An FOs, a wip and a future cast on

Hi there, how are you doing today? I hope your weekend was nice. Mine was very relaxed. I got a lot of knitting and spinning done and I’m super happy about that.

But before I dive into the show and tell, I wanted to remind you of my review of the new book Coffee with CC and Dami too that I reviewed last week. You can read the post here if you haven’t already and join in the giveaway and maybe win a copy of the ebook 🙂

Now on to the FOs. The first one is a shawl. I participated in the Snowmelt Mystery kal held by Helen Stewart of the Curious Handmade and I finally finished my shawl last week. I have woven in all the ends and just need to block it because currently it is way smaller (I think) than it should be. Also because there is some lace, this shawl really does have to be blocked. No way around that. I’m very lazy when it comes to blocking so there is no telling when I’ll actually get that done but hopefully sooner rather than later:)

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So this is it unblocked. I really love the outcome. I’m very happy with the colors I dyed up for the shawl and I loved, loved the yarn I chose. I love the yarn so much that I’m dreaming of ordering tons of this non superwash fingering yarn for future garment and shawl knitting. It’s what I call Back to Basics and it’s a 100% merino non superwash.

The other FO for this week was one that almost didn’t make it. And if you follow me on IG you will have seen the pictures and probably already know what I’m on about. For the others, here’s what happened. I decided to join in the Sock Madness competition this year for the second time. The very first round began just over a week ago and it is the qualifying round. That means that you have 14 days to finish a pair of socks. If you finish in time you get to participate and depending on when you finished you will be put into a team with other knitters that knit at your speed so you are paired up with knitters of similar speed. Of course you may be a super speedy knitter but with a very busy life but it doesn’t matter. If that is the case then all the better for you if you get paired up with knitters that are in a similar situation because that increases your chances of making it to the very end.

So I was determined to knit a pair in less than a week. Last year I knit really fast and got into the second to fastest team which may have been an error on my part but hey, I made it to the second to last round so yeah! Anyway this year I may have less time so I was trying to hurry  but not too much. But of course the competition spirit got the better of me.

The first pattern was not a complicated one but a very time consuming one and hard on one’s hands. It also ate up yarn at an alarming speed and very quickly I started panicking and thinking I’d not have enough to finish. I know we are not allowed to do contrasting heels and toes unless the pattern calls for that so I would have to change yarns along the way. I asked how and if that was possible and unfortunately for me I totally misunderstood the answer. So what did I do? Well I cast on for the second sock and knit to the heel, turned the heel on both socks AND THEN changed yarns and knit on merrily without a care in this world. On day 4 I updated my Ravelry project page and sent my email. And went to bed happy as could be.

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And then came the following day! Crashing news! I got heaps of messages on Ravelry both from other participants and the moderators explaining that I had totally misunderstood.

In fact yes I can change yarns if I have to BUT first I have to run out of my original yarn and that was not my case! At first I was in shock! Wow was I not going to qualify for Sock Madness? What to do? After some encouragements from fellow competitors I cut open the toes, ripped back to the heel and then put both socks on a long circular to knit them two at a time using the rest of my yarn. Even though my hands were hurting, I was so determined to make it that I finished in just over a day! And guess what? All this stress and mess could have been totally avoided! I did have plenty of yarn. After finishing I weighed the rest and I had 9gr left! Grrrr

But hey, I finished my socks for the second time and sent in my email on day 6. I don’t know if they will put me in a team that finished on day 4 or on day 6, we’ll see soon enough. Here are my finished and qualified socks.

This qualifying round comes to an end this Thursday I think so maybe round two will begin sometime next week. But until then I’m working on two projects.

My first wip is a secret test knit for a cardigan and I’m not allowed to share any pictures of that. I’m trying to get as much done of that as I can while I wait for round two of Sock Madness to start. It’s quite a simple cardigan in fingering weight yarn. I’m past the armholes and just knitting on in stocking stitch now for 6″ before the stitch pattern changes some. So this is a knit that I can easily pick up and work on anywhere anytime.

My second wip is the Grand Central Socks by Mina Philipp and they are part of her New York Sock collection. I have cast on for them using my Zen Garden yarn that I bought last time I was in Iceland. I’m past the heel on sock one and I’m knitting them on my Hiya Hiya Sharp 9″ circulars.

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It is a fun stitch pattern and easily memorized making this a fun and easy knit.

I said I had done lots of spinning this past weekend and I did. I have been doing a sweater spin. I decided to join Sue of Legazy Fibre Arts and Andi of Andre Sue Knits on their sweater spin. It is the first time  I have ever spun for a particular project and the first time ever that I spin so much for a single project. I was not even sure I would make it to be honest.

Ì chose a 50/50 merino  and silk blend that I have spun as is, that is undyed, and now I have 5 skeins of that which together weigh 635 gr for about 1784 meters. That’s about a fingering weight yarn.

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I’m really happy with the outcome. The yarn is quite consistent and looks good. I have washed it now and it is relaxed and the twist is correct so I think it will knit up nicely.

Next stage is to dye the yarn. I haven’t chosen my color yet. Dyeing all this yarn which is also hand spun and has cost me so many hours of work, is a little overwhelming. I have to get it right! So I’m hesitating between grey? Blues? Maybe a petrol/denim blue? Or should I do something subtle with a little bit of speckles? Or should I just leave the yarn undyed? What do you think?

And then I need to find a pattern. I have been thinking of this the entire time I have been spinning. I still have some fibre left so if I need more yardage I can spin some more before going to the dye pot. Here are the patterns I have been and still am, thinking about and maybe you can help me decide.

The Boxy Sweater by Joji Locatelli – This is a simple sweater to knit I think and Sue is knitting this one with her hand spun. This was the very first pattern I thought of but I’m not so sure any more.

Sammal cardigan by Joji Locatelli – this is a brand new pattern and currently is at the top of my list. I like the fact that it is a cardigan as I use cardigans much more than sweaters. I like the fact that it has all over patterning. As my yarn is hand spun it is not as perfectly smooth as mill spun yarn and so maybe an all over stitch pattern is better suited? Also I have enough yardage for my size.

