My big March plans

Hi there how are you today? it’s raining cats and dogs here in Normandy this morning. It almost feels like winter is coming back and they have predicted this kind of weather for the rest of the week I think. Funny how gloomy weather can sometimes affect your mood at least on weekdays. Because yesterday, Sunday, it was the same and I wasn’t bothered at all! In fact I spent almost the entire day knitting! Maybe a little too much time to be quite honest because my hands felt a bit sore by the time I went to bed.

But March is a very heavily busy month knitwise. It hadn’t started  out as such but as we got closer to the end of February, beginning of March the projects just piled on.

But before I share those with you let me show you my two Fos.

First off is a pair of socks that I was test knitting for my friend and designer Dana Gervais. The pattern is called Good Karma and will be a for sale pattern on Ravelry in the near future.

The pattern is fun to knit and quite intuitive. It’s a mirrored pattern which means that the pattern is placed differently on each sock so that they mirror each other. I managed to knit them quite quickly as I had big plans coming up and absolutely wanted and needed to get them done in time.

I used one of my newer bases which I call POP. It’s a merino/donegal nepp tweed yarn. And what is especially fun with this tweed yarn is that the nepps are multi colored instead of just plain black as usually. I have knit socks out of this yarn before and I really love both knitting with it and the finished project. So here are some pictures of my finished socks.

 

They look really nice even if I say so myself! I’m taking a break from test knitting socks this month due to my heavy workload but I really look forward to doing it again.

My second finished object is a shawl that I started on January 1st 2017. This was part of the brioche challenge hosted by Louise Tilbrook Designs. I did choose a pattern that was not all brioche thinking it would go quicker although just from looking at the pattern pictures, I could see that it is quite big. Well, I got sidetracked needless to say and I only just finished last week. I knit this using two of my yarns in my SOX base and two other yarns. And it is huge! I haven’t blocked the shawl yet and frankly I don’t know if I will. Maybe I’ll just lightly steam block it before giving it away because yes I’m going to gift it to someone special. Shh not saying just in case she reads my blog.

The shawl I’m babbling about is the Briochealicious shawl by Andrea Mowry. It is a mix of brioche and garter stitch so quite a relaxing knit and I really did enjoy knitting on it. I can even see myself knitting a second one that I would keep. But here’s a picture – although you can’t see it in its entirety because of the size.

Yes that’s me modelling the shawl 🙂

And now onto current works in progress. I can show you two but one is a secret test knit. I was contacted by a relatively new designer that I love. I have knit one of her sweaters, the Kitsune sweater. And I already have a cardigan of hers on the needles although I’m still at the very beginning there. Well so she contacted me and asked I was willing to test knit a new cardigan and once I saw the picture there was no turning back! So of course I said yes please! It is gorgeous! However she has asked us test knitters not to share any pictures until the pattern has been released so I won’t be able to show you anything for the moment. I’m knitting it on my SPARKLES base in a teal colorway and I think it will be amazing. I have one month to finish so that is part of the reason why I say March is a heavily busy knit month.

The first wip I can share, is the Snowmelt shawl by Helen Stewart of the Curious Handmade. This is a mystery kal and the last clue came out last Thursday. I have begun knitting on that clue but I won’t be able to continue until I finish my all consuming wip that I’ll tell you all about in a moment. So I’m knitting this shawl out of a new base of mine that I call Back to Basics. It’s a non superwash merino fingering yarn and it is gorgeous. I was hesitant to order non superwash fingering but I do not regret it. In fact I want to order much more. I love the fact that non superwash items do not grow so I think it will be perfect for garment knitting and I have a ton of sweaters and cardigans I want to knit using this base. But back to the shawl. I had heard Helen’s recommendations on the yarn before hand and so I dyed up 3 skeins just for this project and I’m really happy with the outcome and how they work together. This is a half pi shawl and I think it is the first time I knit one of those or if I have before, then it was ages ago because I don’t remember it. Here’s a picture of where I’m at now – I do want to finish soon so I can enter it into the FO thread in her Ravelry group for a giveaway.

snowmelt-shawl-beginning-of-clue4

Snowmelt shawl by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade knit in Back to Basics by Knitting in France

I’m really happy with my choice of colors and I look forward to finishing the shawl.

