A little announcement 

Hi there, I’m writing again this evening to follow up on my earlier post where I say I’m having a sale in the shop. 

I’m afraid I have just put the shop into vacation mode for a little while. I lost a close family member today and I’m not able to take care of or ship any orders for the time being.

When I feel well enough to open again I will of course let you know here and the sale will be valid to the end of this year or so.

I have had kind messages from some of you on social media after I announced the temporary closing and I want to say thank you for the kind thoughts.

I will probably blog next week though, writing helps me clear my mind and I have a feeling I will need that in the coming days.

Until next time, take care and have a wonderful week. Give your loved ones a hug and take care of yourself! Hugs:)

Knitting in France 2018 – version française en bas

If you have been reading my blog for a while and follow me on social media, you will know that I’m currently debating whether I should continue with the shop or not.

I think the end result will be that I will close the Etsy shop and only sell via my blog. I’m planning on making kits including knitting patterns and my yarn and I’m in discussions with a few designers about this. I’m also going to give designing a try myself and hopefully I’ll be able to offer kits that are all mine in the future.

This will inevitably mean a drastic decrease in offer but it seems like the right way to go right now.

I have decided not to go ahead with the crowd funding campaign. I have put a lot of work into preparing that but along the way it has made me realise that I’m just not very comfortable with asking for money. I know that crowdfunding is not as if I were asking strangers to give me money for nothing. That if someone donates to a crowd funding campaign they will get rewards depending on the investment they make in addition the the satisfaction of supporting someone they believe in. I have done this once myself. But still, it is hard to do and I’m not comfortable doing this at this time.

I’m going to close my Etsy shop some time before Christmas. Until then there will always be a sale of some sort going on as I need to sell as much of my stock as possible. Currently I’m offering -25% off everything. No code needed and I hope you are able to take advantage of the offer if you would like to support/help me at the same time.

In 2018 I will be offering small batches of my hand dyed yarns as well as kits for sale via this blog. Depending on how that goes I will continue or not. Basically I’m sort of cutting the pear in half. Not closing everything down but diminishing and giving things a little more time in the new year to either pick up or bite the bullet.

I’m taking this decision after a lot of thinking. I still feel that the indie yarn business is saturated and only a very few big names are able to make a living from their business. A lot of companies are doing the same thing, producing yarns that resemble those of their competitors. It is hard to stand out even if my yarns are high quality and even if I have a lot of 5 star reviews on Etsy. I’m just one in a million.

I do still enjoy working with and dyeing yarn and my style is a little different from most and so I’m going to continue a little longer only on a smaller scale and via my blog.

I want to thank everyone that have shown me support over the past weeks. Thank you for your kind messages that have warmed my heart and brought a smile to my face. Thank yo for believing in me  and I hope I can continue to count on your support and kindness in the new year.

*************************************************************************

Si vous avez suivi mon blog depuis un moment et/ou si vous me suivez sur les autres médias sociaux vous savez sûrement que je contemple la possibilité de fermer ma boutique a la fin de l’année.

Quand j’ai annoncé que j’allais surement fermer, j’ai été surprise par le nombre de messages d’encouragement que j’ai reçu. Beaucoup de personnes m’ont contacté avec des messages de gentillesse et d’encouragement. Me racontant comment moi et ma boutique avons joué un rôle dans leur vie. J’ai été très touché et si vous êtes une de ses personnes/ merci beaucoup!

Tous ces messages m’ont donné envie de me battre et l’idée de lancer une campagne de financement participatif est née. J’ai passé beaucoup de temps à travailler dessus. A me renseigner et imaginer cette campagne pour finalement décider de ne pas la faire.

Même si une campagne de financement participatif est faite pour aider un entrepreneur comme moi même, les donateurs y retrouvent leur compte également. Malgré cela, j’ai du mal a demander de l’argent. Je préfère finalement ne pas le faire.

Je vais fermer ma boutique sur Etsy d’ici Noël. Je n’ai pas de date précise pour le moment, cela dépendra des ventes. D’ici la il y aura toujours une promo d’une sorte ou une autre. Actuellement par exemple, tout est a -25% – pas besoin d’un code. J’essaie de vendre un maximum de mon stock d’ici la fermeture. J’espère que vous pourrez vous faire plaisir tout en me soutenant.

En 2018 je vais vendre uniquement via mon blog, ici. Cela veut dire une diminution drastique de l’offre. Je vais me concentrer sur la vente de kits comprenant un model + ma laine ainsi que des petites quantités de laines teinté mains par mes soins. Je vais laisser le temps au temps un  peu et voir comment cela va fonctionner.

