Pattern release : Starlight Scarf and Hat

KBP-19KBP-5KBP-17KBP-4KBP-6landscapeKBP-3   It’s always odd to work on knits for the coming season; a hat and scarf in summer? It’s funny to focus on something that doesn’t quite fit into the present. However, one must to get everything together and ready before the correct season has past! This sweet hat and scarf has a little story; they were inspired by the fact that whenever I travel back to England to see family and friends I always manage to forget something, and it often happens to be about the cold, wet and grey winter days….and a trusty scarf to keep out of blowing winds. Luckily there is a good supply of wooly winter ware at my parents’ house, and digging through it I always go for a scarf of my mother’s that features a simple one stitch color pattern and delicate picot hem. Last winter I wore this scarf to my old local town one day, and I stopped by the new local yarn store (oh how I wished it had been there when I lived there!), and happily discovered a healthy ‘British Wool’ section! In it was this gorgeous Bluefaced Leicester yarn from West Yorkshire Spinners*, in an array of natural fleece colours. Always a sucker for local fibers I snaffled up plenty and stored them away. Upon my return to American soil I realised how the buttery soft longwool fibers lend themselves naturally to a chunkier, longer version of my mothers scarf, and how perfectly fitting too.

I worked up a hat to match, fully lined for extra warmth (pom-pom optional to allow for reversibility, see pic below), and available in three different sizes. The outer and inner hats are worked separately and the stitches picked up through both at the cast on edge, to work the ribbing top-down. In Aran weight, both the hat and scarf are a speedy knit, and the simple colourwork is infectious! I can’t figure out which I love more, the hat or the scarf – good job I don’t have to choose!

So here is the Starlight Scarf and Hat, the first in hopefully an ever-growing collection of patterns focusing on British Wool.
*West Yorkshire Spinners ship internationally! Find the natural BFL here.

Yarn : For both Scarf and Hat; 4 skeins (MC), and 2 skeins (CC) West Yorkshire Spinners 100% Bluefaced Leicester Aran ; 100% Wool; 182yd/166m, 100g; photographed in Natural Brown 003 (MC) and Natural Ecru 001 (CC).
Or, 660yd/604m (MC) and 273yd/250m (CC) (includes pompom) in Aran weight yarn.
Needles : US 8 [5mm] needles, or size needed to obtain gauge, 16” circular, set of DPNs.
US 6 [4mm] needles, or size needed to obtain gauge, 16” circular.
Gauge : 19 sts and 28 rows = 4”/10cm in St st.
Notions : Stitch markers, tapestry needle, pom-pom maker (optional).


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Revisiting : Stepping Stitches

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With the decision to stop dying yarn and focus more on my knitting, I have spent some time going back over my existing patterns and paying them some attention.
I have given them a bit of an overhaul, updated the layout to make them more consistent with one another, perhaps tweaked the design a little, but, most importantly I have paired them each with a new yarn, one that is current and available.
In stepping away from my naturally dyed, CA grown organic yarn, which I loved to make available for others, I have decided to highlight yarns that might be American grown and spun, or organically grown, or naturally dyed, or all of the above! There are so many amazing yarns out there – some big names, and some small farms – and I’m going to try to convince you why they should be dominating your stash!!!

So with all this in mind; here is Stepping Stitches.
This scarf was my first pattern, and it was designed to teach a beginners knitting class. In fact it was the pattern I sent knitters away with once we had spent the afternoon drilling out knit and purl stitches. I’ve taken the orginal short, skinny scarf that was designed not to intimidate knitters into a scarf that I actually want to wear. The main factor? Squish. And a lot of it. I reworked the scarf to be almost 6 feet allowing a good wrap around the neck and shoulders, and it is wide, plenty of width to be worn more like a shawl if wanted. The stitch pattern is a classic one made up of simple knit and purl stitches, and in Elsawool’s Woolen-Spun? The knitted fabric is so so buttery soft, light and warm. I could go on and on about this yarn all day, but I wont right now, as later on this week I’m going to have a post specifically about the yarn used – something I will do for each pattern.
So those are the changes to the design and a little about the yarn, as for the layout? It’s just about keeping it simple. The pattern is a free download you can have a look for yourself here, but this is what you will find :

  • Clutter free layout. Easy to read yarn and needle requirements, simple abbreviation list, and if there are charts they are clear and to the point.
  • No huge images, to help with the cost of printing!
  • Links – they are all over the place. Anything highlighted in green is a link. This is to help people reading the pattern on their computer/tablet device/phone so much easier. For example :
  1. The pattern title will take you straight to the ravelry pattern page so you can jump straight there if you want more information, start your own project page, or to see other knitter’s projects etc.
  2. The yarn is linked to its online home, which is usually where you can purchase it directly from the company/farm. There is also a ravelry yarn link so you could quickly find out if someone is selling the yarn from their personal stash.
  3. The abbreviations have a helpful link in case you need a little support with some of the knitting terms.
  4. I also often link specific knitting techniques to helpful tutorials about the web, in case it is your first time using it. I’ve found this feature in other people patterns so helpful and have learned so many new methods this way!
  5. And finally contact details : my website and email. Please let me know if you have a question!

So there is a bit of an intro into what I’ve been up to : next up, the yarn!