10/01/2021

Juuri

One great thing about being a knitwear designer is that I sometimes get to try out new yarns in advance. Last autumn, I got a sweater quantity of the new Tukuwool DK. And of course, I designed a sweater pattern for the yarn but then I had to wait for the yarn release and then, for the colder weather so that you could imagine yourself wearing a DK weight sweater. But the time has come!


What: Juuri / Own pattern
How: Circular needle 4.5 mm
From: Tukuwool DK, 495 g

Since this is a new yarn, let's start there. I was super excited to try it out but also nervous since untreated Finnsheep wool in DK weight could easily be quite coarse and stiff.



But this yarn stole my heart on the first stitch. I was surprised to find it had a wonderfully loose twist which made the yarn airy and light - and somehow even a bit softer than Tukuwool Fingering. I liked it a lot! I chose Ujo color for my sweater. This greyish pink is my favorite from the Tukuwool color chart.



The thick yarn was screaming cables. Inspiration came easily and I wanted to create a lushious cabled sweater with lots of positive ease and a tall cowl neck.



Juuri is worked seamlessly top down. The shoulders are worked in ribbing while shaping them with short rows. Once the short rows are done, the ribbing starts to twist and turn into cables for the rest of the body. The long sleeves are stockinette stitch with tall ribbed cuffs. The tall cowl neck is also worked in ribbing and the hem has a slit.



Originally, we took the photos last winter but I figure we should have another photoshoot as I'm hoping there's still some time to go until snow starts falling. You can find the pattern on Ravelry and my web shop (annajohannadesigns.com) and you can get 15% discount with the code ROOT until Ocober 17th.

Limelight

Usually, designing starts with an inspiration - usually. But sometimes, a friend needs your help and you might have to design something very specific. That happened to me last autumn when I got a message from Laine team telling me their upcoming shawl book was in need of one more very specific type of a shawl and they would need the sample for the photoshoot in just couple of weeks. Luckily, I was able to help them out.


What: Limelight / Own pattern
How: Circular needle 3.75 mm
From: Black Elephant Merino Singles Fingering + Triskelion Branwen 4-ply, 91 + 70 g

What they were after was a crescent shaped shawl in SW merino in bright happy colours. I had no trouble finding a perfect yarn combo in my stash and once I paired them up it was as if they were meant for this particular shawl.



I named the shawl Limelight after the bright green colour of the silk merino that I paired up with a creamy speckle dyed merino. The crescent shaped shawl is a fun combination of garter stitch, delicate lace and stripes. The stripes are worked with short rows and are all a different length. You'll need two skeins of fingering weight yarn, one skein each colour.



The pattern is part of Laine publishing's book 52 Weeks of Shawls and now you can also get it as an individual download on Ravelry, my web shop, PayHip and Lovecrafts. Use the code LIME to get 15% discount until October 9th.

8/12/2021

Olki

If you have been following this blog over the years, you know I'm a sucker for challenges when it comes to knitting. But sometimes the challenge can be to design something really simple.



What: Olki / Own pattern
How: Circular needles 3.5 and 3.75 mm
From: Colori Naturali Calypso + Artemisia,  253+120 g

Last autumn, I was contacted by a lovely Italian handdyer to ask if I'd be interested in designing something with their yarn. There were such lovely options that it took some time to narrow down what I wanted but in the end, I ended up choosing a wonderful combination of BFL/Masham wool and mohair silk. 


The yarn arrived in the most beautiful box and inspiration struck me right there and then. I love how the labels include not only the colorway name but also info on what botanical dye was used to create it. If you know me, you won't be the least bit surprised that I chose this gorgeous oatmeal color and then some creamy mohair silk to lighten it up even more.


Since the yarn was so special it was begging to be paired up with a really simple design - you know, to let the yarn shine. And that's how the design process started.



Olki is a simple boxy pullover worked seamlessly top down. The shoulders are shaped with short rows and the sweater is mainly just simple stockinette stitch. 


The front features these delicate vertical stripes worked with mock cables. The sweater gets its neat finishing touches from the folded neckline, hem and cuffs. Those are all bound off sewing but fear not! The pattern comes with a photo tutorial for the bind-off.



This has turned out to be one of my all-time favorite sweaters! The elegant, simple look makes sure it goes with all my clothes and the relaxed fit with warm folded cuffs make me fall in love with it again every time I put it on.


I fell for the yarn so much that I even got a couple kits for you on the web shop in case you'd like to try them too. Though, there are only couple kits so be quick! If you buy enough yarn to make the sweater you will get the pattern for free.


You can of course buy the pattern individually on RavelryPayHip and Lovecrafts.

8/02/2021

Slow making

Over the past years, this blog has been focusing on showcasing my new designs. But every once in a while, a designer needs a holiday. And what else would I do on my spare time but knit with someone else's patterns? So I made a sweater. But to talk about this sweater, we need to go back in time about three years. You see, this is no ordinary sweater but my very first handspun sweater.


What: 2-ply, 1580 m / 370 g, sport weight
How: My trusty Majacraft Rose
From: Pirtin Kehräämö Finnish wool

Some of you might remember how back in December 2018, I visited Pirtin kehräämö mill for a tour. I marveled the journey from wool to yarn on those big mechanig spinning machines. And then, I saw something gorgeous: a 2 kg bale of the most beautiful pale light grey wool. It was a mix of Finnish wool, meaning it's probably a mix of Finnsheep and Kainuu grey. And at that moment, I decided it was about high time I would finally spin myself a sweater quantity!