Peut être que ce sera un succès et peut être pas auquel cas je finirais bien par arrêter la vente de laine. Je suis de l’avis que le marché de la laine artisanale est surchargé et que seuls quelques grands noms arrivent a en vivre. Nombreux sont les indie dyers qui font cela plus pour leur propre plaisir que pour en vivre et c’est très bien. Moi mon but était de créer mon propre emploie et pour le moment cela n’est pas possible.

Le blog va continuer et je vais essayer de l’écrire en français aussi et non pas seulement en Anglais.  J’aimerais m’essayer a la création de modèles aussi et je vous les présenterais bien sur ici via le blog si j’y arrive.

Voila, je tenais a vous tenir au courant de la situation. Je vous remercie pour votre soutien et compréhension et j’espère que nous resterons en contact par la suite.

All my current wips

Hi there how  are you? I’m fine. This past weekend we had truly miserable weather here in Normandy so I did get to spend a nice amount of time knitting in front of the tv. However as I have a million things going, I don’t seem to have made much progress on anything.

I did manage to finish one of my current test knits. That was a two color cowl and I cast that off last night so now I just need to give it a little wash and  block. I’m not able to share pictures with you just yet though as this pattern will be part of a new knitwear collection to be published before the end of this year and the designer wants to keep everything a secret until the release. But that was good to at least get that one done.

I have made a little progress on a new sock test knit that I’m doing. This is the first test knit I do for this particular designer and I really like her pattern. I’m knitting the socks using a new base from my shop, the 50/50 merino and cotton base and it’s working up really nicely so far.

IMG_0495

This designer is KBJKNITS   from Australia and she has a number of designs on Ravelry.

The children’s cardigan I’m also test knitting (for a different designer) is now well on it’s way. I’m at the bottom edge for the body and hope to finish that tonight so then I will have to do the sleeves, collar and button bands. Still plenty of work.

And with all this test knitting I’m thinking, maybe I too could design something? I have one pair of finished socks that I designed a while back but never wrote up the pattern, I have a baby dress and a blanket in the same situation. And last night I started on a second pair of socks. This time I’m trying my hand at designing shorty socks.

new sock design 12nov

So far so good. I’m thinking in the future I could sell kits with my own pattern and hand dyed yarns. What do you think?

I also cast on for two new projects this past weekend. Both are from newly purchased patterns and the yarns are from my stash so totally in the theme of my Stash Appreciation Project!

The first is a hat. I saw the pattern on Instagram and immediately went over to Ravelry to buy it. I knew I had just the right yarn and the fur pompom! So the pattern is called Vendemmia and is by the talented Madeleine of Kingfisher Knits. I wasn’t able to knit a lot on this over the weekend because I wanted to knit on ALL my wips so I allocated a small time to each project but at least I got it going and so far so good:)

vendemmia 1

I’m using my chunky alpaca yarn for this and a pompom I purchased the last time I was in Iceland. Everything feels so squishy and luscious! I can’t wait to be able to wear this hat!

My second new project is a cowl called The Land of Sweets by Helen of Curious Handmade. This is the first pattern in this year’s Knitvent. The pattern is designed using an advent calendar from an indie designer so using 24 mini skeins in different colors. I don’t have an advent calendar of minis but I do have lots of minis and rests of yarns from projects I have knit over the years. So I found myself a christmas project bag

christmas project bag

And then went rummaging through my stash to find compatible minis. I wound them up into mini yarn balls and threw them into the bag.

land of sweets minis

The idea is to just pick a mini at random for each section of the cowl and once I have knit with one yarn/mini I take it out of the bag to be sure I won’t use it a second time.

I think this is going to be a fun knit. The idea behind all those minis is great and I think it is what will make this more fun than if it were knit in only one or two colors.

So far I have only just begun so nothing much to show you but here’s where I’m currently at.

IMG_0494

I’m also continuing knitting on the Marie Curie Quest for socks charity knitting. I’m so close to finishing pair number 3. I can feel myself losing momentum here after knitting almost 3 vanilla pairs in the same yarn but I’m going to try and stay focused and knit 4 pairs as I planned on doing.

I think this is about all for now on my knitting. Thank you for stopping by and spending some time with me today. I hope you have enjoyed reading up on my knitting and seeing the pictures. I’ll be back later this week with some more info and hope to see you then:)

The potato experiment

What?! If you have not heard of my experiment you are probably thinking I must have lost my mind! Why would I want to talk to you about potatoes on a knitting blog? Well, no wonder you ask.

