Patterns for handspun part 4: Modular knitting patterns

So far in this series, I’ve covered different ways to make the most out of small amounts of yarn, combining it with commercial yarn, or combining it with other handspun. In this final post, I wanted to focus on patterns which could particularly show off the awesomeness of handspun.

There are many great example of modular knitting patterns on Ravelry. Modular means the knitting is done in smaller parts or modules, usually by knitting a portion, then picking up stitches on a contrasting edge and knitting on. In a similar way, short row shaping will put variegated yarn at angles to itself, making the most of the colour changes.



  1. Aranami Shawl by Olga Buraya-Kefelian.
  2. Queen of Diamonds Scarf by Sybil R – freebie.
  3. Mandelbrot by Alex Tinsley – freebie.
  4. Short Row Scarf #70531AD by Lion Brand Yarn – freebie.


That concludes my round-up romp through my favourite handspun-friendly knitting patterns on Ravelry. If you have some ideas, I’d love to hear.

Related tutorials:

Best tutorial ever is Carol Feller’s free craftsy class on Short Row Shaping.

With modular knitting, you’ll need to do some picking up of the stitches.

Patterns for handspun part 3: Layering garments

The likelihood that you’ll reach your hand into the stash and come up with a sweater-weight of wool is highly unlikely. It’s more likely to find you have enough for a shawl or a cowl, and that would be a pretty clear solution. However, how many shawls can you wear? I’ve already rounded up some accessory patterns as well as using handspun as an accent yarn.

Another idea is smaller garments. (No, I don’t mean kid clothes.) It’s easy to find sleeveless vests, tanks, shrugs and boleros through Ravelry. There are also some examples using unique construction ideas and shapes. These smaller garments could be worn layered with other clothes.

This is my super favorite, L’Enveloppe by Sally Melville. She has made this work in a variety of gauges. Here’s a quote from the project page.

“Because I want everyone to knit this in whatever yarn they like, I offer this in 5 sizes, 4 gauges (13, 14, 15, and 16 stitches to 4” /10cm) and 2 stitch patterns (seed or the easier garter). AND, it is worth noting that I’ve seen swatches that combined yarns–from a shop or a stash: for eg, a light worsted + a lace yarn will give you gauge, a dk + a sock yarn will give you gauge. (You will need the full yardage for EACH of the yarns you combine.) Because of all these choices, the yarn amount (as shown above) is very inaccurate: the amount of yarn you use will depend upon a) your size, b) your gauge, c) your stitch pattern. All of this is clear in the pattern.”

It’s a funky layering garment, something different than a cowl or shawl. I love looking at the projects, people have taken different approaches to the length and size.


Here are some more interesting projects from my Ravelry faves. I tend to pick ones which use heavier weights because I’m not able to spin that thin yet myself. Handspun is more textural so it doesn’t need complicated knitting stitches, plain stockinette or a garter will do.


  1. VuxenVinkel by Yarn-Madness – freebie. Uses 350 – 580 yards (320 – 530 m) in Aran.
  2. Simplicity Cardigan by Mary Annarella
  3. Villeneuve by Espace Tricot – freebie
  4. Casablanca Side to Side Shrug by Cheryl Beckerich
  5. Verdant by Gina Bonomo. This is similar to the boleros, but without something that closes across the front.
  6. Alpinia by Claire Slade – There are many cap sleeve cardigans, I like this simple yoke pattern.
  7. All About The Yarn Jacket by Iris Schreier – This is only available in a pattern book purchase with yarn.
  8. Diagonal Shell by Laura Bryant – freebie

There’s some interesting ideas there!

Also see:

Patterns for handspun part 2: Contrasting yarn

I still can’t seem to spin anything lighter than Aran/Worsted weight. So the yardage I get from a 100g braid of fibre is going to be pretty low. As I mentioned in my first post on Patterns for Handspun, Part 1, the obvious thing to do is simply search for patterns are 150 yards or less. However that will ignore many projects which combine contrasting yarns.

