3/16/2019

Fairy lights

Don't you just love those little fairy lights people hang in their gardens? In the winter they make falling snow look like fairy dust.


What: Fairy lights hat / Own pattern
How: Circular needles 3.0 and 3.25 mm
From: Walcot Yarn Opus (3 colors), 48 g total

A year ago, at Edinburgh Yarn Fest I fell in love with Walcot Yarns Opus. It's one of the softest yarns ever, a luxurious combination of Falkland merino ja baby alpaca. I designed my Dre cardigan with it and was excited when they asked me to design an accessories set to be released for Edinburgh Yarn Fest this year.


I wanted to use their lovely color palette better so I went for stranded color work. I envisioned hanging fairy lights, painted with yarn - and so the fairy lights chart came to life.

The hat starts off with a neat long tail tubular cast on. After the ribbing there's few rows of three-color stranded knitting to work the fairy lights chart, and then most of the hat is fairy dust worked with two colors.


But the most beautiful part is at the top. Once the hat is tall enough, there's one more set of fairy lights - this time with just two colors, and the crown decreases are hidden among the color work. The decreases pull the the fairy lights together forming this beautiful flower.


What: Fairy lights mittens / Own pattern
How: Circular needles 3.0 mm
From: Walcot Yarns Opus (3 colors), 53 g total

The hat needed matching mittens so I had to design them too.



The mittens have folded cuffs with the fairy lights chart on top. As with the hat, most of the mittens are worked with the fairy dust pattern with two colors and ending with one more set of fairy lights forming the flowers on top.


The hat comes in three different sizes and the mittens are one-size. You can buy the patterns on Ravelry. The designs call for one skein of main color and mini-skeins of each of the contrast colors. I've used Light gray, Greenery and Golden rod. If you work the pattern in some other yarn you may need to adjust the needle size because Opus is a special yarn with its own kind of drape.

3/13/2019

Triantan

Last year, I received an email asking me if I would have the time to design socks for the Finnish craft magazine, Suuri Käsityö. Obviously, I said yes.


What: Triantan / Own pattern
How: Circular needle 2.25 mm
From: Skein Queen Crush, 57 g

I needed a starting point so I asked if they had any color preferences. They told me they were hoping for grey, yellow or something down-to-earth type of color and I went stash diving.


I found a skein of Skein Queen Crush in the color Limpet which is one of my favorite yarn colors. I've also made my Crush sweater in Limpet. The color is beautiful pale grey with black and brown speckles. It's a lively color without being too variagated. You know, the kind of yarn that can do the talking by itself.

I wanted to design socks that would be mellow knitting but had some interest. So I needed a stitch pattern that would be easy to memorize. And this cable pattern forming triangles and diamonds is just the kind.


The clean lines of the cables inspired to me play with the pattern a bit. I decided to work the socks toe-up and let the cables slowly grow over the instep until they take over completely after the heel.


The socks are worked toe-up and the cable pattern grows diagonally over the instep. The heel is a traditional French heel - just worked from toe-up. The cuff ribbing follows along the lines of the cable pattern.


Triantan socks have just been published in the Finnish craft magazine, Suuri Käsityö. Later, in May, the pattern will also be available on Ravelry. In just a few days I will take the socks with me to Scotland and you can come check them out and buy yourself a printed pattern at Skein Queen's booth at the Edinburgh Yarn Fest.

3/04/2019

Riihi shawl

Fall feels like it was a life time ago. Last fall I visited the biggest craft fair in Finland. The lovely folks at Pirtin kehräämö (a Finnish spin mill) booth asked me if I'd be interested in designing something for their yarns. I said I would think about it but inspiration struck almost immediately and the next day I went back to show them my little shawl sketch.


What: Riihi / Own pattern
How: Two sets of circular needles 3.75 mm
From: Pirtin kehräämö Kampalanka 90 TEX x 3, 200 g
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/NeulistiMNK/riihi

Too bad they had already sold all of the beautiful light grey yarns I had my eye on. So I got the yarn in December when I visited the spin mill for a tour.



I designed a lovely and clean, crescent shaped shawl. It has garter stitch section in one color, and two-color brioche sections with short rows. The shawl has a contrast color zigzag edge with i-cord bind off.


It all started with the idea of  two-color brioche short rows. I wondered why no one was doing it so I gave it a go. I pretty soon found out why people weren't doing it: the stitches ended up in the wrong place on the needles to start the next row. I was about ready to give up when I came up with  a solution for this problem I had created: another set of needles.


So, in this shawl you get to try out working short rows in two-color brioche - and it takes two needles of the same size. The technique isn't difficult, it just takes two needles. I was nervous for the test knitting because it would reveal if others found the technique difficult. But I was very happy to find out all my test knitters felt the instructions were clear and easy, and they came up with beautiful shawls. I really enjoy learning new tricks you can do with yarn and needles if you're ready to take a look outside the box.


The yarn I used for this design is woollen spun. If you're not familiar with the concept, in woollen spun yarn the fibres are all combed the same direction before spinning the wool into yarn. It makes for a sleek, soft yarn that is more dense than worsted spun in which the fibres can point in all possible directions. This was my first time using Pirtin kerhäämö's woollen spun yarn and I liked it a lot. The shawl took 1.5 skeins of the grey main color and under 1 skein of the orange contrast color.



You can find the English version of the pattern in my Ravelry store. The pattern is -20 % with the code "WOOLLEN" during this week.