So it all began with some grocery shopping before Halloween. Our grocery shop had some Vitelotte potatoes and they had packaged them in a Halloween package and branding somewhat like Halloween potatoes. I had never tasted Vitelotte potatoes and it was Halloween so I thought this was just perfect timing and bought a kilo!

When I finally cooked these, just peeling them before cooking stained my hands purple and so I thought maybe, just maybe, I could use the peels to dye yarn. These potatoes have such a beautiful purple color. I could just imagine seeing some gorgeous yarn in a beautiful purple.

I looked online and found nothing about using potato peels for dyeing yarn. Maybe not strange! But I decided to do it anyway. So I put the peels to the side and let them dry.

vitelotte potatoes See why I was imagining purple yarn?

When it was dry I cooked the peels. I put them into a small mesh bag and cooked them for hours and boy did they stain! or give color! Not sure how to word that.

IMG_0475

It looked beautiful.

I chose to use some of my organic merino yarn as this was natural dyeing. I read up on mordanting and I had some Alun for mordanting and so off I went. I followed the instructions on how to mordant my yarn BEFORE dyeing. And then I plunged it in.

IMG_0465

I had such high hopes! But something strange happened! The yarn did NOT take the color or almost nothing! I put three skeins in and even after over an hour in the dye stock, there was still lots of color in the water.

I let it sit longer and checked from time to time until I decided it wasn’t working and I took the yarn out. The leftover water was still pink!

I am a beginner at natural dyeing and maybe I did something wrong. Or maybe potato peels are not meant to be used as dye stuff.  Anyway I did it and here are a couple of pictures of my yarns next to the same yarn undyed. If I had not put an undyed skein next to them you would not see these were actually dyed. It’s that subtle.

So the middle skein is undyed. The others have a sort of very light beige color.  I’m not sure if I’m going to use them as is or if I will overdye them with something else. I’m still debating that.

Anyway it was a fun experiment and a lot of people were interested in the results so I hope you have enjoyed stopping by today and seeing my pictures.

Until next time; Have a great weekend and I’ll speak to you soon:)

Test knits and knitting needle testing

Hi there, how are you today? Did you get much knitting done this past week? I did some, not a lot. I feel like I’m making such limited progress these days. I just don’t have the time or maybe I’m working on too many projects at once, if that’s a thing. I’m not sure.

I do know that I have a lot of things going. I think I have 5 pairs of socks on the needles that I’m actually knitting on (way more in my mountain of wips), I have one wrap and one child size cardigan and one cowl. So I do have a lot to choose from. The cowl and the child cardigan are both test knits and I need to finish those in November. I can show you the cardigan but not the cowl just yet.

So the cardigan will be part of a book that I think will be published next year. I was going to use my own yarn but I didn’t have  just the right thickness so I went with something from my stash. its called Rooster Almerino baby – the yarn that is. The pattern can be knit as either a pullover or a cardigan and I chose to do the cardigan and I’m knitting it for my youngest. I don’t have enough for a single color cardigan so I’m going to use 2 or even 3 colors and I think that will be fun. I’m very close to finishing the body. Then I have the sleeves, collar and button bands to do.

cowtown test knit child cardi

This is not where I’m at now, I have made good progress since I took this picture actually. I like the stitch pattern and it keeps the knitting interesting. The color is a very light green and it looks very nice. My daughter loves it.

For the socks, I haven’t really made any significant progress so no pictures today. I have though started on pair number 3 for Marie Curie and this time I’m using a blue tweed contrasting yarn for the cuff, heels and toes and it’s funny how it changes the main yarn. It really brings out the blue in the Marie Curie yarn so I feel like I’m knitting on something totally different and that is good because knitting 4 pairs of vanilla socks in a row using the same yarn can get boring. I’m thinking I might do the last pair, pair number 4, with some white – their yarn/colors are yellow, blue and green. (I’ll show a picture a bit further down in this post of the sock so you can see how it is knitting up with the blue cuff). I don’t have any more of the yellow contrast yarn I used in the first two pairs and I only have a little bit of this blue tweed yarn… I think. I might need to go stash diving though just to be sure because it does look good. AND it’s Stash Appreciation time! So I should go stash diving and use some of my “old” yarns.

I have created a thread in my Ravelry group for the Stash Appreciation project that is running as of now and until January 31st so if you are interested in joining please do. I’d love to hear what you might knit and see a picture of your yarn. I’m going to knit a sweater using some older hand spun yarn but I haven’t started yet. I feel like I need to finish the test knit cowl before I can start anything that big. i also want to knit some Christmas socks from one of my special Christmas yarns and again I think I need to finish at least pair 3 for Marie Curie before casting that on. I’m afraid if I cast on for new things now, I might not finish what I need to finish, in time.

