Category Archives: Patterns

Choosing Your Yarn

Yarn substitution can be a very tricky thing. On the surface it seems like just picking a yarn with the same gauge should do the job but that is just the starting point!

I’ve had a few requests for substitutions for the Luwan KAL so I thought I’d do a little swatching and put my thoughts and some general information together for knitters.

Yarn varies is several different ways but the three most significant are; weight, construction and fiber blend. If you want to substitute a yarn within a pattern ideally all 3 of these items should be as close as possible to the original yarn used for the sample. Now if that’s not possible you can pick the items that are most important to you and swatch in the stitch pattern used.

This swatch will tell you a few different things:

  • Do you get close to the original gauge?
  • How does the fabric feel and move?
  • Does the yarn do the stitch pattern justice/does it look good?

Lets break down these yarn characteristics and discuss each one separately.


It seems like this should be an easy one – pick a yarn that is either named the same or has the same weight, right?

However yarn names are very, very confusing! For Luwan we used a yarn that is technically a ‘dk’ weight yarn but if you look at dk (double knit) yarns they can range from 20 to 24 stitches per 4″ / 10 cm. Due to this I’d suggest watching the gauge rather than the name of the yarn, this will be the best indicator.

With this yarn you can see that using 4.5mm (US size 7) needles I get a gauge of 18 stitches per 4″ / 10 cm in pattern. This is obviously a bigger gauge than dk yarn but yet the stitches don’t appear to be loose? There are a couple of reasons for this; firstly the pattern stitch naturally creates a bigger gauge than stockinette stitch. But also this ‘dk’ yarn is both a heavy dk and a single ply yarn. When you hold the yarn it ‘fluffs out’ and takes up much more space than it seems like it should! This means that it looks great knit more loosely than it’s name would indicate. I’ll talk a bit more about the construction in the next section. So when looking at yarn weight look for either a heavy DK weight yarn or a light worsted yarn for best results.


There are several different ways to make yarn. I’m definitely not a spinning expert but I’ve got enough working knowledge to get started and know how a yarn will behave.

The 2 main ways yarn is spun is either Woollen spun or Worsted spun.

With Woollen spun when the fibre is carded it’s allowed to remain scattered in different directions. This creates a yarn that will have loose hairs poking out but it makes a much lighter fluffier yarn. When you knit with Woollen spun yarn after blocking the yarn ‘blooms’, which means that it really fills in and softens the stitches.

Worsted spun has all the fibres lined up in the same direction. This creates a smoother but heavier yarn. You will have better stitch definition but you won’t get the ‘blooming’ effect after the yarn is blocked.

The yarn used in the Luwan KAL (Silky Single Targhee) is spun in a different way again. Both Woollen and Worsted spinning refer to yarns that are plied. This means that several strands of fibre are twisted together to form a strong stable yarn. This yarn however is a single yarn. This means that there is only a single strand of yarn twisting on itself. To give it a bit of stability and strength it is lightly felted which gives it a little firmness and durability. Often single yarns can be unbalanced, wanting to curl up on itself as you work. Fortunately the felting seems to help with this and this yarn didn’t have that issue. Due to the yarn being a single yarn it blooms very nicely when washed to create a nice full fabric.


Silky Single Targhee is made from 70% Targhee wool and 30% silk. Wool is the dominant fibre in the yarn and you can feel that when you are working with it. Silk adds softness and a bit more weight as it is a heavy fibre.

For substituting you could comfortable use a yarn that is 100% wool. I think it would behave well enough to hold the stitch pattern. Silk does add a little bit extra though!

Lets take a look at a few swatches now to figure out how all the factors influence our final swatches.

The swatch below shows from top to bottom SHELTER, Dovestone DK, and the KAL yarn Silky Single Targhee. Both of the substituted swatches I did here are woollen spun which means that they have a hairier look. This creates a totally different looking stitch pattern! The Shelter ended up being too heavy and gave me much too big a gauge. The Dovestone DK however was spot on for both stitch and row gauge. It does look really different though! I suspect that woollen spun is a little too hairy to allow the stitch pattern to show through enough.

