I need a little help from you:)

Hi, as I’m working on my “renewed” shop I’m wondering about my yarn dyeing. I know what I like, but what do YOU like? I’d love to hear what type of yarn you mostly use and what type of dye technique you prefer. For example with socks you have solid colors, varigated, striped, speckled etc. Knowing what YOU like would really help me narrow down my future yarns. The following polls will only take you a minute to take so I hope many of you will have the time and be willing to help me on this:)

If you have the time and are willing, I’d love for you to leave me a comment also just to say anything else you think might help me or if you have certain preferences for certain projects. For example if you prefer self striping yarn for socks but only knit shawls etc with solid color yarns.

www.knittinginfrance.com

A big thank you for taking the time out of your day to give me a helping hand:) Have a wonderful weekend.

 

A colorwork designer you MUST check out

Hi there, today is yet another rainy day here in Normandy. There is no longer any doubt possible, summer is officially over! Way too soon I think as we are still in August but hey, nothing we can do about that I guess!

Yesterday I was browsing Facebook and I came across a picture from someone who was knitting an absolutely gorgeous butterfly sock and in the comments below people were saying they loved her designs so I went straight to Ravelry and found her pattern store. And oh boy!!!! I just had to share this with you right away!

If you like colorwork/fair isle or want to give it a try but have been waiting for the right pattern to come along. Wait no more! I absolutely love her designs! I like them so much that I actually bought 6 of her patterns just now! I’m going to knit some for myself, some for my older daughter and some for my sister.

So who is this incredible designer? Well, here’s what I know. Here designer name on Ravelry is JennyPenny but her pseudo is JennyPenny74 and she lives in Sweden. And her shop has 45 designs. Mostly mittens and socks and some of the designs are available as both socks and mittens. There are also a few shawls there too although I fell in love mostly with the socks and mitts.

Here are the patterns I just purchased and plan to knit with my hand dyed yarns:

www.knittinginfrance.com     Garden Fairy Socks

www.knittinginfrance.com Lova (love owl) socks

www.knittinginfrance.com Irma horse mittens

www.knittinginfrance.com Lova Owl mittens

www.knittinginfrance.com Calaveras mittens

www.knittinginfrance.com Garden Fairies mittens

So if you like colorwork, you should definitely go over to Ravelry and check out her designs!

Thats all for today! Hope you are having a good day with better weather than I am:) Until next time, happy knitting/crochet/spinning etc

On and off the needles and some organisational thoughts

Hi there, today is a very rainy morning here in Normandy, France. Feels like autumn is only just around the corner. This summer has been a strange summer with more clouded and rainy days than real summer days which was quite disappointing. Now September is just a few days away, School will start in just over a week and things will rapidly be going back to the usual routine. Summer vacation with the kids at home 24/7 for 2 months when I work full time just like my husband and only get 2 weeks off, well it is partly stressing because working from home with kids in the house is not always easy and then partly cool because I can sleep a little later in the day (yes I do like sleep in a little bit). When school starts I will be getting up early and I know I will more done!

I’ve shared with you before that I was planning on big changes in the shop and as of yesterday I’ve put the shop in “vacation mode”. So currently it is not possible to place any orders. I don’t know exactly for how long it will remain closed, it depends on how much work I can get done each day and also, I have a work trip coming up late September so maybe I will wait until that is over and done with to open rather than open for a few days and the either close or  just not ship anything for 10 days. Not sure just yet but I’ll keep you posted on how things go.

I’ve ordered a planner! My very first planner! I’m anxiously waiting for it to arrive and I have high hopes that it will help me organise myself better and get more things done. Writing down what needs to be done, planning a certain number of tasks that must be done in a certain time frame will help me keep focused and the pleasure of then actually crossing that task off in my planner will be a high! There are a number of planners out there and they all look good and most of them super cute as well. I chose the one called Passion Planner because I felt it would be the best for me. They have a free version of the weekly planner layout in pdf form that you can download if you want to give it a go before committing to buying one.

