Bad spellers of the world, untie!

That's what someone told me this shawl always brings to their mind.

What: Vertices unite /Stephen West
How: Circular needle 3.5 mm
From: Kässäkerho Pom Pom Donegal Tweed, 271 g

This spring has run past me while I've been busy designing new knitting patterns (from which you'll hear more about in June as I publish them). It was about time to knit something simple, brainless, and just for fun.

Last August, I started a no-yarn-shopping thingy that lasted all the way to February. And all that time all I wanted to do was to get me some of these gorgeous Pom Pom Donegal Tweeds that a Finnish yarn shop was posting on Instagram. I knew exactly what I would buy as soon as my yarn shopping strike would be over - and so I did!

I knew I wanted to knit garter stitch and stripes with these pale pink, minty green and silver grey skeins. Possibly a Westknits shawl. I had fallen in love with this shawl I saw on Instagram that used the same pale pink as one color. I went through all of Stephen's shawl patterns until I finally gave up and said to my self, if you want to be a copy cat, be a Copy cat with a capital C. So I chose to make Vertices unite.

The shawl was a really fun knit. You knit one piece at a time of these triangles and paralellograms with either increases and decreases, or short rows. Some of the pieces are striped with two colors and some are one color. Once all the pieces have been knitted, the whole thing is framed with i-cord.

I had to be a bit of a rebel. The pattern tells you to leave stitches on a holder every time you finish a piece but I found this utterly unnecessary. The stitches fitted on the needles just fine as long as you took care to make sure you were leaving them in the right direction. This of course meant that I couldn't admire the shawl while knitting it since it was enormous and my cable was short.

The pattern also calls for five colors but as three skeins had just enough meters, I used only three colors. The pattern has two sizes, small and large and I wanted to knit myself a shlanket. I had to do careful calculations on how to use the colors but three skeins was just enough and I managed.

This was meant to be a relaxing knit between all that manic designing but I didn't quite pull it off. On every other piece I felt I was in a hurry and couldn't knit fast enough, and every other piece was mellow, relaxed knitting just for fun. Oh well, I got half right.

The shawl turned out beautiful. A true favorite shawl. And I can't seem to get enough of these pastel colors. I can still remember how just five years ago mint green was a curse word in my books. And now it's the bestest thing in the world. The times are changing.



I got super excited in January when Jonna from the amazing Laine Magazine approached me with a request. She asked me if I'd like to design something for Laine's spring/summer magazine. I had been toying around with an idea of a gradient cardigan, so I sat down, did the calculations and started knitting right away.

What: Utu / own design
How: Circular needles 2.25 mm and 3.0 mm
From: Snailyarn Gradient Set, 310 g

Last summer, we had a knitting festival in my hometown Jyväskylä. And there were two dyers from a bit further away, La bien aimée from France and Snailyarn from Italy. I fell in love with some minty green gradient sets at the Snailyarn booth. One set had 100 grams of yarn in five different shades. Mint has been my absolute favorite color for the past few years so I bought them all and now was the perfect time to go stash diving.

I designed a cardigan with a round yoke decorated with leafs. The leafs are knitted with twisted stitches and two stitch cables. The insides of the leafs are purled except for the stems. Besides the leafs, the cardigan is plain stockinette stitch to let the beautiful yarn have the spotlight it deserves. The cardigan doesn't have waist shaping, the neck band is knitted with smaller needles to keep it snug enough and the sleeves are 3/4 length and have one leaf right before the cuffs. Pretty and delicate, if I may say so myself.

I used the gradient sets so that I switched colors every 12 cm. Before switching colors, I knitted a few stripes to make the transition smoother. I was having a hard time remembering to leave some lighter colors for the sleeves as well and managed to run out of yarn. I was contemplating crying my eyes out when I thought to try Ravelry's stash search. What a wonderful tool, I tell you! I found out there had been one more gradient set up for grabs at the festival and my friend had bought it. I sent her a begging message and the next day, she brought me the yarn. I can't thank you enough!

