Merry Christmas to you and happy knitting

Hi there, how are you today? It’s been way too long since my last post and I apologize for that. I have been busy at work and at home with the kids on vacation and all the Christmas preparations. Not to mention all the Christmas gift knitting I have been doing.

And now it’s Christmas! It’s December 24th which for and Icelander such as myself means THE day. Christmas in Iceland is celebrated over a number of days. Christmas begins on December 24th at 6pm and ends on January 6th. The biggest celebration is on the evening of December 24th, the 25th and the 26th.

In Iceland we have 13 santa clauses who live in a mountain just outside of Reykjavik called Esja. They live there with their parents and cat. These are not your typical santa clauses because these are actually naughty and spend their time tricking people and stealing from them. 13 days before Christmas they come to town; one at a time and the last one arrived today December 24th. And the first one leaves tomorrow December 25th and so on until the end of Christmas, January 6th.

When the Santas come to town, children leave a shoe on their windowsill and if they have been nice the santa will leave a small gift in their shoe – a candy or something small. If they have not been good, they will get a potato. In the old days, children would receive a fruit such as an orange or a clementine when they were good and a piece of coal if they were not.

On December 24th the parents come to town and they are one scary couple. They are followed by their cat who eats, yes that’s right, who eats children that were not good and did not receive a gift of new clothing for Christmas. In Iceland there is a tradition of gifting children a new pyjama every Christmas that I think is linked somehow to the legend of the 13 santas.

I found this little video on YOUTUBE that shows drawings of the santas along with their names in Icelandic so have a look if you are interested by clicking here

This evening we celebrate Christmas just on our own; the five of us and tomorrow we will go to my husbands family and spend the day with them. That will be lots of fun. We will be eating and drinking good wine and opening lots of nice gifts.

I hope you will have a wonderful Christmas too if you celebrate Christmas and if you feel like sharing how you celebrate Christmas by leaving a comment below; I’d love to hear from you.

Now on to knitting as this is after all a knitting blog and so you may be here only for the knitting content. As you may know, if you follow my blog, I decided sort of last minute to knit Christmas gifts. Not one or two; but a lot! And I made it! I cast of the last one last night. I shared my progress with you in my last post and so here is the rest of my gift knitting:

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This is a cowl I knit using my hand dyed super wash merino DK. I didn’t use a pattern for this. I did a few rows of 2X2 ribbing and then I did linen stitch for the main body.

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This hat pattern is called Lake Reed and it is a free pattern on Ravelry. This was a really fun and quick knit and the end result is beautiful.

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This cowl is a modified version of the Ciao cowl which is a paid for pattern on Ravelry. It should be much longer/higher but I knit this for a young teen who is not very tall so I thought it would be better if it was not as tall as the pattern called for. Again I knit this with my hand dyed DK yarn and I really like the result. I think I might make another one for myself and then I would follow the pattern exactly for the length.

I then knit another cowl which was just from my head, no pattern. I knit it using my hand dyed Aran weight yarn on 4.5mm needles and it is just a simple ribbed pattern that flares out some at the end to go slightly over the base of the neck/shoulders.

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There is one gift that I knit a while ago and I think I haven’t shared it with you yet. It’s a cowl pattern that was designed using my Cash’merino DK yarn and it is now a paid for pattern on Ravelry, called the Infestation cowl.

I knit this when the pattern came out as a mystery knit and I’m gifting it to someone special this Christmas. Here it is:

infestation-cowl

This is a nice lace pattern and the yarn is an absolute dream to knit with. So I think this concludes my Christmas knitting 2016! Did you knit gifts for Christmas?

I have been working on other things as well such as the test knit socks for designer Dana Gervais and I’m about 75% done with the pair and then I have to finish sock number 2 of the test knit before that which I also did for her. Here are some pictures of the first sock.

 

It is a fun cable and lace pattern. Not complicated at all and as the patterning is only on the front it goes quite quickly. The yarn I’m using is from one of my favorite indie dyers called Knit Cosmic Strings and I’ll be telling you more about them in the beginning of 2017.