On to other things. I have tested a few new things lately and I need to share that with you. First, the knitting needles.

I bought some new knitting needles after hearing about them on social media. The first pair was a fixed circular from LYKKE. Everyone is talking about those and I really wanted to try them out. This is a Norwegian brand but the needles are manufactured India from driftwood. I was expecting them to feel somewhat like wooden needles, a feel similar to Indian Lake Artisans needles for example but they feel super slick and sort of “plasticky” and I’m pretty sure that is not a word.

I bought two pairs, a 2.25mm and 3.50mm and I”m currently knitting a sock with the 2.25mm ones – the sock you see on the picture to the right. So back to the needles. They don’t feel like wooden needles so that was a surprise to me. They are however very nice to use. The yarn glides beautifully and they feel good in my hands so I can understand how popular they are. They are not however a game changer for me, I mean that I’m not going to go overboard and buy their entire collection to only use theirs. But they are nice so if you have been wanting to give them a go I’d say go ahead. I’m pretty sure you will like them.

The other set of needles I bought were meant for sock and sleeve knitting. I saw those somewhere and thought they looked so exotic and I just had to give them a go. These are the Addi CrasyTrio needles. As the name indicates, they come in sets of 3 needles.

IMG_0462

First I need to say that when I knit socks, I  use circulars 90% of the time. I either do magic loop or a 9″ circular. These needles are more directed towards the knitters that prefer knitting socks with two shorter circulars at a time. They actually look very much like the Neko needles except the Addi needles have  a tiny cord between the needle tips whereas the Neko needles are all plastic (no cord at all). This does make the Addi’s easier to manipulate I think. And they are definitely sturdier. I have only knit two pairs with the Neko needles and they come in sets of 4 needles – you only knit with three but they give one extra. And I broke two needles out of 4 without even noticing and I lost a bunch of stitches so that put me off those for a while. Although I must say the customer service was excellent and they sent me replacement needles.

addi and marie curie

This is pair 3 of my Marie Curie socks on the Addi CrasyTrio

But back to Addi. I have knit one sock and am on the second one (although not from the same pair) and I must say that the beginning was not fun. The needles come with an instructional booklet and a sock recipe. I followed the instructions for casting on over two needles and then taking one out so you have half of the stitches on each. Well that was just impossible to do! I struggled until everything was off and then cast on again over just one needle and then transferred half the stitches over to needle two. The very first row was fiddly but after that it was fine. If you usually use two circulars rather than magic loop or a 9″ I’m sure you would like these. I however like the flow of knitting on q 9″ and so so stopping and turning my work around seems tedious to me now. Also when knitting the needle points click on each other making noise so this is not an option for me if watching the tv with my family:)

I’m going to finish my two pairs I started with on these but I’m not convinced they will be used much. I do want to try them on a sleeve though and maybe I will like that better. Who knows. Anyway it was very interesting to try out.

You may know, or not, that when I began my online knitting shop I specialised in knitting needles. I sold all kinds of knitting needles, different styles and materials. I was the first to ever sell Hiya Hiya, Kollage, Indian Lake Artisans, Knit Stix, Swallow, Signature Needle Arts and more brands here in France and in some cases even in Europe.

Would you be interested in me doing a series of post about knitting needles? If anyone is interested I could maybe put something together and share my thoughts on different styles and brands etc. Leave me a comment below and let me know.

One more thing before I leave today. I don’t know why I have waited to the very last minute to do this properly, but I have just got my first really good looking yarn ball bands! Now my yarns can look really professional I think.

IMG_0479 I love my new label. With the future of the shop so uncertain I don’t know if I will get to use them but at least they will be a nice souvenir and I can still use them on my own personal yarn and when I dye yarn for friends and family.

I’ll be back later this week with an update on my potato peel dye experiment. Also there will be an update on the shop on the Future of Knitting in France pages- both the English and French one very soon. Not the news I was hoping to share this week but well.

Until next time, I hope you have a great rest of your week. Enjoy your crafting and thank you for stopping  by:)

All the November plans

hi thee how are you? I’m super busy these days as I have family from Iceland staying with me so any free time is taken up taking care of and enjoying their company.

I have kept knitting though but everything regarding the blog and my huge upcoming project, the crowd funding has been on the back burner due to lack of time.

