I have a big bag of cream Aran wool that was donated to me by Joanne of the Cup On The Bus blog. I was looking at it and enjoying a squish when I noticed that there were 2 different dye lots. Even though they looked identical, I know from past experience that mixing dye lots in one project is just asking for trouble. So I decided to make my squishing a bit more productive and sorted the wool into 2 smaller bags.
This wool is Emu Genuine Bainin Aran. I was curious about the word "Bainin" and looked it up. It comes from the Gaelic "ban" which means white and is used to describe undyed wool. There must be some poetic licence involved as the dye lot numbers confirm that the wool has been dyed.
The labels on the wool made me laugh. They are plastered with shamrocks to give the impression that the wool comes from Ireland. But the small print says "Made in England". Maybe the sheep lived in Ireland and the mill was in England. I'll never know!
So I had 200g of one dye lot and realised that I could knit this up easily before my life becomes a bit too hectic. One pattern sprang to mind instantly. It is the free Nottingham hat pattern which I have knitted before. Last time, I used a tweedy wool which looked lovely. This plain Aran wool also suits the pattern perfectly, probably because of the cables. I knitted the child size and was amazed that one 50g ball was almost enough. It lasted until just before I started the crown decreases.
I recommend this pattern to knitters with some experience. The hat is knitted in the round and the cables require a bit of concentration....especially the first round. But there are only 17 rounds of cable pattern and they are definitely worth doing. The crown decreases are very neat, which always pleases me in hat patterns. This hat will eventually go to Operation Orphan and will keep someone very warm.
I have already started a scarf to use up the remaining wool. Watch this space.....