Knitting through sorrow

Hi there, how are you doing this week? I hope you are doing good and enjoying your week so far.

As you will know if you follow my blog or on my social media, last week was a difficult week for me and my family. The loss of a loved one is always a life changing event I think for those of us left behind. It stirs up so many feelings, brings so many questions.

As I work through my loss and my subsequent feelings and questions, I have found solace in knitting. Knitting has helped me to stay focused. It has helped me to sort through my feelings. I can knit and think, I can cry and knit. I can console myself and knit. And frankly, without knitting, I don’t know how I would have coped.

I felt a need for knitting. Not to have idle hands at any time. And yet, I did not want to work on anything that required brain power, no complicated designs, no big projects. Of course this could only lead to a lot of sock knitting! And I will be sharing pictures of my socks here in a bit.

I knit so many socks that it has become like second nature for me. I don’t need a pattern and yet I still buy tons of sock patterns – just for the stitch patterns that are used. I always do my own heel and toe and cast on and cast off. But i’m totally unable to resist a beautiful sock pattern and this past week, as I have been knitting on socks I have also bought a few new patterns!

I’m now quite quick to finish a pair of socks so that adds to the pleasure of knitting a pair as I have a finished object within days. I do still have one cardigan in the wip pile for myself and a cardigan for my  youngest and that one I’m working on these days. A little at a time. But for comfort I have really been drawn to sock knitting and here’s what I have to show for it!

These are the #MarieCurieQuestforSocks. I’m helping knitting a pair of socks for every patient staying in a Marie Curie Hospice at Christmas in the UK. The main yarn, the patterned one, is  a special yarn dyed by West Yorkshire Spinners for this charity. I’m almost done with pair 4. And for this last pair I knit them two at a time magic loop and I did them as tube socks so now I just have to pop in the heels. I should be able to send all 4 pairs off before the end of this week.

It has been a joy to participate in this project and I have dedicated my participation to a friend that passed away last week from a rare disease. I had intended on knitting a 5th pair but when a close family member died just two days after my friend, I just broke down and I think I have to just take things slowly and only work on what I can, no stress involved. And so I’m going to be proud of these 4 pairs. That’s probably more than the average donation so no need to be sorry for not knitting 5 pairs. As you can hear, I’m trying to convince myself that this is ok:) And it is! I know it is!

But I have not just been doing charity knitting. I have also finished a pair of shorty socks for myself and those I knit out of my first ever skein of Wolmeise yarn. This skein was gifted to me by a friend about 5 years ago or so and it has been sitting in my stash since. So this pair of socks counts towards my Stash Appreciation Project – where the aim is to knit using beautiful yarns from stash.

The yarn is a dark navy blue so not easy to see the pattern. It is a sort of open work patterning that I adapted from some other pattern I had purchased. I really like the look. The yarn itself feels very nice and the socks are very comfortable. Also I’m very much into shorty socks these days. They are both comfortable to wear and quick to knit so win win!

As I prepare for a Maker of the Month feature for January 2018, I’m knitting my first pair of socks with yarn from Biscotte Yarns. A Canadian yarn dyer well known for their self striping yarns. This pair of shorties is for my youngest. I don’t know the colorway name as this came from a 200 gr bundle of self striping yarns. My new favorite! You buy either 100 or 200 gr of self striping yarns, mill ends, so what you get and how much of each is a surprise. This particular yarn came in a 62 gr skein so I have enough for a shorty pair for my daughter and there will be some left over.

So the yarn feels very nice and I love working with it. But more on that later!

biscottes yarn shorty sock

And last but not least, I designed a sock pattern! I did say before that I was in a place where I needed simple, comfort knitting. Nothing that required brain power. Well before getting all the bad news, I had actually started working on a design and I would knit on this a little bit each day. Not a lot at a time but sufficient for it to grow and now I have a finished pair!

I really like the pattern. Now I just need to grade it, make sure the stitch pattern works in all the sizes I would like to have. Then I have to re knit a pair in my own yarn and of course write up the pattern.

The idea here is to start selling kits including my patterns and my yarns. Maybe that would be a good idea to help me keep my business alive in the new year.

Anyway, I’d love to hear what you think of this attempt. I used a very sparkly yarn from Yarn Lab UK. A very nice dyer that sells on Etsy. I believe this colorway is called Poirot’s Christmas.

I found a stitch pattern in a stitch dictionary and adapted that to my stitch count and I think it looks nice.

new sock design 12nov

The stitch pattern will show up better in a solid or semi solid colorway and that is how the next pair will be knit.