And now onto the all consuming wip! I told you last time, I think, that I was participating in the Sock Madness competition for the second time this year. Well it has just began. The first pattern was released late Thursday night so I only got to cast on and do one cuff on that very first day but I have been knitting on this non stop since then. The first round is a qualifying round and we have 14 days to finish the pair. The faster you finish the better of course and that will also determine in which team you end up. The teams are composed of knitters that knit at similar speeds so although there are hundreds of knitters partaking in the competition you are only every competing against the members of your team so people of similar speed. That is great because it gives everyone a chance to participate. Last year I ended up in the second to fastest team I think which was quite stressful and makes me think maybe I should not try so hard to finish asap this time around but I can’t help myself. I really want to finish them at lightning speed and also when I browse the chatter and FO threads I realise that there are so many knitters that either are way speedier knitters than I am or have way more time because I’m not the fastes. Of course I’m not way behind either.

This first pattern, Twisted Madness, is not a complicated one but it is very time consuming and hard on the hands because it is basically an all over cable pattern. That makes progress slow and it just eats up yarn. There are minimum requirements so each time I have to knit the socks to my size or for my oldest to meet those and for this first pair one skein of fingering yarn is not enough. After knitting to the heel on the first sock I was seriously worried so one of the moderators told me to cast on for the second one and knit to the same place and then make a decision on if I had enough to finish or if I should change yarns. And so I did, I knit the second sock to the heel turn and then decided to turn the heel on both socks in my current yarn. After that I only had 40 gr left and I’m pretty sure I would not have had enough to finish and as we are not allowed to do contrasting heels, toes and cuffs I could not knit to the toe and then change yarns so I thought after the heel would be good spot to change.

I hesitated between yarns. My yarn was a turquoise with some yellow and I had another skein in only turquoise but of course not the exact same shade and I also had a skein of yellow also not the same shade. Finally I went with the yellow and I think my socks will look just fine when they are done.

This is where I’m at now:

 

This stitch pattern is basically a left leaning cable over 2 stitches and produces this nice pattern that you can  see close up on the picture on the right. What do you think about my choice of second color for the socks? I think they will be ok. When worn, people will see a yellow sock with a turquoise and yellow heel so I’m sure it will be ok.

So after I had turned the heel on both socks I decided to knit them taat magic loop. I’ll be knitting on them this afternoon but I’m taking a little break this morning and going to knit on my Snowmelt shawl and spin a little just to give my hands a little time off from the pattern. I chose to knit them on a long circular needle from the get go because just seeing the stitch pattern I realised that knitting them on a 9″ circular would be too hard on my hands.

So I need to finish these asap to qualify of course but also so that I have more time in between rounds so that I can finish my Snowmelt and make good progress on my test knit cardigan. Once the two weeks of the qualifying round are up, the organizers need a few days to set up the teams and so I have some time to finish other things. Each round thereafter is also 14 days but the objective is to always finish way before the time limit. So quite a busy month ahead. Are you also participating in Sock Madness this year? I’d love to know if you are so I can follow your progress on social media.

So planning wise the month of March is 90% Sock Madness and then my test knit cardigan. But I did fall for the Stephen West Mkal temptation and sign up for the Marled Magic Mystery Kal The first clue came out last Friday and I haven’t had the time to start and  realistically I may not be able to until the kal is actually over but anyway. I fell for this because he recommended that one use mohair yarn – this is a shawl knit holding two fingering weight yarns together and either use one constant color and only change on of the yarns throughout or to change both all the time. I had a few skeins of mohair/silk yarn in my stash of undyed yarns and I really don’t like the fuzziness of mohair and haven’t dyed or sold much of this yarn and when I saw the pattern and yarn recommendations I thought “it’s now or never”. Either I do this or these skeins will stay in my stash forever. And so I dyed all the skeins, 8 of them I think in a very pale mint green and then I went looking in my stash and my shop yarns for colors that could work with it and I’ve come up with a surprising palette. Actually very different from the colors I’m usually drawn to so I don’t even know if I’ll actually wear the shawl once it’s done. I might give it to someone or maybe I’ll find myself in love with all those new colors. Who knows!

marled-mystery-kal-yarns

Only one of these yarns is not mine and I might just change it out for one of my own to make this a 100% Knitting in France shawl. Are you doing the mkal? I’d love to see your yarn choices and see your progress as I wait to be able to start mine.

Well, that’s all for now I think. I’ll be back this Thursday with a Maker of the Month feature and a giveaway so stay tuned for that. Until then, have a wonderful week and happy knitting 🙂

A shop update and more

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

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

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

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

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

house-shoe-boggas-yarn

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

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

 

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

Take care

My latest knits

Hi there again, it’s only been a few days since I last posted but I didn’t share with you my progress in that post. I do hope you took a look at the Antonia shawl I told you about a few days ago and that you were able to take advantage of the 50% off coupon code. If you did purchase the pattern, I’d love to see your finished shawl in the future so hopefully some of you will be sharing pictures of that later on.