Boathouse by Alicia Plummer. I really love her designs and this  is a simple short sleeved sweater/t shirt. I could of course knit longer sleeves. It has stripes and I could dye one of the skeins in a contrasting color for this.

Japan Sleeves by Joji Locatelli. I have admired this design for a long time and I purchased the pattern a while back. This also would require two colors but that’s fine. I’m a little intimidated by the lace panel on the sleeves but otherwise I think it is not a very complicated knit.

Tau by Melanie Berg. This is a beautiful cardigan with a mix of patterning and stocking stitch. I definitely want to knit this some time. Maybe with this yarn?

Threshold by Melanie Berg. This is a sweater with some patterning on the front. As always it’s a gorgeous design and I’m really tempted.

That’s a lot to choose from and of course there are millions more. I already own all of these patterns and a ton more in my Ravelry library. I feel that I have to choose something really special because this yarn is so special. My first ever hand spun and hand knit adult size garment! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the pattern choices I have mentioned. And if you have knit any of those I’d love to hear your thoughts on the pattern and the finished garment. Or if you have another pattern to suggest? If you have knit a garment with your handspun; do tell and share with us.

That’s all for today. Thank you for stopping by and spending some of your precious time with me. Do participate in the giveaway for CC’s ebook (I will draw for a winner on Friday) and share your thoughts on my future handspun sweater.

Until next time; take care and enjoy your knitting 🙂

 

My big March plans

Hi there how are you today? it’s raining cats and dogs here in Normandy this morning. It almost feels like winter is coming back and they have predicted this kind of weather for the rest of the week I think. Funny how gloomy weather can sometimes affect your mood at least on weekdays. Because yesterday, Sunday, it was the same and I wasn’t bothered at all! In fact I spent almost the entire day knitting! Maybe a little too much time to be quite honest because my hands felt a bit sore by the time I went to bed.

But March is a very heavily busy month knitwise. It hadn’t started  out as such but as we got closer to the end of February, beginning of March the projects just piled on.

But before I share those with you let me show you my two Fos.

First off is a pair of socks that I was test knitting for my friend and designer Dana Gervais. The pattern is called Good Karma and will be a for sale pattern on Ravelry in the near future.

The pattern is fun to knit and quite intuitive. It’s a mirrored pattern which means that the pattern is placed differently on each sock so that they mirror each other. I managed to knit them quite quickly as I had big plans coming up and absolutely wanted and needed to get them done in time.

I used one of my newer bases which I call POP. It’s a merino/donegal nepp tweed yarn. And what is especially fun with this tweed yarn is that the nepps are multi colored instead of just plain black as usually. I have knit socks out of this yarn before and I really love both knitting with it and the finished project. So here are some pictures of my finished socks.

 

They look really nice even if I say so myself! I’m taking a break from test knitting socks this month due to my heavy workload but I really look forward to doing it again.

My second finished object is a shawl that I started on January 1st 2017. This was part of the brioche challenge hosted by Louise Tilbrook Designs. I did choose a pattern that was not all brioche thinking it would go quicker although just from looking at the pattern pictures, I could see that it is quite big. Well, I got sidetracked needless to say and I only just finished last week. I knit this using two of my yarns in my SOX base and two other yarns. And it is huge! I haven’t blocked the shawl yet and frankly I don’t know if I will. Maybe I’ll just lightly steam block it before giving it away because yes I’m going to gift it to someone special. Shh not saying just in case she reads my blog.

The shawl I’m babbling about is the Briochealicious shawl by Andrea Mowry. It is a mix of brioche and garter stitch so quite a relaxing knit and I really did enjoy knitting on it. I can even see myself knitting a second one that I would keep. But here’s a picture – although you can’t see it in its entirety because of the size.

Yes that’s me modelling the shawl 🙂

And now onto current works in progress. I can show you two but one is a secret test knit. I was contacted by a relatively new designer that I love. I have knit one of her sweaters, the Kitsune sweater. And I already have a cardigan of hers on the needles although I’m still at the very beginning there. Well so she contacted me and asked I was willing to test knit a new cardigan and once I saw the picture there was no turning back! So of course I said yes please! It is gorgeous! However she has asked us test knitters not to share any pictures until the pattern has been released so I won’t be able to show you anything for the moment. I’m knitting it on my SPARKLES base in a teal colorway and I think it will be amazing. I have one month to finish so that is part of the reason why I say March is a heavily busy knit month.

The first wip I can share, is the Snowmelt shawl by Helen Stewart of the Curious Handmade. This is a mystery kal and the last clue came out last Thursday. I have begun knitting on that clue but I won’t be able to continue until I finish my all consuming wip that I’ll tell you all about in a moment. So I’m knitting this shawl out of a new base of mine that I call Back to Basics. It’s a non superwash merino fingering yarn and it is gorgeous. I was hesitant to order non superwash fingering but I do not regret it. In fact I want to order much more. I love the fact that non superwash items do not grow so I think it will be perfect for garment knitting and I have a ton of sweaters and cardigans I want to knit using this base. But back to the shawl. I had heard Helen’s recommendations on the yarn before hand and so I dyed up 3 skeins just for this project and I’m really happy with the outcome and how they work together. This is a half pi shawl and I think it is the first time I knit one of those or if I have before, then it was ages ago because I don’t remember it. Here’s a picture of where I’m at now – I do want to finish soon so I can enter it into the FO thread in her Ravelry group for a giveaway.

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Snowmelt shawl by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade knit in Back to Basics by Knitting in France

I’m really happy with my choice of colors and I look forward to finishing the shawl.

And now onto the all consuming wip! I told you last time, I think, that I was participating in the Sock Madness competition for the second time this year. Well it has just began. The first pattern was released late Thursday night so I only got to cast on and do one cuff on that very first day but I have been knitting on this non stop since then. The first round is a qualifying round and we have 14 days to finish the pair. The faster you finish the better of course and that will also determine in which team you end up. The teams are composed of knitters that knit at similar speeds so although there are hundreds of knitters partaking in the competition you are only every competing against the members of your team so people of similar speed. That is great because it gives everyone a chance to participate. Last year I ended up in the second to fastest team I think which was quite stressful and makes me think maybe I should not try so hard to finish asap this time around but I can’t help myself. I really want to finish them at lightning speed and also when I browse the chatter and FO threads I realise that there are so many knitters that either are way speedier knitters than I am or have way more time because I’m not the fastes. Of course I’m not way behind either.

