A little hiya and wips before disappearing for round 2 of Sock Madness

Hi there, how are you today? I’m a day later than usual to post but I just wasn’t feeling very inspired yesterday so thought I’d rather hold off and write today:)

I’m doing fine these days and the weather here is slowly changing to spring. Today it is super nice outside, sunny and warm and they are even predicting up to 23°C for this Sunday! The nice weather makes working a little harder than usual, even if I’m not much of a sun bather. It just makes me want to take my knitting to the beach or out in the garden with an audiobook and a cool drink…. Oh if only…

But now onto more serious things! As you can see from the title, I’m getting ready for round 2 of Sock Madness. If you are wondering (or participating yourself) I’m in team Amaranth Zebu (don’t ask me what those words mean) which is the fastest team in the competition. This team has some seriously fast knitters and people who do not hesitate to do an all nighter in order to get their socks done at lightning speed. Somewhat worrying for those of us who have a full time job and 3 kids! But I’m still hoping to be able to make it to round 7 like last year although I do, deep down, realize that might not be realistic. A few hours ago we got a notification about the yarn and needles for the upcoming round. It will be a stranded pattern on size 2 mm needles! Yep, not an easy one but then Sock Madness is not for the faint of heart. We’ll see. After talking to you, I’ll be getting my project bag all ready to go. I have already chosen all my yarns (we get a list of all the materials needed for all the rounds) but I’m thinking I will split each cake of yarn into two so that I can do my socks concurrently, maybe that is a good idea. Don’t know… So once the pattern is out (within the next 36 hours or so) I will most likely disappear from social media until I’m all done!

Now onto what I have been working on since finishing round 1 of Sock Madness. I have of course been working on more socks.

I purchased some self striping sock yarn from a new to me, Swedish indie dyer that goes by the name Asfaltflikan (I think) on Etsy and I cast on for those this past weekend.

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I love all the bright colors and as always, self striping socks always seem to knit up way faster than when using any other kind of yarn.

I also purchased Kay Jones’s latest pattern, the Incantation socks, and cast on for those using my first ever La Bien Aimée yarns. I splurged on a sock set in gorgeous colors. Its an 80/20 BFL/nylon yarn. It feels sturdy and woolly but I’m sure it will soften up once washed. I’m not far on sock one and I think I will let it wait and knit on it while I’m on vacation in Iceland next week.

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The stitch pattern is a 4 round repeat and easily memorizable. I think these will be lovely once done.

I have finished my secret test knit cardigan and I LOVE IT! The pattern should be released soon so I should be able to share the pictures with you later this month.

I’m currently working on two larger projects. One shawl and one cardigan. The shawl is the Ramble shawl by Andrea Mowry. This, like the Briochealicious shawl, is part garter stitch and part brioche. I have finished the garter portion and am now working on the brioche pattern. For some reason my gauge is way looser than my garter stitch and I’m wondering if the end result will be ok. I think I may need to knit a bit further before deciding if I need to rip back and maybe go down a needle size or just try to knit at a tighter gauge. Not quite sure. This is a two color shawl and I’m using yarn from Dream in Color and as a contrast yarn, I’m using my own handspun gradient yarn in pinks. I really like how the two yarns work up together and using handspun is always very rewarding. Here are some pictures both from afar and close up, front and back.

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What do you think?

And then there is my big handspun, sweater spin project. I joined André Sue and Sue of Legazy Fibre Arts for a sweater spin and I have spun up a 50/50 blend of merino and silk. Gorgeous fibre that I then dyed a light grey. This is my biggest handspun project so far and i’m really enjoying knitting my cardigan and I think I will be so very proud once it’s done because I will really have done it from start to finish. My yarn is of course not perfectly even like commercially spun yarns are but because the pattern is textured all over, the uneven parts are hidden and really don’t show (I think). I’m not very far in but so far I’m really enjoying it. I’m debating if I should take it with me to Iceland or if I should leave it at home. I would have to bring a few skeins of yarn if I intend to knit on it there so I don’t know just yet what I will do. But here are some pictures to show you my progress so far. Oh and before I forget, I’m knitting the Sammal  cardigan by Joji Locatelli.IMG_7581

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My swatch

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this will be a very warm cardigan and a pleasure to wear in winter I’m sure. Have you knit a garment with your handspun yarn? I’d love to hear and see pictures:)

That’s it for today I think. I need to prep my project bag for Round 2 and I also need to think about what knits to bring on my trip to Iceland. I’ll be sure to take pictures and share my adventures when I’m back. So next week I might not blog, not sure yet as I’ll be away from home. So until next time, have a wonderful time and happy knitting:)

Hi there, how are you? It’s been two weeks since my last post. I’m sorry I didn’t write anything last week and I’m sure you wondered what that was all about. Well it was all about Sock Madness!

