Some years ago I made several consecutive shawl trials. First I had a brilliant idea, that half a shawl later turned out not working technically, so I made some changes to the idea and started over. After several trials and errors there was success: I published Crayon Play pattern in late 2015.
The shape of the shawl was so good that I wanted to knit more of them. A couple of years later I finished Crayon Fade, that is almost the same as Crayon Play, but there are some improvements to the stitches. The colors, then again, are used completely differently. While the point of Crayon Play was to use a yarn with high contrast and tune it down with a solid color yarn, Crayon Fade – as you might have guessed from the name alone – fades one color to another.
I really love the colors of the prototype Crayon Fade. The size and shape work very well, though next time I’ll probably knit either the medium or large size instead of the small size. I’m tall and have broad shoulders, so a bigger shawl will work even better than the one I’ve already made. The idea of the next shawl is some sort of a bullseye. I guess I’ll need to spread out my yarns to pick!
The shawl is started from the center with Judy’s Magic Cast-on. You cast on several hundred stitches, and then work outwards. Increases are made is such spots that you achieve the shape: the ends need increases so that the shawl remains flat, the bottom half of the shawl has increases to make it slightly curved. That makes it stay on the shoulders better. There are only few places to increase on every other round, so this shawl is brilliant for tv-knitting! The outer edge of the shawl has a ruffle partly to prevent the edge from rolling, partly because ruffles look gorgeous.
Last year I bought some beautiful semisolid yarn, made of Polwarth wool and silk. Four of the colorways looked really good together. I wanted to emphasize each color, preferably with smooth transition between colors. In some of my previous work, I had been playing with stripes of different width. In Valentino, Indian Summer and Sumu there is a transition from one color to another. I was after such an effect with this project, too.
After playing with stripes for a moment, I found the sequence I wanted to use. It looked very much like some sort of wave proceeding in the air – or another fluid. I was very happy with the effect.
Sound waves are longitudinal waves. The air pressure changes when the wave advances. Since air is transparent and the pressure doesn’t change its color, you can’t see the sound waves. This shawl is what I imagine the sound waves to look like. Of course the actual wave is not made of separate stretches of pressures, but instead it’s continuous, the pressure fluctuating.
There seemed to be plenty of shawl patterns with the name referring to the sound waves or echo. I wasn’t sure what to call mine, until at some relaxed moment I begun to explore a certain syllable, which letters to put after it, and there it was: vaski. Vaski is a Finnish word meaning a brass instrument. The word alone wasn’t a good name for a shawl, in my opinion, so I explored the words to go with it. It should be short to be easily memorized. Imagine a long word in a foreign language – you’re not going to spell that correctly later on! Since the shawl pattern was inspired by waves, it made sense to me to use the word that refers to playing an instrument. That’s why the pattern became Vaski soi.
When choosing colors for your Vaski soi shawl, there are a couple of things to consider. First, if you wear the shawl wrapped around your neck so that the center is in the front, the color that will show the most is color B. So that’s in a way your main color. At the same time, color C will be some sort of an accent color. I would place the color that best suits your skin tone as color B.
Another thing you might want to consider is that you will have a reasonable amount of leftovers of color C, but not that much of the others. That’s why the color C of the model shawl is white: I wanted to save some of it to be knitted together with another colorway of that same yarn.
What to knit with variegated yarns? Especially those that have strong contrast between colors need special attention. Plain stockinette would be great, apart from the risk of uneven pooling of the colors. My answer so far has been stripes. I take one of these gorgeous multicolored yarns and pair it with a neutral, and the result is a wonderful piece of knitwear!
The story of this particular shawl goes back to the moment I saw a beautiful skein of yarn on the Colorsong Yarn website. It was Mini Maiden by Hand Maiden Fine Yarn, in colorway Masala. I went back to look at it many times. Eventially, I had spent so much time just dreaming about it, that the colorway was on a clearance sale meaning no new ones would ever come, and only one skein remained! Of course I had to take immediate actions and get that precious thing home with me.
The skein lingered in my stash for four years until I knew exactly what I wanted to knit with it. I cast on a shawl, working stripes together with white Adriafil Avantgarde. First, the Masala stripes were wider and white stripes narrower, but gradually it changed, ending up with the opposite: white stripes being wider and Masala stripes narrower.
By coincidence, the name Masala also means a town in southern Finland. It happens that the first home I can remember was near that town, so I have a personal relationship with it. I didn’t end up going to school there because we moved when I was six – in Finland kids start school at the age of seven – but we didn’t move far so I visited the town many times even after my early years.
