A test knit reveal and more

Hi there,

Thank you for stopping by today. I hope you are doing good and that you had a nice weekend, maybe even a prolonged weekend if you live in the US. Back here in France school has started again and I’m happy to get back into the routine. When working from home, I admit that it is way easier when the kids are at school than having them all 3 at the home. Even if they are not very young. So seeing everyone return to school feels good:)

I had a sale in my shop over the weekend and if you purchased anything I would like to thank you for your support. It means a lot to me. I’m still pondering whether to continue or not. Selling on Etsy is a challenge and if I want to have a chance of continuing I will have to get my own ecommerce website and launch a crowdfunding project to get the necessary funds to set up a new website and purchase new yarn bases and other items indispensable to running the shop in a productive way. I’m not sure whether that is a reasonable thing to do or if  people are not willing to support/fund another indie dyer. There are so many dyers out there and even if we usually say there is a place for everyone, the market is already well supplied in indie dyed yarn and so a project like mine might not awake interest. I’m still thinking this over and I just might launch a Kickstarter campaign. After all either I won’t make my goal and nothing happens or I do make my goal and get to fulfill my dream. I will keep you updated of course.

Now onto knitting. As the title of today’s post says, I’m about to reveal one of my test knits. So as I told you before, I was test knitting 2 cardigans and a pair of socks. I have just finished the first cardigan and the pattern has now been released on Ravelry.

This new pattern is called Tommelise and the designer er Agata known as Amanitaknits. I have already knit a number of her patterns and this is the third time I test knit for her so I feel I can recommend her patterns without a second thought.

This time it is a fingering weight cardigan. The pattern is meant more for spring/summer/early autumn wear as it is rather short and has 3/4 length sleeves. The pattern is easy to follow and what can be called a potato chipy knit. The cardigan is knit in one piece so no sewing but a lot of purling. But that’s ok. If you don’t like purling, just look at this as your chance to work on your purling speed or why not learn to knit backwards and work on that while doing the cardigan.

I knit mine using my SOX yarn base which is a 75/25 merino/nylon yarn that I hand dyed myself is a lovely red brique color. Almost a Harry Potter red.

I did choose to modify the pattern slightly. This is the first time I ask to modify the pattern as I’m test knitting. I wanted the cardigan to be longer, the body that is. I also wanted full length sleeves. So my changes include: a longer body, longer sleeves including a longer cuff.

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Here are a few pictures of me wearing the cardigan. I actually finished this twice! What happened was that I knit the sleeves very long and after washing and blocking the cardigan, I ended up with VERY long sleeves. Too long. So I ripped back and reknit just the cuff and now it fits perfectly.

I think this pattern is beautiful and if you live someplace where the weather is mild; I would definitely recommend following the pattern to the T. I chose to lengthen the cardigan because I usually wear this type of garment in winter over a tshirt.

I really love the finished item and I’m so happy to have finished. Now I only have one cardigan and two pairs of socks for test knitting! Yes! two socks! I just accepted a  new sock knitting test knit 🙂

In other knitting related news. I have started both Mkals; the What the Fade by Andrea Mowry and the Road to Rhinebeck by Mina Phillip.  I was surprised by how short Clue 1 was in the Road to Rhinebeck shawl. It took less than an hour to finish, maybe as little as half an hour so not much to share with you.

I’m still working on Clue 1 for the What the Fade mkal. I was happy to see that it is at least partly in brioche and I’m just over half done with clue 1. For this kal I splurged and  purchased an entire Fade kit! 6 entire skeins of fingering weight yarn from Dragon Hoard Yarns on Etsy.  I’m very excited about this project as I’m a fan of Andrea’s patterns so I’m pretty sure this will be amazing not to mention of epic proportions seeing the quantity of yarn!

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How gorgeous are these yarns?! I’m using them from the top down, that is the brown skein at the top is my color A and the bottom white and speckled skein is my yarn F.

And this is where I’m at now

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According to the pattern, the first (darker) picture is the front/right side. I however think brioche can be used either side and like both equally much so far. Of course the pattern may not be entirely in brioche and so the darker side will have to be the front. We’ll see. I’m going to try my best to keep up with the clues and try not to fall behind as that might lead to me being discouraged and casting on a gazillion new things rather than catch up!

