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.

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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!!

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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 🙂

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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.

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Berry Colorful Yarnings in Daisy, self striping

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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 🙂

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:)

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!

The new to me way of sock knitting

Hi there, how are you doing today ? I hope you have had a great week since last time. Here in Normandy the weather has been strange. Some days it’s really wintery and others it’s actually quite warm. We are sort of in between two seasons and depending on the day it’s more winter or more spring.

I do admit that spring weather does feel good although I do always make good use of bad weather Sundays. My favorites actually because I can just spend the day in some “homely” clothes, bake a cake for and then spend my time knitting with the family in front of the tv.

But now on to knitting. If you follow me on social media, you will have seen pictures of my most recent FO, a pair of socks I knit on 9″ circulars.

I had this idea for a new way (to me at least) of knitting two at a time socks and so avoid Second Sock Syndrome which I sometimes fall victim to. I started to knit and got quite excited about the whole process and shared pictures on social media. I innocently called them my Siamese Socks but quickly stopped because I learned that to some people the word siamese is racist and degrading and so I was being called those too. What a shock! As you may or may not know, I’m not a native English speaker and so I’m not always fully aware of subtleties and maybe don’t always use the correct word or phrasing. To me the word was neither degrading nor racist. I just felt it was perfect for my pair of socks. But like I said, after being called **** I stopped using that and now just call them my “two in one 9″ circular socks” which is a lot longer and more boring name but hopefully that will not cause me problems. So if you were one of the offended people, I do apologize but I also insist on saying that my intention was only to use a word I thought perfect for my pair of socks.

So if you have not seen these famous socks yet, I’m sure you are anxious to!

So like I said above, the idea was to knit two socks at a time without doing them magic loop or one inside the other as I have already experimented with and shared here on the blog before. I have recently started using 9″ circular needles and quite enjoy them and so I was wondering if I could do this using those.

I had heard about a new pattern or recipe called “The Afterthought Everything Socks” on Ravelry where you basically knit a tube and put in waste yarn for the heel and toes and of course this can be knit either on a long circular, on dpns or even on a 9″ circular. I don’t own the pattern myself so I haven’t read it but my idea came from there.

Personally I don’t much like afterthought heels, mainly because I’m always unsure of when to start my toe. I like being able to either try the sock on or at least measure from the heel. So I wanted to build on the idea but only do afterthought toes which I feel is much easier. And so off I went.

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My method means that you knit the first sock cuff down and the second toe up. So I cast on 64 stitches for the cuff and knit a 2 x 2 rib for about 1 1/2 inch in contrast color yarn. Then I changed to my main yarn which is a self striping SOX yarn that I dyed myself. I knit the leg until the total length (from cast on) was 5 1/2″.

Then I picked up the contrast yarn again and knit a short row heel over 32 stitches. This is the heel that I use 90% of the time. I think it is just a regular short row heel but here’s how I do it. I knit 31 stitches and then wrap the last stitch and turn. I purl (or in my case knit backwards) 30 stitches and then wrap and turn. Each row you knit/purl one less stitch before the wrap and turn until only 10 stitches are left in the middle. Then I knit to the end of the row picking up the wraps along with each stitch. To be more precise I knit the 10 heel stitches and then I knit the next 11 stitches knitting the wrap along with each stitch. At the end of the row, I turn and purl those 11 stitches + the 10 heel stitches and then it’s time to purl the last 11 stitches being careful to pick up the wraps as well. At the end of the row turn around and knit 21 stitches ( 11 + 10 heel stitches) and then wrap and turn stitch 22. Purl  stitches and then wrap and turn.You are now halfway through your heel and as of this row you knit/purl one more stitch each row as you knit the previous wrap and turn stitch. So this first time you knit the 10 heel stitches + the 11th along with its wrap and then you do a wrap and turn. Next row you purl 11 stitches + the previous wrap and turn and then you do a wrap and turn. So on this second half of the sock you knit your middle stitches plus the previous wrapped stitch along with its wrap AND THEN you do a wrap and turn. I  hope you understand what I mean. I’m not really explaining this very well. I think that whatever short row heel would work fine. I knit my heels on my 9″ circulars.

