My knitting projects and a new challenge for April

Hi there how are you today? It’s Monday and a new work week has begun.  This is the last week before Winter Vacation for my kids so they are all feeling kind of tired and more than ready to be on vacation. I’m lucky enough to get a few days off also but not just yet. But I too really look forward to that.

I will be going to California beginning of March and will stay there for 3 weeks which is exciting. I will be working so it’s not going to be all fun and knitting but it will be plenty fun still.

I’m trying hard to be strong and not go crazy ordering a billion things online that I cannot find here in France. I don’t actually need anything so whatever I buy (because I know I will) will just be for some personal indulgence. And I need to try and keep the urge or the yarn buying monster under control.

But before I go, I do have some big projects that need finishing. First off is my Temperance shawl that I’m test knitting for KJB designs. I did show you my progress last week. I have been knitting on this every day since and I’m about 17 rows from cast off. That does not sound like a lot but it is because I’m well over 400 stitches per row now so each row takes quite some time to finish. I am planning on casting off at the end of this week though.

temperance shawl 19feb

This shawl is HUGE! I’m already well into my second skein of fingering weight yarn. I have begun on the lace edging as you can see. The shawl is way bigger than my needle so it is all scrunched up but you get the size.

temperance shawl lace

Here you can see the lace edge a little better. It is fun to knit and looks really nice I think. I’m knitting this with my own hand dyed yarn in a merino/mohair/nylon blend which is ultra soft and the yarn has a little halo so it really looks as soft as it feels.

My second big test knit that I’m hoping I will finish by the end of this week, maybe Sunday or so, is my Akane sweater by ERI a Japanese designer.

I have finished the body. This is a cropped sweater and I did lengthen the body and for a time was afraid I might have lengthened it too much but after trying it on I see that I definitely did not lengthen too much.

So the body is finished and I finished the collar and sewed the shoulders and I have also cast on for the sleeves. I decided to knit the sleeves concurrently as sleeve knitting can get boring and also because I really want to finish by the end of the week if I possibly can. So I’m knitting one pattern repeat on sleeve A and then one repeat on sleeve B and then back again to A etc. So far I have done 2 repeats on both sleeves.

akane 19feb

When I took this picture I had only done one repeat though so my sleeves are a little longer now.

I really like how this is knitting up and I think it will be very cute over a black long tshirt or maybe even over a white tunic/blouse.

I’m also working a little on two other projects that are not test knits and so do not have an impending deadline. There is the Flea cardigan. I have finished the body at the moment. I will have to come back later and do the button bands and steek but first I need to knit the sleeves. Here I’m only knitting one sleeve at a time because I need two yarns and so knitting both concurrently felt like a bother.

flea cardigan 19feb

And I did pick up my Midnight Sherbet brioche wrap and knit a little last night. I’m getting sort of bored with my two big test knits as I cannot allow myself to knit on anything else really or I will miss the deadline so even just knitting a few rows on this one felt good.

The pink is the front and the blue is the back. If you look closely you will see that I have done the second cable; you can see it better on the pink side. I won’t be able to take this with me when I leave for the US so this wrap is going to be a while in the making. But that’s ok.

And that’s all I have worked on since last time. I have not knit a single stitch on a sock! And it feels strange! When I finish at least one of my two test knits I will take a little break and go back to my socks.

I also need to start thinking of what projects to take with my on my trip. I will have lots of knitting time on the flights but not so much I think during my actual stay. I will be test knitting a cardigan so that will be my big project. I will bring my Winter Rose socks with me – the first pattern from Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade Sock Society. Those were published now in February and I have only done a little bit of knitting on those so I want to take them and finish. I will also knit the next sock pattern from Mina’s Knitting Expat sock club; the one that will be published on March 1st. So that makes 2 socks + I think I will need yarn for at least one vanilla sock. And I want to knit a shawl. I have dyed up some yarn and have even wound it up already. I’m going to cast on for the Across the Pond shawl by Mina Philip of Knitting Expat Designs. So that means that for 3 weeks I will have : 1 cardigan, 1 shawl and 3 socks to knit on. Probably way too much but I can’t risk not having enough!

And on another very exciting subject. A reader of this blog suggested a sort of joint effort/challenge to work on my mountain of wips. A challenge to organize and get on top of our crafting supplies and I immediately knew this had to be done!

