Yarn Cake in Glasgow, Scotland

Hi there, I hope this post finds you in good health today. I’m doing fine and looking forward to getting my Thursday off work but Thursday is a public holiday here and in Iceland and most likely in many other countries. A short workweek is always fun. I don’t have any special plans for my day off but I believe the weather should be gorgeous so just maybe we’ll go to beach for some fresh sea air. It’s been super nice here weather wise lately and I believe the rest of this week should also be sunny and warm.

Today I’m going to share with you my trip to Yarn Cake in Glasgow, Scotland. I went there last April as you may know and for some reason I have yet to share my visit to this particular yarn shop so here goes:)

So before going to Glasgow, I had done some research online and asked for advice on Ravelry and Yarn Cake was one of two shops recommended to me.

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The shop seen from the upper level

Yarn Cake is a tine yarn shop slash café in a rather affluent part of Glasgow, close to the university. For me as a tourist, I did not find the location convenient and I would never have stumbled upon the shop by accident. It did take some time to get there and back.

As the name indicates, should you go there you can get both yarn and cake. The shop is in a tiny space and when you enter, on your left you have I think 3 little tables where you can sit down and have coffee and cake and on the right side wall you have shelves of yarns, mostly Drops when I was there. Then you can go up a few steps and there you have a kitchen (where they bake and prepare the food and drinks they serve) and some more yarn.

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Kitchen and yarns

I went there with my 16 year old son and so I just looked around and touched some yarn. Sitting down for anything else was not really an option.

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The shop offers mostly commercial yarns like Drops, Lang, Opal and WYS. They did have yarn from one local indie dyer and then also some yarns from Baa Ram Ewe too.

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So what did I think? Well, they do have some lovely yarns and the husband of the owner who was there was quite nice. What I liked less was the location (seen from a tourist standpoint) and also it felt somewhat cramped. If you have any more than 3-4 shoppers at at time, looking at yarn could get complicated.

I of course did not leave empty handed. So I bought a few things like a skein of Titus Aire from Baa Ram Ewe

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I also bought a few balls of Lang sock yarn and what is fun about this yarn is that inside each ball of yarn you have a spool of nylon thread in the same color to knit alongside the yarn when doing heels and toes. This is meant to reinforce those areas that tend to get worn out first.

 

And last but not least, I bought a few balls of Jamieson and Smith Shetland wool in different colors. I don’t have any plans yet for those. They just looked nice and they are local sort of so… I just need to find a fun fair isle pattern for maybe a tam or mittens for these.

jameson and smith yarn cake

So that concludes my tales of my visit to Scotland and I hope you have enjoyed reading about that.

Before I leave you, I thought I should give you a little update on my current works in progress.

First there is a pair of socks that I’m test knitting for Dana Gervais. I have almost gotten to the toe of sock one. I’m knitting the smallest size this time so they will be for my youngest. I’m knitting out of my own hand dyed yarns, SOX for the main color and SPARKLES for the heel and toe.

 

This is a beautiful pattern with a simple pattern repeat that soon becomes intuitive. The heel construction is rather new to me. I do think I have done this type of heel before but I’m not a 100% sure.

And then I’m working on my Sammal cardigan. This is part of the Sweater Spin kal being held by Sue of Legacy Fibre Artz and Andi of Andre Sue Knits. This is my first big spinning project as I spun all the yarn on my wheel, then dyed it and now I’m knitting the cardigan and loving it!

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The pictures show you the front at different stages of completion. This is an all over patterned cardigan so it does take some time to knit and I think the kal runs to June 1st so I will not finish in time but that’s ok. They inspired me to do my first garment spin and I definitely want to make more and already have a ton of plans for future sweaters and cardigans using my handspun yarn.

That’s all for today. I hope you are doing well and wish you a wonderful week ahead with hopefully lots of crafting time and nice weather. Speak to you soon 🙂

My latest FOs

Hi there, how have you been? Well I hope. It seems that maybe, and I mean just maybe, summer is actually around the corner here in Normandy. We have had warm temperatures for a few days in a row now so it’s starting to feel somewhat summer-y. School will soon come to a close for the kids and so exams are about to start and such.

As for myself, well I have been doing quite a bit of knitting. Surprise surprise! Or not 🙂

So today I wanted to show you my two latest FOs, one you have already  heard of I’m pretty sure and the other is my secret test knit that has now been made official!

So first my Cullum t-shirt by Isabelle Kraemer. I have knit that using some lovely italian linen dyed by a friend of mine in Australia. So this is quite the international project:) The pattern is easy to follow and was actually a very quick knit and I can easily see myself knitting another one just like it. I’m currently washing it and hope to block it later today but I did try it on and if you follow me on IG you may have seen the pictures but for those of you who don’t or haven’t seen the pictures, here are some

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This is the first time I have ever knit with a linen yarn. This one felt very nice on the hands and somewhat shiny and my friend Andrea who dyed and gifted me this yarn says it’s because this is brushed linen. I was expecting this to be somewhat harsh on the hands and to the touch but not at all. It really was a joy to knit with.