On that subject, I did update my pages here on the blog and you can read the English version here or the French version here. Basically what I explain is that building a successful campaign takes time and effort and it is far from easy. I’m also worried about the timing, the end of the year is often tight financially for people, I know it is for me. But I’m trying to stay positive and after all, a lot of little things can make one big thing meaning a lot of small contributions can help me stay a float!

I’m hoping I will be able to launch the campaign next week around November 6 and I will of course notify you here.

On other news, there is my Marie Curie Charity knitting I told you about (if you haven’t read that post just hop on over here).

I’m joining Sarah of Sherlock Knits in knitting socks for all the patients in the Marie Curie hospices in the UK for Christmas. This is an ambitious task but rewarding on many levels. The original idea was to only use the special Marie Curie yarn by West Yorkshire Spinners.

wys marie curie

The variegated color on the top is the Marie Curie colorway that was meant to be the main color. However they are still in need of a lot of socks and time is getting short so they are now accepting socks in any yarn as long as it is in the Marie Curie colors; that is yellow, blue and white. Of course if you can use the special colorway that would be amazing. That yarn can only be purchased from one shop in the UK as they are the ones who actually commissioned WYS to do this and part of the proceeds also goes to Marie Curie. Here is a link to their shop if you are interested in joining in and using the special yarn: http://www.cityknits.co.uk/marie-curie~2839 As I’m writing this I see they are out of this yarn but hopefully there will be more in the future. In the meantime just use any or all of the three colours.

They are asking for men’s size socks only as patients often have swollen ankles so only size 72 stitches and I believe they should be simple vanilla socks. They need to have the socks by December 13th to be able to package them all and get them out to each of the 9 hospices in the UK.

marie curie pair one

I’m about 75% done with pair number 2 and all from one ball with contrasting heel/toe and cuff on one and only heel and toe on the second. I’m planning on knitting 4 pairs if I possibly can. I did buy 2 skeins of the Marie Curie yarn so that should be possible, just a question of time.

If you are interested in joining in this project and willing to knit a pair of socks, please let me know and I’ll get you all the info needed.

Now onto other things. It’s November 1st today and this signals the beginning of the Stash Appreciation project! I’m thinking of creating a hashtag, #KIFSTASHAPPRECIATION so if you share your projects on IG we will all be able to follow each other’s progress.

I know that this Stash Appreciation Project is not meant to be a yarn diet, it is just meant to incite us to use some of the amazing yarns we have in our stash. However I did go completely wild this past October and I bought a lot more yarn than I ever thought I would. I hope participating in this project has not had the same effect on you! Anyway I now have even more reason to only knit from stash! I think I may suffer from a mailbox syndrome. I so enjoy going out to my mailbox and getting to open up a package! It may not be normal!

So back to the stash! I’m of course going to keep knitting socks and my Marie Curie socks will be a part of that as I have had the special yarn in my stash for a few weeks and the contrasting yarn for months. I have a gazillion sock yarn skeins that I’m dying to use so no shortage there.

mothy and the squid christmas sock

This is a new to my stash yarn from Mothy and the Squid and I’m knitting a Christmas sock making up the pattern as I go.

I also would love to knit a sweater as a Christmas gift for someone and I’m going to knit that from my handspun yarn from a while back.

I would also like to work on my pile/mountain of wips and I think that can qualify for Stash Appreciation as those wips and yarns have been in my stash for longer than I care to admit. If you too have some projects waiting for your attention; this might be the right time:)

I have created a thread in my Ravelry group as I was not able to set up a forum here on the blog and the link to that is here. I look forward to seeing your yarns and your future projects. I will share mine both here and in the thread.

Another project that I’m planning on, and this is not related to the Stash Appreciation, is getting more into natural dyeing. I have tried dyeing with avocado peel and stone and now I have some Vitelotte potato peel drying and I hope to try to dye some yarn with that soon.

vitelotte potatoes

I think this could make for some beautiful yarn don’t you?

I think this will be all for now. I will be back soon with more info on my Fundraising Campaign as well as more finished objects and progress on the Stash Appreciation. I hope you have enjoyed stopping by today and spending some of your time with me.

If you are at all interested in seeing my yarns and other handmade items, please click here to browse my Etsy store; Everything is 30% off for another 24 hours!

 

 

My Socktober

Hi there how are you? I hope your week has been good and the upcoming weekend will be even better. I have some family from Iceland for a visit here so I’m taking a couple of days off work which is nice. When I have family over my knitting time is usually reduced as I have a lot to do and so it’s a good thing I have already made a few socks to live up to my objective of knitting all the socks this month.

