Summer is over and I’m back

Hi there, how are you and how have you been? Seems I took an unofficial, un planned hiatus over the summer. Somehow time just wasn’t there or I wasn’t in the mood for blogging or something. In fact I have been largely off social media over the summer as well. Just did not feel much like sharing even though I didn’t stop knitting as one might have thought given my absence.

I did take two small holidays over the summer with my family which was very nice and much needed. I have some pictures I plan on sharing with you later to show you the beautiful places I went.

I didn’t stop knitting, in fact I think this summer is one of my most productive summers as I finished a total of 4 short sleeved tops/sweaters. Currently I am working on short sleeved top number 5 as well as a cowl, socks and a shawl and getting ready to cast on for a wrap and a pair of socks. So lot’s of knitting going on still.

Now I have finished my summer vacation and the kids are back in school and so life is getting back into it’s usual pace and I’m thinking I will get back to blogging regularly as before.

So I’m sure you are looking forward to seeing my new handknit sweaters right?

Magnolia

So this is the Magnolia sweater by Camilla Vad. This pattern exists in two versions, long and short sleeves. I absolutely love the pattern and the finished garment and am already planning on knitting the long sleeved version.

What makes this one particularly special is that I knit this using my own hand spun and hand dyed yarn! I had planned on having it in one colour only but I ran out of yarn and then was not able to replicate exactly this same yellow/mustardy colour so I overdyed with brown and I’m happy with how that turned out.

This is a little cropped pattern and if I had had more yarn I definitely would have knit the body longer. I could have added length to the ribbing but somehow felt that would change the intended look and so chose to leave as it was. The fibre I used was a superwash merino fibre.

Next in line was the Soldotna by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks. Everyone has been knitting this one and so I had to as well.

I did wonder about changing the pattern and knitting either 3/4 length sleeves or even full length sleeves but then ended up just knitting as per the pattern.

I used my own hand dyed yarns though not hand spun this time. I had spun up some yarn and dyed just for this sweater but it turned out to be too thick and I wasn’t ready to recalculate the entire pattern for this to work out so I got out some remnants of undyed yarns and dyed them up. Only the grey is a commercial yarn from Milla Mia.

I have yet to take a modeled picture showing the sweater on myself sorry:)

I’m quite happy with the outcome. I usually prefer fingering weight sweaters as I feel DK is sometimes too warm but I hope I will use this one a lot come winter. I did lengthen the body somewhat as I had seen lots of comments about the pattern being very cropped and a lot of people seem to have added repeats to the body so I did too and frankly I could have added a couple more but again yarn chicken was there to stop me…

Next in line was the Navelli again by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks.

This one is a pattern I immediately fell in love with and knew I had to knit. I even placed an order with one of my favorite indie dyers – Knit Cosmic Strings in Edinburgh, Scotland- just for this sweater.

Again I wondered about adding length to the sleeves only to end up adding just a tiny bit. I did however modify the sleeve construction in the sense that rather than knit first with the main colour and then change to a contrasting colour and turn that inside so only a few rounds of the contrasting colour show and the sleeve is basically knit double, I chose to do a classic ribbed cuff. And I’m really happy with that choice. And this is another pattern I can see myself knitting all over again but if I do, I will definitely be doing it with long sleeves or at least 3/4 sleeves for a winter version.

This is a design I really love and especially enjoyed knitting the pattern at the bottom. I can see myself knitting this again but then with longer sleeves; either 3/4 or full length sleeves.

But before I went on vacation this July I did finish another summer garment, a sleeveless top called Simply Perfect Summer . This was a quick and fun pattern to knit and I used a yarn called Belle from Drops. This is a DK weight cotton yarn I quite liked. It was the first time I used this yarn and I think I will use this again for knitting summery garments in the future.

I don’t think I actually shared finished object pictures with you so here goes.

I used a dark navy colour but on the pictures it looks more black.

