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.

More Totalee Slouchee


If I find a pattern I like, especially a hat pattern, I’ll often make more than one. That’s odd because I suffer from Second Sock Syndrome (and Second Mitten Syndrome) and I often have to push hard to get the second of something done. This is Totalee Slouchee by Jo-Anne Klim of KBJ Designs.

The pattern is incredibly simple. It uses an interesting slipped rib brim that progresses very quickly. And the rest is just totally wonderful mindless knitting. There are times when that’s what a knitter wants. Combined with Schachenmayr’s great self-striping DK weight, Merino Extra-Fine Color 120, this simple knit is enlivened. You want to see how the next row of color and the next and the next will line up. Soon you reach the excellent crown decrease.


Recentlly I knit this one and then promptly cast on for another Slouchee in another colorway of the same yarn.


And, to remind, this was my first.


Great yarn. Great simple pattern.

As the weather turns…more hats


I typically proceed through the world hatless. It takes super cold weather or knowing I’ll be out in the cold for prolonged periods before I wear a hat. But still hats are among my favorite things to knit. You only need to make one. And gauge isn’t super important because I always have access to some some head of the right size. Twenty below this winter in Michigan has even managed to improve my personal attitude toward wearing hats.

This is “Totallee Slouchee” by Jo-Anne Klim, of KBJ Designs. The pattern is available for purchase on Ravelry. The hat uses an interesting, easy, slipped-rib brim. Slouch seems to be a currently popular style and this hat slouches nicely.

My Slouchee is knit in my new favorite self-striping DK weight yarn: Merino Extrafine Color 120 by Schachenmayr Original,  I used the London Mix colorway. The yarn had no knots or color breaks in the two skeins I used. I’ve since found some knots in another colorway I used for a project, but these two skeins were perfect. One of the cool things about this yarn? The skein has a slotted band with the proper end to pull taped and easily accessible. No more yarn barf!


This next hat is Amy van de Laar’s “Paper Planes” from her Paper Hats series. The hat features a ring of classic paper airplanes as seen from above, outlined with twisted stitches that make for nice crisp edges. Well, honestly, you have to let your imagination roam a bit to see that. Still, it’s an interesting design.



The pattern and the entire series of origami-inspired hats are available for purchase on Ravelry. This was a fun knit. I used String Theory Caper Sock. Caper Sock is an 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon mix that worked up beautifully in this pattern. I’d have been a tad more pleased with this toddler-sized hat if I had increased the length to the crown decreases by an inch or two.

This next one is Alicia Plummer’s “Rainy Tuesday.” The large-size version, which mine is, maintains the raindrops motif around the entire hat. It’s an appealing stylish hat. The challenges the pattern presents are all surmountable, with a bit of experience and a bit ‘o help from your Ravelry-mates.


My Rainy Tuesday is knit in Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash. Great yarn with excellent stitch definition.

Here’s a few more views of Plummer’s Hat.


Rainy_Tuesday2The instruction for taming those pointy crown decreases was to block aggressively. I haven’t tried that yet, but it’s a tall order. I’m prepared to declare it a design feature.