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!

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.

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!