A precious art teacher who I've had the privilege of working with at the Greenville County Museum of Art asked me a while ago if I could knit a slouchy hat for her to cover her dreadlocks when she does winter car duty at her school. Since it was just about time for a group of students that she had delivered to begin class, I gave her the keys to my car & told her to root around through the bin of handspun that I had not unloaded from market & throw the skein she liked on the front seat for me to deal with after class. She'd chosen an awesome green/orange/brown Merino skein.
Later that night I began searching for "slouchy hat" patterns on line. She was apparently doing the same & we both ended up at the same blog (http://atyarnsend.blogspot.com/2010/01/pattern.html ) so it was meant to be. I only had about 150 yards of the yarn she had chosen so the next time I saw her I brought along a black & white skein of Jacob that I'd spun that week as well as a handful of a pretty off-white Shetland fleece that my sweet husband had shorn just a few days prior. She chose the Shetland & I got to work. I gently washed the wool but left some lanolin in & spun a very textured yarn. I was actually splitting my time between knitting with the Merino yarn & spinning the Shetland. I wanted her to have pretty color around her face & then be able to work the neutral Shetland into the top of the hat to stretch the colored yarn.
I delivered it to her in her classroom this morning. We actually made a little bit of a show for her students out of the fact that she had asked me to create a project, I had done it to suit her & she was now paying me for my time, materials & skill. I also took along a sample of the original wool & gave her a picture of some of our Shetland sheep. In return she paid me & also gifted me with a lovely little tote bag that she had sewn. The money that I walked out of her school with goes right into the hay fund here & so will go back to the sheep. All in all, it was a very fulfilling endeavor.