Now on to my own knitting. So since last time, I have been knitting on a few projects. First finished object is my second Harry Potter fandom knit. This is for my oldest daughter who fell in love while browsing the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits magazine from Interweave. So that means I have now finished two projects and have 5 more to go! I will be casting on for project number 3 today.

So I just finished a pair of fingerless mittens called Hermione’s Time Turner mitts. These are an all over cable pattern with the letter H double stitched on the front. This was a small project but because of all the cables it did take me some time to finish. It’s not a pick up/put down constantly project so I only knit on this when I had enough time to do a few pattern repeats.

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I really like how these turned out. The yarn is a dark chocolate brown so the picture is quite dark but I hope you get the idea. Luckily my daughter loves them! So next up will be a pair of socks called Dragon’s Egg Socks. Those are actually written for men but I’ll knit the smallest size and just adjust the length. I have already wound up my yarn and printed out the pattern so all is ready to go.

The second finished object this week is a pair of thrummed slippers. I have been wanting to try thrums for a long time and I finally did it. The motivation was cold fee! As you may know, I work from home and so I sit at my desk for 8h a day and during the winter the house is not super warm, especially my bedroom which is where I work from. And so I find myself having frozen feet especially when I work the evening shift and so I thought I just had do something about this and decided to knit a pair of thrummed slippers. I went to Ravelry of course to look around for ideas and I found a paid for pattern by the Cozy Knitter called Thrummed Slippers. It’s a super simple pattern at a good price so I went ahead and purchased that. The pattern is written for a woman’s medium size. I’m very tall so I thought I’d go up a few needle sizes to accommodate for that….I really shouldn’t have!

I used my 100%BFL Aran yarn and some roving from my stash. The pattern is written for needle size 5mm or US8 and I used 6mm or US 10. This resulted in a very loose fabric and that is what I don’t like about my slippers. They did turn out ok though and I shared pictures of them on Instagram and got a lot of likes and nice compliments so I guess “from afar” they look better than up close:)

But it’s ok, these are just to be used when at my desk and not while I’m about the house or in the presence of others. And the other night I tried them and wow they are perfect! Super warm and fuzzy and the roving really keeps the feet warm. So all in all I’m happy with my new slippers. My kids loved them and two have asked me to knit them a pair so I have dyed up some more of my BFL Aran wool and I’ll be casting on for those next weekend I think.

But here’s a picture so you can see for yourself

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What do you think? They do look cozy, there is no denying that:)

My big wip at the moment is the Dexter cardigan by Isabelle Kramer. I’m knitting that using two lace weight yarns held together in stead of a fingering weight yarn. I shared with you a while back the yarns I dyed up for this. One is all grey and the others are variegated. I did dye up a lot more than I actually need. Lace yarns are just never ending! Currently I have finished the body, button band and all. And I’m on sleeve number one. So I used the grey and the variegated yarn for the body and then I used only the grey held double for the ribbing, neck and button bands. Then it was time for the first sleeve. I was wondering if I should do the sleeves in all grey too. I don’t think I had enough left of the first variegated skein to knit both sleeves and as I did the ribbing and button bands in all grey, I was wondering if I should stick to that and not add a new color to the equation.

Finally I decided that I would add a second variegated skein as I had planned for. I chose the softest/lightest coloured one so it actually looks quite grey but it still has some mauve and pinks in there. I’m almost done with the decreases so I’m guessing I’ll finish the sleeve this week and get going on the second so hopefully this cardigan will be all done in a week to ten days.

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The lighting is not good on this picture but you get an idea of where I’m at and what the colours look like.

When this one is done, I really should pick up the two big wips I have abandoned for months, a sweater for my daughter and a cardigan for myself so hopefully I’ll be able to refrain from casting on another cardi or sweater and get at least one of these two done!

I’m also knitting on a pair of simple socks using a sock blank and I think I’m going to do a post just about that. A lot of people are not familiar with sock blanks or they have seen them but are hesitant to buy and use them so I think that could be an interesting topic and to see how one knits up and so forth. I have one sock done and the second is about 30% done now so once I’m all done and the socks have been blocked and so forth I’ll be sharing that experience with you here.

That’ s all for today. I hope you have enjoyed spending some time with me today. I really enjoy sharing my knitting life with you. I don’t have any knitting friends where I live so the blog is such a happy place for me to share and get positive feedback and encouragement for my work. So thank you so much for stopping by and spending some of your precious time in my company.