Using handspun as the contrasting yarn means you can get a larger project by combining with commercial yarn. You could pick from many striped patterns and the many colorwork patterns, but I’ve tried to find ones which would make the most out of nubbly bumpy handspun and variegated colours, and not compete with the colourwork. Of course not *all* handspun is coloured! But that is the focus in this post.

Loop by Casapinka is a perfect example. This pattern does indicate 400-600 yards. But actually it only requires contrasting yarn 130 yards for the small version and 200 yards for the large in a 4ply/fingering/sock weight. I’ve just completed Casapinka’s Dot shawl which requires 225 yards of fingering weight for the contrast yarn, and this is a great example of a hand-spun loving pattern.


Selected contrasting colour work patterns to show off handspun

Colourwork is a gigantic category, there are some useful projects for “scrap yarn” too. However, I tried to think of how plain commercial yarn would work with a more textured and coloured handspun. These are some of my favourites.



  1. Moonraker by Melanie Berg
  2. Cap Sleeve Lattice Top by Purl Soho – freebie. This would be cool with the handspun as the bodice, and a plain commercial yarn as the yoke.
  3. Loop by Casapinka – love this! It’s been outlined for fingering, but there are examples of heavier even worsted weights, you can stop whenever ya like.
  4. Pop Spots by Juju Vail. That looks like fun.
  5. Dot Shawl by Casapinka. I knit this and I can attest to the addictive nature of this pattern. I really miss working on it.
  6. West Desert Hood by Virginia Catherall – freebie.
  7. Pigment by Lee Meredith – Pigment can worked at any gauge in any weight yarn, which is a nice bonus!
  8. For the Love of Remnants by Kate Hiester – freebie. This was made specifically for remnants, but I think handspun would work for the yoke too.
  9. Fibonacci Twist by Ela Torrente
  10. Col Très Perso by Camille Coizy – freebie. How cool is this? A simple idea where the creative hand spun yarn with tortillons really makes this project special.


Patterns for handspun part 1: Small projects

As I’ve been sampling and building my stash of handspun, I keep an eye out for patterns which would show off handpsun very well. So I wanted to make a round-up post of some of my favorite patterns. I’m breaking this post up into parts so it’s slightly more digestible. I have a habit of super-long posts!

First: A note about using Ravelry

With Ravelry hitting 5 million members, I’m still surprised when I meet people who haven’t tapped into the rich ore of their pattern search tools. The pattern browser on Ravelry is super powerful. I have no idea of the mechanics behind the platform, but my guess is that it’s easier for them to optimize to logged in users, so you won’t be able to use the pattern browser unless you login. Even just checking the numbers of projects with < 600 yards, we’re taking about hundreds of thousands of patterns.

Best knitting patterns for handspun

In a blog post on working with handspun, Camilla Fiber Company says you can knit anything as long as you get gauge for a specific pattern. But there are some patterns that show off handspun better than others.  Depending on the handspun, even a plain stitch pattern would come out pretty exciting. In fact, more complicated stitches will compete with the yarn. I made the mistake of using a garter stitch on my first handspun knit, and I don’t think you could really see the yarn very well which had a special plying technique.

The main issue for me is the amount of yardage you can get.

  • Find projects with lower yardage. The obvious choice is the array of lovely cowls, hats and mitts.
  • Work in the round. I just learned that working in the round will take up less yarn than working flat. That makes sense, since you don’t need a selvedge.
  • Plain knit or garter stitches look super fine.
  • Modular knitting and short rows can contrast variegated yarns or stripes well.