I was knitting like a crazy person trying to finish the cardigan in time to take it with me on a holiday. I finished it two night before our flight but got into trouble. The superwash treatment made the yarn stretch enormously when I washed it and the cardigan became way too big and droopy. Oh yes, you should always, always wash your swatches before starting the actual project. I had never before had similar problems with SW yarn and didn't thing I would have any this time either. Oh well. I soaked the cardigan again and laid it on the blocking mat trying to first crinkle it to the right measurements and then smooth out the wrinkles. Luckily it worked and the cardigan was the right size after drying.

It wasn't too shabby at all taking pics at the Oxford University botanical gardens. The British winter was offering us its best despite its reputation.

I am beyond excited to have my design in the new issue of Laine Magazine. And not only that, it's featured in the cover! I hope you enjoy knitting it.


Too cute to bear

I managed to sew something so sweet I can't take it.

What: Alice pleated dress / Bella sunshine designs
How: On a sewing machine
From: Leftover cotton fabrics

I heard my goddaughter has recently been smitten with light colored flower dresses. So I didn't have to think too hard what I could make her for her nameday.

The internet is full of sewing patterns, each one cuter than the other. With knitting, it's obvious that you can find the best ones on Ravelry but when it comes to sewing, I don't really know where to look. Therefore, I decided to go for a designer I've been happy with before. I've made one dress by Bella Sunshine patterns and I really enjoyed the thorough instructions.

I went through all their dress patterns and went with this cutesy Peter Pan collar dress. And this turned out to be the best dress I've made in ages. The pattern was excellent as before, but the sewing worked out perfect as well.

The dress has a fitted top with tiny cap sleeves and a peter pan collar. The pattern has instructions for a pleated hem but as I was working with leftover fabrics, I went with a gathered hem. With the gathered hem all I needed to know was that I had a wider piece than the top of the dress. As a little something extra, I added a lace ribbon.

To top it all off, the dress has pockets! I say, all dresses should have pockets! (If you are interested in the sexist history of pockets, you can read here about the lack of pockets in womens clothing) I am so smitten with this dress that I must make something for my self with a peter pan collar, it's so cute.

One last thing I'm super proud about is the zipper in the back. I can't remember when I last (if ever) managed to get both sides of the top to align so straight next to the zipper. I hope the present fits and gets a lot of wear.


Knitting retreat

Last night I came home from the best weekend of the year. It was already the sixth Kierot puikot (Wonky needles) retreat. The fifth one I've participated in. I recommend knitting retreats to everyone, they're just the best. I usually go on atleast three retreats every year. Even my phone's autocorrect thinks retreat junkie is a word.

The best weekend of the year was held in Iisalmi, northern Finland, at Haapaniemi ranch. There was way too much good food, lovely company and sooo many bad jokes to keep me giggling for the next few weeks. We had a sauna, a massage therapist, yarn lottery and a pop quiz. There were also two yarn shops so there were plenty of temptations.

This time I didn't have any FOs ready for photographing but I got to take pics for my friend. In the pic below, her knits are held by this scary statue that frightened me every time I ran to the sauna.

I had amazing luck in the yarn lottery and got be one of the first people to pick out my prize. As I'm a firm lover of uncolors, I picked Hedgehog Fibres Sock in the lovely pinkish gray colorway Ghost.

The Wonky needles retreat always offers some classes as well. This year you could take part in a lace knitting class and a sock blank class. The pics below show, which one I chose.

There were so many hopefuls that our teacher ended up having atleast three classes so that everyone had a chance to take part. Sock blanks are dyed the same way as yarn. The fun is seeing how differently the colors blend once you unravel the blank and knit socks from it.

I dyed my first blank into this crazy colorful speckle thingy. I just kept splashing colors on the blank until it was full.

Others had much more artistic approaches. As I watched them, I wanted to dye another blank, this time a bit more organized. I painted this grey grid on the blank and filled the empty space with purple dots. I'm a bit annoyed that the grey color didn't go through to the other side which is quite white but you never know how fun it will look once the grey, purple and white mix as it's knitted. I started knitting the first speckle blank right away once I got home from the retreat last night.

Thank you friends for the bestest of weekends.

Baby gifts

I had the pleasure to meet my friend's baby and that kind of meeting requires some extra cute knitted gifts.

