Looking back

The past year has been full of knitting! I managed to finish 52 knits - that's an FO for each and every week of the year. I used 27.642 kilometers and 7.418 kilograms of yarn. And still, I'm trying to see if I could finish one more project before the clock strikes midnight.

In 2017, I finished 15 sweaters/cardigans/dresses. Three of those were kids' size and the rest adult size projects. I also finally finished two lace weight sweaters I had started in 2016.

I cast on and bound off 13 pairs of woolly socks. My favorites were the cute couple's socks and the rainbow socks that I worked with two different grey yarns.

I managed to knit eight shawls. The Nordic arrows shawl from Laine Magazine's first issue was such an entertaining knit, I already cast on for a second one.

I only finished seven hats and just six hand warmers. It has clearly been a year for bigger projects.

And talking about those bigger projects: I finished two blankets this year. The first one is this green baby blanket I made for a friend's baby boy. But the other one.. I've been working on and off (mostly off) on the Beekeeper's quilt by TinyOwlKnits for at least five years. In 2017, I finally bound off the last piece. I also managed to tie all the pieces together but I'm still waiting for the inspiration to weave in the gazillion ends. Perhaps next year?

2017 was not only a year full of knitting but also full of designing. During the year, I designed, calculated and wrote down instructions for 17 patterns! The highlights of the year were my Utu cardigan featured on the cover of Laine Magazine and the e-book, The Girl Who Said Baa, I just released in November.

And talking about my designs, once the clock strikes midnight, I can finally release Hiplee sweater for everyone to purchase. I designed it for a knitting club and now the rights are reverting back to me. I rarely knit the same pattern twice, not even my own designs. But I know there are a few of you who have been eagerly waiting for Hiplee's release and I thought we should have a KAL. I'm going to make another one for myself as well because who wouldn't need two of these. Come and join the KAL on Ravelry.

Happy new year of knitting to you all!



If you follow me on instagram, you know I took part in the Indie Gift-a-long this Christmas. It's an event where a huge bunch of indie designers offered their patterns for a discount and then everyone taking part has a KAL for making Christmas presents from those designers' patterns. This gave me the incentive to finally knit these socks I've been admiring for a while.

How: Circular needle 2.5 mm
From: SweetGeorgia Yarns "Party of five" Tough Love Sock Mini-skeins, 90 g

Over a year ago, my bff gifted me this beautiful miniskein set from SweetGeorgia Yarns. It was a gradient set of sock yarn. I've been saving them for the perfect pattern and this was it!

The pattern is actually designed for just two colors but it had just enough color changes for the gradient set so that I could use each one at least once in each sock.

The sock are worked toe-up and have an afterthought heel which works nicely with stranded knitting. You just work a scrap yarn where you want to place the heel and worry about it later on. I did have problems with the heel though, because the pattern was missing information on the length of the heel. It just stated to place the heel on certain rows. What if my feet aren't the same size as the designer's?

I screwed up the size in other ways as well. I accidentally started knitting with 2.5 mm needles when I usually use 2.25 mm. Also, the yarn was on the heavier side so the socks started to look too big. At this point, Hubby told me he would be happy to take the socks. But once the socks were finished, they wouldn't fit over his heel. So, basically nothing went as planned but I ended up with socks that accidentally fitted my feet just fine. I played another round of sock rulette and gifted these to the cat lady living next door.

The socks were a fun project even though the pattern was missing info on the heel size. And the finished socks turned out really pretty and cute even if I'm never going to be quite happy with my stranded knitting. Please tell me I'm not the only one who sees Batman and not a black cat.



Children's knits are great. Not only because they take less time. But also, because you get to work with colors you wouldn't knit otherwise.

What: Little boxy / Joji Locatelli
How: Circular needles 2.5, 3.0 and 3.5 mm
From: Lystig Merino Sock, 146 g

I was at a knitting weekend and fell head over heels in love with Lystig Yarns' colors. Especially this mint green with neon candy speckles. I think the colorway is called My Little Pony Overdose. Oh, how wonderful it would be to knit this yarn but alas, I would never wear this color in a sweater. Luckily, I know a certain kiddo who would!

I've never knitted Joji's hit design, Boxy for grownups but now I tried out this children's version. It was a bit of a blaah that it's worker bottom-up. But as this was gift knitting, I wouldn't have been trying it on anyways. However, it did mean that there would be countless rows of boring stockinette stitch before anything interesting would happen.

Once I finally made all the way up to the underarms, it sure got exciting! The front and back were worked separately and had knitted and purled stripes on them, short rows and what not. I had already finished the body once when I came to the conclusion that the armholes were too small. The problem wasn't with the design but with me using my measuring tape poorly. Learn from my mistakes: don't measure the armhole depth from the edge stitch - it lies! Once I unraveled the shoulder seams and remeasured the armholes, they were 4 cm / 1.6'' too short. Wow. But I did learn my lesson.

