April 14, 2023 in Brown Sheep

Spotlight on Nature Spun

Have you knit with Nature Spun before? It’s one of our favorite yarns for year-round crafting. Available in four different weights—fingering, sport, worsted, and chunky—it’s great for all kinds of knit, crochet, and weaving projects. Nature Spun boasts an enormous palette of 80+ vibrant solid and heathered colors. That’s why we chose it for this year’s spring Mystery Knit Along!


A quad featuring kits for Brown Sheep's spring MKAL 2023 in 4 colorways


Before we introduce the knit along—including some fun alternative colorway options—let’s talk about Nature Spun!

The Story of Nature Spun

Different colored skeins of Nature Spun yarn lying on a rock outdoors


Nature Spun is a 100% U.S. wool with a 3-ply construction. Why 3 plies? We wanted Nature Spun to be durable, springy, and smooth. Yarns with 3 plies create fabulous stitch definition, because the triple ply creates a rounded shape. A 3-plied yarn knits up into a smooth, even fabric that is less likely to pill.

Remember when we said Nature Spun has more than 80 colors? We wanted a yarn that lent itself to colorwork, with lots of options for coordinating and contrasting colors. Nature Spun’s 3-ply construction is also a boon for colorwork. The 3 plies create dimension and crisp, delineated edges, so colorwork like stripes, fair isle, and intarsia really pop.


Nature Spun yarn different weights


Here’s a fun fact for yarn aficionados about Nature Spun: Around the mill, we refer to each type of yarn in the Nature Spun family using number metrics. This is a two-number description that gives the number of plies (all weights of Nature Spun have 3!) followed by a number that describes the ratio between length and mass. Larger numbers refer to thinner weights of yarn. So:

3/15 is Nature Spun Fingering
3/9 is Nature Spun Sport
3/6 is Nature Spun Worsted
 3/3 is Nature Spun Chunky


Nature Spun is available in skeins (fingering, sport, worsted), hanks (chunky), and 1-pound cones (fingering, sport). The 1-pound cones make Nature Spun a favorite among weavers as well as knitters and crocheters! Nature Spun really lends itself to all sorts of crafting. Being hand wash only, it’s also great for felted items.


Now that you know a little more about Nature Spun, let’s talk about our mystery knit along!


The 2023 Spring Mystery Knit Along

All colors of Nature Spun Sport


The subject of this year’s MKAL is an asymmetrical shawl featuring stripes, garter stitch, slipped stitches, and a sprinkling of daisy chains. Designed by Tonia Lyons, the True Blue Shawl uses 3 different colors of Nature Spun Sport. When we looked at colors for the shawl, we decided we wanted to go for a colorful crayon vibe. You’ll notice that each of the 4 color kits we created features one really bright “pop” color, and at least one blue color in accordance with the shawl’s name.



Participants are encouraged to join our Spring 2023 MKAL forum on Spinning Yarns and share their progress on our social media channels using #BrownSheepSpringMKAL2023. Here are some of the finer details:


Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport, 50g/184yds/168m per skein: 2 skeins each in Color 1, Color 2, and Color 3
Needles: US size 6 (4 mm), 32” (80 cm) circular needles, or size needed to obtain gauge and US size 7 (4.5 mm), double-pointed needle, or one size larger than main needle for I-cord bind-off
Gauge: 20 sts & 32 rows = 4”/10cm  (blocked stockinette stitch)
Notions: Locking stitch marker (1), Tapestry needle (for weaving in ends), Blocking mats and pins/wires


An important note about color choices: When selecting your own colors, to make the most of the shawl’s stripe design, we suggest Color 1 should be dark, Color 2 should be light, and Color 3 should be a bright pop color.


Until May 16, MKAL participants get free shipping on MKAL kits and all orders of Nature Spun Sport with the code NSSMKAL. Not in love with the kits we designed? Choose your own colors and use the code for free shipping!


There will be 4 clues in total. Participants will receive the first clue by email on April 25. The following clues will then be issued on a weekly basis every Tuesday. Remember to share pictures of your progress and the finished shawl with the hashtag #BrownSheepSpringMKAL2023 to be eligible for our prizes—two lucky knitters will win $50 gift certificates to the Brown Sheep shop!


We’re also including some alternative color suggestions below. Some feature super bright, pop colors; others are more muted; some don’t include blue at all. The True Blue Shawl leans into a stripe motif, so as long as you like your 3 colors together, they should work!


Nature Spun Sport Color Options










Remember to sign up for the MKAL now to receive the first clue on April 25. And don’t forget to use the code NSSMKAL on orders of the MKAL kits and Nature Spun Sport for free shipping!


Have you worked with Nature Spun before? Are you participating in this year’s MKAL? What is your favorite color trio? Let us know below and on social media!


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