2/25/2019

Monday dress

I don't often write about my sewing projects but this project was so lovely I just have to share it with you.


What: Monday dress / Kässäkerho Pom Pom
How: Serger and sewing machine
From: Kässäkerho Pom Pom's linen fabrics

The lovely Finnish LYS, Kässäkerho Pom Pom, has nicely started to offer sewing stuff in addition to yarn. They have beautiful linen fabrics and Merchant & Mills patterns. And at the craft fair last November, they released the very first own pattern, the Monday dress. I ran to their booth as soon as the doors opened so I wouldn't miss it.



In addition to the pattern, I bought light blue linen with their own print, Iltapäivä. I pondered for a while should I take this or the pink one. I had seen their own version on Instagram which had a color block at the  hem and I had just the perfect match at home - a silver colored linen.


The dress was super easy to sew. The pattern had exactly two pieces - front and back. And there were only a few seams to sew. The neckline and sleeves were first sewn with a serger and then stitched into place.


I wanted to copy the color block hem so that was one extra seam to sew. I wanted to modify the dress to have pockets as well. I could've just inserted pockets at the side seams but the color block hem was screaming hidden pockets.


I wondered for a while if it could really be this simple and easy and thought this way might lead into some puckering but it turned out so neat! I cut the pattern at the hem and cut the hem from the other fabric. For the front, I added pockets to both the top and the hem (15 x 19 cm). Next time I'll make them a bit bigger and a bit closer to the sides.



All I did to make the pockets was to seam the front top and hem together following the pocket shapes. A bit of ironing made them look neat and finished - and they really are well hidden unless you're like me and hold your hands in them all the time. I shortened the hem a bit and also made the fold bigger than in the instructions to get a good length for myself.



I just love the dress. It's loose and comfy, yet it drapes beautifully and looks flattering on my body. And the best part was how easy it was to make.

2/09/2019

Aarni

Aarni means old-growth forest in Finnish - and it's also the name of my new pattern. Knitting at its best can give you clarity and peace of mind so let this sweater lead you through old-growth forests and help you find yourself a quiet spot.


What: Aarni / Own pattern
How: Circular needles 3.25 and 3.75 mm
From: lanitium ex machina Suomenlammas (Finnsheep), 402 g

As a knitter, I'm always on a look out for new yarns. Last fall, at a knitting retreat I found one! A Finnish indie dyer, lanitium ex machina, had a new yarn base with her. It was glorious Finnsheep lamb's wool. Could there be anything better? And the colors were beautiful. We made a deal and I got to take four skeins with me to design a sweater. So here it is!


The yarn was so lovely and woolly that I wanted to design something pretty simple for it. The kind of sweater you can put on every morning without a thought. I started thinking about a raglan sleeved sweater with some stitch pattern in the front.



Aarni is worked top down seamlessly. First, you'll work the neckband ribbing with few short rows to give the neckline a little depth. After that, it's raglan increases and cables in the front.



I wanted to add a bit of interest for the sleeves so they have a sparse eyelet pattern in them. It's just enough to keep things interesting but happens only every few rows to not mess with your flow. The back is plain stockinette stitch.


The sleeves are 3/4 length and the cuffs and hem have a litttle ribbing. The sweater is meant to be oversized so I recommend choosing a size with about 8''/20 cm positive ease at the bust.


You can find the pattern in my Ravelry store and until Monday morning you can get 20 % off with the code LAMB.




2/07/2019

Color work practise

Last summer at the Jyväskylä summer knit festival, I saw for the first time gorgeous silver yarn guide rings by goldsmith Sanni Lehtinen. As a silver ring was a bigger purchase I wanted to think it over for a while but once I got back to her booth she had already sold them all and was packing up her things. On the next winter knit fest I was determined not miss out on the rings so I left work early to get there on time and got myself a silver yarn guide.


What: Mīlēt / Ysolda Teague
How: Circular needle 2.5 mm + yarn guide
From: Tukuwool Fingering, 55 g
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/NeulistiMNK/milet

Of course I had to try out my new gadget right away! Last spring at EYF, I bought Ysolda's mitten beautiful mitten pattern and it was the perfect opportunity to try out the ring. I stash dove for some Tukuwool scraps and cast on.

The stranded color work seemed smoother and faster than usual with the help of the yarn guide ring as I didn't have to constantly stop to tighten my yarns. I got as far as the thumb but I didn't have extra yarn with me to leave the thumb stitches on hold and so the mitten was left to hibernate - as was the whole project since I had already got to try out my new gadget. You know, been there, seen that, off to something new.


I get easily bored with knitting patterns which is why I almost never make the same design twice. Mittens and socks have the downside that you kinda have to make two of them. And I'm constantly looking to learn and make something new.

In June, I finally decided to fix the situation and finished the first mitten - only to start working on the second one in October. But hey, I did finish them in the end!


These are color work mitts worked in three colors. They have a folded cuff to keep your wrists warm and majority of the mitts is easy dot pattern worked in just two colors. The best part of the mitts is definitely the gorgeous star or snowflake shape at the tip of the mitts and thumbs.

Once again it happened that once I finished the mitts they started to look like they belonged to someone else - my bff. So I gave them to her for Christmas.


After the mittens, I also tried the yarn guide ring on couple other things: sport weight and lace weight yarns. I can honestly tell you that no one should punish themselves by working lace weight stranded color work. Also, this ring was best suited for fingering weight yarns and smooth sport weight yarns. Woollier, coarser sport weights might get a bit stuck and interfere with you knitting flow.