The rainbow of Seathwaites

A rainbow of Seathwaite hats (free pattern)

The only knitting I’ve done since I got back from Seattle two weeks ago was one night when I worked the last few rows of my superbulky stockinette hat. Which means I’m positively dying to knit — and specifically dying to knit my Seathwaite. I’m torn about yarn, though. I want this one to be mine all mine, need it to be a little bigger than the pattern dimensions, and don’t want to go up a needle size with the Cumbria and the cables and have it look less perfect than the original. So I need to pick a yarn I can cable on 7s. But meanwhile, I’m admiring the hell out of all the hats appearing on the #fringehatalong feed! Whereas our last hat, Laurus, inspired all kinds of variations, what stands out about the Seathwaites is the incredible range of colors and yarn types and how great it looks in every iteration, from ivory to black, pale pink to magenta, chartreuse to forest green, you name it. Here’s just a sampling—

ROW 1: Our beloved test knitter @jo.strong1’s in Cumbria (Scaffel Pike) (modeled by Meg) and @thegirlmoth’s in Cumbria (Helvellyn)

ROW 2: @iiinesg’s in Beiroa (Branco), minus the doubled brim, and @modaveloce’s in Cumbria (Windermere) (photo from @toltyarnandwool)

ROW 3: @blueberryhillcrafting’s in unspecified Bumblebirch Yarn and @knitpurlpdx’s in, I believe, Cumbria (Dodd Wood)

ROW 4: @lauraadarby’s in Portland Tweed (discontinued? color unknown), with a fold-up brim, and @recklessglue’s in Galway Highland Heathers (color unknown)

And of course, there are tons more on Instagram and Ravelry.

It’s never too late to cast on any of the Fringe Hatalong hats and join the fun. Just pick one out — they’re all linked in the right rail of the blog — and jump in with hashtag #fringehatalong!


PREVIOUSLY in the Fringe Hatalong Series: No. 5: Seathwaite by Kate Gagnon Osborn

Knit the Look: Marihenny Passible’s black cable beanie

Knit the Look: Marihenny Passible's black cable beanie

Is it seriously November right now? I can’t believe how not-far-fetched this picture looks — Marihenny Passible stylishly fending off snow flurries in a chic black cable beanie with a big cheeky pompom. If you’re gonna knit a cable hat right now, obviously I’m gonna think it should be the current Fringe Hatalong hat, Seathwaite by Kate Gagnon Osborn (free pattern right here on Fringe). To make it more like Marihenny’s, you could knit it in The Fibre Co’s Terra in Coalwood; skip the provisional cast-on for a folded rather than grafted brim, and top it off with the biggest pompom you can manage.

For the full view of Marihenny’s outfit, see Vanessa’s original post.


PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Rachael Wang’s silvery cables

Street style photo © Vanessa Jackman; used with permission

Fringe Hatalong No. 5: Seathwaite by Kate Gagnon Osborn

Fringe Hatalong No. 5: Seathwaite by Kate Gagnon Osborn (free pattern)

I knew from the outset that I wanted the October hat for the Fringe Hatalong Series to be a cable hat, and one of my favorites is by my friend Kate Gagnon Osborn (of Kelbourne Woolens, distributors of The Fibre Co. yarns). When I asked her if there was any chance of using it, she suggested designing a whole new pattern for us, and the result is Seathwaite, modeled here by Kate herself. Seathwaite is a gorgeous beanie with a toasty double-thick brim and allover cable patterning that looks jaw-dropping but is doable even if you’re new to cables. There are only three different cable crosses involved, with cabling on every other round, so it will be easy if you’re an old hand, and a good challenge and lots of great practice if it’s your first time. As noted in the preview, the pattern is written for The Fibre Co’s new Cumbria yarn, which is a fantastic blend of Merino, Masham and Mohair, and I’m super excited to knit with it. Thank you so much for creating this hat for us, Kate!

See the preview post for additional yarn guidance and download the free pattern to get started. And be sure to share your progress everywhere with hashtag #fringehatalong.


Gauge for this pattern is given as 20 sts (one chart width) = 2.75″, so what you can do is simply knit one repeat of the chart and 4″ of row height and measure that. To keep the edge stitches from being wonky and throwing off your measurement, cast on a couple of extra stitches at each end and work those in garter stitch. Then just measure the 20 pattern sts in the center to get your width. You’ll also need to swatch “in the round.” (See Ysolda’s tutorial if that’s new to you.)


