Hi there, how are you doing this week? I hope you are doing good and enjoying this beginning of summer if you are in the northern hemisphere.
I have been furiously knitting on a secret test knit that should be published soon. It is a colorwork sweater and I decided to knit two in stead of just one! I was convinced that a modified version would also look great and so I knit two versions. I do have to weave in ends on the second sweater and block it but that should be done quickly and hope to be able to share the pictures with you soon.
As I had to finish the sweaters rather quickly everything else was put on the back burner.
I did make it to round 5 of Sock Madness but then sort of left. Round 6 only 5 knitters from each team would make it to the next round and the pattern was not to my liking so I admit I did not try to compete for that round.
Since then I started and finished a pair of socks for my younger daughter. I’m a fan of selfstriping sock yarn and especially self striping yarn from Turtle Purl Yarns and I had a lot of small minis from them which I had set aside to use in my Northeasterly blanket. But that has been on hold for a few months now and I really wanted to use the minis so I decided on knitting a pair of scrappy socks.
I also wanted them to be extra cozy so I decided to make the leg extra high.
How fun are these? Not everyone likes colourful non matching socks but I find them fun and my daughter loves them! So that is all that matters.
I actually think I will be making more like these. My daughter sleeps in handknit socks in winter and I think scrappy, long legged socks look extra cozy.
I am also working on a pair of socks now and I’m just inventing the pattern as I go. I’m using a self-patterning sock yarn from Turkey this time but what is different with this pair is that I’m using flexible double pointed needles from NEKO, a German brand. I’m using their bamboo version and so far so good. They are very nice in the hands and good to work with. I’m going to finish the pair before doing a proper review here and I will also be doing a little interview with the people behind these needles and I hope you will enjoy that later.
But here is the first sock
I was going to do a vanilla sock, then decided on a ribbing and then felt it was too simple and so added a little cable at regular intervals and I really like how this is knitting up. The cables do draw the sock in so it looks super narrow but then it stretches out when I put my hand in so I think this will be all good. These are also for my younger daughter but this time the leg is a rather short one.
I’m sort of un officially joining the SMAL or spinning makealong that Mina of the Knitting Expat is running now. I have spun up some merino fibre that I tried to spin up to a sort of DK weight and then dyed up the yarn in soft colours. I have knit a little swatch to verify if the yarn will work for what I have in mind.
I want to knit the Soldotna by Caitlin Hunter but I’m a little worried maybe my yarn will not work. In some places it looks more like a worsted weight yarn. But I’m going to keep on swatching and hopefully I will be able to make this work. If not I will have to find another pattern that I could use this yarn for. If you have any good pointers or know of a colourwork pattern that calls for DK/worsted I’d love to check those out.
So this week I’m going to finish the pair of socks for my daughter, finish my swatching for my handspun so I can start the Soldotna if it works. I also will continue to work on my Olive Leaf Cardigan by Eri which I have yet to share with you. I’m getting close to being done with the body and then there are the sleeves. Friends of my husband have just had their first baby and I’m going to knit a little cardigan for their baby so I’m looking at patterns (I’m tempted by this one https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/baby-fir-jacket) and yarns in my stash and I look forward to getting that going. It’s been a while since I knit for a baby.
I hope you are having fun with your knitting too and if you would like to share pictures or names of patterns you are working on to inspire me and the other readers, that would be great.
Hi there, how are you doing today? I hope you are well and have had a good end of May with plenty of fun knitting. Again I have failed to post regularly….not good…
But today I have something exciting to share with you. A while back I hinted at sharing information with regarding a new type of knitting needles. Well now it’s time to tell you all about those.
I was contacted by the woman behind the needles, Alexis end of last year. She offered to send me a pair to try out and of course I was excited to try them out. After all I have always been curious about knitting needles and all the different types of needles there are. This brand of knitting needles and crochet hooks is called My Two Ladies.
This new type of needles is midway between a straight needle and a circular needle. The difference between My Two Ladies’ needles and needles called “flexible single point needles” is that there is a movable stopper on Alexi’s needles meaning you can block your stitches at any point you choose on the cable. This allows you to use her needles for a large variety of project sizes.
This is a great innovation for knitters who like to knit flat using single pointed needles. These will come in especially handy when knitting on the go like in public transport where you will be able to avoid stabbing your fellow travellers with your single pointed needles sticking out.
These needles come in sizes 3.5 mm /US 4 to 15 mm/US19.
I don’t usually knit flat when knitting garments so I don’t use my single points much these days. However I did try these out as I knit my Jaycee cardigan. I knit that one on a set of 3.5mm needles. That was a design knit front and back in one piece. The needle points are from rosewood so they have a beautiful design and are very nice in the hand and felt good working with them. I did use the adjustable stopper as at the beginning I did not have a lot of stitches on my needles and then moved the stopper along as they increased.
I found the needles to be enjoyable to knit with and if you prefer knitting with single points or like the idea of being able to use a set of needles no matter the size of your project (and don’t like using a 40″ circular for a small project) you just might fall in love.
The tools we use in our craft are very important and even more important than our choice of yarn as even knitting with gorgeous yarn, if the needle is rubbish, you will not enjoy working your beautiful yarn. So I truly believe it is well worth trying out different options and getting good, quality tools that we enjoy working with. And as part of that belief I recommend you give My Two Ladies a try 🙂
Here are a couple of links to videos where you can see better how the needles work
I was able to interview Alexis for the blog and I am so happy to introduce her and her company to you today.
Welcome Alexis and thank you for accepting to be interviewed for my blog. To begin, could you tell us a little bit about your self?