But I have yet another finished garment to share with you. This is a test knit I did for a new to me designer called Wollmuschi. She designed a short sleeved summer top that I absolutely fell in love with when I saw her pictures. I was lucky enough to get to test knit and I chose to knit my version using my own hand dyed yarn. I used a blend of alpaca, silk and linen. This blend is perfect for summery garments and just any knit you want some flow and movement, a feeling of airiness. I dyed my yarn in black but the end result is more on the charcoal grey side. Still love it.

The pattern is called Nereus and has been published. I can highly recommend this pattern. It was fun to knit. I find the lace panel to be very feminine and the overall look and design to be so relaxed and just a go with everything type of garment. I am definitely knitting this one again. I can see this as one with longer sleeves or even a cardigan!

What do you think? I love mine!

So this is it for today I think. I hope I haven’t lost all my readers after my unofficial and unexplained summer hiatus. I’m happy to be back and I hope you have enjoyed coming back to my blog and that maybe you were inspired to tackle one of the patterns I worked over the summer.

This coming week I will be working on the following projects:

Ziggy by Joji

Ashes by Joji

Yuma by Isabelle Kramer

Socks I’m trying to design myself

Ship and boats by Caitlin Hunter

Lots of knitting to look forward to. I wish you all a great rest of the week and happy knitting. Till next time!

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Just a little idea for Christmas

Hi there, I’m back from summer vacation and getting ready to post a real blog post with lots of knitting updates but I have been carrying around this little idea and I just have to get it out there before it is too late.

This time of year, a lot of indie dyers are announcing the popular Christmas yarn calendars. I have not yet been lucky enough to purchase such a treat which unfortunately is a bit out of my financial reach.

So I was thinking that probably I am not the only one in this case and that maybe you would like to do a Christmas calendar swap with me.

So the idea I have now is that those interested make themselves known by commenting below and give me their Ravelry id. I will then open a thread on Ravelry with the rest of the information and later we will each be able to post pictures there of our gifts.

So I’m thinking we would agree on either 24 or 25 gifts. Thinking maybe 24 mini skeins and 1 full skein for the 25th of December. Also we could include a little extra like a stitch marker, chocolate, tea etc as an added treat on certain days.

I could prepare a questionnaire that I could post in the Ravelry thread and then each participant copy pastes it into a reply and enters their personal preferences. Most easy I think would be to stay with only fingering weight minis. We could enter our color choices and if we do absolutely NOT want a particular color or no variegated or no speckles etc.

What do you think? I would then pair us up so that each participant sends out 1 calendar and receives one in return. I think we should aim to send them out mid October to be sure they arrive before December 1st. This would be an international swap so you do have to be willing to pay for shipping. Also very important not to sign up if you are hesitant or decide not to join at the last minute when your mate has sent out your calendar to you.

I think this could be lots of fun. The times I have organised a birthday swap it has always been a success and lots of fun. I personally always drool over the pictures of beautiful Christmas calendars and wish I could purchase one myself one day but currently the prices are just out of my reach. I’m sure you, like I, have a nice stash of beautiful left over yarns or minis that someone would love to have or try out.

If you are limited financially just let me know that you would prefer to be partnered with someone from your own country to limit the postage and I would do my best to comply.

I’m getting all excited just writing about this. Do let me know what you think and I can then set up the swap thread on Ravelry.

If for some reason only one person is interested I would still like to do the swap even if only on a one on one scale:)

All the best and I’ll be back soon with lots of knitting news

The Mara Sweater

Hi there, how are you ? All melted away with the recent heatwave maybe? I hope not!

We had a few days of seriously hot weather here in Normandy which is not my favorite as I really don’t enjoy much heat. Also knitting in 30C+ is not the best, think clammy hands and sweat! Not a nice picture;

Luckily the weather has cooled down some and so I’m feeling better and knitting like crazy.

But before I can show you what I’m currently knitting on I have to show you my latest secret test knit.

This was a pattern by Renée Callahan of East London Knits. This was a top down sweater with what looks like an all over colorwork but is in fact a slipped stitch pattern and so very easy to do and no tension issues as there sometimes are with fair isle/stranded knitting.