Below is another Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarn – Targhee Worsted in colour Gourdy. This is a plied yarn so the texture is a little different but I got both stitch and row gauge with it for Luwan so it could be a potential substitute if you didn’t want to use a singles yarn.

So now it’s in your court! What yarn will you use? Come chat with other knitters on the ravelry board here, it can be very helpful to get advice from other knitters!

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Iced Iced Baby

Hello everyone, I’m Nadia and you will see a little bit of me here on Carol’s blog in the future. Some of you may know me from putting very nice yarn in your hands in This Is Knit or from gushing about gardening and crafts on Ravelry as Bunnyt. I’m more than a little excited to be here and this week I have an autumnal inspired post for you.  

I was having a look through the Stolen Stitches patterns on Ravelry and I really wasn’t surprised that Iced has the highest number of projects of Carol’s on Ravelry. This time of year with the cold air seeping in, this is exactly the type of garment that I would choose to knit, just like the 1,749 of you that also reached for it!


Iced in Garnstudio Drops Ice

So I asked myself, why is this cardigan popular?

Is it the relaxed ease of knitting a garment on chunky needles for a satisfying quick knit? Or the ease of a top down knit with raglan increases? Or the flattering waist shaping that gives a bulky garment a touch of feminine class? I fear, I may never know what all of you were thinking! But it was appealing and approachable enough to become some knitters first or second try at a knitted garment – I bet Carol is so pleased! Just have a look at this Iced by HHorncastle on Ravelry. It was her first raglan and I happen to know she’s over the moon with it and it matches her car too. Double win! 

HHorncastle's Iced

HHorncastle’s Iced

Iced is also a good introduction to short rows and top down knitting.

Never knitted a short row? Well we have you covered!

The tutorial section explains how to do these garter stitch short rows and you can access it whenever you are ready to approach them!

Wait, you say you have tried short rows but you want to take it to the next level? Then the Craftsy class on Essential Short Row Techniques is the place to be. The best thing about these classes is you can take them at your leisure and referencing back to them is easy and you have access forever. If you want to check it out, you can see the free short row class here.

I hear you, it’s a popular pattern but I only knit for the smaller humans among us. The Iced pattern was so popular, there is even a teeny tiny sized Iceling, this time in Aran weight for the smaller bodies. A perfect quick knit for those little arrivals this time of year and topped off with a toasty little hat, I mean just look at these happy faces:

carols iceling

TheaPurls' Iceling

TheaPurls’ Iceling

Tricoternana's Iceling

Tricoternana’s Iceling

I hope I’ve inspired you to pick up your knitting in the way that Autumn has inspired me to knit all the things! Wondering what’s going on here in the land of Stolen Stitches? The Luwan KAL has just been released for pre-sale and you can check that out over on Ravelry. There is also a dedicated group for the KAL and now is the perfect time to pop in and make some introductions.

The Knitting with Rainbows is just finishing up on October 10th, so those of you with wips on the needles, I foresee a busy weekend ahead! You can check the current FO’s out here. If you just want to hangout and have a chat with us, you can do that over in the Ravelry group or drop a comment on the blog. We really do love chatting to all of you, in fact stop what your doing right now and head on over there and drop in and say hi!

See you next week!

Psst – Are you hosting a KAL with one of Carol’s patterns? She would love to see them, so try and tag all your wips, FO’s, Instagram posts with #stolenstitches so we can all see too and you never know what might happen!



Luwan KAL coming soon

It’s almost time for our next KAL! Luwan sweater KAL will be on pre-sale October 5th and the first clue will be released on the 5th of November. This gives lots of time to order yarn, swatch and pick you size.
I really enjoy running sweater KAL’s (knitalongs) as there is always a few knitters working on their first garment. The KAL process is perfect for new garment knitters; you walk slowly through each step of the process and the encouragement of other knitters is very helpful. You also get to see that everyone makes mistakes; new knitters, experienced knitters and me the designer. As you become more experienced these mistakes don’t go away but they do become less. What’s most important is how you deal with them. Rather than tearing your hair out with support you can approach the problem thoughtfully and figure out a solution that you’re happy with. It really is true that you learn more from your mistakes if you acknowledge them and learn!