This first pattern, Twisted Madness, is not a complicated one but it is very time consuming and hard on the hands because it is basically an all over cable pattern. That makes progress slow and it just eats up yarn. There are minimum requirements so each time I have to knit the socks to my size or for my oldest to meet those and for this first pair one skein of fingering yarn is not enough. After knitting to the heel on the first sock I was seriously worried so one of the moderators told me to cast on for the second one and knit to the same place and then make a decision on if I had enough to finish or if I should change yarns. And so I did, I knit the second sock to the heel turn and then decided to turn the heel on both socks in my current yarn. After that I only had 40 gr left and I’m pretty sure I would not have had enough to finish and as we are not allowed to do contrasting heels, toes and cuffs I could not knit to the toe and then change yarns so I thought after the heel would be good spot to change.

I hesitated between yarns. My yarn was a turquoise with some yellow and I had another skein in only turquoise but of course not the exact same shade and I also had a skein of yellow also not the same shade. Finally I went with the yellow and I think my socks will look just fine when they are done.

This is where I’m at now:

 

This stitch pattern is basically a left leaning cable over 2 stitches and produces this nice pattern that you can  see close up on the picture on the right. What do you think about my choice of second color for the socks? I think they will be ok. When worn, people will see a yellow sock with a turquoise and yellow heel so I’m sure it will be ok.

So after I had turned the heel on both socks I decided to knit them taat magic loop. I’ll be knitting on them this afternoon but I’m taking a little break this morning and going to knit on my Snowmelt shawl and spin a little just to give my hands a little time off from the pattern. I chose to knit them on a long circular needle from the get go because just seeing the stitch pattern I realised that knitting them on a 9″ circular would be too hard on my hands.

So I need to finish these asap to qualify of course but also so that I have more time in between rounds so that I can finish my Snowmelt and make good progress on my test knit cardigan. Once the two weeks of the qualifying round are up, the organizers need a few days to set up the teams and so I have some time to finish other things. Each round thereafter is also 14 days but the objective is to always finish way before the time limit. So quite a busy month ahead. Are you also participating in Sock Madness this year? I’d love to know if you are so I can follow your progress on social media.

So planning wise the month of March is 90% Sock Madness and then my test knit cardigan. But I did fall for the Stephen West Mkal temptation and sign up for the Marled Magic Mystery Kal The first clue came out last Friday and I haven’t had the time to start and  realistically I may not be able to until the kal is actually over but anyway. I fell for this because he recommended that one use mohair yarn – this is a shawl knit holding two fingering weight yarns together and either use one constant color and only change on of the yarns throughout or to change both all the time. I had a few skeins of mohair/silk yarn in my stash of undyed yarns and I really don’t like the fuzziness of mohair and haven’t dyed or sold much of this yarn and when I saw the pattern and yarn recommendations I thought “it’s now or never”. Either I do this or these skeins will stay in my stash forever. And so I dyed all the skeins, 8 of them I think in a very pale mint green and then I went looking in my stash and my shop yarns for colors that could work with it and I’ve come up with a surprising palette. Actually very different from the colors I’m usually drawn to so I don’t even know if I’ll actually wear the shawl once it’s done. I might give it to someone or maybe I’ll find myself in love with all those new colors. Who knows!

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Only one of these yarns is not mine and I might just change it out for one of my own to make this a 100% Knitting in France shawl. Are you doing the mkal? I’d love to see your yarn choices and see your progress as I wait to be able to start mine.

Well, that’s all for now I think. I’ll be back this Thursday with a Maker of the Month feature and a giveaway so stay tuned for that. Until then, have a wonderful week and happy knitting 🙂

My works in progress and a redraw for a winner

Hi there, how are you? I hope you had a wonderful weekend and that your week is shaping up to be a good one.

I have been making good progress on my knitting projects and getting ready for others and I’d like to share those with you today.

So first I have two finished objects that I think I have not shared with you yet. Both are socks. Surprise surprise:)

The first is the Lovealong Socks. A pattern by Amy Meeks of the Periscoping sisters. I knit these socks as part of a kal that is being hosted by Amy in the Periscoping sisters Ravelry group, by Dani of Little Bobbins Knits Ravelry Group and Christy of the Yarn Cafe Creations Ravelry Group – only if you knit with her yarn which I did. So I entered my pair into all three FO threads and now I just need to cross my fingers and wait and see if I win anything!

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This was a fun pattern to knit. The pattern only gives one size, and it’s not my sock size, so these will be for one of my girls. The yarn is the Banana Split colorway from Yarn Cafe Creations and it is super soft and squishy. It may be a bit on the busier side where the pattern is concerned. I mean the patterning would show up more if I had used a tonal or a less speckled/variegated yarn. But I still love them. They were actually quite a quick knit too.

I also finished another pair that was/is part of another kal. Those are the Prairie Socks by Kay Jones of the Bakery Bears Podcast. I’m a huge fan of Dan and Kay’s podcast and when I saw the socks on their podcast I really wanted to knit them asap. I found a single skein of a mystery yarn base and I dyed it up specially for this project. The inspiration behind the color was just thinking of grass and colorful flowers and I really love the outcome. Both of the socks and the yarn. I have of course entered this pair into their kal/giveaway thread and cross my fingers.

The yarn is less saturated in the second half of my skein somehow and so you see that one of the socks is greener than the other. But that’s ok. I still love them.

And then on to works in progress. Of course I have numerous pairs of socks on the go as always. I’m only going to share one which is a pair that I’m test knitting for my friend Dana of Dana Gervais Designs. This pattern was actually designed using one of my hand dyed yarns! Which I’m so excited about. And of course I had to test knit this, no question about that. I did choose to you a different yarn for this than she used in the design, but it’s still one of my own. I chose the POP base, which is a  tweed base with colorful nepps in that make such a fun addition to the yarn. This yarn knits up so nicely. It’s the second time I use this base for one of Dana’s designs.

