1/19/2020

Grain

Lately, I've been knitting just colorwork and I don't see an end to this whim. This design here kicks off my year of colorwork sweaters.


What: Grain / Own pattern
How: Circular needle 3.5 mm
From: Blacker Yarns Tamar 4ply, 293 g

For couple years already, I've been shopping yarn with colorwork sweaters in mind. Yet, I haven't been knitting or designing them. It just so happened that it did take quite some time to get my colorwork design groove on. But one Saturday last fall, I sat down on my computer and spent the entire day working on colorwork chart ideas. I finally got in the flow and now the yarns I've been acquiring are finally making their way onto my needles.



Once I got over my designing block, I was in such a hurry to cast on that I didn't bother to really swatch. I did make a teeny tiny swatch of this lovely grain pattern but I made it in a different yarn. It just so happened that the yarn didn't have enough contrast and hence, I didn't have enough motivation to finish the swatch. Once I found a new yarn, I didn't have the patience to make a new swatch and decided I could just use the one I had kinda made in that other yarn. I could just barely measure the gauge for 5 x 5 cm and was happy with that. Spoiler alert: I shouldn't have been.


Hindsight is 20/20 and I can now tell you my impatience had a price. Once I finally got to cast on my sweater I actually finished it in just 8 days - only to find out that it had about 30 cm (12'') more ease than what I intended. It took my 8 days to knit and 8 minutes to pull apart. Surprisingly, I didn't mind at all. You see, I had finally got a hold of my wips and was working on only one project at a time. It was nice but every time I finished something, I was feeling low with the empty needles syndrome. I didn't mind unraveling my new sweater because it was a really nice knit and now I knew what I would knit next.



They do say that a sweater is the proper size swatch for a sweater... I took just few hours to r-calculate everything and I made this nicely fitting new sample in just 7 days. In oh my, it's a good one!


Grain is a simple and beautiful colorwork sweater. The round yoke has two rows of grains and the hem has these little sprouts just before the ribbing which is worked with the contrast color. The sweater doesn't have waist shaping, just few decreases from the underarms to the hem.


I have fallen hard for the cropped sweater trend and this sweater is a perfect example. I wear dresses and high waist skirts a lot and a cropped sweater is the perfect pair for that style. Some test knitters made theirs longer so you can check out their projects on Ravelry and Instagram.


The yarn was a new one for me. Tamar 4-ply by Blacker Yarns is a fingering weight, non-superwash yarn from 100% British wool. It's a rustic, woolly wool. In the recent years, I've concentrated more on these natural, less treated yarns. But the design works well with SW merino too.


As I said, Grain is the first colorwork sweater of the year but certanly not the last. You can find it on Ravelrysta and there's an introductory 20% discount with the code WHEAT The code is valid through next week.



We've been having a crappy non-winter winter and there's no snow around. If there's anything positive about that we managed to take these autumnal pics in December.

1/04/2020

Ohla

New Year calls for a new design! I hope this wintery wrap will bring the snow back.


What: Ohla / Own pattern
How: Circular needles 4.5 mm
From: Shibui Knits Staccato + Silk Cloud, 190 + 62 g

I fell in love with the lace insert of my Alho sweater that I published in December. So much so that I had to use it in a shawl design too. I think you can figure out where the name of the shawl comes from.


Last spring, I designed a luxurious silky cardigan, Sulo, and I had a lot of yarn left over from that one. Now, those yarns turned into this delicious, huge yet light shawl. The cardigan was a luxurious combo of fingering weight merino/silk held together with lace weight mohair/silk. Since it was such a superb combination I saw now reason to change the recipe. Expect for the part that the lace inserts are worked in just the lace weight yarn just like in Alho sweater. This gives the lace such a delicate, exquisite look. It reminds me of spider webs full of those little diamonds from the morning dew. 



I like trying out different shapes for shawsl. But do not be fooled, I would never leave it at just that. This shawl maybe rectangular but it sure isn't worked straight.


Ohla does start at the short end of the rectangular with casting on stitches but the ribbing is shaped with short rows and after that the main body of the shawl is worked on the bias. At the other end, there are short rows to straighten the ribbing just before bind off.


Even though these little tricks make this an interesting project, most of it is really simple stockinette stitch with a bit of lace. The are a few rows of lace worked on the WS but just few - and the majority of the shawl is just stockinette stitch and ribbing.


That's it! A soft, airy and delicate shawl. I haven't really been designing rectangular shawl before so this stunning shawl stick turned out really useful with the wrap. I've been drooling over this beautiful Mountain Sheep Shawl Stick by JUL designilta for year so I was super excited when they wanted to collaborate. I truly love the shawl stick and in addition to it, I got a little discount code to share with you. Use "JOH20" to get your own Mountain Sheep Shawl Stick with 15% discount.


Oh, and finally, as the shawl features the same lace as my Alho sweater you can get the shawl with 50% discount on Ravelry if you also purchase the sweater (or have already bought it).

12/12/2019

Alho

I'm sure many knitters know how you can knit your feelings into your projects. A shawl worked during grief can carry some of that sorrow. But you can also weave happy emotions into your knits, like this sweater that carries my roots.


