My 3 mystery kal projects

Hi there, I told you a while back that I had broken my promise to myself of not casting on for a new project until I had finished one of my WIPs. And I didn’t even do this as a reasonable person, no I went ahead and joined no less than 3 mystery kals! Two socks and one pair of mittens. And all kals had different beginning dates, the mitten kal had actually started a while back and there were already 3 clues published. One of the sock kals had published its first clue and the second sock well I actually joined BEFORE it began!

So one of the sock kals I’m actually working both socks at the same time using two sets of dpns and that is the Through the Loops Sock kal by Kristin Kapur or TTL Mystery Sock 2016

For this one I’m using a ball of Opal sock yarn. I think I wrongly said it was WYS yarns on Instagram so I must correct that. So yes Opal sock yarn, 4 ply in Burgundy (color 5196).

So far 2 clues have been published.

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Here I am at the end of clue nr 1.

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And this is at the end of clue nr 2 on the first sock. I did have a little doubt about if I was doing this correctly because the pattern seems to swirl around the leg but because this is a Mystery Kal I haven’t seen any pictures yet. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the project pages on Ravelry to see if anyone posts a picture after clue 2 just to be reassured that I’m doing it correctly.

I’m doing the medium size and those will be for my older daughter once they’re done.

My second sock kal is one where a multitude of colours are involved. Well, the pattern actually gives you the option of using either just one colour or, two or three or four. And I think that is really amazing because it gives you so much liberty and the variety of socks that will be made with this same pattern will be so great. I chose to do the 4 colour version.

Here is where I’m at now, this is after clue nr 1 – clue 2 just came out but I haven’t had the time to start that yet.

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This is the Mkal Socks 2016 by Ela M. I’m knitting these one at a time so I’ll finish an entire sock before casting on for the second. I’m also using my Neko needles in size 2.50mm and these socks should be for myself. I’m using hand dyed yarns by myself and it’s a mix of SPARKLE and SOX yarns. So far so good and I look forward to starting work on clue number two.

And then there is the mitten kal which is quite exciting. I’m using yarn from Jamieson and Smith because this is a fair isle project. I did not buy the yarn with this project in mind but I did recently get this yarn and when I was wondering what to use I decided to give this yarn a try. I’m hoping I’ll have enough yarn but if not I’ll just have to buy some more!

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This is at the end of clue nr 1. Last Friday clue nr 4 was published so I really need to get going and knit on those. I’m knitting these one at a time also mainly because I’m afraid I may not have enough yarn for both mittens. This kal is the Enchanting Mystery Kal by Wenche Roald. There will be a total of five clues so this one is almost done!

I’m enjoying working on those and the idea is to work on these mystery kals mostly on the weekend just after the latest clue is published and then work on all the other wips the rest of the week. That may not be possible all the time but I’d like for that to work.

Problem is that I really want/need to cast on for some more socks! Yes I know I’m probably crazy. But I really want to knit a pair of man socks for a nephew of mine and I was just gifted a fabulous sock knitting book yesterday by a famous designer- she herself gifted it to me which makes the book even more special- and so I really feel the urge to immediately cast on for one of her socks. I’m not going to say who she is just yet but lets just say that she contacted me for my non knitting related work and we got talking and she gave me one of her books and she might even design something using my hand dyed yarns!!!!!!!! I’m super excited about that. She is a super star in the knitting world so super busy so I don’t know when or if she’ll actually follow through but in the meantime it has me on cloud 9 and dreaming that maybe I should persevere and continue with my shop!

And before I leave you for today, let me say that I just got a magnificent delivery today from a fabulous company that I ordered from. And as luck would have it the owner had heard of me and she offered to send me some extras for a future giveaway on the blog. Well I got my parcel and I’m over the moon! She sent me 5 items to giveaway!!! And 4 of them are actually marked with my shops name on them! Making them even more fabulous!

So you should continue to follow my blog because this giveaway will be just amazing!

That’s all for today. If you are participating in any mystery kals at the moment I’d love to hear about them and maybe I’ll join yet another kal:)

Happy new week, some FOs and back to polygamous knitting

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are doing fine. I’m still battling a cold but at least my voice has come back:)

Also I finished 2 projects, one of which was huge!

So last week I told you that my daughters friend asked me to  knit her a hat and a mermaid lap top blanket for her birthday. I learned of this last Wednesday and the party was last Saturday. So at first I was only going to do the hat because I just didn’t think I had the time to do the mermaid blanket. But of course I caved in and knit like a crazy lady for a few days. I’m such a sucker for knitting related compliments!

