Araluen is a town in New South Wales, Australia, that had 293 people at the 2011 census. Araluen means “water lily” or “place of the water lily” in the language of the first people of Australia. Before the local gold rush wrecked the place, there was an Araluen Creek that was filled with water lilies. No more. But Jo Anne Klim of Penrith, New South Wales, and kbjdesigns has her own view of Araluen. And I think I see echoes of water lily in this interesting but repetitive organic stitch.

This Araluen is a cowl. The pattern is available for purchase on Ravelry. My version is worked in Malabrigo Rios in the Archangel colorway. Here’s a closer look.


I wanted a really stretchy bind-off, so I used “Ribbing Bind Off” from page 118 of Cap Sease’s great book, “Cast on, Bind off.” You purl 2 together, knit one, lift the right stitch on the right needle over the left stitch and off the needle, then bring the yarn to the front, slip the stitch purl wise back from the right needle to the left. And keep repeating. It worked really well. It’s so much fun when old dogs learn new tricks.

I enjoyed knitting Araluen so much that I decided to cast on for another cowl right away. This next, much more calm version, is knit in Anzula’s great yarn For Better or Worsted. It’s 80% merino, 10% cashmere goat, and 10% nylon. Soft, flowing, great next to the skin.


Klim has released a number of patterns in this stitch, including socks, fingerless mitts, a hat, or an ebook with the entire collection of four patterns.

I completely enjoyed knitting the cowls and also gave the hat a whirl.


I knit mine in Malabrigo Rios. I’m a big fan of the Carrot Tops colorway. It can be just the ticket to banish the winter blahs. An interesting ribbing. An easy-to-memorize 4-row main pattern. And, a must for me, a doesn’t-come-to-a-point crown.


A very nice way to echo the stitch pattern in the crown because it keeps the squiggles in line.

In fact, I’ve now knit another. This time in the Rios colorway purple mystery. (And I have the purple fingertips and hands to prove it. The dye leached out like crazy.)


The Arualuens even have a surprise for knitters.


The reverse side looks great! So, when you give it to someone with a knitwear I.Q. in the single digits, they can wear it inside out and it will still look good and you won’t be shamed.

What’s the fuss…Malabrigo

This is another project from Cascade, this time from “220 Projects from Cascade 220.” Cute idea for a book. Not too many of the 220 projects in that book have captured my interest, but this is an interesting twist on an old idea: “Spiral Rib Hat” by Mary Lou Egan. I’m the only one who has knitted it and posted it on Ravelry. It deserves more attention. The top of the cap, in particular, renders the swirl quite nicely.

But, what you may notice most is that it isn’t knit in Cascade 220. From the look of it, there is no mistaking that this is not Cascade 220. And from the feel of it, there is no mistaking it for Cascade 220. If someone handed this cap to you in the dark, on a moonless night on Hillman’s Long Lake, you would know for sure it’s not Cascade 220. And you would not want to give this cap back. I’m also a big fan of Cascade 220, so I’ll just leave it at that.

This is Malabrigo merino worsted, in the sapphire-magenta colorway. I’d never heard of the yarn until I learned about it from other Ravelers. As of today, there are 48,706 projects knitted of it and posted on Ravelry. It’s currently stashed by Ravelers, awaiting project production, 29,962 times. In fact, there is only one yarn that has been used more often in Ravelry projects. Yes, that would be Cascade 220 wool. That’s been knitted up in 55,793 projects so far.

So, what’s the fuss? Malabrigo merino worsted feels like a cloud would feel if someone spun it into yarn. The yarn is kettle-dyed pure merino from a small family-run company in Uruguay. That’s their story, anyway, and I’m not gonna question it. It is wonderful yarn, for sure. Maybe that small Uruguayan family adds mass quantities of Downy Fabric softener into their sheep’s breakfast. At a minimum, their kids must be deployed to assure that the family sheep never roll in thistles.

If you have an “eek–not wool–wool makes me itch” person in your vicinity, try this yarn. The stuff will make a believer out of them.

Knitted Hats

amandaKnitting hats is pretty much instant gratification.  If you make a mitten, you have to make another.  If you make a sock, same thing.  A bored knitter, or for that matter an adventurous one,  can create mismatched pairs.  Still, such things must happen in twos.  But not hats.

It also helps, paraphrasing Elizabeth Zimmermann, that people will put almost anything on their head.  And since heads come in all sizes, a knitter with a bunch of humans in her vicinity can forget about stitch gauge.

This hat is “Amanda,” a free pattern by Gina House of Londonderry, New Hampshire.  (Ravelry’s Sleepy Eyes).  Ravelers have already knitted it 1570 times.  Mine is knitted of Malabrigo merino worsted, in the Snowbird colorway.

Next,  is Kate Atherly‘s Spider Hat. It’s a cute creepy knit.

spider Below,  from left to right, is a seeded stitch hat using Debbie New‘s cellular automaton technique where you apply a bit of math to create a pattern.  Maybe Debbie’s degree in microbiology and raising eight children is the necessity that influenced her inventiveness.  Next is Wendy Keele’s Tassled Pull On Cap, minus the tassles.  And Mary Dominski’s Celtic Braid Hat in yarn from Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill.