The Maker of the Month Francofille Knits

I have admired from afar the work of Devan of Francofille Knits. She has a beautiful sense of color and I really wanted to try some of her yarns. I first approached her asking if she would be willing to do a swap and as she kindly said yes I then asked if she would be willing to do an interview for the blog and maybe even donate a skein of yarn for one of my readers. And she again said YES!

I’m currently knitting a pair using her yarn for the main color and using a pattern I have made up myself. I have sock one all done and I’m passed the heel on sock 2.

So here is my interview with Devan and I hope you will enjoy reading that and getting to know her.

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Tell me a little about yourself, where do you come from and where do you live and work today?

Let’s see.  I’m the indie dyer and designer behind Francofille Knits, and I host the Francofille Knits podcast.  For the last year, my husband and I have been living outside of a very small town in rural Indiana—our property is surrounded on all sides by corn and soybean fields!  Having grown up in the suburbs of Chicago, and living in college towns my whole adult life, this has been quite an adjustment for me, but one I’ve absolutely loved. Living in the country, the pace of life slows significantly, and I have more time to notice and appreciate the world around me.  I like to think that my dyeing and designing has benefited from this more intuitive and relaxed lifestyle.

Are you a knitter/crocheter/spinner/ weaver ? And if you do all, which craft is your most favorite?

I’m a knitter first and foremost, but I also dabble in crocheting and spinning.  I’m a relatively strong crocheter, but my spinning needs a lot of work!  Knitting is absolutely my happy place.

When did you learn to knit/crochet/spin/weave ? Do you remember who taught you?

I learned to knit and crochet when I was 16.  That summer, I was working as a counselor at a summer camp, and saw one of the British counselors knitting on a scarf and begged her to teach me! Lucky for me, she was patient enough to take on a student, and by the end of the summer, I was half way through the lumpiest, most uneven garter stitch scarf ever!  A few months later, I was watching a movie with one of my friends, when she pulled out an afghan and started crocheting.  Once again, I was obsessed and desperate to learn how to crochet.  I started several crochet blankets in high school, with my friend’s help, but I’m not sure if I actually finished any of them. I ended up putting both the knitting and crocheting down while I was in college, but ended up picking them both back up when I was in graduate school, because I needed a way to unwind that had nothing to do with my academic life.

Do you have a favorite type of project that you regularly turn to? Like socks or shawls etc.

I always have at least one pair of socks on the needles, and a sock pattern I’m writing up.  I usually have a shawl or two going as well.  I’m not a monogamous knitter—I need to be able to bounce from project to project as the mood strikes or I’ll quickly lose my knitting mojo.  Lace, cables, brioche, texture, I love it all!

Would you say that fibre crafts have become a lifestyle for you ? 

Absolutely!  Before starting Francofille Knits, I was a French professor—I earned my PhD in French Linguistics.  If you ever have trouble sleeping, I’d be happy to send you a copy of my dissertation—300+ pages on a specific change in word order in 13th-16th century French!  But, fate had a different plan for me than I had expected, and about a year ago, I found myself leaving my career in academia for a variety of reasons.  Thank god for fibre crafts!  My love of fibre crafts provided me with a new career, one that I have found just as fulfilling and satisfying as my previous career!

How did you come to dye yarn and how long have you been dyeing yarn ?

I’d been wanting to learn how to dye yarn for almost a decade! When the stress of writing my dissertation would get to me, I’d daydream about opening a yarn shop and selling hand dyed yarn.  I finally decided to take the plunge in April 2016 (just over a year ago!), and I haven’t looked back!  Inspired by some friends of mine (Ally & Abby of the Get Lit and Knit podcast), I took a class on yarn dyeing at YarnFest in Chicago, and it literally changed my life.

When did you decide to go professional and open a yarn shop ?

Like I said, I had been daydreaming about becoming a fibre artist for a long time.  But, I don’t think I actually started taking it seriously until June 2016.  I was having so much fun dyeing yarn, and dyeing up yarn faster than I could ever knit it.  I decided, after much Instagram support, to open up an Etsy shop to sell my extra skeins, and the rest is history!

What is the inspiration behind your shop and your yarns?

The inspiration for everything in Francofille Knits comes from my love of France and the world around me.  As you might have guessed from my shop name and previous career, I’m an absolute Francophile, and have been since I was a little girl.  I took my first French class when I was 5, and instantly fell in love with the language.  The further I progressed in my studies, the more I fell in love with France, it’s people, it’s culture and it’s history!  All of my colorways are inspired by places I’ve visited, people I’ve studied, or the French language itself.

When reading your about page on Etsy, you mention that the shop name comes from your love of France and everything French. Have you lived in France yourself ?

I have, but not for long enough!  I spent 5 months in Avignon when I was in college, way back in 2004.  I then got to spend a summer in St. Brieuc, Bretagne in 2010.  I’ve also gotten to travel to France several times, and even got married in France (St. Andiol, near Avignon) in the summer of 2015.  That was a real adventure, as I was the only person in our group of 16 who spoke French.  It was such a great experience, and I wouldn’t change a moment of it!

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Mon Coeur

What are your most popular colorways?

It’s hard to say, because it changes all the time! I change out the colorways in the shop every few months, based on my mood and the seasons.  If I had to pick a few, I’d say “Summer in Provence,” “Monet,” “Bûche de Noël” and “Sunset over the Seine” have probably been the most popular ones so far (and some of my favorites too!).

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Sunset over the Seine

Is there anything exciting going on in your shop these days ? Do you still have spaces for your Advent Calendar?

I’ve currently got a wide selection of fall colorways that I’m really quite proud of!  I also have just a few spots left for my Advent Calendar, 12 Days of Christmas, and Happy Hanukkah miniskein sets!  I’ve been having an absolute blast dyeing up all the yarn for these sets for the last few weeks, and can’t wait to get them shipped off to their new homes!

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Vendange

What do you have coming up for the shop til the end of this year? Any special deals/events/kals ?

Speaking of the holidays, in the next few weeks (mid October) I’ll be releasing my Holiday colorways and November Sock Club.  Every month, I dye up a small batch of a secret colorway and design a sock pattern to go along with it.  It’s such a fun creative project for me, and I think my customers enjoy it too as it always sells out, and there are several who sign up month after month!

Where do you see your business in say 5 years from now ?

I’d love to be able to quadruple my output and have several stores that carry my yarn. I just did my first craft fair, and loved it! I’m definitely planning on organizing a few trunk shows and signing up for some fiber festivals in the future as well.

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Macaron sock

In addition to your yarn dyeing, you also design patterns that you sell on Ravelry. Have you been designing long ?  How did you come to designing your own patterns?

I’ve been designing for almost as long as I’ve been knitting.  The first pair of socks I ever knit, actually, were my own design (I modified a vanilla sock pattern, adding a lace motif to the top of the foot).  I only started writing up my patterns at the beginning of 2016, though.  My first pattern was also my most ambitious to date—the Amboise Shawl, inspired by the Château d’Amboise. I absolutely love that triangular lace shawl, especially because it looks so impressive while being a fairly intuitive knit!

Is knitwear design something that you would like to develop further ?

Absolutely! It’s so much fun coming up with the right pattern to go with the colorways I dye up.  It’s so incredibly satisfying! 

What type of item/garment do you most enjoy designing? Does the inspiration for your patterns also come from France ?

I think the shawl designs have been the most fun, but designing socks has been a fabulous challenge, mostly because I’ve put out one (almost) every month this year.  Some of the patterns are more obviously inspired by France than others—the Amboise Shawl, and another shawl inspired by Chenonceau which hasn’t been test knit/published yet—while others are inspired by my home in rural Indiana.

And as if dyeing yarn and writing patterns wasn’t enough; you also podcast! Tell us about that. How did you come to podcasting, is that something you enjoy doing and for someone that is not familiar with your podcast, what would you say is the “theme” or main emphasis in your podcast. What will be find there.

I started podcasting at the beginning of 2016, in part because I knew that there were some significant changes coming in my life.  I knew that I was going to be changing career paths and that my husband and I would be moving, and wanted a creative outlet that would connect me with the online knitting community even more than I already was.  I had been a fan of the Knitmore Girls podcast and YarnGasm (and the long defunct Electric Sheep podcast) for years, and just decided to dive right in!  My podcast format is typically fairly standard, talking about what I’ve been working on, what’s going on in my life (just a little) and going over what yarn I’ve dyed up that week.  During the month of October, I’ve decided to challenge myself to do Vlogtober—recording videos every single day!  So far, I’ve been able to stay on track!

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Autumn Afternoon

For those that want to follow you and your shop, what would you say is the best venue for that ?

Instagram, for sure! For my personal knitting/life pics, you can follow me @bdevan, and for all things shop related you can follow @francofilleknits!

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A big thank you to Devan for taking the time to reply to all my questions. To check out her knitting patterns on Ravelry, just click here 

To check out her Etsy shop and her fabulous yarns just click here

Devan has generously accepted to donate a skein of yarn to one of you. To take part in this giveaway, just hop over to her shop and then come back and tell me what your favorite colorway is. The winner will receive this glorious skein hand dyed by Devan.

I will draw a winner using Random.org a week from today or october 24th. Good luck to everyone!

 

 

The end of an adventure and one last enabling post before we all commit to stash appreciation

Hi there, writing this post has been a long time coming. I have thought about this for a very very very long time and I think I really need to get it together and just take the plunge! The plunge in question is… closing my Etsy shop! Now I’ve said it!

I would like to take the opportunity to share with you the story of this shop adventure that is coming to an end.

In 2010 I was very unhappy with the work I was doing and I longed for a job that I would actually enjoy doing. I was already heavily into knitting and the idea of opening a shop started to take shape. At first I wanted to create a niche shop and concentrate on knitting needles. At the time, in France, knitting needles were very limited and most knitters only knit on long single pointed needles. I wanted to introduce circular needles to them. In my home country of Iceland we knit everything on circulars and I think they are fabulous. I started looking around at what was available and what I could sell. On the 1st of March 2011 I opened my shop, Knitting in France. I had my very own website and I offered a variety of knitting needles. I can safely say that I was a pioneer in France and even in Europe when it came to selling knitting needles because I introduced a number of knitting needles brands that were otherwise unobtainable in France and often in Europe at large.

I had Signature Needle Arts and was the only distributor for those in France and one of very few in Europe if not the only one. I also introduced Kollage square needles and I still have a few of those left. I was the first to sell these in France and one of very few in Europe. I also had Swallow casein needles from Australia and again the only one in France selling those. I had Indian Lake Artisans hexagonal, handmade wooden needles and still have some left in stock. Those are works of art and a joy to work with. I also believe I was their first stockist in France.

I was also the very first stockist of  Hiya Hiya in France and I’m proud of being the one to introduce French knitters to that brand and even European knitters because at the time very few shops sold these in Europe. And Chiaogoo, also the first stockist in France to offer those.

Today all the important yarn shops in France carry some of these brands that I took a chance on in 2011.

I also offered handmade knitting and crochet accessories and I took in a few commercial yarns such as Rooster yarns. I did also offer Dream in Color yarns and again I believe I was the only stockist in France at the time.

The product I took the biggest chance on was an amazing yarn, Qiviut from Arctic Qiviut company. Qiviut, if you are not familiar with that fibre, comes from the underdown of musk ox. It is a rare fibre and very labour intensive in production. It is the warmest wool you can have and Arctic Qiviut had both natural color yarn and hand dyed ones and they also offered luxurious blends with qiviut, cashmere,angora etc. A skein of this luxurious yarn costs a fortune but I did manage to buy a few for the shop and I did sell most of them though it took some time as the price was not for the faint of heart. I was of course the first to sell this yarn in France and I helped them organise a tour in England and France to introduce their yarns to other shops and today a few shops in England carry their yarns.

Later on I wanted to start dyeing my own yarn and totally fell down a rabbit hole. For a while my shop did well and I really enjoyed feeling like I was doing well. I took part in yarn shows in France and in the UK.

In 2013 we moved to Normandy and at that time I took the worst decision ever with regards to my business. I decided to close my independent website/shop and to concentrate on selling on Etsy.

Etsy is a tough platform to be on, the competition is fierce and even if you begin in one shop you can easily find yourself in another shop without noticing it. The indie dyed yarn business has exploded over the last few years and every day new dyers open shop. I think we have arrived at a crossroads where the offer way surpasses the demand. Today if you are not a podcast star as well as an indie dyer or a friend of a podcast star, it is very hard to get the word out there and sell your yarns. This is just my humble opinion and I may be totally wrong and maybe I’m just saying this out of deception. Who knows.