I have some linen in my stash that I recently bought and that one must be non brushed linen because it has a totally different handle. Even after knitting a swatch and washing that linen, it still feels somewhat “crisp”. Not sure if it will work for a summer t-shirt or if I should just resign and make something like a grocery bag. We’ll see.

My second FO like I said is the mystery test knit I have mentioned here before. The pattern is by designer Amanita and it is a DK weight shawl. This is a triangular shaped shawl with a patterned border on one side which is knit simultaneously to the rest of the shawl which is mostly garter stitch.

This was an easy pattern to follow and it went quite quickly too. I did misunderstand the instructions for one stitch, a sort of twisted stitch surrounding the patterned section, but I think it doesn’t really show much and I love the finished item. I knit my sample using my own hand dyed DK yarn and I ended up using just over 3 skeins. Actually 3 x 100 gr skeins + 6gr of skein 4. Maybe that was a gauge thing but if you should go ahead and make this shawl and don’t want to start on skein 4 for such a small amount of yardage, I would just recommend you keep a close eye on the amount of yarn you have when you start your last pattern repeat and possibly stop a few rows early so you have enough for the bind off.

The pattern was published on Ravelry yesterday, May 16th and is called Forest Mystery and it is already on the first page for HOT NOW on Ravelry! I can highly recommend this shawl. It is huge and my yarn is so soft and squishy. I can’t wait to actually wear it this coming autumn and winter.

Not being much for modelling, I asked my youngest daughter to model the shawl for me and she gracefully accepted so here are some pictures of her showing off my shawl.

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And speaking of shawls, I have started on my Starting Point mystery wrap by Joji and I’ll be sharing pictures later, if you don’t mind spoilers 🙂

That’s all for now. I NEED to get some knitting done before work. I wish you all a wonderful day and rest of your week. Happy knitting 🙂

It’s all about the socks once again

Hi there, how are you doing today? Fine I hope. For once it is a sunny day here in Normandy. We had begun thinking that spring was not actually going to come this summer but today it’s really sunny and nice so we are crossing our fingers the nice weather is here to stay.

Now I haven’t finished telling you all about my last travel and the yarn shops I visited. There is one shop left on my list, Yarn Cake in Glasgow Scotland and I’ll be telling you all about that one next week if all goes to plan. Today I thought I should tell you about my latest sock knitting as that is mostly what I’m knitting on these days.

A while back I told you that I had joined Sock Madness for the second time and that this time I was way to enthusiastic (fast) knitting on my qualifying socks and so was put into the fastest team! And boy are those ladies fast!

So as of round 2 I got disqualified. Not only because of speed but because I misunderstood the colorwork chart. I finished my socks in time and got the confirmation email that I was qualified for round 3 and then the next day I got a second email saying that I had misunderstood and thus knit the pattern wrong and so I was disqualified. Re-knitting both socks was not an option as my teammates are so quick so I forfeited. What a deception! I was so very sad and just generally angry with myself for being so stupid and actually knitting two whole socks without realizing my error! But what is done is done and colorwork (this year’s theme) is not my forté. So now I’m a cheerleader and as such I’m knitting the patterns along with my teammates but I no longer have the stress of finishing in the blink of an eye. I admit I was so disappointed at first that I thought about just forgetting all about Sock Madness but I got a lot of heartwarming encouragements from fellow knitters and so decided I had to keep going and I’m really happy I did.

So here is a picture of the pair that got me disqualified.

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Instead of the pattern repeat being always the same like I did, it should have been like a mirror image. You may have seen pictures of these knit the correct way and they do look nicer than mine. Another issue I had with these, as these are stranded throughout, even though I used a bigger needle than the pattern called for, they still came out small and rather stiff. I clearly need to work on my tension when doing all over colorwork.

Then there was round 3 and I finished that pair within the 2 week period (most of my teammates finished in 2-4 days I think). I’m very happy with the end result and the colors I had chosen for this pattern. I was very careful this time around about my tension. I did use a bigger needle for the sock and the tension was much better this time.

 

Currently we are on round 4 and this time it’s not a colorwork pattern but a beaded sock. I really love this one and so far I have only done one repeat on sock one but I’m hoping I’ll be able to finish again within the two weeks. As a cheerleader I also have the luxury of not exactly following the pattern and I took advantage of that and instead of using two colors of beads as the pattern calls for, I’m only using one and I really like how that looks.

I’m knitting with my SPARKLES yarn and I really love how it is knitting up.

I have also subscribed to the New York Sock Club that Mina Philipp of the Knitting Expat is doing and she issues a pattern a month and so far I have kept up with those. Here is the pair from April, The Grand Central socks and I knit those using sock yarn from Knit Cosmic String in their Chai latte colorway.