IMG_0495

My test knit sock has grown since this picture but not enough. I am now past the heel and about half done with the foot so hopefully I will have at least sock one done by the end of this week and can start on sock two this weekend. I really enjoy using this new yarn base, 50/50 merino/cotton. It feels nice and the stitch definition is very nice.

So that’s about all for this week. I just need to finish the heels on my last Marie Curie socks, finish my second Biscotte yarn shorty sock, finish the test knitting sock I’m still working on AND start knitting some Christmas socks! I have never been so excited about knitting Christmas socks! I have splurged on some beautiful self striping colorways from different dyers so I have plenty to work with. Hopefully next week I will be able to share something there.

Thank you for all the kind thoughts and messages you have sent my way lately. I’m not very present on social media these days as I’m just not feeling very social. I know you understand. They say time heals all wounds and time will help me to carry on and be the best I can be.

Just one more thing before I leave today. I will be publishing this month’s Maker of the Month interview this coming Friday, November 24th so don’t miss that!

Until next time, take care and enjoy your crafting:)

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:)

More on charity sock knitting

Hi again, Well I’m so happy to be back again! So far I’m living up to my goal of blogging more frequently than usual in October as part of Blogtober.

So yes October is all about blogging more often, knitting all the socks and doing something related to Breast Cancer Awareness and today is related in some way to all three goals.

I recently blogged about charity sock knitting that I’m taking part in and if you didn’t read that post yet you can click here.

A lovely reader left a comment on that post sharing the project she is working on. I had heard of this project on the Bakery Bears podcast but didn’t know who organised this or how to get involved so when I saw this message I was so happy!

This project is being organised by the wonderful Sara of Sherlock Knits in the UK. Sara is a doctor in a Marie Curie hospice for terminally ill patients and her idea was to knit a pair of socks for each of her patients for Christmas. Her idea soon caught on and other knitters wanted to join and help so now the objective is to knit a pair of socks for all the patients in Marie Curie hospices in the UK for Christmas and that is 229 patients! What a wonderful project.

Sara learned that she was not the only one wanting to support Marie Curie hospices. The Yarn shop City Knits in the UK had joined forces with UK yarn manufacturer West Yorkshire Spinners to create a unique colorway for their shop only in support of Marie Curie. This yarn colorway is ONLY sold at City knits and 2£ of each purchase are donated to  Marie Curie.

Sara has also created and published a pattern for a vanilla sock she calls the Marie Curie Quest Sock and all proceeds from the sale of the pattern is donated to Marie Curie. So to go all out, you can buy the pattern, buy the yarn and then knit a pair of socks or two:)

wys marie curie

You can go on to the City Knits blog and read more about this project here  and then go on to buy a skein of this yarn if you wish.

I know that not all the patients at Marie Curie hospices are suffering from breast cancer but it does tie in with doing something for the cause and I’m thrilled to be able to participate and make a donation. I have placed an order for the main yarn, the variegated one in the picture above and I intend to make two pairs.

I’m told patients often have swollen feet so 72 stitch socks are appreciated.

The main body of the sock should be knit using the special Marie Curie color way but it is ok to knit contrasting heels/toes and cuffs using coordinating colors in other yarn brands.

Are you also participating in this project or would you be interested in joining?

That’s all for today. Have a wonderful rest of the day.

Sock knitting for charity

Hi there, how are you? It’s weekend here now and I hope you have the weekend to yourself with plenty of free time to just knit and enjoy some quality time with your favorite projects.

As you may know, I’m going to concentrate on sock knitting this month. I am suffering from a serious case of cast-on-itis and so am just itching to cast on for at least 3 new sweaters and a billion new socks but I’m going to try to be serious and responsible and FIRST finish the 4 pairs of socks I had already begun working on and when those are finished, only then, will I allow myself to cast on for a new pair of socks and if I’m really serious I will also pick up an old languishing sock wip and get that done too! A girl can dream:)

In my last post I shared my current sock knitting projects but I did not tell you about this particular project. So I’m not as much of a charity knitter as I would like to be for a number of reasons. Reasons include lack of time, I enjoy selfish knitting too much and then as I’m not part of any physical group of knitters I’m not always aware of charity knitting projects going around.  And here in France I think there really are very limited opportunities for charity knitting sadly.

I’m lucky enough to have made a number of good friends via the internet. I’m so happy and appreciative for all the new knitter friends in my life and I really could not imagine my life without you all. I may not know you “in person” but it still feels like we are very close. One of those friends is Andrea. Andrea lives in Australia and she is an amazing person and an impressive artist. Andrea sketches and knits and just makes magic with all things fibre related not to mention her photography which is simply inspirational. You can follow Andrea on Instagram where she has two accounts, one for her drawing art work where she is @zoozoostudio and one for her knitting and fibre related work where she is @yarnsalad.