Anyway, I at least have come to a crossroad and I need to decide which way to go. I absolutely love my little shop, I love sourcing quality yarns, I love dyeing small batches and I love seeing pictures of what my clients then make with my yarn. But the hard fact is that I’m not selling enough for this to be a sustainable business. Unfortunately I don’t have the time needed to revamp and re-vitalise the shop. I work full time and I have three children. I also don’t have the finances to fund a big purchase of base yarn to be able to offer sweater quantities of different colors etc.  And let’s face it, maybe I just don’t have the talent!

So I have decided, with a heavy heart, that I need to close this chapter of my life. I need to just concentrate on my own knitting and this blog which I so enjoy writing. However to limit the financial loss and to make some space at the house, I need to sell as much as I possibly can of my current stock. And so I’m having a Going out of business sale! As of now and until November 1st I’m offering -30% off everything in the shop and I hope you will take the time to take a peek and maybe buy a skein or two. My base yarns are high quality and used by  a number of well known indie dyers in Europe and I have dyed them up in small batches with lots of love and care. I will include free stitch markers with every order, the more yarn you buy, the more markers you will receive:)

I know that this goes against my announced plan of Stash Appreciation that will start on November 1st but hey, if you are joining me in that, you do still have till November 1st to buy yarns no questions asked! And you would be supporting a very small home business at the same time:)

So, I’m sorry if this comes across as if I’m pleading for help. I did want to share the story of my yarn shop adventure with you and I did want to tell you about the discount just in case you were interested. Please feel free to share the info with all of your knitting buddies. There is no code needed, the prices are already discounted in the shop. I of course do worldwide shipping at reasonable prices. You can check out my sale by clicking here 

That’s all for today. Have a  wonderful weekend and enjoy your crafting:)

My Birthday yarnie gifts

Hi there, I’m sorry I did not keep my word and post a second time last week. Time seems to constantly elude me these days. I hope you understand:)

I wanted to show you some of my Birthday gifts because yes it was my Birthday not so long ago. First off, my daughter the artist made me some super fun stitch markers from polymer clay.

I love using these!

And this year is the second time I organize a Birthday swap in my Knitting in France Group on Ravelry. It is a small swap which I think suits us all well as the pressure is limited and we don’t have to send gifts every month of the year. It is however super fun when it is one’s turn to receive those yarny gifts and it just so happens that I’m the last to celebrate my birthday. I’m still waiting for some to arrive but I thought I should share with you those that I have so far.

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This was the first gift I got and it arrived the morning of my Birthday! A nice sock size project bag, amazing chocolates and a Finnish specialty. A wonderfully smelling hand cream and a fun needle gauge/key ring from Succaplokki. And two skeins of yarn. The pink one is from Wollmeise and the purple one is from a new to me French dyer called Squirrel’s Yarns. I love the colors and will most likely be using them to knit into socks. The project bag also contained a gift, a hand knit shawl!

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Yes that’s me wearing my new shawl:)

The second gift arrived soon there after.

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How fun is this Truckin’ project bag? And the yarns are gorgeous! The green yarn is Harry Potter inspired from Just a Girl and her Dog Yarns. The Teal one is actually hand spun and the label says Creek Side Farm. Both are gorgeous and the Honey straws have me intrigued.

The third gift arrived this past weekend.

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I love the lamb post card. The monkeys on the right are actually magnets and now reside on my fridge. The Minion tin contains some buttons and the yellow piece you see behind the mignon is a table cloth and I think it may have been woven.

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I absolutely LOVE this tag to attach to a hand knit gift. Not sure I’ll ever be willing to part with it though. It’s now hanging on a wall next to my desk.

When I first saw this I thought this was a crochet kit but it’s actually a knitting pattern. You can knit a 3D fish and it comes with the beads and the DMC thread. Amazing. One of my daughter has already requested she keep this once it’s done.

And to finish I got this bag of beautiful teal colored silk to spin into something gorgeous. And 2 skeins of Claudia Handpainted yarns for a future pair of socks.

Amazing right?! I do love a good yarn/knitting swap and as this is birthday related it is even more fun I think. I might organize this for the third consecutive year in 2018 so if you are interested in joining do let me know. I will be asking in my Ravelry Group soon if people are interested in joining again. Actually this year I think I only have one new participant all the others joined the first time around and jumped on the chance to join in again for this second time. We’ll see if we have enough participants for a third edition.

But I did also treat myself to some yarnie goodness using my birthday as an excuse. I know I’m an adult and that I don’t need an excuse to buy yarn BUT seeing as I already have more than I need and that I’m trying to cut down on yarn purchases, I’m using the Birthday excuse anyway!

So I purchased some yarns from a destash on Ravelry. This is the first time I have ever done this and I admit I was a bit apprehensive as I did not know the seller at all. I saw a post from this person on Instagram and the yarns pictured were all gorgeous so I had to jump over to Ravelry and take a look. Well I actually ended up buying not 1, not 2, not 3 no no no! I bought 5!!! Yes that’s right I  bought 5 skeins! And they have arrived and they are all as gorgeous as they were on Ravelry.

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Both of these dyers are new to me. I had known about the Wool Barn but never seen their yarn in person and I admit I was oblivious to Woolberry Fibre Co. The yarns are gorgeous. 3 out of 5 skeins are singles so they will be knit into  shawls or cowls in the future. The others will become socks I think.

I also bought more yarn from Lolo Did It. I of course wanted to indulge myself but I also wanted to help with Lolo’s Hurricane Harvey charity and I received my Harvey yarn this weekend. And it’s gorgeous and Lauren even added a complimentary tape measure! Always useful.

This yarn will become a pair of socks in the future.

So as you can see I have been spoiled lately with yarn. I hope I haven’t made you jealous or caused you to break your “no yarn buying” ban. I don’t often share my purchases but as I was on the subject of gifts and so I thought it would be fun.

On another note, I’m bringing the Maker of the Month feature back. I hadn’t intended on stopping during the summer but things happened. I’m hoping we will be doing the first feature in a week or two and the next maker is a yarn dyer and as always there will be a giveaway associated with the feature so stay tuned!

I think this will be all for today. I was going to show you my progress on the mystery kals but I have changed my mind and I’m not going to share until they are officially over. For the first time ever I have not shared pictures of my progress on these on social media and I have even avoided seeing other peoples pictures as well so this time it really is a true mystery knit a long for me.