What: Bits + Pieces / Veera Välimäki
How: Circular needle 3.0 mm
From: La bien aimée Merino Singles + some grey scrap yarn, 18 + 6 g

As usual in these cases, I went straight for my favorite baby patterns. Bits + pieces is my top 1 for baby hats. It's not only sweet but also a fun knit since the cap is knitted with short rows like a heel turn. One huge plus for this pattern is also that it can be knitted in just a few hours. I knitted the hat in size 6 months and took one size bigger needles than in the pattern to be sure the hat would be big enough. Baby sizes are impossible to guess, but I managed to get it just right this time.

We got goodie bags at last summer's knitting festival and those bags were full of yarn tasters. My (and my sister's, thank you very much!) bag had this amazing colorway by La bien aimée called Wee rainbow on a vespa. Finally I found a tiny enough project to use it on. The grey yarn was also in the goodie bag but I can't remember what it was.

What: Mini motif baby mittens / Lynette Hulse
How: Circular needle 3.5 mm
From: Zelda's dippins Wild and free + The Uncommon Thread Everyday Sport, 9 + 8 g

Of course I had to knit something else besides the hat. The teeny tiny thumbless mitts are essetial here in Finland because the spring weather is still quite cold. This pattern is another one of my favorites. The best part in the pattern is that it includes eight (!) different charts to choose from. You can never get bored of this pattern.

This time I chose to go with the owl chart. However, yet again, I chose too variagated yarns and the owl doesn't really show all that well. Will I ever learn? I knitted the mitts in sport weight yarn to make sure they're big enough. I've knitted these before in fingering weight yarn and those mitts are best suited for a newborn.


Uncolor craving

Some projects are easier than others. This one was a pleasant knit but took for ages to photograph.

What: Color craving / Stephen West
How: Circular neelde 3.5 mm
From: BC Garn Semilla Extra Fino, 133 g

Once upon a time when Color craving came out as Westknits MKAL, I didn't really get it at all. This enormous thing that extends to all possible directions and is full of holes. Who would want to wear it?

But then I participated on Stephen's class and saw the shawl in action. It was wonderful! Just perfect! A lovely huge loose shawl that you can wrap around your neck a few hundred times. And the holes! Those are so handy! You can pull one (or as many as you like) end of the shawl through any of the holes and it stays put without having to make a knot.

From that point forward, I had to knit myself a Color craving. Just for me. Then one time in my LYS, I bumbed into the gorgeous frozen shades of pink and mint Semilla Extra Fino by BC Garn. I already had white and light grey at home, so that was decided then. One totally colorless Color craving coming up. I would knit my Color craving in four uncolors. Very fitting, isn't it? Okey, maybe not, but very me atleast.

The shawl was a fun knit even though the ever growing rows felt a bit numbing at times. The shawl begins at the striped center section. The huge holes are made with an enormous amount of increases on every other row, always at the same spot. Next, the corners are knitted one at a time in different colors by picking up sts from two sides of the center section and knitting short rows. The shawl is finished off with a picot bind off.

Knitting this project was a blast. The only thing I would change might be the order of my colors. The pattern calls for three colors but it was easy enough to add in one more. However, hindsight is 20/20 and now I feel that the muted pink and light grey make for a bit dusty looking combo. I wish I had striped the pink with the white instead of the grey. All in all, the shawl looks sweet this way too.

The problems started once I finished the shawl. Photographing it turned out to be almost an impossible task. We tried taking pictures with my bff while visiting her but somehow none of the pics turned out good. There was always too much noise in the background or the camera focused on totally wrong places or this or that. Always something wrong. I already started using the shawl and decided to tackle the pictures later.

Finally I had a new try with mum behind the camera. Except that I was already annoyed with photographing this shawl since last time didn't work out. If you have experience in photographing knitwear, I bet you know that a sour face shows in the pictures. So, once I had a total tantrum at mum, I apologized to her and explained it was the shawl, not her. Once I got it off my chest, the pictures started coming along nicely. Sorry, and thank you mum!

The biggest issue was the shape. Just look at it! It's so long and narrow, it's nearly impossible to fit the whole thing in one picture. I dare you to try. Regardless of the challenges with the photographs, I really love the shawl. I would recommend this to anyone who likes a bit more peculiar projects.