This first pair I believe you have already seen but I’m including it here as I finished those in October. There are my scrappy Halloween socks. Just a vanilla sock with a short row heel knit out of my Sox yarn base.


My second Halloween pair was a test knit and I made these for my older daughter. I intended to knit another pair for my younger daughter and somehow that never got done.


Then there is a pair I just recently finished out of sock yarn from Francofille Knits yarn. The pattern was my own, I did a picot hemmed cuff, a little patterning on the front of the leg and foot, a short row heel as always.

  


And then there was the pair out of Régia cotton yarn that I was using for the first time and quite liked. Again a vanilla sock.


And then there are all the shorty socks!

 The main yarn is Lolo did it and the contrast is on y SPARKLES base.
 These are knit out of Goosey Fibres yarn. A new to me indie dyer and I will be interviewing the dyer behind Goosey Fibres for the November Maker of the Month.
             I really love this pair. I found the pattern in a sock collection by Louleigh and I need to share more on that with you later.
I also knit three pairs of toddler socks for a charity for young children living in Australian prisons with their mothers.


So those are my finished socks. All were finished in the month of October but a few, I think, were cast on end of September. 

I’m currently working on two pairs. One is for a charity knitting project. I recently shared with you about the Marie Curie Sock Quest for patients in Marie Curie hospices in the UK. I’m knitting for that and using the official Marie Curie yarn dyed by West Yorkshire Spinners. I’m planning on knitting two pairs. I have one sock done on the first pair and I’m just past the heel on the second sock.


The second pair is a Christmas shorty sock for my younger daughter using a self striping color way I dyed up. Again my own sort of vanilla pattern. Sock one is done and I’m past the heel on the second. I’m pretty sure I will be able to finish both of these pairs before the end of October.

 I really enjoy how this color way came out and the second sock is identical which is even more fun.
Now that November is around the corner, I need to start planning for my Stash Appreciation Project. I need to find patterns I want to knit and choose gorgeous yarns from my stash to knit up and so forth. I have already opened a thread in my Ravelry group for us to discuss our plans. I’m currently thinking at least one cardigan and of course socks!

I’m also thinking I should knit from my pile of ufos! That would be great and quality as the projects in my pile of lingering wips have all been in my stash for a certain time. I’m not going to knit exclusively from those because I love casting on for new projects but if I could maybe finish one ufo a month durin Stash Appreciation that would be great. More would be better but I think I should not put too much pressure on myself or this won’t be fun and that would just be silly. Knitting should always be a pleasure.

Now what about you, did you knit a lot of socks this month? Are you going to join us for Stash Appreciation from November 1st to January 31st? Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and share your current and future knitting plans.

This is all for today. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have enjoyed spending some time with me. I wish you all the best, happy Knitting and I’ll speak to you soon:)

And the winner is….

HI there, I’m sorry for posting so late in the day but I have not had a minute to myself today. I was planning on sharing my latest socks with you but that will have to wait some but I did have to draw a  winner from the Maker of the Month. I you did not read the post/interview already with Devan of Francofille knits, just click here

We had 11 comments and I used Random.org to draw a winner and that was number 5 or Kelly Landrigan who prefers the color Autumn Afternoon. So congratulations Kelly, you have just won a beautiful skein of Francofille knits yarn. Please contact me by email to knittinginfrance@gmail.com with your details so I can put this in the mail to you asap.

That’s all for today I’m afraid, I’ll be back soon with lots of sock knitting progress:)

 

 

Thank you

Hi there, today is just a small post to say thank you to all the knitters out there that have reached out to me over the last few days. Thank you for all your support and kind words. Thank you for your orders.

I have decided to give it my everything till the end of the year and see if I’m able to stay open. I have created two pages on my blog, one in English and one in French, where I share what has happened since Saturday and what I’m planning for the rest of this year. I hope you will over there to read and that you will share the info with your friends. Together we can work miracles.

If you want to read the French page you can find that here

That’s all for today. I’ll be back soon with an update on all my sock knitting as  I have some FOs and a few HOs.

Until then take care and enjoy your knitting

The Maker of the Month Francofille Knits

I have admired from afar the work of Devan of Francofille Knits. She has a beautiful sense of color and I really wanted to try some of her yarns. I first approached her asking if she would be willing to do a swap and as she kindly said yes I then asked if she would be willing to do an interview for the blog and maybe even donate a skein of yarn for one of my readers. And she again said YES!

I’m currently knitting a pair using her yarn for the main color and using a pattern I have made up myself. I have sock one all done and I’m passed the heel on sock 2.