I hope you have a wonderful week with lots of knitting time! Speak to you soon:)

Knitting woes and successes

How are you today? It’s actually evening and so I’m posting this later in the day than usual but now that my working hours have changed I have less time to dedicate to the blog and so I may be changing the day I publish..or not.. I’m going to see. I know it can be confusing if you are used to seeing a new article every Thursday and then things change and the blog is updated at random. I really want to avoid that as much as I can.

Anyway I’m doing good and  I hope you are too. The past week weather has been horrendous with lots of rain but today we had a beautiful autumn day with sun and warm temperatures. Of course I should not be complaining as the weather here in Normandy France does not compare to the hurricanes that have been devastating lately. I do hope that you and your family are safe and sound and not suffering due to weather.

I have lots of knitting to share with you again but I’m afraid that if I share everything this will become way too long so I’m going to try and post again later this week.

First issue has to do with some knitting successes and other not so much successful knits.

If you follow me on Instagram you will now that my Breathing space sweater is in time out. I actually finished the body and bound off. I very proudly tried it on and….disaster! It was way too large/wide. Words cannot begin to describe the deception! I had been working on the sweater since late July and I was using a very special yarn that I had dyed myself. And it just looked PERFECT! Or so I thought!

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After looking at myself in the mirror for a while I had to face the truth. I knew that it was no use to close my eyes and cast on for sleeves as if everything was perfect. I new that after washing the sweater would likely stretch a little bit and that would just make it totally unwearable. I had to RIP IT BACK!

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To ease the pain, I did so immediately! I just sat down and ripped it back to the underarms and it has been sitting in timeout since. I’m wondering if I should just rip it out entirely and begin all over again and I seriously think I might. Start with a clean slate so to say.

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I had knit the XL size as I’m both tall and rounds but clearly XL was too big so I think I will go down one size and maybe modify the pattern and do less increases on the body. I hadn’t realised it was meant to be so “roomy” . I think I would like it to fall closer to the body without being at all clingy. And I also might knit it a bit longer than I originally did.

I do want to knit on it again because I really love the pattern and my yarn but I’m thinking that maybe I need to finish a few projects BEFORE I pick it up again just to be sure I’m in the right mindset and ready to concentrate on this.

Ripping back is never easy, especially when you are 50% finished with a garment but I think I made the right choice and I’m proud of myself for having bit the bullet and ripped back immediately. A few years back, I think I would have just pouted and thrown it in a plastic bag as far back in my closet as possible. Hoping never to encounter this again. At least getting older brings some wisdom!

As for successful knitting. I can share two HOs with you today and both are test knit socks. The first pair is a Harry Potter inspired sock pattern and that pattern has actually been published as a free pattern on Ravelry now. It is called Chaussettes Knittich which in French means Knittich socks. The designer is a friend called Liisa Lanka and she is a Finnish knitter and now designer living in Paris, France.

I was lucky enough to get to test knit her first ever sock pattern. This is a relatively simple sock pattern with two text stripes inserted and the pattern comes with charts for you to follow as well as an empty one for you to try out your own text/design.

I chose to knit my pair in the Griffindor colors as my older daughter is a Harry Potter fan and in the Griffindor house. I have finished sock one and am currently working on sock 2. I used my SOX yarn base.

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Another successful knit is also a test knit sock. It’s a very interesting pattern with an unusal to be heel construction and the stitch pattern travels around the foot. It is called Convergence and the designer is Dana Gervais. This pattern will be published for sale on Ravelry this autumn I believe. Again I used my own yarn on my SOX base.

 

I’m working on two more pairs of socks at the moment, one is a second test knit for Dana and I’m only at the very beginning.

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And the other I’m actually getting close to the toe on sock 2! I’m using the Central Park Socks pattern by Mina Philipp only I have adapted the pattern to make them into shorty socks. I’m knitting the main part using my first EVER Lolo dit it yarn and then using my own SPARKLES yarn for heels, cuffs and toes. I just happened to have the perfect match in my stash! I absolutely LOVE how these are knitting up and I foresee more shorty socks in my near future.

central park shorty socks

I think this is all I have time for now. I will try to be back later this week to show you my progress on the big mystery kals of the moment, the What the Fade and Road to Rhinebeck. I also need to show you my knitting related birthday gifts because yes I did get a year older last Saturday and as I organise a Birthday Swap in my Ravelry Group I’m receiving wonderful yarny gifts, two have arrived and two more are on their way:) And by the way, please feel free to join my Ravelry Group:)

So until next time I hope you are doing good and having a great time knitting all the things. I’ll be back soon. Promise!

 

Back from holiday

Hi there how are you now? it’s been super long since I last posted here. I took 3 weeks off work and just totally checked out of everything. Now I’m about to go back to work, tomorrow, so I think it’s time I did some blogging too:)

I did go away for a few days and I know that some of you enjoy seeing pictures from my travels and hearing about the things I’ve done but maybe that is not the case for everyone so I’m thinking I’ll do a separate post on my holiday travels so that those who are only interested in my knitting, can just ignore that post all together. I hope I’ll get to that this coming weekend at the latest!

But how about you? I hope you were able to take a few days off work and enjoy some free time to relax and recharge your batteries. I have enjoyed my time off work and I could actually imagine myself taking a couple of more weeks off. I had big plans for things to do around the house and so and of course only a small part of those was actually accomplished so more time off work would be much appreciated. But that will not be possible because in the real world, one does have to work!

Before I went on vacation I had shared with you my list of dream/vacation knitting. I had imagined I’d have more knitting time than I actually did I think. I did work on everything but just a little so no finished objects but one very close and a second one not that far off.

So let’s get down to business. I cast on for the Midsummer haze shawl/cowl by Joji Locatelli using my own yarn, an alpaca/silk/linen blend which is just gorgeous. I knit on this a lot while on short car rides and in queues. I’m very close to finishing this and I really like the look of it. I’m even toying with the idea of making a second one but in black.

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This picture doesn’t do it justice but you get an idea of the construction and patterning. I think I only have one repeat left so I should really just get going and finish this. I’m thinking this might be a Christmas gift for someone.

Socks. For some reason my sock mojo has been seriously affected lately and I have the hardest time to work on my gazillion sock wips. Of course, I didn’t bring a sock wip on vacation. That would have been too intelligent and might have resulted in a finished pair…so of course I just brought a new pattern! I decided on Calentito by Media Peruana and some self striping yarn I dyed myself.

