A Crocheted Shawl

I can also crochet. Actually I learned to crochet several years before learning to knit – I could already crochet at the age of 7, but only asked my mom to teach me to knit when I was 14. Nowadays I knit most of the time, but sometimes get inspired by crochet. Since I’m not very good at reading crochet patterns, I mostly crochet out of my head.

Crocheted shawl around the neck

This time I crocheted a shawl. I can’t remember what was the initial reason for it – perhaps all my knitting projects felt boring. I started working on a tip of the shawl, increasing on one edge. After a while I figured out a better increase sequence so I unraveled the work and restarted.

A crocheted shawl spread open

The yarn was from a surprise set from ColourMart. It was 100 % cashmere but that’s all that was said. This particular yarn was rather fine weight and singles. Very often single yarns are unbalanced, meaning that stockinette stitch would bias. So one needs to either choose a knitted fabric with an equal number of knits and purls – e.g. garter, ribbing or some lace – or crochet.

Crocheted shawl on the shoulders

There were several colors of the same yarn, enough for a shawl if one used them all. I started with a greyish brown a bit darker than oatmeal. Then I continued with a sand color. The last color was off-white. There was also another colorway, a bright spring green, but in the end it wasn’t a match with the others so I only used the three colors.

Top edge of the crocheted shawl
The top edge of the shawl. The area on the right has one greyish brown strand and one sand color strand of yarn.

Since the yarn was fine weight, I held two strands together. This produced a nice, fine fabric, but not overly fine. Most importantly, it wouldn’t take a decade to finish the shawl! Thanks to the two strands, I could change colors in a more subtle way, first changing color in only one of the strands, and only later in the other. In the photos it looks like there were four colorways, but no, only three, since the narrow strip of color has one strand of the grayish brown and another strand of the sand color.

A toddler pointing at the crocheted shawl
My son pointing out the color change in the shawl

The increase sequence didn’t produce the shape I had initially thought. As a result, I decided to crochet short rows with the last color, to balance the triangle. This time I changed the color in one go instead of making another marled section. There was too big a contrast between the sand and the off-white for the marl to have pleased me.

The center tip of the crocheted shawl
The center tip of the shawl.

I wanted some patterning on the white edge. Since I’m not very experienced in crochet, I ended up making simple semicircles. In my opinion they look actually really good next to the overly plain bulk of the shawl. I also crocheted a fine edge around the entire shawl using the off-white yarn.

The tips of the crocheted shawl
The tips of the shawl. It looks like I forgot to weave in an end.

Unfortunately I’m not about to write patterns for any crocheted items. It’s a world of it’s own, and currently I just don’t have the time for it. Nevertheless, I’m showing you the fine shawl I’ve made!

Crayon Fade

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.

Crayon Play shawl
Crayon Play shawl

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.

Crayon Fade shawl
Crayon Fade shawl

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.

Crayon Fade 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

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

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!