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Knitter Spotlight: Hanna (Mayanaea on Ravelry)

March 2, 2018
By Janina Kallio

Sometimes, things don’t work out as planned… Especially when it’s the first time you give it a try. That’s what Hanna (Mayanaea on Ravelry) experienced when she first grabbed a pair of knitting needles. But after a few projects that went terribly wrong, she decided not to give up and found out that knitting was actually her favourite hobby.

Living close to the beach in Finland, she works from home so she can always be there when her twins need her. Easy going and funny, she has a great sense of humour that helps her look on the bright side of life. Her story will encourage many knitters – even more beginners -,  and I’m so excited to share it with the Woolenberry community.

Knitter Spotlight: Mayanaea on Ravelry

First name: Hanna
Ravelry name: Mayanaea
From: Pori, Finland

I (first) learned to knit as a child at primary school, only I was rubbish at it and, truth be told, not all that motivated. About twenty years later, as a slightly bored stay-at-home mum of twin toddlers, who no longer required feeding and nappy-changing every twenty minutes, I needed something to keep my hands busy. So I bought a pair of nasty straight needles and an equally nasty ball of clown vomit yarn at the supermarket and taught myself to knit properly, with a bit of help from my mum and the internet knitting community.

I usually knit at home on our old, lumpy, extremely comfy sofa. In the warmer seasons I also like to knit in the garden, but in the summer my absolute favorite place to knit is the beach.

My typical day begins with a huge cup of coffee, two if I’ve been working late the previous night. I make sure my twins – now nine years old – have a decent breakfast, wrap up warm etc. send them off to school with hugs and kisses, and retreat to my messy workspace (I’m a printmaker and mostly work from home). I work for a few hours, usually until the kids get back from school. After that it’s all about their homework, hobbies, meals and other mum stuff, although I do try to squeeze in an hour of yoga, barre, Pilates, brisk walking or cycling every day. Around nine in the evening I kiss the kids goodnight, knit while watching Netflix with my husband, do a short meditation exercise and go to bed. I’m a natural night owl though, so I’ve been known to sneak back into my workspace for a couple of hours if a “brilliant” idea that simply can’t wait until morning pops into my head.

Interlude shawl from Woolenberry

My favorite things about the place I live are the annual Pori Jazz festival and Yyteri beach, which is one of the most beautiful beaches in Northern Europe and my favorite place to swim, knit and just hang out with my family on warm summer days.

My favorite time of the year is winter, now that it’s just beginning in Finland, but if you asked me the same question in February, I’d probably be sick of winter and never want to see another snowflake again. I’m always excited to welcome a new season, but I’m also easily bored, so I’m lucky to live in a country with four distinctly different seasons.

My dream travel destination is Prague, because that’s where my baby sister lives. I miss hanging out with her, and the city looks so incredibly beautiful in the pictures she has sent me, that I must see it for myself one day.

Moon Dust shawl from Woolenberry

My favorite yarn is either hand dyed and extremely luxurious, or rustic Finnish wool with a lot of character.

The first project I ever knitted was a pair of slippers at school. I must have been around nine or ten at the time. One actually turned out surprisingly OK, but the other was about four sizes too big! I gave them to my gran, who obviously never got much wear out of them, but treasured them all the same. Another project we knit at school was a hat. Mine turned out so ridiculously ugly that I actually wore it to school for the next couple of weeks just for a laugh. A lot of people probably didn’t get the joke and thought I was just really, really proud of the abomination.

My favorite color is gray! I never seem to get enough of gray.

Quatrefoil shawl from Woolenberry

Right now I have on my needles far too many Christmas presents that really ought to be finished and wrapped by now, plus a birthday present for hubby, whose birthday is on Christmas Eve.

Next project on my needles will be something shamelessly self indulgent for a change, perhaps a shawl such as Bough from the Woolenberry Shawl Club, or Snowberry socks from the Warm and Woolly collection. I’ve only ever knit one pair of socks, for my gran shortly before she died, simply to show my appreciation for the dozens of pairs she’d knit for me over the years, and to make up for the unfortunate slippers.

Rosewater shawl from Woolenberry

My other creative passions include papermaking, bookbinding and pottery just to name a few. But as I have a very creative job, it’s often hard to find the time and energy for creative hobbies (other than knitting that is, I always make time for that).

I make the most delicious, or at least healthy and fairly edible vegetarian food, but I can’t say I enjoy cooking all that much. My husband does, but everything he makes is about 90% animal fat, so one must restore balance to the Universe.

Something most people don’t know about me is, that I have synesthesia. What it means (in my case, there are many different types of synesthesia) that I associate letters, words, numbers and other things – including people – with particular colors. The letter A, for example, is red, Friday is a green day, December is a purple month and my husband is, for whatever reason, a navy blue person.

Something I’d still love to learn in this lifetime is sewing. I have a sewing machine, purchased a couple of years ago with high expectations, and yet it still sits all but abandoned in the very box it came in, waiting for me to get a grip. I’d also love to learn weaving, spinning, dyeing yarn, and perhaps even design a knitting pattern all of my own one day.

My favorite quote is by French-American artist Louise Bourgeois: “Art is restoration: the idea is to repair the damages that are inflicted in life, to make something that is fragmented – which is what fear and anxiety do to a person – into something whole.”

All photos ©Hanna/Mayanaea

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