Urban Hat


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, and a simple, Urban Hat for Niamh, the elder girl. This is the second of these hats I have made for her: one has a pompom, and one does not. When I made the first one, neither my daughter, nor my granddaughter could decide whether they wanted a pompom or not, so my daughter decided that I could make two hats. She is not a knitter. More about the hat, shortly.


Urban Hat

Materials:                            100g Aran or Worsted weight yarn

I used Debbie Bliss BFL Aran in Gunmetal (100% BFL wool)

Or: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran

Rowan Wool Worsted

Sublime Aran

4.5mm 40cm circular needles, or double pointed needles; one long (at least 100cm) 4.5mm circular needle if using Magic Loop; a second 40cm circular needle if using two circulars for the crown.

Tension:                               26sts and 26 rows to 10cm (4ins) in k2, p2 rib


Size:                                       One size but see information below about changing the size

The hat will look very narrow while knitting because of the ribbing, but k2, p2 is a very stretchy stitch and a hat that measures about 40cm (14ins) unstretched will easily fit a head measuring 55cm (22ins).

I knitted this hat for a girl with lots of hair and her head measured 53cm (21ins). If I was making this for me, I would add an extra 8 stitches to the total, and for a man with a large head, an extra 12 stitches. The pattern repeat is 4 stitches, so just ensure the total number of stitches cast on is divisible by four. If you wish to make a smaller hat, cast on fewer stitches by deducting multiples of four.

Level of Difficulty:            Suitable for knitters who can knit in the round; can work a simple k2 tog decrease; can work k2, p2 ribbing


Using 4.5mm needle of your choice, (see above), cast on 92 sts.

Ensuring sts are not twisted, join to work in the round, placing a marker to denote the beginning of the round.

Round 1 and every round:* k2, p2, rep from * to end.

Rep this round until hat measures 26cm (10.5ins) from cast on edge.

Note: You may wish to change this measurement so the hat is suitable for its recipient. Measure from the base of the ear to the top of the crown, e.g. the measurement for my model was 19cm (7.5ins), then add on the amount of turn up desired on the cuff of the hat. I added on 9cm (3.5ins). For an adult, you may wish to work 10-12cm (4-4.5ins) for the turn up. So, if I was knitting this hat for me, I would probably knit 30cm (12ins) in rib.

Crown shaping: Change to dpns or two circulars as sts dec to make the knitting easier.

Round 1:              * k2, p2tog, rep from * around

Rounds 2 &3:     *k2, p1, rep from * around

Round 4:              *k2tog, p1, rep from * around

Round 5:              *K1, p1, rep from * around

Round 6:              *k2tog, rep from * around

Round 7:               Knit

Round 8:              *k2tog, rep from * around

Round 9:              Knit

Round 10:            *k2tog, rep from * around

Round 11:            Knit

Round 12:            *k2tog, rep from * around. 6sts remain.

Break yarn, leaving a 20cm (8ins) tail. Thread yarn through remaining sts and finish off on inside of hat. Weave in ends.

I washed the hat in Eucalan, wrapped it up in a towel and squeezed hard to remove the excess water. I then laid the hat out on a mat or towel, smoothed out the stitches gently, and placed some empty kitchen roll holders inside the hat to avoid creating fold lines as the hat dried. There is no need to pin or stretch the hat, just a gentle smooth with the hands. Enjoy!


Add a pompom if desired. There are some lovely pure Alpaca ones available at the moment, if a little pricey. Or you can make your own, either using a pompom maker, or the old-fashioned method with cardboard.



K                             knit

P                             purl

K2tog                    knit two together

rep                         repeat

sts                          stitches

dec                         decrease

dpns                      double pointed needles


I hope you enjoy the hat pattern. If you have any questions about it, please do not hesitate to contact me via the Stash contact form.

If you have any questions about the poncho, or would like to see it as a pattern, please contact me.

As ever, knit on.


Copyright, Lesley Conroy 2016

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

Debbie Bliss Angel inspiration!

If you’re looking for something a little bit special, why not try Debbie Bliss Angel?

Debbie Bliss Angel

A luxury mohair and silk lace-weight yarn, it’s prefect for autumnal knitting projects. Thanks to the beautiful blend of kid mohair and silk, it’s wonderfully soft and light, yet warm and comes in a wide range of shades so there’s a colour to suit everyone!

There is even a version of Angel with a little subtle sparkle, Party Angel perfect for evening wear!

We love this glamorous stole pattern which you can knit in either Angel or Party Angel. You can find the pattern here, and it also includes a pattern for a shrug (below), a perfect extra layer to cover your arms with a nice dress for the party season!

Party Angel leaflet

Happy Knitting!

What are we knitting? Part 4

Next to tell us about her project is Donna, who is knitting with some yarn that she dyed herself!  Over to you, Donna:

I’m knitting a cardigan using Sirdar pattern 7187 from the Sirdar Wool Rich Aran book.  I’ve decided to substitute the original yarn for some Debbie Bliss Rialto DK which I’ve dyed myself using madder root (a natural dye) which has given it a semi-solid orangey red colour.  I’m knitting it using my 5mm Knit Pro Symfonie interchangeable circular needles.

Donna's project

We had a sample garment of this pattern in the shop, which I would sometimes borrow when working in the shop in the cooler months and I fell in love with it and thought it would be the perfect match for the yarn I’d dyed myself.

I’m only a short way into the pattern.  I’ve knitted two pattern repeats on the back so far and I’m enjoying it very much.

Sirdar Wool Rich Aran compared to Debbie Bliss Railto DK

The recommended yarn (Sirdar Wool Rich Aran) is quite thin compared to some Aran weight yarns, so I felt that Rialto DK would work quite well as it is quite a plump and bouncy DK yarn (see how they compare in the picture above).