I am a native New Yorker living in the outskirts of NYC with my family. I have always been both crafty and fixing things. I worked in a legal office for many years as an administrative assistant which definitely was not creative in nature. I would work part time also in retail simply because I loved selling and meeting people. That was my hobby. I have always been proponent of volunteerism and have and continue to be very involved in the anti-bullying movement. I retired at 55, accidentally became a patented inventor, went to local university to take crash courses in entrepreneurship and business, somehow landed myself the title of President of Alexis Crafting Needles LLC and loving every minute of it. I still pinch myself.
Are you a knitter or a crocheter or both?
I am a knitter and also crocheter. Actually not a master in either. I consider myself mediocre at best. I am amazed at the talent and perplexity of projects created. I am so in awe of these fibre artists.
Do you remember how you learned/who thought you and how old you were?
I learned to crochet and knit when I was about 13 from my Italian grandmother. The interesting circumstance about learning from Nonna was that she only spoke Italian and I only spoke English. Yet these were my most cherished communications between us.
Did you immediately take to the craft or has this passion been gradual?
I have always enjoyed arts of every type even before starting school. Painting, drawing, woodworking, etc. I started sewing in high school and actually took to it quickly. My parents bought me a basic sewing machine and I started making halter tops for friends and classmates to make some money. I crocheted much more than knitting in my younger days. Dropping stitches intimidated me. I started knitting again when I was 30 and wanted to make garments for my soon to be born child. Having a purpose propelled my knitting skills. Since then I mostly knit. I retired at age 55 got very involved in a new local yarn shop that opened in my town. I spent a lot of time there, learning, creating and fostering wonderful relationships.
Would you say you are a lifestyle knitter/crocheter today? Meaning do you knit/crochet every day?
I did knit everyday once I retired, but actually since inventing my needles, going through the patent process and running my new business, I no longer knit every day. Mostly when traveling and waiting in doctors offices.
What lead you to creating your own company and developing these new knitting needles? When did this all start and what lead to it? Why create a new type of knitting needles?
I created these needles while knitting a large bulky blanket at the yarn shop. I was very frustrated with circulars for this project and straights were just too short for the hundreds of stitches. As I was complaining about my problem, somehow an idea just popped into my head. I grabbed some needles and tools from the shop and right then and there made my working prototype. The ladies at the shop just kept saying “how is it no one ever thought of this”.
When did you first commercialise your new needles ? What has the feedback been like so far?
Soon after creating my needles I started getting requests to make them for knitters in the shop. Then I started getting requests from friends of friends. I had a little business I never planned on having. I was a big fan of The Shark Tank television show and thought why not inquire about obtaining a patent. Definitely easier said than done. It is basically two years since I began the patent process and learning how to proceed with my new found journey. Coincidentally I received Patent Approval only two weeks ago (it has now been a little longer due to me not posting the interview sooner-edit from Knitting in France). It’s an amazing feeling of accomplishment and worth the 24/7 work week.
Would you say your needles have an advantage over say regular straight needles and why?
Yes there are many advantages to these “adjustable needles”. I consider these needles to be somewhat of a hybrid of circular and straights. I have discovered a definite need in the marketplace. The basic premise is that you can put hundred of stitches on these needles and knit flat, allowing you to see your pattern, take the weight off of your arms and upper body, and no more heavy bunch of your project hanging in the middle of your circular cord. But the real game changing feature of the needles is the adjustable spring activated sliding stopper that allows you to move the stopper as you are knitting and keep all your stitches at the forefront of your needles. You knit so much quicker, easier and stress free. They have been a lifesaver for those afflicted with arthritis and other hand ailments. We have a very large repeat customer client base and it is the greatest feeling when you have customers telephoning or emailing to say thank you for inventing them and how it has brought knitting back into their lives.
Other than on your own website, where can we find your needles?
I have been selling on the prestigious inventors platform The Grommet since I got my first shipment of needles. It’s been a great stepping stone for me. Then I started picking up local yarn stores and a small distributor which kept me selling enough but not too much to get overwhelmed. I was chosen to attend the Home Shopping Network – American Dream Academy conference which was a great opportunity for any new inventor/entrepreneur. Only 100 products were chosen from the entire United States. This led me to have the chance to debut My Two Ladies on the Zulily home shopping site often. I have recently hired sales reps to sell to local yarn shops in their territories. This has been extremely helpful in getting the brand out across the country. I have a few shops in Canada and plan searching for distributors in Europe.
Where are your needles produced?
My needles are handcrafted by a multi-generational family of expert woodworking artisans in a small town in India. My Two Ladies is made of sustainably produced Indian rosewood with a no wax finish. It is hand rubbed and polished with a proprietary finish that the family owns. We have grown to have a wonderful working relationship based on high quality standards and respect for each other.
I noticed that you now also sell crochet hooks and circular needles now. Are there other items you will be adding to your selection?
Yes, we started expanding our line for several reasons. Most importantly, there was a demand for luxury high quality tools. Customers like the feel and warmth of our adjustable needles. Also, selling just one item is not alluring to potential wholesalers simply because of saving time. So I had my wonderful source in India make me short runs of ergonomic hooks, circulars and others products continue to roll out. Fortunately I am now on my second run after almost selling out on the hooks and also circulars.
And what about the yarn bowls, can you tell us about those? Are they hand made?
The yarn bowls are an amazing piece of artistry. Hand made taking hours and hours to make just one bowl. I put videos up showing the workmanship on my website and Instagram/Facebook accounts which you just cannot stop yourself from watching over and over.
