Hi there how are you today? I hope you are doing good, that you had a nice weekend and that this new week is shaping up to be a good one.

As always I have been knitting “like the wind” 🙂 I don’t have a finished object this week to share but I have a lot of HOs and an almost FO.

I have a ton of things to share with you but  I feel I must divide things up into at least 2 or 3 posts or you’ll end up spending the entire day reading my blog and you do have some knitting to do so that won’t work!

So I think today I’ll show you my HOs and share some news of my shop and then later I’ll share my February knitting plans which are shaping up to be quite ambitious!

So first the knitting. If you follow me here on the blog and on IG you will have seen all the socks I’m working on. I have A LOT of socks going at the moment and some are “active” and others are waiting to be picked up again and finally finished.

First there is the test knit I shared with you last week. I often test knit for designer Dana Gervais who is a very talented sock knitting designer. Currently I’m testing her Galoway sock which will soon be published on Ravelry. This is a very fun pattern. The front is all cables from cast on to toes and the back all the way to the end of the heel is in ribbing. The cable pattern is easy to memorise and you can knit it without using a cable needle which is what I did. I chose to knit this using a new yarn base that I have just introduced in my shop and I call POP. It’s a tweed yarn with colorful nepps that make this yarn super fun to work with. I have finished sock one and now need to cast on for the second one.

 

Then there is the simple vanilla sock that I’m knitting using my Valentine’s Day colorway, I call it Be My Valentine. This is a self striping yarn with a 4 color repeat and each repeat is quite short/small. The socks I’m knitting are 72 stitches on a 2.00 mm needle. I’m really happy with how this yarn knits up. The yarn base is my SOX merino/nylon base so a soft and yet sturdy sock yarn. I have finished sock one and I’m already past the heel on number two so hopefully this one will be a FO next week.

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And  then there are the two Simple Skyp socks. This is a free pattern on Ravelry that I absolutely love. It has become my sort of go to pattern rather than knit a vanilla sock. I think it works great with all types of colors and yarns. Works great with solid yarns as well as with some crazy variegated. So currently I’m knitting two pairs, one for myself and one for my youngest. So my pair is knit using yarn from KnitCosmicStrings. I shared an interview with them this January and the yarn I’m using is in the Shoreditch colorway which is the exact same yarn as the giveaway yarn. And speaking of the giveaway, the winner has yet to claim her prize and the clock is ticking…

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I really enjoy using this yarn and I love how the yarn knits up. I think it looks great knit up into this skyp pattern. On this picture you get an idea of how this colorway knits up both in simple stockinette (sole) and in the skyp pattern (leg and top of foot). So obviously one sock is done and the other is almost at the heel.

And the one I’m knitting for my daughter, I’m knitting out of my own yarn. It’s a dye test I did for fun using my SOX base. I’ve also finished one sock and I’m just past the heel on the second so hopefully this pair will be an FO very soon.

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I’m also knitting another pair as a present for someone and again I’m using my own SOX yarn in a fun colorway that I made up just playing with my dyes so a truly one of a kind. The pattern is just a simple knit and purl pattern I found on Ravelry in a free sock pattern that I no longer remember the name of and the rest is just my normal sock formula. For this pair I have also done one sock and am just past the heel on the second so again this should be an FO shortly.

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And to end this parade of socks, I cast on the Prairie socks by Kay Jones of The Bakery Bears Podcast. I’m a huge fan of Kay and Dan’s podcast and watch it every time a new episode is published. I saw these socks on one of the podcasts and really loved how sweet it looked. I had a skein of some unknown undyed yarn. And not knowing what it was I could hardly sell it in the shop so I dyed it up for myself and chose colours I thought would be great for this particular pattern and I really like how it knits up.

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So this is sock number one. I did an extra long leg, 7″ from cast on to beginning of heel flap. I’m knitting according to the pattern. I usually do a short row heel for my socks but decided I had to follow the heel in the pattern for this one. You can’t really see the patterning very clearly on the picture but it is a very lovely and easy pattern and could become a go to pattern just like the Simple Skyp sock. This pattern is a paid for pattern on Ravelry.

