Curlew in Crisis

This week I have been working on a project for a friend. She sent me a link on Facebook to a beautiful knitted hat designed for the RSPB to mark the fact that May 2018 is ‘Curlew Crisis Month’.

If, like me, you are not familiar with the Curlew let me fill you in. They are a type of wading bird characterised by a long, slender downturned beak and brown mottled plumage. The most widespread species is the Eurasian Curlew known as ‘Whaup’ or ‘Whaap’ in Scotland. They are called ‘Curlew’ as that is the sound that they make. They are beautiful birds but, according to the RSPB, they are becoming rarer due to loss of habitat and the increased population of predators such as foxes or crows. There are only 400 breeding pairs in Wales and possibly as few as 250 pairs in Northern Ireland. The Curlew Recovery Programme is working with farmers, land owners and conservation groups to help restore good quality habitat for curlew to breed and thrive.

The RSPB is running a series of events to raise awareness of the Curlew which you can find out about on their website.

I ordered the yarn from Jamieson’s of Shetland. It’s a gorgeous 2-ply Shetland Wool called ‘Spindrift’ and it comes in a variety of colourways. I have ‘Eesit’, ‘Moorit’, ‘Granite’, ‘Shetland Black’ and ‘Shaela’.

L-R: Shaela, Moorit, Eesit, Granite & Shetland Black

I haven’t really done much colourwork like this before so I was excited to have a go. I chose to knit the brim flat before joining the hat in the round although, in hindsight, I wouldn’t mind just starting in the round in future. I think I changed up to the bigger needles a little early in the pattern as well but I don’t think it has made much difference. I have discovered a love of this kind of knitting though. Miss T announced that it was just pixel art and that she has a million designs that she’d now like me to produce on hats and scarves so we’ll have to see how that goes in the future. It did feel quite a lot like 3D printing though!

Hat in mid-flow

Once completed I blocked the hat. I don’t have a convenient mannequin head for this purpose as I very rarely make hats in wool (except the Owl Teabag hat which can be blocked flat) but I found a balloon which blew up to about the right size. It was floating around our conservatory drying earlier in the week. All I need to do now is add a pom-pom and I can post it.

Blocking the hat on a balloon

I might consider adding this hat to my Etsy shop to make again in the future. The cost of the lovely yarn makes this a more expensive proposition in comparison to my other hats but I am also planning on donating a percentage of any that I might sell to support the Curlew Recovery Programme.

I should, hopefully, have completed pictures for my next post later in the week.

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