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 🙂

The February Plan

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

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

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

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

all-the-february-yarns

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

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

snowday-yarn

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

three-color-cashmere-cowl

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

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

Let’s start the new year with some fun stuff

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

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

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

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

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

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

knitcosmicstrings-wasabi-1

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

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

What prompted you to start your own yarn dyeing business?

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

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

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

Where do you get your inspiration for your colourways from?

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

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

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

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

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

Do you accept custom orders?

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

What does a typical workday look like for you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are both of you knitters/crocheters?

Bea is a knitter and Phu is a crocheter!

When did you learn to knit/crochet?

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

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

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

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

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

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

knitcosmicstrings-giveaway

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

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

take care 🙂

End of year and beginning of a new one

Hi there, how are you today? Getting ready to celebrate the beginning of 2017 no doubt. We will be celebrating with some friends at their house so minimal preparations on my side which is great as I’m getting ready to go home to Iceland for a few days and have to prepare my bags. And I also managed to get myself a big cold with a sore throat and all! How annoying is that! Anyway that won’t stop me from having a nice evening with friends.

This past year has had its share of ups and downs. This year I have come very close to closing down my little indie dyer business but thanks to some encouragements from wonderful people and exciting propositions for 2017 I’m still open and hope to make 2017 my best year ever, business wise!

I have just completed dyeing a special order for a wonderful knitting retreat that will be held in January. I don’t think I’m allowed to disclose where or who runs it just yet, I think the yarn is a surprise so I’ll just tell you more once the retreat has begun. But that is very exciting and I hope the participants will enjoy using my yarn.

Then I have been contacted to participate in a book project which sounds super exciting for me and would be a fun project to take part in and give me a great exposure also.

And then just yesterday I was contacted by a company that sells subscription/or not knitting related boxes and they want to try my yarn and stitch markers so I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that will pan out. So that is very exciting.

I’m going to close the shop for a little while now in January to give me some time to take stock and add more items for sale and I hope that when I open again my shop will look fabulous. Next March it will be 6 years since I started my little business so I think that will call for some sort of a celebration/giveaway. I’ll need to think about that.

I’m going to continue blogging in the new year and hope to be able to add some new features to the blog. I already have something very exciting planned for you in January. I really enjoy writing my blog and even if we don’t actually meet each other, it does feel like speaking to a friend and sharing a passion and little snippets of life. I’d like to link my blog to the shop, maybe have everything in one place/website but I don’t quite know how or if I’ll do that just yet.

I’d like to develop my Ravelry group some more this new year. I admit I’m not very active on Ravelry but it is a place where knitters meet and do fun things so I think I should get more involved there. Are you active on Ravelry? If yes, what features do you like the most? Are you an active member of different groups? I’d love to hear from you on that subject.

Now on to real knitting. This year has been a year of a lot of knitting. I haven’t really counted everything that I’ve knit and I haven’t been setting up Ravelry project pages for each item either unfortunately. I’m going to try and be more serious about that in the new year. I’m also thinking about doing a knitting journal, where I would write down information about every project I knit as I think it would be interesting at the end of the year to see just how much I have achieved. This year I organised my first ever KAL over on Ravelry and that was fun and I might do that again in the new year.

I had imagined myself finishing a lot of my wips and start the new year with an almost clean slate but… suffering from startitis like I do that was never going to happen. So I currently have 6 pairs of socks I’m actively working on. I have one shawl that needs some love, one pullover that is close to being done, a cardigan that I have only just begun and then set aside and a gazillion half done socks!

What I have planned for the beginning of the new year are at least two things and both are KALs. First there is the #Shlanket mystery knitalong organised by Mina Philipp of the Knitting Expat. This is a huge shawl/blanket knit in either worsted or aran weight yarn. I chose aran weight to get a really huge and comfy wrap.  I dyed the yarn myself and have wound one skein of each color to be ready tomorrow morning. This project calls for three colors and I have gone a little out of my comfort zone by choosing these colors

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They look kind of bright in this picture but they are actually more pastel-like in real life. I hope they will work well together in this pattern.

Then there is a Brioche Challenge KAL that Louise Tilbrook is holding. This kal also begins tomorrow January 1st and you can knit anything you like as long as it is brioche. The kal is meant both for the beginner brioche knitter as well as for those that know some brioche and maybe want to expand their skills.