So then the question is – what will you learn in this KAL?

Luwan is a top down sweater with set-in short row sleeves. I love this type of construction as it makes it really easy for knitters to modify. To start with you cast-on your shoulder stitches, then you use German Short Rows to shape the shoulders and work down from there.


This sweater has got a very subtle textured pattern stitch that is fast to knit but really allows the soft single ply yarn to bloom. Blue Moon Fiber Arts Single Silky Targhee is lightly felted which is important for durability in a singles yarn. I’ve used a semi-solid colour but the texture would look great with a bit more colour variation as well.

Once you’ve finished the upper body the next step is the lower body. In the sample I’ve worked it straight down with no increases or decreases allowing the short row back hem shaping to take centre stage.

Finally the sweater is finished with top down short row sleeve caps and sleeves worked in the round. I worked 3/4 length sleeves but as they are top down it would be easy to modify them to be longer.

So in this KAL what kind of modifications can you try?
In the pattern tips I’ll give suggestions to adjust the shoulder width for your size, give some tips to add or reduce length and some pointers to make the body a-line. I’ll also have some sleeve modification suggestions to change the size and length. Most importantly you’ll have support and help from other knitter (and me also!) in the ravelry group to give you the best chance of finishing your sweater!

More Manos Pretties!

Well I’ve had a busy week adding new patterns! Until the end of September all of these 3 patterns (whether you purchase on my site or ravelry) have an automatic 15% discount.

Earlier this week I shared the first of my Manos Del Uruguay patterns, Clypea which is a striped hat using a slip stitch pattern between the stripes.
The next day I released a fun shawl, Mylio.

This shawl is knit from the top down and uses extra increases along the edges to create a wide wing effect. The central increases work along each side of the lace panel, stepping out a full repeat every time you’ve completed a lace repeat for an interesting stepped effect. Outside the lace panel this shawl is worked in garter stitch and has a delicate, fun ruffle at the bottom edge.

The final one of this pattern trio is Strombus.

This is a top down cardigan that uses short row set in sleeves and has a double-breasted front panel that buttons across itself. This cardigan is knit more loosely to allow it to flow and swing, the side panels are in garter stitch and widen as you go down the body to create a swinging a-line. I’ve show this cardigan with several inches of positive ease but it will also work well a little more closely fitted if that’s how you like to wear your cardigans!

Manos patterns

A few months ago Rooster Yarns (who distribute Manos Del Uruguay yarns) asked if I’d like to do a few patterns in their yarn. I really enjoy working with these yarns so I jumped at the chance!
I opted to work with Serena yarn which is a lightweight blend of alpaca and cotton. It’s an unusual yarn blend and can easily be worked in a wide range of gauges. The three patterns I designed give a pretty good idea of the different ways it can be knit up.

The first pattern I want to share with you is Clypea.

This is knit using smaller 3mm needles to keep the gauge of the yarn a bit tighter so it will hold the shape of the hat. It creates a super soft and fluffy fabric that is very stretchy. The hat is pictured here on my brother-in-law but due to the slouchy style and stretchy fit this hat also very comfortably fits my head also.
The colour range of this yarn is very subtle which really makes combining colours very easy – just pick your favourites and start knitting!
The hat starts with a folded brim, I used the brighter yellow colour for the inner layer so the edge just peaks through at the fold. Then each time you change the colour a simple slip stitch pattern worked for a few rows creates a very interesting colourwork pattern with no stranding! I love slip stitch patterns for colour blending, it’s simple to do and works really well.

The hat is knit nice and long as the light fabric makes it slouch really nicely. The crown decreases are all done in the brighter yellow colour again to tie the whole hat together. Overall I’m pretty fond of this one!