Where do you see your company in say 5 years time?
Well, I came upon this wonderful journey when many are wrapping up their careers. So, I am not wasting any time. I am exactly where I forecasted to be when I created my business plan. It’s been a huge learning curve for me, but with a good product, hard work and kind/helpful/supportive people, I have been able to have success. Within the next two years I will be concentrating on brand recognition. Since receiving my patent not only for the needles but also the knitting method, I have definitely seen a rise in inquiry’s and sales. In five years the plan is to be a recognised luxury brand for fibre arts tools, if not THE leading luxury brand.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about this recent addition to our world of knitting needles and learning about Alexis and her journey into product invention and entrepreneurship in the knitting industry.
I hope you will have a wonderful week and enjoy your crafting as before and why not try out a totally new to you knitting needle while you are at it:)
Hi there, how are you? Once again I have let life get in the way of my blogging! I don’t know why I find blogging on a regular basis is a challenge these days. I need to work on that some.
So since I last posted I have been working mostly on socks. I made it to round 4 of Sock Madness as I believe I told you last time. And I have now finished that round and qualified for round 5. Things are getting really serious now as only 10 of the quickest knitters in each team qualified for this upcoming round and if I want to make it to round 6 I have to be among the quickest 5 to finish! As we are getting closer to the end of the competition, only the quickest knitters are left so I have some serious doubts about making it on to round 6. I’m hoping the pattern will arrive on a weekday; early morning or beginning of the afternoon. I get most of my knitting done during the work week as we stay home at night and so where as on weekends I loose time doing chores and grocery shopping, homework supervision etc and so often end up having less time than I would like to knit on weekends.
Of the 5 knitters that will make it to round 6 only 1 yes that’s right ONE will qualify for round 7. For some stroke of miracle I was one of those knitters 4 years ago but I don’t think I am this year. I think I will be fine if I’m disqualified this round even though the competitor in me really wants to make it to round 6.
Now the pattern for this last round was a fun one including cables and lace knitting and it was a fairly easy one after a while. I did have some comprehension issues to begin with but there is a questions thread on Ravelry with moderators, the designer herself and of course other knitters so each time I was able to find answers rather quickly. And once in the rhythm of things the pattern became intuitive.
This time around I made them in my younger daughter’s size but she is a 36/37 EU. And I used a new to me commercial sock yarn from HOBBII.
I really like the toe not being all stockinette but having a little sort of ribbing to it. The lace pattern moves around the leg so it is not easy to work using stitch markers and I think, virtually impossible to knit taat.
Now on to the yarn. This is a wool and nylon blend, 75/25 in fingering weight and comes in 50 gr balls. I used one ball per sock as I did not want to join yarns part way through sock 2. But when I had finished my pair, I had a total of 33 gr left over which is quite a lot.
The yarn itself is soft to the touch and nice to knit with and I look forward to seeing how it will evolve with use. So far so good. And the best part is the price point. This yarn is very cheap! I purchased this directly from their website where they offer all sorts of yarns https://hobbii.com/
This is their Happy Feet yarn which I used for the first time. I have knit a pair using their Happy Feet XL before and they are nice though they have felted slightly with wear.
I’m not sure what yarn I will use for next round. It might be a one colour pattern but it might also be colourwork using two colours so I’ll just have to see when the pattern arrives. I have a bag of possible options all ready for cast on.
I also had a sock test knit for a publication but for the first time I really did not enjoy the pattern and so asked to quit the test as I was just not feeling it and having the hardest time to pick it up. Once I told them I was not going to finish; I immediately ripped back the almost finished sock one! That felt good though I am somewhat perplexed about this situation.
Another sock pattern I test knit has now been published on Ravelry and that was a fun pattern I enjoyed. I only had to knit one sock to finish the test so I still have to knit the second sock and will do so once I have finished Sock Madness.
That sock pattern is by Jo of KBG Designs and is called the Hidden Diamonds socks. The stitch pattern is easily memorised and fun to knit. This time I knit size small as these will be a gift. I chose to knit using my own hand dyed sock yarn in a fun orange colour. I think this pattern works best with a somewhat solid colour to really show off the stitch pattern. My yarn was not solid but not too crazy either and so I feel the pattern worked well here.
As for other knitting, I’m coming close to finishing my second Modernist by Renee of East London Knits.
This one is for a friend of my older daughter and she wants the exact same as the one I test knit and my daughter kept. So I’m knitting the same size using the same exact yarn, colour and all!
As I was looking for pictures to share I realise that I actually did not blog about this project before! So here goes.
I test knit this oversized cardigan for Renee a while ago. It is a fingering weight design and the shape is a little unusual at least for me as it is a cropped and oversized cardigan.
The construction is also unusual making the knitting all the more fun. I chose to use Holst Garn Supersoft in Marine blue, dark blue and I really like the outcome. There is an option for adding button holes but in both my versions I chose not to have buttons. My daughter wears her’s all the time and I’m hoping her friend will like hers as much too.
At the moment I am just 20 rounds of cuff from finishing the garment so I’m hoping that will be done tomorrow and then I have the weekend for finishing and blocking so she can have her cardigan next Monday.
And speaking of Renee Callahan of East London Knits, I have just started a new secret test knit for her. That is a top down sweater with some colourwork and I am having some issues finding the correct yarns for my version so I think I might actually end up knitting two versions. I have done part of the yoke in one combo and yesterday I started the yoke in another yarn combo. Im planning on knitting a bit to see how the pattern looks in each combo and then decide what I do. The deadline is short so I might finish just one in time for that and then knit the second one later. Who knows.