The sleeves were such a quick knit, I almost didn't notice them. And then, all that was left was the neck band. I was a bit foolish choosing smaller needles for it because it turned out a bit too tight. I hope it still fits!


Christmas flowers

This fall my cousin had a baby girl and I had the perfect excuse to knit a cute little dress.

How: Circular needle 3.25 mm
From: Canon Hand Dyes William Sock, 88 g

I've seen so many wonderful dresses made from this pattern that I've been just aching for a reason to knit one myself.

The only problem was yarn! Oh yes, you would think that there would be some yarn for any project among my 30 kg stash - but no. At least not if I might need more than one skein. Crisis! Finally I browsed through everyone else's projects on Ravelry and found out that one skein should be enough for the smallest size. However, I had heard from a friend that the sizing of this pattern is a bit tight so I would have to modify as I go.

I went trough my stash and selected the fingering weight skein that had the most meters in it and bravely set forward to knit. This delicious raspberry colored yarn is one the prize yarns from Tour de Sock two summers ago. It was just the perfect amount of sweetness without being too girly.

The dress is knitted top down seamlessly. First, you knit the garter stitch raglan top with a leaf motif in the front. It was nice but I found an error in the chart. Well, the chart worked as it was but there was one row with more decreases than increases and it caused me to have two sts too little after the raglans. I just added them on one row after the chart and it doesn't show too much in the finished dress.

The back has a slit to make dressing up easier. The sleeve sts were left on holders for later and then you would add a ton of stitches for the skirt part. The skirt was endless rows of boring stockinette, and then finally more garter stitch with leaf motifs. The whole thing was finished off with a lacy bind off. Though, I had to stretch the holes quite a bit the get my dress to look like the ginger bread edging of the sample photos.

Because I was warned about the sizing, I started off with the largest size. It wouldn't be very nice if you could only wear the dress for a few weeks, no would it? However, since the largest size would use more than one skein of yarn, I decided to knit the stockinette stitch skirt a bit shorter. I was aiming for the skirt length of the smallest size but it turns out, I'm apparently not very good with the measuring tape. In the end the hem was shorter than it should've been even for the smallest size and as a result, I was left with extra yarn. So things didn't quite go as planned but I did manage to knit a super cute dress.

I was saving this post for after Christmas but I just heard a few days ago that certain someone had opened their presents beforehand! Yes, I'm talking about you!


What did I just knit?

Each year, Stephen West's mystery KAL is a sure sign of the autumn. And of course, I had to take part in the craziness.

What: Speckle and pop / Stephen West
How: Circular needle 3.5 mm
From: Canon Handdyes Charles Sock + Lystig Merino Single + Petrichor Yarns Shiny Sock + jämiä, 97 + 52 + 96 + 59 g

The whole thing kicked off with instructions to choosing your yarns. The shawl called for three skeins of speckled main colors that you could fade. So the idea was to form sort of a gradient. Also, you would need 20 grams of five different color pops. This sounded like quite a lot of yarn! But hey, it's Stephen and his shlankets.

For me, it's the whole point of Stephen's MKAL to get out of your comfort zone. So, I chose a quite wild trio for my main colors. If we start at the more serene end, first, I chose a beautiful blue and grey semisolid sock yarn with bling from Petrichor Yarns which I had bought from last summer's knit fest. It was easy to pair up with another festival purchase, a single merino from Lystig that had a very light, almost white grey background and speckles in all the colors of the rainbow. So far very good. And then straight out of the comfort zone: for the third color I chose a yarn I had gotten as Tour de Sock prize few years ago. It was sock yarn from Canon Handdyes. The best I can do to describe the color is to say it reminds me of a unicorn on an acid trip throwing up a rainbow. It's wild and free and yet a logical choice to combine with the first two skeins as it had the same rainbow colors as the speckles on the second skein. Though, I don't usually go for such a wild color choice.

The MKAL started at the end of September. The first clue resulted in a huge half circle type of a thing. It was big enough to be a shawl on its own. The half circle was formed by knitting short rows with the main colors (fading them) and narrow lace rows with the color pops. Right off the back, I started to second guess my choices. The shape was nice and fun to work but the instructions said to start with your darkest/most colorful main color. The unicorn on acid trip was an eye sore on its own. As I finally got to fade it with the second main color, things started to look better. And now, in the finished shawl, I quite like to end result. But the beginning had me guessing for a while. More than one of my knitterly friends took a look at the color and asked if was feeling a bit ill.

The size of the first clue was quite a challenge - not to mention all those yarn ends to weave in. Not that many knitters could finish the first clue in time and I didn't catch up until the third clue. And even at that point, I had only weaved in half of the yarn ends of the first clue.