So here is my interview with Devan and I hope you will enjoy reading that and getting to know her.

******************************************************************************

Tell me a little about yourself, where do you come from and where do you live and work today?

Let’s see.  I’m the indie dyer and designer behind Francofille Knits, and I host the Francofille Knits podcast.  For the last year, my husband and I have been living outside of a very small town in rural Indiana—our property is surrounded on all sides by corn and soybean fields!  Having grown up in the suburbs of Chicago, and living in college towns my whole adult life, this has been quite an adjustment for me, but one I’ve absolutely loved. Living in the country, the pace of life slows significantly, and I have more time to notice and appreciate the world around me.  I like to think that my dyeing and designing has benefited from this more intuitive and relaxed lifestyle.

Are you a knitter/crocheter/spinner/ weaver ? And if you do all, which craft is your most favorite?

I’m a knitter first and foremost, but I also dabble in crocheting and spinning.  I’m a relatively strong crocheter, but my spinning needs a lot of work!  Knitting is absolutely my happy place.

When did you learn to knit/crochet/spin/weave ? Do you remember who taught you?

I learned to knit and crochet when I was 16.  That summer, I was working as a counselor at a summer camp, and saw one of the British counselors knitting on a scarf and begged her to teach me! Lucky for me, she was patient enough to take on a student, and by the end of the summer, I was half way through the lumpiest, most uneven garter stitch scarf ever!  A few months later, I was watching a movie with one of my friends, when she pulled out an afghan and started crocheting.  Once again, I was obsessed and desperate to learn how to crochet.  I started several crochet blankets in high school, with my friend’s help, but I’m not sure if I actually finished any of them. I ended up putting both the knitting and crocheting down while I was in college, but ended up picking them both back up when I was in graduate school, because I needed a way to unwind that had nothing to do with my academic life.

Do you have a favorite type of project that you regularly turn to? Like socks or shawls etc.

I always have at least one pair of socks on the needles, and a sock pattern I’m writing up.  I usually have a shawl or two going as well.  I’m not a monogamous knitter—I need to be able to bounce from project to project as the mood strikes or I’ll quickly lose my knitting mojo.  Lace, cables, brioche, texture, I love it all!

Would you say that fibre crafts have become a lifestyle for you ? 

Absolutely!  Before starting Francofille Knits, I was a French professor—I earned my PhD in French Linguistics.  If you ever have trouble sleeping, I’d be happy to send you a copy of my dissertation—300+ pages on a specific change in word order in 13th-16th century French!  But, fate had a different plan for me than I had expected, and about a year ago, I found myself leaving my career in academia for a variety of reasons.  Thank god for fibre crafts!  My love of fibre crafts provided me with a new career, one that I have found just as fulfilling and satisfying as my previous career!

How did you come to dye yarn and how long have you been dyeing yarn ?

I’d been wanting to learn how to dye yarn for almost a decade! When the stress of writing my dissertation would get to me, I’d daydream about opening a yarn shop and selling hand dyed yarn.  I finally decided to take the plunge in April 2016 (just over a year ago!), and I haven’t looked back!  Inspired by some friends of mine (Ally & Abby of the Get Lit and Knit podcast), I took a class on yarn dyeing at YarnFest in Chicago, and it literally changed my life.

When did you decide to go professional and open a yarn shop ?

Like I said, I had been daydreaming about becoming a fibre artist for a long time.  But, I don’t think I actually started taking it seriously until June 2016.  I was having so much fun dyeing yarn, and dyeing up yarn faster than I could ever knit it.  I decided, after much Instagram support, to open up an Etsy shop to sell my extra skeins, and the rest is history!

What is the inspiration behind your shop and your yarns?

The inspiration for everything in Francofille Knits comes from my love of France and the world around me.  As you might have guessed from my shop name and previous career, I’m an absolute Francophile, and have been since I was a little girl.  I took my first French class when I was 5, and instantly fell in love with the language.  The further I progressed in my studies, the more I fell in love with France, it’s people, it’s culture and it’s history!  All of my colorways are inspired by places I’ve visited, people I’ve studied, or the French language itself.

When reading your about page on Etsy, you mention that the shop name comes from your love of France and everything French. Have you lived in France yourself ?

I have, but not for long enough!  I spent 5 months in Avignon when I was in college, way back in 2004.  I then got to spend a summer in St. Brieuc, Bretagne in 2010.  I’ve also gotten to travel to France several times, and even got married in France (St. Andiol, near Avignon) in the summer of 2015.  That was a real adventure, as I was the only person in our group of 16 who spoke French.  It was such a great experience, and I wouldn’t change a moment of it!

francofille knits mon coeur

Mon Coeur

What are your most popular colorways?

