Collage of handknit items with text overlay reading "Fasten Off YAL Designer: Nov 25th - Dec 31st"

Fasten Off Yarnalong Starts Today!

The Fasten Off Yarnalong, an annual off-Ravelry stitchalong, begins tonight (at 9pm ET), and I am once participating as a designer.

There are 109 designers participating this year, with patterns for knitting, crochet, and Tunisian crochet. The event will kick off with a sale of 25% off select patterns from participating designers, with code FO2022. All my individually priced patterns will be on sale in my Payhip, Ravelry, and Etsy shops (note that the event will be run off Ravelry).

The discount period will last through December 8th, so there’s no pressure to shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday if you’d rather enjoy family time. The Yarnalong itself will run through December 31st.

You can find all the details on how to participate, and search the database for designers and patterns, at the link below. If you’re planning to knit a few holiday gifts this season and would like some company, and fun games and prizes, come join me!

Get the latest news and pattern updates by subscribing to my monthly newlsetter. The newsletter is filled with helpful tips, fun links and exclusive discounts. You’ll also receive a free cowl pattern as a thank-you for subscribing.

Choosing a Yarn for the Towline Hat

I recently released my Towline Hat pattern as an individual download. The original hat was knit in handspun yarn, and since not everyone can (or wants to) spin their own yarn, I thought I’d give you a few tips on choosing a commercially-spun yarn for your project.

The yarn I spun for this project isn’t likely to match any millspun yarn exactly – that’s the nature of handspun yarn. But it has a few characteristics I think are important for a successful cable project.

What To Look For In a Yarn

To start with, I recommend using a 3- or 4- ply yarn for this project. The roundness of multiple plies makes the cables pop. I rarely spin a yarn with more than 3 plies, because for my purposed 3 is usually enough to give me a nice round yarn. I added extra twist in plying my handspun to make it extra round and bouncy. Commercially, however, 4-ply yarns are more common, and that will work perfectly.

I also recommend choosing a wool or wool-blend yarn for this project, one with some bounce. Tunis wool is a medium-staple wool with some spring, which, again, helps to make the cables stand out.

Choosing a Commercially-Spun Yarn

For my handspun version (the cream version in the image above), I was working from roving, which is a woolen preparation, and I also spun it with a woolen draft. So I chose to use a woolen-spun commercial yarn as well. You can substitute a worsted-spun yarn, but the result will be somewhat different. Worsted-spun yarn is smoother and has less air, so your cables will have a smoother surface and be denser overall. If you want to see the difference, check out my Golden Hour hat and cowl, which is knit in Valley Yarns Valley Superwash, a smooth worsted-spun yarn.

My handspun always tends to be a bit denser that a similar-weight millspun yarn. In other words, the grist – or yards per pound – is lower than the commerical yarns I chose. It’s always a good idea to try and match the grist when substituting yarn, but that was difficult in this case. Brooklyn Tweed Ranch 02 (above, left), while not the same grist, has a similarly dense feel to my handspun yarn. Brooklyn Tweed Tones (above, right) while it knits to the same gauge, results in a lighter weight fabric. If you want a lighter weight hat that is still lofty and warm, or you live in a warmer climate, Tones is a good choice. In fact, the Tones sample is the one I wear most often here in Central North Carolina; I save my handspun version for our colder, snowy days.

Would you like to be the first to hear about my new patterns? Subscribe to my Monthly Musings on Knitting and Fiber. As a thank you, you will receive a free cowl pattern as well as additional subscriber-only offers.

New Pattern Release – Towline Hat

The Towline Hat is now available as an individual download. Originally published on the Spin Off website, Towline is a cozy cabled hat that harkens back to classic Aran sweaters.

The pattern includes instructions for two adult sizes, and spinning notes for those who would like to make their own handspun version. For the non-spinners, I’ve also included commercially-spun yarn recommendations, and I’ll talk about choosing your yarn in a future post. For the individual pattern I’ve also added an option for a beanie version in addition to the original folded brim, watchcap version. The cables can be worked from charted and written instructions, and all of the cables can be worked without a cable needle. In a worsted/ Aran weight yarn, this hat will knit up quickly and have you ready for fall in no time!

