YarnSub Newsletter

September 2023

Newly-published books

[Book: 'Dark and Dramatic Mosaic Crochet' by Alexis Sixel]

Dark and Dramatic Mosaic Crochet is not an ordinary book of crochet patterns.

As you can see from the cover, an obvious thing that makes the book stand out is that the patterns are in a Gothic style. By that I mean that many of the designs use motifs like skulls and beetles and are worked in dark colors, especially black. Don't worry if skulls aren't your thing though. The book also features designs inspired by Gothic architecture, like the 'Sanctuary Wall Hanging', which uses a motif based on a clover-shaped stained-glass window. My favorite pattern is 'The Victorian Pillow', inspired by damask-style wallpaper.

A wall hanging with a black background and a blue clover-shaped allover pattern; a black and purple cushion with an ornate allover pattern; three bright belts with a black scroll pattern
'Sanctuary Wall Hanging', 'The Victorian Pillow' and 'Wrought Iron', from Dark and Dramatic Mosaic Crochet, by Alexis Sixel.

But what I think really makes the book special is that the patterns use a novel crochet technique that author Alexis Sixel has developed. The new technique builds on the existing 'mosaic overlay' technique, which lets you create pictures with crochet. Curves in these pictures are usually pixelated, due to the rectangular shape of stitches. Alexis has come up with a way to make the curves smooth.

Mosaic overlay crochet is a form of colorwork crochet where you alternate colors for each row, and you make some stitches 'overlay' the stitches from the previous row. This effectively changes the color of the stitch on the row below. It means that you can have any stitch in the color that you want it to be for your picture, while only ever using one color per row.

In order to make smooth curves, Alexis has worked out how to angle the relevant stitches at the edge of a color block, whereas in the traditional mosaic overlay technique the stitches would be vertical. Having the edge stitches at an angle makes the curve appear smooth. Different angles are achieved by using different combinations of increases and decreases. As per the picture below, the curved motifs look more realistic and allow you to include more detail.

Two crochet swatches of white skulls on dark backgrounds. One has a blocky, pixelated look, while the other has a rounded top to the skull and round eyes
A skull motif made using the traditional mosaic overlay crochet technique, and one made using Alexis Sixel's shaping technique.

There are many good quality photo tutorials in the book, covering mosaic overlay crochet as well as the shaping stitches that Alexis has developed. I followed some of the tutorials, starting with those for mosaic overlay crochet, since I'd never done that before. I had a little difficulty at first with understanding the theory of how the technique worked, but once I started following along with the tutorials, crochet in hand, everything became clear. In case it helps, Alexis also has videos on YouTube.

I guess that the shaping technique seems extra special to me because I have a good idea how much work went into developing it. The technique is essentially the crochet equivalent of shaped intarsia, the knitting technique that I've been playing with for years. I know how much problem solving, trial and error must have gone into working out all the stitch combinations—not only to make the results look good, but also to make them as easy as possible to do. And I think Alexis has nailed it! I think the shaped motifs are a big improvement on the pixelated versions, and I found learning how to do them was fun, rather than frustratingly difficult.

However, Alexis' technique won't be for everyone. If you prefer easy TV-watching crochet, then the technique probably isn't for you. It takes some concentration, especially when you're learning how to do it.

The technique is conceptually different to most other knitting and crochet techniques—I can't think of another where you're creating a picture by changing the color of a stitch you've previously worked. It took some thinking to get my head around it. But I also enjoyed the challenge and found it addictive. Each row felt like I was adding pieces to a puzzle, and when that row was done, I was still wanting to add more. So, if you're up for a challenge, I highly recommend the book.

See all newly published books >

New and discontinued yarns

New yarn: Knit Picks High Desert Tweed
New yarn: Knit Picks High Desert Tweed – Image © Knit Picks


Vitamina – Bulky – 50% Merino Wool, 50% Superfine Alpaca – Fuzzy – Self-striping (gradient transition)

Bendigo Woollen Mills
Woodlands 8-ply – DK – 83% Wool, 10% Bamboo Viscose, 4% Mohair, 3% Viscose – Plied – Marled colors, Tweed colors, Heathered colors

DROPS Design
DROPS Daisy – DK – 100% Merino Wool – Plied – Solid colors

Dale of Norway / Dalegarn
Bling – Carry-along – 100% Polyester – Sequinned – Solid colors with sequins

