Vaski soi

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.

Vaski soi pattern is now available in my Ravelry store.

Masala

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!

Masala shawl spread out

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.

Mini Maiden, colorway Masala

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.

Masala shawl

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 shawl

Masala pattern is now available in my Ravelry store here.

Halo

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.

Yellow Halo shawl

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.

Halo shawl, yellow

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.

Yellow Halo shawl on the shoulders

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!

Halo shawl

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.

Halo shawl

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.

Halo shawl on the shoulders

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

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.

Auer shawl

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!

Auer shawl
Auer shawl on the shoulders

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

Itu

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.

Honka

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!

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.

Kesäyö

As a kid I was often at weddings in the rural town where my dad grew up. Every time we left a wedding it was already night, but Finnish summer night is not dark at all, and while trying not to fall asleep on the back seat of the car, I watched the misty fields go by.

With the misty summer nights in mind, in Spring 2016 I designed Kesäyö shawl, the name meaning summer night in Finnish.

The shawl was designed for fingering weight yarn. I used Hedgehog Fibres Sock (400 m/437 yd per 100 g) in Moss (green) and Silence (white). You will need 600 m/656 yd (150 g) of color A, 400 m/437 yd (100 g) of color B. In the model shawl the green is color A and the off-white is color B.

Since more than 100 g of the green was needed, I have added instructions on how to knit the shawl in three colors: color A is for the narrow, green stripes, color B for the white sections and color C is used in the wavy sections. A full skein of each should be plenty for colors B and C, and half a skein is enough for color A.

More detailed info can be found on the pattern’s Ravelry page.