I have decided to join and knit a shawl that I’ve had in my Ravelry library for a while now. It is called Briochealicious by Andrea Mowry. It is a paid for pattern on Ravelry. It looks huge and cozy and fun and it mixes brioche with garter stitch so should be a fun and relaxing knit. Here are the colors I have chosen for this

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The two yarns on the right are my own hand dyed yarns and the two on the left are store bought. I don’t knit a lot with purple but I do think this can work only now as I’m writing this and looking at the picture, I suddenly have a doubt…I may have to go for a browse in my stash or dye studio.

Of course I have planned on knitting a lot of socks and a few garments as well. What are your plans knitting wise for the new year? Will you be joining in the same kals as I am?

That’s all for today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the time spent with me this year. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read my posts. Thank you for sharing and interacting. Thank you for making my life brighter and for bringing me joy. I do hope you will continue to spend time with me in 2017.

Until next time I wish you and your family and friends all the very best for the new year and look forward to checking in with you again in January.

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 🙂

A parade of finished objects

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are well and enjoying the time leading up to the Christmas holidays. I hope you will get a few days off to enjoy the time with your family. I get a couple of days off around the Christmas weekend so that will be a wonderful and welcome break from work.

We are not going to Iceland for Christmas and New Years this year. Most years we go to Iceland because the holidays are just more magical there and also we have more family there and Christmas is just generally  a bigger celebration there and New Years with all the fireworks is way better than here in France. Sadly this  year we will not be able to go so we will be celebrating with friends and family here in Normandy. We have set up our Christmas tree and decorations and feeling the Christmas spirit coming. This leads to gift shopping of course! I like shopping but I really do not enjoy it at this time of year. All the shops are so crowded, people everywhere. It just takes all the fun out of the shopping I think and so I have been doing my shopping online. Not as much fun but at least it’s less stressful.

But I’m not only doing store bought gifts this year. I wasn’t going to do any Christmas Gift knitting this year and then somehow I just am! No idea how that happened but here I am! So last year I knit the adults in my family hats and mittens and this year I’m doing hats and cowls and I’m knitting for the children as well. I have been knitting like a crazy person this past week and I still have a hat and a half to go plus 4 cowls!  Not to panic though because I plan to go to Iceland at the very beginning of next year and so I will be delivering my gifts in person. That gives me a few extra days which will me much needed.

So here are some pictures of what I have done so far:

img_6367-1This is the Antler hat – a free pattern on Ravelry by Tin Can Knits and I knit this out of my own hand dyed super wash merino DK yarn. It’s a fun pattern and I’m considering buying the mitten pattern that goes with this.

 

The Maryam hat by Mina Philipp – a paid for pattern on Ravlery and I used a 100% non super wash aran weight BFL yarn that I had all dyed up.

 

img_6370The Open skies hat also by Mina Philipp – a paid for pattern on Ravelry

img_6369This hat is knit out of some of my handspun yarn and I really love how the yarn knit up. I did a navajo ply so this is a 3 ply yarn and that explains the striping/colour distinction you see going on. This is about a DK weight I think. The pattern is Latu by Meiju K-P and this is a free pattern on Ravelry.

And then there is the Barley hat by Tin Can Knits- another free pattern on Ravelry

img_6368I again used my DK merino yarn for this hat and really like the outcome.

So just two more to finish! I hope these will be appreciated by the recipients.

Another project that I finished last week and that I’m super proud of are the O.W.L mittens for my daughter. This is  a Harry Potter inspired pattern that can be found in the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits magazine by Interweave Press. I used my own hand dyed fingering weight yarn and I’m super happy with the outcome and so is my daughter. I did apprehend these a little to begin with but I was so lucky that Andrea of the Fruity Knitting Podcast did a fair isle tutorial in her last episode and that was a true revelation for me. It helped me with yarn management and knitting with one yarn in each hand and how to catch your floats impeccably. And so these actually were finished quite quickly once I had seen the tutorial.

The front is the owl and the back or palm has the spells written out.  That was a big “small” project that I’m so happy with having finished successfully.

I think that’s about all for today. This week I’m of course continuing on my gift knitting so hats and cowls for this week. I’m also working on socks, two pairs actually. One is for a new years gift and the other is a test knit that I will share with you next time.