Charts: Everything I said about lace charts holds true here — working from the bottom right corner, how to make it less intimidating, etc. So review that if needed. (See also the chart-reading tutorials on the Kelbourne Woolens blog.)

Provisional cast-on: Kate has posted a tutorial on the Kelbourne blog for their preferred method, which is the crochet method. You may use any provisional cast-on you like for this hat.

Knitting cables: See my intro to cables, for beginners, and Kate’s how to cable without a cable needle if you want to advance your skills

Fixing cables: If you cross a cable the wrong direction and don’t notice it right away, never fear — it can be repaired! The Yarn Harlot’s tutorial taught me this incredibly empowering technique and changed my knitting life in the process. Mistakes are awesome growth opportunities!


For those inclined to donate their hats, this month I want to highlight another group providing warmth and aid to Syrian refugees, organized by knitting designer Laura Nelkin and functioning as Knitting for Munich. You can see all the details at that link, but their next shipment will be going out in mid-November so the timing is good for helping with this effort! If you’re planning to donate, email for where to send your hat.

DOWNLOAD THE SEATHWAITE HAT PATTERN and remember to share your progress with hashtag #fringehatalong wherever you post. Also be sure to fave/queue the pattern at Ravelry. I’ll be on the lookout for photos everywhere, and will be answering questions posted in the comments below. (Sorry, I’m not able to reliably answer questions across multiple platforms!)

Happy cabling!

Fringe Hatalong No. 5: Seathwaite by Kate Gagnon Osborn (free pattern)

Photos by Anna Dianich

Hatalong No. 5 PREVIEW

Fringe Hatalong No. 5 PREVIEW

If you know anything about me, you know I love Fall and I love cables, and I think the two go together like peanut butter and jelly. So in plotting out the Fringe Hatalong Series patterns, naturally I wanted the October hat to be cabled. This month’s pattern been written just for us by one of my favorite designers, and while it’s striking and incredible and intricate-looking, it’s doable even if you’ve never done cables before. I promise! We’ll be working from a chart, so if you’re new to charts take a minute to read through my notes about that from the Hermaness Worsted intro.

I’ll reveal the hat and post the pattern here next Thursday, October 29th. Meanwhile, let’s gather our yarn!

Recommended yarn: The pattern is written for The Fibre Co’s new Cumbria, which is a really special yarn. It’s a worsted-weight blend of 60% Merino, 30% Masham and 10% Mohair. Merino, of course, is incredibly soft. Masham is a British longwool that’s a natural light grey, which creates really beautiful, muted colors when it’s overdyed. And the Mohair gives it a nice bloom when it’s blocked. So it’s a yarn with loads of touchability as well as great stitch definition. I really recommend trying to get your hands on a skein of Cumbria for this if you can. Ask for it at your local yarn shop.

Suggested substitutions: Cumbria is 238 yards per skein, and the hat does use most of that (allowing enough for swatching if you’re into it), so if you’re substituting, make sure you’ve got equivalent yardage. Cumbria’s recommended gauge is given as 18-20 sts per 4 inches in stockinette stitch on US6-8 needles. Because cables knit up more tightly, this pattern’s gauge is 20 sts per 2.75 inches on US6. But you want to start with a yarn with a similar base stockinette gauge to Cumbria in order to get similar results, so consult the ball band on whatever yarn you’re considering and look for that 18-20 sts on US6-8 range. Any nice lofty, neatly-plied, worsted-weight yarn will give you good stitch definition for the cables, but the fabric will be a little bit different from Cumbria’s fiber blend, depending on what you choose. Some good alternatives suggested by the pattern designer — if you’re stash-diving or can’t get Cumbria — would be Brown Sheep’s Lamb’s Pride Worsted, Green Mountain Spinnery’s Mountain Mohair, Fancy Tiger’s Heirloom Romney or Istex’s Lett Lopi.

I do recommend sticking with solids/heathers/tweeds to allow the cable pattern to really shine; variegated yarns will compete with or even blot out the appearance of the cables.

So get your yarn lined up and be ready for the big reveal next Thursday! And keep those #fringehatalong posts coming.