And just one more thing before I leave you today. If you watch knitting podcasts you are most likely aware of the Christmas Eve cast on that is hosted by Dani of Little Bobbins and joined this year by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. It is a tradition where you cast on for a pair of socks on Christmas Eve. I’m not sure if that means tonight, Dec 24th or tomorrow Dec 25th but as I celebrate Christmas tonight I’m going for a cast on tonight. I dyed up some yarn just for this, a little crazy variegated yarn and the pattern well I’m still debating. It might be Igneous which is a free pattern on Ravelry or the Simple Skyp sock which is also free on Ravelry. I think both patterns work well with variegated yarns. Will be joining in on the #Christmasevecaston ?

That’s all for today. I hope to be back next week to share some knitting news for 2017 because I already have plans and yarn wound up and ready to go, part of it at least. And some are kals that you might like to join in too.

That’s if for today. Thank you so much for spending your precious time with me today. I hope you enjoyed reading and looking at my pictures. I know I enjoyed sharing them with you. I wish you a very happy holiday with family and friends and most of all with your knitting 🙂

Art work and knitting for peace

Hi there, here I am again. Today is just a short post to share two things with you. First I wanted to tell you about this Project Peace on Ravelry. It is a free pattern for a fingering weight cowl by The Healthy Knitter. This is a kal and it begins on December 1st. The idea is to knit a round or more each day and to cast off by December 21st. The objective is to get as many people as possible to focus on peace for 21 days and so they are calling this a peace-a-long. At the moment I believe there are over 13 thousand participants and so I thought it would be fun to join them. You can download the pattern on Ravelry to take part. I haven’t yet chosen my yarn but I will later today probably because I really want to cast on on time. If you too are joining in this project, I’d love to know and if you want to share your yarn and or your progress with me please feel free to leave a comment with a picture or a link to your Ravelry project page.

Now on to New Acquisitions! Of course I already have EVERYTHING a knitter could possible need and more but that does not deter me from purchasing more! I do need to exercise more self-control where knitting related purchases are involved. I’m even contemplating a yarn diet in 2017 and only knit from stash! But that is a huge decision so I need to think about that some more before I commit to something like that publicly.

Now what does a knitter that has it all, buy? Well, extra special things! Things out of the ordinary! Handmade things!

So, there is this lady or rather this artist that I follow on Instagram and she is called Ann Tudor. Ann is a glass artist and she creates amazing stitch markers, project keepers and jewelry  with glass, I think this is called lampwork. I have been drawling over her sheepy stitch markers for a while and this November I finally gave in and decided it was time for me to actually have some!

And what made that first purchase from Ann a little more special was that I’m her first ever client in France:) That was a fun little factoid:)

Ann has her own website www.anntudor.com I urge you to check out. She has a lot of gorgeous stitch markers and what is perfect is that you can choose the type of marker you want –  a round one, a lobster clasp etc depending on wether you are a knitter or a crocheter. Frankly when I browse her website, I want it all!

But I did manage some self control and I purchased two things, a set of sheep stitch markers and a Christmas project keeper. Both the stitch markers and the project keeper are fabulous. They are so well made and so delicate it is amazing to me what she is able to achieve using glass.  Now I’m sure you are impatient to discover what it was that I actually purchased so here are the pictures.

 

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Don’t you just adore the little sheep? And the Christmas project keeper really gets one in the holiday spirit! So if you are looking for a little something for yourself or if your husband or family are at a loss for what to give you for Christmas, you can now direct them to Ann’s shop:)

I  contacted Ann and asked her to tell us a little bit about herself and her business and here is her story:

I have always worked with my hands. I worked in the dental field for 30 years working as an assistant and orthodontic lab technician. I had a jewelry business for many years during that time.

  I learned how to make lampwork glass beads from a two hour class at a local stained glass store. The process used is to take rods of colored glass, melt them in a torch and shape the molten glass into shapes. 

 I loved it and ended up making beads that I sold to other jewelry designers. Eventually my glass items morphed into sculptural pieces. I make glass fish and sea creatures which I put into glass vessels and make them look like aquariums.

In September 2015, I was asked make stitch markers from some of my glass jewelry charms by a knitwear designer. I had no idea how much that request would totally change my world! After some tweaking and testing, my stitch markers were released in October, 2015 and it has been such an amazing adventure!

My first set started out with 1 black sheep and 5 white sheep. This is still my most popular set. Then added pigs, cats, hearts, and owls. Now there are several holiday sets, many types of animals and even ice cream cones. I have a list of requests and suggestions people have made. I periodically add new items. All the markers are available with two ring sizes or crochet clasp option.  