Once the heel is done, I continue the foot in the main yarn until the sock is about 2″ shorter than the intended foot. At that time I insert a waste yarn for separation. In my case I used the contrasting yarn but I think I should have used something completely different because the main yarn also has black stripes. So if you are going to try this, I recommend you use a waste yarn in a totally different colour just for ease.

I knit two rounds in waste yarn but you could knit more if you prefer. I left the cast on and end tail long and sticking out as  a reminder for when picking up the toe stitches and also to be sure that when doing so I would be picking up the stitches at the right place (I was afraid I might otherwise end up with a wonky toe).  I did not cut my main yarn but you could if you prefer. I just pulled a bit on it to be sure that there were a few inches of yarn between the two socks for weaving in later.

And now it was time for the second sock. I switched back to my main yarn and knit to the heel. To be sure my socks would be identical I measured the first sock from end of heel to waste yarn and then knit the same for the other. I then knit a short row heel and so on until I cast off using a stretchy bind off.

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Then it was time for surgery! To separate the two socks, I threaded the stitches on to two circulars. Here you can see the first circular. I followed the waste yarn and threaded the needle on to the last live stitches of my main yarn.

When I had both needles in, one on each sock, I started to unravel my waste yarn and separating the socks.

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And here they are, two individual socks; one on each needle. I used a regular long circular for this as it is not possible to knit the toe on a small 9″ circular.  And then I knit 1 round before beginning the decreases. My regular toe, and you could use whatever toe you prefer, is 1 round knit all stitches, 1 decrease round until only 10 stitches are left.

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Round 1 and all uneven rounds: knit all stitches

Round 2 and all even rounds: Knit 1, SSK, knit to 2 stitches before end of needle, K2tog, knit 2, SSK, knit to 3 stitches before end of round, K2tog, knit 1.

I don’t know how to Kitchener so I cut my yarn and then turn the sock inside out and do a three needle bind off.

Voila!

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I don’t know if I was clear enough for you but basically you just knit one cuff down sock to the beginning of the toe, knit a few rounds of waste yarn and then go on to knit a toe up sock from the end of the toe. Once done, you separate the two socks and knit each toe individually. You can knit this on a long circular, a 9″ circular or even dpns.

I’m not inventing anything new here although I worked from an idea in my head. It’s just a new to me way of knitting a pair of socks and maybe you too would like to try this out.

 

That’s it for today. Thank you for stopping by and spending some time with me. I hope you have enjoyed reading about these socks and hopefully I did not get you all confused!

Until next time, take care and enjoy your knitting:)

A winner and a surprise giveaway

Hi there, I hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day yesterday with your loved ones.

As promised I have drawn for a winner for the Yarn Cafe Creations giveaway today and the winner will receive this skein of Pumpkin Carving in her fabulous fingering base yarn.

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And the lucky winner is…. Samantha! So Samantha, when you see this please contact me by either leaving a message here on the blog, by sending me a DM on Instagram or by sending me an email to knittinginfrance@gmail.com so I can get this skein to your mailbox asap!

To all the others, thank you so much for participating and no worries there will be plenty more giveaways this year.

And as a matter of fact there will be one here right now! And this one is a bit of a surprise even for me. Turns out I won Mina’s New York Sock Club ( Mina of the Knitting Expact podcast and designs) in a giveaway held by Andy of AndreSueKnits. Only being the impatient person I am, I had already purchased my membership to the club so I contacted Mina and she accepted to forward my prize to someone else and so I’m doing a giveaway.

If you are a sock knitter or want to become one, I love Mina’s patterns and want more of them, if you were thinking of signing up for the club but haven’t done so yet, this is the giveaway for you! To join it’s super simple, just leave me a comment below and tell me a little bit about your sock knitting journey (if you already are a sock knitter) or why you want to start knitting socks if you are a newbie to those.

I will draw a winner using Random Number Generator this Friday, February 17th, in the evening my time. So this is a bit of a “flash” giveaway. I hope you will join in and best of luck to everyone:)

The Maker of the Month – Yarn Cafe Creations

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you had a nice weekend and that this week has been a success so far. I had a nice and relaxed weekend myself. I did not quite as much knitting done as I would have liked but I did enjoy working on my projects and that is all that counts.

Today is not going to be my regular post with updates on my projects and so forth because today I’m doing the Maker of the Month February edition.