Well that’s it for today folks. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to follow my knitting as always. I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week ahead of you with plenty of knitting and good, summery weather on top.
Hi there, I thought it was about time I told you more about my participation in Sock Madness.
If you are not familiar with this event, it is a speed knitting/sock knitting competition which is held once a year. This year is the 13th edition. Each year a very large number of sock knitters sign up to challenge themselves and others. To begin with each round is 14 days long but towards the end the rounds get shorter. Also the number of knitters that qualify for the next round goes down until only 1 knitter is left as the biggest winner.
This is the fourth time I take part. The very first time, I had incredible luck and actually made it to the very last round, round 7 before being eliminated. Then for two years in a row I was eliminated early on due to misunderstanding the pattern and so not knitting the sock correctly. Both times I was hugely disappointed and even wowed not to join again. Of course I have been unable to resist the temptation and always join!
So some time before it really starts a warm up pattern is published just to get us going. Knitting the warm up pattern is not an obligation but encouraged.
This year the warm up pattern was called 13 Memories as this is year 13. This was a fun pattern mixing lace and scrap knitting. I really enjoyed choosing my yarns and I do love how my pair turned out. All the yarns I used were my own hand dyed yarns.
Then there was the qualifying round. This round serves to make up the teams. Knitters of similar speed and lifestyle are matched together. This way everyone has an equal chance of getting as far as possible in the competition. After this round, teams of 40 knitters each were created.
Each time we need to show that we have knit the required number of pattern repeats or rounds which is why you see the yellow yarn going through one of the socks above.
So that’s the end of the qualifying round. Beginning of round 1 we are a team of 40 knitters but only the 36 quickest knitters qualify for the next round.
This year the pattern for round 1 was a lace pattern with a particularity. The stitch pattern was not the same on both socks. There was one pattern for sock A and another for sock B. Now this had me a little unhappy as I felt they would not look good as a pair. We were allowed to knit each sock using a different yarn and I decided to do that in order to end up with two pairs rather than one. So I hurriedly knit one of each and once I was done and qualified for the next round I knit the other two.
You can see the difference in stitch pattern here in the pictures above. The yellow sock is knit using Mondim yarn from Rosa Pomar in Portugal. The grey pair is my own hand dyed yarn.
And here you have my two finished pairs.
And now it was time for round 2. This time only the quickest 30 would qualify for the next round.
The pattern for round 2 was a very fun color work pattern. I chose to use my own hand dyed yarns and the contrast one was a self striping yarn which I feel made the end result even better. These may look daunting but really they were not and just so fun that they were super quick to make.
Color work socks are such fun!
Then there was round three. Again I chose to use my own hand dyed yarn. This time I chose a sock blank so the socks may look less polished. And this time only the 20 quickest would qualify for the next round.
The pattern for round 3 was a lace and cable design with a new to me beaded cast off. I was worried the beaded cast off would be difficult but in the end it was not.
So now we are getting to round 4 which starts sometime next week. This time around only the quickest 10 will qualify for the next round, round 5 so things are definitely getting serious!
So far I have been finishing my pairs in about 4 days but that might to be quick enough for this upcoming round but we’ll see. I will of course keep you posted.
There is something to be said for this competition and even if I am knitting away feverishly alone in my corner of the world, it is fun to challenge myself. Also these patterns always teach me new things. This year I have done a new cast on and a new bind off. I also knit a new to me heel. Learning new techniques is definitely a plus.
So now you know a little more about Sock Madness and if you feel like taking part next year, you can look up the group Sock Madness Forever on Ravelry for more information.
That’s all for today. Thank you for stopping by and spending some of your time with me. I wish you a great weekend and hopefully you will get some quality knitting time in there.
Hi there, how are you? Or should I say how have you been? It has been such a long time since I last posted. Probably the longest I have ever gone without posting. And if you follow me on other social media you may also have noticed that I have been mostly absent there too.
I’m sure some of you have been wondering how come. So a number of different reasons. One is work. I have been working a lot of overtime for work. So when I finish my work day I just haven’t had the energy to keep staying at the computer and write.
And the longer I go without posting, the harder it gets to get back into it. I even went as far as wondering if I should stop blogging all together if I’m unable to maintain a regular schedule. After all, if I start posting very irregularly, most of my readers will loose interest and then what is the purpose?
But I’m not ready to throw in the sponge, so here I am and I hope you are happy to be here again:)
I have done a lot of knitting since last time. I have also visited a yarn shop in Iceland I want to tell you about as well as share more with you from that visit. So I have lots of knitting and some purchases to share. But not all in one or the post will be too long. So I’m hoping I will write a follow up post soon for the rest of the things I want to share.
But first I need to show you the sweater I test knit. I had shared Some pictures of the beginning of this project but now the pattern has been released on Ravelry so no more secrets.
The pattern is called the Rosa Bonheur sweater by Christelle Nihoul. This is a DK weight raglan sweater knit in one piece from the top down.
I knit this using my own hand dyed merino DK yarn. The pattern is well written and easy to follow. The actual knitting was quite quick and I really love the design m the shape of this sweater.
I love the pattern details that outline the raglan/sleeve shaping. I feel this really adds interest to the finished garment.
As soon as I was done knitting this sweater was swept away from me by my oldest daughter so I haven’t even gotten to take final pictures of either me or her wearing it. But maybe that is the highest compliment, when the finished item is so loved that there is no time actually model and take pictures of it.
I’m also very happy with my chosen yarn and dye job. Knitting out of my own hand dyed yarn as always such a pleasure for me.