So although the thought of autumn weather and more rain and cold is not very exciting I am really looking forward to having more time to myself ( with the kids at school) and getting ORGANIZED. And mostly rethinking my shop and giving it all that I’ve got and more in a last ditch effort to actually make it financially viable. So fingers crossed and willing to take on lots of work and challenges, that’s exactly what I’m going to do!!!

Now, enough of non knitting related babble! On the more serious and entertaining subject of knitting!

So like I told you last week, I did manage to knit in Sicily albeit the high temperatures! And it just made me love beach knitting even more. Here in Normandy I love knitting at the beach, usually it is not super hot and even if I have to wear a fleece pullover that’s fine with me. If the sky is blue, the sun is shining and I’m in the sand facing the ocean with some knitting in hand, that works for me! Of course in winter I don’t do any knitting at the beach as the weather is not appealing for outdoors knitting but I do all the more inside:)

So in Sicily I had 2 projects that I had already cast on for the trip and  I brought an extra ball of yarn just in case I finished an object and I did so good thinking there!

The first project was a pair of tube socks for a little friend of mine. I used some of my hand dyed sparkle sock yarn and as I did not have her at hand for testing and measuring I decided the only way to go was tube socks. I also decided that I would knit these using the 2 in 1 method that I’ve come to like so much. And that got me thinking. I’d love to write the pattern for these socks using the 2 in 1 method and even try my hand at making some YouTube videos to show how I do it because this is a method that is unlike any other sock knitting method and I believe it is important for knitters to see how it is done and read the instructions and most of all to actually knit a pair of test socks. So hopefully I will actually put this project on my future Passion Planner and get it done! The socks worked out perfectly and the little girl loved her socks so that was a very successful knit.

www.knittinginfrance.com

The second project I had planned for was the Mara Light shawl by Amy Hendrix using Madelinetosh light yarn. I actually bought this as a kit on Craftsy. The kit came with 2 skeins but the pattern actually calls for 1 1/2 – at least that is what it took for me to knit to the size called for in the pattern so I have 1/2 a skein left of this gorgeous yarn. I didn’t finish in Sicily but just after getting back home. I still need to wash and block. The pattern is über simple, just garter stitch and 2×2 ribbing. This makes for some good airplane knitting, tv knitting or beach knitting. In the end, I did look forward to casting off as there is not much going on but I think that is just because it is a big project which doesn’t require much thought and I’m usually doing smaller things so maybe my attention span has been spoiled:)

www.knittinginfrance.com It doesn’t look like much like this but once washed and blocked it will be gorgeous. It is the perfect size to use as a wrap around this winter and I think I will gift this to someone in my family for Christmas.

Then there was my SOS ball of yarn! It was a ball of Lorna’s Laces Shepherds socks but believe it or not, I’ve lost the ball band so I don’t have the name of the colorway. It is beautiful though as all Lorna’s Laces yarns. Its soft blues, purples, tans and a tiny pink maybe. So first I was going to knit a second pair of tube socks, I cast on, knit a few inches and then discovered I had done THE mistake, that is mixed up my yarns and my socks were no longer 2 individual socks but siamese twins! That got me upset and I frogged what I had done and decided I’d do something else and as I had just recently purchased a book called Custom Socks by Kate Atherly I decided to make my own pattern. After all my very first sock pattern worked out quite nice so I thought a second one would be great fun! And off I went. I planned out my pattern, chose a stitch pattern and cast on.

www.knittinginfrance.com  www.knittinginfrance.com  This is a close up of the pattern.

I really love the way they look and although I have not been through all the sock patterns you can find on Ravelry I’m confident they have something unique. So I’m now going to write up the pattern and knit a second pair using my own yarn. I also need to think of a name for the pattern and that is something I don’t find easy so if you have any ideas, do share them with me.

