Where to draw the line between a shawl and a blanket?

Nowadays, knitting shawls is all about size. A good shawl is big enough to wrap around you a couple hundred times, and it takes at least three skeins of yarn. And I too am very much into shlankets.

What: Elevate / Susanne Sommer
How: Circular needle 4.5 mm
From: Tukuwool Fingering, 735 g

Issue 5 of Laine magazine had Susanne Sommer's rectangular shawl which combined some of my favorite things: garter stitch and two-color brioche. I took one look at that huge shawl design and decided on that instance that it could easily be modified into a blanket for our sofa.

Right away, I knew I wanted to knit this blanket in Tukuwool. It's so wonderfully woolly, and very affordable for a blanket project. Because a blanket will eat up some serious amounts of yarn. I pondered for a moment for the perfect color combo for our living room and ended up choosing my favorite Tuku color, Ruura. I already had a decent amount of it in my stash which was a big plus. It needed a partner in crime so I bought six skeins of the fox colored Repo. I also had a few skeins of Repo at home but still ran out of yarn.

The shawl design was huge as it was but I wanted a decent-size blanket for two adults. My first modification was choosing bigger needles. The shawl - or blanket in my case - starts at one corner with increases next to the brioche edge. I did a couple extra increases before moving onto the brioche prallelograms at the center of the blanket.

The blanket has five parallelograms at the center with every other of them with the colors flipped. I found a note on my phone that I added a few repeats to the smaller parallelograms but it seems I forgot to do the same for the bigger ones. Hence, the size difference is quite small. Oh well, these mods were plenty enough to turn this shawl into a big blanket.

I started the project in August. In the beginning it grew fast as I was eager to get on with this new project and learn something new. Thing slowed down after the first few parallelograms. Finally, at Christmas I took a little break from designing and decided it was about time to finish the blanket. Oh, how happy I was once I finished the last parallelogram and thought the rest would go fast. It turns out that if you happen to have hundreds of stitches on your needles and only decrease two on every other row it might take some time.

In the beginning of January I took the blanket along as car knitting on our way to Helsinki and I finally got to decrease the last couple of stitches. I took out the magazine just to check how to bind off the last stitches... only to notice for the very first time that there was an i-cord bind off around the blanket still to be worked! How long did that take, you ask? Let's not even go there. The important thing is that the blanket is now done and I love it.

So be it that there was a whole lot more knitting than I anticipated. But now the blanket is finished - and it actually came together rather quickly. I lovelovelove it. I didn't measure the blanket but let me tell you it's more than enough for two adults lying on our couch. No more fighting over one blanket.

If I every once in a while would like to skip blocking, this one really needed it. The brioche edge has such a different gauge than the garter stitch part that the edges really needed to be blocked properly. Our foyer was just big enough to fit the blanket on the floor to dry.



Last spring, a friend asked if I would be interested in desgining something from her yarns. Both of us had a few hickups and the release of the design got a bit delayed but hey, you didn't know it was coming so you didn't know we were running late.

What: Mona / Own pattern
How: Circular needle 3.5 mm
From: Langanlumous Merino/Bamboo, 243 g

I pondered a while over her lovely yarns and surprised myself by choosing something with actual colors (you know me and my obsession with neutrals). The deep purple and light pink with yellow speckles worked together really nicely. I instantly thought of brioche.

The shawl has alternating sections of two-color brioche and one-color lace. The brioche sections are worked like a triangular shawl with increases at the edges and at the center. The lace has increases only at the edges to keep it nice and simple.

I wanted to use the darker color to frame the shawl so the edges have an i-cord with the purple color that's also used for the lace sections. Usually, with two-color brioche the lighter color is the main color but I felt this way the shawl had a nicer contrast. As the i-cord was looking so nice, I wanted to kinda frame the brioche sections with it all around so there's a few rows of reverse stockinette stitch to give the same vibe. I really like how it slices the shawl into clean sections.

The last brioche section has a cute scalloped gingerbread edge. Finally, the shawl is finished off with an i-cord bind off. The pattern has a tip for blocking to keep the scalloped edge beautifully round.

The shawl got its name from the dyer, Mona. As I feel it turned out just as happy and bubbly as she is. Mona has also dyed some yarn kits for the shawl and if you buy one from her you will get the pattern for free. Otherwise, you can find the pattern on Ravelry.


Tiny knits for a tiny person

One of the best things in life is when you get to be a godparent to child. As a godmother, I'm assuming I have to right to loose all control when it comes to Christmas presents. This time, I made two little knits for our little goddaughter.