In 2017 I will be releasing a new product line that I am extremely excited about. As with most of my items, it came from a client request. I will be adding Glass Ring Markers. My stitch markers that have a glass design dangling from them have a soldered metal ring. These will be all glass and have no dangle. My hope to have them available in three sizes and a multitude of color options. Stay tuned for more on that!

Also in 2017 I am going to start a podcast! Hopefully it will begin in January. Anyone interested in finding out more can sign up for my email list. http://www.anntudor.com/content/email-list-sign 

The fiber community is such a giving and wonderful space! I have met wonderful knitters, crocheters, designers, dyers, weavers, spinners, and more! I feel fortunate to be involved.  My website is http://www.anntudor.com. 



ps– I’m not affiliated in any way with Ann Tudor nor am I getting paid for sharing her information. I just love her work and I really wanted to share that with you and as we are coming up to Christmas I thought it was a good fit as well for those of us looking for Christmas gifts for family and friends.

So that’s it for today. I’ll be back soon because there’s more to share! So until next time, enjoy your knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving etc

A mystery kal using Knitting in France yarn

Hi there and first of all thank you all so much for the wonderful participation in the Nancy Whitman giveaway announced last night. I’m so happy to see how many people enjoyed the interview and have left comments for a chance to win one of her gorgeous patterns. If you haven’t read the post yet just click here

And today just had to share with you some wonderful and exciting news – the launch of a new mystery knit along by designer Devious Rose using one of my DK yarns. If you would like to participate and/or get the pattern for free you have until March 17th to purchase a skein of any of my DK weight yarns and you will get the pattern for FREE.

Below is a copy of the text the designer put on the project page and I have taken the liberty of copying that for you to read and if it sounds like something you like, just hop over  to my shop for a skein or check out the pattern on Ravelry.

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From now until March 17, get this pattern free with purchase of any 1 skein of Knitting in France DK weight! Scroll to the bottom for details!

Pattern will be $1.00 until the start of the MKAL. Once it begins, it will go up to $3.00 for the remainder of the MKAL. Sign-up page:http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/deviousrose/topics/3393369. Watch this space and/or my social media for discounts and temporary freebie codes for this MKAL.

Description:
Infestation is an advanced lace cowl designed for one skein of Knitting in France DK weight. The lace pattern is my own, inspired by nature and not a stitch dictionary. It is inspired by the calla lily, my favourite flower, and thistles, as well having read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett too often. I have not seeing either of these plants much since I’ve lived in the desert, and this pattern calls out to these beautiful structures and to the scenery I imagine whenever I read The Secret Garden. Given this, Infestation is of course a springtime cowl, with very open lace, suited for cool or even slightly warm weather as a couture accessory, able to be dressed up or down. The pattern is both fully charted and fully written, and includes instructions for working flat and in the round as well as custom sizing.

This yarn has shading that adds depth and dimension to the lace pattern, and blocks beautifully. I frogged it often, and did not pill or fuzz despite being merino, and has weathered being shunted around everywhere at the bottom of my backpack while stuffed in a project bag.

Schedule:
Pattern is currently in testing, so the MKAL will begin once that is over, anywhere from March 21-March 27. Infestation is very much a springtime accessory not meant for cold weather, so don’t fret! Once schedule is determined “Week x” will be replaced with actual dates. In the mean time, the MKAL sign-up thread is: TBD

  • Week 1- Clue 1: Scattering the Seeds (in which we set up our pattern)
  • Week 2- Clue 2: Renewal (in which we work a lace inspired by thistles and wild lilies)
  • Week 3- Clue 3: In the Garden (in which we section off our wild plants, whose presence we have in our garden)

Skill Level: Thorny! Knitting several stitches into 1, changing stitch count, centered double decrease, sl1k2tog psso (or ssk), sl1k1 psso or ssk, k2tog, yo, and ability to follow charts OR written instructions. And of course, knit and purl.

