Building Blocks Shawl

When I have time, I knit from other designers’ patterns, too. In October 2016 I took part in a mystery knit-a-long by Stephen West. The shawl is called Building Blocks Shawl and unlike The Doodler, the previous mystery shawl by Mr. West, it was rather straightforward. I have to say I was a bit disappointed because there wasn’t much of a mystery after the first two clues since you knew how the shawl would develop, no surprises in which direction you’d be working next.

Building Blocks shawl

This summer I finally finished the project! So far the shawl has mostly been decorating the top of our book shelf since the summer has been warm here, but when the temperature drops, I’ll give it a go.

Despite the lack of surprises in the pattern, I enjoyed knitting my Building Blocks, not least because of the superb ColourMart cashmere and cashmere blends I had chosen for yarn. The black and charcoal are from a scrap set, meaning I don’t know the exact fiber content. Clearly they’re mostly wool, judging by the way the yarn feels and behaves.

Building Blocks shawl wrapped around the neck

The beige yarn consists of two different yarns, of which one contains some angora since it made me cough a bit – not too bad, though, if I just kept the work a bit further from my face while knitting. The beige yarns are also from a ColourMart scrap set.

Building Blocks shawl on shoulders

The blue is pure cashmere. Or it would have been, had I not thought I’d run out of yarn. In the solid blue section I used two strands of the cashmere and one strand of light weight pure merino. They happened to be approximately the same shade so if you didn’t know, you couldn’t tell there are two completely different yarns in that section. Also these yarns came from scrap sets, but those weren’t random yarn but were classified by fiber content. The blue merino set even had a photo, so I knew what was coming unlike the other ones that I had bought blind – the surprise sets cost less, which combined with the surprise factor makes them very tempting.

Building Blocks shawl: closeup

As the other colors, also the orange is made of two separate yarns. One of them came from the same ColourMart scrap set as the black, charcoal and two beiges, and I suppose it contains some silk, given the sheen. The other orange, then again, is the only one I’ve bought on cone. It’s 52 % cashmere and 48 % linen – an absolutely fantastic yarn! I don’t know, yet, how it’ll endure wear, nevertheless I bought three cones of it back in 2014. The only negative side I have discovered yet about this yarn is that it bleeds color. So if I ever want to knit it together with anything light colored, I’ll have to skein and wash it first.

Taina’s Arrow

I had two skeins of Handu singles, pink with a little bit of blue speckles. I wanted to knit a shawl with them and to try the arrow shape since it’s a rather interesting way of making a triangle. I thought I’d go with something simple since the yarn was variegated and would hide a more complex patterning.

Pink hand dyed yarn from Handu

A previous shawl of mine, Taina, had been very addictive to knit so I used the same sequence of eyelets and garter stitch. The resulting shawl is called Taina’s Arrow.

Taina's Arrow on the shoulders

The model shawl is 65 cm deep and 210 cm wide after blocking. It’s a very good size for a tall woman like me (I’m 180 cm/5’11¨), and it won’t be overly large for medium or smaller women, either.

Taina's Arrow
Taina's Arrow flying


Miriam is the warm-up pattern of Tour-de-Sock 2018. It is worked from the cuff down in stranded knitting. In my humble opinion it is a rather good pattern for brushing up your skills in stranded knitting thanks to the short color runs and very simple pattern repeat. You can concentrate on your hands instead of charts.

Miriam socks, front

I had had the idea for the pattern as early as in December 2015 when working on a design for another sock competition. That other design ended up not meeting my requirements, so it never saw daylight, but Miriam stayed in the back of my head, waiting for the right moment.

Miriam socks, side and back

In the summer of 2017 I finally got to working on Miriam. Yet again there were obstacles, this time pain in some of my fingers, so I had to leave the sock in the middle of the heel. Last winter I saw the call for designs in the Tour-de-Sock Ravelry group and thought that this would be my opportunity to finish up the design. I picked up the work and continued, running into much greater technical challenges than I had expected, but finally I had a finished sock that met my standards. I even managed to submit a day before the deadline!

Miriam socks, sole

Miriam is currently available via the Tour-de-Sock website for the registered racers. Registration is open for everyone and ends on July 5. Please don’t mind the ‘June 25’ on the registration sheet (follow the link on this page), the correct date is stated on the main page of the Tour-de-Sock site. The registration fee is $10 and it (minus the Paypal and shipping expenses for prizes) goes to to Doctors Without Borders. Being a racer doesn’t bind you in any way: you will get the patterns – 1 warm-up, 6 stages, possibly yet something more = at least 7 patterns – but you aren’t obliged to knit at all. So in my opinion, it’s definitely worth the cost!

Miriam socks, side

This is the first Miriam sock, photo taken for the Tour de Sock pattern submission in late February:

Miriam sock, white cuff


I had a skein of some very beautiful green yarn, SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in colorway Basil. I wanted to make something squishy out of it, preferably using it up. I started a two-color brioche shawl from the tip, working an i-cord edge at the same time as the rest of the shawl.

Itu shawl spread open

Itu is part of the same series with HumusHonka and Moreeni, and got the same branches on one edge. I ended up unraveling and re-knitting the branching edge several times until I was happy with the branches, or roots, as I see them.