So this pattern is currently being tested and it has mirroring patterning. I’m currently working on the left sock. The picture on the left is of the front of the sock/leg and the one one the right is of the back of the leg. I’m just at the heel here. I think these will be gorgeous and I really look forward to having them finished.

I’m also working on three shawls at the moment. There’s the Snowmelt kal, a shawl pattern by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. I’ve finished clue 3. Here’s a picture I took after clue 2. I’m sorry but I don’t have a picture of it as it is now, ready for clue 4. I’m using a new base that I call Back to Basics. It’s a fingering weight 100% non superwash merino yarn and it is such a joy to knit with.

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This is a fun knit and I’m happy with the colors I dyed up for this.

Then I’m also knitting the Snow Day shawl by Mina Philipp of the Knitting Expat Designs. That shawl is designed for a sport weight yarn but I’m knitting it using a new base in my shop that is DK weight. It’s a 100% organic merino yarn and the color palette is similar to the one in my Snowmelt shawl.

I’m getting close to finishing this shawl and really love all about it; both the pattern and the yarn and colors I chose.

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This is a fun asymmetrical garter and slipped stitches shawl and I think it will be super cute and cozy to wear:

The last shawl I’m working on is one that I cast on in January for the Brioche challenge being held by Louise Tilbrook. Clearly I did not finish it in time! But I’m getting there, slowly but surely. I’m doing the Briochealicious shawl by Andrea Mowry. Some of the yarns are my own some are either store bought or from another indie dyer. This shawl is huge! It’s not a complicated knit, it has a lot of garter in it. I think it’s just the size, the number of stitches that make this such a slow going project. Well and then of course I’m not a monogamous knitter so I haven’t been focusing on it much lately. But now I really want to get it done. Because I have found two other shawls that I want to cast on! More about those later. I don’t have a picture of my shawl to share today. it’s such a big shawl and I’m only using a 40″/100 cm cable so it’s all scrunched up so I feel I wouldn’t be able to take a good picture of it. You’ll just have to wait and see when it’s all done and gorgeous:)

So that’s about it for knitting this week.  This coming week I’ll work on my shawls and my test knit socks and continue working on some socks that are in need of love in my pile of wip. Oh which brings me to my challenge of last week! The cleaning up/reorganising of my mountain of wips! Gosh, I was so excited to share all these works in progress I totally forgot about that until just now! But this is becoming quite a long post so I think I will keep that till next time. And I’ll also have to tell you all about the upcoming sock knitting challenge that I’m joining in on as of March 1st! Lots of things to share still! Hope you will stick around and come back for more:)

But before I leave you today, I have a winner to announce! You may remember a giveaway I did in January in conjunction with my Maker of the Month feature which for January was Knit Cosmic Strings. I did draw a winner for the giveaway only the lucky winner never contacted me! I did remind everyone of this in a post this February but still no sign of the winner so I’m considering that as a forfeit of the prize. So I have just drawn again from the comments for the giveaway and this time around I do hope the lucky winner will see this and contact me so I can send the gorgeous yarn out! And as a reminder here’s the yarn

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So drum rolls please. And the winner is….Aylin A who wrote:

The colors are all gorgeous, but if I had to decide on a favorite it would definitely be Peony!

So if you are the lucky Aylin A, please either send me an email at knittinginfrance@gmail.com or send me a private message on Instagram where I’m @knittinginfrance so I can get your details and ship the yarn out to you asap!

I’m also still waiting to hear from this month’s Maker of the Month winner so if you participated in that one, please check out the winner announcement and contact me if you are the lucky one.

I want the prizes to go out to readers of my blog, people that follow my blog and enjoy spending time with me here so I’m not looking people up. I think that when you participate in a giveaway, you should follow up and see if you won or not and so if a prize is not claimed within a month, I’m going to re-draw for a winner. I hope you understand and agree with me on that. At least this is how I’m thinking/processing for the time being.

And there will be another giveaway beginning of March for that month’s Maker of the month so you still have a chance of winning something:)

That’s all for today. Promise! Take care and have a great week:)

The February Plan

Hi there, It’s me again! Sorry if you think this a bit too much for one week but like I said at the beginning of the week I had soo much to share!

So today is or should just be  a short post but a necessary one because we are at the beginning of February and I have this big plan for what I’m going to knit this month and I thought maybe some of you would like to knit along with me.

So I’ll be knitting 2 shawls and 3 socks – that I know of for the time being – and a cowl

Here is a picture of all the yarns except the Snowmelt shawl which I had not dyed when I took the picture.

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Row 1 (bottom) Yarns for the socks Row 2 (middle) my 3 color cashmere cowl Row 3 my Snowday shawl

First the shawls. So there is the Snowday shawl by Knitting Expat Designs. This pattern was published in January and I immediately bought it. I loved the colors Mina chose for hers and I just knew I had to knit this. I’m using my own yarn of course. Mina wrote the pattern for a sport weight yarn but I don’t have any so I’m using a DK yarn. This is a new base that I’ll introduce in the shop next week. It is a non superwash organic wool from South America and I really look forward to knitting with it and seeing how it knits up. I loved the colours Mina chose and so I decided to stay with the same theme/colours.

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Mina is hosting a year long kal in her Ravelry group for all her patterns so this shawl can be entered into that.

 

The second shawl is a mystery knit along and it is the Snowmelt mkal being held by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. This is a 5 clue, 3 color shawl and the mkal launched yesterday on the 2nd of February. I have chosen another new yarn base for this shawl. This yarn is a 100% non superwash merino in fingering weight. it dyes up beautifully and it is very soft and I look forward to knitting with it for the first time. Just looking at the yarn and the ply I’m sure it will be gorgeous and give a beautiful stitch definition. I dyed up 3 skeins in complimentary colors for this and again the theme is blues.

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I’ve heard Helen say that color A is the one that has the most lace and she recommends using the lightest color for that. I don’t want to use the speckled yarn for the lace so I’m thinking then the light blue on the right side. I was going to have the darkest one as color A but I should probably follow Helen’s advice. So I look forward to knitting on this.

And then there are the socks and they all come with a kal. I’m very kal these days it seems and yet I rarely participate in the chatter.