So when it was time to go the birthday the hat was done and ready and the mermaid blanket was 90% done so we packaged the hat and my daughter made a gorgeous card with a picture of a mermaid and we assured her that the blanket was almost there.

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This is the hat- I added a pompom because that was one of her requests. The yarn is Cashmerino’DK hand dyed by me.

And so Saturday evening I managed to finish all the knitting on the blanket and Sunday morning I weaved in all the ends and sew the tail onto the main body AND delivered the blanket!

I’m very happy with the outcome even though I did notice a couple of mistakes but I’m not sure those will be evident to a non knitter so I’m not going to worry about those. And what is most important is that the recipient LOVED it! Mission accomplished!

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This is my daughter modelling the mermaid tail blanket on Saturday morning. I was nearing completion of the main body (the recipient is smaller in stature than my daughter).

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This is a close up of the stitch pattern. This is an 8 row repeat that becomes intuitive quite quickly. I love how this creates the effect of scales. I used a DK weight yarn that I knit double as the pattern indicates and I used a 8 mm needle.

And here is my Mermaid tail blanket all done and ready to be gifted

 

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Ouff! I was super happy that this was done and that it was a success. It was actually quite difficult for me to be monogamous and only knit on this one project. After all I’m used to knit on a gazillion things at the same time and I have a little table in my room filled with project bags who in turn are filled with different projects.

So last night I printed out all the new clues for my mystery kals and got to work on project nr 1 but more on that in the next post.

Until then, take care and enjoy your week:)

Back at last and with some finished items

Hi there, how are you? I hope you are doing better than I am since I have a big cold and have totally lost my voice! Apparently that is going around these days.

So, I know I told you last time that I was going to concentrate on finishing all the wips BEFORE casting on for new stuff. Well….how can I say this?…..I totally failed! I have cast on sooo many projects that I have to do at least two posts to share everything with you!

So today let me show you three projects that I have just finished. The first one is a pair of socks for my older daughter. I used my hand dyed SOX and SPARKLES yarns and just did a simple vanilla type pattern, knit from the top down and did a short row heel. I also did cuff, heel and toe in contrasting color to hold the pattern of the variegated yarn.

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I’m really happy about how they turned out. The color way for the variegated yarn is called Another Kind of Christmas. I dyed that up in December and put up for sale in my independent shop (which by the way is not working out so I really need to list the yarn there on Etsy).

And I believe last time I also told you about doing a double experiment, dyeing self striping yarn and using NEKO knitting needles. Well I finished my first pair using the Neko needles and my self striping yarn.

As for the needles, they are nice BUT not transcendent, not enough to make me want to knit only with those. The idea behind them, I feel, is like knitting with 2 circulars so if you like knitting your socks with two circular needles you might enjoy the bent Neko needles.

I do find that my gauge is looser when knitting with the Neko needles than when I knit with dpns or circulars. I think that it might be because of the shape of the needles and that I was not able to find the perfect way to hold them. The only problem though that I had, was when I was almost at the end of sock number two. I had begun de toe decreases when all of a sudden one of the needles broke! I was sitting at my desk so I immediately took a picture and sent to the manufacturer asking if this was a recurring problem with their smallest size and if they guaranteed their needles and would send me a new one. They answered very quickly and said that this did not happen often but they would be sending me a new set of needles. I was very happy with that and just transferred half my stitches to a different needle and went on to finish my sock and then….a second needle broke! I hope I will have more luck with the new set that they sent me! I don’t think I used too much force and the needles were not bent out of shape so I’m thinking maybe the 2mm size/0 US is just a little too fine for the plastic material they use for the needles.

But anyway it was a fun experiment and I have cast on for a second project using the next size (2.50 mm) and those feel sturdier so cross my fingers and hope they will not brake. But now I think it is time for some pictures.

First off some pictures of the dyeing. So I wanted to do a self striping yarn. I have heard that a lot of dyers do not do those because they are soooooooo time consuming. And I can definitely confirm that. I will need to research methods to speed up a little the process if I want to offer those in my shop otherwise they will just not be worth it because I’ll never be able to sell them at a profitable prize.

So I actually did 2 self striping tests and this was the first one. So I decided to do a regular skein and wind it up into sections that would then be dyed in different colours. I used a yardage measuring device to help me wind the same amount for each section so that the stripes would be as equal in size as possible.