Of course I do have more socks than just these on my needles and I do need to pick them up and finish. I think I should challenge myself to picking up a pair of wip socks every two weeks or so and finish it off along with my current works in progress. I need to do something to get them off my needles and off the pile of wips in my bedroom.

And to finish, there is my almost FO this week which is the Cozy Shlanket by Knitting Expat designs or Mina Philip. This was a mystery knit a long and it has already finished. I’m at the icord bind off currently and my objective for today is to finish the bind off and weave in all the ends because I want to be able to say that I finished the shawl in the month of January. That should not be difficult!

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It’s not easy to photograph while the shawl is still on the needle because it is quite huge and all scrunched up on the needle. I think it is a very nice pattern and as I chose to knit the Aran weight version mine is really huge and super warm. I’m not sure if I will give this to someone or if I’ll keep it and  have on my office chair for when I work the evening shifts as I often get cold in winter.

I do have another shawl on my needles that I should finish by the end of today because it is part of the #BriocheChallenge being hosted by Louise Tilbrook Designs on Instagram and Facebook (The Everyday Knitter). I’m knitting the Briochealicious shawl by Andrea Mowry which is a mix of garter and brioche. I’m at the last brioche section so getting close to the end but I’ll never be able to finish today so that one will have to carry on into February. I’ll show you a picture when it’s done because it is so big that I can’t really do it justice while still on the needle.

I think this will be all for today. It’s turning out to be quite a long post. I’ll be writing more posts this week as I feel I have so much more to share and I want to share it ALL RIGHT NOW! So you’ll be seeing more posts than usual from me this week.

Thank you again for stopping by and spending some time with me. I hope you have enjoyed seeing my works in progress and until next time, take care and enjoy your knitting:)

What’s on my needles? A LOT

Hi there, how are you ? I hope you are doing fine. I am just good and enjoying my knitting. I think I have rarely had so many projects going at the same time. It does feel ever so slightly overwhelming but… I’m just totally unable to resist the cast-on-itis. As soon as I get my hands on a new yarn I immediately need to cast on for something, no matter how many other projects I’ve got going at that time!

I hope you are like that too, it would make me feel less of a crazy person:)

So what exactly am I knitting on these days? So two shawls and a ton of socks. Shawl number one is the Cozy Shlanket by Mina Philipp and this is a mystery knit-a-long with clues being released each Sunday. I’m currently on clue 3 but clue 4 which is the last clue, just came out. I’m knitting the Aran version as I wanted a really huge shlanket and I imagine myself having this on my shoulders as I work my evening shifts. The yarn is my own of course and I dyed it specially for this project. I did go out of my comfort zone color wise but I think it will be fine. Here’s where I’m at now

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The rows are slowly getting bigger and bigger. This will be super cozy once done.

Then there is shawl number two which is also part of a kal and an Instagram challenge. This is the Brioche challenge launched by Louise Tilbrook designs and it encourages us to knit brioche during the month of January. Lots of people have joined and are knitting brioche of various levels of difficulty. I chose a pattern that I’ve had in my stash for a while. It is not all brioche but rather has sections of brioche and sections of garter stitch. It’s called Briochealicious and is a for sale pattern on Ravelry by Andrea Mowry. The pattern calls for 4 yarns/colors and I’m using two of mine and two store bought. Here is where I am now

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You can see that at the beginning of the second brioche section I messed up! But I decided not to tink back but leave it. Not sure that was the right decision but I’m too far into this now to tink back so I’m just going to convince myself that no one will notice 🙂

And then there are the socks! All the socks! I think I have become a sock knitting crazy lady. I have so many socks in my pile of wips that need their second sock done and then there are all the socks I’m currently working on.

Let’s begin this with three pairs of FINISHED socks! First of is a pair I knit for my daughter. The yarn is my own. I was playing with dyeing and unfortunately I did not write down the method so I won’t be able to replicate which is super silly because I really love how the yarn knits up. The stitch pattern is something I found on Ravelry and I adapted that to my own sock formula.