So for today this is all. If you are looking for a DK project I highly recommend this pattern and I’m sure if you do cast on, you will love the finished garment as much as I and my daughter do:)
Next time I plan on telling you about my Sock Madness knitting and progress. As a tease, let me just tell you that I qualified for round 4 which will start in a week or so. Very exciting!
Thank you for stopping by. Thank you for staying loyal and taking the time out of your busy schedule to spend a few minutes with me.
I hope you have been well these past weeks and wish you lots of happy knitting in the coming weeks.
Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are doing well and enjoying your knitting as always.
I have been on a sort of finishing sprint lately and I’m hoping I will keep on going for some time as I have sooooooo many wips to finish!
First there is the Radisson poncho by Josee Paquin. I have been working very steadily on this project. The colorwork was very fun and the Cascade 220 yarn a joy to knit with. Here are some pictures from start to finish.
What do you think? This will be a gift for a family member. Shut I’m not saying who just in case that person is reading!
So last time I believe I mentioned that I had picked up my Boxy Chevron by Susanne Sommers which had been languishing a long time. And I’m so happy to announce that I have now finished my sweater. I finished Saturday and have been wearing it since then!
I still have my mountain of shame/pile of more or less forgotten wips.
This is a very boxy garment. You start by knitting the sleeves which is actually a very good idea for such a large, stockinette garment. The parts in red in my version are textured. The red yarn is Madeleinetosh Tosh merino single and the black/red main colour is my own hand dyed fingering weight.
I was worried about the sleeves being too snug but they actually fit very nicely. I’m not used to wearing oversized garments but this one does fit nicely and I enjoy wearing it so if you are thinking about a boxy sweater you should check this one out.
And most of all I’m especially happy to have it done! I see from my Ravelry project page that I started this one on August 21st 2018.
So as I was super happy to have that done, I dove into my pile of old wips and fished out another old project. This time I picked up a cowl that I started… on July 16th 2016! Oh boy! I’m a little ashamed to admit that!
The pattern is called Midsummer Haze by Joji Locatelli. I’m knitting this using my own hand dyed yarn, an alpaca/silk/linen blend which is heaven.
I had actually put this down 3 pattern repeats before finishing! What?!!
So last night I knit one repeat (15 rounds) and I’m going to knit another repeat today so that I can actually cast of this Wednesday!
So the bottom of the cowl is where I’m now at, just two pattern repeats from finishing. This cowl is structured a bit like a triangular shawl only knit in the round. It also comes with tassels and I’m thinking I will add those once the knitting is all done. Can’t wait to actually get this off the needles. Can you imagine, this has been taking up a set of needles, a project bag not to mention floor space when I could have so easily finished months ago! I will have to work on being more serious.
I have yet another finished object that I can share with you. This one you have not heard about before. I have a little friend who enjoys my knitting and a few days ago she asked me if I could knit her fingerless gloves in pink. So I went to Ravelry and did some research and I found a pattern that I liked. It is called Mitt Envy by Weezalana and this is a free pattern.
I had a commercial sock yarn in pink all ready to go and I think I finished the pair in less than a week. This was a well written pattern. The only change I made was that rather than do a 2×2 rib I always did a 1×1 twisted rib. I also may have made the cuff a little longer than the pattern called for but I’m not sure.
So this was a simple pattern and a very quick knit.
I’m also knitting on my Heart warmer cowl by Justyna Lorokowska. I cast on a few weeks ago and then put it aside for no reason. Now it’s back and being actively worked on. I’m knitting this using my own hand dyed yarn in a very luxurious blend of merino, yak and silk.
And I did start a whole new project Sunday! A shawl! And not even the Bubbles shawl by Stephen West that I have been thinking about lately and wanting to start.
No I decided to do some knitting with my hand spun yarns and I had planned on knitting The Shift cowl by Andrea Mowry.
However, when I looked at the 3 skeins I had chosen for that project, I thought that I might end up with lots of left over yarns… not so good. And I knew she had designed something similar only as a shawl which requires twice as much yarn! So of course I purchased that pattern, the Nightshift shawl and chose another three hand spun skeins.
And this Sunday I cast on. I love knitting with my own hand spun. It does add something a little bit more special to the whole experience. Plus the yarn is super soft and colourful. However this is a big shawl so I’m thinking this will be some time in the making.
So as you can see, I have been knitting a lot and I still have plenty to do. But then what is on my working needles now for this week?
Well, most importantly I have to finish my Midsummer Haze cowl.
Then I have to finish my Heart Warmer cowl. I need to continue working on my Nightshift shawl and also work on my Jaycee cardigan which I forgot to mention above.
I am going to test knit a pair of socks for a printed publication and that pattern will arrive in 2 days time. And then of course the first actual round of Sock Madness is just around the corner. I don’t know when the pattern will arrive but I’m in the starting blocks ready to cast on and put everything else on hold when it does.
What about yourself? Any exciting projects you are working on? Are you maybe planning on going to EYF in Edinburgh this coming weekend? If so lucky you! I dream of going one day.
I think this is all for today. This is quite a lot of knitting I see now that I have put this all on record so to speak. Now I just have to update my Ravelry project pages with more pictures and details. It does help to have a record of the patterns I knit, especially when I then leave them to linger in my pile of shame for months…
I’m off to go knitting. I wish you a great new week and I hope you will have plenty of time to work on your knitting and take part in fun fibre related activities. Thank you again for stopping by today and sharing your time with me. I truly appreciate you:)
Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are doing good and that so far March is treating you good.