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Then I put each section into a little plastic bag to keep them separate. I then wet the yarn and took each section/bag and poured the dye on. When all the sections were dyed, I put them in the pot to steam set.

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Here the yarn is just out of the dye pot and drying in front of my fireplace. You can see that the sections are connected together because I did not cut the yarn. Also I dyed the skein “single” I mean that I did not wind the yarn double to make two identical skeins for one pair of socks but I actually dyed one skein, single wound, to make one pair.

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Here the yarn has dried and this is where the “fun” starts. You have to wind the yarn on a niddy noddy to make a skein that can then be sold or in my case put on a swift so that I could wind it and knit asap.

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Here is my yarn all skeined up and looking gorgeous.

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And here it is wound up into  a cake. The Neko needles you see are not the ones I ended up using. These are 2.50 mm and I found that my gauge was much looser so I would have ended up with humongous socks so I ripped back my first cuff and started over using the 2.00 mm needles.

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Here you can see my stripes forming. I had 8 colours and each stripe measured 10 yards. That was ok this time as I was knitting a 64 st sock but I do think the stripes should be smaller because at this yardage, you can only really knit large socks, anything small would not really be a stripy sock but a sock with colour sections.

So what I learned from this first test was that I CAN DO IT! and that I need to make the stripes smaller. I also realized how much time it takes from start to finish to make a single skein of self striping! But I admit the process is fun and I’m really happy with the outcome. Again I did a simple vanilla, top down sock with a short row heel. I also dyed a small skein of yarn in a different colour to use for cuff, heel and toes so that the stripe pattern would not be broken up. And it worked perfectly.

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And here they are! All done and gorgeous:) I’m most proud of the fact that I was able to make a totally matching pair of socks even if I did not dye my yarn double. That is way more difficult than dyeing a small skein double where you are totally certain that the colours are going to match up. So I’m really happy with this. And I did enjoy using the Neko, bent knitting needles and I’m going to knit some more on those.

Wow that was a lot! But before I leave you I have one more project I want to share with you. My daughter has a friend who is going to celebrate her 10th birthday this weekend and when my daughter asked her friend what she would like for her birthday the friend said: a hand knit, hand dyed hat and a hand knit mermaid tail blanket! WOW! I learned this Wednesday and the birthday is Saturday!!!! Of course I’m super happy that she loves my knitting. I have knit her a pair of socks she adores and apparently she wants more! So who am I to say no?

Well, first I wanted to be reasonable and so I said to my daughter, ok I can do the hat but I will not have the time to do the mermaid tail blanket. That was not good enough!!!! But more about that later.

It just so happened that I had dyed a little bit of some DK Cash’merino yarn and so I took a skein and wound it up, found a pattern on Ravery called “Gentleman hat” and cast on.

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I need to make a pompom as that was part of the wishlist. The pattern is fun and very easy so this was a quick knit. I knit the child size and the only critique would be that the ribbing should have been longer, I should have thought to make it longer myself…but I didn’t but hopefully it will still be ok. I like how the colour shows on the hat with lots of white and then some red, some pink and some purple and I hope the little friend will love it!

And then there is the mermaid tail blanket!! When I showed my daughter the hat I told her we needed to find something else to go with the hat and she said NO! She only wants the blanket! And I said; I’ll never finish in time. But my daughter has an answer for everything so she said ” not a problem, its ok to give the rest of the gift a little later”. Being the knitter I am, I of course folded an found some yarn and cast on last night!

I’ll show you pictures next time and a link to the pattern if you too have been thinking about doing one of those yourself.

That’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed stopping by and sharing some time with me. I’ll try to be more regular in my postings. And next time I’ll share my mermaids tail blanket as well as pictures of my second self striping dye sock knitting test and….. the 3 yes I did say THREE MKals I just joined! Talk about NOT casting on any new projects before all the WIPs are done! Clearly I’m not very serious!

So until next time, enjoy your crafting. The weekend is just a day away so you should have some more knitting time around the corner! Take care

Double testing

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are doing great and enjoying your week.

Today I’m going to share with you my double testing. If you follow me on social media you may have seen pictures of my latest sock project and my self striping yarn. This week I decided to do some dye testing and make a self striping rainbow yarn.

I used bright colours, eight total. Each stripe is 10 yards long which at my current gauge makes for 12 rows of 64 stitches in stocking stitch. Here are some pictures of my project.

