5/01/2019

Verso

I've been enjoying the spring weather and it has called me to work on some lighter knits for a change. I've never been much of a cowl person but on these sunny days, a shlanket-sized shawl is just too much.


What: Verso / Own pattern
How: Circular needles 3.5 mm
From: Spincycle Yarns Dyed in the wool, 100 g
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/annaj0hanna/verso
After mulling over it for a year, I finally decided to get me some Spincycle Yarns Dyed in the Wool yarn from Edinburgh Yarn Fest. It's a gorgeous yarn that's dyed to look like handspun. It's a 2-ply yarn where each ply has been dyed separate creating a beautiful gradient of colors.



I bought two skeins (two different colors) and figured I shoud design a cowl with them. The yarn is sport weight and the two 50 g skeins just wouldn't be enough for a shawl. I never thought I'd need a cowl but I've converted completely. The cowl turned out cute as ever and it's the most handy accessory for this spring weather.


Verso is a cowl that used two different gradient-dyed yarns. It plays on their colors and different textures. The cowl has ribbing, stripes, lace, you name it! It's a fun and super quick knit as it's almost impossible to put it down. You just have to see what comes next and how the colors will behave.


What: Verso / Own pattern
How: Circular needles 3.5 mm
From: Schoppel-Wolle Edition 3.0, 100 g
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/annaj0hanna/verso-2
Handdyed yarns are true works of art and I'm totally priviledged to get to work with them. But it is a fact that they can easily be out of someone's budget. With that in mind, I worked another sample in a much more easily affordable yarn that fits the pattern jus as nicely.


Edition 3.0 has a lower yardage than Dyed in the Wool but if you leave out the seed stitch section in the middle you can actually get by with just two skeins of Edition 3.0 like I did here.


The pattern has an introductory 25 % discount until the end of the week with the code SPRING.

4/14/2019

Easy knitting, eh?

Few years ago I knitted the best sweater ever. Except that it had a ton of little things I felt could be tweeked to make it even better. It wasn't perfect but it was the best sweater in the world.


What: 3 in 1 / alfa knits
How: Circular needles 3.5 and 4.0 mm
From: Tukuwool scraps and Pirtin kehräämö Kampalanka, 319 g
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/annaj0hanna/3-in-1-2

Every once in a while my brain needs to take a holiday and work on someone else's pattern. You know, knit without thinking. Except that if you know me, you know that's never really the case.


So I needed little mindless knitting and after staring at my Tukuwool leftovers for a moment I developed a craving for another 3 in 1 - this time in Finnish wool. It would be so great: the pattern calls for five colors and my scrap yarn basket was full of Tukuwool Fingering, some Kässäkerho Pom Pom Suoma Single and other Finnish yarns. I've made the sweater before so I knew how much I would need each color. So I grabbed the kitchen scale and sat down on our living room floor to figure out the yarns. I tried out all possible combos but in the end I ended up choosing five colors of Tukuwool Fingering. For the first hem, I chose Ruura and Rae, for the middle sweater I went for Selja, and for the main sweater I chose Auri and Uupo.


If you're not familiar with the pattern you should know the measurements are a bit off. The first time I made this I started working on size M - even though my measuments are closer to L. And both me and Hubby could fit in that sweater. So, I unraveled that and worked the sweater in size XS! In the end it fitted me nicely except that the sleeves could've been a bit looser. So this time around I cast on for size S. Though, I didn't stop to consider that Tukuwool is a more airy and fluffy than my yarns last time and now the sweater is a bit too loose. The sleeves are still a bit thight.


The sweater is worked bottom-up. First, you make the stripy hem. That's shaped with short rows which can be a bit of a pain with striping as you constantly have to remember to carry along the other color to have it in the right spot. Then, you cast on for the middle sweater. That one has a stockinette stitch hem that's meant to roll and the first two sweaters are worked together before continuing with the solid color middle sweater. Finally, you'll cast on for a third sweater, join it with the middle sweater and again, shape with short rows while working stripes.


In the original pattern, both the middle and main sweater have a stockinette stitch edging but I modified the main sweater to begin with few rows of garter stitch to make it different from the first two. I also modified the stripes to be 4-2 stripes instead of 2-2 - again to differentiate it from the first sweater. This made working short rows even more irritating but modifying things to be harder seems to be my thing.


Once I finished the short rows I wanted to throw the sweater in the bin. Never ever before have I had any trouble combining any Tukuwool colors together but for some reason this time the greenish yellow Uupo made the sweater look dirty. I cooled off for a couple of weeks and then ripped out Uupo and replaced it with this lovely orange Repo. Much better!


Once I got past the short row shaping (again) the sweater was coming along really fast. A bit too fast even. At this point I started to notice that my gauge was off since the sweater was looking way too tall. I didn't want to rip it back but I did have to modify the sleeve caps to make them fit with my gauge. More mods in the horizon. So much for that mindless knitting.


The sleeves I worked as instructed - until it was time to join them with the body.