 

Then there is my pair of Christmas Eve Cast On socks. I joined the movement led by Dani of The Little Bobbins podcast and I cast on a pair of socks on Christmas Eve. I used the Simple Skyp pattern which is a free pattern on Ravelry and I dyed a skein of yarn just for this. I wanted a yarn that reminded me of fairy lights and I think I succeeded.

 

And then I finished a pair called London Skies. This is a twisted rib pattern and it took me forever to finish. I think it was a combination of the twisted stitches and the yarn that was a little wooly. I used West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply yarn. Boy was I happy when I cast off the second sock!

 

And then there are my socks in progress. Mostly they are knit using my own hand dyed yarns and  they are at various stages of completion. I have promised myself to finish them all asap and as soon as I finish one sock to cast on for the second to avoid the second sock syndrome.

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This is a one of a kind colorway I dyed and the pattern I’m using is the same as on the finished brown pair above.

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These will be for my youngest. This is also a one of a kind colorway I dyed and I’m again doing a Simple Skyp Sock. I love how it is working up.

 

 

This is a HO. This is a test knit that I’m doing for my friend and designer Dana Gervais. I have finished one sock and just begun the ribbing of sock number two. This is knit using two yarns and I thought I had chosen contrasting yarns. One green and one pink. Well it turns out that the mostly green yarn has some yellow and the mostly pink has some green so they actually mix and look a lot like it was just one yarn. Only when you look at the heels and toes can you really see the difference. Fortunately the stitch pattern on the front still stands out so it worked out good in the end. These are fun to knit and the pattern quickly becomes intuitive.

And speaking of Dana, I have just begun a new test knit for her. When this picture was taken I had only done one pattern repeat but I’m further along now. It’s a gorgeous cable pattern and the yarn is a new yarn base I just got. When I saw her picture of the socks on Instagram I just new I had to get in on this test knit and that I had to knit it in this particular yarn so I dyed a skein and wound it up and then waiting until she was ready to post a call for testers. Lucky for me I got to test for her again.

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You can’t see much but the yarn is a tweed yarn with colorful neps that add an extra pop of fun to the yarn.

And the last pair of socks is one I’m knitting using yarn from Knit Cosmic Strings. It’s the Shoreditch colorway that is gorgeous. I’m again doing a Simple Skyp sock (which seems to have become my go to pattern these days).

 

I also signed up for a kal with designer Rachel Gibbs and I’m going to knit a sock of course. Her pattern is called Time Stream Socks. My yarn is all caked up and ready, I just need to find a moment to cast on. I believe the kal is to the end of February so I think I’ll make it. In addition I think I only need to finish one sock to qualify:) Will you be joining?

That’s it for today. As you can see I have a lot of work ahead of me with all the knitting projects I’ve taken on. I’d love to hear from you, what you are working on and if you feel like sharing a picture that would be awesome.

Until next time, take care and have a wonderful week:)

More from my trip to Iceland

Hi there, how are you today? I hope your weekend has been fun and filled with lots of quality knitting time.

As promised here is the rest of my yarn haul from my trip to Iceland this January. So like I said in my latest post, I first went to this grocery shop and bought lots of yarn and beautiful fur pompoms for future hats. Then after that we went to this yarn shop, a true LYS, called Handprjon. They also have a website which is www.handprjon.is

I had heard of this shop and I had been on their website but I really wanted to go there in person and I was not disappointed. It felt like the dream yarn shop: big, with lots of yarns and accessories. They have big brands like Regia, Cascade, Madeleinetosh, Manos del Urugay, Abuelita, Hedgehog Fibres and also lesser known brands like Zen Garden.

Here are some pictures from the shop

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A wall of yarn

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See how big this shop is?

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Here you see Regia, Madeleinetosh, Hedgehog and Zen Garden

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This is just brilliant! They were selling a pattern booklet to knit the Iceland mitts and hat

Does this not make you want to go and spend some time in their shop? The last picture, of the Iceland mittens and hat, I thought it was such a  brilliant pattern. I really love how they look.