This is a fun textured pattern for shorty socks/slippers. I cast on but did not work much on them so here’s where I’m at now

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Not much but I will finish! This pattern has a garter stitch toe which is unusual.

What got worked on the most was my Breathing Space sweater by Veera Valimaki. I’m knitting that using a new to me base, a blend of merino/mohair and nylon and I LOVE it. The main color is a charcoal/black and the contrast a light pink color. Now I’m done with the striping on the body and just need to knit a few more inches of main color before I can do the ribbing and cast off. Of course my sleeves will need to be done then.

I think I will really enjoy wearing this sweater come winter.

I did get a little bit done on a cardigan that I’m test knitting for  a young designer. I’m actually behind on that project so I need to concentrate on that in the coming days. I have also started a second test knit for another designer, also a cardigan plus another sock test knit so I have plenty to work on these days.

I have kept a little project next to my bed lately and I have knit on it at night as I listen to an audio book and last night I finished my pair of socks. I used my hand spun yarn and I knit two at a time socks knitting from each end of the yarn cake and that produced a pair of very different socks. But in this case I think it is kind of fun. They are very comfortable and will be great to wear in the wintertime at my desk.

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I think this is about all for today. I will be back with pictures and stories of my latest travel, the results of the survey I did a while back and I also need to get back on track with the Maker of the Month series.

Thank you for stopping by today and for spending time with me. I hope you have enjoyed seeing my latest knitting projects. Have a great week and I’ll be back soon.

Happy knitting

Summer knitting

Hi there how are you? It’s been two weeks or so since I last posted and I’m sorry about that. It’s actually been somewhat hectic and stressful here lately and so I lacked the energy and time to come chat with you.

I have been super busy at work and there are a number of changes going on there which have me rather stressed out and that just sort of drained all my energy out and I found myself just on autopilot to get through the indispensable every day chores.

I did of course knit but less than usual and just wasn’t feeling very inspired. Work is still very busy and I’ve been doing extra hours but I’m feeling somewhat more inspired these last few days so I’m taking advantage of that today and so I’m going to share some of my knitting with you.

It’s been super hot here in Normandy lately and today it is super hot! Yesterday we went to the beach in the afternoon, around 4:30 and there was some wind so it was wonderful. We stayed to 7:30 and I didn’t want to leave! I could have stayed till 8 at least! The beach is so wonderful late afternoon after a very hot day. It just feels so amazing.

I spent my time knitting on a pair of test knit socks that have been languishing but need to be finished as I’m getting very close to the deadline! And as I knit I listened to an audio book and looked out over the ocean! Sounds like heaven doesn’t it?

Today I won’t be able to go to the beach but I think I’ll do some knitting in the shade in my backyard late afternoon when the heat has gone down a bit.

The thing I don’t like about summer and hot weather is that my hands sweat when I knit and so knitting is not as enjoyable as it usually is. Socks are a great summer project because they are so small but I of course have 3 sweaters on the go and these do keep me super warm and so these last few days have been a little bit neglected and yet I really want to get them done because I have so many more sweaters that I want to make!

What about you, do you knit less in summer/warmer weather? Do you have a preferred type of project you find yourself knitting in the warm weather?

So onto knitting. First lets show you my sock that I’m test knitting for Dana of Dana Gervais Designs. The pattern is called Lerwick and will be for sale on Ravelry in the coming weeks I believe. This is an all over cable and texture pattern and so slow going and it also eats up a lot of yarn I think. The pattern is gorgeous and not complicated at all.

I chose to knit this with a variegated yarn from Knit Cosmic Strings and I do like the results but should I knit this again, I would go for a solid or semi solid yarn. Its funny, or not, but as much as I love variegated and colorful yarns I still feel that solid or semi solid yarns are best suited for socks.

So I’m almost done with sock one, I’m at the toe decreases now so I’ll finish this one later today.

 

It’s not easy to show the patterning because of how busy the yarn is.

Next up is my Starting Point wrap by Joji. The last clue is out but I’m not quite done but very close. I do like the look of the wrap and the colors I chose but now that I know what the pattern actually looks like I have so many more ideas for color combinations.

starting point

This is very big and I hesitate to block it or not. Maybe I’ll just block it out loosely just to get it smoother but I won’t be stretching it as it is already very big. I have enjoyed knitting this wrap but now that I’m so close to finishing I really want to get this off my needles.

And so of my sweaters I have mostly been working on two lately, the Sammal cardigan and my So  Faded sweater. Both have the body done and a beginning of one sleeve.

so faded 19jun

I do like the look of my So Faded sweater. When looking at it like this I don’t see the fading so much as I see color blocks but that’s ok. I was a little nervous about the lime green at the bottom but I actually really like it. I feel it gives the sweater this nice energetic pop. I’m knitting the sleeves one at a time and trying to document how I organize the colors so that my second sleeve will look as identical as possible to the first one. And one thing, the body of this sweater knit up in no time. Now knitting the sleeve that is so much smaller in circumference it’s taking way more time – I feel. Funny how that is but I really feel this is the same problem every time I have a sweater or cardigan on the needles.  Maybe I should knit to the armholes; do the sleeves and then knit the body. Maybe that way I would finish quicker as I’d get the sleeves out of the way at the beginning. Do you feel the same way about sleeves?

And then there is my Sammal Cardigan. I really want to get this one off my needles asap. it feels like such a long time ago that I cast on. The fact that this is an all over patterned garment makes it that much more time consuming. I’m at the elbow of sleeve one and I’m going to try and knit at least an inch every day on the sleeves so that I will get this done before the end of summer. How amazing will it be to have this handspun; hand dyed cardigan ready to wear this autumn when the weather cools?

sammal 19junsammal 19 junsammal 2

I have alternated my skeins in this project and I really like how the color is showing up. What I did is that I divided each skein in half and then paired one half with another half of another skein so all my skeins are divided and mixed up and I really like that. As this is hand dyed mixing up the skeins is almost a must and makes the end result that much more nicer I think.

I really love this cardigan and I can’t wait to finish it and the wear this winter. I’m already planning on knitting another cardigan (not this pattern though) with handspun.

So these are my current wips. I have a ton of languishing wips, mostly single socks and I just learned that the Grocery Girls are doing Second Sock of Summer Kal again this year and I definitely need to join that to keep me motivated and focused if I want to clear my basket of wips and get some of these gorgeous socks a mate.