The pattern calls for a slightly cropped sweater with 3/4 sleeves but you can easily knit to your liking and have a full length sweater and either full length or even short sleeves.

As you decrease on the sleeves you end up not being able to keep the patterning all around

I so loved this particular pattern that I actually knit two sweaters! And I finished both before the deadline for the test knit. Though I admit I still have not weaved in the ends of the second version just yet. But it is all ready for me to finish for good.

So I chose to use a wonderful UK yarn which I have used before as I took part in other test knits for other designers. I chose yarn from Cambrian Wool in the UK. I chose their 4 ply yarn and chose too very contrasting colors, Arian and Welsh red – that is a very pale grey and a rust red.

The prototype uses a main color and a gradient set as contrast colors but I felt like just using solid colors and limiting them to just two.

The stitch pattern is very addictive and I feel the sweater was easy to knit and the pattern well written.

The only issue or point where you have to be careful is where you split for the sleeves. As there are short rows on the neck, if you miscalculate your sweater will look wonky.

I admit that I made a mistake on my primary sweater and so once I had finished it, I ripped back the neck ribbing and short rows and reknit them.

I chose to knit 3/4 sleeves on this version and I quite like that.

Here are more pictures of me wearing the sweater

Then there was the second version. For that one I wanted to see how the garment would look if I only did the slipped stitch pattern on the yoke. I also chose a different combination of yarns. I chose Holst Garn Tides which is a wool and silk blend and I knit this held double with a thread of a lace weight sequinned mohair. I then used Nateby yarn from Eden Cottage yarn for the colorwork as contrast color.

See how the sequins sparkle?

This version turned out very different from the other. Because of the completely different yarns, this version turned out looser, less form fitting on the body. Also the sleeves are wider though I secretly suspect I may have made some mistake there and maybe knit on too many stitches. But it’s ok, it is still wearable.

I also chose to do 3/4 sleeves as this version is also quite warm so full length sleeves might be too much.

So I yet have to finish weaving in the ends and have pictures taken of me wearing the sweater. I will do later this summer.

You can check out my pattern page on Ravelry here https://www.ravelry.com/projects/bogga/miara-sweater

If you feel like knitting a garment and you like the colorwork look then this just might be the project for you 🙂

That’s all for today. I hope you are doing good and enjoying your summer so far. I will be back later to show you my latest socks, Olive Leaf cardigan and summer tee not to mention my next cast on which will be the Navelli by Kaitlyn Hunter.

So until next time, Happy Knitting!

Back again with more socks

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.

Scrappy Turtle Purl socks

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

a sock on my new bamboo flexible NEKO needles
My own pattern

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.

My handspun yarn just out of the dye pots and drying

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.

The colours are not showing up good here. The main colour is a light blue. The colours are more accurate in the picture above.

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.

Until next time, have fun and happy knitting.

A new type of knitting needles

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.

My Two Ladies Adjustable needles

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.

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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. 


Where can we follow you on social media?  

Facebook:   Mytwoladies    Instagram: mytwoladies_knittingneedle.       Website:  mytwoladiesknitting.com

Thank you very much for taking the time to answering my questions today. I wish you a lot of success with your enterprise and crafting.

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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:)

More sock knitting

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.

The Cannon socks from Sock Madness 13 round 4

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.

Hidden Diamonds sock

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.

Happy knitting

The Sock Madness adventure 2019

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.

13 Memories

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.

Smock Madness

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.

My Odin verifying my beaded cast off

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.

Speak to you soon:)

I’m back and the Rosa Bonheur sweater

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.

Until next time, enjoy your stitches:)

Lots of knitting progress

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!

Midsummer Haze by Joji Locatelli

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.

Mitt Envy

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.

Heart Warmer cowl

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.

Jaycee cardigan by Isabelle Kraemer

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:)

Finished garments and Sock Madness

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 🙂

Here I’m about half done. Just to show you the color and give you an idea of what the pattern looks like.

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.

Happy knitting:)