The lady working the shop was very nice and we spent some time chatting about knitting, yarn and patterns. That was so nice. And of course I could not leave empty handed. I only bought two yarns but boy were they GORGEOUS yarns.

 

Beautiful don’t you think? I’m a lot into variegated and speckled yarns at the moment. And I think I have never knit with either of these brands so I’m very excited. I have a little doubt about Hedgehog, I may have tried that before but I’m not sure so I’m guessing I haven’t or I would remember. Both of these will become socks some time.

That’s it for today. Have a lovely Sunday and a wonderful new week. I look forward to being back and chatting with you:)

My trip to Iceland and the yarn I brought home with me

Hi there, thank you for stopping by today. I hope you are doing good and that so far your week is shaping up to be a good one.

As promised I’m going to share with you my little trip to Iceland. If you have been following me here for a while you may know that even though I live in Normandy, France, I’m actually Icelandic and all my family lives there except for my brother who lives in California.

I don’t go home enough. I used to go to Iceland 3-4 times a year but as the children have gotten older I find myself going less as I’m bound by school and school vacations. This January it was actually a whole year since my last trip home. That was way too long and so I’m hoping I’ll be able to go at least two more times this year. Seeing family and friends is important and even just being in Iceland, you know just the air, the scenery, the language, the people, the culture. It’s all so reassuring and familiar. It really feels good even though I now do consider France to be my home as I’ve been living here for 18 years!

Anyway, I had a lovely time with my family and got to see everyone even if I only stopped for 6 days. Of course I had to go yarn shopping! As one does when on vacation right?

So the last day in Iceland I went with my mother, who is also a knitter by the way, to a small town called Hafnafjordur. There we first went to this grocery store and if you follow knitters that go to Iceland, you may know that most grocery stores carry yarns. And this particular one has not just a section of yarn, it’s more like a yarn shop inside the grocery store.

I had never been there so it was fun to see and browse. They have a lot of scandinavian yarns in addition to the Icelandic lopi. And they also had a great selection of books, knitting needles and accessories of all kinds. and I did buy some yarn there and some fur pom poms that will make great hats.

Here are some pictures I took to show you

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This yarn is made of wool and nettles.

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Lots of knitting and crochet books

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gorgeous sweaters

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I found this pattern to be fun

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Love this sweatedr

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this is a beautiful child size cardigan

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more sweaters and I took this picture to show you the grocery shop right next to the yarn

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They had lots of store samples

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See the yarn in the racks? This is a new Icelandic yarn

 

So here is what I purchased from them

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Fur pompoms: The two grey are rabbit and the big one at the top is fox

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I had to try the wool and nettles yarn

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This was a cheap merino yarn from China I bought for a future fair isle project

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This is the new Icelandic yarn I had never seen: Einrum and this is a blend of Lopi and Thai silk

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And this is a self patterning sock yarn I wanted to try

 

That was a nice haul don’t you think? Later that day I went to another yarn shop but I think I’ll share that with you in a separate post as this is a lot for one day;

So thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed seeing this yarn/grocery shop and the yarns I purchased. More to come soon 🙂

AND THE WINNER IS…

First off, thank you so much to everyone that joined in the giveaway. It was a lot of fun to have so many people participate and I’m happy to have introduced this new yarn dyer to you. Most of you were not aware of them, some of you were. I loved seeing the comments and I’m sure that Bea and Phu loved reading all the positive feedback to their work and it will certainly help them in the future as they have had great feedback on colors and yarns. I wish I could give loads of prizes but there is just one! which is this gorgeous set of a full skein of Shoreditch in fingering and a mini of Cherry also in fingering.

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And the very lucky winner is…..And by the way, I used Random Number Generator to draw a winner…..is shanelariannblog! Congratulations to you! Please send me an email to knittinginfrance@gmail.com to claim your prize. I need your full name and address to mail this gorgeousness out to you. You have a month to claim your prize if you fail to contact me within that time frame, I will draw again for a new winner.