If you are doing these kals, I’d love to hear what you think so far and if you’d like to share pictures I’d love to see your versions.

This is all for today. I’ll be back soon with a super exciting new post full of pictures from Iceland’s first ever yarn crawl! I was not lucky enough to participate myself but a cousin of mine who lives in Iceland and is a great knitter, did attend and she sent me tons of pictures to share with you all and I think you will enjoy seeing those. Depending on time, I might post later this week. If times runs out on me, then this coming weekend.

Until then, thank you for stopping by and I wish you all a wonderful week with plenty of knitting:)

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Back after a little vacation

Hi there, how are you? It’s been at least two weeks since my last post and I hope you have had a great time during that interval and are enjoying spring/early summer. Here in Normandy the weather has been beautiful although not warm but it is supposed to change as of tomorrow and turn all grey and rainy!

After being away for two weeks and having travelled and knit a lot, I of course have a ton of things to share with you but rather than write an epic post that would take most of your day to read, I’m going to break it up into a number of posts and maybe post every other day or so until I’m back on schedule.

So if you have followed me for at least a little while you will know that I went away for a week with my kids for spring break. We went to Iceland and then I took a couple of days to go to Glasgow, Scotland with my son.  This meant that I only got  2 1/2 days in Iceland, then I went for 2 days to Scotland and then again 2 1/2 days in Iceland or so.

That was a very short break in Iceland but I did get to see my family and one friend so that was great. Being “home” always feels so good. Just being in the country where I grew up and everything is so familiar and feels so right even though I have been away for a very long time and now also consider France to be my home. Spending time with my parents, grandmother, sister, aunt, uncle and nephews and nieces… it just fills my heart with joy and charges the batteries.

I didn’t do any travelling in Iceland it was really all about family time, a little work and of course some essential shopping (that is food and sweets to bring to France and yarn of course). I visited one yarn shop and of course a supermarket that sells yarn too and I’ll be sharing pictures and info about both in a future post.

Glasgow was a fun short trip. We stayed in the center of town and we did a lot of walking! So much so that I came home with huge blisters on my feet! The weather was not the best but it did not stop us from sight seeing, shopping and just generally making the most of our short stay. I even checked out the two yarn shops that had been recommended to me! You will of course learn all about those and what I came away with after visiting:)

But since it’s been awhile since my last post I thought I might kick off by sharing my latest finished objects. I think I have 4 socks, one cowl and one cardigan so let’s get going.

First the socks. These are not necessarily in the order I finished them because I don’t actually remember which was finished when. Probably because I’m knitting on so many socks at a time constantly so let’s just pick one at random.

The first one is a test knit that I did for my friend, the designer Dana Gervais. The pattern has not been released yet but should be soon I think. Her sizes are not S,M, L but rather they go by the width of your foot so narrow, medium, wide and extra wide. I did the wide version but it turned out to be too big for me so should you knit this pattern you might want to consider doing a size smaller than usual or go down a needle size. I used yarn I purchased in Glasgow for these, Lang wool.

The pattern is very easy to remember and the heel construction is different from “usual”. However, once the test was done, I ripped back and I’m going to reknit these in a size smaller because I really enjoyed the knitting and the finished sock looks really nice.

Next up is a simple vanilla sock that I knit on 9″ circulars using yarn from one of my most favorite indie dyers ever, Knit Cosmic Strings. I didn’t use any pattern, just knit from memory, my standard vanilla sock toe up.

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Then there are the Incantation socks by Kay Jones of the Bakery Bears Podcast. I’m a fan of her patterns which tend to be simple and yet fun to knit and this one is no exception and I can see myself knitting many of these in the future. For this particular pair, I used a yarn that I splurged on from La Bien Aimée. Everyone is talking about the Bien Aimée yarns all the time so I thought I should try out for myself and see what all the fuss was about. And so I indulged myself and purchased one sock set and one regular skein of sock yarn as well as a magazine and a Fringe bag!!! Anyway I used the sock set for this sock and I still have plenty of yarn left so I think I’ll knit a pair of shorty socks with the rest. The colorway is fabulous, I love both the main color and the contrast mini for heels and toes. The yarn is a BFL superwash and it is not soft to the touch but still nice to work with. The quality is just regular as could be expected from any yarn dyer – I think a lot of dyers have the same suppliers depending on where in the world they are so usually the same base/type of wool can be found in any number of indie shops. But this is not meant to be a review on their yarn so let’s just go to the picture so you can see.