I hope you will have a wonderful rest of the week and an even better weekend. Take care and “see” you soon:)

My new hand dyed yarns

I’ve been working on dyeing some new yarns. As I’m closed for business now, I’m re-evaluating my shop and the items I offer. I’m going to narrow down my range of yarns and colors. I’ve been told that offering too many choices gives the buyer angst and they are more likely to leave the shop and go elsewhere because they are not able to make up their mind. So I don’t want that to happen any more! So I’m working on a range of “basic” colors. Something kind of standard that I’d have on offer all the time, repeatable colorways, which is new to me. I also want to have maybe seasonal offers with colorways that I’d offer only for a limited time for example or some one-offs for those that like unique yarns.

As for the weight or yarn types I’ll be doing: lace, fingering/4 ply and DK. I think these are the most commonly used yarn types as you can knit pretty much everything using these 3 types of yarns.

I’m also working on ideas for yarn clubs, I’m thinking : one sock yarn club with fingering weight yarn and 1 lace club with lace only yarns. They would be like a bi-monthly thing so 6 skeins over 12 months or 3 skeins over 6 months. I’m also toying with the idea of a “Goodies” club which would be a bi-monthly thing also and that one would include knitting accessories and mini skeins. What do you think of those ideas? Are you maybe a part of a yarn club already? Which one and do you enjoy it? Or is there a reason why you would NOT join a club? Would you prefer a “pay up front” thing or a “pay as you go” thing?

Any ideas and thoughts on the yarn and goodies clubs would be much appreciated. I really want to work on those and come up with something exciting that knitters ABSOLUTELY want to join in on. And you can help me do just that 🙂

Now some pictures! I’ve begun working on my new future colorways and I’ve come up with my “basic” colors and at least 2 “seasonal/special” colorways.  So here are some pictures to show you what I’ve done so far

www.knittinginfrance.com   These are mini skeins I dyed to work on my future basic colors and these will be dyed on my merino/nylon base yarn. I’m calling this range of sock weight yarns SHADES.

www.knittinginfrance.com   Here you have Shades of Magenta   www.knittinginfrance.com  And Shades of Blue

www.knittinginfrance.com And here mixed together you have Shades of Scarlet (red) and Shades of Jade (green)

 

And I’ve just begun thinking about doing some self striping yarns also and I’ve done 1 test so far of possible contenders. This would be on a 100% superwash merino base yarn.

www.knittinginfrance.com I actually quite like the colors and how they play together so the next step is to decide on the pattern. How long/short each color repeat should be so I will be doing some more testing and knitting before I can decide on the final version.

And then there is the lace. I will have 2 or maybe 3 base yarns. So far I’ve worked mostly 1 which is the merino, silk, stellina base. It is super soft and the 5% stellina gives it a little touch of glam and just overall light that brightens up the yarn I think. I don’t know about you but I’m definitely a stellina fan and I will be offering stellina yarns in all 3 weights!

www.knittinginfrance.com These are all rather soft colors that I think can work with delicate lace work. I have to work on their names as I haven’t decided on those yet but I do like the colors.

And then the “seasonal/special” colorways. Here is one that I’m doing in a stellina base fingering yarn and it is called Strawberry Frappuccino. This yarn is inspired by a sock pattern written specifically for my yarn by CC Almon of JavaPurl. This new pattern will be published this autumn, I don’t have an exact date yet but I’m really looking forward to that as it will be the very first pattern ever written specifically for MY yarn!

www.knittinginfrance.com I really like the outcome! I’ll be knitting my own pair of the socks as soon as the pattern gets published and I can buy a copy:)

What I have yet to work on is the DK weight. This I imagine will be used mostly for sweaters and hats and scarves/cowls maybe. I think this will be mostly solid or semi solid colorways. Not much varigation or stripes, at least not in the base line even though I might dye up a few “fun” ones as “seasonal/special” yarns.

Is there a color you LOVE and would like to see me dye? I know Teal is a big thing this autumn and I’ve come up with a great blend for teal and so I’m going to be doing that in all 3 yarn weights, maybe not the same exact color in all 3 weights but some variations of it at least. Other color ideas?

