Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Alpaca Scarf

When we were in Washington we took a day trip out to the San Juan Islands.  We only had time to check out one of the many islands so we went to San Juan – the most developed of the islands.  There was lots to see and do in Friday Harbor and the rest of the island and in just a few hours we were able to check out most of it, even if it was at a Speedy Gonzalez speed!

One of our stops was at the Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm. When we got there our first stop was to check out the cute and cuddly alpacas that were grazing in their pens.

P1090319   P1090322

They would come to the fence, but if you tried to pet them, they’d walk away.  They were very entertaining though! 

After a little bonding with the animals we went to check out the gift shop! 

They had some beautiful hand knit sweaters, socks, and scarves as well as stuffed animals.  I found a pair of socks that I really liked and as I was admiring them I struck up a coversation with the gal who was working there.  Turns out, she not only hand knit the socks from the “wool” (not sure if it’s called wool or just fiber) from the alpacas we’d just met, but she hand dyed the fibers as well!  I was pretty sold and was about to buy the socks, until I saw the price tag!  $60.  For socks.  I get why they were so much, but I just couldn’t do it. 

I was ecstatic when I saw that they had yarn for sale.  Hand dyed no less, by the woman I’d been talking to! As I was admiring the yarn the saleslady showed me the crochet patterns that she had created.  There was a simple scarf pattern that used exactly one skein of the yarn! It looked easy enough that I would be able to figure it out (I have never crocheted from a pattern)  I was sold!  

The only challenge was picking the 1 skein of yarn that I liked best! Naturally I picked purple!

When I got home it was time to start working on my do-it yourself souvenir. 


All my supplies, ready to begin!  I did have to go purchase a crochet hook in the proper size – I was surprised how dainty it was, I’d expected it to be a bulky scarf, but in the end the yarn was very thin. 


Before I began working on the real thing I did a practice swatch to make sure I was reading the pattern correctly and that I understood what I needed to do.  I did this before I got the new hook with some leftover cotton yarn so it’s much bulkier than the scarf was. 

The only stitches involved in the scarf were single crochets and chains!

As I worked keeping the yarn from getting tangled became an increasing problem!  As you can see in the picture above the yarn came all wound around itself and as soon I started pulling strands it started getting tangled.  I decided it would help if I hung the yarn up so I stuck it on the sliding glass door handle:


The yarn kept getting stuck on the edges of the door handle.  No good.

So I decided to hammer a nail into the wall and hang the yarn on it:


This was actually worse because the other end of the yarn started getting tangled.  Eventually it was so hopelessly tangled I had no choice but to stop crocheting and starting with the loose end of the yarn, wind it into a ball.  This was a slow and tedious process because the yarn is very fine and all the same color and the knots were tight.  As a further complication the more tangled it got the more it started to fuzz up and there were lots of little (and not so little) fuzzies compounding my untangling! Finally I got it all rolled up into a nice ball and I was ready to keep going.


Here’s a close up of the detail:

P1090547The rest of the scarf continued until I ran out of yarn!  I managed to get it exactly right as I was left with about 8 inches of yarn when I was done and I didn’t have to rip anything out because I ran out of yarn before I’d finished it! 

Here’s the finished scarf:

P1090591 I really like it! It’s very soft!  I’m also really excited that I made it myself, following the pattern and it came out right!  It’s a little short and a lot daintier than I’d expected so I’m not really sure when I’ll wear it, but it was lots of fun to make! :-)