Darn Good Yarn
DK Weight 100% Merino DK – DK – 100% Merino Wool – 2 ply – Solid colors, Tonal colors

Colours Chunky Velvet – Bulky – 100% Polyester – Chenille – Solid colors
Colours Wave DK – DK – 100% Acrylic – Plied – Self-striping
Organic Cotton – Fingering – 100% Organic Cotton – 2 ply – Solid colors

Milky Way – Super Bulky – 53% Wool, 47% Acrylic – Single ply – Tonal colors, Heathered colors

Hand Dyed Superfine Merino Wool Natural – Worsted – 100% Merino Superwash Wool – S on S plied – Tonal colors, Multicolored, Speckled colors

Concept Angelo – DK – 67% Merino Wool, 33% Nylon – Fiber-filled net – Gradient
Wow Fluffy – Super Bulky – 65% Acrylic, 17% Nylon, 9% Viscose, 9% Wool – Fuzzy – Solid colors

Knit Picks / We Crochet
High Desert Tweed – Worsted – 89% Merino Wool, 6% Acrylic, 5% Rayon – Tweedy – Tweed colors

Kraemer Yarns
Belfast – DK – 55% Cotton, 25% Hemp, 20% Acrylic – Plied – Marled colors

Lion Brand
Local Grown – Heavy Worsted – 100% Wool – Plied – Solid colors

Loops & Threads
Everyday Cotton – Worsted – 100% Cotton – Plied – Solid colors

Louisa Harding
Amitola Brush – Sport – 38% Wool, 37% Mohair, 25% Cotton – Fuzzy – Self-striping (gradient transition), Gradient

Manos del Uruguay
Sami – DK – 100% Merino Superwash Wool – 2 ply – Tonal colors

Premier Yarns
Premier Basix Shimmer – Aran – 97% Acrylic, 3% Metallic – Plied – Solid colors with metallic, Self-striping with metallic, Marled with metallic

Primrose Yarn Co
Forage Worsted – Worsted – 100% Targhee-Columbia Wool – Plied (woolen-spun) – Solid colors, Tonal colors

Queen City Yarn
Latta – Sport – 50% Merino Wool, 50% Rambouillet Wool – Plied – Tonal colors

Rico Design
Creative Colour Shift DK – DK – 70% Acrylic, 30% Wool – Single ply – Self-striping (gradient marl)
Essentials Organic Wool Aran – Aran – 100% Wool – Single ply – Undyed
Fashion Alpaca Sparks Joy – Heavy Worsted – 32% Nylon, 28% Alpaca, 28% Wool, 8% Cotton, 4% Polyester – Fuzzy – Tweed colors
Fashion Alpaca Superfine Heavens – Bulky – 63% Alpaca, 37% Nylon – Fuzzy – Self-striping (gradient transition)
Fashion Mohair Rainbows – Worsted – 63% Mohair, 20% Polyester, 17% Wool – Brushed bouclé – Self-striping (gradient transition)

Fine Tweed Haze – DK – 37% Alpaca, 37% Wool, 13% Nylon, 9% Cotton, 4% Polyester – Fuzzy – Tweed colors

Impressions – Aran – 100% Acrylic – Plied – Dappled colors
Winter Magic XL – Super Bulky – 99% Acrylic, 1% Metallic – Plied – Multicolored, Christmas colors
Wonderland Chunky – Bulky – 99% Acrylic, 1% Metallic – Single ply – Self-striping (gradient marl), Christmas colors

Trendsetter Yarns
Paillettes – Carry-along – 100% Polyester – Sequinned – Solid colors with sequins

Universal Yarn
Uptown Bamboo DK – DK – 80% Acrylic, 20% Bamboo Viscose – S on S plied – Solid colors

Vintage Purls
Tramp Biodegradable Sock – Fingering – 75% Merino Superwash Wool, 25% Biodegradable Nylon – Plied – Solid colors, Tonal colors

Everest Maxi – Super Bulky – 70% Acrylic, 30% Wool – 2 ply – Self-striping (multicolored marls)


Bendigo Woollen Mills
Cotton Splash 8-ply – DK – 100% Cotton – Plied – Solid colors