Masala pattern is now available in my Ravelry store here.
Last summer I got an idea of a shawl that would ressemble a halo. I had recently knitted Auer, a crescent shaped shawl with garter stitch and simple lace, and I wanted to knit another one with expanding stripes of lace.
I had the perfect yarn for the project, bright yellow Handu organic wool, with 600 m per 100 g skein. The original idea was to knit until I’d run out of yarn, so meticulous calculations weren’t needed this time.
At the beginning, the project was advancing fast, like top-down crescent shaped and semicircular shawls always. My brother that happened to be visiting us the day I cast on, after watching for a while the project grow and grow, asked – joking – whether I was going to knit the entire shawl in one go. I explained that with top-down shawls it first seems to build up very quickly, but then the rows start getting longer giving an illusion of the process getting slower.
Soon I ran into the first problem. I was pregnant and started feeling physically rather awful during the first weeks, already. I’ve always loved yellow, but for some reason, the nausea was worse when I tried to knit that particular shawl last autumn. So eventually I had to give up and take a break. Some weeks later I wasn’t able to knit at all, anymore, since the movements of knitting made me even more sea sick, so I had to leave all my projects for a long time.
Later last year, close to December, I started feeling better and picked up the shawl again. Things didn’t go exactly as planned this time, either: I ran out of yarn in the middle of a lace section and the result didn’t look decent enough to me. I had a couple of viable options, and decided to make changes to the design. I added a different edging, instead of working the same simple lace pattern to the end. After a couple of swatches I knew what I wanted and unraveled several dozen rows and went on with the new edging.
The shawl would have been finished well before Christmas, if I hadn’t run out of yarn halfway through the edging! It took some time to figure out what to do. I wasn’t going to unravel the last stripe of shawl body lace since the shawl would then have become too small. Neither was there more of that same yarn available. Well, I went through my yarn stash to find something close enough in weight and color. The yarn closest to the original Handu yarn happened to be from ColourMart, so I needed to skein and wash it before I could actually knit – I didn’t want to risk felting the Handu by washing the finished shawl. I wasn’t physically well enough to do the skeining and washing for several weeks, so the shawl had to wait even more!
Eventually I got everything done and finished the shawl in late January this year. Since I had ran out of yarn, I didn’t want to recommend that same yarn, or any other yarn with the same weight, in the pattern. There’s obviously nothing wrong with the yarn weight in itself. On the contrary, the shawl is lovely. But even the smallest size I’d be writing would take more than one 100 gram skein of yarn and that wouldn’t be very practical for anyone else wanting to knit the shawl. So I decided to knit another sample with lighter weight yarn.
I chose ColourMart Diamante in a pale gray colorway that I had just bought. I held the yarn doubled to get a weight close to 700 meters per 100 grams, which is a bit lighter weight than the original Handu yarn. At the same time, I was already having the pattern tested so while I knitted the second prototype, test knitters were working on their own shawls.
This time nothing held me back, and the shawl was finished in about a month. Diamante is very lovely yarn, smooth and silky, with a soft halo (pun unintended!) of cashmere. It’s currently available in a couple of colorways on the ColourMart website.
The shawl ended up being as beautiful as I had envisioned. I’m very happy with both the yellow and the gray shawl and can’t wait for a suitable occasion to wear one of them!
Halo pattern is now available in my Ravelry store here.
Auer is a crescent shaped shawl knit top-down, starting from the neck. It is worked in garter stitch and simple lace. The Finnish word auer means haze formed by dry dust particles.
The yarn used in the model shawl is ColourMart Cashmere 8/44NM 4ply weight. Even though the yarn is pure cashmere, it has a silky feel and a wonderful drape thanks to the way it was made: several dense cobweb weight yarns were plied into a light fingering weight yarn. Unfortunately this also makes at least some of the colorways unbalanced, meaning a stockinette stitch fabric would bias, but there’s no biasing problem with garter stitch and lace. This yarn is definitely one of my favorites ever!
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.
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.
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.
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 is part of the same series with Humus, Honka 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.
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’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 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.
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!
I introduced Humus some time ago. Now I’m happy to announce that the pattern has been released. A couple of test knitters said Humus was doable also for a brioche beginner, thanks to the clear instructions with a photo tutorial and video links. The pattern is available via Ravelry here.
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.
The shawl is reversible:
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.