So the idea is that in April I- and hopefully others will join in- will work on my organizing my craft supplies and claiming back some of my bedroom space and making things look pretty again.

You may only have yarn and knitting/crochet supplies to work on but  I have a ton of lots of different supplies on top of yarn and fibre. I also have beads, jewelry supplies and tools, polymer clay and everything that goes with that not to mention stash from my almost defunct shop etc.

I need to take a good look at my supplies and think how best to store them in an organized manner. What I want to keep and what I want to donate and what I want to swap!

Yes because when we have worked so hard at getting our craft space all spruced up and organized we should be able to welcome a few new supplies into our home don’t you think?

So I’m thinking I will work on this project behind the scenes somewhat and prepare posts to share with you here on the blog during March as I and maybe you, prepare for the challenge. And then we will have the entire month of April to actually work on this challenge and get things done. And when we are done, most of us will be likely to have a pile of “would like to swap” yarn/needles etc and so I was thinking we could each publish those in my Ravelry group and then do an unofficial swap. If you see something I own and want to swap, I will take a look at your stuff and then we can swap a skein for a skein sort of thing. What do you think?

This is an idea in its infancy and still needs working on but I would love to hear what you think? Would you like to join? Would it not be wonderful to have a clean, newly organised stash and craft space before the summer? It does make me dream:)

I will be creating a thread soon in my Ravelry group where we can discuss this further and I will be launching subjects and then we can all chime in and share ideas and links to good storage solutions etc. I for one am super excited about this challenge because for me this will be a challenge as I’m not the most organized person.

So that’s all for today. Thank you for stopping by and spending some of your precious time with me. Do leave me a comment if you would like to join in the April challenge and help me find a catchy name and hashtag so we can share all over and see what each one is doing when the time comes.

Till next time, take care and happy knitting:)

Endless new projects and rabbit holes to fall down

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are doing good. I was supposed to post yesterday but I just felt out of energy and needed some quality knitting time and so here I am today!

As you may deduct from the title of today’s post, I’m not being very successful at working on my Mountain of Wips! Shame on me!!

If you have been following my blog for a while you are probably not surprised at all and I shouldn’t be myself only I really did mean to work on my wips and it was and still is a goal for 2018. Only I keep getting sidetracked! Constantly finding new patterns I need to make or apply for a test knit for which I’m subsequently accepted! So the current state of affairs is Zero wips progress but lots of fun knitting nevertheless.

So let’s get this going and I’m going to share with you my current works in progress.

I had started on the Winter Rose socks by Helen Stewart but they are the first pattern in her new sock club. I started off with a Lolo did it yarn but changed my mind and found a solid Opal yarn that I thought might do the pattern better justice. I’m not far along as I have managed to put myself into a deadline situation so I’m going to put these aside and will knit on them in March.

So first off is my colorwork cardigan the Flea Cardigan or Damejakke loppa by Pinneguri. I’m going to write a post on this one because it is my first ever all over colorwork garment and first ever steek. I’m not quite at the steek just yet but I am almost done with the body. I’m at the beginning of the bottom rib and then I need to see if I steek or if I knit the sleeves first. I’m not quite sure.

I absolutely LOVE knitting this garment and the colorwork has been such fun. I’m using Holst Garn in a wool and silk blend and it knits up so nicely and once it will be washed and blocked I think it will be gorgeous even if I say so myself!

I’m even dreaming of knitting more of this pattern, maybe another one for myself plus one for my sister and one for my mum… The yarn and the gazillion colors available from Holst are definitely enabling.

damejakke 14feb

The bottom ribbing and the button bands on the front as well as sleeve cuffs will be in this orangey/brick/red color you see at the collar/neck band.

And then there are the test knits! I am a big sucker for test knitting. Not quite sure why. Maybe because I always want to knit everything and I’m constantly looking at new patterns to buy and test knitting gives you instant access to a not-yet-published pattern in exchange for your work.

So now I’m working on two test knits, one has to be done at the end of the month and the second needs to be done beginning of March. However as I’m going away beginning of March (more on that later) I actually need to finish both by the end of February.