Via her account as @yarnsalad she has launched a sock knitting charity project that I had to join in even if we live on opposite sides of the world. Andrea is knitting socks for children between 0 and 6 years old that live with their mothers in Australian prisons. I love knitting socks and I also love doing good and gifting my handknits so I immediately wanted to join in her effort.

I’m not sure what the deadline is to send her the socks but if you are interested in joining us and send a pair of socks or more, just either contact me or you can contact Andrea via Instagram. I’m sure she would be delighted if any of my readers wanted to contribute to her project.

Knitting socks for young children is fun and super quick and so I now have 2 1/2 pairs (as I write this). I chose to knit two pairs of tube socks because I think tube socks are super practical because they can fit a large range of sizes and they also maybe wear longer as you can wear them anyway; I mean there is no instep and no sole side so I imagine more wear could be had out of those. They are maybe not as cute but still I really like them. So I have two pairs of tube socks and if I have enough time I will make more of those.

charity socks one

Those are knit with a German sock yarn, I don’t have the ball band anymore but it’s an Opal type yarn so should wear nicely. These are not twins but they do look nice still I think.

charity socks 2

These I knit using my Sparkles yarn. These are much smaller than the first pair so more of a baby size versus a toddler size for the first pair.

charity socks 3

This is the pair I’m currently working on. I’m knitting this one with my Sox base yarn in grey and the yellow stripes and toe are from Berry Colorful Yarnings. I really like this sock. I think it is a sort of 3-4 year old size.

I’m happy to know that I will contribute at least 3 pairs and I hope to be able to get more done in the next 2-3 weeks. It really does not take long to make  a small pair so I don’t have any excuse!

Do you sometimes knit for charity? If so, which ones? I would love to hear about any charity knitting projects you may be participating in and who knows I might decide to join them too 🙂

That’s all for today. I hope you have a wonderful rest of this weekend. Speak to you soon!

Knitting and Charity

Hi there, knitters are generous people and I’m sure many of you have already done some knitting for charity. I have organised knitting for premies

www.knittinginfrance.com and I have also knit in support of breast cancer. I feel that knitting for charity is not only knitting for a good cause but also a bit selfish because it brings such pleasure to know that what I’m knitting is going to be useful for someone in need. I prefer to knit items that are then donated rather than knit something that will be sold to raise funds because I have seen first hand that people are just not ready to pay a reasonable price for hand knit items. People do not realise the price of the yarn let alone the work that goes into making the item. It is just so disheartening when you spend your hard earned money on good yarn and the little free time you have to knit something for a wonderful cause and then your items either just don’t sell or are being sold for a ridiculous price that does not even cover the price of the yarn alone.

I recently got burned doing this late last year and I think and hope that it was the very last time for me! My mother and I knit a number of mittens and socks and small accessories that were to be sold at a christmas market in my town to raise funds for a local charity for children with cancer.

www.knittinginfrance.com www.knittinginfrance.com www.knittinginfrance.com  As I also enjoy making fantasy jewelry I also made some bookmarks, hair accessories, rings and earrings for them to sell. These cost a lot less to make and take way less time to prepare and yet that is what actually sold and what people were willing to pay for!

IMG_1552 IMG_1416 IMG_1533 IMG_1347 IMG_1319 I was so disappointed about the lack of interest in my handknits that I had put all my heart into making that I vowed to NEVER knit another item to sell! I’ve not given up on knitting for charity though, I will just do it differently and knit items that will then be GIVEN directly to those who need them.  The charity in my town that supports children with cancer and their families is organising another fundraiser and I will be making jewelry for them but NOT any knits.

And speaking of charity knitting where your knitted item is gifted to the recipient who needs it, I just discovered a great charity as I was reading my spring issue of Addicted to Sock Knitting ezine  It is called Knitted Knockers Charities Inc. – click here for the website This is a charity that focuses on knitting prosthetics for women who have suffered a mastectomy. They work in the USA as well as in Europe and women in need can send them an email and request a knitted breast. The website gives you a free pattern and information on the mission of this charity. They are currently requesting prosthetics in cup sizes B, D and DD. So if you feel like doing some charity knitting and help a woman who has suffered a mastectomy then this is definitely a charity I would recommend.

Do you do charity knitting on a regular basis? Do you knit for all types of charities or just one and how do you choose which charity you would like to support? Do you know of a charity that is in need of donations? Please do share with us by leaving a comment after the post.

That’s all for today, until next time take care of yourself because to be able to love and care for the people you love, you must first love and take care of YOURSELF. Happy crafting 🙂