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I measure out my yarn and wind on a warping board.

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I dye each “mini skein” a different colour. There are 5 repeats of each color except for the first and last mini skein/color where there are only 3 repeats. Here the yarn is drying in front of my fireplace.

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Here the yarn is all dry and ready for me to wind it into a skein using a niddy noddy.

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All wound into a gorgeous skein.

Next time I think I will make shorter colour repeats and possibly do two skeins which is perfect for taat socks.

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My yarn all caked up and my new knitting needles! I just heard about these new German knitting needles called NEKO. These are plastic, bent knitting needles made for socks and they also have larger sizes made for knitting hats and “loops”. I had never heard about these before so I was super intrigued. These needles come in sets of 3 and are quite hard to find. In Europe they can only be bought from the producer directly but there is at least one shop in the US and one in Canada and I did find one shop on Etsy carrying these.

So I contacted NEKO and bought two pairs of sock needles and they gifted me with one pair of size 8 mm/US 11 for me to test.

Lucky for me, the needles arrived the day my new self striping yarn was dry and ready for knitting so of course I used that yarn to cast on for a new pair of socks and test both yarn and needles at the same time.

I really like the yarn and I managed to make the colour repeats consistent but I do feel they are slightly too long. It’s still ok for a 64 st sock and will be for a 72 st sock. However they will be too long for a smaller size sock, 56 or 60 st sock. So next test I will do shorter repeats.

As for the NEKO knitting needles I need more time before deciding if I like them or not. They are made from plastic and they are V shaped which means you will not loose any stitches when putting down your knitting. Each set comes with 3 needles, two hold the stitches and the third is for knitting.

I find that my gauge is a lot looser with these needles than it is when I use “regular” dpns or circulars. The needles in size 2mm/US0 bend a little with the force of my hand/fingers. Otherwise they are quite easy on the hands. What I need to figure out is how best to hold them. The fact that the needles are bent means that they are sometimes “in the way” of my hands. I’m making good progress on my sock and liking it so far but need to work on positioning the needles better in my hands.

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I’m using a contrasting colour for cuff, heel and toe – the plum colour.

Have you ever used NEKO needles? Would you be interested in trying? I’m going to finish my pair of socks before making a decision about wether I like them or not and if I should buy some to sell in the shop.

And speaking of knitting needles, what type of needles do you use most? For me that would be circulars which I use for almost everything.

That’s all for today. Take care and enjoy your knitting 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iceland and works in progress

Hi there, how are you today? Fine I hope. I’m doing ok. I was going to post more last week but somehow time just disappeared into thin air! Hopefully I’ll have a little bit more time this week to do everything I need and want to do.

So like you know, I went home to Iceland for New Years. It had been a long time since I last went to Iceland so it was more than time to return. I spent a week just relaxing and meeting up with family and friends. We didn’t do anything special, no excursions or things like that. I know I probably should organise my visits better and do some sightseeing as my kids have yet to see a lot of Iceland but somehow, when I return, I just want to spend time with my family and friends. I don’t feel like doing the tourist thing so inevitably I end up just staying up late, sleeping in, visiting family and friends and eating a lot of delicious food and cakes and sweets.

This time the weather was quite nice and we did get some snow which was nice. My kids love snow, especially during Christmas and New Years. And even though I’m not much of a snow fan; I do admit that white ground really makes all the difference during the holidays.

Here are some pictures taken around where my parents live. Seeing the mountains while being “in the city” is just so nice. Don’t these pictures just scream zen? I really love the view and the landscape and the snow and the bright blue skies.

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Now one of the highlights of our visit was of course New Years Eve which is celebrated with the family in Iceland. Every year Icelanders spend a huge amount of money on fireworks and the show is amazing each time as everyone lights up the sky and I thought I’d share with you a short video I took this last New Years for you to see. You have to turn the volume on to fully “get the picture” 🙂

And now on to knitting. I finished a pair of socks, a pair that I began on Dec 31st as part of my #KnitFromStash2016 KAL. I really like how they turned out. I did find that the pattern sized small so in stead of having a pair of socks for myself they ended up being for my daughter. I think maybe it was because of the stitch pattern which was a sort of twisted stitch ribbing or maybe it was because I didn’t do a swatch! Either way, I just amended the pattern when I saw that the leg was not going to be big enough for myself and I didn’t want to rip back and start over. The yarn I used was Lornas Laces Shepherd Sock

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My progress on the Love of Spiders shawl is going slowly but surely

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Like I said last time, I was not going to cast on any new projects until I had actually finished my numerous wips but…..I’m not a very serious knitter and easily get distracted. Which means that of course I was unable to avoid casting on. So what happened is that I cast on 2 socks AND I decided to join a sock MKAL beginning this Friday, January 15th.