I wish you a wonderful week and hope you have plenty of knitting time to destress before the holidays. So until next time, happy knitting and take care 🙂

This and that

Hi there how are you today? I hope you are doing good and enjoying this new week. Here in Normandy, France the weather is getting colder every day and we have had a lot of strong winds and rain. Just an all over “stay inside and knit” weather. And according to the weatherman, that’s what we will be getting all week long. I do find bad weather a bit depressing, especially when I’m working. I don’t mind so much on a Sunday when bad weather is the perfect “excuse” to just cozy up in a comfortable chair and knit all day long. I never get enough of those days.

Christmas is not far off now and we are seeing Christmas decorations being put up in the streets and my youngest is already counting down the days till Christmas. So far I have not done any Christmas gift knitting and I don’t think I will. I did knit a lot for last Christmas where I gave hat and mittens to a number of my family members. It wasn’t stressful or anything but this year I just don’t feel like it. Also I feel I just have so many things already on my needles that I really need to work on and most of those are either for myself or my kids. What about you? Are you doing Christmas gift knitting? If yes, what type of projects are you knitting or what type of projects do you usually knit as gifts? I’d love to hear from you if you care to share by leaving a comment below.

I have done lots of knitting this past week I think. I finished a pair of socks that I was test knitting and I have cast on for the second pair of test knit socks. I’m at the gusset on the first sock of this second pair. It is a two colour, slip stitch pattern and it goes quite fast but it does require some attention so I can only knit on this in the evening or weekends. It’s not the type of knitting I can do in between phone calls and just put down and pick up without further thought. Once the designer publishes her patterns I’ll be sharing the pictures with you here.

I have one finished object to share with you and that is a hat. I based it somewhat on the Sock Head Hat  but I did cast on fewer stitches and the cuff/ribbing is not as long. Also I used a colour work technique called Helix knitting. I used one colour, silver, for the ribbing and then 4 colours for the main body of the hat. To do Helix knitting you need to divide the number of stitches with the number of colours you are going to use. In my case I used 4 colours and that meant knitting each row with 4 different colours so to avoid a huge yarn tangle, one has to manage the balls of yarns and I used to move them around in the order I was using them and that worked very well. When doing Helix knitting, it is very important NOT to cross the yarns, that is when you leave one colour and pick up the next you do NOT twist the two yarns together as one would do in intarsia for example. You just have to leave the old yarn tail and pick up the new.

I find this technique really amazing because although your work is divided into sections of colour, when you look at your knitting, you could never guess it. This produces a striping effect with no jogs. What Helix knitting is, is in fact a technique that produces a spiral  of colour and I have some pictures to show you that will better explain what I mean.

helix-hat This is my finished hat. Like I said above, I used 4 colours so you see a pattern repeat of 4 colour stripes. On the very first row after the ribbing you can see the beginning of the spiral, you have some yellow and then some red.

helix-hat-with-yarnHere you can see the work from the “knitters perspective” and you can see that I’m knitting with all four colours each round.

helix-hat-yarn

I kept my yarns in a tote next to me and moved each ball away from me once I was finished knitting that particular colour and that helped me avoid a huge yarn tangle.

helix-hat-topIf you look at the crown of my hat you can clearly see the spiralling, especially apparent if you follow the red yarn.

I have seen this used in socks and I did cast on for a pair once but I think I never finished. It is a fun technique and I recommend you give it a go. Next time though, I will use fewer colours, I think 3 is a good number but then that is always going to be personal preference depending on what you are knitting and the stripe pattern you are looking for. The yarn I used for this was my Merino Light base, that is a merino singles yarn which is super soft and a joy to knit.

I’m also knitting on a simple brioche cowl. I dyed up a skein of this new base yarn that I’m trying out. It is a luxurious blend of 50/50 merino and silk. So the yarn is super soft to the touch and has a gorgeous shine to it. It is in fingering weight 400 meters per 100 gr. I dyed this up mostly grey but with a small section of the skein in gold.

Here you can see how the skein was mostly grey with just a small gold section. I didn’t want to knit this into a pair of socks, I felt it was too beautiful/precious a blend for that. I had already started on my Helix hat so I decided on doing a cowl. I didn’t have a pattern so I cast on a random number of stitches and decided I’d do this in brioche. Now I think I should have cast on fewer stitches as this is going to be quite large but not large enough for me to wrap it around my neck twice.

What was amazing to me was/is how this yarn knits up in brioche at this number of stitches. I had thought that because the gold colour was only on a small section of the skein, it would produce maybe a sort of spiralling block of colour but in fact it has created an overall pattern and not only that, but the pattern changes over the length of the cowl. I think that is really cool.