I have planned to introduce you to a new maker every month and those will be either yarn dyers, pattern designers or other kind of makers that are involved in the knitting/crochet/fibre world. I have already planned interviews all the way to next July which is very exciting and if you have any suggestions for a maker I should check out and maybe feature here please do let me know.

So the Maker of the Month this February is yarn dyer Christy Houghton of Yarn Cafe Creations. I’m sure some if not all of you have already heard of her and maybe  you even follow her podcast The Girls in the Yarn Cafe.

I heard of her first on the Periscoping sisters podcast I believe because she was collaborating on a kit with Amy and I just absolutely LOVED her yarn for that kit and went ahead and bought a couple of skeins. Since then I have subscribed to her YouTube channel and follow her on social media and of course I continue buying her yarns:)

The first yarn I bought from her was a fingering weight yarn and the colorway was called Ocean Mist

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I think it is just such a mesmerising colorway.

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And I ofcourse knit a pair of Simple Skyp Socks – my first pair of those actually.

Since then I have aquired a few more skeins, all in 4 ply fingering weight because I absolutely love her fingering base and of course I love knitting socks.

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These two are waiting to be turned into socks. The one on the left is Mermaid Party and the one on the right is Calgary.

And actually I’m currently knitting with one of her yarns because like I told you in my latest post, I have decided to join in the Lovealong kal that is being hosted by Dani of Little Bobbins knits, Amy Meeks of the Periscoping sisters who designed the pattern and Christy whose yarn was used to design the sock. And to be able to have 3 times the chance of winning something in this kal I of course decided to knit with one of Christy’s yarns. The yarn I chose is again her superwash merino 4 ply base and the colorway is called Banana Split.

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Beautiful, right? And once it’s been wound up into a skein, this is what it looks like:

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So colorful and yet subtle and it totally lets the pattern shine. I feel this was a great match for this pattern as both the yarn and the pattern are equally beautiful and don’t overshadow each other.

This is where I’m at currently

But enough about me. It’s time I shared the interview with Christy so here goes:

Hello Christy and welcome to the Knitting in France blog.  To start off would you please tell us a little bit about yourself ?
When did you learn to knit and do you remember who taught you, if you learned from a person that is ?
I learned to knit, after years of crocheting, by watching YouTube videos. I knew I likes the look of knitting more than crocheting but had always been intimidated by it. Once I started knitting, I couldn’t stop! It became my new passion. That was about 7 years ago.
Do you have a favorite type of project to knit? I for example am a big sock knitter and always have a ton of those on my needles.

I will go through phases where I am in love with sock knitting and then I find a sweater pattern that I just can’t put down. I have recently discovered shawls and wraps and am finding these an absolute joy to knit!  I guess I don’t have a favorite type of project, I just like to continuously challenge myself with new knitting projects. 

Do you crochet, spin and or weave as well ?

I only crochet but hope to learn spinning someday. 

Do you knit in public and if so, do you have a favorite spot to do so?

I knit in public all the time!  My favorite place to knit in public would be at a conference. I am constantly attending conferences for my job and find it easier to focus on the speaker if I’m knitting. 

I see that Yarn Cafe Creations opened on  Etsy in 2015 and I was wondering if you had been selling elsewhere before then or if your yarn dyeing adventure began in 2015 with your Etsy shop?

I started on Etsy in 2015 and it was first and only attempt at selling yarn. I feel like I found the right place to sell my yarn and have been very happy with the results. 

What prompted you to start your own yarn dyeing business?

I discovered hand-dyed yarn on Instagram and couldn’t believe how expensive some of the yarn was. I decided to research it to see if the bare yarn was expensive. I wanted to know if it was worth the money to buy hand-dyed yarn. I found that there was bare yarn available at very reasonable prices and felt like I could make a quality product to sell at a more affordable price.  I knew that  there were probably people out there who couldn’t afford to pay what some of these yarn dyers were charging. I wanted to make it more affordable for people who may not be able to afford this type of yarn. 

Where does the name of your shop, Yarn Cafe Creations come from?

My boyfriend actually came up with it. I love coffee and coffee shop decor so he thought this name would represent me well. 

Where do you get your inspiration for your colourways from ?

Well, color is not my strong suit. I usually look at clothing fashion to see what colors people are wearing that season. Then I will look at online color palettes for inspiration. I also love to look at nature photos to see what beauty I can find out in the world. 