After a spell of some incredible warm weather and sun, winter is back and it is raining a lot and the forecast for this week is mostly rain. But hey, as a knitter that is not an issue for me. Just more time to stay home and knit:)
Since my last post I have been able to finish two garments one of which was started back in October 2018.
I also finished my garment test knit, the DK sweater. I’m not allowed to show you pictures of the finished garment just yet but I believe the pattern will be revealed in a couple of weeks so soon. I’m very happy with the outcome and when my older daughter saw it blocking she asked if she could borrow it some time. Now that is validation 🙂
I do have one but here. It’s with regards to the weight of the yarn. Most of my garments are knit in fingering weight yarns and knitting this in DK has made me realise that I really prefer fingering for garment knitting. A lot of people love knitting with heavier weight yarns and mention both how quickly the garment is knit and the warmth.
I actually prefer the lightness of fingering weight garments. Also I don’t need very heavy yarn as it never gets super cold here in Normandy. It really was eye opening to participate in this test knit with regards to my yarn preference.
And it’s funny because I do like DK shawls and hats and mitts. But for garments, I definitely prefer fingering. What about you? Do you have a preference for a particular weight of yarn for your garment knitting?
The garment I also finished and had started back in October was a second Cactus cardigan by Suvi Simola. I had almost finished the body when it was put aside and just left lingering for months. When I finally picked it up again it went super quick.
I knit my first one using Holst Garn Supersoft and this time I used Holst Garn Coast which is a 50/50 cotton/wool. This yarn feels very soft and light but it is not very elastic.
I should maybe have gone down a needle size here but it’s still ok. The fabric is very light. I only have to put on the buttons and I’m all done.
I’m very happy with the outcome. I knit this with the idea of gifting it to a friend. Now I just have to show it to her and get her to try it on and if it fits and she likes it, it will be hers. If for some reason she does not like it, well it will just be mine 🙂
The pattern is really simple and a great one to create some stable cardigan that can go with everything.
I have also started a new garment, a poncho using a DK type yarn – Cascade 220. This is a birthday gift for someone special and I really hope she will love it.
The pattern is called Radisson and the designer is Josée Paquin. I started this past weekend so I’m about half done I think. I really love the pattern and I’m being very careful with the colourwork. I stop regularly and pull on the fabric to make sure I’m not knitting too tight. I don’t want the fabric to pucker.
Here you can see all the colours. My main colour is black and then the contrast colours are blue, beige and white. This is a really satisfying knit and I’m really enjoying knitting on this.
Another new cast on was the start of Sock Madness! The pattern for the qualifying round arrived on Sunday and I of course immediately cast on. The pattern is called Smock Madness. I’m taking my time though because I don’t want to be too quick and end up in one of the quickest teams. I really want to make it to the last round as I did when I participated for the very first time. Since then I have never even come close to that! Beginners luck I suppose so now it really is time for me to repeat the performance:)
This first pattern is a fun one and not very complicated. It is an all over smocked pattern and currently I’m at the gusset on sock one.
My yarn is very dark so the patterning is not showing up very well in the picture. I’m using Arwetta Classic in colour 807 which is a deep burgundy/purple.
I have prepared the yarns for all the patterns. Before the start of Sock Madness we get a list of materials and what we need for each pattern. This year I chose to use mostly commercial yarns both to use those from my stash and also to avoid spending a lot of time winding skeins into balls. I only chose one indie dyed yarn this time and I have wound that already.
So there will be a lot of sock knitting in my future hopefully:)
This coming week I hope to finish my Smock Madness socks, make a good progress on my Radisson poncho and also continue to work on my Jaycee cardigan by Isabelle Kramaer. I’m just past the separation for the sleeves. I have yet to take pictures of this project but I’m knitting this using Drops Flora yarn for the first time.
I hope you will have a great week ahead and enjoy your knitting. Thank you for stopping by today and sharing some of your time with me.
Hi there how are things? I hope you have had a nice couple of weeks. I was kept busy between work and school holidays here in France. Now the kids are back at school and things are back to the regular routine.
Since I last posted I have been concentrating mostly on my current garment test knit. I’m almost done now and really like the fit and look of my new sweater.
I am somewhat off gauge wise though as my sweater is longer/bigger than it should be according to the pattern so I have had to modify the final decrease rounds. But it still worked out nicely.
Unfortunately the sweater is taking more yarn than I had expected and so I dyed up some yarn this morning and I’m crossing my fingers hoping I was able to get very close to the previous yarns. I only have the sleeves to knit now. If the colour is not quite there I will go with a contrasting coloured sleeves. As I write this the yarn is drying in the sun so I still don’t know yet if I was successful in recreating the beautiful yellow of my sweater.
This is an oversized, raglan sweater and the sleeves are mostly ribbing as the raglan arrives at the elbow.
It is quite a heavy sweater and it made me realise that I really prefer fingering weight garments. But this sweater really is nice and I look forward to finishing it.
Other than this sweater, I also finished my warm up socks for Sock Madness. I believe the contest/challenge will start in a few days, beginning of March, so it was important I finished this pair in time.
I’m also planning on finishing my test knit sweater before then too so that I can start the challenge without any other stressful deadline.
So my warm up socks also double as my contribution to the #knitterspayitforward2019.
I was not totally convinced at first when I saw the pattern. I was worried that the lace pattern would be obscured by the yarn. That is why I chose rather subdued colours, nothing wildly variegated. I’m very happy with the results. I still have to weave in the ends of one of the socks and then I will put together a nice little package to my lovely recipient who lives in Denmark.
