Monkey - or was it a rabbit?

Sometimes you can be in such a rush to cast on for a project, you barely have time to wind the yarn. That was the case with these socks.

What: Monkey / Cookie A.
How: Circular needle 2.25 mm
From: Drops Fabel, 59 g

Last April I was having the time of my life at a knitting retreat, where I also took part in a dye class. I have done some dye experiments at home with spinning fibre but never with yarn before this. I took two white and two light grey skeins of Drops Fabel with me. I wanted to dye some burnt orange and something minty green.

The burnt orange turned into more of a fox color in the dye pot. The muted minty water colored skein was a success. I added the dye already in the cold soaking water. A hint of green and just a drop or two of blue. I was a bit scared as even that one drop of blue seemed to explode once it hit the water. Half a drop would have been enough, I think. I mixed the colors in the water, added the yarn and splashed some more green on top. The yarn stayed soaking so long it had already absorbed all the color from the water before moving into the kettle. I did heat the yarn for a while and it turned out amazing. The semisolid of my dreams.

Because the yarn turned out so beautiful, it needed to be paired up with a simple sock pattern. I decided finally to knit the most popular sock pattern of all time. At least on Ravelry, there are about 20 000 projects for this pattern. It was about time to knit myself a pair of monkeys.

There's a reason this pattern is so popular. First, it's free. Second, it's brilliant. A few decreases and increases, and a few purl stitches. So much with so little effort. The pattern was easy to memorize and the socks finished in record time.

I modified the heel. Following the pattern I would have ended up with a way too tall heelflap. I also didn't understand why I should move stitches from one needle to the other. This is my pet hate: transfering stitches from one needle to the other. It doesn't work when you magic loop two socks at a time.

I found the cutest little rabbit statue at a nearby park. Thanks for posing, bunny!


Three in one

Somehow I feel I say this quite often, but yeat again, I knitted my new favorite sweater - or in a way, three sweaters.

What: 3 in 1 / Atelier Alfa
How: Circular needles 3.5 and 4.0 mm
From: DyeForWool Merino Silk Fingering + Madelinetosh Merino Light + Handmaiden Fine Yarn Casbah, 177 + 60 + 33 g

I've dreamt of knitting this one for years. It has been waiting for the perfect color and yarn combination. Finally, I quit stalling because I needed something simpel to knit at the movies.

I went through my stash for colors that would go together and weighted the scrap skeins carefully. You can use some scrap yarns for this pattern but not the smallest ones. I used 97 and 82 grams of green merino silk blend for the topmost sweater, 50 grams of TML for the one color sweater and 10 grams of green TML and 33 grams of creamy Casbah for the striped sweater underneath. I ran out of Casbah with just five more rows to go on the neck band. Luckily a friend had some of the same color and was kind enough to donate a few meters.

I'm a pretty daft knitter from time to time. I started the topmost sweater with yarns I found in my stash but they didn't work well with the other yarns and I had to do some tinking. I searched for new yarns online and ended up ordering almost identical colors to those I had already tried. And yet, the tiny differences in the color tones had a big impact and these yarns worked perfectly.

Now, let's talk about the pattern. It's knit bottom up (yes, can you believe it?!) and the different hems are shaped with short rows. The body is knit to armholes and left waiting while you knit the sleeves to armholes as well. Finally, The body and sleeves are joined and the rest is knit in one piece. The three different hems and sleeves give the illusion of three different sweaters on top of each others.

I didn't like the direction of knitting nor the endless yarn ends, carrying the yarns at striped short rows  and the sizing of the pattern. I usually end up making size L in most sweater and cardigan patterns. This time I started in size M but it was enormous, it could fit two of me! In the end, I made this in size XS. And I'm not the only one thinking the sizing if off. The XS fits me well except for the sleeves, those became too tight.

I also wish the neck band was made similarly as the hem. Now there were just few rows of purled stitches before a color change and it doesn't work as well as in the hem. If I were to knit this again, I would knit few rows of st st and bind off the stitches before changing colors. Yes, that would mean even more yarn ends to weave in but I feel it would look nicer.

Enough of complaining. Except for the stuff mentioned above, the best thing about this sweater is everything. The illusion of three sweaters, the chance to destroy some scrap yarns, the endless color combination possibilities, the extra long sleeves. Just everything. I love wearing it. Did I remember to mention it's my new favorite sweater? I think I must make more of these.