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

Ocean Mist on Fluffy Sock. 

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?

I have stocked many different yarn bases in my shop but have found that I sell much more sock/fingering weight yarn than any other yarn type. I would love to carry many different yarn weights but have tried to cater to what sells. Sock yarn is much more popular for sock knitting, shawl knitting, and other light knits. 

Do you accept custom orders?

I do custom orders all the time and really enjoy doing them. 

Do you dye yarn full time or do you also have a “regular” job ?

I work full-time as the Director of Quality over 7 medical offices. I am also a marriage and family therapist and own my own practice. I see clients 1-2 nights a week. Yarn dyeing happens on the other weeknights and on the weekends. I like being busy. 

What does a typical workday look like for you?

I start my day in the morning by dropping off packages at the post office and then heading to my medical job. There are a lot of meetings during any given week and a lot of tasks that require my attention. At about 5:00, I will then go see a therapy client or head home if it’s not a therapy night. When I get home, I will usually do a couple of batches of yarn and then get orders ready to go out the next day. Then it’s off to bed!

What have you got planned for Yarn Cafe Creations in 2017? and where do you see your company in say 5 years from now?

I have many collaborations with bag makers and pattern designers coming up in the next few months. I’m hoping to continue to grow this business while still being part of the medical community. I have a passion for both. In 5 years, I hope that people will still love my yarn enough to still be purchasing it. This will allow me to continue to do what I love. 

You also have a podcast called The Girls in the Yarn Cafe that you do with your daughter and I love watching that podcast every time you publish an episode. Can you tell us a little bit more about the podcast like when you started and what you show and discuss for those that might not yet be familiar with your podcast ?

Our podcast started with just me. I made a couple by myself and it was called The Girl in the Yarn Cafe. I decided to have my daughters come on as guests, just for fun. Trysten is my only knitting daughter and after she was a guest we found that people loved us together. She and I have a great dynamic on our podcast and we have so much fun doing it. I think we do it for our own entertainment and are just so happy that people enjoy being part of it. I hope we can continue doing it for years to come. 

What is the best way/best place for people to follow you on social media?

I am most active on Instagram and Ravelry. I do have a Twitter and a Facebook page but I’m less active on those.

Thank you, Bogga, for your interest in my yarn business!  I appreciate your support!!

Thank you so much to Christy for accepting my interview and for sharing her knitting and yarn dyeing life with us. And Christy has also generously donated a skein of her yarn for a giveaway! This is on her 4 ply superwash merino Fluffy Sock base and the colorway is called Pumpkin Carving and it is gorgeous!

To join in this giveaway all you need to do is go over to Christy’s shop Yarn Cafe Creations browse her gorgeous yarns and then come back here and leave a comment with your favorite colorway. I know choosing is close to impossible but just write down one of the many you love 🙂 You have until February 14th to join and leave a comment and I will draw a winner using random number generator and announce the lucky winner here on the blog on February 15th. The winner will then have one month to claim his/her prize and if not claimed I will draw a second time.

That’s it for today. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day to spend time with me. I hope you enjoyed the interview with Christy and I wish you the best of luck with the giveaway. Next time the post will be all about my knitting and my new knitting needles that I love so much I have to share so you too can try them out.

Take care and happy knitting 🙂

AND THE WINNER IS…

First off, thank you so much to everyone that joined in the giveaway. It was a lot of fun to have so many people participate and I’m happy to have introduced this new yarn dyer to you. Most of you were not aware of them, some of you were. I loved seeing the comments and I’m sure that Bea and Phu loved reading all the positive feedback to their work and it will certainly help them in the future as they have had great feedback on colors and yarns. I wish I could give loads of prizes but there is just one! which is this gorgeous set of a full skein of Shoreditch in fingering and a mini of Cherry also in fingering.

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And the very lucky winner is…..And by the way, I used Random Number Generator to draw a winner…..is shanelariannblog! Congratulations to you! Please send me an email to knittinginfrance@gmail.com to claim your prize. I need your full name and address to mail this gorgeousness out to you. You have a month to claim your prize if you fail to contact me within that time frame, I will draw again for a new winner.

For those of you that did not win this time, there will be more fun giveaways here in the future. I have planned another giveaway with another yarn dyer in February and in March the giveaway will be with a knitwear designer so that’s super exciting too.