If you are not aware of this #knitterspayitforward2019 this is a “thing” launched by dr Holmes, the same person as the one who organises the Marie Curie sock challenge for Christmas. This time around, the idea is to offer to knit something for another person, whether we know them or not.
In my case I posted on Instagram and said I wanted to join this fun project and knit a pair of socks for someone and asked those interested in receiving a pair of scrappy, hand knit socks to comment on my post. I only got 2 comments and the “winner” was my new Danish friend.
If you are interested in joining you definitely should and remember to use the tag so the rest of us can follow along.
In this new week my main focus will be on finishing my sweater as I have said above. I do have 2 cardigans going, one has been on hold for months and I just picked it up again today. I have 1 1/2 sleeve to finish so not much left and I’m hoping I will also be able to finish that this week.
The other cardigan is at it’s beginning so lots of work there still but it will be good to pick it up again and make some progress.
Then of course there will soon be Sock Madness, a truly mad sock knitting challenge so as soon as the first pattern arrives I will be concentrating on that.
On a more personal note, I have just started walking! I used to be active as a young woman but I have let myself go lately. I work from home so most of my time is spent sitting in front of a computer so I have very limited physical activity. I was inspired by Kay Jones of the Bakery Bears who has started going for walks. I’m going for 30-40 minute walks and it really feels good. I listen to audio books and podcasts and just enjoy the incredibly beautiful weather and getting some alone time with myself and a good book. I’m really happy I started moving a little and just hope I will keep up the good work:)
That’s it for today. Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed seeing my knitting progress and hope you will have a great week ahead with plenty of fun knitting.
Hi there how’s it going? I hope this past week was a good one for you and that you got plenty of time to enjoy your knitting.
I feel like I have not been getting a whole lot done myself but that is mainly because I’m still struggling with my last test knit, the cardigan one. I am now only a sleeve away from finally being done and I am quite eager to be done with this one!
But on the topic of today’s title, new techniques. If you have been following my blog for a while you already know that I am an advanced knitter. I have been knitting for a lot of years and I do all kinds of projects.
But knitting is such an amazing art form. There are so many stitches to learn and so many different ways to just simply knit. Some of these techniques are linked to different cultures or linked to where you live and learn to knit.
One such technique is called Portuguese knitting. This in some way resembles Peruvian knitting and I do intend to learn more on that subject later.
I have known about this technique for a long time and I even purchased classes on Craftsy (now Blueprint) a while ago but then never actually watched them.
The classes I purchased are by Andrea Wong which I believe to be the best known authority on Portuguese knitting. Andrea has also written a book on the subject which is available on Amazon among other places.
When I possibly can, I knit for as many hours a day as I can possibly squeeze in. This sometimes means that my fingers get tired or that I find myself with like a deep welt in my forefinger after tensioning my yarn.
So a while back I started thinking about how I could go about knitting for longer periods of time and still avoid such discomfort.
I usually always knit continental style but I do know how to throw and I have sometimes used both techniques to give my hands a rest and so be able to knit for an extended period at a time if I’m in a stretch and need to finish something asap.
But I felt like I wanted to try something all together different from that and that is where I remembered Portuguese knitting.
I started out by reading the book by Andrea Wong- called Portuguese Style of Knitting, History, traditions and techniques.
The book has good photo tutorials that clearly show how you hold the yarn and the needles. This really helped me to visualise how this is done. I then watched my classes on Craftsy (Blueprint). And then of course I had to make a few purchases.
There is such a thing as Portuguese knitting needles but you do not need to have those. You can knit Portuguese stye using your regular knitting needles. I just was really curious about those and wanted to try them for myself.
Portuguese knitting needles have a hook on one end (dpns) or both ends (circulars). They look like crochet hooks almost.
I was able to find my supplies online in a Portuguese shop that is quite well known, Retrorosaria. There I purchased one set of dpns, one circular and my very first Portuguese knitting pin.
A Portuguese knitting pin is used to tension the yarn but you can go without and just tension the yarn around your neck if you wish. However basic knitting pins are just over 1 EUR so very affordable. You will also be able to find fancier ones for a little more money and I did make a later purchase to try out a fancier version.
And then I went to work.
This post is not meant as a tutorial in Portuguese knitting but rather just information about how I went about to learn this new style of knitting and how it basically works.
So as you can see from the picture above, I am using one of my fancy knitting pins and have attached it to my left shoulder to tension the yarn. I then weave the tail (the yarn going to/from my ball of yarn) around the fingers on my right hand. I’m not sure if there is a correct way of doing this, I think this may be as with any other knitting style where we each tension our yarns in our unique way.
Using this style of knitting, I use my right thumb a lot to help with the stitches.
I have heard statements about this being a method to knit quicker but I don’t feel I knit faster like this but then again that could be just because I am knew to Portuguese knitting.
I enjoy knitting like this both for the knit and the purl stitch. I have used this method quite a lot since I started learning and I’m very happy to have looked into this new way of knitting and having this added to my skills. I am not going to convert entirely to Portuguese knitting but I do feel it is an asset to have the ability to use it.
I think that for knitters such as myself, who often knit for more hours than some might consider healthy, being able to switch methods and so relieve hour hands is a great option.
As for gauge, once I got how to knit this way may gauge was back to normal and I now will switch between continental and Portuguese knitting within the same project and I don’t feel there is any difference in gauge or texture to be seen.
Learning a new technique has been a lot of fun and if you are interested in trying something new, I highly recommend you try Portuguese style knitting.
I recorded a little video of myself knitting this way. It is about 3 minutes which may be way more than you are willing to watch, but if you are curious it should be fun to observe how this works in real life:) I just want to emphasise that the video is not meant as a tutorial but as a glimpse at how knit when knitting Portuguese style.
