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Jyväskylä Summer Knit Festival 2021

It’s a while since the festival weekend, but only now I have the time to write about it. I took photos of my yarn purchases a week after the festival. It’s mostly because of the photos that I’m writing this: I simply must share a glimpse of those scrumptious yarns.

I first went to the festival on Thursday, July the 8th. It was wonderful to chat with other knitters, after such a long break. I went in the TitiTyy brick and mortar store, too, to check out the yarns. I even tried a couple of skeins next to each other to see if the colorways looked good together, but didn’t buy anything, yet.

On Friday I woke up from my nap a bit too late, half past four. The knitting parade would be at five, so it was a bit too late for me to catch it. At least, if I wanted to wake up properly, first, and also eat a bit before hopping on my bike.

I found even more friends at the festival on Friday. We watched the Heavy Metal Knitting event while we chatted at our knitting. This time I actually bought the yarns I had been petting the previous day. They will become a shawl. I took a photo of them and the beginning of my shawl a week after the festival:

Two balls and two hanks of yarn
Walk Collection yarn for a shawl

Saturday the 10th was the market day. There were many Finnish vendors at the Toivola yard and inside the small buildings at the edge of the yard. (I constantly typo yard as yarn.) Before heading to the market, I had checked my bank balance to know what the budget was. When I got to the Toivola yard, I went straight to Handu booth. It was the first booth one would come across, but I might have gone there first anyway. I was delighted to find a shopping basked idle at the entrance. It was clearly there for me.

I took a photo of the Handu booth right before the end of the market time:

Handu booth with a lot of yarn
Handu booth

There was still plenty of yarn left, so there would have been enough for several more yarn fans.

It was difficult to choose which skeins to buy. Ilu had dyed plenty of bright yellows, so I was in heaven. Eventually I managed to weed down my basked (the basket itself was certainly needed). This is what I ended up buying from the Handu booth:

13 skeins of Handu yarn
The yarn I bought from Handu. Back row from left to right: two sport weight basic socks, five skeins for a sweater. Front row from left to right: three singles, two basic socks and another skein of singles.

Another vendor (Pynja) was in the same tent with Handu, but there was such a crowd in front of the yarns that I decided to check it again later. I walked through the booths admiring (and buying) yarn and chatting with old and new friends. The knitting festivals are great in that you can chat with anyone just like you already knew them! Everybody loves yarn and understands the crafters world.

I found several wonderful things from different vendors. Here is a photo of them:

11 skeins of yarn
Yarn bought from other vendors. Four shawls, and a pair of socks.

The brown and the two pale skeins at the bottom of the picture are 90 % merino and 10 % linen. It’s the same base as the blue-green sweater’s worth I bought from Handu. I’m looking forward to knitting with the interesting fiber combination.

Here is a photo of all the yarn I bought from the festivals:

A lovely pile of yarn
All the yarns I bought from the festivals

Now I notice that on Friday I didn’t only buy the four skeins for the shawl, but also two others for another shawl. They are the ones at the center of the picture, the pale and muted variegated Walk Collection skeins. The colorway is really interesting. I can’t wait to see what kind of knitted surface they produce.

The weather was rather hot for us Finns through the weekend. On Saturday it rained a bit and it was cloudy, but the rest of the time it was sunny and hot. With cold beverages we managed, though, and altogether the weekend was amazing!

Kuutio Blanket

I knitted a new blanket for my son. The previous one was getting too small. I chose merino wool since it’s soft and great next to the skin. We selected the stitch pattern together from one of the books I have. The pattern repeat was small for a blanket-sized item so I decided to scale it up.

Kuutio blanket

Scaling the stitch pattern proved more difficult than I had expected. It wasn’t rocket science, but I had imagined getting it done in less than ten minutes. Some parts of the stitch pattern were easy to scale up, but with other parts I had to scratch my head for a while until I got it right.

Kuutio blanket

I made a large swatch. It was almost as big as people usually recommend, that is, 20 cm or 8 inches squared. Different edge patterns were easy to test on the swatch, too. In the end I chose to work the edge at the same time as the body of the blanket. Picking up stitches is rather tedious, and I wanted to get the project done soon.

Kuutio blanket on the bed

Twice a year there’s an equinox contest in the ColourMart Lovers Ravelry group. I took part in it with the blanket. In addition to gaining glory one can win a yarn prize. I calculated carefully how much I would need to knit per day in order to finish by the end of the contest. I even remembered to reserve time for washing the blanket.

The corner of the Kuutio blanket

After knitting full days for some weeks I just got tired. The project was still lovely but enough is enough. I had worked too much in too short a time. In the end, like in so many equinox contests before, I didn’t finish on time. Well, there’s still plenty of yarn in my stash even without a yarn prize, and one can present their projects to the rest of the knitting world outside contests, too.

Kuutio blanket

The yarn was originally all on a single cone. 900 grams of some plump DK weight yarn in one chunk is rather substantial. Near the end of the project it was fantastic to see the cardboard cone finally peeking through the yarn. Seeing such a thing, one feels productive.

Kuutio blanket edge

Despite the large cone of yarn and my meticulous calculations, I ran out of yarn. No problem, I told myself, and dug up the swatch. By unraveling part of the swatch I managed to work the final rows of the blanket. In addition to that, I had already bought another 900 g cone of the same yarn in exactly the same colorway for a blanket for my other son, so there wasn’t really any real problem in the end.

Kuutio blanket on the bed

The day after I finished the blanket I took some photos. My son was anxiously waiting for his new blanket (it was summer), so one should not procrastinate.

The corner of the Kuutio blanket

The bed in the photos is 140 cm (55 in) wide and 200 cm (79 in) long, so the blanket was perfect for my tall 9-year-old son. At least it won’t be small any time soon. At some point, though, he will overgrow it, so I can hopefully knit him another one.

Kuutio blanket

The stitch pattern is interesting and rather unusual since it looks identical on both sides of the fabric. This was helpful for the knitting, too: you can read the chart from right to left on every row, whether it’s a right side row or a wrong side row. I don’t recall ever working such a stitch pattern before.

Kuutio pattern is now available via Payhip and in my Ravelry store.

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 and via Payhip.

Pihta and Huippu

Pihta and Huippu mittens are worked in stranded knitting with two colors. The cuff is simple ribbing, using one color only, to make it comfortably stretchy.

The colorwork patterns are very simple. The palms are plain pinstripe, as are the tumbs of Pihta. Huippu thumbs have a small upside down “V” in the gusset, the rest is pinstripe. The back of the hand has checkerboard patterning on top of pinstripe. Pihta has upside down “V” motifs, while Huippu shows a silhouette of a line of mountains – especially my blue and light grey model mittens look like mountains.

Both Pihta and Huippu patterns are easy for stranded knitting. The floats are short, there are only few five stitch floats, the rest are mainly one or two stitches long. The colorwork pattern is simple so you don’t need to pay as much attention to the charts as with more complicated patterns. Since there is almost an equal number of stitches for both colors and the floats are short, it should be effortless to keep the tension of the yarn even, which makes knitting rather pleasant. In all, these patterns will probably suit beginner stranded knitters.

The top of the palm is grafted, as well as the top of the Pihta thumbs. Huippu thumbs have decreases making the top more round.

Pihta stranded mittens with a ball of yarn

Pihta is a Finnish word that means fir – the back of the hand patterning reminds me of these evergreen coniferous trees. Huippu then again means peak, as well as something very good.

Pihta and Huippu patterns are now available in my Ravelry store: Pihta, Huippu.

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

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.