Have a great rest of your week:)

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 🙂

More socks

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are fine. On my side all is well. This morning was the first really winter cold morning. I even had to scrape the ice off the windshield of my car this morning! We felt the change coming yesterday and last night sitting at my desk working I felt really cold and put on my thrummed slippers:) Today I’m wearing hand knit socks and a warm sweater so I should be ok for tonights shift at work:)

I have done a lot of knitting this last week I feel and I have a ton of things to share but I’m afraid I may end up with a post that is way too long and will just put you off from the get go… So I’m going to try and prioritise and share the rest with you later..if I’m able to control myself that is:)

So on to the knitting right away! I’m in a big sock knitting phase at the moment as you may have noticed. Last week I finished a pair of socks that I was test knitting for Dana Gervais who is a designer on Ravelry and she has a lot of wonderful sock patterns. I’m actually working on another test knit for socks for her now so all in all that makes 3 socks that I have test knit for her. The pattern for the socks I finished around last week has now been released on Ravelry so I can share the pictures with you here.

The pattern is called Robin’s Egg and I knit it on 2.25mm needles and I used my SOX base in the Strawberry Frappuccino colourway. The socks have a cabled pattern on the front and a ribbed pattern on the back of the leg. The pattern repeat is quite intuitive and so soon memorised which means they sort of fly off the needles. I really enjoyed knitting these socks and I think I might knit a second pair in the future. Here are some pictures of my finished socks.

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The socks I’m test knitting now have not yet been released so I can only show you the back side of those. I’m also using my own yarn and this time I’m using my bronze sparkle base in very autumnal colours. This pattern is also a very fun and intuitive one. The stitch pattern is much bigger (more rows) but it feels very natural or should I say logical so they too are rather quick to knit.

img_6276These colours just scream autumn I think. I really like how they work together and the finished pair will be gorgeous I’m sure. I have finished one sock and I’m on the cuff for the second at the moment.

I also cast on for a new pair of socks this week. That was due to a purchase I made on Etsy and as soon as I got the yarn, I just HAD TO CAST ON! There was no way around it! A little bit of history here first. I follow a lot of knitting podcasts both audio and video and I had seen an episode of The Periscoping sisters and one of them ( I never know which is Amy and which is Debbie) was releasing a new sock pattern and she had a collaboration with an indie dyer called Yarn Café Creations. I absolutely adored the colourway. In the kit there was one skein for the main body of the sock and a small contrasting one for heels/cuffs and toes. I knew I wouldn’t be able to buy a kit but I absolutely needed the yarn – the one for the main body I mean. And so I went online and lucky for me, there were 2 skeins of this exact yarn in stock and so I bought both! The colourway is called Ocean Mist and it is gorgeous! I wanted to knit a pair of socks of course and I needed a simple yet interesting pattern that would let the yarn shine and then I remembered The Simple Skyp socks by Adrienne Ku. I had seen those knit by Tracy of the Grocery Girls. And thats what I did. I’ve finished sock one and I’m past the heel on sock two so I think I might finish this evening.

This is such a fun pattern, a two row repeat and I really love the  look of it. The yarn like I said is gorgeous and it is also super soft. It’s a merino/nylon blend but it is a bit more “plump” than most fingering weight yarns and just a joy to knit with.

Last week I showed you the progress I was making on a cowl. A cowl I was knitting as I was trying out this new base yarn which is 50/50 merino and silk. The yarn is of course outrageously soft and a total dream to knit with. Due to the high silk content it is pricier than regular merino/nylon fingering weight yarns of course but I really think that for a special project it is totally worth it so I might look into getting some of that for the shop. I knit the cowl in simple brioche stitch and I really love the outcome. It is so soft and warm next to my neck and the patterning created by the yarn was the cherry on the cake. I dyed the skein mostly in grey but did a small portion in gold. I didn’t know how that would knit up specially as I was doing brioche but I thought maybe it would create like a block of colour on the bias. In fact it created an overall pattern and I think that is really fun.

 

I think I will call it a day here. I don’t want to take up all of your free time today:) After all, you do have knitting to do!

I’ll be back later this week with the rest of my knitting because like I said above, I have a ton to tell you about! So until next time, take care and enjoy your knitting!