I have also purchased and printed a ton of sweater patterns lately and I have been either dyeing sweater quantities myself or going through my stash to put together yarns that would work in a sweater so as soon as I have at least 2 out of 3 sweaters/cardi done, I’ll be casting on for more.

What about you? What are you knitting on these days? Do you have a game plan for your knitting this summer? Any special objective or challenge? I’d love to hear what you’re up to.

It might be two weeks before I post again because my mom is coming to visit from Iceland so I will be extra busy in the coming couple of weeks but I always post on Instagram so you can follow me there and see what I’m up to in the meantime.

That’s all for today. Thank you so much for stopping by and spending your time with me. I hope you enjoyed reading my blog and that maybe my knitting has inspired you and I look forward to chatting with you again soon.

Happy knitting/crocheting/spinning/weaving etc:)

It’s mostly about the garments

Hi there, how are you? I was going to post yesterday but didn’t feel very inspired so I decided to wait till I did feel inspired so as not to bore you! After all you do come here to spend a few minutes enjoying yourself. I hope 🙂

So like today’s title says, it’s all about the garments. I’m suddenly wanting to knit all the sweaters and cardigans. I have a ton of yarn but mostly just individual skeins as I was always thinking SOCKS. So now that I’m all about sweaters that is a little bit of a challenge. Purchasing gorgeous yarns in sweater quantities is not always an option financially and I have to admit that I am trying to limit my yarn purchases and have been very serious about that for the past month and cross my fingers I will be for the coming 6 months or so. Being a yarn dyer I do have an advantage over some as I do have some stock of undyed yarn and can thus just use it for myself and dye in the color I want. Business wise that is of course not the greatest of ideas but hey.

So let me share with you my current most worked on wips. I do have a few socks going but I’m not really working on them these days.

So first up is my oldest of the current wips, my Sammal cardigan by Joji Locatelli. I ‘m knitting it out of my own handspun and hand dyed yarn. This is the first time ever that I have spun for an entire garment and it has inspired me to do so again. I have shown you pictures of this cardigan here before but some progress has been made since last time. I’m now on the last rows of the bottom ribbing. I’m so close to casting off the body and hope I can do so in the days to come. Then it will be on to the sleeves. Knitting on a number of garments simultaneously does mean that each garment does not get all the attention it deserves so finishing takes a lot longer. But that’s ok. This is how I’m currently rolling and as summer is here, I won’t be needing my garments till autumn and I figure I’ll have them finished by then.

So here’s a picture of my Sammal I took this morning.

sammal cardi june 8

I really love it. You may not see it in this picture but I have made a mistake in the cable the left side in this picture. Twice!!!! But I noticed when I was well beyond that and was too lazy to rip back so I’m keeping it like this. I don’t think everyone will focus on these mistakes and they just remind me that nothing in life is perfect.

ravello june 8

Then onto my Ravello. I have had the pattern in my queue for a long time. I really love the shape of this sweater and I have seen so many different versions of it. People play with stripes or color blocks. Basically you can do as you wish.

I dyed up a new yarn base that I wanted to test and used for this sweater. It’s a 50% alpaca, 25% linen, 25% silk. It is a joy to work with and so I might buy some for the shop in the future. I dyed the yarn in a light grey and love how it took the dye. For the stripes I used a skein I got from the Golden Skein. It’s a mohair and Wensleydale blend so feels somewhat similar to my yarn however it knit up all strange and crinkly. So I decided not to do more stripes and  just use the rest of the contrast yarn for cuffs and maybe the hem. This has become my bedtime knitting as it’s now just stockinette stitch round and round.

And my latest cast on is the So Faded sweater by Andrea Mowry. I actually splurged on a set of yarns from Legacy Fibre Artz for this sweater (before I went on my restricted yarn buying). The yarn is lovely and I think I will really love the outcome even though most of the colors are not really what I would normally go to.

so faded

For this sweater I have joined Kristy Glass’s first kal the Fadito! It’s a kal she is hosting in her Ravelry group where the objective is to knit a garment using the fading technique. Any garment pattern, adult size, works. If you are working on a faded garment you should join:)

Here’s where I’m at this morning.

so faded june 8

I started to fade a few rounds before separating for the sleeves so that when I separated I started on the new color and cut the old one. I’m not quite sure how much I will knit of each color before fading into the next. I’m thinking somewhere between 5 and 6 inches maybe and then the fading section is about an inch each time. I also think that beginning a new color on the separating row makes fading on the sleeves easier but I guess that will be proven or not when I get there:)

And last but not the least and this is not technically a garment but it is a current wip and has about the same yardage as a garment so I’m sharing anyway, its my Starting Point shawl/wrap by Joji Locatelli. This is a mystery kal that I’m sure you have heard all about and if you are not avoiding spoilers you have also seen what it looks like. I

If you do not want to see pictures to keep the surprise to your project, then I will say goodby to you here. Thank you for stopping by and I’ll speak to you soon 🙂

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Ah you are still here! Youpi! So on to the Starting Point. It’s a wrap/shawl that is knit in two pieces and so you knit each clue twice and as this is quite a big piece, that can make keeping up with the clues a challenge. Another challenge with this project is all the ends that need weaving in! You use 5 different colors and as a multicolored project that makes for a ton of ends! I try to weave in my ends after each clue because otherwise I would just give up.

Currently 4 clues are out and I believe the 5th and last clue is to come out tomorrow. I have finished clue 4 on one half and I’m planning on working on clue 4 on the second half tonight but I doubt I’ll finish this evening as it is a lot of knitting.

I do like how this is knitting up and I love the yarn I chose which is my own, Back to Basics, non superwash fingering weight merino yarn. I did make a mistake though. Not sure what’s up with me these days but I seem to make way more mistakes in my knitting than usual.

So what happened is that on one half I inverted colors 4 and 5. When I discovered that I was way past the mistake point and if I had ripped back I knew I would have been unable to keep up with the clues. So I wondered if I should keep the colors as I had knit them so that the two pieces would NOT be identical or if I should get back on track and these two sections would just be inverted and nothing else. I went with the latter solution and when I look at it now, even if you can definitely see this, I think it will still be ok. I admit I did actually ponder ripping back yesterday. But that would mean ripping back to the beginning of clue 2 on one piece and that is just soooooooo much knitting! So I’m just keeping this as is!