I have only just cast on for the May sock, Union Square socks, and I’m knitting those in a self striping yarn from the Yarn Enabler.

I’m also doing a sock test knit for Dana Gervais and I really love this new pattern. I’m knitting it on my SPARKLES base and it is gorgeous even if I say so myself. The pattern has not been released yet but I’ll be sure to post pictures on IG when it is.

I was somewhat naughty and bought a ton of commercial sock yarn some time ago and when it arrived last week I of course had to cast on for a pair immediately. I cast on using a new to me yarn. It’s a cotton sock yarn from Regia and I knit a pair of shorty socks for my youngest. The pattern was just something I came up with and I really love the outcome and as spring and summer is getting closer I have this urge to knit shorty socks so I think you will be seeing more of those here.

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She doesn’t like her socks very short so I knit a longer cuff than I had expected but that’s ok. She has the option of rolling it down as I show on the second sock.

Phew that’s a lot of sock knitting! I was intending on finishing my Ramble shawl by Andrea Mowry before the Starting Point mystery kal by Joji begins this Friday. Only problem was that as I had put the shawl down for a while, once I picked it up again I was just off and yesterday I ended up ripping back the brioche section. I had done just over one repeat so quite a lot but it just didn’t look like it should and I would never have worn it like that so I decided to rip back and begin on the brioche section later. Maybe not until the Starting Point is over but at least then it will be done correctly.

I hope you have enjoyed spending some time with me today and sharing my sock knitting. Are you also avid sock knitters or do you mostly knit something else like garments? Would you be interested in us doing a kal this summer? Maybe something from June 1st to September 1st? With a prize or two in the end? Please let me know by leaving a comment below and also let me know what you would like that kal to be about. I have ideas such as : 1) socks  (of course) 2) a shawl -either we all knit the same or we just each knit our own 3) a garment 4) or we can decide on a designer and just knit any pattern by that particular designer

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Also I almost forgot, My -20% off everything sale is still going until May 15th so if you would like to try out my yarn for the first time or maybe get some more if you already enjoy my yarns, now’s the time! Just use the coupon code MADMAY17 at checkout and you will get a 20% discount on all in stock items. I of course ship worldwide at low prices so I hope you will take advantage of this offer. The shop you can find by clicking here

Until next time I wish you a wonderful week and hopefully lots of quality knitting time. Speak to you soon 🙂

Litla Prjonabudin in Reykjavik, Iceland

Hi there, I’m back with the rest of my yarn haul from Iceland. This time I’m going to share with you this lovely knitting shop that I discovered on my last trip to Iceland. I learned about this shop from my friend and designer Cat Bordhi. When Cat does knitting retreats in Iceland, she brings her retreat-ees to this shop and that to me was a gauge of quality.

The name, Littla Prjonabudin, means the Little Knitting Shop but it’s not so little in real life. It is located not far from the supermarket I shared with you in my last post. This is not in downtown Reykjavik so you do have to know it’s there or you will not find it. The shop is run by a very nice young lady who accepted me taking some pictures of the inside of her shop.

She has a wonderful selection of yarns and accessories. All the brands you see and hear about online like Quince and Co, Twig and Horn, Fringe Supply Co, Hiya Hiya, Regia sock yarns and a selection of scandinavian yarns and at least one indie dyer from Finland called Knitlob’s Lair. She also has a great selection of knitting magazines like PomPom, Amirisu etc.

The interior is a little vintage looking and she has sofas and chairs to sit down and knit a few stitches.

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The outside of the shop

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Here you can see some of the Quince and Co yarns

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pattern books

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A little knitting nook

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colorful sock yarns

 

Doesn’t this look inviting and tempting to you?

I could have made some serious damage there had I had the finances to! I wanted another Fringe supply co bag, A Twig and Horn tote bag, a couple of sweater quantities of Quince and Co yarns, 10 or so balls of Regia and Opal sock yarns and a few skeins of indie dyed yarns along with a lovely selection of knitting magazines and books! Yebb, I mostly wanted to buy EVERYTHING in there!

Not having unlimited cash for yarn I did have to limit myself and I purchased an issue of Amirisu, the one called Iceland and is mostly about knitting in Iceland and patterns inspired by Iceland. And then I purchased two skeins of Regia Pairfect sock yarn from the Arne and Carlos range.

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I think these will make for very nice pairs.

And of course I had to try this new to me indie dyer from Finland, Knitlob’s Lair.

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This is a 100 % superwash merino in fingering weight. I love the colors. I’m not sure what I’ll knit with this. Maybe a sockhead hat? Maybe a cowl? Maybe a pair of bedsocks? We’ll see.