First up is a sweater that I’m test knitting for Japanese designer Eri. This is a very fun pattern for a somewhat boxy and cropped sweater. I did lengthen it some for my taste though. The stitch pattern is easy to follow and soon becomes memorized. I’m using fingering weight yarn from Knit Cosmic Strings in colorway Rasberry Ripples and I think it is really looking very nice. I’m not even alternating skeins, I felt the yarn was that similar that it would be ok and so far so good.

IMG_0886

Here you see the pattern a little closer –  and the picture above is truer to color than the one below.

 

Akane 14feb

I’m almost at the shoulders on the front. The back is done so I’m super close to finishing the body and hope to get going on the sleeves tomorrow at the latest. I really love the design and I have seen a picture from the designer wearing a lace yarn version and it looked amazing so I’m already thinking I will need to knit another one in a different yarn! Crazy, crazy me right!

The second test knit was a sort of last minute one. This designer I like and have test knit for before sent out a call for shawl testing. I wasn’t going to say yes but her shawl did look nice but then I saw that she had a tight deadline and so all her usual testers were saying they were not available so I of course contacted her and said that if she could extend the deadline by a few days I’d love to test knit for her. And she said YES!

So here I am, test knitting the Temperance shawl by KBJ Designs. This is a fingering weight shawl and I’m using my own hand dyed yarn in one of my favorite blends; the merino/mohair/nylon blend and I love the outcome.

temperance shawl 14feb

I have actually been able to knit consistently on this shawl and so I’m almost at the end of this stocking/eyelet section and ready to start the lace border. I’m hoping this will be done in a week or so.

So hopefully I will finish both test knits by the end of this month…ready to cast on for next month’s test knit! Yes that’s not a typo! I applied to and was accepted to knit a cardigan for a future edition of the Making Stories magazine. I have just ordered the yarn today (we must test knit with the same yarn as the designer used) and I plan on casting on March 1st. This is a tight deadline, only 1 month to finish so I’m going to try and be serious for once and limit new cast ons in March.

As for the rabbit hole I mentioned, well that is sock related. So as you may know, I do love sock knitting although there are no socks on show today. Two years ago I participated in my first ever Sock Madness- a sock speed knitting competition. The first year I actually was put on the second fastest team (learned my lesson) and I made it to the final round though I did not win – there were some seriously fast knitters there! The second time around; that is last year, I made sure I took a little bit longer to finish my pair in order to be placed in a somewhat slower team and that worked. Only I was eliminated after 4 or 5 rounds I think after  misunderstanding a colorwork chart. I actually knit sock one twice. Knit it up showed a picture and it was wrong so I ripped back and started again. I finished my pair and sent it in all in time to be qualified for the next round only the following day I was contacted and told I had misunderstood the chart and so was disqualified! Talk about deception! Needless to say I felt like crying and NEVER taking part again!

Yet when I saw sign ups were opening for this year I of course went ahead and signed up for as they say third time’s a charm or something like that!

I think the qualifying round is in March and then the serious stuff will start end of March or so. During my time in the Sock Madness competition I will be solely concentrating on the competition and all other knitting will be set aside for in between rounds knitting. Are any of you taking part this year? Have you taken part before?

I just printed out the list of materials today so I can get everything ready and this year the theme is clearly colorwork as most of the patterns include 2 yarns/colors unless they all use contrasting yarns for heels and toes. But usually the patterns are innovative and demanding so I’m expecting complicated colorwork.

Well, I think this is all for now. Thank you for stopping by and spending some of your time with me. I hope to be more punctual next week. I hope you have a great rest of the week and enjoy lots of knitting, crocheting, spinning or just general crafting happiness.

 

 

It’s looking a lot like Christmas…

Yes you read that right! As I’m sitting here at my desk and writing, I’m watching the snowfall outside. This is the first snow we have had here in Normandy this winter and it’s coming down quite heavily. We are not used to snow and even a little bit can cause serious disruption in transportation so even if it looks nice to look at, it is not really welcome. I for one do not enjoy driving in the snow. I’m way out of practice as it’s been so many years since I moved from Iceland to France.

snow blainville

So hopefully by tomorrow morning this will just be a nice memory and all the snow will have gone!

It does however create a nice knitting atmosphere, I cannot deny that:)

So this past weekend I did a lot of knitting but on a lot of different projects so nothing really made changed dramatically.