Here is a picture of the half where clue 4 is done

starting point clue 4

And here is one where you see the two halfs together

starting point clue 3 and 4

What do you think? Would you have ripped back to fix the mistake?

Well that’s all for today. Thank you for stopping by and spending some of your precious time with me. Have a wonderful rest of the week and an even better weekend!

Happy knitting 🙂

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you had a nice long weekend and that this week has begun well for you. I loved getting last Thursday off work. It was absolutely beautiful here, not a cloud in the sky and quite hot so we went to the beach with a few friends and spent hours just enjoying a lazy afternoon and all the kids were super happy swimming in the sea and playing in the sand. Just a great day and even if it was just one day, it totally felt like being on holiday. A day like that really breaks up the monotony of the workweek and gives you added stamina I feel.

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Unfortunately the beautiful weather has not lasted very long and since yesterday it rains! I do hope that will change soon. We have some of my husband’s family coming to visit this weekend. Soon there will be all the festivities and commemorations for the end of World War II here and usually we always have nice weather and hopefully this year will be no different.

Knitting wise I feel I haven’t accomplished much since last time we spoke. Thinking about this, I believe that is not due to lack of time as much as working on too many projects at the same time. Working on a gazillion things a little bit does mean slower progress on each individual thing.

So since last time I only have two finished objects and both are socks. The first one is the test knit that I had begun and shared with you last week. It’s a beautiful lacy pattern that is easily memorized. The heel construction is different from my usual heel and it was fun and easy to do. I do feel it renders a “shallow” heel. Not sure that’s the correct word but basically I think that for someone like myself that has a high instep it would be better to do a regular german short row heel or even a heel flap and gusset. I was knitting the smallest size this time so it’s for my youngest and it fits her fine so all’s well.

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I used my own hand dyed yarns and the heels and toes are in my SPARKLES base. It doesn’t show here but they do sparkle:)

The second finished object is one I cast on last week. And I will be doing more of those. So last Thursday as I was at the beach with my friends, I was knitting on the socks above and one of my friends made a few comments and hints that she would love some of my socks. I have knit her one pair so far plus some other items and she really loves my knitting and since her birthday is coming up in about 3 weeks I decided I should knit her some socks! I haven’t told her and so I’m not sharing pictures on Instagram or Facebook because I don’t want her to see them until I gift them to her.

Since it’s summer and I don’t have a lot of time either, I decided I’d do shorty socks. I recently purchased a lot of commercial sock yarn that I found at a great price online. Most were German brands I had never heard of but they seemed a lot like Regia and Opal and so I went for it and I have knit this first pair with one of those. The yarn feels wooly and so I imagine it is sturdy. It is machine washable which is good since she is not a knitter herself and I don’t think she would enjoy handwashing. The brand of yarn is called Woll Butt and the line – it’s self patterning- is called Badgastein. I think. It is 60% wool, 25% viscose and 15% polyamide. I really like how this knit up.

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And they are almost identical! I just made up the pattern doing my usual thing. I did knit 4, purl 2 for the top of the foot and then a german short row heel and my regular toe (not sure what it is called). These were super fast to make and I have now cast on for a second pair for her and this time I’m using self striping yarn from Mothy and the Squid, a UK based indie dyer. I only cast on last night so not much to show yet.

I’m of course still working on my Sammal using my handspun yarn. I’m getting close to finishing the body. I think I need to do maybe 4″ more and then I can do the ribbing. I need to check the Ravelry thread for this sweater spin for the last day of the kal which is either tomorrow, May 31st or June 30th. They did say that even if one doesn’t finish by the end of the kal, one is still eligible for the prize drawing so I need to get  picture there of where I’m at before the end. Here are some pictures I took of myself wearing the cardi about a week ago. Since these were taken I have made more progress on the body but otherwise it looks much the same.

 

And then I also cast on for a new garment! I was trying to hold off because I do have to finish my Sammal and I’m also knitting a tee shirt using some DK weight cotton yarn that I got in a swap and have yet to show you. Plus I have decided to join in the Faded knit along that Kristy Glass is hosting in her Ravelry group. Plus I have a pile of sweater patterns and yarns all waiting to be cast on! But you know me, no willpower when it comes to NOT casting on! And so of course I cast on for a Ravello sweater. I have had the pattern in my Ravelry library for a long time and I love the shape of the sweater and I have seen so many different versions of it that all look great.

I had also recently dyed up a new yarn base I wanted to test and see if I should sell. it’s 50% alpaca, 25% silk and 25% linen so it is soft, lightweight and yet warm and it has a halo. And I didn’t have any project in mind…until I decided on the Ravello by Isabelle Kraemer. And so I have cast on and I’m now past the armholes so now it’s just plain stockinette all the way to the bottom ribbing. It’s a top down raglan sweater that has some striping but the striping is more or less how you want. I knew I had this mohair and wensleydale blend hand dyed yarn from one of my Golden Skein installments. I only have one skein and I really did not know what to use it for and so I thought this might be the right project as this yarn has a halo like my hand dyed base. And this is fuschia pink and I had dyed my yarn light grey. And so I used this yarn for my stripes but there is something strange about this yarn because it knit up very unevenly. I’m hoping that once blocked it will look better and if not, well my sweater will have texture in addition to stripes 🙂

But because it looked “strange” I only did 3 stripes and I’m not going to stripe the sleeves. I am wondering though if I should knit the sleeve cuffs in this pink yarn alone (maybe it just needs to be knit on its own and not in stripes with another yarn) and maybe do a couple of rows and bind off for the body ribbing in this also. Just to give a pop of colour. I think that might be fun. Here’s a picture of where I’m at now.

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I think you can see that the pink stripes look a lot less even than my grey yarn.

And of course there is the Joji Mystery Wrap that I’m knitting on. Clue three is out and I’m almost at the end of clue 2. I got distracted so I didn’t manage to finish clue 2 before the next one was published. I really need to get a grip this week so as not to fall too far behind. Just in case you are doing the mystery kal too but don’t want to see spoiler pictures I will not share a picture here just yet.

I think this is about all for today. I recently indulged myself with some knitting magazines and I think I should share my thoughts of them in the near future and also… the Maker of the Month. Maybe you are getting impatient for the maker of this month and I want to apologize but I have just gotten so behind and so I think there will be no maker this month; after all there is just one more day left this month but I promise there will be one this June and I’ll try to do it before mid June so you don’t have to wait much longer.