After having knit about half the yarn and realising that it was probably too large for just one wrap and not enough for two wraps, I decided I would be a good idea to decrease the stitch number and thus the cowl would be larger at the bottom hugging my shoulders and then decrease to create the neck part of the cowl which would be hugging the neck. I got out my brioche book “Knitting Fresh Brioche” by Nancy Merchant and found out how to do decreases. There were two for decreasing two stitches at a time, one right leaning and one left leaning. I followed the instructions and the decrease round itself looked fine but on the next round, where the decrease was, the stitches would become elongated and the fabric holey. It didn’t look good. So next time I did the other decrease and the same thing happened. I still continued thinking I could fix the holes afterwards, do some stitching somehow and I actually knit on for hours almost running out of yarn.  But when I looked at the cowl, all I could see were the ugly decreases. And I thought that was just no good. I was using a gorgeous yarn and the dye work was perfect and yet the only thing I saw were the flaws and I just knew I would never enjoy wearing this like this and so I decided I had to rip back. Ripping back brioche is not to be taken lightly. I decided this last night but I waited until this morning to actually rip back. Here you can see the cowl before the ripping back.

brioche-with-holes

I love the pattern created by the small gold section in the yarn. And here towards the top of the cowl/picture you can see the decreases and how they looked.

brioche-close-upAnd this is a close up and it may not look too catastrophic like this but once held up, the weight of the fabric really pulled on those stitches making the holes more apparent.

So this morning I again consulted my brioche book on how to rip back and off I went. I ripped to one row less than I wanted to rip back and I then ripped the last row slowly, a stitch at a time and picked up the stitch with a much smaller needle than I was using. That made the picking up so much easier and it really was a breeze.

But I did rip back almost half of my work and that is always sad, I always feel like I have lost so much precious knitting time but I really shouldn’t. After all I do love knitting so nothing to regret there, and I will end up with an item I will actually like and wear and that is most important. I did pause to think if I should just rip everything back and start all over again and cast on fewer stitches but decided against it. So I’m just going to continue as I was and we’ll see how it ends up being.

brioche-after-ripping-back

And here is my cowl this morning after the ripping back.

I have also started on my next Harry Potter themed knit for my oldest. If you follow my blog regularly you will know that she is a Harry Potter fan and that she asked me to knit her a large number of Harry Potter themed accessories and sweaters. So far I have done one scarf, a pair of socks and a pair of fingerless mitts. Now I have begun a pair of fair isle mittens. The pattern is called Owl Mittens by Celeste Young and can be found in the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits magazine from Interview Press.

I’m using my own yarn in my SOX base, the red/burgundy I dyed and the white is just undyed yarn. I’m not far along but so far I like it. I do think this will take a lot of time to complete because of the patterning all over. I’m trying to relax as I knit the fair isle so that the floats stay relaxed in the back. I really hate it when the fabric is all puckered up and tight. But so far so good and my daughter loves it and can’t wait for me to finish, especially now that the weather has really cooled down. Here are some pictures for you.

owl-mit-beginning

 

This is the back of the hand and this is a lot of owls on branches, there  will be three repeats of the owl pattern, each pattern repeat is unique.

owl-mit-backThis is the palm side of the mitt and here you have spells written out. I need to be careful with my tension here also because if it is too tight, the stitches will be too small and the words won’t be clearly written out.

So this is a challenging and time consuming knit that I will work on when not doing anything else and I think I will probably need  quite some time to finish but they will be gorgeous once done.

That’s about all for today I think. This week I’ll continue to work on my test knit socks, my brioche cowl and the Harry Potter mitts. I’ll also be going to an interview with a job counsellor to help me redo my resume and maybe get a clearer picture of what types of jobs I can apply for. I do have a full time job at the moment but I work from home and I have been doing that for a number of years and I feel that a change is needed and I’d love to work outside of my home and have real colleagues again. Maybe 2017 will be a year of change for me. You never know.

Thank you for stopping by today and spending some of your precious time with me. I’ll be back next week and until then take care and enjoy your knitting:)

It’s all about socks

Hi there, how have you been? It’s been over 2 weeks since I last posted and it feel like forever. I had my mother and one of my nephews over from Iceland for a visit and that was such fun. I did work most of the time they were here but I still got some time with them every day of course so that was fun.