If you take a look at my first 3 in 1 you'll notice that the neckline looks a bit different. In the pattern, there's just few purl rows before changing from one color to the next. It bothered me last time that the sweaters really look like layering pieces at the hem but not as much at the top - and it would be easy to modify. Of course that meant a lot more bind off - pick up and knit. But it was totally worth the trouble. It looks awesome and truly like three different sweaters.


The last challenge was the main color Auri. As my gauge was off I run out of it. First I replaced it with another Finnish yarn which happened to be exactly the same color (they're both spun at the same mill too!). But I lost at yarn chicken with that one as well. Finally, I had to work the last few rows with Auri in Tukuwool Sock. It's thicker yarn but you don't really notice as it was just last few rows. And I'm super happy I got to use up old scrap yarns.

It turned out not be easy, relaxed and mindless knitting. Not even close. Though, I should have known as that's what always happens when I decide to go for easy knitting. But I really, really love the sweater. It was well worth all the trouble and it looks so good.

4/06/2019

Let there be glitter

Last fall I was visiting the Finnish craft fair at Tampere and was really happy to find a new Finnish indie dyer's yarns at the booth of yarn shop ILO. I was even happier when the dyer contacted me and asked if I'd like to try out her yarns to write a review. Of course I would!


How: Circular needles 2.0 mm
From: Ullrike by Anki Glitter Sock, 63 g

We agreed that Anki would send me some yarn and I'd write a review. Oh, what a happy surprise it was that she sent me not one but three skeins of her Glitter Sock.


I was a bit busy then so I figured I would work on someone else's sock pattern. I chose this design because I meant to try it out already for one Christmas present but then found out it didn't come in the right size. But this time I cast on with this deliciously semi-solid pink yarn.


Let's start off with the yarn review. Oh boy, it was a treat! I really like these semi-solid colors. They're lively with lighter and darker bits but not too lively to show off different kinds of stitch patterns. And the yarn base is one of my favorites. I love the high twist merino base but here I especially love that the glittery stellina fiber is so soft. The bling comes in beatiful thin little fibres to spice up the yarn and there's plenty of bling - not that I'll ever manage to capture that in a photo. Some glitter yarns have rather coarse and hard bling fibres that can really hurt your hands but this was really gentle and soft. My official yarn review is 5/5 glittery stars.


If I really loved the yarn, I had big problems with the socks. This pattern is worked cuff-down. It has a beautiful texture worked with knits and purls. It looks really nice but for the life of me I couldn't memorize the chart. I like charts that are easy to memorize or where I can easily follow the logic of the pattern even without checking the chart.


I never learned to follow the logic of this pattern. I couldn't memorize it and had to check every single row from the chart. So I made half a sock and left the project hibernating.


Then come Monday this week, I finally dug this project up and decided it was high time to finish the socks and write the review. And magically, working the stitch pattern came quite naturally. I still couldn't memorize it more than few rows at a time but that already helped a lot and I started enjoying the project. The first sock was finished in a matter of hours.


To avoid second sock syndrome, I figured since I had got more than one skein I could work the second sock in another colorway. And what a splendid idea that was! I love mismatch socks and the working the second sock in another color felt like casting on for a completely new pair.


In the end I finished the socks in just a few days - and they're beautiful! I you don't like starting at a chart, these might be a challenge but I love the end result and the yarn. I can truly recommend it.

I also happen to have a sock design idea brewing in my brain so I might end up casting on with the third skein as well.

3/28/2019

Sulo

Working with two strands of yarn, merino/silk (70/30) and mohair/silk (60/40) makes for one divine sweater. It's almost half silk!


What: Sulo / Own pattern
How: Circular needles 3.0 and 3.75 mm
From: Shibui Knits Staccato + Shibui Knits Silk Cloud, 225 + 65 g

I was super excited when Shibui Knits asked me if I'd like to design something in their yarns. I got to pick the yarn base and color - what could make a knitter happier? The selection was gorgeous and finally I decided that after my successful hat experiment in the fall, it would be time for a mohair/silk sweater. So I chose Staccato which is a merino/silk blend and Silk Cloud (mohair/silk blend).


Combining different yarns makes for interesting fabric but also really cool colors. I wanted both yarns to be neutral but different colors.


For Staccato, I chose a creamy off-white, and for Silk Cloud I picked a cold light grey color. Together they made this luxurious pearl grey cardigan that feels like melted butter and cotton candy.


I wanted to design a simple and elegant cardigan - a classic that would go together with any kind of clothes. And that's how Sulo came to be. It's named afted my grandfather, making it a pretty special little cardi.


Sulo is worked seamlessly top-down. It has a round yoke with few rows of simple lace. The cardigan is slightly cropped and has no waist shaping. I recommend to choose a size with approximately 4''/10 cm positive ease at bust height.


In addition to the yoke lace, the cuffs have sweet little cable patterns. It's most definitely my favorite thing about the cardigan. The rest of the cardigan is stockinette stitch with few rows of ribbing at the neckband, cuffs and hem. The button band is also worked in ribbing.


You can find the pattern on Ravelry and until April 6th it's -20 % with the code FLUFF.



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.