For those of you that did not win this time, there will be more fun giveaways here in the future. I have planned another giveaway with another yarn dyer in February and in March the giveaway will be with a knitwear designer so that’s super exciting too.

Have a great rest of your week:)

Let’s start the new year with some fun stuff

Hi there, how are you? Happy new year to you. I hope you had a wonderful holiday and a great beginning to your new year.

I spent Christmas and New Years here in France and then I left for a few days to see my family and friends in Iceland. It was great to be back in Iceland and see everyone and take in the air and just enjoy my time “back home”. I’ll be telling you more about my visit there and all the yarn I bought there…yes I did buy yarn! But that will be for my  next post, probably next week, because for today I want to introduce you to someone I admire.

As you most likely know if you have been following my blog for some time, I’m an indie dyer. As such, I do have a significant stash of yarns I dye for myself, undyed yarns for my shop and last but certainly not least, of other hand dyed yarns!

Regularly I say to myself “this is it! I’m not buying more yarn for X months”. I say this because I realise that I already have enough yarn to last me a lifetime or because I’m sort of running out of space to keep my stash… But so far I have not been able to keep my word. I just can’t help myself. I love browsing Etsy, I love looking up yarns I see on podcasts or on Ravelry. I want to try new dyers I’ve only just heard about. I just want more fun and colorful yarn to knit my next pair of socks!

Last year, that is 2016, I randomly discovered this shop on Etsy run by a couple. And they have the most beautiful yarns. Their shop is called Knit Cosmic Strings and I found myself going back to their shop all the time and finally I just gave in and placed my first order. Since then there have been many more! Every time they do an update, I’m there browsing, dreaming and more often than not, buying! And so I thought, I’d love to introduce these incredible dyers to you and at the same time learn more about them and so I approached them about doing an interview and lucky for me (us) they accepted! And not only did they accept an interview but they accepted to do a little giveaway! They donated a skein of their gorgeous yarn along with a contrasting mini! I’d love to keep the yarn, I’m not lying, but I already have 2 skeins of this particular colorway so no need for me to be jealous!

Below is the interview with the two dyers behind Knit Cosmic Strings, Phu and Bea, which I hope you will enjoy and then there will be the info on the giveaway that you will not want to miss!

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I see that Knit Cosmic Strings opened on Etsy this year and I was wondering if you had been selling elsewhere before then or if your yarn dyeing adventure began in 2016 with your Etsy shop?

We did not sell yarn elsewhere before opening our Etsy shop. Bea had previously run a shop on Etsy, so it was a platform that she was confident in using. Before that, our yarn was just for personal use, as well as ending up in the hands of Bea’s mum! Originally the shop was an excuse to have some more fun dyeing yarn, but we have found it such a rewarding experience interacting with our customers, seeing the things people make and getting to know people in the crafting world, that we have decided to continue and try to expand.

What prompted you to start your own yarn dyeing business?

Bea originally found it frustrating to buy more mass produced yarn in the exact colours she wanted, so she started looking into hand dyed yarn. One day she read about how it was done and decided it might be something she would be good at. She was immediately hooked and now our home has been taken over by yarn, dye pots and dyeing equipment.

I see from your about page on Etsy that you run the shop as a couple. How does that work? Do both of you dye yarn or does each of you have a distinct job/responsibility within your business?

This works very well for us, as we each have different skills that are required for running our hand dyed yarn business. Phu has been an amateur photographer for several years, and is very committed to making sure the photos are as accurate to the colours of the yarn as possible. He also finds it very satisfying to pack orders! Bea is the more creative of the duo, and does the vast majority of the yarn dyeing, as well as designing the new colourways. Phu has also started to learn a little of the dyeing, to speed up our restocking endeavours.

Where do you get your inspiration for your colourways from?

Bea’s creative process usually involves trying to “dye a feeling”. These “feelings” tend to be inspired by the weather outside, a food we have eaten, a city we have visited etc.

