Poncho fit for a princess!

I haven’t been able to knit much over the last couple of weeks as I have been away at my daughter’s. Before I went, though, I managed to finish a poncho for my two granddaughters, or ‘Princess Cape’ as the four year-old calls it.

I loved making the poncho. It was custom designed for both girls, and they had their own input. It shouldn’t be too close fitting around the neck, as neither girl likes that; it must have stripes; it shouldn’t use ‘scratchy’ yarn; and it should be quite long. Robyn, the younger girl, wanted it to reach the floor, but I managed to talk her out of that.  Armed with these instructions, and considerations, I did my best. I used an Aran or worsted weight yarn for the main color, and Noro Silk Garden self-striping yarn for the contrast garter stitch stripes, collar, and border. Suitable yarns for the main would be Debbie Bliss BFL Aran; Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran; Rowan Wool Worsted: Sublime Aran; Juniper Moon Aran.

I decided to work the poncho from the top down. I enjoy working in this manner, and it’s easy to try the garment on while in progress ( or it would be, if the intended recipients didn’t live 250 miles away. ) I started with the collar, in Noro Silk Garden, and in garter stitch, and then joined the work into the round when the collar was long enough. The body of the poncho was then worked as if I was knitting a raglan sweater, working eight increases on every alternate round. When the ‘sleeve’ section was long enough, I ceased increasing in these sections, and just continued with four increases in the Body sections every alternate round. I then continued in this manner until the poncho was the desired length, minus the border. I decided to work some short rows on the Back and Front borders to give some extra detail, but it could equally well be worked as simple garter stitch. I used a stretchy cast-off, in this case, the Russian Cast-Off, to create a nice edge.

Yarn requirements
Child (10year old) size:
4 x 50g balls Noro Hanabatake
250g Aran weight yarn, so effectively 3 x 100g balls/skeins
Adult size:
5 x 50g Noro Hanabatake
300g Aran yarn
Tension: 18sts and 25 rows to 10cm/4ins. 

Pattern will be available soon.


As ever, knit on!

Debbie Bliss Rialto Luxury Sock

We’ve been working with Debbie Bliss Rialto Luxury Sock which comes in a large, and exciting array of colors. It comes in 100g balls, and is 75% Super-wash Wool, and 25% Nylon.  The yarn we’ve chosen to work with is 04 Ultra, which is a gradient of different greens, ranging from quite dark to a lovely spring, leafy green.


It was a slow start because I cast on the wrong number of stitches! I cast on stitches for knitting a thicker pair of socks, and was happily knitting along shaping the toe when I realized my mistake. So I had to rip out and start again. I like toe-up socks because it’s easy to try them on while knitting, and I can work an Afterthought Heel, of which there are many, but one of the simplest is shaped like the toe. Thus, they are a good portable project, or an easy project to work on while at knitting group, or watching television, as the heel is left until last.

I like to knit socks on two circular needles, and I am using size 2.5mm needles for these. Double-pointed needles or Magic Loop work equally as well, if you prefer either of these methods.  I used Judy’s Magic Cast On, which is so quick and easy, and makes a beautiful, seamless toe. I usually knit with metal needles, but it’s often a good idea to cast on small numbers of stitches with wooden or bamboo needles, as those materials are less slippy than metal, and the stitches are more likely to stay on smaller diameter needles. I cast on with wooden needles, work the first and trickiest rounds with them, and then switch to my favourite metal needles. I’m shaping the toe with Make 1 increases, but a simple knit in the front and back of the same stitch could be used.

I have small feet, so I cast on 20 stitches, 10 on each needle. I then knit one round, and then began to shape the toe, thus:

Round 1  (Increase Round ):

First Needle:       K1, M1L, knit to last st, M1R, k1

Second needle:                K1, M1L, knit to last st, M1R, k1

Round 2:              Knit all the stitches on both needles.

I’m going to repeat these two rounds until I have 56 or 60 sts. I will try on to see what number of stitches fits best. After that, it’s plain sailing with stocking stitch until the foot measures 2 inches     (5cm ) less than the length of my foot.

Here is the toe in progress. The socks will probably be a project that I take my time over, knitting a few rounds when I want some simple knitting to do. I will post progress in future blogs.  I’m hoping that I will be able to do a tutorial on Judy’s Magic Cast On in the future.

Wendy D. Johnson has written two great books on toe-up socks: Socks from the Toe Up and Toe-Up Socks for Every Body. These books look at all the techniques required for toe-up socks, and should be available in libraries, if you don’t want to buy a copy. Wendy covers different cast-ons, types of toes, heels, and stretchy cast-offs. Most good, general sock knitting books also cover Toe-Up socks.

Please contact me if you have any knitting queries, or specific questions about this post.

In the meantime, knit on!


Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino Tonals


This week I’ve been playing with Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino Tonals yarn. As you would expect from Debbie Bliss, it’s a fabulous yarn. It has exactly the same composition as Baby Cashmerino, but is in semi-solid tones. The shading within each colour is subtle, and I really like it. There are no wildly differing colours or variations within the colourways, just gentle subtleties. It reminds me a little of the more monochromatic semi-solid shades of Malabrigo Arroyo. The yarn is soft from the cashmere component, yet is bouncy, has a good ‘memory’, has an excellent stitch definition in lace and textured stitch patterns, and a neat, smooth look in stocking stitch. Debbie Bliss has produced an excellent pattern booklet to accompany the yarn, all for baby and children’s garments, and they are all cute and stylish, and there are some patterns for boys, who often seem to be a little neglected in pattern books.