Because I liked the asymmetry in the hem, I modified the sleeves to be asymmetric too. In the pattern they are identical but I made the first section of the other sleeve shorter. The end result is subtle but makes the sweater seem even more relaxed.

You guys should all go and knit this sweater. It's the best!



Now it's available: Uan. The pattern is up for purchase on Ravelry and the price is 4.5 €. It has about gazzillion sizes.

What: Uan / Own pattern
How: Circular needle 3.0 mm
From: Tukuwool Fingering, 200 g

This was my second Uan. Or to be precise, my first as I knitted this first but had the keep it a secret because it was a present for my best friend. Check out my own cardigan here. For my friend I chose this lovely oaty brown and for myself a gorgeous greyish pink.

The cardigan was screaming my friends name at the latest when I sew on the buttons. These warm yellow coconut buttons truly brought the cardigan to life. I hope it keeps my friend warm.

My own cardi is size 38'' and took 4.5 skeins of Tukuwool Fingering. My friends cardi is one size smaller and took exactly four skeins. The yarn and the cardigans are unbelievably light. Light but warm. I'm in love, even if I'm being a bit partial.

The pattern has been test knitted. I recommend that you make a swatch before starting to knit as the row gauge is often overlooked but very important with this type of fitted sleeves. As this is my friend's cardigan, it's a bit too small for me.

Go and knit yourself an Uan!


Crazy about wool

I'm head over heels in love with the Finnish yarn, Tukuwool. I love it! It's Finnish wool from Finnish sheep, spun and dyed in Finland. And it's so woolly.

What: Uan / Own pattern
How: Circular needle 3.0 mm
From: Tukuwool Fingering, 220 g

A while ago my LYS owner (and Tukuwool owner) asked me if I had any design ideas for this yarn. I said no. So obviously as I went home the same day, I came up with a vision of a cardigan.

I had a vision of a cardigan with lace back. Otherwise it would be plain stockinette stitch. The button band, hems and neck band are moss stitch. The cardigan is quite fitted with no extra positive ease. It has long sleeves but those are easy to modify shorter if that's what you like.

I wanted to see if I could design and write a pattern for top down, seamless, fitted sleeves. It wasn't that difficult at all. It did help a lot that I had taken both Ysolda's and Joji's classes on sweater design.

The cardigan is knitted top down seamlessly. First, you will knit the shoulder after which you'll pick up some stitches for the sleeve tops and then the sleeves are knitted simultaneously with the rest of the cardigan until you reach the underarms. The end result is very neat looking.

My LYS, TitiTyy sponsored the yarn for this design. As a non-color lover, it wasn't very difficult to choose a favourite from the new color selection. I definitely wanted to use this muted pink called Ujo (bashful in Finnish). I'm very tempted to knit this in five other colors as well.

This was a fast knit. It only took 12 days from CO to BO. And it only took 220 grams of yarn. That's like nothing, even though the cardigan isn't that small. Magic, I say!

The name of the cardigan is Uan. I chose it because I'm a bit addicted to Scotland. Google tells me Uan means sheep in Gael. Baa!


Woodland creatures

We were talking about hoarding buttons at the local knitting groups meeting. Hands up, who doesn't have that set of just perfect buttons you never dare to actually use on a project. Yeh, I figured I wouldn't be the only one.

What: Briochevron cowl / Stephen West
How: Circular needle 5.0 mm
From: De Rerum Natura Gilliatt + scraps, 200 + 166 g

We decided to fix the problem and have a button KAL. The idea was to first go through our button stashes and find our favourite buttons, and second, come up with a project for those buttons. I've had these cutest woodlander buttons for years and never knew where to use them.

A while ago I fell in love with a friends Briochevron cowl she knit with colorful scrap yarns and that's what I wanted to do as well.

The little woodlanders demanded to be paired up with woodland colors. I went through my stash for any thicker green scraps and sorted them to go from light to dark green. I paired up the greens with a light colored Gilliat from De Rerum Natura.

Once I had the taste of destroyng scrap yarns, I couldn't stop. I actually knitted the cowl way too long and had to tink quite a bit. A friendly advise from someone with experience: make the buttonholes to that end of the cowl you want to have on top, not the other end. If only I had realized it at the time.

The colors on our hedgerow were so beautiful I had take pics immediately before the leaves dropped. So the buttons are at the wrong end here and I hadn't shortened the cowl yet.

With all its faults I still had to fix, I was already so in love with the cowl I started using it straight away. I warmly recommend this project to anyone with heavier scrap yarns.