That’s it for today. Thank you for stopping by and spending some of your precious time with me. Sharing my thoughts and knitting projects with you brings me such happiness and seeing the number of subscribers to the blog rise slowly but surely is so motivating. I’m thinking once I reach 200 subscribers I’ll do a giveaway to celebrate and thank you all! I believe I currently have 183 subscribers so I’m getting there:)

Have a wonderful week and I look forward to speaking to you again soon:)

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.

sock madness round 2

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 🙂

Meet the Maker of the Month – Michelle of Berry Colorful Yarnings

Hi there, the end of this month is chock full of information and blog posts as I took a little break and came back with a ton of things to share and also this meant that the Maker of the Month feature is way later in the month than usual. I do hope you forgive me for this and so here goes!

 

I first learned of Michelle and Berry Colorful Yarnings when I was in the yarn subscription club The Golden Skein (no longer operating). Every three months I would get three skeins of hand dyed yarns, each from a different dyer and one of those was Michelle.

Since then I have been following her on social media and of course on Etsy where she sells her yarns. Michelle specializes in self striping yarns and as a sock knitter, I find that super exciting! Somehow, self striping vanilla socks seem to knit up on their own, one is always so excited to get to the next stripe!

A while ago I contacted Michelle and she kindly accepted to do a little yarn swap and so I was lucky enough to get to try out some more of her yarns. This is the pair of socks I knit out of the first skein.

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I used my own hand dyed purple yarn for cuff, heels and toes so as to not disrupt the striping. I knit these from the cuff down and did an afterthought heel as I often do when using self striping yarn.

Michelle’s yarn is a pleasure to knit with and her sense of color is amazing. I have a few more of her yarns in my stash and cherish them very much! And I thought it would be so fun to interview Michelle and introduce you to her and her work if you don’t know her already. And she kindly accepted the interview AND a giveaway! So you just might be lucky enough to win one of her yarns yourself!

So here is my interview with Michelle


 

I see from your about page on Etsy that you opened your shop in 2011. Had you been dyeing yarn before then and selling elsewhere or is 2011 the year it all started?
2011 was the first time I had sold anything I had dyed and I started off with my etsy shop right away.

How did you come to start dyeing yarn and then selling online?
I have always been a lover of indie dyed yarn and I was buying yarn from international dyed but the shipping times and costs at that time were starting to add up. I had mentioned to a knitter friend of mine that “I wished I was talented enough to dye yarn” and her replay was “you are” so after chatting with my husband I jumped in feet first and haven’t looked back!

Do you work as an indie dyer full time or is this a part time thing ?
Dyeing is a part time thing for me. We homeschool our two girls and I help my husband run his business.

Where do you get your inspiration for your colourways from ?
I get my inspiration from many sources but I really love pulling colors from nature. There are some really beautiful combinations right in front of our eyes. I love when a customer brings me a photo and asks for a self striping yarn from it. This really allows me to be creative.

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

The most popular colorway has to be The Pats doorway, themed for the New England Patriots Football team. Second would be either the 12 color Rainbow or the 12 color 12 days of Christmas colorways.

bcy 12 days of christmas

I know you are most known for dyeing self striping yarn. How did you come to choose that type of dyeing method/yarn? Do you also sometimes dye tonal or semi solid yarns?
I had been dyeing yarn for several years when I wanted to do something a little different than what all the other dyers were doing. So I tried the self striping technique. I still love dyeing tonals and semi solids and will jump at the chance to dye them 🙂

Do you accept custom orders?

Currently no.. but after the first of the year my plan is to bring that option back to the shop.

What does a typical workday look like for you?
After getting the husband out the door, I get any business related emails and paperwork needed done. I get the girls schoolwork done and then some lunch.. if we don’t have a ton of activities for the day then off to the dye studio I go.. I get lost in the fun of color.

What have you got planned for Berry Colorful Yarnings in 2017? and where do you see your company in say 5 years from now?
2017 for BCY will be a slower year. But 2018 is hopefully going to see a few fiber shows and crammed full of new color combos and maybe even some fun new stripe tech.

Where does the name of your shop, Berry Colorful Yarnings come from?
Berry is my last name, Colorful for what I strive to always make my yarns, and Yarnings was what my youngest daughter would call anything I was doing with yarn or fiber, so Berry Colorful Yarnings happen to just fit so nicely!!

And a little about yourself, where do you come from/live?
I live in southern New Mexico, I spent 11 years here as a kid (military kid) then in 1996 my husband and I moved to CA and lived there for 17 years. We moved back to this area a few years ago and love it here.

Are you a knitter and/or crocheter?
I learned to crochet as a kid but didn’t learn to knit until 2009. My middle niece showed me how one summer.

When did you learn to knit/crochet?
Crochet I was about 10 and 2009 is when my niece showed me how to knit..

What are your favourite projects to knit/crochet? I’m guessing socks but I just might be wrong 🙂
I just recently became a sock knitter, that is why my stripes are a bit wider than some. I needed to be able to knit my own yarns into a hat or cowl. I love love to knit hats!!

bcy shawl

If you are a big sock knitter, do you have a go to pattern/recipe?

I love a toe up vanilla sock at the moment!

Do you knit socks cuff down or toe up?
Toe up for sure

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media? Do you have a blog?
I prefer Instagram (all though pretty pictures) I have a website that’s under construction and I would love to try and get my blog going again.. fingers crossed but right now I am mostly on IG as @Bcyarnings 🙂

bcy

Thank you so much Michelle for taking the time to answer my questions and giving me and my readers a little sneak peek into your life. And an even bigger thank you for donating a yarn for the giveaway! Michelle has donated a skein of her Daisy colorway that I show you here below.

bcy daisy

Berry Colorful Yarnings in Daisy, self striping

bcy daisy close up

A close up of Daisy

To enter this giveaway and have a chance of winning a skein of Michelle’s self striping yarn in the Daisy colorway you have to:

  1. go to her shop and take a look at her in stock yarns and/or sold yarns and
  2. come back here to leave a comment telling us which one of her colorways is your favorite
  3. Also tell us what pattern you would knit with her yarn should you win

I will use random number generator to draw a winner from the comments below (So I will not be replying to anyone so as not to disturb the drawing) on May 5th. Good luck to you all and enjoy the browsing 🙂