Meet Ingrid Wagner and her gigantic knitting needles

Today is probably the last post in my series of posts on the artists that I met at the I Knit Fandango show in London this May. Today’s artist is called Ingrid Wagner and she is a textiles artist and teacher as well as a painter and writer. So a very talented and versatile artist. Ingrid’s focus is on extreme knitting and crochet and she has her own line of knitting needles and crochet hooks including tunisian crochet hooks. For the extreme knitting/crochet she does not work with yarn but with leftover weaving cloth. Let me explain. Imagine a textile factory producing all types of woven fabric. This fabric is then cut and made into something and thus there are always going to be cuts and scraps and leftover fabric and this is precisely what Ingrid uses in her work. She also works with roving which is basically wool ready for spinning. So she prefers working with 1 strand of chunky material versus a number of strands of different yarns. Ingrid Wagner big knits at www.knittinginfrance.com Here you can see a portion of her booth. In the back you see her gorgeous rugs and blankets. Hanging in the front is a white throw in tunisian crochet made from roving (the material is shown next to the throw). You also see her balls of roving (in the front) and her balls of woven fabric. These are mostly wool but she also has a selection of woven cotton which she uses for example to make bath mats and these are really nice. Ingrid Wagner This is Ingrid’s assistant for the weekend and in the front of the picture you see a selection of her circular needles. She sells single pointed needles, circular needles, crochet hooks and tunisian crochet hooks Ingrid Wagner big knits Do you see the sturdy plastic “cable” on these circulars? ingrid wagner needles Her single pointed needles are colourful and the longest/biggest needles measure 1.20 m!! Impressive don’t you think? Ingrid wagner big knits  A big crochet ingrid wagner tunisian crochet The tunisian crochet also comes with a sturdy “cable” like the circulars and has a wooden “button” on the other end to keep stitches from falling off. Ingrid Wagner big knits And this is the lady herself holding her big needles (1.20 m). Ingrid was really fun to meet and full of enthusiasm. She took the time to explain how she sources her “yarn”, showing me her different kinds of needles and hooks and just explaining what she is all about. A wonderful and creative character and I think she engaged a lot of visitors who may have stopped just out of pure surprise but went away feeling inspired and happy after a few minutes of exchange with Ingrid. Ingrid has her own website where you can see pictures of her work, purchase from her shop or sign up for a workshop and you can visit her website by clicking here Ingrid also has her own Youtube channel where you can see her knit/crochet and learn to do so yourself. You can also see her in an interview with BBC on the occasion of her being in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2010 for knitting with the longest needles – 4 m each! Not for the faint of heart:) You should definitely check that out by clicking here Ingrid has a fun take on knitting and crochet and her textiles are really beautiful for the home – I like her rugs, throws and cushions. I have tried my hand and extreme knitting myself when I met Rachel John at a craft show in Paris a few years ago and I bought my first set of extreme knitting needles and made blanket for my sister. I also purchased a kit for a rug but haven’t gotten around to actually doing it but I intend to one of these days. I even stocked some big single pointed knitting needles for the shop but they are not currently listed in my Etsy shop but should you be interested, you can always send me a message and I’ll get back to you with available sizes and prices. Knitting with big needles is quite different from knitting with “small” needles. I knit the blanket on size 26mm and I had to do so in a sofa so the ends of the needles could rest on either side of me to avoid having all that weight on my arms and shoulders. Also the movements are not the same. I did find this to be a fun addition to my skills and I love the look of chunky home accessories which always look so modern and comfy. So if you want to try your hand at extreme knitting, don’t be afraid, if you know how to knit or crochet you can do so with larger needles as well. Before I say good bye, here’s a picture of me knitting my first piece of extreme knitting blanket www.knittinginfrance.com That’s all for now. Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed meeting Ingrid and learning about her big knits. Until next time, take care and enjoy your crafting:)

ps- Hi guys, I just got an email from Ingrid and she asked me to make it clearer that she does BIG KNITTING whereas other designers such as Rachel John whom I mention in the post, do what is called extreme knitting. So two things not to be confused. Also I misunderstood how the woven fabric she uses is made so I thought I’d just share with you the explanations that Ingrid just sent me and my apologies to Ingrid and all of you for not getting this right the first time around:)

Ingrid:

Our selvedges are not produced as you have described but are the selvedges (right hand edge) of woven fabric which is cut away after weaving has been finished. They are there for technical reasons during the weaving to hold the right hand edge straight and, when weaving is completed, they, too, have completed their job and are considered a waste product by the weaving mill.  Because the mill will have woven miles and miles of the fabric, the cut selvedges are also in one long piece. Therefore, there are no “cuts & scraps”. The long piece is one of the reasons why the selvedges are so good to knit with. The others are: a) they would go to landfill if we weren’t using them b) 100% wool   c) colour & pattern already woven in.  The selvedges won’t fray because the fabric has been fulled (commercial word for felting) before being sent out worldwide to be made into goods of one kind or another. The mill which has done the weaving will not be the manufacturers of the goods. They are simply weaving to order.  I fell over the selvedges one day when I was in a mill sourcing other textile yarns, asked the question “what’s this” and thereby, as they say, hangs the tale.

