Summer knitting

Hi there how are you? It’s been two weeks or so since I last posted and I’m sorry about that. It’s actually been somewhat hectic and stressful here lately and so I lacked the energy and time to come chat with you.

I have been super busy at work and there are a number of changes going on there which have me rather stressed out and that just sort of drained all my energy out and I found myself just on autopilot to get through the indispensable every day chores.

I did of course knit but less than usual and just wasn’t feeling very inspired. Work is still very busy and I’ve been doing extra hours but I’m feeling somewhat more inspired these last few days so I’m taking advantage of that today and so I’m going to share some of my knitting with you.

It’s been super hot here in Normandy lately and today it is super hot! Yesterday we went to the beach in the afternoon, around 4:30 and there was some wind so it was wonderful. We stayed to 7:30 and I didn’t want to leave! I could have stayed till 8 at least! The beach is so wonderful late afternoon after a very hot day. It just feels so amazing.

I spent my time knitting on a pair of test knit socks that have been languishing but need to be finished as I’m getting very close to the deadline! And as I knit I listened to an audio book and looked out over the ocean! Sounds like heaven doesn’t it?

Today I won’t be able to go to the beach but I think I’ll do some knitting in the shade in my backyard late afternoon when the heat has gone down a bit.

The thing I don’t like about summer and hot weather is that my hands sweat when I knit and so knitting is not as enjoyable as it usually is. Socks are a great summer project because they are so small but I of course have 3 sweaters on the go and these do keep me super warm and so these last few days have been a little bit neglected and yet I really want to get them done because I have so many more sweaters that I want to make!

What about you, do you knit less in summer/warmer weather? Do you have a preferred type of project you find yourself knitting in the warm weather?

So onto knitting. First lets show you my sock that I’m test knitting for Dana of Dana Gervais Designs. The pattern is called Lerwick and will be for sale on Ravelry in the coming weeks I believe. This is an all over cable and texture pattern and so slow going and it also eats up a lot of yarn I think. The pattern is gorgeous and not complicated at all.

I chose to knit this with a variegated yarn from Knit Cosmic Strings and I do like the results but should I knit this again, I would go for a solid or semi solid yarn. Its funny, or not, but as much as I love variegated and colorful yarns I still feel that solid or semi solid yarns are best suited for socks.

So I’m almost done with sock one, I’m at the toe decreases now so I’ll finish this one later today.

 

It’s not easy to show the patterning because of how busy the yarn is.

Next up is my Starting Point wrap by Joji. The last clue is out but I’m not quite done but very close. I do like the look of the wrap and the colors I chose but now that I know what the pattern actually looks like I have so many more ideas for color combinations.

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This is very big and I hesitate to block it or not. Maybe I’ll just block it out loosely just to get it smoother but I won’t be stretching it as it is already very big. I have enjoyed knitting this wrap but now that I’m so close to finishing I really want to get this off my needles.

And so of my sweaters I have mostly been working on two lately, the Sammal cardigan and my So  Faded sweater. Both have the body done and a beginning of one sleeve.

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I do like the look of my So Faded sweater. When looking at it like this I don’t see the fading so much as I see color blocks but that’s ok. I was a little nervous about the lime green at the bottom but I actually really like it. I feel it gives the sweater this nice energetic pop. I’m knitting the sleeves one at a time and trying to document how I organize the colors so that my second sleeve will look as identical as possible to the first one. And one thing, the body of this sweater knit up in no time. Now knitting the sleeve that is so much smaller in circumference it’s taking way more time – I feel. Funny how that is but I really feel this is the same problem every time I have a sweater or cardigan on the needles.  Maybe I should knit to the armholes; do the sleeves and then knit the body. Maybe that way I would finish quicker as I’d get the sleeves out of the way at the beginning. Do you feel the same way about sleeves?

And then there is my Sammal Cardigan. I really want to get this one off my needles asap. it feels like such a long time ago that I cast on. The fact that this is an all over patterned garment makes it that much more time consuming. I’m at the elbow of sleeve one and I’m going to try and knit at least an inch every day on the sleeves so that I will get this done before the end of summer. How amazing will it be to have this handspun; hand dyed cardigan ready to wear this autumn when the weather cools?

