainted yarn that stays within one color family. All in all, I loved the yarn and would use it again for a kid knit in particular, because it’s cheerful and warm without being scratchy. Boyo’s been wearing his hat most everywhere since it came off the needles, even though it is warm outside.

I also chose to add to the list of unfinished objects that will decoratively festoon my home for the next three months, because it was all getting to be too manageable, and we can’t have that, now can we? The heap of baby alpaca was just calling to me, and I started on Calista’s McQueen Knockoff. Those are some fun cables, yo, and it’s turning out to be a pretty fast pattern. I’m more than halfway done with the back already. I love the Andean Treasure so very much. Heathered yarns, apart from tweeds, are my favorites, and the color I chose, Embers, is a blend of bright red and black wool. It outlines the cables in the most fascinating way. The black becomes more visible around the edges.

A recent Craftster discussion explained to me why baby alpaca invariably feels so soft but other alpaca sometimes does not. Apparently grown alpacas have something called guard hairs – longer, thicker hairs that feel prickly in a garment. Baby alpacas do not have guard hairs. A brief Google search told me that alpaca breeders prize alpacas with fewer guard hairs, and breed to eliminate the guard hairs altogether. Who knew? I would assume that guard hairs might serve some sort of purpose on the alpaca, but none of the articles I found by breeders mentioned that. Perhaps they’re these super sensitive antennae and no one knows. Or maybe adult alpacas use them to measure the space through which they can fit, and when alpaca breeders finally succeed in eliminating them, we’ll see alpacas wedged into small spaces they thought they could fit through! Think about it. Messing with Mother Nature is dangerous.

Anyway, that’s why baby alpaca is so soft.

*Um, yeah, I’m an unobservant idiot.  I’ve since noticed spirals just like mine on most knitted hats.


3 Responses to “I’m just, you know, kninjating”

  1. R. Says:

    Some breeds of sheep have guard hair, too. The wool I’m spinning right now is white, with red (yeah, red!) guard hairs. It’s kind of disconcerting, because I keep thinking a strand of my own hair got spun in. At least they are easily spotted and removed.

    I have to wonder how smart it is to breed alpaca without guard hair. As far as I know, guard hair protects the undercoat. Since alpacas don’t produce lanolin to protect their coats, breeding guard hair out seems to leave their hair at risk.

  2. Kathleen Says:

    And there was me thinking baby alpaca wool was alpaca for babies, not alpaca from babies!

  3. Kristen Says:

    It hadn’t occurred to me that spinners would know about wools and guard hairs and the like! Now I understand why some people are so inexplicably knowledgeable about alpacas. I assumed that guard hairs protected the alpacas in some way, but I didn’t realize they lack lanolin. Thanks for the information, R.! I will now impress my friends and family with my newfound knowledge, or at least annoying the living hell out of them by bringing it up at inopportune moments.

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