That’s all for today. Have a wonderful Sunday and hopefully you’ll have some time to knit and enjoy your crafting today. I wish you a great week for the new week just around the corner and I’ll be back with you soon:)

 

My latest WIPs and hand dyed yarns

Hi there, how are you doing today? I’m doing pretty good. Today is Friday and I’m looking forward to the weekend. I’d love to be able to just isolate myself and just work on my shop and my knitting but when one has a family of 5, well isolation is not really an option 🙂

So first off, I’m suffering greatly from a case of Startitis these days! I’ve got a gazillion things on my needles and rather than actually concentrating on and finishing one project after another I just keep casting on for new projects! Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing but this is where I’m at now. I actually counted my projects and here is my list:

3 pairs of socks + 2 pairs of mittens + 2 shawls + 1 stole + 1 sweater + 1 blanket

I think that’s all ….. Some of these have been patiently waiting for me for more or less time but here are those I’m currently, actually working on:

Hermione’s Everyday socks – My objective now is to knit as much as I can using my hand dyed yarns and then add my yarns to Ravelry so others can create their project pages with my yarns. Also to upload pictures of projects I knit with my yarns so others can see how they knit up and maybe even tempt a few knitters to try out my yarns.

www.knittinginfrance.com The yarn is my merino/nylon blend and I’m knitting this on my Signature dpns in 2,25mm. The pattern is quite simple and going rather quickly. I’ve finished one sock and I’m just a few rows from the heel flap on the second sock.

Irma mittens – This is a pattern I purchased last week after discovering this amazing designer on Ravelry. I told you all about her 2 posts ago I think. So I chose to cast on for the Irma mittens first as those are destined to be a christmas gift for someone close to me and I thought I’d better get started to be sure I finish in time. I did have some difficulties when I came to the fair isle pattern and I sent the designer a message on Ravelry and she promptly answered back and after considering her answer and taking a really good look at the pattern again, I was finally able to UNDERSTAND and now I’m enjoying the knit. I’m using my hand dyed yarns of course. The main color is undyed and the pattern color is a bluish/black in my Sparkles base (the white one is a merino/nylon yarn).

www.knittinginfrance.com This is the picture from Ravelry and here’s where I’m at

www.knittinginfrance.com    This is the back side     www.knittinginfrance.com This is the front – you can see the horseshoe and the top of the ears

I think these will look wonderful once finished.

 

Snowflake sweater by Tincanknits – I bought this pattern a while back after seeing some gorgeous pictures on Ravelry and Facebook. I’m using my CMN base in DK weight. The lace part and cuff are grey and the main part of the sweater is BRIGHT pink. I’m currently working on the lace yoke. This is my second time around. I had almost finished when I noticed a mistake that I just could not live with and so decided to rip it back and begin again. This time around I’m using loads of stitch markers. This way I mark the beginning and end of each repeat and this way I can quickly see if I’m doing something wrong. I’m less than 10 rows from getting started on the main part of the sweater in the bright pink. I’m hoping the super bright pink won’t be too bright. I’m thinking it will look nice with a jean and the yoke being grey I won’t look too bad.

snowflake by tin can knits   This is the pattern picture.  www.knittinginfrance.com And here is my yoke. This was taken just after ripping back and getting all my markers in place. Since the picture I’ve knit most of the yoke, I think I’m about 5 rows from finishing the yoke/lace part. So far so good:)

 

And my latest project that I cast on just yesterday. It’s going to be a slouchy beanie using a sock weight yarn. The yarn is 100% superwash high twist BFL hand dyed in a nice blue/white color. I just had this vision of a slouchy hat and immediately cast on. I’m using a fun cuff pattern and a nice lacy cable pattern for the main part. And yesterday I got some gorgeous project bags (I’ll be telling you all about those in a later post) so that makes knitting it even more fun.

www.knittinginfrance.com

What about you? What are you working on these days? Do you also work on a gazillion projects at the same time? Any great patterns you’d like to share with me? I’m always open to casting on new projects:)

Until next time, take care and enjoy your crafting. Have a great weekend:)

 

 

On and off the needles and some organisational thoughts

Hi there, today is a very rainy morning here in Normandy, France. Feels like autumn is only just around the corner. This summer has been a strange summer with more clouded and rainy days than real summer days which was quite disappointing. Now September is just a few days away, School will start in just over a week and things will rapidly be going back to the usual routine. Summer vacation with the kids at home 24/7 for 2 months when I work full time just like my husband and only get 2 weeks off, well it is partly stressing because working from home with kids in the house is not always easy and then partly cool because I can sleep a little later in the day (yes I do like sleep in a little bit). When school starts I will be getting up early and I know I will more done!

I’ve shared with you before that I was planning on big changes in the shop and as of yesterday I’ve put the shop in “vacation mode”. So currently it is not possible to place any orders. I don’t know exactly for how long it will remain closed, it depends on how much work I can get done each day and also, I have a work trip coming up late September so maybe I will wait until that is over and done with to open rather than open for a few days and the either close or  just not ship anything for 10 days. Not sure just yet but I’ll keep you posted on how things go.