I’m planning on doing a test knit of my two sock patterns in September so if you want to do a test knit, leave me a comment below. I’ve never organised a test knit but I’ve read up on the matter and I here’s how I think I’ll organise this. Each test knitter would get a copy of the pattern and is then free to choose a yarn to knit with as long as she gets gauge. If the test knitter wants to knit using my yarn they would be offered -20% off retail price. You would get 4 weeks to complete the pair. I would open a thread on Ravelry for the test knits for all involved to post progress pictures and ask questions or post remarks. Once the test knit phase is over and the pattern has been corrected if needed and polished up, each test knitter would then receive a pdf copy of the final pattern.

And if you don’t remember what my first sock pattern looked like, here’s a picture

www.knittinginfrance.com www.knittinginfrance.com Coral Reef socks

So those are all OFF the needles. So ON the needles I’m mostly working on 2 projects. One is a pair of worsted weight socks, my pattern and my yarn, for my sister. This is super simple but I still might just write the pattern up and offer for free with any yarn purchase in the same weight category. I’ll see about that. And I’m doing a second shawl, this one also bought as a kit from Craftsy. It is Drachenfels by Melanie Berg and I’m almost up to the striped portion

www.knittinginfrance.com So far it looks nice and I’m sure the finished shaw will be very nice. I’ve already decided I’m going to gift this to someone in my family for Christmas. The yarn is from the Brown Sheep Company.

And just before I leave for today, I’m not sure I showed you a picture yet but I finished my Beetlebum shawl by Renée Callahan of East London Knits a while back now and I’m ashamed to say that I have yet to wash and block it! But here’s a picture just as proof that it is done although sadly it’s beauty is not really shown in the unblocked shawl.

www.knittinginfrance.com Even though unblocked you get the picture of the pattern and how it is worked and you can just imagine how gorgeous it will look once blocked. The yarn is my own, lace weight and super soft. This is a real stunner!

 

That’s all for today. I’d love to hear and see what you are working on now or what you have cast off this summer. Do share pictures or the names of patterns you are working on so I can take a look and maybe even add to my Ravelry queue:)

Take care and enjoy your crafting until next time:)

 

Today it’s all about Sicily

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are doing good. On my side of the globe, the weather is actually quite nice which is refreshing as since our return from Sicily the weather has been lousy! I’m slowly getting back on track with everything after being away for 2 weeks. It’s kind of revealing to see how long it takes to get back on track after being away for 2 weeks. Shows me that I actually do a lot of things when I’m at work and that taking 2 weeks out to just relax and enjoy myself means that I come back to a mountain of work and an endless to-do list! But, hey holidays are worth it! I really needed to get away and just empty my mind and resource myself.

So yes, I went with my husband and 3 children to Sicily and this was our very first time there. We stayed in a small town on the north coast called Ballestrate. It’s a small town that is not too touristic yet, most of the tourists were actually italians which was great. We are not big fans of overcrowded towns and beaches. Also, I got a great opportunity to work on my Italian and even though I say so myself, I made great progress! It even made me want to pick up where I left of years ago! So now I need to find the time and a place to go back to learning Italian which I think is such a beautiful language. I already speak French and Spanish so Italian is not difficult as there are many similarities.

Sicily is a really beautiful island with lots of picturesque towns and beautiful beaches. Unfortunately for us, there was a heat wave there at the same time so it was unusually hot and humid so that was a bit difficult for us as we are not used to such high temperatures and humidity. It changed our plans a bit as we did much less sightseeing and visiting because it was just too hot. So we did a lot more beach going than originally planned. But that is not a complaint! The beaches are beautiful, there is a little bit of fresh air, the water was the perfect temperature AND I got to do some knitting!

