I promised myself, a long time ago, that I was going to knit Jerry a sock-hat made from “Libby fur”. More precisely, made from the washed, spun, downy undercoat of the much-loved Great Pyrenees dog that saved Jer’s life back in 2009.
I have several bags of “Libby fur” patiently waiting for the right project – already washed, dried and gently stored away. I came across this beautiful fiber (and an equally big bag of Abby’s soft sable undercoat, which I absolutely cannot bring myself to even open just yet), this week while looking for my next spinning project.
I haven’t forgotten Libby, but I had forgotten my plans for this hat. I think it will be the perfect Christmas 2022 gift for Jerry.
The problem is; although Jer wants a “Libby” hat, he doesn’t want a white sock-hat. He likes dark colors like black, brown or gray.
Sure, I could dye the white dog fur, but that sort of takes the fun out of it (for me, anyway), and would be less likely to evoke wonderful memories of this special dog every time Jer wears the hat.
Besides, from a purely practical viewpoint, dog fur has absolutely zero “memory” or elasticity. Whether I went with white or not, I’d still have to blend the dog fur with wool. Otherwise, his new hat would hang down the sides of his face like … well, like wet dog fur.
So, I’ve pretty much decided to create a darker wool hat with white Libby stripes. I have some expresso brown/black Shetland sheep roving, some brownish-tan Targee sheep roving, white Cormo wool, and a ton of Libby’s soft, luxurious white undercoat.
So, I started blending …
After blending on the drum carder, my “white” batt is now about 50/50 Libby undercoat and fine, white Cormo wool. The white stripes will definitely be the softest, most luxurious yarn in this [mostly] wool hat.
The first thing I did was to measure out my available fiber by weight – white (dog fur and Cormo wool), tan (Targee wool) and dark (Shetland wool) – and then divide each in half.
I left half of the black/brown Shetland roving and half of the Targee as is, to spin into yarn for solid stripes.
The other half of each of my colored fiber was then divided again. One section of Shetland was combined lightly on my drum-carder with an equal amount of Targee for a variegated dark brown/tan batt.
The other section of tan Targee was blended with white Cormo, just a bit of Libby and random streaks of dark Shetland for a (mostly) lighter variegated tan batt.
I currently have five batts ready to spin, varying in color from white to blended tan and white, to blended tan and brown, to dark expresso.
I’m not sure yet what order the colors will end up being knit, but I think Jer will like it. I have plenty of time to figure the pattern out. My first priority is to spin it all up, and since my summertime spinning is sporadic at best, that may take a while.
A couple of the drum-carded batts have now joined my wheel in the RV, so that’s a start. Hopefully, by the time I have to bring the wheel back into the house in the fall, I’ll have a bunch of yarn ready to knit with. If not, I’ll just keep spinning my wheel.
Don’t worry. Libby won’t mind waiting a little longer. 💗