Coral Got an Alpaca Earflap Hat

It is not, in fact, the ugliest thing ever. It has now grown on me.

Don't look too closely because I hadn't quite worked out what I wanted until, you know, I was practically done.

Coral loves alpacas.  And llamas.  Need some proof?

I happened to have two balls of Misti Alpaca Chunky in color 7238, a grassy green.  They were going to be mittens for me, or legwarmers to go with the boots I ordered from Zappos which are on their way to my house RIGHT NOW.  But how could I not knit this for Coral when I knew how much she wanted one?  And how much she would love it?  And those puppy dog eyes?

I used size 8 needles, two sizes smaller than the recommended needle size for a denser fabric which the super soft and lofty yarn needed forced upon it.

I started from the top down because I really hadn't worked out how I was going to knit the earflaps yet, I put them off.  I could only find four of my dpns so I cast on and worked my increases in groups of six.  I kept two stockinette stitches together and purled between them every non increase row, increasing on either side of them on the knit rows.
Eventually the garter stitch in the round got boring so I switched to stockinette.  It took exactly two rows for me to realize I had turned it into a condom and I couldn't have that, so I decided to switch to ribbing, which is the wrong choice when you think you are knitting a condom.  So I broke it up with alternating rows of ribbing and stockinette.  I felt OK with it.
But the ear flaps were still looming.  I remembered seeing some hats in the past where the flaps were worked with short rows instead of two different balls of yarn and decided to try that.  It took two passes of short rows to get the flaps large enough.  I had a hard time working my pattern of alternating ribs and stockinette in the short rows so this area is riddled with flaws.

I was hit by inspiration to put an i-cord edging on it. Why? I don't know.  It was fiddly, but I think it worked out ok.

At this point I was convinced it was shit. It was horrific, it smelled of vinegar (What the hell is that about Misti Alpaca? Actually I know why it would smell of vinegar, technically, neutralizing the pH after dying and all, but I have a hard time with a commercial product still actually smelling like vinegar once it has hit store shelves. Wash that out.), it was probably too big.
I was wrong. Like Mary Poppins, it was "practically perfect, in every way."

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