So if you are ever in Iceland and want to visit a yarn shop, this would be a good candidate. She doesn’t have a web page really (it’s just a page with here address and FB details) but you can follow her and/or contact via her Fb page which by clicking here

This sums up my yarny adventures in Iceland for this time around.  More to come on my trip to Glasgow. I hope you have enjoyed learning about this little yarn shop in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Until next time I hope you have a wonderful weekend with lots of knitting time. See you soon 🙂

Back after a little vacation

Hi there, how are you? It’s been at least two weeks since my last post and I hope you have had a great time during that interval and are enjoying spring/early summer. Here in Normandy the weather has been beautiful although not warm but it is supposed to change as of tomorrow and turn all grey and rainy!

After being away for two weeks and having travelled and knit a lot, I of course have a ton of things to share with you but rather than write an epic post that would take most of your day to read, I’m going to break it up into a number of posts and maybe post every other day or so until I’m back on schedule.

So if you have followed me for at least a little while you will know that I went away for a week with my kids for spring break. We went to Iceland and then I took a couple of days to go to Glasgow, Scotland with my son.  This meant that I only got  2 1/2 days in Iceland, then I went for 2 days to Scotland and then again 2 1/2 days in Iceland or so.

That was a very short break in Iceland but I did get to see my family and one friend so that was great. Being “home” always feels so good. Just being in the country where I grew up and everything is so familiar and feels so right even though I have been away for a very long time and now also consider France to be my home. Spending time with my parents, grandmother, sister, aunt, uncle and nephews and nieces… it just fills my heart with joy and charges the batteries.

I didn’t do any travelling in Iceland it was really all about family time, a little work and of course some essential shopping (that is food and sweets to bring to France and yarn of course). I visited one yarn shop and of course a supermarket that sells yarn too and I’ll be sharing pictures and info about both in a future post.

Glasgow was a fun short trip. We stayed in the center of town and we did a lot of walking! So much so that I came home with huge blisters on my feet! The weather was not the best but it did not stop us from sight seeing, shopping and just generally making the most of our short stay. I even checked out the two yarn shops that had been recommended to me! You will of course learn all about those and what I came away with after visiting:)

But since it’s been awhile since my last post I thought I might kick off by sharing my latest finished objects. I think I have 4 socks, one cowl and one cardigan so let’s get going.

First the socks. These are not necessarily in the order I finished them because I don’t actually remember which was finished when. Probably because I’m knitting on so many socks at a time constantly so let’s just pick one at random.

The first one is a test knit that I did for my friend, the designer Dana Gervais. The pattern has not been released yet but should be soon I think. Her sizes are not S,M, L but rather they go by the width of your foot so narrow, medium, wide and extra wide. I did the wide version but it turned out to be too big for me so should you knit this pattern you might want to consider doing a size smaller than usual or go down a needle size. I used yarn I purchased in Glasgow for these, Lang wool.

The pattern is very easy to remember and the heel construction is different from “usual”. However, once the test was done, I ripped back and I’m going to reknit these in a size smaller because I really enjoyed the knitting and the finished sock looks really nice.

Next up is a simple vanilla sock that I knit on 9″ circulars using yarn from one of my most favorite indie dyers ever, Knit Cosmic Strings. I didn’t use any pattern, just knit from memory, my standard vanilla sock toe up.

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Then there are the Incantation socks by Kay Jones of the Bakery Bears Podcast. I’m a fan of her patterns which tend to be simple and yet fun to knit and this one is no exception and I can see myself knitting many of these in the future. For this particular pair, I used a yarn that I splurged on from La Bien Aimée. Everyone is talking about the Bien Aimée yarns all the time so I thought I should try out for myself and see what all the fuss was about. And so I indulged myself and purchased one sock set and one regular skein of sock yarn as well as a magazine and a Fringe bag!!! Anyway I used the sock set for this sock and I still have plenty of yarn left so I think I’ll knit a pair of shorty socks with the rest. The colorway is fabulous, I love both the main color and the contrast mini for heels and toes. The yarn is a BFL superwash and it is not soft to the touch but still nice to work with. The quality is just regular as could be expected from any yarn dyer – I think a lot of dyers have the same suppliers depending on where in the world they are so usually the same base/type of wool can be found in any number of indie shops. But this is not meant to be a review on their yarn so let’s just go to the picture so you can see.

 

I really love the speckled main color and the mustardy contrast. The pattern is a simple 4 round repeat I think and produces a neat textured pattern.

Then there is another pair of plain vanilla socks in a self striping yarn. The colors are super bright and fun and to keep the striping I did a contrast heel and toe. I used my own yarn for that, a SPARKLES neon yellow. The main yarn, the self striping one, is from a new to me dyer that I discovered on Etsy. She is Swedish and calls herself the Asfaltflikkan I believe. She only does self striping yarns and I purchased two skeins from her shop.

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Again this was just my own formula. I knit these from the cuff down and I did a short row heel.

