Rare Sheep Hat by Clare Lakewood

Rare Sheep Hat

November 2014
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
28 stitches = 4 inches
in pattern stitch
US 3 - 3.25 mm
US 4 - 3.5 mm
175 - 258 yards (160 - 236 m)
Teen (adult small, adult large) to fit a 20 (22, 24)”/ 51 (56, 61 ) cm head.
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This pattern is available for $6.50 USD buy it now

Yardage Requirements
You will need approximately 175 (191, 210) yards/ 160 (175, 192) m of fingering-weight wool in the main colour for a teen (adult small, adult large)/18 (19, 20)”/ 45.5 (48, 51 ) cm circumference hat.

You will need about an additional 48 yards/ 44m of main colour yarn if you want to make a pompom (that gets you a very, very full and firm pompom!)

You will also need approximately 26 (27, 29) yards/ 24 (25, 27) m of soft fingering-weight wool for the brim lining.

The instructions are designed so that row gauge is not critical, allowing yarns to be more easily substituted (you only need to hit stitch gauge!)

Techniques used
Provisional cast on
Knit 2 together
Purl 3 together

Why Rare Sheep?
One of the best things about hand-knitting is that knitters are not confined to the merino that dominates the commercial knitwear world. There are hundreds of other sheep breeds, some of which are now endangered. Each offers fleece with its own unique characteristics, falling somewhere on the spectrum of soft to coarse, drapey to bouncy, matte to glossy. As an added bonus, many breed-specific yarns are available in the natural shades of the sheep’s own fleece - shades of tan, brown, grey and black. They often come from small farms that prioritise care of the animals and the environment that they live in.

This project is designed as a quick knit to encourage you to explore yarn from a rare sheep breed. A contrast lining in a yarn you know is soft helps protect your forehead and ears from any coarser-than-expected wool. A simple stitch pattern creates textural interest reminiscent of a curl in a lock of fleece, whilst still allowing the qualities of the yarn to shine.

Buying breed-specific yarn
Breed-specific yarns are not always easy to find! As of 2014, yarn from rare sheep breeds may be found online at the following places:
In the USA: Elsawool (www.wool-clothing.com) produces a fingering weight Cormo yarn, and Etsy has a number of small farms selling breed-specific yarn, often only available seasonally;
In the UK: Blacker Yarns (www.blackeryarns.co.uk) and Iriss of Penzance (www.iriss.co.uk) stock a variety of rare breed fingering weight yarn.
In Australia: Bilby Yarns (www.bilbyyarns.com.au) produce Western Dreaming 4-ply, a Corriedale yarn; Tarndie (www.tarndie.com) produces a Polwarth 4-ply yarn and Ton of Wool (www.tonofwool.com) produce a fingering weight Cormo yarn.
In France, Renaissance Dyeing (www.renaissancedyeing.com) produce a Poll Dorset 4-ply yarn.

I have not purchased from all of these vendors, they are listed merely as avenues to explore.