 

I really love the speckled main color and the mustardy contrast. The pattern is a simple 4 round repeat I think and produces a neat textured pattern.

Then there is another pair of plain vanilla socks in a self striping yarn. The colors are super bright and fun and to keep the striping I did a contrast heel and toe. I used my own yarn for that, a SPARKLES neon yellow. The main yarn, the self striping one, is from a new to me dyer that I discovered on Etsy. She is Swedish and calls herself the Asfaltflikkan I believe. She only does self striping yarns and I purchased two skeins from her shop.

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Again this was just my own formula. I knit these from the cuff down and I did a short row heel.

And then there is the cowl. I have had this pattern in my Ravelry library for a long time. I knew I had to use some special yarn for this and I decided I would use a merino and silk blend that I had purchased to test the base. It is a rather costly blend/base yarn so I haven’t purchased any so far for the shop but it is a dream to work with. So I dyed up two shades of light blue/turquoise and then I had one skein of 100% silk undyed and used that as was. The cowl was a very quick knit even though it is a big/long cowl and maybe the yarn had something to do with that. I think I would like to knit more of this in different colours and maybe some would become Christmas gifts for later this year.

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This is the 3 Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locatelli.

And to finish today I have the secret test knit cardigan. The pattern has now been released and I do highly recommend it. This was a fun knit and ended up being quite quick considering I was doing the biggest size and it’s a fingering weight cardigan. For the biggest size I used up about 3 1/2 skeins of my SPARKLES yarn. It fits nicely and I have been using it regularly since I finished. The pattern is called Lucille and is by the designer Amanita. This is the second pattern of hers that I knit. The first was a sweater but I won her pattern in an IG game and loved it. And currently I’m working on another test knit for her; this time for a shawl and it is also a secret knit until the pattern has been published so no sharing at the moment but here comes the cardigan.

 

It is mostly stockinette but there is a little garter cuff on the sleeves and some textured stitches on the bottom of the cardigan. If you are looking for a great cardigan that is easy but not too easy to knit, I would definitely recommend this pattern.

I think that’s about all for my FOs. I have a ton of works in progress and I’ll be sharing those later.

Thank you so much for coming back and spending some of your precious time with me. I really appreciate that. I hope you enjoy seeing my work and that you’ll be back for more later this week. Until next time, take care and enjoy your crafting:)

I’m back at last! Acquisitions, fos and more

Hi there, how are you? I hope you are doing well and  enjoying the last days of summer/winter (depending on where you are in the world).

Here in Normandy, France, summer is coming to an end although the weather could have us think otherwise. We have had a big heat wave which has calmed down now thankfully! So now the weather is just perfect. Sunny and a nice temperature of around 22-24°C. Which for an Icelander such as myself is just the best temperature, not too hot and not too cold.

I have been back from hospital now for just over a week. It was great to get back home to my family and friends. What was a little less nice; was having to go back to work straight away but hey, we all have to work to make a living so no complaining!

The stay at the hospital was really beneficial for me. I learned a lot about the back in general and how to use my back and body to best preserve my health. There are a million things we do everyday that affect the health of our back and sometimes we just need to be a little more careful about how we do things to make a big difference.

Being active is also a big thing when it comes to having a healthy back. People like myself that have health issues are not good with staying in the same position for hours be it standing up, sitting at a desk or lying in bed. As soon as I got back to working 8h a day at my desk, my back pain came running back! I have changed the position of my desk a little so that the computer is now higher up so I don’t need to look down at the screen. I’m also going to look for a very good ergonomic chair. The one I have is not good enough for such long hours. Getting a new chair will certainly make a difference for me.