And then there is the cowl. I have had this pattern in my Ravelry library for a long time. I knew I had to use some special yarn for this and I decided I would use a merino and silk blend that I had purchased to test the base. It is a rather costly blend/base yarn so I haven’t purchased any so far for the shop but it is a dream to work with. So I dyed up two shades of light blue/turquoise and then I had one skein of 100% silk undyed and used that as was. The cowl was a very quick knit even though it is a big/long cowl and maybe the yarn had something to do with that. I think I would like to knit more of this in different colours and maybe some would become Christmas gifts for later this year.

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This is the 3 Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locatelli.

And to finish today I have the secret test knit cardigan. The pattern has now been released and I do highly recommend it. This was a fun knit and ended up being quite quick considering I was doing the biggest size and it’s a fingering weight cardigan. For the biggest size I used up about 3 1/2 skeins of my SPARKLES yarn. It fits nicely and I have been using it regularly since I finished. The pattern is called Lucille and is by the designer Amanita. This is the second pattern of hers that I knit. The first was a sweater but I won her pattern in an IG game and loved it. And currently I’m working on another test knit for her; this time for a shawl and it is also a secret knit until the pattern has been published so no sharing at the moment but here comes the cardigan.

 

It is mostly stockinette but there is a little garter cuff on the sleeves and some textured stitches on the bottom of the cardigan. If you are looking for a great cardigan that is easy but not too easy to knit, I would definitely recommend this pattern.

I think that’s about all for my FOs. I have a ton of works in progress and I’ll be sharing those later.

Thank you so much for coming back and spending some of your precious time with me. I really appreciate that. I hope you enjoy seeing my work and that you’ll be back for more later this week. Until next time, take care and enjoy your crafting:)

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!

marled-mystery-kal-yarns

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 🙂

A shop update and more

Hi there, as promised I’m back again this week with some news of the shop.

So If you have been following me for a while you know that I have a little Etsy shop where I sell my hand dyed yarns and handmade knitting accessories. The competition is fierce as there are so many indie dyers and it seems new ones are opening up business every day. Being on Etsy makes things even more challenging because it’s not easy to be found and browsers can easily  go from looking at a yarn in my shop to purchasing a similar item from someone else.

So I was seriously considering closing the shop at the end of last year and I probably would have, had it not been for the support and kind words of an amazing person who also happens to be a world renowned knitter and designer. This person boosted my confidence and trusted me and my work enough to use my yarns for some of her designs and even to use my yarn at a retreat. The person I’m talking about is non other than Cat Bordhi 

She and her brother Jim have been so encouraging and just all around amazing and they have really motivated me to give it my everything in 2017 and see where it takes me. Cat has designed at least two patterns using my yarn. One of those was used at her retreat in Iceland that just finished last weekend. All the participants got her pattern and my yarn to knit it with and I’ve had nothing but positive feedback so I’m over the moon happy! The yarn that Cat chose is my 100% non superwash BFL yarn in Aran weight. It is a sturdy and yet soft yarn. Here you can see a picture of some of my yarns as Cat was putting together kits of one full skein and one contrasting mini.

The participants then knit a pair of House Socks from these and here is a picture of the first one knit by Cat herself.

house-shoe-boggas-yarn

I am of course planning on knitting a pair myself. That is a given an on the agenda. If you follow Cat you will have seen all the beautiful pictures from her retreat in Iceland and if you don’t already follow her on FB you should! She is not only an ingenious designer but she also organizes these amazing retreats with Jim and following the pictures just make you wish you were there yourself! I personally hope to be able to go on one of her retreats in Peru one day!

So back to the shop. Thanks to the support of Cat I decided to work on my shop and I closed it for about a month. I used the time to take stock of what I have as yarn, dye  up more yarns and work on the shop/website itself. I have decided to have my own website in addition to the Etsy shop and will now only link to that one. Here is a link for you to go check out my new shop and I’d love to hear what you think. It is a website powered by Etsy so all the items are the same in both shops but this way I can avoid people leaving my shop to go purchase from another Etsy seller. So yes, I’d love to hear what you think. Do you enjoy to layout? What would you change? Is something missing? Or do you have suggestions for new yarns? Any constructive feedback is much appreciated. And as a thank you to you dear reader, I have decided to offer you a special discount code valid for the entire month of January. The code is :FREESHIPPINGFORYOU and as it says it gives you free shipping no matter how small or big your order is and it is good for worldwide shipping so I hope you will take advantage of that.

 

That’s it for now I think. Don’t forget to leave me feedback if you are so inclined. I’ll be back soon with my knitting plans for the month of February.

Take care

Hi there how are you today? I hope you are doing good, that you had a nice weekend and that this new week is shaping up to be a good one.

As always I have been knitting “like the wind” 🙂 I don’t have a finished object this week to share but I have a lot of HOs and an almost FO.