Some of my favorite handspun-friendly knitting patterns




  1. Simple Chevron Stripe Scarf by Karin Martinez – freebie. This is set for fingering, but you could do it in any gauge and stop when you like.
  2. Bandana Cowl by Purl Soho – freebie
  3. Non-felted Slippers by Yuko Nakamura – freebie. This uses super-bulky yarn, 100 – 102 yards (91 – 93 m).
  4. Bulky Mobius Cowl by Haley Waxberg
  5. Luuk by Annis Jones
  6. toast by leslie friend – freebie
  7. Straightforward Cowl by Bethany Hendrickson – freebie
  8. Allways the same by Tuna 🙂– freebie. This is so cool because it would show off the variegated yarns really well. And it works for ANY gauge!
  9. Hoodie Cowl by Susan Sheby
  10. Best Friend Cowl by Ela Torrente


More info – 3 tips to get started knitting with handspun

Raverly round-up: 18 Knitted skirt patterns

A knitted skirt is a socially acceptable way to wear a warm blanket around yourself. knit-skirt kit

I saw this knitted skirt on Pinterest ages ago. It’s a kit in mohair. I love the loose knit transparency, and having knit with some of the Blacker Yarns 4-plys I knew that it could be very warm, even if transparent. The pattern doesn’t seem to be on sale in English/Ravelry. But judging by the look- I assume it’s got a waistband elastic and all some bulk at the top.

One thing I like about it is the simplicity, but I suspect the tedium of the same stitch would eventually force one to try something a little different, or possibly combine colours. For example, the feather and fan pattern in the Spencer Dress skirt or the chevron on this amazing knit dress.

So I started looking up patterns on Ravelry for knitted skirts – there are over 2,400 skirt patterns. I came up with 18 which I really like, and give me an idea of the knit skirt I’d like to make.

  • I like the patterns which use ribbing to make pleats.
  • I like the ones which combine colours in different stripes.
  • I like the modern/graphic looking patterns more than the floral patterns.

However, none of the patterns have the exact shape and construction I’m looking for, so I might be (dangerously) winging it!

18 Knitted skirt patterns on Raverly


  • Lanesplitter: Knitty – Free pattern. This is a modern graphic pattern.
  • Carnaby skirt: Knitty – Free pattern. Click through to see some projects, this uses contrasting stitches to get pleats.
  • Bulgarian knitted skirt: Free pattern. Also uses ribbing to make pleats.
  • Leaves skirt. This is just so pretty, the leaf stitch pattern in the gores are so nice. The stitch pattern is what makes the increases.
  • Between the clouds. I love this contrasting colour lace edge, feather and fan there.
  • Shetland skirt: Similar to others with a contrasting stitch in the gore.
  • Heichi skirt: This one has a lower back hem, and are those drop stitches? Like that transparency.
  • Lee’s skirt. I like those wide “pleats”.
  • Sidewinder: Knitty – Free pattern. This one has a cool construction.
  • Claudia evilla – I like the effect with the contrasting colours, this uses a little arrow shaped lace design in it.
  • Pleated skirt. More pleats!
  • Swing. This combines bias knit, thin stripes and short rows. The project photo is dark an hard to see, but click through to see projects!
  • Elderflower skirt. I like that diamond lace pattern.
  • Zig Zag Skirt: This is done in crochet, but I like those Zig Zags.
  • Herringbone skirt – Di Gilpin – Free pattern. This is a kind of wrap skirt. Looks like it would be quite thick, but I like the textured stitch.
  • Green bias skirt. Cool construction.
  • Flirty Skirt. Love the graphic shetland lace pattern panels. LOVE it. Shetland lace doesn’t look twee to me, somehow. This grows into a proper circle skirt so it’s swingy.
  • Klukka skirt– yeah yeah! Love this combo of lopi making the gradient at the bottom with a combination of colours.

With that said, I won’t get much done if I stay on Ravelry. I’m going to start knitting and see where it goes 🙂

My first sweater and why I want schematics

OK, this isn’t my first attempt at a sweater, but it will be the first I finish, by gum! It’s for my grand-nephew. The first in his generation. If I was a really great great aunt, I would have started a baby jumper when I first heard my nephew’s girlfriend was having a baby. I keep on thinking “babies having babies” but mum is 25! It’s me that’s getting old. So I’m making this a 6 month size because well, I have a bad track record for slow knitting.

