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It Started with a Sketch: Polar Lights

Polar Lights :: shawl knitting pattern

The Polar Lights shawl design was inspired by the new Kässäkerho Pom Pom Suoma Single yarn that was launched at this year's Jyväskylä Knit Fest. I'd had a sneak preview of the yarn earlier in the fall and knew it was the number one purchase I'd make at the Knit Fest market.

The yarn is fingering weight, 100% Finnsheep singles. Finnsheep has not been traditionally thought of as a luxury breed but this yarn might change your mind! I have to admit it looks rustic and has a bit of a shaggy texture but it turns into a beautiful, soft halo when washed and blocked.

Kässäkerho Pom Pom Suoma Single

For the shawl design I wanted to capture the cool colors of the northern lights: pale green and purple against a dark, blue-black midnight sky. The body of the shawl is worked in garter stitch, one of my favorite textures, in the dark main color. Alternating with the garter-stitch sections are criss-crossing lace blocks in the two contrasting colors.

Sketch for the Polar Lights shawl

In many ways this was very comfort zone knitting — and designing — for me. Like many of my shawl designs, Polar Lights is an asymmetrical triangle, which is my favorite shawl shape to wear. Couple that with garter stitch, textural contrasts, and colors and you're right in my wheelhouse.

Lace and garter stitch detail on Polar Lights

The shawl is knit on the bias, starting from the upper right corner and continuing down towards the bottom left edge. The lace sections are made with yarnovers, K2togs and SSKs, and come with both charted and row-by-row written instructions.

To knit the shawl you need three colors of fingering-weight yarn: 100 g of the main color and two 50 g skeins of the contrasting colors. This is also a great pattern for minis, partial skeins, or leftovers — who says you can't use more than three colors? (Not me.) It would also look stunning in a gradient mini set. Just think of the possibilities!

Polar Lights :: shawl knitting pattern

Polar Lights is now up on Ravelry! I would love to see the colors you pick. Share your project with the hashtags #polarlightsshawl and #talviknits.


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It Started with a Sketch: Polar Lights

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Susanna Winter is a knitwear designer, creating timeless and elegant pieces with clean lines. She has been knitting for over 20 years, knit blogging since 2007, and designing knitting patterns professionally since 2016.

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