The Towline Hat is available on Ravelry, Payhip and Etsy.

To get the latest updates subscribe to my Monthly Musings on Knitting and Fiber. You will receive a free cowl pattern as well as additional subscriber-only offers.

Wear Your Knits: the Rule of Thirds

In a couple of recent posts (here and here) I shared examples of how I create outfits with my handknit garments. In this post I want to share a tip I often use when putting together outfits with handknits: the rule of thirds. This rule of thumb is based in a concept called the golden ratio.

The golden ratio, is a concept that is used frequently in art, architecture, design, and photography. Here is an illustration, using what is known as a golden rectangle. The golden ratio occurs when the ratio of side a to side b equals the ratio of the total length a+b to side a. (In case you’re interested, the golden ratio is also closely related to the Fibonacci sequence of numbers, which converges toward the golden ratio.)

Numerically, the ratio is equal to approximately 1.618. So proportions of 1/3 to 2/3 are close to this ideal ratio, but so are proportions of 2/5 to 3/5. This means you can also break an outfit into fifths (even though we call it the rule of thirds). Any proportion that is near the golden ratio will appear harmonious to the eye, and the asymmetry creates more movement for the eye than an outfit that is divided in halves.

Using the Rule of Thirds in Outfits

Here is an example of how I use the rule of thirds in my outfits, using the Suora tee. The top is about 1/3 the total length, and the pants about 2/3.

The rule of thirds doesn’t have to apply to every garment in an outfit. If I were to add a cardigan or jacket to this outfit, which I frequently do on cooler mornings, it could be longer than the top and your eye would still register the underlying top-to-pants proportion. You can play with this proportion by tucking in your top, or wearing a cropped sweater over a longer layer underneath. If you’d like to see some other outfit examples, check out this post.

I also use the rule of thirds in designing garments. Below is a photo of my Campus Cardigan sample. As the arrows show, the length of the lower dark gray section of the body is approximately 2/3 the length of the upper medium gray section, or 2/5 of the overall length. The sleeves are the reverse – the dark gray section is approximately 2/3 the length of the sleeve. (The medium gray section is the same length as the medium gray section from the armhole to the top of the stripe on the body, so that the stripes line up when the sweater is worn. But I digress.)

The rule of thirds applied to sweater design. The lower dark gray section of the sweater body is approximately 2/3 the length of the upper medium gray section.

It goes without saying there are no hard and fast rules. Wear whatever looks good to you. But if your knits are stuck in your closet because you can’t figure out how to pair them up with your other garments, the rule of thirds can be a handy trick to help you create outfits you’ll be confident wearing.

Would you like to be the first to hear about new patterns and updates? Subscribe to my Monthly Musings newsletter below. As a subscriber, you’ll also receive my free Diagonal Rib Cowl pattern.

Wear Your Knits – the Suora Tee

This is the second post in my series on how I style my handknit garments. In the first post I wrote about styling my Composure Cardigan. Today, I’ll show you how I wear my Suora tee.

Suora is knit in 100% linen yarn, and makes a versatile T-shirt type wardrobe piece. It can also be worn with a variety of ease, depending on your preference. In the photos I am wearing the sample size (98 cm / 39 inches), which is about 4 inches of ease in my upper chest and 0 inches of ease in the full bust. One of these days I plan to knit myself a larger version to wear more oversized.

How I Wear the Suora Tee

My favorite way to wear Suora is with wide-leg linen or linen-blend pants.

Another favorite outfit is Suora with a midi-length skirt.

Choosing Colors

If you’ve been following this series you may have noticed that I have a lot of denim and chambray in my wardrobe. They make a perfect neutral to wear with many different pieces. I tend to prefer wearing neutrals with a single piece in a bright or rich color or print. One trick I use is to keep a pretty consistent color palette, so that I can easily mix and match pieces. I have just a few pieces in other statement colors to make it interesting.

Stay tuned next week for some tips on how to put together an outfit using your handknits. I hope to continue adding to this series in the future. In the meantime, I’ve started a Pinterest board with handknit outfit ideas.

Would you like to be the first to hear about new patterns and updates? Subscribe to my Monthly Musings newsletter below. As a subscriber, you’ll also receive my free Diagonal Rib Cowl pattern.