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.

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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.

New Pattern Release – Laura’s Beanie

Laura’s Beanie, oringinally published in Cast On, the magazine of The Knitting Guild Association, is now available as an individual pattern download.

Named for a character in the PBS show Home Fires, this hat was inspired by the motifs and colors of vintage Fair Isle sweaters and vests from the 1940s. The pattern uses just four colors, and no decreasing is done in the patterned section, making it a good beginner Fair Isle project. It’s also a great way to use up those little bits of stash yarn, and with three sizes from Youth to Adult large, you can knit one for everyone you know!

Laura’s Beanie is available now on Ravelry, Payhip, and Etsy.

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2021 in Review – and My First Handspun Pattern!

Happy New Year!

I took some time off during the holidays to be with family, and since coming back I’ve been doing the work of closing out 2021 and planning for the upcoming year. In 2021, I published 6 new patterns and 15 blog posts, and taught my first ever online class! Teaching the class on breed-specific yarns was one of the highlights of the year for me, and I hope to do more teaching in the future – maybe even in person.

This year I have some new designs planned, of course, but I am also focusing on updating some old favorites. I’ve mentioned before in my newsletter or on Instagram that I want to update the Suora tee pattern to include larger sizes, and will hopefully be testing and releasing that in the coming months.

The Towline Hat. Photo by Matt Graves for Spin Off Magazine

I’ve become confident enough in my spinning now to begin designing patterns from my handspun, and my first effort, the Towline Hat, was published as a subscriber exclusive on the Spin Off website just before New Year’s. If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen a teaser there. It’s a cozy, squishy cabled hat knit in woolen-spun 3-ply yarn. (Spin Off subscribers can find the pattern here.) The pattern features Tunis lambswool fiber from Tarheelbilly Farm (she has just updated her shop with both fiber and yarn, so do have a look).

I will be publishing this as a downloadable pattern once this exclusivity period ends, and it will include a commercial yarn version for those who don’t want to spin their own.

If you’d like to be the first to hear about new releases and receive exclusive discounts, sign up for my Monthly Musings newsletter. As a thank you, you will receive a free download of my Diagonal Rib Cowl pattern.