What is your most popular colorway? and/or  most popular yarn base?

Our most popular colourways are Temptation, Rose Garden and Shoreditch. People tend to prefer them on a sock (75% merino wool, 25% nylon) base, due to its versatility. We intend to try some new bases with different compositions soon, such as yak, alpaca and silk. We are big fans of alpaca, because it is so soft and we hope our customers will like it too!

Do you have a target audience/clients? I mean do you try to cater especially for say the sock/accessories knitter or do you also try to appeal to the garment knitter with larger dye lots?

Most of our customers seem to knit shawls and socks, but we try to make our dye lots big enough for a small garment and, depending on the colourway, we can take a custom order for a large number of skeins if somebody wants to make a nice cosy sweater. We try to make our colourways appealing to a wide range of people, but tend to aim for a cross between fun and classy! We have tried out a few different yarn weights, but 4ply/fingering is by far the favourite.

Do you accept custom orders?

We accept custom orders for larger/out of stock dye lots, but we do not create new colourways to specification.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

We start by re-skeining all of our yarn from the supplier, as the skeins tend to be messy and sometimes a bit tangled. We then soak the yarn and during this time we pack up our orders to send to our customers. We tend to dye the yarn in the afternoon or early evening and this can take many hours. After dyeing, the yarn is washed, dried and then skeined up ready for picture taking.

What have you got planned for Knit Cosmic Strings in 2017? and where do you see your company in say 5 years from now?

We plan to start a sock club in 2017 and we would like to attend some yarn festivals. We are also starting to think about getting our yarn stocked in a shop or two and in 5 years time we would love to be stocked in a few indie yarn shops throughout the world! We would also be thrilled to be walking down the street one day and see somebody wearing something made from our yarn!

Where does the name of your shop, Knit Cosmic Strings come from?

We wanted something a little more thought provoking than a more obvious name would be, so we started to come up with more abstract ideas. “Cosmic Strings” popped into Phu’s head one day and we could not shake it, so it stuck! The “Knit” part was added to differentiate between our yarn and other uses of the term.

And a little about yourselves.  You currently live in Edinburgh but is that where you are from?

Bea is English and Dutch, and mostly lived in the south of England until a new job brought her to Edinburgh. Phu is originally from Vietnam and moved to the UK when he was 10. He moved to Edinburgh to complete his PhD, where he met Bea. We are both originally scientists, who wanted a more creative outlet.

Are both of you knitters/crocheters?

Bea is a knitter and Phu is a crocheter!

When did you learn to knit/crochet?

Bea learnt to knit when she was a child, but really started to enjoy it in her late teens. Phu learnt to crochet in 2016, teaching himself from a book and youtube tutorials!

What are your favourite projects to knit/crochet? Like do you knit socks or shawls or are you more into garment knitting?

Phu loves to crochet scarves and snoods. Bea likes to knit pretty much everything – a typical month would include a shawl and a pair of socks or hat. Sweaters tend to be a longer process, often interrupted by the latest KAL on ravelry!

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media? Do you have a blog?

We have a facebook page, but our favourite social media platform is definitely Instagram. We publish shop update announcements, colour combinations, projects we are making and the odd “behind the scenes” shot. Its also a great informal way to start a dialogue with our customers, outside of Etsy.

I hope you enjoyed reading the interview with Phu and Bea. Like I said before, they generously offered to donate a skein of yarn in the colour way Shoreditch, one of their most popular ones, as well as a contrasting mini skein. In order to participate in the giveaway you need to go over to their shop by clicking here . Browse their lovely shop and then come back here and leave a comment below telling us what colorway you love the most. You have a week to participate or until the evening of January 17th. I will then use a random number generator on January 18 to draw a winner from the comments below. The lucky winner will receive this gorgeousness

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So enjoy me enabling you some and try your chance at winning this gorgeous yarn.

That’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed the interview and looking at the pictures of this gorgeous yarn. I wish you lots of luck for the giveaway. So until next time,

take care 🙂