Blanket O'Go – Super Bulky – 100% Polyester – Chenille – Self-striping

Fibra Natura
Donnina – Sport – 100% Merino Superwash Wool – S on S plied – Solid colors
Flax Lace – Fingering – 100% Linen – Plied – Solid colors
Java – Aran – 100% Hemp – Plied – Solid colors
Papyrus – DK – 78% Cotton, 22% Silk – 2 ply – Solid colors, Semi-solid colors
Radiant Cotton – DK – 100% Cotton – Plied – Solid colors

Hand Maiden Fine Yarn
Alpaca Merino – Sport – 70% Merino Superwash Wool, 30% Alpaca – Plied with a soft haze – Solid colors, Tonal colors, Multicolored

Simplicity Spray – Worsted – 55% Merino Superwash Wool, 28% Acrylic, 17% Nylon – Plied – Self-striping (long transition), Dappled colors
Simpliworsted Spray – Heavy Worsted – 55% Merino Superwash Wool, 28% Acrylic, 17% Nylon – S on S plied – Self-striping (long transition), Dappled colors

Magic Ring – Jumbo – 100% Polyester – Fixed loops – Solid colors

Laines du Nord
Caleido – Aran – 100% Superwash Wool – Single ply – Self-striping (gradient marl)
Crazy – DK – 100% Superwash Wool – Single ply – Self-striping (gradient marl)
Indulgence Mohair – Heavy Worsted – 60% Mohair, 27% Alpaca, 13% Nylon – Fuzzy – Self-striping (gradient transition)
Paint Sock – Fingering – 75% Superwash Wool, 25% Nylon – Plied – Self-striping, Gradient

Lion Brand
Chunky Chill – Super Bulky – 100% Acrylic – Single wrapped with thread – Solid colors
Comfy Cotton Blend – Worsted – 50% Cotton, 50% Polyester – Plied – Multicolored
Sock-Ease – Fingering – 75% Superwash Wool, 25% Nylon – Plied – Solid colors, Self-striping
Vel-Luxe Jumbo – Jumbo – 100% Polyester – Chenille – Solid colors

Loops & Threads
Capri – Worsted – 57% Cotton, 28% Nylon, 15% Polyester – S on S plied – Solid colors
Cozy Wool – Super Bulky – 50% Acrylic, 50% Wool – Plied – Solid colors, Tonal colors, Marls, Self-striping marls
Eco-Cozy – Super Bulky – 100% Polyester – Single ply – Solid colors
Eco-Luxe – Super Bulky – 65% Polyester, 25% Acrylic, 10% Wool – Plied – Solid colors, Heathers
Lush Alpaca – Super Bulky – 80% Acrylic, 20% Alpaca – Plied with a soft haze – Solid colors, Heathers

Lotus Yarns
Cathay Streak – DK – 50% Silk, 50% Yak – Plied – Multicolored

Manos del Uruguay
Alma – Light Fingering – 100% Merino Superwash Wool – Single ply – Tonal colors, Multicolored

Mary Maxim
Anti-Pill Stripes – DK – 100% Acrylic – Plied – Self-striping (long)
Super Soft – Aran – 72% Acrylic, 28% Polyester – Fuzzy chain – Self-striping (gradient transition)

Linie 130 Champ – Aran – 100% Merino Superwash Wool – Plied

Organic Cashmere Lace – Fingering – 100% Cashmere – Plied with a soft haze – Solid colors
Organic Cashmere Worsted – Heavy Worsted – 100% Cashmere – Plied with a soft haze – Solid colors

Plymouth Yarn
Pima Rino Tweed – Worsted – 56% Cotton, 26% Merino Superwash Wool, 18% Acrylic – Tweedy – Tweed colors

Topmerino – Super Bulky – 100% Merino Superwash Wool – Tape – Solid colors

Trendsetter Yarns
Allure – Heavy Worsted – 85% Viscose, 15% Silk – Tape – Tonal colors, Multicolored
Autumn Wind – Sport – 90% Cotton, 10% Cashmere – S on S plied – Multicolored (Speckles)
Recycled Linen – Sport – 100% Linen – Z-plied – Multicolored

Vintage Purls
Sock – Fingering – 75% Merino Superwash Wool, 25% Nylon – Plied

If you'd like to get in touch, please send a mail to hello@yarnsub.com (you can simply reply to this mail) or find me on Instagram.

See you in October!


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