So first it is the Lovealong kal – this kal is being hosted by Dani of the Little Bobbins; Amy of the Periscoping sisters (the designer of the sock pattern) and Christy of Yarn Café Creations who dyed the yarn Amy used in her design. This means you can actually enter your socks into at least 2 threads to win a prize and if you knit the socks with Christy’s yarn then you can enter in her group too. So as I have some of her yarns, that’s what I’m doing!

Then there is the January Challenge in Louise Tilbrook Designs group on Instagram and Facebook. You are supposed to knit a pair of socks and somehow challenge yourself. I’m cheating a bit because I want to knit one of Louise’s patterns and I chose one that is not necessarily very challenging but hey I’m the boss of me so! I’ve chosen the Bleaberry Tarn socks, a paid for pattern on Ravelry and I’m going to knit it in one of my new colorways that I’ve called Baby Pink Sparkles.

The third sock is for a kal being held by designer Rachel Gibbs. I’ve never knit one of her patterns before and I follow her on IG. I saw a post about her kal that actually began in January but I believe runs till the end of February so I decided to join and knit one of her patterns. Rachel designs lots of textured/patterned socks and the patterns are really gorgeous. I chose the Time Stream Socks and I’ve chosen another one of my Sparkles yarns in a turquoise colorway I had in my stock.

The last of the planned knits for the time being is a cowl. I’ve had this pattern in my Ravelry Library for a long time and never gotten to knit it so it is time. I have chosen an amazing yarn. This is a new base that I was trying out and want to later offer in the shop. It is a pricy one because it is a 50/50 merino and silk yarn. It is incredibly soft and knits up like a dream. I already have a cowl knit in this yarn and I love it. So the pattern I’ve chosen is the Three Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locatelli and I think this is the only planned knitting this month that is not part of a kal.

So I dyed two skeins of my merino/silk yarn and then I had one skein of a 100% silk yarn in natural, undyed state.  I think this will be heavenly and I really look forward to getting started on that one too.

three-color-cashmere-cowl

Have you planned what you want to work on in February? Are you maybe joining in some of the kals that I’m doing? I’d love to hear what you have got planned so don’t be shy and leave a comment below.

That’s it for now. I wish you all a wonderful weekend ahead with lots of quality knitting time. Thank you for sharing your time today with me. And until next time, happy knitting 🙂

Knitting and audio books

Hi there, how are you? I hope you are doing good and enjoying your week. I’m doing fine. Christmas is getting closer and last weekend I did some cookie baking with my kids and that really put us in the Christmas spirit:) Soon we’ll be putting up our decorations and purchasing gifts. In Iceland, or at least in my family, we put up our tree on the 23rd of December and we take it down on January 6 which is the end of Christmas in Iceland. Here in France people put their decorations up earlier and I think we’ll be decorating our home this coming weekend. How about you? Do you celebrate Christmas and if yes, have you already put up your tree and decorations?

Last week we had an internet outage for two days. No internet is a total catastrophe! Not only does it mean that I cannot work as my regular job depends on an internet connexion but it also means no home phone, no tv and of course no watching YouTube or anything else! So what is a knitter to do? Well, lucky for me I have an Audible account. I have bought a few books but haven’t listened to a lot of them. As I was unable to work for two days I did get some time to knit and knitting in silence is not my thing, at least not for a long time. And so I was so happy to have my Audible account and I took the opportunity to finish one book I had been listening to and to start a new one and I really got into them. I find that I equally enjoy knitting while listening to a good book as I do while watching a podcast or tv series.

Do you listen to audio books? I like mystery and police thrillers but for audio books I see that I also like fiction. So far I have listened to the following books/

Precious Victims by Don W. Weber – this is based on a true criminal case I believe and was quite captivating.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova – this is a fiction book about a young woman that suffers from Alzheimers. This was a really poignant story and I felt really touched as my grandmother suffers from age related dementia and in some aspects that resembles Alzheimers and so this book really touched me.

The amazing Mrs Polifax by Dorothy Gilman – this is a mystery that in some aspects makes me think of an Agatha Christie mystery in the fact that the hero is Mrs Polifax, an elderly sleuth and her adventures.

And the book I started last week and am still listening to is The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty –  this is a fiction with some crime mystery also. The author is Australian and the actor who reads is also Australian and I really love the exotic accent. This is a wonderful book that talks about a few women who’s lives intertwine at a critical moment in their lives. I have about 3h left and I’m really enjoying this.

If you enjoy audio books maybe you will enjoy one those books too. Also if you have any suggestions for me, I’d love to hear about the books that you most enjoy.

On to knitting. So last week I shared with you a color work cowl that I knit. It was the Boreal Forest cowl by Renée Callahan and it was part of this years Knitvent from Helen Stewart of the Curious Handmade podcast. Last week we got the fourth pattern of Knitvent and it was the hat to go with the cowl so of course I cast on for that and I have finished, twice really because after knitting the hat once, I wasn’t happy with the results so I ripped most of it out and knit it again. Unfortunately I’m still not satisfied. For some reason the hat is too small, too shallow actually. It’s written in one size with a change of needle size to knit either the child or adult version. I did use the correct needle size for the adult version and my tension was good and yet it still is super small. I like my hats to cover my ears and this one only covers the top of the ears. I think I will grow a little with some aggressive blocking. Or at least I hope so. Here’s a picture:

boreal-forest-hatIt’s somewhat blown out but you get the picture I hope.

I’m still working on the color work mittens, the Owl ones and I hope to finish them this week. My daughter is super excited about those and can’t wait to use them.

And then there is the Project Peace. This is a free pattern on Ravelry meant for us to knit while reflecting on world peace. Thousands of people have joined and I decided to do so as well. This is a slipped stitched patterned cowl and the 4 round pattern is repeated 21 times so the idea is to knit one pattern repeat a day. Sometimes I don’t have the time and then I knit two repeats the following day and currently I’m on time. The yarn I’m using is one I got in my Knitting in France Birthday Game swap this year. It’s a new to me yarn and a very luscious blend at that. It’s from Expression Fiber Arts and the colorway is called June Alexandrite. Its a superwash merino and silk in a singles base. It feels super soft and the colour is really intense. Here are some pictures.