What: Alho / Own pattern
How: Circular needles 3.0 and 3.5 mm
From: Holst Garn Noble + Isager Silk Mohair, 107 + 47 g

Alho is the name of an old farm. It's the name of the land that gave life to my great grandfather, my grandfather, and then, my mother. I've never lived there but it is the land I belong to. The land gave its name to this sweater because the delicate lace reminds me of grains and soil.



I couldn't stand mohair. It was a nasty long fiber that tickled and irritated my skin. While half of the knitting world was obsessed with mohair and used it in every second pattern I didn't want to take part in such a folly. Until of course, I did. You see, when you combain mohair with silk it turns into a heavenly soft and fluffy fabric. And once I went down that road there was no going back. 


Most sweater patterns use mohair silk with another strand of yarn to give the fabric that lovely halo and fluff. I wanted something a bit different and came up with a sweater that's mostly worked with two strands held together but there's lace that's worked with the silk mohair alone.


A lace weight silk mohair makes the lace pattern so delicate that I can't even.


Next on the list was finding a nice lace pattern. I fell in love with this lace chart that I think was supposed to be leaves but turned upside down it reminds me of grains. And grains reminded me of soil and roots - and so began the sweater called Alho.



Alho is knit seamlessly top down. It has a round yoke with a beautiful lace insert. The sweater comes with plenty of ease and an A-line body. It has 20 cm / 8'' positive ease at the bust and the body widens towards the hem. The sweater is cropped and the back of the hem is shaped longer with short rows. The pattern also comes with instructions for an optional bust dart.


The sweater is worked holding two strands of yarn together: a light fingering weight yarn and a lace weight mohair silk yarn. The lace is worked in just the mohair silk. I made my sample in Holst Garn Noble (wool + cashmir) and Isager Silk Mohair (30% silk).


The pattern comes in 11 sizes for finished bust circumference of 38-70'' / 95-175 cm. I recommend choosing a size with 8''/20 cm positive ease at the bust. All my new patterns come with this extended size range and once the year end work load eases off I will be adding sizes to my older patterns as well.


You can buy Alho on Ravelry and there's a 20% introductory discount until Christmas Eve using the code ROOTS.


What: Alho / Own pattern
How: Circular needles 3.0 and 3.5 mm
From: Lotus Yarns Mimi Plus + Lang Yarns Lace, 150 + 75 g

As you can see, I've made two Alhos. This darker version is the one I had to cast on right away as I had the idea for the sweater. I was in such a hurry that I skipped swatching. Let's just say there was a lesson to learn.


My gauge was way off from what I based my calculations on so the sweater turned out a lot bigger than intended. Even the neckband was too wide. So I made a sweater-size swatch and re-calculated everything based on that. The pattern will give you the fit of the lighter sweater above.


12/06/2019

Lumo

I usually knit while watching TV. So it's important to always have something mindless on the needles that doesn't take too much concentration. On the other hand, I'm bored easily. I need variation or a challenge. This time, I managed to design a shawl with the perfect balance of both, lots of mindless repetition yet enough variation to keep me interested. Don't worry about the challenge: I conquered those during the design process so that you don't have to.


What: Lumo / Own pattern
How: Circular needle 3.5 mm
From: Kettle Yarn Co. Baskerville 2.0, 100 g

I got a pleasent email in the spring from the British Kettle Yarn Co. They asked me if I'd be interested in designing a shawl for their yarn. I got a shipment of this gorgeous Baskerville 2.0 yarn which is a blend of Gotland and Blue Faced Leicester, both long fibres. The yarn has a stunning, natural lustre and shine to it and it's non-superwash which I like a lot.



Since the yarn itself was so beautiful, I wanted to design something rather simple for it. Also, I've yet to design a rectangular shawl and this was the time. I got two colors of the yarn (Dawn and Madder) and I decided right away that I'd use the main color for garter stitch and the contrast color for lace.



I know myself and I knew that I'd loose my mind working garter stitch straight for the entire length of the shawl. So I started sketching a shawl that would have these sections worked in different directions.



I needed the patience of a saint with my sample. I think I worked every single section at least twice to make it work. You see, when working in different directions, there are different row gauges to consider and constantly making sure the shawl is the same width everywhere. Garter stitch added to the challenge as it has a very different row gauge compared to stockinette stitch. With stockinette stitch, you can usually use the 2 sts per 3 rows to pick up stitches but that goes haywire with garter stitch. In the end, I got the knitting mathematics to settle down and I promise you won't have to worry about any of this. You get to just knit and relax.



Lumo is a rectangular shawl worked in two colors. The main color is always worked in garter stitch and the contrast color in lace. The fun part is that each section of the shawl is worked in a different direction so you sure won't get bored even though this is a fairly easy and simple design. The shawl has i-cord edges that are worked at the same time as the rest of the shawl so there are only yarn ends to weave in once you're finished with the shawl body. You can cut the yarns when changing sections but it's easy to carry them along inside the i-cord. That way you will only have few yarns ends to weave in at the end.


You can find the shawl on Ravelry and there's a 20% discount code KETTLE good through December 9th.