 Rachel was already doing Extreme Knitting at the time and I could see that there might be a problem in that 1) lots of strands of yarn together could cause problems to the maker 2) buying the real thing i.e. wool, would be expensive and customers might very well resort to using acrylic in their knitting, not appreciating the difference.  I didn’t want to contribute to either situation and decided to look for something different.

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Meet Louise and Spin City

Hi, today I would like to kick off my series of blog posts on the fabulous people I met at the I Knit Fandango show in London last week. I actually met Louise for the first time at Unravel in Brighton last summer but before that I was a client of her Etsy shop (and still am).

Louise has a degree in Knitwear design and she not only runs her Etsy shop but she also teaches spinning, weaving, knitting and crochet from her studio. Louise also has a blog which you can read and follow here And then there is her Etsy shop which is full of gorgeous fibres and hand spun yarns as well as some kits for natural yarn dyeing. Just click here for some gorgeousness.

Louise is such a fun and loving person and that shows through in her booth. Her set up is so inviting and the colours so enticing that it is impossible not to be touched or want to just buy all you can carry of her stuff!

Here are some pictures from last weeks show

Spin City on www.knittinginfrance.com Spin City on www.knittinginfrance.com Spin City on www.knittinginfrance.com The pictures do not do her fibres justice as there was a lot of sunlight that “spoiled” my pictures. On the last picture you can see Louise in her blue dress on the left.  The fact that she brings actual furniture to her shows gives her booth such an inviting feeling and once your inside, the fibres call out to you “please touch me! Feel how soft I am! Buy me! You need me! ” well, you get the picture:)

So of course I bought some roving to spin and began spinning one of the two when I got home on Sunday.

Spin City roving on www.knittinginfrance.com I love the combination of bright, vibrant colours along with white silk and some black wool. It really gives a gorgeous, colourful barber pole yarn once spun. As you can maybe see, I have begun spinning the pink one at the top and will show you some pictures when I’m done.

I have purchased from her a number of times both spinning fibre and resin hand spindles and if you like spinning or want to give drop spindling a try, I recommend you visit Louise’s shop and try out some of her quality supplies.

Thats all for today. I hope you enjoyed this mini introduction to Louise and her shop Spin City.

Until next time, take care 🙂

Guest posting – would you like to contribute to my blog?

Hi there, I was just listening to my favorite podcast aimed at yarn industry entrepreneurs and they were talking about “guest posting” on blogs and I thought that might be something interesting to explore. It could be fun for someone to get a featured post on a different blog and that both the blog owner and the guest poster would enjoy a larger exposure and so forth, so a sort of a win-win situation. What do you think? You don’t have to be a blogger just want to write an interesting piece knitting related and want to share it with others. I have a few ideas here for possible post topics for you:

1) How you came to be a knitter – when and how did you learn, what do you knit most, do you have a preferred knitting needle (circular, spn, dpn), where do you find your patterns, pictures of a finished item…

2) Have you ever knit an exceptional piece – a special shawl, your first large garment, something for a charity, share pictures and story around that particular project

3) A fun story around your life as a knitter

4) Your favorite how to books, knitting books or magazines, knitting pattern websites or websites/blogs which have great resources for knitters be it beginners or confirmed knitters, something you would like to share with the rest of us

5) Tell us about knitting in your country of origin or residence, is knitting a big cultural thing, do most people there knit from a young age, use a special technique, knit a particular traditional piece, or is knitting looked at as something only old ladies do, do you participate in any social events for knitters in your area etc

6) A knitting vacation – have you ever been on one if so tell us all about it, where and when, what you did, what you thought of it, what you learned, the people you met, will you be doing this again, any ideas for a future knitting vacation

7) Knitting to heal and stay sane – have you experienced the healing powers of knitting be it for a physical illness or a mental one? Explain and share your experience, did you do a knitting therapy, did you knit during chemo therapy, have you taught knitting to someone that is ill, have you seen the healing powers in someone close to you, do you know of charities or knitting groups particularly aimed at this aspect of knitting etc

8) Are you a ______ knitter – tell us why you mostly/only knit shawls/socks/baby items/charity knits etc, tell us about your favorite pattern/s, your favorite material/wool, favorite designer, favorite technique etc

9) Do you maybe have an original idea for a blog post? Something dear to your heart you would like to share?

I’m sure you have lots of more ideas, these are just the ones that come to my mind as I’m writing this morning. I think it could be lots of fun to have people share their stories here on my blog and that would enrich my blog and our experience as a blog reader for all of us.

If you would like to contribute a post to my blog, please send me an email to: knittinginfrance@gmail.com

Please include your details:

1) name and country of residence

2) if you are a beginner knitter or a more advanced one

3) what you would like to write about

4) if you have a blog then include a link to your blog or if you have contributed to other blogs

We will then discuss your post in more detail and how to submit and when. Depending on your reactions this could become a regular feature or just a pleasant addition to the blog from time to time. Either way it will be a blast:)

But before saying goodbye, here are two more photos of the latest rovings I did – yesterday I told you about and showed you pictures of the rovings I just dyed for the I Knit Fandango – and here are the two that I dyed gradient style

Hand dyed roving by www.knittinginfrance.com hand dyed roving by www.knittinginfrance.com Nice don’t you think?