The recommended gauge, or tension for this yarn is 25 stitches and 34 rows to 10cmin stocking stitch using 3.25mm needles. Now, I prefer to use 3.75mm needles with this yarn, and I obtain a tension of 24sts and 32 rows over stocking stitch after washing and blocking, and I think this makes a really lovely fabric, neither too dense, not too loose. I’ve knitted a couple of swatches so you can see how the yarn looks knitted up. The stocking stitch swatch is in Ocean 26, and the Lace swatch is in Peppermint 03. Remember, when knitting tension swatches to cast on more stitches, and knit more rows than you need, to obtain a more accurate measurement. For example, I cast on 34 stitches, and knit 36 rows in stocking stitch for my stocking stitch swatch. You will probably also find that if you knit a lace stitch swatch you will have fewer stitches to 10cm than in a stocking stitch swatch. My lace stitch swatch has 22 stitches and 32 rows to 10cm. Some patterns just give a tension in stocking stitch, while others include both stocking stitch, and pattern stitch tensions.

February Baby Sweater

I knit a February Baby Sweater by Elizabeth Zimmermann using the basic Baby Cashmerino and 3.75mm needles, and I think this would look equally as cute in the Tonals yarn. As you can see from the picture of this garment, I added a ruffled collar, cuffs, and hem to the basic pattern to add a special touch to a girl’s cardigan. This pattern is a great introduction to top-down knitting, and has an easy lace-patterned body. It’s one of my go to patterns for babies, and it looks good in bright, neutral, or pastel shades.  Taiga Hilliard Designs also produce fabulous baby and children’s knits. Check out her Merridy Tunic. These designs are all available on Ravelry.

February Baby Sweater Pattern

February Baby Sweater Pattern

Although this yarn is called Baby Cashmerino Tonals, there is no need to restrict our knitting to baby or children’s designs. I think this yarn would make equally gorgeous adult garments and accessories. Try the beautiful Hitofude Cardigan by Hiroke Fukatsu, but do check your tension with this design. It’s so soft that the yarn is comfortable to wear around the neck, and next to the skin, so I think it would be comfortable and cosy as a scarf, shawl, or wrap. Try Wavy Bias by Susan Ashcroft using the Ocean 26 colourway. Susan has many gorgeous, well-explained patterns for shawls, scarfs, wraps, and cowls, and most of her designs are customizable, and may be made in different weights of yarn. Or try mixing the Tonals yarn with the laceweight Debbie Bliss Angel, and make a Happy Half Moon wrap, also by Susan Ashcroft. Other striking shawls are The Age of Brass and Steam by Orange Flower Yarn; Multnomah by Kate Ray; and one of my favourites,  Yvaine by Liz Abinante, which I think would look stunning in Cashmerino Tonals Speedwell 09.

I hope this has inspired you to try Baby Cashmerino Tonals. I’m sure that if you like Baby Cashmerino, you will like Tonals. Do remember to check your tension if you use a pattern from Ravelry, as lots of knitters who knit in the Continental style, knit more loosely than those of us who knit English style. If you have any questions about this, just ask.

If you have any knitting queries, or topics that you would like me to cover in a short article, or tutorial, please get in touch, and I will do my best to help.

In the meantime,
Happy Knitting,

Copyright Lesley Conroy, 2016

A little gift for Mother’s Day


Don’t forget its Mother’s Day here in the UK on the 6th March – and we would like to say a big thank you to all the lovely mums out there for all that you do!   So send your mum our special gift this year – a 15% off voucher on all orders from NOW to the 20th March.

All you need to do is email info@stashfineyarns.com with “Mothers Day” in the subject line before 5pm (GMT) on Thursday, 3rd March and we will email you a voucher with the discount code.*

* one voucher per household,  p&p charges still apply

Juniper Moon Farm


A dream to knit with, the yarns from Juniper Moon are deliciously soft and gorgeous! This offer is available until 3rd February, on all shades.  And remember, 10% discount still applies on all orders over £30 until the – end of January 2016!


Moonshine is a 40% Wool, 40% Alpaca, 20% Silk single-spun yarn and it is just a dream to knit with. You’ll love the depth of color and subtle variation the differing blend lends Moonshine

RRP £14.95
Now £10.95


Findley is our lace yarn, 50% Merino 50% Silk, 100% luscious. At nearly 800 yards, you’ll be super happy that it’s in a ball, rather than a hank you have to wind! The yarn is super smooth with a beautiful sheen. It’s soft, doesn’t split and it feel A.MAZ.ING when it’s knitted up
RRP £16.95
Now £11.95

Herriot, named for literature’s favorite veterinarian, is a DK-weight 100% baby alpaca yarn. It’s deliciously soft and utterly gorgeous– you won’t be able to resist it!

RRP £14.95
Now £10.95

View the Juniper Moon sale area on Stash Fine Yarns

Mirasol Flash Sale


We had a great response to our flash sale last weekend – so we are doing it again!

Make a date in your diaries for this weekend as we are offering great prices on three beautiful yarns from the Mirasol range on these dates only. All shades available (whilst stocks last!)

Mirasol Lines included in the flash sale are:


   Paqu Pura


Miski Paqu Pura


RRP = £6.95
Now = £3.95

RRP = £12.95
Now = £7.95

RRP = £12.95
Now = £8.49


You can find our Flash Sale on the website!

Flash Sale!

We are holding our first Flash Sale of 2016 on Louisa Harding Lines, including Jesse, Luzia Fur, Colline & Mila. This Flash Sale is running Saturday 16th Jan and Sun 17th Jan 2016.

Flash Sale: Louisa Harding


Our other discounts still stand including free delivery on orders over £30 (ex vat) and our new offer for the rest of Jan 2016, 10% off orders over £30 (ex vat)

Thanks Steph and all the team at Stash Fine Yarns