I’m also going to have to get organised so that I can exercise. Since I came home, I have been going for walks and that is very good. But just walking is not enough. I need to do something more like swimming which I really like. So I’m going to look up the opening hours of the swimming pools near my home to see if I can go once a week and swim. And while I was at the hospital I did a little badminton and I thought that was quite fun so I might look into doing badminton as well. That is a good sport because it makes use of the entire body so all the muscles get some exercise. My problem is going to be the hours! Because I work 3 nights a week and most sports for adults are in the evening here, finding something that can work will be a challenge. Where as swimming; I can do alone, I just need to find the pool with the opening hours that allow me to go there.

Well that is enough and maybe way more health and sport update than you bargained for! Sorry about that:) So let’s get on with the knitting and fibre side of life. Since it’s been 2 weeks since I last posted I have a ton of things to share but I feel that would amount to an epic sized post that would just be too long for anyone to read so I’m going to tell you about some of the things today and the rest later in the week.

So first of, when I was in hospital I told you about knitting shorty socks for my son. Well I finished them while I was there. I really love how they turned out, mostly because of the yarn. I used my own SOX base hand dyed yarn and the way it was dyed gives it a fun patterning when knit up. Here they are all done:

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I also did a little bit of spinning. I had imagined doing way more spinning than I finally ended up doing. But hey, life happens. So I finished this fibre that I had begun spinning a very, very long time ago and I then plied the yarn too. The spindle is from my friend Louise of Spin City UK. She makes gorgeous hand spindles using resin for the whorl and she uses flowers and candy sprinkles and lots of fun stuff to make her spindles totally unique. Just looking at her spindles makes me smile.

The yarn is 2 ply and somewhere between fingering and DK in weight. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it. I need to wash it to set the twist and I really should measure the yardage as well. I just need to work up the courage and find the time and voila:)

And one more item that I finished during my hospital stay was the Risen

Qcardigan by Melanie Berg. I did the biggest size and I admit I was quite worried in the end that I would not have enough yarn to finish the sleeves and since I dyed the yarn especially for this cardigan I knew I did not have any extra! So I ended up playing a game of extreme yarn chicken and thankfully for me, I won! But by mere centimeters!

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I’m happy with the outcome and I have used it once and it fits nicely and it is warm without being heavy so I think I will get a lot of use out of this. And how much yarn did I have left once I bound off? Well,

risen 5 Yebb! That’s all I had left!

I also worked on my Pinwheel blanket and while I was away I got a package with minis. I signed up for a swapless swap on Ravelry and got 10 40 yard skeins from Mint Rain Yarns. I haven’t knit any of them up yet but I’m sure they will all look great in my blanket when I get to knitting them up.

mint rain yarn minis

Another gorgeous new acquisition is a purchase I made from Andre Sue Knits! The Andre Sue of the Andre Sue podcast I’m sure you all know and I’m guessing you are also familiar with her amazing hand painted sock blanks. It’s been a while since I started stalking her shop but her work is in such high demand that the only time you have a minimal chance of purchasing anything from her is if you set your alarm for her shop update and then choose and item and check out ASAP and then go back again if you want a second blank! Well, that is just what I did! I set my alarm for just before 1am and then I stayed on Etsy and refreshed the page until I saw her update. I managed to get 2 sock blanks and they arrived in just a week which is quite quick for an order from the US.

I was not disappointed! The sock blanks are so amazingly well done. I really do not comprehend how she does it! How she manages to paint so precisely on the sock blank. When I showed the blanks to my kids; my daughter said: “you shouldn’t unravel them and knit, you should just keep them like this” and I admit I’m tempted. BUT I did buy them to knit them into socks so… At the moment I haven’t started; I’m enjoying looking at them as they are currently. But I did purchase Mina’s Beyond Vanilla Socks Part 2 patterns and I think I’ll knit her patterns using the blanks. So here they are in all their glory:

andre sue sock blanks Talk about gorgeous! These will be sure to knit into some amazing socks I’m sure.

Well that’s all for now. I don’t want to take up all your day/night so thank you for stopping by and spending some time with me. I wish you a wonderful week and hope you will have lots of time for knitting or whatever fibery craft it is you enjoy the most.

Until next time, take care 🙂