Last week I told you about a sock I was test knitting for designer Dana Gervais. Well she published the pattern on Ravelry yesterday so now I can share that with you. It is a very simple slipped stitch color work pattern. The sock looks super complicated but it’s actually deceptively simple to do. I really enjoyed knitting this and I highly recommend this pattern for anyone wanting to try some fun color work.

The pattern is called Beach Ball Socks and you can find this on Ravelry. I knit this using my bronze sparkle yarn and I really love the outcome. I have only finished one sock… I got caught up in all the other knitting projects… but I have cast on for sock number two and hope to finish it soon. Here are some pictures:

The newest project I’m working on this week is a hat, the Maryam hat by Mina Philipp of the Knitting Expat. I’m knitting it in my non superwash BFL Aran weight yarn. I just cast on last night so I’m not far yet but here’s a little picture of my progress so far:

maryam-hatThis is a fun pattern with some cables and as it’s Aran weight I think it will be done quickly.

This is about all I think I wanted to share with you this week. I do have plans to cast on for a pair of Aran weight mittens, maybe the Bella mittens – a free pattern on Ravelry. I think I might do some Christmas gift knitting after all….

I hope you have a wonderful week with lots of knitting time because that is just the best! Until next time, take care 🙂

Knitting Fair Isle

Hi there, thank you for coming back and sharing some of your time with me this weekend. Today I wanted to share with you two projects that I’m currently working on and those are both colourwork projects.

The first one is an Aran weight cowl called the Boreal Forest cowl by designer Renée Callahan of East London Knits. This pattern is part of the Knitvent collection by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. Helen releases a collection of accessories every year leading up to Christmas where subscribers get one pattern a week for 6 weeks and this year for the first time she has invited a second designer to participate in her collection. I’m a fan of Renée’s work and so when I saw the pattern I knew I had to find the yarn and cast on.

I’m of course using my own Aran weight yarn. I had these all dyed up so that was good. I did hesitate to use hand spun for one of the colours but finally decided against it because I didn’t have the exact same thickness on hand.

This pattern uses the fair isle technique, two colours per round and it is a great pattern to work fair isle for the first time. I finished this in no time.

boreal-forest

This pattern uses 3 colours and because of the thickness of the yarn this knits up quite quickly. I’m working on my fair isle technique and trying to knit this with one yarn in each hand and I feel I’m getting better at that, slowly but surely. I think that if you are not used to colour work but want to try it, this would be a good pattern to start out with. The pattern is fairly simple and because it’s knit in Aran weight it knits up quicker than if it were fingering for example.

The other colour work pattern I’m working on are the O.W.L  mittens, a Harry Potter inspired pattern that I’m knitting for my older daughter. This is a much more complicated pattern because the pattern is more complex and cannot be memorised (I think). Also it’s knit in fingering weight so progress is slow. Again I’m using my own yarn in colours my daughter chose. This project requires concentration and at the moment I feel that each round takes a lot of time. Maybe because I’m so worried that I’m holding the yarn too tight and that the fabric will pucker. So I’m stopping frequently to pull on the knit and make sure that my floats are just right. I’ve almost been 

finished one mitten.

The back of the hand has an all over owls on a branch pattern and the palm side has spells written out. I’ve just put the thumb stitches on hold.

This project leads me to tell you about one of the podcasts that I follow and enjoy immensely. It’s a podcast called Fruity Knitting and you can find it on YouTube. If you are not familiar with this podcast I recommend it wholeheartedly. It is hosted by a lovely Australian couple living in Frankfurt, Germany. Andrea, the wife, is an expert knitter with a passion for fair isle and intarsia. Andrew, the husband, is a new knitter who is consistently expanding his skills. It is very fun to see sort of the two extremes in the same podcast. It is fun to see how Andrew progresses and his view of things as a new knitter and Andrea is just an amazing inspiration. She knits such intricate things. Their podcast is unlike any other that I follow and I think theirs is the most educational one. So if you are not yet a subscriber to their show, I highly recommend you check them out.

In their latest episode, Andrea does a tutorial on fair isle knitting in the flat and how she works with one yarn in each hand and how she catches her floats was a revelation to me. I just watched it once and I’m going to watch it again because her technique is awesome and she makes it look super simple. If I’m able to replicate her way of knitting fair isle my two fair isle projects will not only look better but be even more enjoyable to knit I think. If you are thinking of doing a fair isle project and like me, are not an expert, you can definitely benefit from watching Andrea’s tutorial so here is a link

 https://youtu.be/k1eo0VjO_Ik?t=20m14s

Do you knit fair isle or intarsia? I have knit fair isle before but I have never done intarsia and that still intimidates me. Andrea does make it look easy but I’m not yet convinced. If you have any colour work projects you’d like to share with me, I’d love to see a picture in a comment below:)

That’s all for today. Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy your knitting 🙂

 

Knitting video podcasts and giveaways

Hi there, thank you for stopping by. As I’m writing this it is Friday evening here and I’m just beginning my long weekend! Monday is a public holiday here in France so I’m going to be able to get some more dyeing done than on a regular weekend.

I have been dotting down all the subjects and things that I want to share with  you and  there is a ton! I will have to be serious and organized and get to work!

But before that I thought I’d share something with you because there is a fun giveaway going on and you just might want to join in the fun.

So in an effort to get the word out there about my little shop and my hand dyed yarns and hand made stitch markers, I have been sending some freebies to some of my favorite knitting podcasters both for them to try out and for them to giveaways as prizes on their podcasts.

One such review/giveaway is currently running so you still have time to join in and maybe win some of my yarn and stitch markers.

Just watch Maria’s  latest episode of her podcast Stitched in Sweden and you will see the yarns I sent her and then join the giveaway. Just click here for her episode.

I both watch and listen to a lot of podcasts and Maria’s is one of my favorites. Her style is a little different and I really love her color work knitting.