Materials:

  • 1 skein Knitting in France DK weight, 231-246 yds/100 grams. 2 skeins for a larger cowl. As written, pattern used ~210-225 yards. If substituting yarn, make sure to pick something with good stitch definition, bonus points if slightly shiny. This is a lace pattern that can get easily lost in yarns that are a bit fuzzy.
  • 4.5 mm/US 7 needles
  • 2.25-3.0 mm crochet hook for crochet cast on, or do the knitted cast on
  • 5 0.5 in/1.5 cm buttons if working flat, none for cowl worked in the round. Each repeat of Clue 2 adds 2 more buttons.
  • yarn needle

Other:
if you’re on Instagram or Twitter, use #InfestationMKAL when sharing your project photo.

To get MKAL free with yarn purchase:
Simply show me a screenshot of your receipt (you may want to blur any personal emails or addresses) through Ravelry pm. Receipt must have a timestamp that indicates the yarn was purchased on or prior to March 17, 2016. An Etsy cart is not a receipt. Your receipt should look something likehttps://www.dropbox.com/s/p9n2x3gmf66zeul/receipt_example…

 
Have a great weekend:)

A special holiday offer from designer Nancy Whitman

Hi there, I recently had the pleasure of discovering knitting designer Nancy Whitman on Ravelry. I learned about her in a knitting group I’m part of on Facebook and she posted a generous offer in the group and said it could be shared so I decided I had to share with you!

Nancy has 23 patterns on Ravelry and her special gift to us is 1 free pattern of our choice from her pattern store on Ravelry. You choose the pattern you like the most and upon checkout use the code: HH15 and that will make the pattern FREE of charge!

When I saw this offer I immediately went to Ravelry to check her out and since she has such lovely patterns I was simply unable to choose just one so I decided that I would get my free pattern and then purchase 2 more and so I did. I chose all shawl patterns and all three finally have something in common as you’ll see.

Eden prairie shawl

Eden Prairie

High street shawl

High Street Shawl

piet on point

Piet on Point

I just loved the construction of these shawls and the colors and I feel they are just different from the shawl designs we usually see so I’m really looking forward to knitting these. I don’t know which one I’ll knit first also I need to check my stash for good color combos or simply dye something up just for each shawl. I’ll see and keep you posted once I get to this.

So I hope you will check out her Ravelry store and enjoy her generous offer of a free pattern. Her offer and coupon code are valid until the end of day December 23rd so you have a few days ahead of you to make up your mind.

That’s all for today. I wish you a nice weekend and hopefully you’ll get some quiet time to knit even though this is the last weekend before Christmas. I will not get much knitting time as we will be spending the weekend with family but I’ll knit some in the car on our way back and forth.

Take care and happy knitting until next time 🙂

Sock knitting kits in the making

I’m currently dyeing like crazy for the show in London (I Knit Fandango) and now I’m working on sock kits. These will be for the Philosophers Walk Socks by Pleximo who has graciously given my authorisation to include her pattern with my yarn.

I’ve almost finished a pair of these myself and I find the pattern both amusing to knit and a beauty to look at. It is great for two colour knitting and I think that stark contrast colours work great for this. I’ve already done kits like this before for my Etsy shop. There is one kit left there – for the shop the kits included 2x 50gr skeins of the main colour and 1 x 50gr skein of the contast colour. This time I will be doing 2 x 100 gr skeins, one of each colour so you can decide yourself which will be the MC and which will be the CC. You could even do one set up for the first sock and then do the opposite for the second sock. Either way the choice will be yours 🙂 The yarn I’m using is 75% superwash merino and 25% nylon which is just perfect for socks.

Here are is picture of my first sock – I really love the look and I’m quite proud of the work I did there even though on close inspection I did notice some errors on the sole side but hey, that just makes them more unique 🙂

The Philosophers Walk socks knit by www.knittinginfrance.com

I really love the way purple and yellow come together so I decided to do more of those and here you can see my first batch of yarn for these kits

hand dyed yarn for future sock kits www.knittinginfrance.com hand dyed yarns for my sock kits www.knittinginfrance.com So there will be: purple and yellow, blue and orange and today I’m doing some pink and grey and maybe some coral and light blue/green sort of colour. The kits will be in their own coton project bag and will include some hand made stitch markers as well. I think those will be quite nice and hopefully a success at the show.

Well, thats all for today, I have some more yarn dyeing to do not to mention all the reskeining and tagging etc so I better get to work. I wish you all a wonderful weekend with some quality crafting time 🙂