Back at home

Hi there, my week in Iceland just flew by and now I’m back at home with hubby and children:)

And speaking of time that flies by, the I Knit Fandango show is in just over a month! I had better get the turbo started! It is always a difficult task to assess the amount of stock to bring to a show and when that show is abroad the task takes on a new dimension as luggage restrictions apply! So I’ve done a fair bit of dyeing yarn and yesterday I did some roving as I want to carry something for spinners as well. I also placed a last minute order with my supplier of undyed yarns because I want to do some kits for the show. I’m planning on 2 shawl kits – 1 knit and 1 crochet, 1 baby kit (knit), and 1 sock kit (knit). And so I purchased the yarn for those and hope I can dive into dyeing those as of the coming weekend. I also purchased some sparkling sock blanks that I look forward to dyeing as that will be the first time I have those with Stellina for added glam’.

Yesterday the weather was gorgeous here in Normandy, France and so I did my dyeing outside in the garden. That is definitely something I’m going to do more of. Not only is it enjoyable for me but I also have more table space AND no one to complain about the “smell” – FYI I have NEVER felt any “smell” of my wet/cooking wool and yarns, but I’m told that is because I’m biased:)

Some pictures for you

www.knittinginfrance.com

My set up on the garden table

www.knittinginfrance.com

One side of my dryer rack filled with just dyed roving

www.knittinginfrance.com

and the other side of the dryer rack also filled with just dyed roving

While in Iceland I finished my second pair of 2 in 1 socks and I also decided that I would do more of those and even try to make my own pattern in order to make some with a bit of lace instead of just plain stockinet. But before launching into that I decided a change was needed so I cast on for a new pair of socks (yes I did say “change” but not “major change”), this time I’m doing them TAAT using the magic loop method. I’m using a yarn that I hand dyed myself and this yarn has long colour changes which explains why one sock is blue and the other reddish on the following picture. I chose the Zigzagular pattern that I found on Ravelry and have heard of online and seen lots of pictures of finished socks. I decided this would be a good fit for a return to magic looping. Here’s what I’ve knit so far

www.knittinginfrance.com

My progress so far on the ZigZagular socks knit TAAT with my own hand dyed yarn

Upon my return from Iceland I also had a pleasant surprise, my order from Crazy Monkey Creations had finally arrived! For some reason my package went to Israel and spent quite some time there so I had been waiting for over a month for this to arrive. I’m super happy it finally made it and I really look forward to presenting the items to you at the I Knit Fandango show in May. I ordered some blockers for mittens and socks in different sizes and with different motifs and I also ordered some of their electronic knitting counters that can be worn around a finger like a ring. I must try those and I’ll let you know what I think later on. Pics are here:

www.knittinginfrance.com

Mitten blockers from Crazy Monkey Creations. These are hand made and gorgeous

www.knittinginfrance.com

Sock blockers from Crazy Monkey Creations, handmade gorgeousness

www.knittinginfrance.com

And another type of sock blockers from Crazy Monkey Creations. These are all handmade

That’s about all for today. Thank you for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed reading this post and looking at my pictures. I wish you all a wonderful and creative new week. Until next time, Take Care 🙂

I’m in heaven, I’m in Fibre Heaven

Hi there, I just had to share my joy with you all today! I just received my order from Woolgatherings after waiting for it for almost a month (yes the package was stuck in customs for almost 3 weeks). But now it is here and I LOVE LOVE LOVE my fibre and can’t wait to start spinning them.

Some day soon, these beauties will be hand spun yarn treasures that will embellish my personal yarn stash – or yours if you want me to spin some up for you or if you are a spinner like myself and take a look at her shop I know you will be tempted to do as I did. BUY!

Woolgatherings is a family run business and Kate, the dyer, does a wonderful job. I’ve ordered from them before and just loved my yarn so that is why I placed this new order. This time I went for mostly BFL + Tussah silk and Organic Polwarth + silk blends. The silk will add strength and sheen to my finished yarns. I chose bright colours, which I love and are a staple of Kate. All the rovings are super soft and the colours are gorgeous. You will soon be seing these spun into yarn here.

If you decide to take a look at the Woolgatherings shop, and I certainly encourage you to do so, be aware that you will be mesmerized and may not be able to leave the shop with an empty cart:)

So here are my beauties:   Hand dyed roving from Woolgatherings on Etsy     Hand dyed roving from Woolgatherings on EtsyDo you get why I’m so happy???

I have another favorite dyer on Etsy and I also purchased some of her work last week and will be sure to share her work with you as soon as I receive my order.

 

Until then, I’m off to my spinning wheel for an afternoon of happy spinning. Have a great  and creative day yourself 🙂