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I have alternated my skeins in this project and I really like how the color is showing up. What I did is that I divided each skein in half and then paired one half with another half of another skein so all my skeins are divided and mixed up and I really like that. As this is hand dyed mixing up the skeins is almost a must and makes the end result that much more nicer I think.

I really love this cardigan and I can’t wait to finish it and the wear this winter. I’m already planning on knitting another cardigan (not this pattern though) with handspun.

So these are my current wips. I have a ton of languishing wips, mostly single socks and I just learned that the Grocery Girls are doing Second Sock of Summer Kal again this year and I definitely need to join that to keep me motivated and focused if I want to clear my basket of wips and get some of these gorgeous socks a mate.

I have also purchased and printed a ton of sweater patterns lately and I have been either dyeing sweater quantities myself or going through my stash to put together yarns that would work in a sweater so as soon as I have at least 2 out of 3 sweaters/cardi done, I’ll be casting on for more.

What about you? What are you knitting on these days? Do you have a game plan for your knitting this summer? Any special objective or challenge? I’d love to hear what you’re up to.

It might be two weeks before I post again because my mom is coming to visit from Iceland so I will be extra busy in the coming couple of weeks but I always post on Instagram so you can follow me there and see what I’m up to in the meantime.

That’s all for today. Thank you so much for stopping by and spending your time with me. I hope you enjoyed reading my blog and that maybe my knitting has inspired you and I look forward to chatting with you again soon.

Happy knitting/crocheting/spinning/weaving etc:)

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you had a nice long weekend and that this week has begun well for you. I loved getting last Thursday off work. It was absolutely beautiful here, not a cloud in the sky and quite hot so we went to the beach with a few friends and spent hours just enjoying a lazy afternoon and all the kids were super happy swimming in the sea and playing in the sand. Just a great day and even if it was just one day, it totally felt like being on holiday. A day like that really breaks up the monotony of the workweek and gives you added stamina I feel.

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Unfortunately the beautiful weather has not lasted very long and since yesterday it rains! I do hope that will change soon. We have some of my husband’s family coming to visit this weekend. Soon there will be all the festivities and commemorations for the end of World War II here and usually we always have nice weather and hopefully this year will be no different.

Knitting wise I feel I haven’t accomplished much since last time we spoke. Thinking about this, I believe that is not due to lack of time as much as working on too many projects at the same time. Working on a gazillion things a little bit does mean slower progress on each individual thing.

So since last time I only have two finished objects and both are socks. The first one is the test knit that I had begun and shared with you last week. It’s a beautiful lacy pattern that is easily memorized. The heel construction is different from my usual heel and it was fun and easy to do. I do feel it renders a “shallow” heel. Not sure that’s the correct word but basically I think that for someone like myself that has a high instep it would be better to do a regular german short row heel or even a heel flap and gusset. I was knitting the smallest size this time so it’s for my youngest and it fits her fine so all’s well.

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I used my own hand dyed yarns and the heels and toes are in my SPARKLES base. It doesn’t show here but they do sparkle:)

The second finished object is one I cast on last week. And I will be doing more of those. So last Thursday as I was at the beach with my friends, I was knitting on the socks above and one of my friends made a few comments and hints that she would love some of my socks. I have knit her one pair so far plus some other items and she really loves my knitting and since her birthday is coming up in about 3 weeks I decided I should knit her some socks! I haven’t told her and so I’m not sharing pictures on Instagram or Facebook because I don’t want her to see them until I gift them to her.

Since it’s summer and I don’t have a lot of time either, I decided I’d do shorty socks. I recently purchased a lot of commercial sock yarn that I found at a great price online. Most were German brands I had never heard of but they seemed a lot like Regia and Opal and so I went for it and I have knit this first pair with one of those. The yarn feels wooly and so I imagine it is sturdy. It is machine washable which is good since she is not a knitter herself and I don’t think she would enjoy handwashing. The brand of yarn is called Woll Butt and the line – it’s self patterning- is called Badgastein. I think. It is 60% wool, 25% viscose and 15% polyamide. I really like how this knit up.