Here’s my progress so far…

about 1/3 through. sleeves and part of the back.

about 1/3 through. sleeves and part of the back. link to ravelry project.

I was attracted to a simple drop-shoulder jumper from “What to knit when you’re expecting”.

I started on the sleeve, because then I could sort of double it as a swatch, and if it worked, yay! But it didn’t work. I had the right stitch gauge but my row gauge was waaaaay off. The sleeve was come out very narrow and long, I knew something was wrong. Because there no schematics in this book, you don’t have an easy way to check. So you count the number of stitches x gauge to find out I should have been making something that would be 5 inches x 10 inches. And this was coming out more like 5 inches x 15 inches (if I had kept on going).

sleeve coming out too long

Matching gauge?? That would take magic!

I was told “swatching” is a dirty word, and now I can see why everyone is frustrated by this. I mean what are the ODDS of actually getting the same exact gauge as the designer?? I’d say pretty slim. Even if you used the same exact yarn and the SAME exact needles. And the trickiest part of the  pattern I’m attempting is a simple trapezoid sleeve… What about patterns with loads of shaping?

That’s why I’m excited about Dani Sunshine’s workshop for Unwind Brighton: Do I really need to swatch?

I can’t change my needle size in this case to “match gauge”, and I don’t think I’d want to. The fabric with this yarn is just fine. I bought it in the US at a local yarn shop near my sister’s. With 4mm, the fabric is firm, but flexible and springy.

Holiday Yarns

So I made up my own pattern, as you do

This doesn’t seem advised for a beginner, but I was surprised… turns out a drop-shoulder pattern isn’t that hard.  I found this really great tutorial on SlippedStitches blog: Baby Sweater Sizing Standards What You Need To Know Before You Buy A Pattern The author gives standard baby sweater pattern sizes with schematics so you can make up your own.

Now I calculate how many stitches + 2 for seaming, and I was off! I used graph paper were 1 sq = 1 inch to make it easier to visualize.


Well there was some back and forth with frogging, but I finally have two sleeves, and starting on the body now. Since it’s straight it’s just smooth sailing.

I wish I had just done it in the round, but I think practicing seaming will be good.

Finding baby patterns that DO have schematics

What I’m confused about is… doesn’t a knitting designer have to make schematics anyway? Why didn’t the publisher include them? I don’t think I’ll knit anything else from “What to knit when you’re expecting”, well unless I make up my own schematic for the patterns. But but but… why not just include them… *sigh* saving paper? I have no idea.

So I asked the kind folks on Ravelry for some tips on baby patterns and books that DO have schematics.

I was looking for fun funky stuff, rather than just the twee usual suspects. I found this awesome site: 100 Baby Sweaters. Stephanie, the designer, said that ALL her patterns have schematics. She also has some free patterns in both crochet and knit. Like this cute cat hoodie in knit or crochet. And LOOK, Andy Warhol for a kid!

(image used with permission) #35 Marilyn -

(image used with permission) #35 Marilyn –

Finding patterns on Ravelry with schematics

I’m assuming there must be more, but it would be helpful if publishers opted to include schematics AND if they also marked their patterns as “has schematics” in Ravelry.

If they do that then their patterns will show up in a search for that pattern attribute: “has schematics”. Voila!

search for schematics



Interviews with Di Gilpin, knitwear and yarn designer

I love the work of Di Gilpin. The textured patterns, and simple lace and gansey designs. I can’t wait to try some patterns.

Have you see these videos? They evoke Di’s location, inspiration and style. She talks about designing knitwear and also designing yarns! A total dream, and so well produced.

Here you can see Di Gilpin’s knitting patterns, and luxury yarn.

Gansey Inspired Knitwear : Di Gilpin

Moray Star Gansey: Di Gilpin Knitwear

Lalland : 100% Scottish Lambswool: Di Gilpin