I have a ton of things to share with you but  I feel I must divide things up into at least 2 or 3 posts or you’ll end up spending the entire day reading my blog and you do have some knitting to do so that won’t work!

So I think today I’ll show you my HOs and share some news of my shop and then later I’ll share my February knitting plans which are shaping up to be quite ambitious!

So first the knitting. If you follow me here on the blog and on IG you will have seen all the socks I’m working on. I have A LOT of socks going at the moment and some are “active” and others are waiting to be picked up again and finally finished.

First there is the test knit I shared with you last week. I often test knit for designer Dana Gervais who is a very talented sock knitting designer. Currently I’m testing her Galoway sock which will soon be published on Ravelry. This is a very fun pattern. The front is all cables from cast on to toes and the back all the way to the end of the heel is in ribbing. The cable pattern is easy to memorise and you can knit it without using a cable needle which is what I did. I chose to knit this using a new yarn base that I have just introduced in my shop and I call POP. It’s a tweed yarn with colorful nepps that make this yarn super fun to work with. I have finished sock one and now need to cast on for the second one.

 

Then there is the simple vanilla sock that I’m knitting using my Valentine’s Day colorway, I call it Be My Valentine. This is a self striping yarn with a 4 color repeat and each repeat is quite short/small. The socks I’m knitting are 72 stitches on a 2.00 mm needle. I’m really happy with how this yarn knits up. The yarn base is my SOX merino/nylon base so a soft and yet sturdy sock yarn. I have finished sock one and I’m already past the heel on number two so hopefully this one will be a FO next week.

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And  then there are the two Simple Skyp socks. This is a free pattern on Ravelry that I absolutely love. It has become my sort of go to pattern rather than knit a vanilla sock. I think it works great with all types of colors and yarns. Works great with solid yarns as well as with some crazy variegated. So currently I’m knitting two pairs, one for myself and one for my youngest. So my pair is knit using yarn from KnitCosmicStrings. I shared an interview with them this January and the yarn I’m using is in the Shoreditch colorway which is the exact same yarn as the giveaway yarn. And speaking of the giveaway, the winner has yet to claim her prize and the clock is ticking…

simple-skyp-in-knitcosmicstrings

I really enjoy using this yarn and I love how the yarn knits up. I think it looks great knit up into this skyp pattern. On this picture you get an idea of how this colorway knits up both in simple stockinette (sole) and in the skyp pattern (leg and top of foot). So obviously one sock is done and the other is almost at the heel.

And the one I’m knitting for my daughter, I’m knitting out of my own yarn. It’s a dye test I did for fun using my SOX base. I’ve also finished one sock and I’m just past the heel on the second so hopefully this pair will be an FO very soon.

simple-skyp-for-ines

I’m also knitting another pair as a present for someone and again I’m using my own SOX yarn in a fun colorway that I made up just playing with my dyes so a truly one of a kind. The pattern is just a simple knit and purl pattern I found on Ravelry in a free sock pattern that I no longer remember the name of and the rest is just my normal sock formula. For this pair I have also done one sock and am just past the heel on the second so again this should be an FO shortly.

birthday-gift-socks

And to end this parade of socks, I cast on the Prairie socks by Kay Jones of The Bakery Bears Podcast. I’m a huge fan of Kay and Dan’s podcast and watch it every time a new episode is published. I saw these socks on one of the podcasts and really loved how sweet it looked. I had a skein of some unknown undyed yarn. And not knowing what it was I could hardly sell it in the shop so I dyed it up for myself and chose colours I thought would be great for this particular pattern and I really like how it knits up.

prairie-socks-heel

So this is sock number one. I did an extra long leg, 7″ from cast on to beginning of heel flap. I’m knitting according to the pattern. I usually do a short row heel for my socks but decided I had to follow the heel in the pattern for this one. You can’t really see the patterning very clearly on the picture but it is a very lovely and easy pattern and could become a go to pattern just like the Simple Skyp sock. This pattern is a paid for pattern on Ravelry.

Of course I do have more socks than just these on my needles and I do need to pick them up and finish. I think I should challenge myself to picking up a pair of wip socks every two weeks or so and finish it off along with my current works in progress. I need to do something to get them off my needles and off the pile of wips in my bedroom.

And to finish, there is my almost FO this week which is the Cozy Shlanket by Knitting Expat designs or Mina Philip. This was a mystery knit a long and it has already finished. I’m at the icord bind off currently and my objective for today is to finish the bind off and weave in all the ends because I want to be able to say that I finished the shawl in the month of January. That should not be difficult!

`cozy-shlanket-at-bind-off

It’s not easy to photograph while the shawl is still on the needle because it is quite huge and all scrunched up on the needle. I think it is a very nice pattern and as I chose to knit the Aran weight version mine is really huge and super warm. I’m not sure if I will give this to someone or if I’ll keep it and  have on my office chair for when I work the evening shifts as I often get cold in winter.