They were very lucky with the weather while they were here, we had sun and it actually even was a  little hot, around 17°C which is super warm for this time of year. Since they left however it has become abundantly clear that winter has come and is here to stay. We have had a lot of rain and chill in the air. But that’s ok, it’s winter after all.

Now I have been doing a lot of knitting and I have actually finished a lot of projects since the last time I posted, mostly socks. And I have also cast on a number of things. I always say that’s it, I’m not casting on anything new. I’m going to work through my pile of wips….but then I never do. I always see or hear of this new pattern and I can’t resist. I’m just hopeless so I guess what I should take from this is that I should never say “I’m not casting on anything new”! I’ll try to remember that.

Now on to show off my latest FOs. So some of those were already on the needles last time but are now finished.

First off are the Dragon’s Egg socks that I knit for my oldest. These are Harry Potter themed socks that were written for men so they are actually quite big even though I knit the smallest size. I also ended up playing a game of yarn chicken which I luckily won! But the thing was that the leg of the sock was so much longer than what I usually knit and I couldn’t really shorten it because of all the patterning. I think when I cast off, I had less than a meter left of yarn! Phew, that was a close call! Luckily my daughter loves her socks and that’s one more project off my Harry Potter knits.

The yarn is not my own and I have discussed that in earlier posts so if you are interested in that you can browse my latests posts for info on that.

I had also cast on for a pair of Halloween socks for my youngest using one of my own hand dyed yarns in a colorway that I dyed up specially for Halloween. I finished those in time for Halloween so that was fun. I knit them toe up, no special pattern just a regular vanilla sock.

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And then I cast on for a pair of socks for myself. I used yarn that I had gotten in this years Knitting in France Birthday Game. It was a DK weight yarn from Sirdar called Sirdar Snuggly baby bamboo. The content was 80% bamboo and 20% wool. I very rarely knit socks using DK yarn but this was fun as they were a quick knit. I had two 50gr balls, each had 95 meters/104 yards. As I’m not used to knitting socks in such a heavy yarn I was unsure if I’d have enough so I knit them toe up as that way I could just stop the cuff when I was about to be out of yarn and that worked out really nicely. Again no pattern really just from experience. I did knit a rib pattern on the leg, knit 3, purl 1 just for some added interest.

 

dk-weight-socks

Then I made a pair of fingerless mittens and clearly this was knit with Christmas in mind. I had dyed up some of my Merino Light yarn, that’s a 100% merino single ply yarn that is super soft and a joy to knit with. However as it’s single ply and no nylon content, it would not be a good choice for socks so I decided a pair of mittens would be ideal. I found a pattern for mittens online and then adapted that to what I wanted and here they are:

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And next to them you can see a mini mitten ornament. I actually stitched that first I think, or was it the other way around? I’m not sure any more but either way, one influenced the other. I think the mittens are fun and the mini mitten ornament as well. I’m thinking I’ll use it as a Christmas tree decoration.

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I bought a few of these mini wooden ornaments to stitch and I’m thinking I’ll make them into Christmas decorations.

The last project I’m going to share with you today is another pair of socks. Of course! But it’s not just ANY pair of socks! No, these are super special because they are knit using my own hand dyed yarn in a self striping color way! I dyed the yarn a while back and I only did 3 sets. Each set was made up of 2 50gr skeins so you could knit them two at a time. I kept one for myself, I gave one away in a giveaway and I think I sold the third. Anyway it had been sitting in my stash for a while and all of a sudden I thought I really should knit a pair of socks using that yarn and see how it would knit up. This yarn was a dyeing challenge for a number of reasons. First because I dyed two skeins rather than just one regular skein. This meant that I had to make sure that both skeins were exactly the same. Second because it was a self striping yarn and that means a lot more work than when dyeing any other kind of yarn. And I did not do all the stripes of the same length and I also had a number of colours rather than just to stripes of 2 or 3 colours. So a real challenge for me as a dyer.

I then decided to knit them using Susan B Andersons new sock pattern called the Smooth Operator Sock pattern which is especially designed for self striping yarns. It is basically a pattern for vanilla socks with an afterthought heel. Well, let me tell you that it worked out perfectly and I have been boasting about my success all over my social media! If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter you are bound to have seen the pictures. But if you haven’t here they are and look how PERFECTLY my two socks match! I’m so proud of my dyeing!!!!