If you are interested in seeing what video podcasts I follow here is my top 10 and in no particular order:

Geeky Girls Knit

The Knitting Expat

The Knitting Broomstick

Little Bobbins

Inside number 23

Sticks and Twine

YarnGasm

Susan B Anderson

Grocery Girls

AndreSue Knits

 

This is not an exhaustive list of video podcasts that I follow but a list of those I watch every time a new episode comes out. There are a number of others I’m trying out and watch from time to time.

With regards to audio podcasts these are my favorite ones:

Curious Handmade

Shiny Bees

Pom Pom Podcast

Yarn Thing

Power Purls

Also not an exhaustive list but just some of the must listen to.

I hope I have introduced you to something new and help you discover a new podcast. What podcasts do you follow if any? I’d love to hear from you what your favorite shows are.

I’m not sharing any knitting this time although I have been knitting like crazy as you know if you follow me on Instagram – where I’m @knittinginfrance.

I’ll be back later with pictures of my latest FOs and my current WIPs. I’m also working on organising a new sock themed giveaway so stay tuned for that AND there is the summer kal to think about- June 1st to Sep 1st where we would be knitting together on one of Nancy Whitman’s patterns. Do let me know if you want to join in the kal.

And just before I go, do join in Maria’s giveaway if you have the time. Have a wonderful (long) weekend and I’ll be back soon:)

 

 

 

Pattern bonanza or the Indie Designer Gift-a-long 2015

Hi there, last time I posted about the Indie Designer Gift-a-long 2015 on Ravelry which I was excited about participating in for the first time this year. Well the Indie GAL was launched last night. I had already taken a peek at the 325 designers participating this year and added a number of patterns to my cart. Some of the patterns, I realized, I had only just purchased which was a bit of a bummer as I could have waited a few days for the discount but hey… that’s what I get for being impatient! Especially when I know that I’m buying because I MUST have the pattern and not because I’m CASTING ON immediately.

Anyway, I’ve totally indulged myself these last 2-3 days because I’ve not only participated in the Indie designer GAL but I’ve also joined Curious Handmade Knitvent 2015.

And before I tell you all about my GAL patterns let me just touch on the the KNITVENT. I think this is the second year that Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade launches a Christmas collection called Knitwent where she publishes one pattern per week for 6 weeks and of course there is a KAL going on etc. Here is how Helen describes the Knitvent on Ravelry:

“The 2015 Knitvent collection is inspired by the special radiance of winter. As the days grow shorter, light becomes something precious. Imagine the dazzle of sunlight on snow and the gleam of firelight through the frosted windows of a log cabin. Think fairy lights twinkling behind a row of icicles, and the glow of candles on the dinner table. I’ve tried to capture all that glimmering brightness and warmth in this year’s designs.

Knitvent is the Curious Handmade community’s beloved holiday tradition. Together we enjoy the sweet suspense of an advent calendar and conjure up the community spirit of a mystery knit along, with a new design to discover and knit each week. All of the patterns are ideal for gifting, but chances are you’ll cast on at least one for yourself (you deserve it!)

  • The collection will feature six beautiful accessory patterns.
  • The first design will arrive on the 5th of November, and you’ll be sent updates each Thursday as each pattern is released.

There will be chatter, fun, support, and prizes in the Ravelry group. It’s really exciting, and a brilliant way to bring an extra bit of magic to your holiday knitting”

So far 3 patterns have been published, all gorgeous, and I’m going to try to knit at least one of the 6 patterns during the KAL to actually be able to say that I did join in the fun. Are any of you participating in her Knitvent this year? If so, are you already knitting on one of the patterns and would you like to share a picture with us here? That would be super nice 🙂

And now on to the Indie Designer Gift-a-long 2015. I don’t know how many designers participated last year but this year they are 325 and I find that super impressive. You have a mix of both well known and established designers as well as totally unknown (to me at least) designers. You can choose from both knit and crochet patterns and they span all possible projects imaginable. So if you are dreaming of a new pattern or looking for something special to knit this is definitely the time to check out and join this GAL. I’m going to knit some of the patterns I just bought now so I can join in the KALs and be eligible for a prize because there are a number of incredible prizes to be won and those will be drawn at random from FOs from participants in the KALs.

Now what did I buy? Hm, actually quite a lot… more than my wallet had accepted but….what’s done is done so I’m not going to scold myself and just enjoy all these gorgeous new patterns!

I bought 1 sock pattern – 5 hat patterns – 2 shawls – 1 mitten pattern – 1 pullover pattern or a total of 10 patterns.

Some of these I’m going to knit asap to gift for Christmas and at the same time join in the KALs.  I’m going to knit at least 2 hats and 1 pair of mittens before Christmas and maybe some more but not sure because I have recently bought so many incredible patterns that I’ve already got lined up and am anxious to cast on for.

I’m just going to list the names of the patterns and designers I bought from and then later as I knit them I’ll share pictures with you.

Jump to the left socks by Fiona Hamilton-Maclaren

Riparian shawl

Nougat pullover

Sand bank hat   –  all three by Justyna Lorkowska

Loop shawl by Casapinka

Fernie hat

Kicking Horse Mittens by Kate Bostwick

Tempano hat

Coriander hat both by Carol Feller

And then one last hat which was actually not part of the GAL but I bought it anyway because I want to knit it for my grandmother for Christmas

Flavia tam by Beth Kling

That’s all 10 just from today! Wow! I think I have outdone myself in pattern purchases this month! So what about you? Please tell me you too have gone overboard buying patterns this month or that you are just about to. I’d love to hear if you are joining the GAL and what patterns you have purchased or are thinking of buying. So please do share 🙂

 

That’s all for today. Just one more thing before saying goodbye, the Birthday gift-a-long I’m organising, I’m going to work on preparing the questionnaires for the participants this weekend hopefully so if someone wants to join in it’s still time.

That’s all for today. Happy Friday to you! Enjoy your weekend, if you are knitting on the Doodler like I am then happy knitting clue nr 3.

Take care:)

 

Something done and something new

Hi there, I hope you had a great weekend. I went to visit a friend and a colleague which was great. When working from home on the computer and over the phone, work can get lonely even though I’m in touch with my colleagues every day I still take my lunch break alone and I don’t actually see anyone so getting to meet up was a treat and the best part was that it was on a weekend so no work and all fun !