I’ve ordered a planner! My very first planner! I’m anxiously waiting for it to arrive and I have high hopes that it will help me organise myself better and get more things done. Writing down what needs to be done, planning a certain number of tasks that must be done in a certain time frame will help me keep focused and the pleasure of then actually crossing that task off in my planner will be a high! There are a number of planners out there and they all look good and most of them super cute as well. I chose the one called Passion Planner because I felt it would be the best for me. They have a free version of the weekly planner layout in pdf form that you can download if you want to give it a go before committing to buying one.

So although the thought of autumn weather and more rain and cold is not very exciting I am really looking forward to having more time to myself ( with the kids at school) and getting ORGANIZED. And mostly rethinking my shop and giving it all that I’ve got and more in a last ditch effort to actually make it financially viable. So fingers crossed and willing to take on lots of work and challenges, that’s exactly what I’m going to do!!!

Now, enough of non knitting related babble! On the more serious and entertaining subject of knitting!

So like I told you last week, I did manage to knit in Sicily albeit the high temperatures! And it just made me love beach knitting even more. Here in Normandy I love knitting at the beach, usually it is not super hot and even if I have to wear a fleece pullover that’s fine with me. If the sky is blue, the sun is shining and I’m in the sand facing the ocean with some knitting in hand, that works for me! Of course in winter I don’t do any knitting at the beach as the weather is not appealing for outdoors knitting but I do all the more inside:)

So in Sicily I had 2 projects that I had already cast on for the trip and  I brought an extra ball of yarn just in case I finished an object and I did so good thinking there!

The first project was a pair of tube socks for a little friend of mine. I used some of my hand dyed sparkle sock yarn and as I did not have her at hand for testing and measuring I decided the only way to go was tube socks. I also decided that I would knit these using the 2 in 1 method that I’ve come to like so much. And that got me thinking. I’d love to write the pattern for these socks using the 2 in 1 method and even try my hand at making some YouTube videos to show how I do it because this is a method that is unlike any other sock knitting method and I believe it is important for knitters to see how it is done and read the instructions and most of all to actually knit a pair of test socks. So hopefully I will actually put this project on my future Passion Planner and get it done! The socks worked out perfectly and the little girl loved her socks so that was a very successful knit.

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The second project I had planned for was the Mara Light shawl by Amy Hendrix using Madelinetosh light yarn. I actually bought this as a kit on Craftsy. The kit came with 2 skeins but the pattern actually calls for 1 1/2 – at least that is what it took for me to knit to the size called for in the pattern so I have 1/2 a skein left of this gorgeous yarn. I didn’t finish in Sicily but just after getting back home. I still need to wash and block. The pattern is über simple, just garter stitch and 2×2 ribbing. This makes for some good airplane knitting, tv knitting or beach knitting. In the end, I did look forward to casting off as there is not much going on but I think that is just because it is a big project which doesn’t require much thought and I’m usually doing smaller things so maybe my attention span has been spoiled:)

www.knittinginfrance.com It doesn’t look like much like this but once washed and blocked it will be gorgeous. It is the perfect size to use as a wrap around this winter and I think I will gift this to someone in my family for Christmas.

Then there was my SOS ball of yarn! It was a ball of Lorna’s Laces Shepherds socks but believe it or not, I’ve lost the ball band so I don’t have the name of the colorway. It is beautiful though as all Lorna’s Laces yarns. Its soft blues, purples, tans and a tiny pink maybe. So first I was going to knit a second pair of tube socks, I cast on, knit a few inches and then discovered I had done THE mistake, that is mixed up my yarns and my socks were no longer 2 individual socks but siamese twins! That got me upset and I frogged what I had done and decided I’d do something else and as I had just recently purchased a book called Custom Socks by Kate Atherly I decided to make my own pattern. After all my very first sock pattern worked out quite nice so I thought a second one would be great fun! And off I went. I planned out my pattern, chose a stitch pattern and cast on.

www.knittinginfrance.com  www.knittinginfrance.com  This is a close up of the pattern.

I really love the way they look and although I have not been through all the sock patterns you can find on Ravelry I’m confident they have something unique. So I’m now going to write up the pattern and knit a second pair using my own yarn. I also need to think of a name for the pattern and that is something I don’t find easy so if you have any ideas, do share them with me.