I really love the colorway and wish I had written down how I did this so I could repeat it. Unfortunately I did not so this truly is a one of a kind colorway. I still have enough left, I think, for a pair of shorty socks for my youngest. These by the way are for her also. I knit 60 stitches on 2.25mm needle.

The success on this colorway has inspired me to work with lots of colours and I want to try my hand at more self striping colorways for the shop and I have already begun dyeing some up and I have plans for more but I’ll tell you all about that in a later post as this is beginning to be on the longer side I feel.

So I think I’ll say goodbye for now. Thank you so much for stopping  by and spending some of your time with me and my knits. I hope you have enjoyed reading and looking at my pictures and that you will come back for more later on.

I wish you all a wonderful new week and I hope you have lots of time to work on your own knits. Take care 🙂

My knitting, a shop update and life in general

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Mine was just fine, mostly the same as always except that on Saturday evening I went out to dinner with my husband celebrating 23 years together! That’s actually more than half my life!

We went to a restaurant over in the next village which is very nice and we had a wonderful dinner. Every time we go out to dinner, we say we need to do so more often. But we never manage to. Life between work and family just doesn’t leave much time for restaurants or maybe it’s us and we don’t TAKE the time. Anyway, it was a welcomed change and the food was delicious.

Saturday I also took the time to do a much needed shop update. I have been dyeing a little here and there but not putting anything up in the shop. So Saturday I finally took all the pictures and labelled my yarns and the uploaded them to Etsy just yesterday, Monday. The shop has not been getting a lot of love from me lately and that has shown in less and less sales. I hope that the new yarns I put up for sale will bring a customer or two. I did a bunch of my new base, Merino Light, which is a singles yarn that is super soft and a joy to knit with. Julia of the Happy Knitting Podcast raved about this yarn in her last 2 episodes and she is about to release a new shawl design using this yarn with another fingering weight yarn. That is why I decided it might be a good time to add some more to the shop if someone wanted to knit her shawl using the same yarn.

Anyway, if you are interested in seeing my latest yarns and my shop you can click here and the link will take you to my Etsy shop.

And now on to the knitting. I feel like I have not made much progress from last week. I still haven’t finished my Dexter cardigan although I’m soooo close. And I think I can honestly say that I will finish the knitting TODAY! After all I only have a few rounds of ribbing left on my second sleeve and voila!

dexter-cardigan-sleeves

See? I’m almost there! And then I’ll need to weave in the ends and choose my buttons. This has really been an enjoyable knit and maybe that’s why I’m taking my time to finish. I don’t want to stop knitting on this. Plus the yarn is sooooo soft! I have even been thinking of casting on for a second one. But that might not be reasonable given that I have a gazillion cardigan patterns in my Ravelry library that also need knitting.

Here you can have a better look at my almost finished Dexter cardigan by Isabelle Kramer.

I really like the outcome. I think that using a solid and a variegated yarn together gives a fun result and I think this will go well with jeans. The lace yarns I used are not cobweb fine so holding two together gives me the correct gauge even though the pattern was written for a fingering weight yarn. I used 2 different variegated skeins, one for the body and another one for the sleeves. The one in the sleeves was very pastel coloured and muted so when looking at pictures you can hardly see anything but  grey. When looking at the cardigan up close the sleeves look like a muted version of the body so that is just perfect. So if you are looking for a simple and yet fun cardigan to knit, I can definitely recommend this pattern.

I have also been knitting on another Harry Potter knit for my daughter. I’m knitting a pair of socks and the pattern is called Dragon’s Egg. It’s actually designed for men so I’m knitting the smallest size and yet it looks quite big. I’m turning the heel now and once that’s done, I’m going to have her try them on to see if she wants me to continue or if this is just way too big for her.

This is a highly patterned knit so I need some quiet to concentrate and follow the pattern. I chose a yarn that I purchased a while ago and haven’t had the chance to use up until now. I saw this yarn on Etsy and just had to buy it but once I got it, my excitement dwindled quite quickly. It’s a stellina yarn but the stellina is actually harsh. It’s strange. My stellina bases are super soft and you can’t tell by touching if you are touching the merino or the stellina and I honestly thought that was how all stellina yarns were. Until I got this one… And because the yarn is hash and not enjoyable to the touch, I haven’t been making the progress I was hoping to. I don’t really enjoy knitting with this yarn and so I have to make myself pick this up to continue. And it’s a shame. Even worse, I purchased 3 skeins total in this base. All gorgeous colours but….This yarn can only be used for socks because way to harsh for a shawl and even mittens I think. The yarn company is called Lanitium ex Machina and they are on Etsy. Of course, I have only tried this one base from them so I can’t speak about any of their other yarns, but this one is definitely not for the sensitive knitter.