Luckily, the second clue was a lot faster. It was an asymmetric wedge worked with the main colors. I guess it was meant to shape the shawl to a more asymmetric shape but I felt that mainly, Stephen had come up with a fun texture he wanted to try somewhere. It's some sort of a combination of broken seed stitch and linen stitch. The texture looks fun but the most interesting thing about it was how it blended the main colors so well you can't tell them apart. I'm glad it was such a small piece in the final shawl as I felt the texture was a bit too stiff to work in a shawl.

As if things hadn't been interesting enough so far, the third clue blew my mind in more than one way. It started off wild. You picked up stitches at the bottom edge of the shawl and knitted garter stitch triangles. Yes, triangles! For a moment I thought that was the edge of the shawl but I was wrong. After the triangles, you were instructed to work these huge holes to the shawl. On  one hand, I knew I could trust that Stephen knows what he's doing. On the other hand, it's Stephen! And anything could follow. It could result in a mind blowingly beautifuul shawl or it could end up being something i would never use myself. As I was working the enormous holes, I was mainly thinking WHAT AM I KNITTING? I was suspicous that the shawl was a big hoax and in reality we were knitting nets for fishing trips for next summer.

After the triangles and holes the rest of the shawl was a mix of garter stitcha and brioche. Youu had to knit for a while before you started to see what was happening. At this point, there were 62 stitch markers and ove 800 stitches. One row took ages and as you're knitting brioche, one row kind of takes two rows. So I fell off the MKAL wagon for good and didn't finish my shawl until just a few weeks ago.

The last clue was instructions for bind off. And quite an operation that was too! The shawl was finished off with an i-cord bindoff but not your usual i-cord bindoff. Nope. Each garter stitch/brioche wedge was bound off with a different color pop. It took quite some time to work the bind off while hiding the yarn ends inside the i-cord at the same time. A few times I already found myself thinking that I found my groove and had good pace - only to notice I had forgotten to keep hiding the yarn ends.

What a project! If you wanted to be extra wild, you could have made a crochet edge for each hole but I wasn't feeling quite that frisky.

All in all, it turned out really pretty. That unicorn on an acid trip calmed down well once I got all my main colors in the shawl. And even those giant holes made sense in the end. And this was a really interesting knit as you can probably tell by the amount of stuff I had to say about it.


Alma hat

You can never have to many hats, beanies or toques. So, I wanted to include two hat patterns in The Girl Who Said Baa.

What: Alma / Own pattern
How: Circular needle 3.0 mm
From: Tukuwool Fingering, 48 g

I wanted to keep this design simple. Mostly stockinette, some cables to keep the knitting interesting, and finally, a fun envelope bind-off which I learned while working on another hat pattern, Hiekkamyrsky.

The cute little cable travels along the hat on both sides at the same spot and the cables meet at the top with the bind-off.

When working an envelope bind-off, you'll want to make sure you work enough hight for the hat because the bind-off takes a good chunk of it. The pattern includes detailed instructions for the bind-off as well as a picture tutorial for making the folds.

I for one can't get enough of this amazing green color, Selja, of Tukuwool. It's the perfect green. You can also find it in the i-cord details and the pockets of Manta cardigan. Perhaps I should knit an entire cardigan in it?

The photo credits go to Miika once again.


Manta cardigan

Since I'm above else a cardigan and sweater designer, I had to include a cardigan pattern in the e-book The Girl Who Said Baa.

What: Manta / Own pattern
How: Circular needle 3.5 mm
From: Tukuwool Fingering, 405 + 30 g

Cables seem to have been on my mind lately as you can find some in this design as well - this time as simple honeycombs.

Manta is a long cardigan with a warm and sturdy folded collar and raglan sleeves. There are honeycomb cables along the right front and in the hem of both fronts. The back hem is first stockinette stitch and then rib.

The cardigan is finished off with a contrast color i-cord bind off. The hem cables also hide contrast color pockets behind them. Because pockets! I've never heard anyone say "Pockets? No thanks."

My favorite detail in the design are the button holes. They are hidden inside the honeycomb cables.

Tukuwool makes for a lovely and warm cardigan. I was nervous on the photoshoot day thinking I might catch a cold but once I put the knits on me, the fear melted away. I didn't miss my winter coat a bit.

If the winter here in Finland will turn out as freezing as some people are predicting, I'll stay inside this cardigan the entire winter!

This cardigan gives the perfect opportunity to explain the inspiration behind the names for all the designs in the book. I wanted to name the patterns after sheep. I googled a bit and found a forum where Finnish sheep farmers were talking about the names they use and I picked the ones I liked the best. And the best thing was that on the photoshoot day my Manta cardigan met a sheep called Manta.

Photos by Miika, sheep by Hakamaa sheep farm.