I do have another shawl on my needles that I should finish by the end of today because it is part of the #BriocheChallenge being hosted by Louise Tilbrook Designs on Instagram and Facebook (The Everyday Knitter). I’m knitting the Briochealicious shawl by Andrea Mowry which is a mix of garter and brioche. I’m at the last brioche section so getting close to the end but I’ll never be able to finish today so that one will have to carry on into February. I’ll show you a picture when it’s done because it is so big that I can’t really do it justice while still on the needle.

I think this will be all for today. It’s turning out to be quite a long post. I’ll be writing more posts this week as I feel I have so much more to share and I want to share it ALL RIGHT NOW! So you’ll be seeing more posts than usual from me this week.

Thank you again for stopping by and spending some time with me. I hope you have enjoyed seeing my works in progress and until next time, take care and enjoy your knitting:)

AND THE WINNER IS…

First off, thank you so much to everyone that joined in the giveaway. It was a lot of fun to have so many people participate and I’m happy to have introduced this new yarn dyer to you. Most of you were not aware of them, some of you were. I loved seeing the comments and I’m sure that Bea and Phu loved reading all the positive feedback to their work and it will certainly help them in the future as they have had great feedback on colors and yarns. I wish I could give loads of prizes but there is just one! which is this gorgeous set of a full skein of Shoreditch in fingering and a mini of Cherry also in fingering.

knitcosmicstrings-giveaway

And the very lucky winner is…..And by the way, I used Random Number Generator to draw a winner…..is shanelariannblog! Congratulations to you! Please send me an email to knittinginfrance@gmail.com to claim your prize. I need your full name and address to mail this gorgeousness out to you. You have a month to claim your prize if you fail to contact me within that time frame, I will draw again for a new winner.

For those of you that did not win this time, there will be more fun giveaways here in the future. I have planned another giveaway with another yarn dyer in February and in March the giveaway will be with a knitwear designer so that’s super exciting too.

Have a great rest of your week:)

Let’s start the new year with some fun stuff

Hi there, how are you? Happy new year to you. I hope you had a wonderful holiday and a great beginning to your new year.

I spent Christmas and New Years here in France and then I left for a few days to see my family and friends in Iceland. It was great to be back in Iceland and see everyone and take in the air and just enjoy my time “back home”. I’ll be telling you more about my visit there and all the yarn I bought there…yes I did buy yarn! But that will be for my  next post, probably next week, because for today I want to introduce you to someone I admire.

As you most likely know if you have been following my blog for some time, I’m an indie dyer. As such, I do have a significant stash of yarns I dye for myself, undyed yarns for my shop and last but certainly not least, of other hand dyed yarns!

Regularly I say to myself “this is it! I’m not buying more yarn for X months”. I say this because I realise that I already have enough yarn to last me a lifetime or because I’m sort of running out of space to keep my stash… But so far I have not been able to keep my word. I just can’t help myself. I love browsing Etsy, I love looking up yarns I see on podcasts or on Ravelry. I want to try new dyers I’ve only just heard about. I just want more fun and colorful yarn to knit my next pair of socks!

Last year, that is 2016, I randomly discovered this shop on Etsy run by a couple. And they have the most beautiful yarns. Their shop is called Knit Cosmic Strings and I found myself going back to their shop all the time and finally I just gave in and placed my first order. Since then there have been many more! Every time they do an update, I’m there browsing, dreaming and more often than not, buying! And so I thought, I’d love to introduce these incredible dyers to you and at the same time learn more about them and so I approached them about doing an interview and lucky for me (us) they accepted! And not only did they accept an interview but they accepted to do a little giveaway! They donated a skein of their gorgeous yarn along with a contrasting mini! I’d love to keep the yarn, I’m not lying, but I already have 2 skeins of this particular colorway so no need for me to be jealous!

Below is the interview with the two dyers behind Knit Cosmic Strings, Phu and Bea, which I hope you will enjoy and then there will be the info on the giveaway that you will not want to miss!

knitcosmicstrings-wasabi-1

I see that Knit Cosmic Strings opened on Etsy this year and I was wondering if you had been selling elsewhere before then or if your yarn dyeing adventure began in 2016 with your Etsy shop?

We did not sell yarn elsewhere before opening our Etsy shop. Bea had previously run a shop on Etsy, so it was a platform that she was confident in using. Before that, our yarn was just for personal use, as well as ending up in the hands of Bea’s mum! Originally the shop was an excuse to have some more fun dyeing yarn, but we have found it such a rewarding experience interacting with our customers, seeing the things people make and getting to know people in the crafting world, that we have decided to continue and try to expand.

What prompted you to start your own yarn dyeing business?

Bea originally found it frustrating to buy more mass produced yarn in the exact colours she wanted, so she started looking into hand dyed yarn. One day she read about how it was done and decided it might be something she would be good at. She was immediately hooked and now our home has been taken over by yarn, dye pots and dyeing equipment.