How: Circular needle 4.0 mm
From: Kässäkerho Pom Pom Donegal DK + scrap yarns, 106 + 24 g

One category in the Indie Design Gift-A-long is garments: cardigans, sweaters and dresses. And of course, being a statistician, I had to optimize. You see, the rules state that kids' clothes are ok as long as they're not for a 1 year old or younger. If they are, they're counted in the baby category. So I was very happy to run into this lovely little pattern for which the smallest size was 2 years. And even better, I just so happen to have a one year old goddaughter so it'll be perfect for the spring or next fall.

The design is a cute and simple cardigan with color work yoke and sweet little pockets. My stash had just enough mint colored DK tweed yarn for the main color and then all I had to do was to dig up some scrap yarns for the color work.

I'm more than happy about the beautiful scrap yarn gradient from dark purple to sassy pink I managed to find. I haven't been holding on to the smallest left overs for nothing.

And hey, how cute is that cardigan!

How: Circular needle 2.75 mm
From: Kässäkerho Pom Pom Donegal Tweed, 34 g

For the baby category I found this sweet little elf cap. The pattern was really nice. It had several options for the edging - and of course I just had to go for the most difficult one with twisted purls...

If the edge took its sweet time the rest of the hat flew off the needles. A big reason  for that was the yarn. The tweed yarn felt like melted butter. I don't think I've ever tried a softer yarn than this one.

I'm really bad at tossing away left over yarns. I hold on to the smalles little scraps thinking that one day I'll figure out a use for these. And today was one of those days! I had more of the yellow yarn so I worked the edge with it and then started striping 3 rounds stripes as far as the grey would last. I did run out of the grey yarn just before the end but that's fine because there's this funny little knot on top and it kinda hides the fact that the yarn ran out.

At first I thought I don't know any baby to give this to. But since it almost fit me (let's not go to those pics!) I figured it would be just perfect for our goddaughter.


Jean next door

My mother’s mother went to school right next door to Ainola, the home of the famous Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. My grandmother call him Jean next door.

What: Jean next door / Own pattern
How: Circular needle 2.25 mm
From: PetrichorYarns Sox, 60g

I had the great honor of designing a sock pattern for the first leg of Sukka Finlandia, a Finnish version of Tour de Sock.

The socks are worked cuff down. There is a handsom cable in the back that goes all the way over the heel flap. The front is simple ribbing. Because it's a competition and you're meant to have a bit of fun and perhaps try something new, I placed the gusset decreases on top of the instep.

You will pick up stitches from the edges of the heel flap, business as usual. But those stitches are used for working cables so I had to place the decreases somewhere else. And placed on top of the sole, the decreases slowly gather the cables closer to each other until they meet at the middle of the instep, ending just before the toes.

The pattern has three sizes, 60-68-72 sts. It's also possible to work the sock two at a time using the magic loop method - at least until the toes. But then one must remember to pick up the stitches from the heel flaps onto the instep needle.

Since the competition is hosted by a Finnish yarn shop, Lentävän lapanen, that's located in Järvenpää I instantly thought of Jean Sibelius (he's from there). Or to be more precise, I instantly thought of this memory of my grandmother. In her old days, she and my grandfather went to the movies to see a movie about Jean Sibelius. Afterwards, I heard her say that Jean next door was nothing like in the movie. I've been waiting for a chance to use this story as an inspiration for a design and now I finally got my wish. I also think it's quite fitting as the socks are pretty much unisex for my taste. So, they could be made for a man as well.

Now, I'll eagerly wait and see who's the fastest knitter of this first leg of the race!


Drunken cables

I've been knitting more tentacles for my octopus. If that sounds strange you can read the explation here.

What: Drunken sailor socks / Emily Wood
How: Circular needle 2.25 mm
From: Invictus Yarns Unconquerable Sole BFL, 81 g

These are a handsome pair of socks but I must say they're a rather ambitious project. But let's start from the beginning. I wanted to surprise a friend by knitting him a pair of socks for Christmas. At the same time, I was taking part in the Indie Design Gift-A-long Opadoo challenge where I needed to finish a project in all eight KAL categories from at least five different designers.

I was originally going to make a totally different pair of socks but I only realized after buying the pattern that it only included one size which wasn't big enough for men's socks. I had had my eye on this design as well but I could tell from the gorgeous cables that these would take quite a lot of effort to make.

Actually in the end, the squirming cable was the most clear part of the stitch pattern. There was so much going on in these socks: the cables running down the side of the socks, another chart for the back of the leg, some stitches with only written instructions, all of the stitch patterns running at different paces and to top it off: twisted stitches worked on every other round.

As I cast on, I was nervous thinking that these socks would take forever to make. Imagine my surprise as I learned all the stitch patterns after just a few rows! I couldn't believe it but the socks were a really nice and easy knit.

And look how pretty they are! So, if you like your socks with cables and charts and three other stitch patterns, I can really recommend this pattern.