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Knit Fest 2019

The fourth annual Jyväskylä Knit Fest took place last weekend, July 4th to 7th. The Toivola Old Courtyard, a quaint little piece of history from the 1900th century, was again teeming with dyers, yarn producers, and international knitting superstars from all over the world.

Among this year's impressive teacher line-up were the queen of colorwork yokes Jennifer Steingass, the princess of brioche Susanne Sommer, 3D knitting specialist Olga Buraya-Kefelian, and doubleknitting guru Nathan Taylor. In addition to a host of local Finnish dyers, yarn shops, and artisans, the marketplace hosted five international guests: Biches & Bûches from France, Garthenor Organic from UK, Myak from Italy, Stephen & Penelope from the Netherlands, and Woolmint from Estonia.

Whenever knitters get together it's always a great chance to catch up on the latest knitting trends. This year was definitely the year of the colorwork sweater. There were obviously quite a lot Jenn Steingass's creations walking around the courtyard, especially her latest Gardengate sweater, but I also spotted a number of Soldotna Crops, Tecumsehs, and other Ravelry Hot Right Now topping designs by Caitlin Hunter.

Minimal footprint non-superwash yarns (left to right): Ucshitita The Minimalist, Biches & Bûches Le Petit Lambswool, West Wool Bicycle

Browsing the marketplace you can also get a glimpse of what's new and upcoming in yarns. A couple of years ago hand-dyed mohair was the thing. This year you could definitely see the move to more eco-concisous and sustainable alternatives: there were a lot rustic, organic, naturally dyed, and untreated yarns on offer. Shiny hand-dyed luxury yarns are not going anywhere but it's great to see other options as well.

Organic naturally dyed wool from Finland (left to right): Rintala organic sheep farm, Aurinkokehrä, Isokumpu organic sheep farm

Breed-specific wool has been a hot topic among spinners for the past few years but different sheep breeds are also making their way into yarn labels as well. I spotted Finnsheep, Polwarth, Kainuu Grey, BFL, Texel, Falkland, Highland Wool, Åland... It's great to see alternatives to the ever-present Merino!

These naturally dyed and undyed fingering-weight singles from Rönni farm are a mix of Finnsheep, Åland sheep and Kainuu Grey wool

The Jyväskylä Knit Fest is also a great place to launch new products. Last year Suoma Single, a delicious fingering-weight Finn sheep singles yarn from Kässäkerho Pom Pom sold out completely. This year the yarn line was extended with a beefier DK-weight singles yarn in the same gorgeous colors.

This year's breakout hit was newcomer Aara Yarns with a selection of softly muted colors in three yarn bases. I later heard they'd sold all except for five skeins. What a great start!

Ruskanlehti is another relatively new Finnish indie dyer and they attended the Knit Fest marketplace for the first time this year. My shopping plans at their booth were foiled by a wall of people surrounding it on all sides.

My Knit Fest 2019 yarn haul wasn't quite as modest as last year but still within reason. I got a sweater quantity of Kässäkerho Pom Pom Suoma Single in the luscious green colorway Kevät that I completely missed out on last year. And these were the last five skeins left in the color so I was lucky to score them at all!

I also got sock yarn for three future sock designs: BFL Sock from Kässäkerho Pom Pom in the colorway Orkidea ('Orchid'), merino sock yarn from Rouva Silmusolmu in the colorway Lissabon, and two 50 g skeins Allegro sock yarn from Koukuttamo in the colorway Kesämuistot ('Summer Memories').

See you at Knit Fest 2020!

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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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