I see from your about page on Etsy that you run the shop as a couple. How does that work? Do both of you dye yarn or does each of you have a distinct job/responsibility within your business?

This works very well for us, as we each have different skills that are required for running our hand dyed yarn business. Phu has been an amateur photographer for several years, and is very committed to making sure the photos are as accurate to the colours of the yarn as possible. He also finds it very satisfying to pack orders! Bea is the more creative of the duo, and does the vast majority of the yarn dyeing, as well as designing the new colourways. Phu has also started to learn a little of the dyeing, to speed up our restocking endeavours.

Where do you get your inspiration for your colourways from?

Bea’s creative process usually involves trying to “dye a feeling”. These “feelings” tend to be inspired by the weather outside, a food we have eaten, a city we have visited etc.

What is your most popular colorway? and/or  most popular yarn base?

Our most popular colourways are Temptation, Rose Garden and Shoreditch. People tend to prefer them on a sock (75% merino wool, 25% nylon) base, due to its versatility. We intend to try some new bases with different compositions soon, such as yak, alpaca and silk. We are big fans of alpaca, because it is so soft and we hope our customers will like it too!

Do you have a target audience/clients? I mean do you try to cater especially for say the sock/accessories knitter or do you also try to appeal to the garment knitter with larger dye lots?

Most of our customers seem to knit shawls and socks, but we try to make our dye lots big enough for a small garment and, depending on the colourway, we can take a custom order for a large number of skeins if somebody wants to make a nice cosy sweater. We try to make our colourways appealing to a wide range of people, but tend to aim for a cross between fun and classy! We have tried out a few different yarn weights, but 4ply/fingering is by far the favourite.

Do you accept custom orders?

We accept custom orders for larger/out of stock dye lots, but we do not create new colourways to specification.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

We start by re-skeining all of our yarn from the supplier, as the skeins tend to be messy and sometimes a bit tangled. We then soak the yarn and during this time we pack up our orders to send to our customers. We tend to dye the yarn in the afternoon or early evening and this can take many hours. After dyeing, the yarn is washed, dried and then skeined up ready for picture taking.

What have you got planned for Knit Cosmic Strings in 2017? and where do you see your company in say 5 years from now?

We plan to start a sock club in 2017 and we would like to attend some yarn festivals. We are also starting to think about getting our yarn stocked in a shop or two and in 5 years time we would love to be stocked in a few indie yarn shops throughout the world! We would also be thrilled to be walking down the street one day and see somebody wearing something made from our yarn!

Where does the name of your shop, Knit Cosmic Strings come from?

We wanted something a little more thought provoking than a more obvious name would be, so we started to come up with more abstract ideas. “Cosmic Strings” popped into Phu’s head one day and we could not shake it, so it stuck! The “Knit” part was added to differentiate between our yarn and other uses of the term.

And a little about yourselves.  You currently live in Edinburgh but is that where you are from?

Bea is English and Dutch, and mostly lived in the south of England until a new job brought her to Edinburgh. Phu is originally from Vietnam and moved to the UK when he was 10. He moved to Edinburgh to complete his PhD, where he met Bea. We are both originally scientists, who wanted a more creative outlet.

Are both of you knitters/crocheters?

Bea is a knitter and Phu is a crocheter!

When did you learn to knit/crochet?

Bea learnt to knit when she was a child, but really started to enjoy it in her late teens. Phu learnt to crochet in 2016, teaching himself from a book and youtube tutorials!

What are your favourite projects to knit/crochet? Like do you knit socks or shawls or are you more into garment knitting?

Phu loves to crochet scarves and snoods. Bea likes to knit pretty much everything – a typical month would include a shawl and a pair of socks or hat. Sweaters tend to be a longer process, often interrupted by the latest KAL on ravelry!

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media? Do you have a blog?

We have a facebook page, but our favourite social media platform is definitely Instagram. We publish shop update announcements, colour combinations, projects we are making and the odd “behind the scenes” shot. Its also a great informal way to start a dialogue with our customers, outside of Etsy.

I hope you enjoyed reading the interview with Phu and Bea. Like I said before, they generously offered to donate a skein of yarn in the colour way Shoreditch, one of their most popular ones, as well as a contrasting mini skein. In order to participate in the giveaway you need to go over to their shop by clicking here . Browse their lovely shop and then come back here and leave a comment below telling us what colorway you love the most. You have a week to participate or until the evening of January 17th. I will then use a random number generator on January 18 to draw a winner from the comments below. The lucky winner will receive this gorgeousness

knitcosmicstrings-giveaway

So enjoy me enabling you some and try your chance at winning this gorgeous yarn.

That’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed the interview and looking at the pictures of this gorgeous yarn. I wish you lots of luck for the giveaway. So until next time,

take care 🙂