10/14/2018

Shaken, not stirred

I've had the hardest time keeping this under the wraps! I had a vision of a shawl in the summer but since I thought of making it into a mystery knit-along, I had to wait. Next, I waited for the two Finnish indie dyers, lanitium ex machina and iKKe to put their yarn kits up for grabs. And then, I had to wait for the MKAL to start in September. So much waiting! I tried to keep my cool and let everyone else have fun with the MKAL but then I couldn't stop myself and I just had to cast on for another shawl. And then, more waiting: I still had to wait until today to get to show you these pictures of my beautiful shawl - except that now there are already two shawls to show you.



What: Shake it up / Own pattern
How: Circular needles 3.75 (grellow shawl) and 3.5 mm (blue-beige shawl)
From: Fru Valborg Merino Swirl, 280 g (grellow) and Koukuttamo Hehku Singles + Madelinetosh Merino Light + Uschitita Merino Singles, 58 + 93 + 95 g (blue-beige)

The mystery shawl consisted of a total 13 clues that had variations of garter stitch, stripes, lace, brioche and at the end, one row garter stitch stripes.



The idea is to take three colors and play with them to see how beautifully they can blend together. Shake it up starts off with color 1 and soon, you'll begin striping with color 2 until you will switch it to be the main color.



Color 3 is worked in unnoticed. There's first brioche with colors 1 and 2, color 2 being on top. At the halfway point of the brioche you will switch the background color to color 3. There's some striping with colors 2 and 3 until at the very end you'll be using colors 3 and 1 together. There's something exciting happening all the time - yet the shawl looks quite harmonious.



The shawl has an arrow shape. You start at one sharp corner and work increases at the edges and decreases in the middle. At the end, the wedge at the center is filled up working decreases at one edge of the shawl while continuing the increases at the other edge and the decreases in the middle.



You might think the shawl is finished once the wedge is filled up. But there's one more section to work: you'll pick up stitches from the bottom edges of the shawl and work garter stitch edging using color 2 and shaping it with short rows. If you still have enough color 2 left, you can work an i-cord bind off around the shawl. It really ties the colors together.



One of my favorite things about Shake it up is that you can use the rest of the yarns to make tassels. This way you won't have any left overs.



I had so much fun organizing the mystery knit-along. So much that you can be sure, I'll do another one next year!



If you happen to be in Finland next weekend, please do come and join us for Shake it up meet up at the yarn shop Lentävä lapanen in Järvenpää.

10/03/2018

First sight

I don't know about people but with yarn there is definitely such a thing as love at first sight. Like with this gorgeous Kässäkerho Pom Pom Donegal DK yarn. A DK weight superwash merino yarn with tweed. Tweed has been trending for past couple of years but this is the first DK weight tweed yarn I've seen. And yes, it was love at first sight.


What: First sight / Own pattern
How: Circular needle 4.5 mm
From: Kässäkerho Pom Pom Donegal DK, 400 g
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/NeulistiMNK/first-sight

I designed a sweater pattern for this new yarn and it was just published in the Finnihs TAITO magazine. The pattern will be available as an English single pattern on Ravelry in the spring.



I wanted to design a boxy sweater with thicker yarn for a change. As usual, this one is knitted seamlessly top down. The shoulders are shaped with short rows and the hero of the pattern is the wide cable panel in front that is framed with narrow braid cables. The hem has a slit and the back is a bit longer than the front. The sleeves are 3/4 length. The neckband is folded in half and finished off with a crochet bind off.


Most of the sweater is easy knitting. The short rows and cables take a bit of concentrating at the beginning but after the shoulders it's very relaxed. The thick yarn and big needles make for a quick knit - especially with these shorter sleeves.


This sweater was photographed twice! First I met up with the editor of TAITO magazine and we took photos in scorching +30 celsius weather. I was trying my best not to show how hot and sweaty it was.


Later in the summer I was traveling in Scotland and mom took these lovely pics on Orkney island. What a relief it was to take photos on a cold, windy and rainy morning by the sea.


This will be my favorite sweater for the fall now that I can wear it in public. Do you like these kind of heavier weight sweaters?

10/01/2018

Pioni

Do you know the feeling when you're not at your finest trying to take pics of a finished knit? You know how that unpleasant feeling transmits itself from the pics to the actual knit? Yep. I almost wanted to throw this lovely little cardigan in the trash because it started to seem impossible to get good photographs of it. Luckily I and more than one photographer were persistent enough to keep trying because it really is a very sweet cardigan.


What: Pioni / Own pattern
How: Circular needles 4.0 and 4.5 mm
From: Little Grey Sheep Stein Fine Wool 4 ply, 430 g
Ravelryssa

Last spring I visited Edinburgh Yarn Fest for the very first time and I bought lovely British wool yarn that has been aching to get on the needles. The yarn is light and airy, woolly and warm - very sheepish. Little Grey Sheep is a small family farm and the yarn labels even have this lovely story about the life of the sheep and who shears them at Christmas. So sweet!



Are you one of those knitters that hate ending up on sleeve island when you feel like the sweater should already be finished? I know I am. So I had a vision of a cardigan where you would start by working the sleeves and they wouldn't come to haunt you at the end. That's how Pioni was born.


