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Off to Never-never Land

This is starting to become a habit. Three years in a row I’ve been asked to design a pattern for TAITO magazine’s annual Christmas issue. In 2019 it was Frysa, a matching set of colorwork mitts and a beanie. For 2020, I designed two cabled sibling socks: the feminine Liisi and the unisex Juhani.

This year, I wanted to do a shawl that was a little different than your typical triangle shawl. Meet Höyhensaari.

Feather Fall :: shawl knitting pattern
Photo © Sonja Karlsson / TAITO

Höyhensaari is a two-color arrow-shaped shawl that is worked starting from the tip towards the wide end. Here’s a technical term: this shawl is in the shape of an isosceles triangle, meaning, the two sides of the shawl are of equal length. The shape is achieved by increasing at each end of the shawl on every row and double decreases in the middle of the shawl on every other row. This creates a raised central spine that separates the two halves of the shawl.

A brief interlude about the name. Translated literally, the name Höyhensaari means "feather island". Its conceptual equivalent in the English language is never-never land: the place your mind escapes to in your dreams.

I’d been playing around with the idea of making a two-color shawl with distinct halves that have completely different looks. The one half of Höyhensaari is made of a really simple lace pattern in one color. The lace pattern is so simple it’s basically just the same right-side row over and over again with a plain purl-back row on the wrong side. Both written and charted instructions are provided for the lace pattern.

Feather Fall :: shawl knitting pattern
Photo © Sonja Karlsson / TAITO

The other half is stockinette in two-color stripes: four rows in the main color and two rows in the contrasting color. Now, hold on to your hats. I’m going to throw in a scary word. The knitting technique used to create the two different halves is (did you guess it?) intarsia. I know: scary! But this is such a simple application of intarsia you wouldn’t even know it. The clever thing about this design is that the color changes – which is usually the messy and annoying bit about intarsia – are hidden underneath the CDD center spine of the shawl.

Feather Fall :: shawl knitting pattern
Photo © Sonja Karlsson / TAITO

To complete the arrow shape, a garter-stitch triangle is worked on the wide end of the shawl, adding another texture to the design. This contrasting triangle starts in the middle of the shawl, and – using short-row shaping – gets gradually wider and wider towards the blunt end. Decreases are still made at the center spine but you can no longer see the spine because it gets hidden within the garter ridges.

All three edges of the shawl are surrounded with two-stitch i-cord. On the two sides the i-cord edges are made as you go by slipping stitches at the end of every row. The shawl is finished with an i-cord bind-off on the wide end.

Feather Fall :: shawl knitting pattern

And then there are tassels. If you’d asked me a couple years back I would’ve said I’m not a big fan of tassels. But designing Ardisia made me a tassel-convert and this one sealed the deal! Höyhensaari is also decorated with three tassels, one in each corner of the shawl.

Feather Fall :: shawl knitting pattern
Photo © Sonja Karlsson / TAITO

To knit the shawl you need two colors of fingering-weight yarn, approx. 460–500 m (or 505–550 yd) of the main color and approx. 300–320 m (or 330–350 yd) of the contrasting color. The larger estimates include the yardage required for the tassels but these can of course be left out if you wish.

For my sample shawl I used Tukuwool Fingering (100% wool, 195 m/50 g), 3 skeins in the undyed colorway Sake and 2 skeins in the gray-green Rohto.

Tukuwool Fingering in the colorway Rohto.
Tukuwool Fingering in the colorway Rohto.

Höyhensaari is currently available only in print in the TAITO Christmas 2021 issue, on sale at stockists and in the web store. You'll be able to buy the shawl pattern individually and in digital format in my pattern shops in February 2022.

The cover of TAITO Christmas issue 2021.
TAITO Christmas issue 2021

P.S. The gorgeous colorwork yoke sweater, Kaneli, that’s featured on the cover was designed by Marita Karlsson @kerttuvilla and is also available in the magazine.


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Feather Fall is a triangle shawl with a difference. This arrow shaped shawl is worked from tip to wide end in two colors of fingering weight yarn. An easy to memorize lace pattern in one color and intarsia stripes in two colors play off of each other on two sides of the central spine. The arrow shape is completed with a garter stitch triangle made in the accent color. A tassel is added to each corner of the shawl. #knitting #knit #shawl #knittingpatterns #garterstitch #stripes #intarsia #lace

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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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