It’s hard to say, because it changes all the time! I change out the colorways in the shop every few months, based on my mood and the seasons.  If I had to pick a few, I’d say “Summer in Provence,” “Monet,” “Bûche de Noël” and “Sunset over the Seine” have probably been the most popular ones so far (and some of my favorites too!).

francofille knits sunset over the seine

Sunset over the Seine

Is there anything exciting going on in your shop these days ? Do you still have spaces for your Advent Calendar?

I’ve currently got a wide selection of fall colorways that I’m really quite proud of!  I also have just a few spots left for my Advent Calendar, 12 Days of Christmas, and Happy Hanukkah miniskein sets!  I’ve been having an absolute blast dyeing up all the yarn for these sets for the last few weeks, and can’t wait to get them shipped off to their new homes!

francofille knits vendange

Vendange

What do you have coming up for the shop til the end of this year? Any special deals/events/kals ?

Speaking of the holidays, in the next few weeks (mid October) I’ll be releasing my Holiday colorways and November Sock Club.  Every month, I dye up a small batch of a secret colorway and design a sock pattern to go along with it.  It’s such a fun creative project for me, and I think my customers enjoy it too as it always sells out, and there are several who sign up month after month!

Where do you see your business in say 5 years from now ?

I’d love to be able to quadruple my output and have several stores that carry my yarn. I just did my first craft fair, and loved it! I’m definitely planning on organizing a few trunk shows and signing up for some fiber festivals in the future as well.

francofille knits macaron socks

Macaron sock

In addition to your yarn dyeing, you also design patterns that you sell on Ravelry. Have you been designing long ?  How did you come to designing your own patterns?

I’ve been designing for almost as long as I’ve been knitting.  The first pair of socks I ever knit, actually, were my own design (I modified a vanilla sock pattern, adding a lace motif to the top of the foot).  I only started writing up my patterns at the beginning of 2016, though.  My first pattern was also my most ambitious to date—the Amboise Shawl, inspired by the Château d’Amboise. I absolutely love that triangular lace shawl, especially because it looks so impressive while being a fairly intuitive knit!

Is knitwear design something that you would like to develop further ?

Absolutely! It’s so much fun coming up with the right pattern to go with the colorways I dye up.  It’s so incredibly satisfying! 

What type of item/garment do you most enjoy designing? Does the inspiration for your patterns also come from France ?

I think the shawl designs have been the most fun, but designing socks has been a fabulous challenge, mostly because I’ve put out one (almost) every month this year.  Some of the patterns are more obviously inspired by France than others—the Amboise Shawl, and another shawl inspired by Chenonceau which hasn’t been test knit/published yet—while others are inspired by my home in rural Indiana.

And as if dyeing yarn and writing patterns wasn’t enough; you also podcast! Tell us about that. How did you come to podcasting, is that something you enjoy doing and for someone that is not familiar with your podcast, what would you say is the “theme” or main emphasis in your podcast. What will be find there.

I started podcasting at the beginning of 2016, in part because I knew that there were some significant changes coming in my life.  I knew that I was going to be changing career paths and that my husband and I would be moving, and wanted a creative outlet that would connect me with the online knitting community even more than I already was.  I had been a fan of the Knitmore Girls podcast and YarnGasm (and the long defunct Electric Sheep podcast) for years, and just decided to dive right in!  My podcast format is typically fairly standard, talking about what I’ve been working on, what’s going on in my life (just a little) and going over what yarn I’ve dyed up that week.  During the month of October, I’ve decided to challenge myself to do Vlogtober—recording videos every single day!  So far, I’ve been able to stay on track!

francofille knits autumn afternoon

Autumn Afternoon

For those that want to follow you and your shop, what would you say is the best venue for that ?

Instagram, for sure! For my personal knitting/life pics, you can follow me @bdevan, and for all things shop related you can follow @francofilleknits!

******************************************************************************

A big thank you to Devan for taking the time to reply to all my questions. To check out her knitting patterns on Ravelry, just click here 

To check out her Etsy shop and her fabulous yarns just click here

Devan has generously accepted to donate a skein of yarn to one of you. To take part in this giveaway, just hop over to her shop and then come back and tell me what your favorite colorway is. The winner will receive this glorious skein hand dyed by Devan.

I will draw a winner using Random.org a week from today or october 24th. Good luck to everyone!