After knitting the qualifying pair of socks, I ended up in THE fastest team! I immediately got a lump in my stomach and regretted having been so ultra competitive. I should have taken more time to finish but hey! So I’m in a team called Amaranth Zebu – don’t ask me what that means, I have no idea 🙂

So the pattern for round 1 came last Monday and I was sure, for some reason, it wouldn’t arrive until later that week so I spent Monday morning knitting on other things. At noon I discovered the pattern was there and I panicked! I immediately cast on and there was no stopping me! I knit like crazy and finished my pair in 4 days! The round is open for 14 days but just knowing that I’m with some crazy speedy knitters made me worried and I could not imagine dropping out after only one round! And so I made it to round 2!

Now only “problem” there is that I’m going to Iceland with my kids beginning of April and I’m crossing fingers and toes and hoping that the second pattern will arrive BEFORE I leave so I can work on them there. If it doesn’t, it means it will arrive while I’m away from home and if I want to stay in the game, I will have to bring a ton of yarn with me because you never know which pattern is coming next! Before the start of the competition we get a list of materials needed for each pattern so we can prepare and have everything ready to go. But if I’m not home when the pattern comes, well that’s complicated!

So I’m stressing about that now. Hopefully it will arrive before I leave and all will be good! But here’s my finished pair for round 1

The pattern repeat is easily memorizable. It is knit using two contrasting colored yarns. I chose two different bases also, the burgundy one is on my Sox base and the yellow one is on the same base as my POP only it has black nepps instead of the colored ones. I think these go together really well.

The stitch pattern is quite stretchy. Also the heel construction was totally new to me and I think it makes for a “bigger” heel, that is more rows so when I finished the socks ended up being a little big for me. But the colours aren’t “manly” enough for me to give them to my son so I’m going to keep them anyway.

These were knit toe up with an afterthought heel, but not the typical afterthought heel but a version with a small heel flap. A new to me way of knitting a heel.

So once the socks were off my needles I went back to knitting on my secret test knit cardigan. I’m only 6 rows from casting off the body now and I hope to do that today and start on sleeve one. I’m supposed to finish early next week and I’ll do my best to keep the deadline although I think I may need a few more extra days. Also I’m not able to just knit on one thing so of course I cast on for a shawl! I’m doing the Ramble shawl by Andrea Mowry. It’s half garter and half brioche. At the moment I’m on the garter portion. It’s knit using two yarns and I’m using a gradient yarn I handspun and then a hand dyed yarn. I originally chose Chai Latte from Knit Cosmic Strings which is a beige and brown yarn but it ended up being too close in color to the lightest color of my gradient so the two color stripes in the garter section didn’t show up. It was all just sort of one color so I ripped back and chose another yarn I had wound up and works really nice. It’s Smooshy from Dream in Color in the Beach Fog colorway and this time the two yarns really contrast each other. I haven’t knit much so far so no picture of my progress yet but here is my handspun yarn and a picture of the pattern with the two yarns I originally chose.

I really love the brioche portion of this shawl and look forward to getting there in my knitting.

Another project I’m preparing is the Sammal cardigan by Joji Locatelli. I’m going to knit it with my handspun yarn that I spun as part of the sweater spin organized by Andre Sue Knits and Sue of Legazy Fibre Arts. It’s been awhile since I finished the yarn and I was holding of dyeing it. It felt a bit overwhelming because the yarn was so special. I’d spent so much time making it and I had chosen a gorgeous pattern and so the dyeing had to be just so. Also I didn’t know what color to dye and then this weekend I finally took a decision. It would be grey! And so I dyed my yarn in a light grey color and luckily the weather here in Normandy was glorious this past weekend so the yarn dried up nicely in my garden and last night I wound one of the skeins into a  ball to swatch.

Now swatching is not an everyday occurrence for me. I rarely swatch for anything. But as I’m using handspun yarn which is not 100% even like commercially spun yarn, I felt swatching was a must. Not to mention the fact that knitting an intricate cardigan in handspun yarn only to find out it doesn’t fit…well that was just not an option.

So I knit up a swatch last night and washed it before going to bed so today I’m going to check the gauge and if it doesn’t fit then redo my swatch. I didn’t cut the yarn because I don’t know how many swatches I may need to do and I’m afraid I might run out of yarn which would be a catastrophe!

So this is going to be my next cast on, after I finish my test knit cardigan. I’m planning on taking this with me on Easter vacation to Iceland and knit on this and the future Sock Madness socks while I’m there.

That’s about all I think for now. The weather here is beautiful today and it is supposed to be gorgeous all the time until the weekend of course! But then bad weather on weekends is never all bad for us knitters as it’s just ideal for cozy knitting inside:)

I wish you a wonderful and productive week. I hope you will have nice weather and lots of quality knitting time. I’ll be back next week for more news on my knitting and soon ( in April) there will be another Maker of the Month feature and April’s maker is a yarn dyer so lots to look forward to!