Pioni starts off working a bolero-like top part sideways from one wrist to the other. You will work the first sleeve in the round, bind off a few stitches at the underarm, work the back flat, cast on a few stitches for the other underarm and join in the round to work the second sleeve. There's a chunky cable going across the sleeves and the back, and the rest of the top is broken 2x1 ribbing.


Once you finish the top part, you'll pick up stitches around it to work the body top down in one color brioche. The body has two increase rounds to give it A-line shape. The construction of the cardigan also makes it so that the fronts are shorter than the back.


Finally, you will pick up stitches along the fronts and back of the neck to work a button band in garter stitch. I designed this cardigan to have larger than average button holes because at least my button stash is bursting with those gorgeous huge buttons you almost never get to use. The button band is finished off with an i-cord bind off.



I really enjoyed knitting this cardigan but taking photos ended up being a pain in the butt. There was always something wrong: either my clothes were crinkled, it was way too windy, too bright or too dark. Luckily in the end, I did end up with enough nice photos to present the cardigan to you.



Pioni can be found on Ravelry and you can get it -25 % during this week using the code SWEETPEONIES. In case you were wondering, pioni is Finnish for peony.


Some crafters are seasonal knitters. They either stop knitting completely for the summer, or at least switch to cotton yarns. I'm all about wool all year long. Even though this summer in Finland was scorching, I didn't mind having a sweater quantity of 100 % wool in my lap most of the summer. And it's lucky I didn't because now as the weather has turned and the temperatures are sinking, I get to wrap myself in this warm woolly cardigan.

9/25/2018

Split cells socks



What: Split cells / Jeannie Cartmel
How: Circular needle 2.25 mm
From: Cascade Heritage, 67 g
 Ravelryssa

Back in spring I had the idea of a box of socks. I would get rid of lonely sock yarn skeins, finally work some patterns bought long time ago, and the person opening this box at Christmas will be very happy, I think.



However, I didn't stop to think that perhaps not all patterns bought long time ago would be my cup of tea anymore. You know, there might be a reason why I never got around to working a certain pattern. For example these socks, since nowadays I don't really like cables all that much.


I started the socks back in July on a business trip. I finished another project and was eager to cast on for another pair for the Box. I was excited to finally use this Cascade Heritage skein I got from a friend as a present, and the Split cells socks by Jeannie Cartmel have been lingering in my Ravelry queue for ages.


The yarn was great and it was nice to get back to this basic sock yarn after a long time. I also really like this bright deep green color. The pattern was well written and clear. The only problem was that the socks have about a million and three (yes, I counted!) two stitch cables with some of them having twisted stitches, and some of the having just one twisted stitch, and some of them having no twisted stitches and and and... You get the point, right?


The heel flap was the worst. I really, really like socks where the stitch pattern continues over the heel flap. Except that in this case it meant working twisted purled stitches. And that would be fine too, except that because of the cables worked on the RS, the twisted stitches kept switching places making it really hard to spot them on the WS. This was not the kind of project you can easily work at a knit night.


So, I started the socks back in July and only now finished them at a knitting retreat last weekend. Oh boy, was I happy to bind off. The Box has six pairs in it already, and still room for a few more. Perhaps something simpler next time.

9/19/2018

Still

I just hate it when I have to admit I was wrong about something. But I guess it's nicer to admit defeat in a beanie made of mohair/silk and cashmere...


What: Still / Own pattern
How: Circular needle 3.5 mm
From: ITO Karei + ITO Sensai, 22 + 13 g (for the grey, size L) and 17 + 11 g  (for the purple, size M)
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/NeulistiMNK/still-ii
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/NeulistiMNK/still

But let's start from the beginning. Nowadays, it's very trendy to combine two different types of yarns for projects - especially such that the other yarn is mohair/silk. I've always loved silk but I can't stand mohair. Or so I thought.


I have only one mohair(/silk) sweater in my wardrobe that I actually use. The others I've given or thrown away over the years since all I got from them was a terrible itch. On the other hand,k I really like that one sweater and don't have any problems with it. So perhaps, those other knits haven't been made in a quality yarn?



Anyway, I had firmly decided I wasn't getting along with mohair and could let this knitting community fab pass me by. Except... My LYS started to carry those candy-like little skeins of ITO Sensai. They are so pretty. And to top it off, they just got a shipment of ITO Karei, the new 100 % cashmere yarn. There was also this one sample knit beanie combining the two. I was smitten. It didn't feel itchy, not at all. If I'm totally honest, it felt quite heavenly.


I wasn't going to buy anything. I just wanted to feel the yarns. But of course, before I noticed, I had already bought a skein of each. And, I cast on right away.


I designed this light as a feather hat with the yarn combo. The hat has a tall ribbing that can be folded in two for a more fitted beanie look. The rest of the hat is easy lace worked on every row and the crown decreases are hidden among the lace. The lace looks so delicate worked in this cashmir-silk/mohair combo.



The hat can be made extra special by choosing one of those few Sensai colors where the silk core is a different color than the mohair fluff around it. It makes the yarn glow. And since my LYS had more than one of those special colors, I had to make another beanie.



The pattern has two sizes, M and L that fit a head circumference of 9.75-22.75''. And, there's a 25 % discount till Sunday September 23rd if you use the code FLUFF.