Stitch details

The pattern has a variety of stitches which would keep an intermediate knitter interested, however you do have to pay attention to keep your place in the pattern, so it’s not a project to take to knit group!  Despite the complexity of the pattern, I’m finding that it’s growing quite quickly because of the 5mm needles.

Progress so far....

I’m really looking forward to wearing the cardigan and think that the autumnal colours will really fit the coming seasons!

Thank you Donna!  It’s looking great!

Happy Knitting!

Colour inspirations no. 1

Sometimes choosing a new colour scheme for a project can be tricky, where do you start?

So, we thought we’d give you a few ideas for alternative colour schemes for some of our patterns 🙂

Colour inspirations edit May 30th 001 copy

We love this saddle shoulder top in Debbie Bliss Juliet and Eco Baby, why not try (clockwise from bottom left) juicy fruit inspired shades (Juliet #15 with Eco Baby #42 or #41), fun spring colours (Juliet #14 with Eco Baby #12 or #06), or classic denim (Juliet #04 with Eco Baby #40 or #30)?

Happy Knitting!

20% off Debbie Bliss Yarns

We’ve got another fab offer for you!  Get 20% off all full price Debbie Bliss yarns until Tuesday 31st March using the code DB2015 at the checkout.

So what will you use your 20% discount on?  Here are a few of our favourite picks:

Debbie Bliss Delphi

We love the bright, fresh shades of Debbie Bliss Delphi and this ocean blue sweater fits two of the key trends for the season; relaxed shapes and beautiful shades of blue.

Florence Top

Or why not try this top from the Conway Bliss design team in Debbie Bliss Juliet and Eco Baby?

Crochet Baby Blanket

If smaller projects are more your thing, why not try a bit of crochet with this super cute baby blanket, crocheted in Rialto 4ply?

Crocheted Mouse in Rialto 4plyAnd last but not least, this little mouse in Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply is just irresistible!

Don’t forget to enter the code DB2015 at the checkout to receive your discount!

Happy Knitting!

New from Debbie Bliss: Eco Baby Prints

The latest fun new yarn from Debbie Bliss for babies and children is the gorgeously soft new Eco Baby Prints!

Debbie Bliss Eco Baby Prints

There’s also a lovely new book to accompany the yarn:

Debbie Bliss Eco Baby Prints Book

Filled to the brim with super-cute patterns for babies and children, we’ve had trouble choosing our favourites from this book, but here are just a few:


We love these tiny buttoned bootees!  They would make a lovely gift for a new and take just one ball.  The perfect opportunity to try out variegated yarn on a small scale.

DebbieBliss_EcoBaby_StripedDress_02_480x720_72_RGBThis little chevron patterned dress using Eco Baby Prints and Eco Baby is great for layering with colourful leggings, pretty but still perfect for running around in!

DebbieBliss_EcoBaby_ThreeColourSweater_03_480x720_72_RGBWe adore the elbow patches on this jumper, a little detail that makes this sweater bang up to date.

DebbieBliss_EcoBaby_PleatNeckTop_04_480x720_72_RGB…And last but certainly not least, this simple dress with pleated neckline is both pretty and practical.

Want to see all the designs in the book?  Check them out here!

Made from the same beautiful fairtrade organic cotton as Debbie’s popular Eco Baby yarn, Eco Baby Prints is available in ten fabulous variegated shades and knits to the same tension as Eco Baby and Baby Cashmerino, so you can also use patterns for those yarns too!

Debbie Bliss Eco Baby Prints #01/Safari Debbie Bliss Eco Baby Prints #02/Park Debbie Bliss Eco Baby Prints #03/Seaside Debbie Bliss Eco Baby Prints #04/Carnival Debbie Bliss Eco Baby Prints #05/Meadow Debbie Bliss Eco Baby Prints #06/Pool Debbie Bliss Eco Baby Prints #07/Mauve Debbie Bliss Eco Baby Prints #08/Blossom Debbie Bliss Eco Baby Prints #09/Citrus Debbie Bliss Eco Baby Prints #10/Mariner

Happy Knitting!


New Yarn: Debbie Bliss Delphi

Fancy a quick knit ready for summer?

Then Delphi, the new yarn from Debbie Bliss could be just the thing for you!

Debbie Bliss Delphi

A quick knit on 8mm needles, Delphi is a beautiful cotton tape yarn available in gently shifting tonal shades.

Debbie Bliss Delphi Book

The accompanying book, Delphi is full of stylish summer knits that will fit easily into your summer wardrobe.

Here are some of our favourites:

Debbie Bliss Delphi

This beautiful sweater uses slipped stitch colour work to great advantage, achieving a stunning effect using only one colour at a time!

Debbie Bliss Delphi

If you prefer knitting lace designs, how about this pretty leaf lace sweater?  We love the way that the leaf pattern creates gentle ripples of colour when knitted in a shaded yarn like Delphi.

Debbie Bliss Delphi

If you fancy something a little more simple, this stylish waterfall jacket is a chic option and would go with anything in your spring/summer wardrobe.

Debbie Bliss Delphi yarn can be found on our website here and the book can be found here. Want a closer look at the designs in the book (including more that we couldn’t feature here)?  Take a look at the pattern index!

Happy Knitting!

Out now! Debbie Bliss Magazine Spring/Summer 2015

The latest issue of Debbie Bliss Magazine (issue 14, Spring/Summer 2015) is available now!

Debbie Bliss Magazine 14Featuring 30 patterns for women, men, children and the home, this issue has a great variety of Spring and Summer projects to suit everyone.

From the pretty light summer top on the cover in Rialto Lace (which only takes 2 – 3 balls!) to cute knits for kids, there’s plenty to keep your needles busy!


Get your copy here!

Happy Knitting!