Anyway here are some pictures of where I’m at now and you will agree, I think, that the yarn is beautiful….to look at 🙂

 

I also cast on for something new. I have this new niece that is to be born in December and I really want to knit her something but I have been having like a “knitters block”. I have been browsing the web looking for cute baby patterns and I have found some of course and then I cast on, only to rip everything out after a few rounds. Just not feeling it. That is, util I saw a post on Instagram. I follow a few Scandinavian knitwear designers and I think their really look different and feel so fresh and just generally speak to me. And so I saw this post with pictures of a onesie by a designer I have never heard of. I liked it so much I immediately clicked through to Ravelry and bought the pattern.

Its called Trilitunge Newborn Onesie and it is gorgeous! I found a beautiful yarn in my stash from Cascade, Cascade Heritage which is a merino and mulberry silk blend. The colour is a beautiful turquoise which I feel can work for both boys and girls. I’m going to put in pink buttons and I think that will be just perfect.

I have of course cast on and I’m just past the underarms. The construction was a little confusing to begin with but now that I’m this far it’s actually easy to understand and the stitch pattern is easily memorised. So far I’m really enjoying this knit. I’m knitting the second size, 1-3 months. I think I’ll then knit a pair of socks and maybe a hat and voila! I have taken some pictures of this but because of the construction, the front being open, it’s not easy to picture at this stage but I hope you get the picture.

 

The second picture shows the back. So you see you have these cables on each side and a lace pattern for the front and back. I think this is really beautiful and I wish this was written in more sizes but the I guess one could maybe just go up a needle size or two for a somewhat bigger onesie.

That’s about it for my knitting. I haven’t yet decided what I’ll knit one once my Dexter is done! I have a gazillion single socks that need mates, another gazillion just started or half done socks. Not to mention a close to finished sweater and a cardi that needs to either be done with or ripped out! Somehow I’m not being inspired by all these and I’m thinking maybe I’ll just cast on something completely new. Like a shawl design by Romi Hill for which I actually bought a kit from Miss Babs yarns!

The shawl is called Simee Dimeh and its a gorgeous mosaic knitting shawl design. I’ve never done mosaic knitting and the idea of diving into something new to me with lots of gorgeous colours sounds so enticing. Just sitting here and writing about this, I’m getting more and more excited about this so most likely you’ll be seing that shawl next time I blog:)

Here’s a picture from Romi’s pattern page on Ravelry

simee-r1-sm_medium2

Doesn’t this look gorgeous! These are actually the colours that I chose for my kit. Have you knit this pattern by any chance? Or have you maybe done some mosaic knitting? I’d love to hear from you on that and see pictures if you have made this shawl or something similar.

Well, that’s about all for today I think. I need to finish my Dexter and wind up some new yarns before work! Oh and on the subject of work! If you have been following me here for a while, you will know that I have a full time job in addition to my Etsy shop. I like the company I work for, I like the industry I work in but the actual job itself…I feel I’ve sort of done it all, seen it all and I really want to change but it’s not easy. I’ve been doing this for so long that even imagining doing something else is difficult. It’s as if doing this same job for X years had somehow stripped me of any and all other capacities and I can’t even think  what I might be good at or what type of job I should apply for. Has this happened to you? Maybe I’m going through some midlife crisis here but I really feel I need to challenge myself and take on something new and exciting. I’m sure there are a million things I can do and as many if not more that I can learn to do. I know that. But actually putting those thoughts/things on paper and find this new and exciting job opportunity seems out of my reach at the moment. I need to motivate myself, reassure myself and throw myself out there for all recruiters to see! So if you have knowledge of an exciting job I could apply for and do from my home in Normandy, I’m all ears!

Sorry if today’s post was too personal or too much rambling for your opinion. Usually my posts are really knitting focused so this is not a typical post. I apologise if this bothered your.

Thank you for stopping by my little blog today and for sharing some of your precious time with me. I really appreciate that. I have gotten some heartwarming messages from readers saying how much they love my blog and encouraging me to continue and I really appreciate that.

So until next time, take care and enjoy your knitting 🙂