She lives over an hour by train away from me so I got a little bit of knitting done on the train. I was working on my 2 in 1 socks using my new Lornas Laces Rainbow colorway yarn.

www.knittinginfrance.com I love the yarn and how my socks are working out. One thing though about knitting socks with this method. Once you have the hang of it, it goes rather smoothly but you do need to be vigilant. I occasionally make a mistake where I don’t switch my yarns around as I should and that means that your socks are actually joined together like siamese twins! Not the way they are supposed to work!!! And sadly, just this evening, I discovered such a mistake! At least 2″ below my working row (10 cm) I had mis crossed my yarns and my socks were joined together on 1 single stitch! Only as both socks are being worked at the same time, it is fiddly to undo and start again and in this case I had actually knitted on for AGES! So I had to rip out a good chunk and start again so in spite of today’s knitting, I’m at much the same place now as I was Saturday. So annoying!!!!! But, rather than cut the yarn and fix with a knot and so forth I chose to rip it out and do over for a perfect look! The ripping out is now done and I’m knitting on and being very careful NOT to make the same mistake again! So mark my words: if/when you knit your socks this way, ALWAYS be careful about your yarn placement!

On to more happier things. Last week I actually finished a project and a big one at that. I finished my Pebble Beach Shawl by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. I knit the shawl using DK weight instead of the heavy laceweight or fingering the pattern called for so my shawl is probably quite bigger than the pattern meant for it to be BUT I love it! I can wear it as a shawl or I can wear it all wrapped up like a shawl and a scarf in one. The yarn is a cash’merino so super soft and warm.

I had intended for it to be a gradient grey with the last section being bright pink but I ran out of yarn! Fortunately I had some more on stock and so was able to finish the shawl using the same yarn although in a different grey color. But I think it really did work out nicely. Theoretically I should now wash and block but I’m feeling ….lazy…un-encouraged….un-inspired…. so I think I’ll actually just wear it as is!

www.knittinginfrance.com What do you think?

And before I leave you, I’m thinking that I really need to develop some patterns using my yarns. That pattern support would be really helpful and encourage sales. I’ve already got a designer working on a sock pattern that will be released in a few months probably and I’m going to see if I can find other designers to work with my yarns as well.

Yesterday, as I was looking at a pile of dyed yarn that is just waiting for me to reskein, photograph and list online, I thought ” well, why don’t I try to do some designing as well???”

And since I love knitting socks and seem to be constantly drawn to fingering weight yarn and bright colors, I naturally chose to do socks! I cast on yesterday and I’ve been working on the today as well and I’m passed the heel on the first so and so far they look nice! I’m thinking I’ll knit the first sock as I write the pattern. Then I’ll put the pattern on paper and knit the second sock by following my pattern and if all works out and the socks look wearable, I’m going to put it up online. This will probably be a free pattern as it’s my very first sock pattern. But I’m really excited about the outcome and just thinking that I could do more and that pattern support could actually help my little yarn business.

Here are some pictures and I’d really love to hear your thoughts on what’s done so far.

www.knittinginfrance.com    Here is a close up, I’ve finished the cuff and done 1 repeat of my lace panel

www.knittinginfrance.com  Here is a sideways view of the sock, there is a lace panel on the center front and back

www.knittinginfrance.com  Here you can better see the lace panel

Any thoughts on my work so far? Be honest!

Well that’s all you guys. I hope you are all doing great and enjoying your summer so far. I’m not writing as regularly as before but I hope you forgive me for that. Thanks for stopping by and until next time, take care 🙂

My Pebble Beach Shawl and more

Hi there,

Lately I’ve been mostly working on my shawls. I’m almost done with the Pebble Beach Shawl by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. Her pattern for this shawl is in an original format, a bit like an excel sheet where you have the pattern written out in rows and each row is numbered from 1 and up and every so many rows you see the percentage of completion of the project. I find that quite fun for this project. Of course seeing the size I can imagine that I’m close to finishing but seeing the actual percentage of what I’ve done so far is a great new feature to a knitting pattern I think.

Here I was approximately at 70% done

www.knittinginfrance.com My yarn was gradient dyed in grey so you have light grey, darker grey and then really dark and to finish a bright fluo pink.

Unfortunately I did not have enough pink to finish my shawl so at 80% done I had to add a third color. So I had 60% grey, 20% pink and then I needed to find a new color for the last 20%. I had the same yarn but dyed in 2 different colors and I really was not quite sure which one was the right one so I went to my followers and friends on Instagram and Facebook and asked them to help me choose

www.knittinginfrance.com Their answers were almost unanimous: LIGHT GREY! So I listened and quickly wound the grey yarn into a ball and continued and I think that was the right choice. I’ve knit a few rows of the new light grey yarn now and I think its looking rather nice even though I was not originally planning on using this new color but hey, things happen:-)

www.knittinginfrance.com What do you think? Do you think these colors will work? I sure do! I’m at 85% now so hopefully I’ll finish in 2-3 days. At this stage in the pattern, the rows are super long so the last few rows take forever to finish.

I’m also working on my Beetlebum shawl by Renée Callahan of East London Knits. I haven’t been sufficiently consistent working on this so it is going slowly but surely never the less. I really love how the pattern works up, I like the wings on each side and  I feel this gives the shawl an original look. I’m super happy also with the yarn I chose. Its my hand dyed lace yarn, 50% xtra fine merino, 50% suri alpaca. It’s super soft and squishy. I’m really looking forward to finishing this and I can see myself wearing my Beetlebum shawl this summer in the evening.

www.knittinginfrance.com

And just before I say goodby for today, I couldn’t resist all my new Lornas Laces Shepherd Sock yarns so I ended up casting on for a pair of socks. I’m doing a 2 in 1 socks using the Lornas Laces in Rainbow colorway. So far it’s looking very good. I really love all the bright colors and how they are divided up on the skein and hand painted. The  socks will either be for me or for my daughter. We’ll see later on.

www.knittinginfrance.com Here you see the socks and I have “opened them up” so you can see both socks. Looking good don’t you think?

Well, that’s all for now. Take care and enjoy your summer and hopefully you have some quality time to enjoy your crafting every day:)