Fast forward 2.5 years and I was done with the spinning part. It did take a fair amount of time. When it comes to spinning, I tend to have long breaks in between and then do a lot of spinning over a single weekend. I was a bit nervous how far my patience would go with spinning a basically colorless fiber for an entire sweater quantity. Slowly but surely I did it! For me, the most natural weight to spin is fingering weight. So I had to make a conscious effort to spin a bit heavier plies and also keep the twist loose enough to get a soft sweater. I'm so happy I managed both goals.


What: Journey / Alicia Scheider
How: Circular needles 3.25 and 3.5 mm
From: Own handspun on my Majacraft Rose, 370 g

So I finally finished the yarns this spring and in the beginning of May, I casted on for a sweater. I had already decided this would be holiday knitting so I spent hours rummaging through Ravelry for the perfect pattern. I ended up with two options and asked Hubby to decide for me. To my surprise, I realized both options were worked bottom up but oh well. Let's just go with the flow. 



I prefer working lace over cables any day but I really wanted to use this yarn for a cabled sweater. I was already dreaming of cold dark nights at the summer cabin, wrapping myself in my brand new sweater.



The design of this sweater is just gorgeous. It's worked bottom up and both the front and back are adorned with identical cables. The difference only comes when shaping the neckline. The hem has a little slit and the edge stitches were worked with a neat i-cord.


The sleeves have cables as well, and these wonderful, long cuffs that go all the way to your fingertips. That's just how I like my sleeves. You can always fold over the cuffs if you need the get them out of the way but I love that you can wear them long to keep your fingers warm.



I started the sweater in early May with the intention that there was no hurry to finish. This would be holiday knitting, something to work on when I don't have anything more pressing on my needles. Needless to say, I got carried away with the joy of knitting and couldn't stop. So in the end, I finished the sweater in July.


I already bound off my stitches once and even wove in the ends. I spent a while thinking about the neckline. The pattern instructed to work the neckline ribbing with two threads and a small needle but I kinda wanted to have either a folded ribbing or a tall cowl neck. In the end, the yarn decided for me as it ran out.


As I was playing yarn chicken, I decided to work the ribbing as far as the yarn would stretch and then bind off sewing the stitches into place, making a folded ribbing. I almost made it, needing just a meter of scrap yarn for the last few stitches to bind off. 


As said, I already wove in all the yarn ends before trying the sweater on - only to realize my neckline wasn't working. I usually make all my sweaters top-down which makes it easy to work a folded neckline ribbing, starting with a provisional cast-on and making the fold super neat. Working bottom up, you have to bind off the folded ribbing sewing the stitches in place and for this sweater, it wasn't looking good. First of all, the neckline ended up being too loose and my bind-off was looking a bit wonky and bumpy.


So I gave up and admitted I would have to spin one more skein as the tall cowl neck would be a better solution. It didn't take too much time to spin another 200 meters but it really made a huge difference with the sweater. I got myself a nice, tall cowl neck which looks absolutely beautiful on this pullover.


Knitters are typically cast in two categories: there are process knitters that love the process of knitting and then there are project knitters that are looking forward to the finished garment. I'm more of a project knitter myself. Don't get me wrong, I always need to have a wip on my needles and I love the process of knitting but after a couple of rounds, my thoughts are already on the finished sweater. This slow make taught me a lot about patience. The project took almost three years altogether and forced me to embrace the slowness of it all. And I did. And would you just look at the gorgeous sweater I got in the end!

7/01/2021

Heinä

Feels very appropriate to kick off July with a new cowl pattern named after the month. I Finnish, July is called Hay Month and heinä means hay in Finnish.


What: Heinä / Own pattern
How: Circular needle 3.0 mm
From: nurja linen mix, 100 g

One of the best things about working as a knitwear designer is when I get to do collaborations with others. Early this year, two Finnish podcasters from Villapesuohjelma asked me and my friends from nurja yarn shop to take part in their year-long knitting challenge for July. We agreed that a new yarn base and a design for said yarn would be in order and got to work. And that's how this July-inspired cowl begun.


I'm known for the fact that I love to work with warm wool no matter the weather but every once in a while I fall in love with summery yarns as well - which is what happened with nurja's new linen mix yarn base. It's a mix of alpaca, linen and silk, and these light-weight fibers make for a lovely shine and drape - perfect for a summer cowl. My friends from nurja offered me two kits to play with and I surprised both myself and them by forgoing my usual uncolors and choosing this bright neon peach for my sample cowl!


Heinä is a cowl with fun funnel shape. It's wider at the bottom and narrows as it gets to the top. It's a lovely combination of simple stripes and three lace patterns, changing the color for each.


I used up exactly 50 grams of each color so I could easily use the leftovers for another one. Wouldn't it be fun to reverse the colors for a second cowl?


You can find the pattern on Ravelry, PayHip and Lovecrafts. Also, nurja is offering kits with both the yarn and the pattern. And if you're fluent in Finnish, check out the new episode of Villapesuohjelma for mine and nurja's interview and all the details of their July challenge.