PREVIOUSLY in the Fringe Hatalong Series: Laurus by Dianna Walla

Best new hat patterns — Fall ’15

Best new hat patterns — Fall ’15

Fantastic new hat patterns have been publishing at a furious pace lately (and I know a lot of you are formulating your holiday hat-knitting lists), so I thought it was time to round up some of the most enticing ones—

1. Karusellen by Erica Smith — very likely my next colorwork project

2. City by Mari-Lynn Patrick —simple chic

3. Weston Beanie by Mary Jane Mucklestone — lovely, delicate colorwork

4. Fair Winds Beanie by Churchmouse Yarns (free pattern) — classic cables

5. Manx by Andrea Rangel — captivating criss-crossing cables

6. Spire by Shellie Anderson — architectural allover texture

7. Ponderosa by Melody Hoffman — sweet mix of textures

8. Kringla Hat by Jennifer Hagan — lighthearted mix of cables and bobbles and fluff

Of course, if you’re looking for hats to knit, I highly recommend the Fringe Hatalong patterns: Audrey, L’Arbre, Hermaness Worsted and Laurus (so far). And for more hat ideas and inspiration, scroll through the whole hats tag.

Queue Check — September 2015

Queue Check — September 2015

It’s colorwork season over here, y’all. (And knitalong season, obviously!) I’m finally sailing through my Laurus from the Fringe Hatalong Series — but I flubbed it! I was knitting while socializing the other evening, looked down at one point and realized I had knitted the final colorwork row all wrong. It’s just a few rows of stockinette back, so I’ll rip it soon and finish it up. I forgot how fast a plain ol’ stockinette hat knits up! Even with a few rows of colorwork thrown in.

And of course the big sweater on my needles at the moment is my Cowichan-style Knitalong vest, up top.

Honestly, I was a little perplexed about this vest. I chose grey, black and ivory for the “color” scheme because it’s my failsafe. But as much and as long as I’ve been wanting a Cowichan-style vest, I honestly wasn’t sure how I would wear it. (Which troubles me, given my “don’t make it or buy it until you know how it fits in” rule.) Over the weekend, I was plotting out some sewing projects, sketched a simple top-and-skirt combo for some plaid fabric I’ve been dying to sew up, realized the vest will look amazing with those two pieces — worn in various combinations with other things — and now I can hardly stand the wait. After casting on the ribbing Sunday night, I realized I don’t think I’ve ever been this eager to see a project develop. Fortunately, it shouldn’t take long!

I mentioned last month that I’m not planning a Rhinebeck Sweater, per se — this vest will be my Rhinebeck sweater. But there is one other thing I’d like to have for my Rhinebeck trousseau, which is that Linda scarf I’ve been talking about for months on end. I still want it in what’s left of my stash of camel-colored Shibui Merino Alpaca. So as soon as I finish Laurus, that will be next on the needles. I realize a whole scarf is almost as ambitious as a sweater (coming from one who has never knitted a whole scarf before) and Rhinebeck is only three weeks away — and I have a vest to knit! — but I’m fantasizing about it anyway. No pressure, Karen!


PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: August 2015

Laurus your way

Laurus your way

I’m officially the Fringe Hatalong laggard — nearly done with my Hermaness Worsted and barely started with my Laurus. But oh how I love watching the hats roll in. Laurus is definitely creating the most diverse results, which I guess is not surprising given the extra level of opportunity for variation afforded by the colorwork. We’ve seen everything from the very pale to the dramatically dark, with the quite bright and everything else you can think of in between, but apart from the color choices I thought I’d highlight some of the subtle changes people have employed to tailor this one to their own liking:

TOP: There are a couple of ebony and ivory versions on Instagram — @ecr00neg and @simonesmanufaktur, above — both of which, coincidentally, omitted the stripes.

BOTTOM LEFT: There are lots and lots of pompoms and a couple of lengthened brims, but @kiyomibee made her brim long enough to fold up. Along with the contrasting pompom, of course.

BOTTOM RIGHT: I thought there would be a lot of people using three colors instead of two (although I failed to suggest that possibility up front). @wintiliviknits knitted her stashbuster with four: a forest-y green with both pink and purple (navy?) stripes, plus ivory for the leaf motif. With a four-color pompom.

Mostly I’m thrilled at how many people who’ve never tried colorwork before have jumped in with this simple little Laurus hat and reported back that I was right — perfect place to start!

SHOP NEWS: Field Bags and bonsai-style scissors are both back in stock, so go get ’em! Due to the postal holiday on Monday, we’ll be doing a special shipping session tomorrow morning for tonight’s orders. Note that orders from tomorrow morning through Monday will ship on Tuesday when the PO is picking up again.

Happy long weekend to those in the North America! Make it a good one, wherever you are—


PREVIOUSLY in Fringe Hatalong Series: Laurus by Dianna Walla