With that I wish you a great week ahead and who knows, maybe this week you will start knitting Portuguese style 🙂
Hi there how are you? I’m sorry for not blogging last week. I meant to write and then somehow time just worked against me. I hope you had a nice week and that you were able to enjoy some quality knitting time.
As January came to a close I took stock of my projects for that month and I realised that all my FOs for January were socks and so were my HOs 🙂
Now this is not really a big surprise you may say but I still found it amusing.
I have been very busy working on my garment test knits and I did manage to finish one ahead of time. Now I just need to weave in the ends there and block but I won’t be able to share any pictures until the pattern is released and I’m not quite sure when that will be.
My other garment test knit is still going. I’m getting a little “over” this one as this is not only a big piece but one I’m knitting for the second time so I admit I look forward to this one being done. The deadline is looming so I’m trying to be serious and knit as much on this each day as possible.
But for sanity reasons, I do allow myself some distraction knitting too 🙂 Sanity is important after all.
Now on to socks, so I finished 4 full pairs and two half pairs. Out of all of those two were patterned and the rest were vanilla or vanilla-is socks.
I shared two of those finished socks and one half done with you in my last post but just to remind everyone here come pictures of them all.
And then on to my HO.
And on February 1st I managed to finish another pair of socks. Now those were what I think is called bed socks or slipper socks because the yarn is thicker than regular sock yarn – somewhere between sport and DK. In Iceland; where I’m from, and other nordic countries this is the most used sock yarn weight I think because it is just that cold. Here in Normandy, France, it does not get super cold except on rare occasions but my daughter enjoys using those around the house and to sleep in and she could very well wear them in her winter boots outside too if she wanted to.
So this is the first pair of socks I ever knit using yarn from Hobbii yarns which is a brand I discovered on Instagram. This is a Danish company and they sell lots of different types of yarns at really low prices and so I decided to go ahead and try them out.
So far I have only knit this one pair but I have more planned in other sock yarn bases from Hobbii and I will be sure to share with you what I think of those.
This yarn feels nice and was enjoyable to knit with. It comes in 50 gr balls and I had some left over of each ball but you do have to buy 2 balls when making a pair of adult socks.
I chose this particular colorway for just that – all the colours. But I actually thought once knit up they would be sort of striping but not at all. Actually each colour section is very small, maybe only 2-3 centimetres or about an inch in length so it is impossible for this yarn to stripe. I knit these using a needle size 4 mm/ US 6 and I cast on 40 stitches.
Other things I have been knitting on are my Northeasterly blanket. It got put in time out for a while as I was busy test knitting. Now I have more time so I have taken it out again.
I have 9 columns so far and I’m thinking that I want this blanket to be 12 or 14 columns width wise. When I have gotten the right width I will pick up on the first column and start to work myself upwards. I haven’t decided yet how long I want it to be so I don’t know if I will just knit each column until the right length or if I will continue to work this a little length at a time.
I’m really enjoying this more than I had expected and I am determined to keep at it so I will keep the momentum going. I’m picking minis at random, there is no rhyme or reason to the yarn/colours I use. I have a large tote bag for this project. In addition to the blanket I have two other bags in there. One is full of little balls of yarn. Those are either left overs from other projects or mini skeins that I have balled up. I’m using these as a priority. Then there is a second bag who is filled with actual mini skeins. I may not end up having to use any of those as I have so many already balled up but just in case, they are there ready to go.
Skeinanigans who wrote this pattern has published a second version called Southeasterly which I have not purchased. In my cas I prefer, I think, to just keep all in garter stitch. I think the issue with the Southeasterly, and this can be seen in project pictures on Ravelry, is that the gauge changes when you change stitch patterns and so the width of each column changes and I personally feel that not very pleasing to the eye. So sticking to garter stitch to the very end 🙂
I did cast on for a new project this weekend. I had not planned on casting on anything new but then….
On Instagram (as so often) I saw this post by Justyna Lorkowska. She has just released a beautiful cowl pattern that totally spoke to me. Both the design and the colour she chose for hers.
The pattern is called Heart Warmer and is for sale on Ravelry . Justyna knit hers with a luscious blend of merino, yak and silk in a single ply. It just so happens that I have a few skeins of this same or similar blend only in a 4ply yarn. This yarn is brown due to the yak content and so I had put it aside not sure how or what to use it for. Well this was it! I immediately purchased the pattern and dyed up two skeins of yarn – even though one is probably enough.
I wanted a colour similar to hers so something close to mustard/honey/caramel something and I absolutely love my results.
So as you can see I have only just gotten started. But the yarn is a dream to the touch and the pattern is beautiful so I really look forward to making progress on this one.
As for this new week ahead of us I have to continue on my garment test knit. I will continue work on my blanket and cowl.
I have cast on for a pair of socks using a new to me sock yarn from Turkey which I look forward to sharing with you later. And I do have 2 cardigans and 1 pullover that have been in time out way too long that I’m hoping I will get some work on this week.
I am also preparing to share with you the latest knitting technique I am teaching myself, Portuguese knitting – using both knitting pins and hooked needles:) This is a lot of fun and I’m getting pictures taken and I have made a little video too so you can better see how I knit this way.
I’m hoping to have that all ready by next week. After that I am planning a review on a new/recent type of knitting needles and an interview with their creator.
So there should be some fun stuff on the horizon.
I hope you will have a good week and that you will be able to enjoy lots of quality knitting time. I look forward to blogging again next week.
Thank you for stopping by once again and showing me love and support.