Tyto Alba: A new design for a fabulous new yarn…

Before the ‘big move’ I was lucky enough to be involved in the development of Susan Crawford‘s new yarn ‘Barn‘. Interesting though the process certainly was, the yarn that emerged is truly amazing. I am thrilled to join Susan herself and Julie (of Julie Knits in Paris) in designing a pattern for this wonderful new yarn and today, following the launches of Herbert (Susan’s cardigan pattern) and Grange (Julie’s Hat) I want to introduce you to Tyto Alba. Tyto Alba is a cowl that makes the most of a single skein and which I believe, you’ll want to snuggle into (and perhaps sniff a little).

It was wonderful to stretch my design muscles again after their long hiatus whilst other areas of life took precedence and I think it was an advantage that I had to turn it around quickly and couldn’t get caught up in over thinking or self doubts. That said, there are some design features that I’m particularly happy with.

Tyto alba is worked from the bottom up and features a striking central cabled panel which is complemented by a slipped stitch pattern which create a lovely bouncy warm fabric. The difference in row gauge of these two patterns is mobilised to create a deep feature front where your coat closes, but less bulk to sit under the back collar which, in most coats, is more fitted. Short rows are then worked in the rib at the top of the back section that raise it up to make sure it keeps out any chill winds. This rib can be folded down if you prefer.

Knitted in a single skein of ‘Barn’, Tyto Alba will keep you warm and comforted throughout the harshest of winters and is an ideal gift knit.

Tyto Alba is the latin name for the common barn owl which seems appropriate for a Cowl knit in Barn and honours the owls that can be seen on and around Monkley Ghyll, Susan’s Farm on the edge of the Forest of Bowland. It was one such encounter that served as my inspiration for this pattern and informed the choice of cables and the texture pattern used.

The Tyto Alba pattern available  for £4.50 from Ravelry          (you don’t have to be a member to purchase), or from Susan’s website where you can also buy the yarn – click here

Now you know all about Tyto Alba, how about a little more detail about the yarn?

Barn is a wonderfully lofty, sheepy wool that blends white and black Shetland with Jacobs wool. This combination lends such a depth of colour to the appropriately named ‘dry stone wall’ natural grey shade. Worsted spun and constructed of three plies, the DK weight yarn (225m/246yds per 100g skein) is round and bouncy and so much softer than I was expecting during development. The wool is grown, sheared and spun in the UK and finished on Susan’s dry stone wall enclosed farm, Monkley Ghyll, in Lancashire.  If you like your wool sheepy, you know, with that slight aroma that makes you want to breathe it in deeply, then Barn is for you.

Barn retails at £20 a skein and both accessory patterns, Grange and Tyto Alba use a single skein each. Barn is currently available directly from Susan Crawford Vintage.

As a knitting experience it has a lovely hand and the stitch definition makes it perfect for textural knits. The structure of the yarn itself, means that it can be both drapey or structural depending on your gauge and chosen stitch pattern. You can see that all three of us loved the stitch definition of this yarn and how amazing it looks in textured fabrics. This is where not only the structure of the yarn but also the depth of colour comes to the fore.

I hope you like this Pattern and get the opportunity to try this yarn. It really is one worth seeking out. If you like to try/fondle/sniff before you buy, this yarn is available for wholesale so you could ask your yarn shop if they’d consider stocking it so you can see it for yourself prior to purchase.

If you want to shop your stash however, a nice substantial DK with a similar yardage and construction to Barn, that gives good stitch definition in a colour that won’t compete or overwhelm the stitch patterns, would be ideal.

I’d love to hear how you get on,

All the Best,


Textured stitch details: Herbert by Susan Crawford (Copyright: Susan Crawford)
Cable detail: Tyto Alba
Textured Stitches used to great effect on Grange by Julie Knits in Paris (Copyright: Julie Knits in Paris)

Thanks to Emma for modelling Tyto Alba so enthusiastically!

Tyto Alba

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.