Knitting With Rainbows – KAL

Shanakiel 4
Well everyone Knitting With Rainbows is now out in the world. You can get it either in print (with a download code) or digitally. The first few projects are starting to appear on ravlery so why don’t you join in the fun and potentially win some prizes?

This KAL (knitalong) will start on Friday and run until Monday the 10th of October. The general thread about the KAL is here. I will run it through my group on ravlery, as you progress you can post progress photos and chat in the WIP (work in progress) thread here every Friday until it’s over I’ll pick a random photo from the progress photos that week who’ll receive a code to download a pattern! When the KAL is complete on the 10th of October I’ll pick a winner from the finished photos here – so make sure you get your photos up!

To keep track of it all please tag your projects on Ravelry, and hashtag across social media, with #knittingwithrainbows

Have fun!

Back to school

For everyone with children we’re in the back to school mode here. I had children starting school last week on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and on Saturday my oldest went up to college in Dublin. Add to that an envelope packing marathon to get all the Knitting With Rainbows pre-sale orders out last week and it seems strangely calm this morning.

The 2 dogs are snoring on the sofa near me, birds are tweeting outside and there is no one in the house but me. It feels very strange after a summer filled with people. Normally in August I’m counting down the days until I get peace again. But this year feels different. Instead of quiet the house actually feels empty. Perhaps this is because the boys aren’t very young any more so instead of constant demands for my attention they go about their own business a lot of the time. I’m also increasingly aware of how fast time goes – within 8 years my youngest will be finished school so I have to be careful not to wish that time away.

So now that my house is quiet again – what will I get up to?
You may have noticed that Knitting With Rainbows is now available digitally as well as in print (which comes with a download code).


I’m so happy that this book has been well received. It was a very different book from my usual self-published ones. Instead of just patterns this book has a lot of information on gradient yarn, stitch patterns and suggestions for how to use gradient yarns to full advantage. The print book turned out amazing, the colours are bright and vivid and it’s a pleasure to flick though!

If you want to see any of the samples in person, get a book signed or chat about yarn options come along from 3 to 5 this Saturday 10th September at This Is Knit.

Over the next few weeks I’ve got a few more big projects that I’m working on that I can’t reveal yet. Keep checking back though as I’ll let you know about them as soon as I can :-)

Knitting With Rainbows presale!

Some of you may have spotted the pre-sale of my newest book, Knitting With Rainbows.
This is a project that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. Several years ago I got a gradient kit from Fiber Optics…
It looks just beautiful in the little plastic display box but I felt very intimidated. The skeins were so small, and I wasn’t sure how best to use the yarn so that it looks as beautiful in the finished knit as it did in the box. So it sat there for quite a while. However somewhere in the back of my head the idea for a book on gradients was germinating; a book that would explore the gradient types available (there are a lot!), figure out how ways that use them well and offered pattern choices and future suggestions for making the most of gradient yarns (both individual single skeins as well as mini-skein sets).
That was how this book was born. It’s grown in size from what I though it would be but it’s turned out just as I hoped. My son’s girlfriend, Eimear O’Callaghan, has created some very beautiful gradient graphics to illustrate the book, my husband has done an amazing job laying out the book and my son had done a lovely editing job with my rough videos from the photo shoot :-)

The book will be released on the 1st of September but you can now pre-order your print (with complementary digital download code from ravelry) copy before then. All books will be shipped from the 1st of September and you’ll receive your digital download code on the same day. As a pre-sale bonus use code PRERAINBOW to get free shipping before 1st of September :-)

To keep you excited I’m releasing the pattern details of a new pattern on ravelry every day until the launch.

Here are the first 3 patterns that are up:


Probys armwarmers
Half Moon Street
Half Moon Street

Charity Sale part 3

This is the final part of the charity sale so pick up a finished knit and support a worthy cause :-)

I’ve put suggested pricing on each item. If you want an item leave a comment with the sample name or number in the comments section. The prices include shipping worldwide.

I’ll send on a paypal invoice when you make an offer.