I’m planning on doing a test knit of my two sock patterns in September so if you want to do a test knit, leave me a comment below. I’ve never organised a test knit but I’ve read up on the matter and I here’s how I think I’ll organise this. Each test knitter would get a copy of the pattern and is then free to choose a yarn to knit with as long as she gets gauge. If the test knitter wants to knit using my yarn they would be offered -20% off retail price. You would get 4 weeks to complete the pair. I would open a thread on Ravelry for the test knits for all involved to post progress pictures and ask questions or post remarks. Once the test knit phase is over and the pattern has been corrected if needed and polished up, each test knitter would then receive a pdf copy of the final pattern.

And if you don’t remember what my first sock pattern looked like, here’s a picture

www.knittinginfrance.com www.knittinginfrance.com Coral Reef socks

So those are all OFF the needles. So ON the needles I’m mostly working on 2 projects. One is a pair of worsted weight socks, my pattern and my yarn, for my sister. This is super simple but I still might just write the pattern up and offer for free with any yarn purchase in the same weight category. I’ll see about that. And I’m doing a second shawl, this one also bought as a kit from Craftsy. It is Drachenfels by Melanie Berg and I’m almost up to the striped portion

www.knittinginfrance.com So far it looks nice and I’m sure the finished shaw will be very nice. I’ve already decided I’m going to gift this to someone in my family for Christmas. The yarn is from the Brown Sheep Company.

And just before I leave for today, I’m not sure I showed you a picture yet but I finished my Beetlebum shawl by Renée Callahan of East London Knits a while back now and I’m ashamed to say that I have yet to wash and block it! But here’s a picture just as proof that it is done although sadly it’s beauty is not really shown in the unblocked shawl.

www.knittinginfrance.com Even though unblocked you get the picture of the pattern and how it is worked and you can just imagine how gorgeous it will look once blocked. The yarn is my own, lace weight and super soft. This is a real stunner!

 

That’s all for today. I’d love to hear and see what you are working on now or what you have cast off this summer. Do share pictures or the names of patterns you are working on so I can take a look and maybe even add to my Ravelry queue:)

Take care and enjoy your crafting until next time:)

 

Stash diving and future projects

A few days ago I did some stash diving and I’m afraid to say that I don’t do this often enough. As much as I love my stash and wouldn’t separate from it for ANYTHING, I still don’t “visit” it often enough. I’ve actually got  A LOT  of gorgeous yarns, lots of full skeins and lots of partly used skeins. I’ve even got sweater’s worth of some yarns. And despite such a nice stash, I still continue to buy more yarn and dye more yarn just for me. Last week, I even totally lost my mind while browsing a German online knitting shop and even though I don’t really understand much German I somehow managed to order 5 (hmm, yes, you read correctly) I ordered 5 skeins of Lorna’s Laces sock weight yarns! I’m a big fan of Lorna’s Laces hand dyed yarns but it’s been a while since I last knit with her yarn. Now I’m super excited and waiting for this new order to arrive to my mailbox.

Now back to my stash. I went through a few boxes and pulled out a few skeins that really spoke to me and I also went online and found a few ideas to actually use these yarns.

www.knittinginfrance.Com These are the yarns I picked out from my stash. Some hand dyed indie yarns, some Uncommon Thread, Cascade heritage, Quince and co, Spud and Chloé etc). All are super soft and fun.

www.knittinginfrance.com    www.knittinginfrance.com  I have 2 skeins of the red Cascade heritage sock yarns and I have found 2 sock patterns that I think will be perfect for this yarn.

www.knittinginfrance.com These need to become socks, the 2 grey ones need to be textured socks and the Dreams in Color yarn on the bottom might become a vanilla sock.

www.knittinginfrance.com www.knittinginfrance.com I also bought a pattern from Stephen West from Ravelry. This is a shawl called Daybreak – I watched his class on Craftsy called Shawlscapes and I really want to knit this shawl. On the first picture you have a skein of my hand dyed yarn and the grey yarn is from my stash by the Uncommon Thread and on the second picture I have a skein of undyed yarn and a skein of varigated, multi colored sparkle yarn by myself. Do you have a preference?

www.knittinginfrance.com I also purchased this second shawl pattern called Pebble Beach by Helen Stewart and I’m going to use my gradient cashmerino hand dyed yarn. I was going to use this yarn to make up my own pattern for a cowl or something but finally I didn’t get into mojo so …. I think I should just use it for something I know will look good.

www.knittinginfrance.com I also bought these two books from Amazon from the Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet series by Hunter Hammersen. I already owned nr1 and now I just bought nr2 and 3. I just received them today and have only browsed lightly over them. I have to get a better look at them and then I’ll share my favorite patterns with you and my opinion of those.