I cast on for the first pair of socks out of Mina Philip second sock club (yes I bought both! so now I get a pattern a month from her until the end of this year). The pattern is called Warm and Snug socks. This pattern is made for self striping yarns and lucky for me, I had this set of Snow White self striping yarn with sparkles from Turtle Purl that I have been wanting to knit for a while. So that just was perfect. I found some leftover yarn from my stash for cuffs,heels and toes to maintain the striping.

This pattern is rather simple, like a variation on a vanilla sock as the patterning is on the front leg only. And this is a stitch pattern I have never used before and so very fun to try out.

I have just finished sock one and I immediately cast on for sock two in an effort to avoid second sock syndrome. And so I have finished the cuff of sock two and will get going on the leg tomorrow.

It is not easy to show the texture but if you look closely you will see that certain rounds are “shorter” meaning instead of seeing 4 rounds of one color it’s as if there is just one. That is the result of this new textured stitch she has included in this pattern.

Here are a better pictures taken with a side view to show you the difference on the front and the back of the leg.

You see how certain stripes on the front are raised and only a thin line? Clever hah?

Being the sock knitting maniac that I am, I not only signed up for both of Mina’s (The Knitting Expat) sock clubs but I also signed up for Helen Stewart’s (Curious Handmade). So every other month I will have one new sock pattern and the other month I will have two! Like in February. The patterns do not come out on the same day luckily so Helen’s pattern was just published on the 5th of Feb and I immediately cast on! Thinking maybe I should knit one sock of each pattern and then go back for the second sock. Not sure. maybe I should just finish one pair and only then get going on the second!

Anyway the first pattern in Helen’s club is called Winter Rose Sock and I’m knitting it with a yarn from Lolo Did It called Hippo for Thanksgiving. It’s a light grey color with some wintery speckles in red, orange, green and yellow. I’m only a few rounds into the cuff so too early to show off here.

This weekend I also knit a little bit on my brioche wrap from Madeleine Windsor of Kingfisher Knits. This is a recent pattern of hers called Midnight Sherbet and is knit in DK yarn. I’m knitting mine with my organic merino DK yarn and it feels and works up beautifully. I’m about 20% done so far so not much but I’m enjoying it.

If you look closely on the pink side picture, you can see a cable on the right side. That was a little challenging but now I fully understand so I’m ready to tackle all the future cables. I think this will be such a great piece. Warm and cozy.

I also worked on my cardigan and sweater. The cardigan is my first ever colorwork garment and my first steek project. I’m also knitting it with HOLST garn and it is the first time I’m using that yarn. I’m maybe 40% done, I think I’m getting close to where the ribbing begins on the bottom of the body. Still a few centimeters/inches from that but should be done soon. I’m really enjoying this project a lot and this yarn is nice to work with and I’m super excited to see how it will looked once the garment has been washed as I’ve heard this yarn “blooms”.

IMG_0907

This pattern is called Damejakka Loppa or Flea Cardigan on Ravelry and is by Pinneguri.

I have also started a new test knit. It’s a cropped sweater by Japanese designer Eri called Akane.  I’m using yarn from Knit Cosmic Strings and the pattern is fun to knit. I’m knitting a bit longer than the pattern calls for.

IMG_0886

That’s about all the knitting I’m working on actively these days.

hat madeleine

I did launch my first ever yarn sale here on the blog this past weekend. I have created a new page here called Boutique where I intend to sell yarn on a regular basis. Currently you will find the Hindiber hat kit that i launched in collaboration with Madeleine Windsor of Kingfisher Knits. Each kit includes a download link for her pattern which comes in 3 sizes and a skein of my DK merino yarn. You have a number of colorways to choose from, some are superwash and others are my organic non superwash DK base.

IMG_0894

The price of the kit is 25€ + shipping (7€).

hat madeleine

I hope you will go take a look at the kit. I’d also love to hear what you think of the set up for the yarn sale. It is not like a regular e-shop but more like a blog post. When clicking the buy button you are taken to Paypal where you can pay with your Paypal account or a credit card so even if it looks different it is a serious set up.

That’s it for today. Have a wonderful week ahead with hopefully lots of knitting and yarn cuddling:)

More on the Hindiber hat kit

Hi there, today I would like to share with you more on the kit that will be for sale tomorrow. Here is a clip of the Kingfisher Knits podcast where you will see the designer herself, Madeleine Windsor, show her version of the hat and share more on the pattern. Just click on the link and enjoy  Kingfisher knit podcast

The Hindiber hat kit

Version Française a la fin****

Hi there, i’m so excited to tell you about this new kit that is about to be revealed.