Thank you for supporting some wonderful local animal charities!

 Sample 12: €70

Anna Maria Tank & Quimper

This 2 piece set is knit from cool bamboo. Knit in the round from the bottom up with an hourglass pattern stitch running up the center. The tank top can be work alone or with the bolero jacket for when the evenings are cooler.

Sample Sizes: Small

Yarn:  Rowan RYC bamboo soft; 100% bamboo

 Sample 13: €60


When I saw the colors of this yarn it reminded me straight away of the species of butterfly know as ‘Fritillary’. I have always loved those colors and was excited to make a summer top in the very same color pallet. To match the wonderful colors I had the good fortune to find the very fitting Butterfly Lace pattern. Easy to memorize lace that is not too fussy. This is a top you will get plenty of wear from in the season to come.
Knitted from the top down with a front cross-over and an all-over lace pattern on the bottom section.

Sample Size: Small to fit 34″/86.5 cm bust

Yarn: Elann Sonata; 100% cotton

Sample 14: €60

Raspberry Layers

3556747704_d25a06b657(1)This cardigan is worked side-to-side from the center of the back out, with flattering short rows creating a gentle flare at the bottom. The sleeves are worked with short row shaping and the sides are bound off together for a piece that needs minimal finishing. Vertical accent rows will make this the most flattering knit you have ever made from a chunky yarn!

Sample Size: 32″ / 81.5 cm modelled with 2″ / 5 cm of negative ease

Yarn: Fyberspates Squishy Chunky; 50% Merino, 50% Baby Alpaca

Sample 15: €50

Necco Wafer Hoodie

This cute hoodie uses traditional flat construction; striped V-neck inset worked using intarsia; applied I-cord on hood and sleeves.

Size: 6 months

Yarn: Tahki Yarns Cotton Classic; 100% Mercerized Cotton

Sample 18: €50


Knit from the waist down in the round these light and comfortable shorts are perfect for busy active boys. A folded waistband encases elastic for a good fit then they are knit from the top down with hip and leg shaping. Finally they are separated for each leg and finished with a tidy folded hem. Large pockets are attached afterwards.

Sample Size: Shown on my 8 year old, they have been washed and shrank slightly so will fit a smaller child now.

Yarn: 60% Flax, 40% Merino Louet Merlin sport weight; 60% Flax, 40% Merino











Charity Sample sale 2

Well today I’ve got a few more items for you to enjoy.

As before just leave an offer in the comments, telling me what sample.

I’ve put suggested prices in the listing, these are inclusive of postage.

. All proceeds (less shipping and paypal costs) will be divided equally between the West Cork Animal Welfare Group and the Cork Dog Action Welfare Group.

SAMPLE 8: €50


Sample Size: 45” wide and 21” deep at edge

Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca; 50% wool, 50% alpaca

Short rows are use to create magical triangles and curves within a rectangular shawl. Worked in a heavier yarn, this shawl is idea for keeping warm in cooler weather.

SAMPLE 9: €60

Lime With a Twist


Sample Size: 34″ / 86.5 cm

Yarn: Araucania ‘Patagonia Cotton’; 100% Cotton

I fell in love with Araucania Patagonia Cotton the moment I picked up the first hank. Soft to the touch, I wanted to find the perfect pattern to complement the yarn. I worked a stitch pattern on the diagonal to create a wonderful interplay between the diagonal stitches and the variations in the yarn color.
This piece begins with a provisional cast-on at the center of the back and then works down each arm. Finally, stitches are picked up for the remainder of the body. The two different directions in which the sweater is worked create diagonals and color changes across the shoulder and down the body.
Knit from a heavy-weight cotton yarn, such as Patagonia, makes this cardigan ideal for those in-between days.

SAMPLE 10: €20


Sample Size: Woman’s Medium; 22″ / 57 cm

Yarn: Kerry Woollen Mills Aran Wool; 100% wool

Knit from the top down this bucket hat has a delicate combination of lace and cables and finishes with a generous brim.