The MKAL can be found here. This will be a color work sock so I dyed my own yarn. I decided not to use the colours suggested by the designer but made up my own palette.

www.knittinginfrance.com There will also be some  white, undyed yarn. I’m looking forward to this sock kal, it’s the first time I join a mystery sock kal. Are you by any chance joining too?

And then there is the sock I’m knitting for my oldest. She came into my room a few days ago and picked up one of my hand dyed skeins and commented on how much she liked the color. So of course I had to cast on for a pair of socks for her! I’m using 2 colours, one for cuff, heel and toes and another for the main part of the sock. The contrast color I call Midnight because it is a sort of blue/black and sparkly color and the main color is one I dyed before Christmas and called ” Another Kind of  Christmas”.

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I really like how this is working up. I look forward to having the pair all done.

Now for the second sock I cast on, here’s a sneak peak but I’ll tell you more about that next time.

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Until next time, take care and enjoy your crafting:)

Happy 2016

Hi there, first off all I wish you a very happy 2016 and thank you for the time spent together last year.

As you will have noticed my blog has a new look now because I changed my “plan” with WordPress to save some money. You may not know this but blogging can actually be expensive. So I decided that I should downsize a bit and so changed my plan and I actually did not realize that the theme/design I was using would disappear! So I was a little panicked this morning when I realized that my layout was changed and that some features had disappeared.

It’s not easy to find a new design and I’m not entirely sure about this one but at least it’s better than what I found when opening the blog this morning! What do you think?

I’ve tried to add links to social media and make the navigation easy but I’m not 100% sure this is it for me so you might see some more changes in the days to come.

The beginning of a new year can be an exciting time and bring promises of new and exciting things and the will to do better in all areas of our lives. For me, 2016 will (hopefully) be a year of changes.

For me personally my biggest wish for 2016 is to have a better back! I have a lot of back problems and at last my doctors might actually do something to help me so I keep my fingers crossed and hope I will get to go to a rehabilitation center before spring and maybe even be operated on. That may seem like a strange wish, to have a back operation, but when you have suffered as much as I have, you end up being ready for almost anything just for the pain to stop! So hopefully I will be feeling much much better physically by the end of 2016!

As for my blog and shop, I hope to grow my following and become better known in the fibre world. I hope to make my blog better and more interesting to follow. I hope to do more contests and giveaways and maybe even organise a KAL. Just basically make it more fun for you to follow my blog. And as for the shop, I hope it will grow and maybe even finally become sustainable financially! I say this every year but nothing much changes. I need more time and money to actually make the shop better known and have more yarn to show and sell. Maybe by getting organised I can find a few extra minutes each week to bring me closer to my goals.

Get organised! I bought a planner! And I’m hoping it will help me stay focused and get more things done! This should be an improvement for all areas of my life so I’m excited to give this a try and hopefully I’ll be up to the challenge.

As for knitting, I’ve joined the Addicted to Sock Knitting #Knitfromstash2016 KAL for the second time. This time I’m committed to knit at least one pair  per month. I’m also committed to use Ravelry better both for the shop by adding my yarns so that my customers can then add their yarns to their stash and that will help with visibility for my hand dyed yarns. And I’m also going to use Ravelry for my projects and do a project page for each! I’ve already made 2 project pages this year for the projects I was knitting during the holidays, one is now done and the second still in the making.

I’m also going to FINISH my ton of WIPs!!!! BEFORE I cast on for a new project. This might actually be the most challenging of all! I am easily distracted and have a terrible case of startitis. So currently what I have on my WIPs table is: 3 shawls, 1 pullover, 1 cardigan, 1 pair of socks, 1 pair of fingerless mittens!!!! Wow, I will really need to be serious and focused to finish these before I can cast on for a new project.

I think that’s about it for my 2016 challenges/improvements. What about you? Do you set yourself challenges or targets to reach at the beginning of a new year? I’d love to hear what yours are.

This post is getting kind of long so I think I’ll leave it at that today and do a second post to share my vacation pictures and holiday knitting.

Thank you for stopping by and have a great day!