Some of you here have said you’d love to visit Sicily so I’m going to share some pictures with you as I’m sure you’ll enjoy looking at those and daydream a bit.

www.knittinginfrance.com www.knittinginfrance.com  These pictures are from the beach in Ballestrate. There are 2 beaches there and this one is a small, family beach where there were never too many people and this one was closest to our apartment so we frequently went there.

www.knittinginfrance.com   www.knittinginfrance.com  two gorgeous places, the first picture is of the port in a town not far from where we were staying and the second is a very small beach in a town called Marinella. We stopped there on a day trip, eat lunch at the beach and took a little bath and I did some knitting of course

Sicily IMG_3645 Sicily- San Vito lo capo A few more gorgeous beach pictures to get you daydreaming 🙂

Sicily-  ancient temple Sicily - temple de Segesta Sicily - greek theater in Segesta Did you know that Sicily has a lot of ancient greek ruins? It’s so impressive to walk among these monuments that are from hundreds of years before JC. Some of them are in remarkable condition. Very humbling

Sicily - Corleone Sicile - bibliotheque Corleone Sicily - anti mafia museum in Corleone Sicily - anti mafia museum in Corleone shelves of files We went to visit Corleone! The village we all link to films like the Godfather. The village is in the middle of nowhere and you really have to want to go there to get there as the roads are in very bad condition. The village is a beautiful rural italian village with lots of charm. We visited their Anti Mafia museum and that was an amazing experience. We were guided by a 17 year old italian girl who was a wealth of information and she explained the history of the mafia and just general culture of Sicily so well. Really amazing. The pictures of files above are from a room dedicated to the first ever Mafia trial in Italy which was held in Palermo, Sicily in 1986. There were 400 defendants, 100 of which were absent/on the run. You can see the incredible amount of files they had compiled for this complicated trial. On the third picture you see files up close and the name Greco appears on some of them. He was a big mafia boss and a big figure of this trial.

Sicily - more mosaics from Palermo Sicily- interesting mosaic in Palermo Sicily - the roof top of the chapel in Palermo We visited this chapel in Palermo which had amazing mosaics and here are a few pictures for you. I took those thinking I might use them for inspiration for colors or maybe a pattern.

 

Sicily - Life's a beach That is so true!

Sicily - knitting at the beach in Balestrate Sicily - tube socks finished Sicily - knitting in a creek Sicily- last minute knitting at the beach www.knittinginfrance.com And like I said, I knitted every time I went to the beach!  And here you see all 3 projects I worked on: a pair of tube socks (I’ll tell you more about those in a later post), my Mara Light shawl and a new sock design (also more on that later).

So as you can gather, this was a wonderful vacation and with that, let me just wish you a wonderful weekend. I’ll be back next week with more on my FO and WIP as well as more exciting news and an article by one of your readers.

Take care:)

Back from Sicily

Hi there, just a quick note to let you know that I’m back from a wonderful family vacation in Sicily! I’ll have to tell you all about that when I have a little more time. I feel I have a billion things to share with you only the return after being away from work, shop and home for 2 weeks is super hectic!

It was extremely hot and humid in Sicily so knitting was not always easy but I did knit! I had brought a hand spindle and some roving for spinning but it was just too hot for me to actually do spinning so unfortunately I did not do any spinning.

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen pictures every now and then of me and my knitting at the beach! Such as these

www.knittinginfrance.com  Here I’m working on a new sock pattern. I’ll be sharing some more pictures with you later of that

www.knittinginfrance.com and here I’m knitting on my Mara Light shawl

I’ll need to free up some writing time this week to tell you about my vacation and my knits on the needles as well as some exciting news about the shop and future pattern support for my yarns:) Yeah! I’m super excited about all that:)

Also,  my HUGE DISCOUNT offer is still going for a few more days! So if you would like to try out some of my hand dyed and or hand spun yarns NOW is the time! I also have lots of stitch markers, knitting needle holders as well as knitting needles and crochet hooks. And the best part is that you can have them all at a 40% OFF! So just place an order before the end of August 22nd for 10€ and more and use the discount code: RENEWAL upon check out! I hope you have or will be able to enjoy this offer, do share with your fellow crafters and on social media. The more sales I get, the better I’ll be able to make my “new” shop! After August 22nd I’ll be closing the shop for about 2 weeks as I reorganize and set everything up. I’m super excited about this renewed shop so I cross my fingers and hope for the best:) So for the shopping, this is where the magic happens- just click here . My shop is on Etsy under the name Knitting in France or www.knittinginfrance.etsy.com

That’s all for today. Take care and enjoy your crafting until next time