If you have followed me on the blog and on social media for some time, you will know that I have closed my Etsy shop. I felt that I was just drowning in the million other indie dyers on there and the cost of keeping the shop was too draining on my slim finances. This brought me to the decision to close the Etsy shop and start on my own again, as I had done when everything started for me in 2011.

This is now about to become reality. This coming Saturday February 3rd, a new page will be added to this website, called Boutique. There  you will find my hand dyed yarns and kits. This will be a very small scale operation to begin with. I want to see how I manage to sell via this new medium and ease out any kinks before having a big selection of yarns.

For this first day of the new shop, I will offer a unique kit designed especially for Knitting in France. This is a hat kit that includes a skein of my DK merino yarn in either superwash or non superwash yarn and a download code for you to get the hat pattern via Ravelry.

The pattern is called Hindiber which stands for Raspberry in Icelandic. Madeleine Windsor, Kingfisher Knits, designed this hat especially for me using my superwash DK merino yarn. I have given Madeleine yarn support before and she so generously offered to design something unique for me to sell here in my new shop. The pattern will be exclusive to Knitting in France for certain amount of time and only available for those that purchase my kit.

The hat comes in 3 sizes, small, medium and large. One skein of my DK yarn is enough even for the biggest size. The pattern is well written and easy to follow. I can recommend this pattern for advanced knitters and beginners alike. Nothing complicated and yet interesting enough to hold the interest of experienced knitters.

Most of the yarns I have set up for the kits are in my superwash base as that is the yarn Madeleine used to design the hat. I do however have some in my non superwash organic merino base that works just as well. I have only dyed up one colorway in that yarn but if interested is shown, I will have more colors to offer.

I do hope you will come by my site this Saturday to take a look and purchase a kit. Each kit sold means the world to me as the benefit will go towards relaunching my little business. I had planned on doing a crowdfunding campaign but changed my mind and selling exclusive kits and small lot yarns will be my way of raising funds to be able to continue and grow. Your support means everything!

Here is a sneak peak at the yarns for the Hindiber kit

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Bonjour, je suis toute excitée a l’idée de vous présenter ma nouvelle boutique. Si vous m’avez suivi ici et sur les media sociaux, vous savez que j’ai choisi de fermer ma boutique sur Etsy. Je reviens au sources et me relance en solo ici sur mon site.

J’avais pensé faire une campagne de financement participatif mais j’y ai renoncé. La vente de mes laines en direct ici sur mon site sera finalement ma façon a moi de récolter les fonds nécessaires pour relancer ma petite affaire de laine teinté main.

Je commence petit en vous proposant un seul kit. Mais quel kit!

Il s’agit d’un kit bonnet crée spécialement pour Knitting in France et vendu exclusivement ici avec ma laine. Le modèle Hindiber sera exclusif a ses kits pendant quelque temps.

Le bonnet s’appelle Hindiber ce qui veut dire framboise en Islandais. Le modèle vient en 3 tailles différentes et 1 seul écheveau de ma laine DK est suffisant pour sa réalisation.

C’est un modèle simple mais en même temps intéressant et rapide a faire. Accessibles au débutantes tout en restant amusant a faire pour les tricoteuses chevronnées.

Le designer, Madeleine Windsor ou Kingfisher Knits est Anglaise mais elle vit actuellement en Suisse. Elle a déjà créé des modèles en utilisant mes laines et vous pouvez les voir sur sa boutique Ravelry

Le modèle ayant été créé avec ma laine superwash mérinos DK, la plupart des laines proposés pour le kit sont donc superwash mérinos DK. Mais j’ai une option appelé Normandy, qui est sur ma laine non superwash mérinos bio. C’est une laine qui convient tout aussi bien pour ce modèle. Si la laine non superwash vous intéresse plus, j’en ai d’autres que je pourrais rajouter pour ces kits.

Les kits seront en  vente ici samedi prochain le 3 février après midi. J’espère que vous passerez faire un tour et pourquoi pas que vous achetiez un kit. Chaque vente est très importante pour moi car les bénéfices serviront a m’aider a financer le re-lancement de ma petite affaire. Votre soutien m’est indispensable et apprécié du fond du coeur.