What about you and your stash? Do you “visit” it regularly? What are your future projects going to be? I’d love to hear from you on the subject and even see pictures if you are willing to share.

That’s all for now. Happy stash diving to you and lots of knitting today and for days to come:)

Sock knitting mania

Hi there and happy Sunday:) Boy the weekend just flies away in a second, especially when you have to do overtime at work. I did lots of overtime Friday night and yesterday so today I’m RELAXING. Well, I do have the house and my 3 kids and 2 cats to take care of on my own since hubby is away on business but other than that, today is all about enjoying a stress free day.

And then I thought, hey I think it may be time to do some blog posting. During the week I don’t always have the time as my schedule is rather hectic so here’s one for today:)

And today I’m going to talk about socks and sock knitting. As you may have gathered from my blog already, I LOVE knitting socks. And as I was preparing for this post, I realized just how MUCH I actually enjoy knitting socks and mittens too (which some wise woman once told me were actually socks but for the hands). And this year that’s all I’ve been knitting. And knitting all these socks I think I have actually found my go-to sock template, you know this sort of pattern that is not really a pattern, but since you knit socks so often you already know the measurements so you can just freely adapt and make up your own patterns as you go. I think I can describe mine as: tube socks with an afterthought heel. Boy they are just so easy and stress relieving. I can do them TAAT doing magic loop and just enjoy either super simple knit stitch or make up a variation  and the result is always perfect – well to my eyes at least.

I knit a lot and I cannot think of spending a day without knitting. And when people say to me “oh, I wish I could knit like you. But I just don’t have the time” – that really irritates me. If you want to, you can! After all, I knit between phone calls at work, I knit in front of the tv, in the car when not driving, when waiting for the doctor etc. One can always find just a few minutes here and there if one wants to. And I do 🙂 I also find knitting very soothing and it helps me relax and stay sane in a very busy and sometimes stressful life

What about you? Do you feel that knitting helps you feel good? Do you have a certain type of projects that you keep on hand for knitting on the go or for when you need to knit but cannt muster the concentration to do something complicated? Do share with us.

Here are some pictures of my knitting so far

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These are child sized socks I knit for my 8 year old. I blended a solid and multi coloured yarn – both hand dyed by myself- and rather like the outcome

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These too are for my 8 year old. This time I did ankle socks and the yarn I chose was from my “2 at a time” hand dyed sock yarn collection

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These are my only pair of hand spun socks so far

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These I knit with a gradient yarn from Knitcircus and just love the outcome. The dyer Jala Spiro did a wonderful job

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These socks have a lace pattern panel on the front and back and I knit these as part of a KAL on FB – knit socks from your stash. The yarn was of course hand dyed by myself

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I just finished this pair this week and I really love the outcome. These are knit using my new yarn (yes I have to put it up for sale in the shop for you) where I leave large parts of the skein undyed

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This is the type of yarn I used to knit the socks above – only mine had an additional color – it had purple as well. I dyed 2 batches this one you see here and then another one with some purple also, which I used for the socks

 

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These I knit using my multi coloured varigated yarn. And for the child sized socks in the first picture (where I used 1 solid and 1 varigated yarn) well the varigated yarn is the one used here alone

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These I knit for a cousin (that reminds me I really have to send them to her before winter is totally over). This time the yarn is not mine but from Colinette yarns, Jitterbug collection (I’m a fan)

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And once more, my 2 in 1 socks getting there slowly but surely

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You see, I’m not far from the beginning of the toes! It goes so much faster now that I hold yarn 1 in my left hand for continental purling and yarn 2 in my right hand for throwing when knitting sock 2. I’m sure these will be all done and ready for me to show off in no time now

Ouff, that’s a lot of socks! But now that I’m down to only 2 socks in the works, my 2 in 1 socks and 1 pair that I keep downstairs for tv knitting (I’ve finished one sock and begun the other), I decided it was ok to start a new project and even though I should have started my sock of the month for my FB KAL, I actually started knitting my Sindri mittens from the Aurora Borealis Mitts by Shannon Okey. Remember I told you about her book and that this was the pattern I was going to do first. I also decided to try out my new neon dyes for the yarn for this pair of mittens and I’m really liking the outcome.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sindri This is a picture of the mitts from the book and below you can see the yarns I dyed and the beginning of the cuff

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The cuff for my Sindri mittens by Shannon Okey

 

Thats all folks for today, time for me to do some serious Sunday afternoon knitting. I hope you are enjoying your day and wish you a wonderful and creative new week.