My current WIPs and one FO

Hi there, how are you today? I’m happy today is Tuesday, I really don’t like Mondays because they mean I have to go back to work (non knitting related job) and that I have a whole week of that in front of me. Tuesday I’m one down and 4 to go, so that’s better:) I so envie people who work in something they thoroughly enjoy, people who actually enjoy waking up and going to work. Maybe that is why i’m so stubborn about my little business adventure even though it does not work financially it just brings me a little escape and so much fun and personal enjoyment. I’d love to feel the same way about my full time job… But enough complaining! That is not why you came to my blog! So on to knitting.

Like the title says, I have a few works in progress to share with you and one finished object. The finished object is a pair of socks. Last week I finished a total of 4 pairs of socks and I think I shared all but one so here is that picture.

www.knittinginfrance.com These are knit using one of my hand dyed speckled yarns. I called this yarn Crazy Sock because the colours and pattern look a little wild to me. So super simple socks because I feel that with a yarn like this it is all about the yarn and so the pattern has to be simple.

And the current works in progress, I have one hat, one cardigan and then two pairs of socks both patterns by my friend and fab sock designer CC Almon.

My first pair is one that I begun a while back I’m ashamed to say. I finished the first sock quite quickly and then I went on to a gazillion other projects and kind of left this one behind but now I’m determined to finish it ASAP. The pattern in question is her Outlander sock pattern called The Lady of Lallybroch and it is available on Ravelry. I’m knitting this using Cascade Heritage Sock that I found in my stash.  I absolutely wanted to knit those in a solid yarn so that the wonderful cable would shine.

www.knittinginfrance.com Aren’t those beautiful? I’m not far on the second sock but I’m getting there 🙂

And the second sock pattern is of course the Strawberries and Cream Socks also available on Ravelry. I’m especially in love with this pattern because CC designed it using my yarn:) and this is the first time a designer takes my yarn and designs something!!! So happy and proud!! And of course I dyed a yarn to match which I call Strawberry Frappuccino and it is available both in the SPARKLE and non sparkly versions in my Etsy shop.

www.knittinginfrance.com So one done and I’m just beginning the second.

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

To help me finish both socks quickly I’ve decided to follow someones idea (a video podcaster I recently discovered, her podcast is called Fawn Knits and you can find her on YouTube). And she uses “a buddy system” so she has two socks going and when she has worked on sock nr 1 for X rounds, she goes to sock nr 2 and works the same amount of rounds and this way she progresses consistently on both pairs. So as one sock has a pattern repeat of 8 rounds and the other of 16 rounds, I work 2 repeats on one and 1 repeat on the other and I’m hoping I can do that almost every day and that way I’ll finish in no time. It’s not that I’m not interested in them but rather that I have soon many things I want to finish and others to cast on that I’m having problems staying focused.

And now on to the Featherweight cardigan by Hannah Fettig. I heard about this one watching some of my favorite podcasts, Ahomespunhouse and Voolenvine. So I decided I too must make one and I decided to do the lace weight version first. The pattern gives you the choice of knitting either with lace weight yarn or fingering. I also decided that I’d knit two of these and so the first one will be a gift for my sister and I dyed a wonderful sparkly lace yarn for her. It’s a blend of merino, silk and stolen. Out of this world soft and the silvery colour I dyed it works so beautifully with the silver stellina in it.

www.knittinginfrance.com I’m almost there! One sleeve and the front and back collar left. It went quite quickly because this is mostly stockinette stitch. And to avoid purling I often knit backwards. That was a nice change. I’m a little worried about the size. I chose the second size which I figure is Small and this is a short cardigan with 3/4 sleeves but easily modifiable to a longer cardi and longer sleeves if one wishes. So I made it a little longer and the sleeve as well. It still looks quite small but the yarn feels stretchy and it is supposed to be close to the body so I think I’m worrying for nothing. Also the advantage of doing this in lace weight, is that lace yarns come with huge yardage so I think I’ll only need one skein. So even if the yarn is pricier than regular fingering weight, it ends up being economical because you only need 1-2 skeins depending on the size you knit. If you’d like to take a look at the type of yarn I used here, you can see them in my shop by clicking here

And the last project I’m working on is a hat that I’m knitting using handspan yarn and this is a hat I’m going to give to my father for Christmas. The yarn is quite dark in color, a mix of dark brown, black and bronze so it’s not easy to picture the pattern.

www.knittinginfrance.com I’m using a pattern called The Boyfriend set I’m doing the hat but not the scarf. And I think I’ll have enough yarn to make a pair of mittens as well. This is a thick DK/worsted yarn that I spun a while ago when I was a beginner spinner and so it is thick and thin but it doesn’t show in the hat and oh boy is it warm! I’m sure he’ll love this and enjoy his walks this winter with a super warm hand knit hat on his head!

And like I said last time, I’m going to do a lot of knitting (or try to at least) for Christmas this year and I’m planning on doing sets of hats and mittens so I really need to finish my WIPs so I can get cracking on the Christmas gifts.

Well, that’s all for today. Thank you for stopping by and spending a little while with me. I wish you a great week and lots of knitting, crocheting and spinning.  I’ll talk to you soon 🙂