The shawl turned out even squishier than Humus and Honka, most likely thanks to the SweetGeorgia yarn that was squishy in itself. It was some rather plump yarn compared to many other fingering weight yarns. If I remember correctly, another colorway of that yarn wasn’t quite as plump, so my skein may have been an exception. Nevertheless, I wrote the pattern so that you wouldn’t run out of yarn even if your skein was the same as my Basil. On the other hand, you can continue longer if there’s enough yarn.

Itu shawl on the shoulders

The pale yarn in the model shawl is Lorna’s Laces Solemate. The colorway is Princess Donna and it’s a combination of pink, mint green, pale blue and the base color off-white. This yarn was rather skinny compared to most other fingering weights. The 30 % of viscose makes it dense. Actually, I first tried to knit socks with this yarn, but the fabric stretched so much when I kept trying the unfinished sock on (not even actual wear, but trying it on several times!) that I soon abandoned the idea of socks.


I’ve just released my first ever hat pattern, Moreeni. It’s worked in two-color brioche and it has the same branching motifs as Humus and Honka shawls. The hat is designed for adults even though my 6-year-old son posed for the photos. The smallest size will probably fit most kids of his age.

The first hat became a bit too tight for me so I knitted another one, this time making sure it wasn’t too small. This second hat was knitted with BC Garn Lucca that has sadly been discontinued several years ago. The hat is heavenly soft!

I love Moreeni so much that knitted a third hat, using ColourMart merino.

Pink and gray Moreeni hat


I’m proud to announce that Honka has now been released. It’s available through my Ravelry store here both in English and in Finnish.

Honka shawl shown on the right side

Honka is a triangular shawl worked in two-color brioche. The name Honka means pine tree in Finnish. I was inspired by the strong roots of the Scots pine. The center spine of the shawl mimics the major root of the tree.

Honka shawl shown on the reverse side

The story of Honka goes back to summer 2016 when I attended a two-color brioche class by Stephen West. It was part of the first ever Jyväskylä Summer Knit Festival. I was so excited it was difficult to sleep both the night before and the night after. Immediately after the class I begun to knit a triangular shawl, using the techniques I had just learned. I loved the shawl, but wanted to change a couple of things, so I needed to figure out how exactly to do it. I went back to school in the autumn 2016 so I didn’t have nearly any time until April. Then I finally had the chance to find the solutions and started the next shawl.

That second shawl became Humus. I still wanted to produce something more like the first shawl. In the meantime I knitted a trird shawl, Itu – I’ll get back to that one fairly soon. Finally, after over a year from my initial brioche bite, I cast on for Honka, an improved version of my first ever brioche shawl. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!

Valentino is Free

When my son was a baby, I was given a knitted baby overall that my granny had made me back in 1982. It was perfect for my son that had just learned to move around. It kept him warm – it was a bit chilly at floor level – yet wasn’t too hot because it didn’t have sleeves.

I was inspired by this garment and started knitting my son another one, in lighter weight yarn. I wasn’t able to choose colors, so I ordered a Wollmeise surprise set of two skeins. I ended up with purple and blue, colors that suited my son’s skintone very well.

Since my husband was working a lot back then, I didn’t have much knitting not to mention designing time, and the overall was finished a bit before my son’s first birthday. The pattern, in turn, was finished two years after I had started! Later on I revised it and added a third size.

Baby wearing a purple. knitted overall

The baby in the photo is my daughter. When the purple Valentino got too small for her, I made another one, also in Wollmeise. There is a third one, too, waiting for her to grow a bit more.

Now I’m happy to announce that the pattern is available for free. There are instructions for making sleeves, as well. There is an image with measurements of the garment, making it possible to finish the garment even with another gauge. The sizes available are 70 cm = 6 to 8 months, 80 cm = 12 months and 90 cm = 24 months. (The centimeter sizes mean the actual height of the child.)

Testing: Humus Shawl in 2-color Brioche

This is merely a sneak peek at my next shawl pattern, Humus. The shawl is worked from the top down, using basic stitches of two-color brioche. The twisty motifs of the shawl were inspired by the crisscrossing of small roots.

Humus shawl

The shawl is reversible:

Humus shawl, reverse side

The photos here show a medium size shawl. The medium size will be around 160 cm (63 in) wide and 56 cm (22 in) deep blocked. The large size will be around twice the area of the medium one, but it depends on whether it’s blocked or not. If it was treated the same way as the model shawl, it would be around 195 cm (77 in) wide and 81 cm (32 in) deep.

I’m hoping of releasing the pattern in September, to allow the testers to take their time,
especially with the larger size.

The discussion thread for the test is here.

Picking up Stitches from a 2-color Brioche Rib Tab

When I knit a shawl in two-color brioche, starting from the neck, I first make a tab in two-color brioche rib. Then I pick up stitches from the edges of the tab. Here is how I picked up the stitches for Humus shawl. I don’t know if there’s an official name for the method. I’m calling it brioche rib tab, since the tab is knitted in brioche rib, and the cast-on method resembles the garter tab cast-on.