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And they are almost identical! I just made up the pattern doing my usual thing. I did knit 4, purl 2 for the top of the foot and then a german short row heel and my regular toe (not sure what it is called). These were super fast to make and I have now cast on for a second pair for her and this time I’m using self striping yarn from Mothy and the Squid, a UK based indie dyer. I only cast on last night so not much to show yet.

I’m of course still working on my Sammal using my handspun yarn. I’m getting close to finishing the body. I think I need to do maybe 4″ more and then I can do the ribbing. I need to check the Ravelry thread for this sweater spin for the last day of the kal which is either tomorrow, May 31st or June 30th. They did say that even if one doesn’t finish by the end of the kal, one is still eligible for the prize drawing so I need to get  picture there of where I’m at before the end. Here are some pictures I took of myself wearing the cardi about a week ago. Since these were taken I have made more progress on the body but otherwise it looks much the same.

 

And then I also cast on for a new garment! I was trying to hold off because I do have to finish my Sammal and I’m also knitting a tee shirt using some DK weight cotton yarn that I got in a swap and have yet to show you. Plus I have decided to join in the Faded knit along that Kristy Glass is hosting in her Ravelry group. Plus I have a pile of sweater patterns and yarns all waiting to be cast on! But you know me, no willpower when it comes to NOT casting on! And so of course I cast on for a Ravello sweater. I have had the pattern in my Ravelry library for a long time and I love the shape of the sweater and I have seen so many different versions of it that all look great.

I had also recently dyed up a new yarn base I wanted to test and see if I should sell. it’s 50% alpaca, 25% silk and 25% linen so it is soft, lightweight and yet warm and it has a halo. And I didn’t have any project in mind…until I decided on the Ravello by Isabelle Kraemer. And so I have cast on and I’m now past the armholes so now it’s just plain stockinette all the way to the bottom ribbing. It’s a top down raglan sweater that has some striping but the striping is more or less how you want. I knew I had this mohair and wensleydale blend hand dyed yarn from one of my Golden Skein installments. I only have one skein and I really did not know what to use it for and so I thought this might be the right project as this yarn has a halo like my hand dyed base. And this is fuschia pink and I had dyed my yarn light grey. And so I used this yarn for my stripes but there is something strange about this yarn because it knit up very unevenly. I’m hoping that once blocked it will look better and if not, well my sweater will have texture in addition to stripes 🙂

But because it looked “strange” I only did 3 stripes and I’m not going to stripe the sleeves. I am wondering though if I should knit the sleeve cuffs in this pink yarn alone (maybe it just needs to be knit on its own and not in stripes with another yarn) and maybe do a couple of rows and bind off for the body ribbing in this also. Just to give a pop of colour. I think that might be fun. Here’s a picture of where I’m at now.

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I think you can see that the pink stripes look a lot less even than my grey yarn.

And of course there is the Joji Mystery Wrap that I’m knitting on. Clue three is out and I’m almost at the end of clue 2. I got distracted so I didn’t manage to finish clue 2 before the next one was published. I really need to get a grip this week so as not to fall too far behind. Just in case you are doing the mystery kal too but don’t want to see spoiler pictures I will not share a picture here just yet.

I think this is about all for today. I recently indulged myself with some knitting magazines and I think I should share my thoughts of them in the near future and also… the Maker of the Month. Maybe you are getting impatient for the maker of this month and I want to apologize but I have just gotten so behind and so I think there will be no maker this month; after all there is just one more day left this month but I promise there will be one this June and I’ll try to do it before mid June so you don’t have to wait much longer.

That’s it for today. Thank you for stopping by and spending some of your precious time with me. Sharing my thoughts and knitting projects with you brings me such happiness and seeing the number of subscribers to the blog rise slowly but surely is so motivating. I’m thinking once I reach 200 subscribers I’ll do a giveaway to celebrate and thank you all! I believe I currently have 183 subscribers so I’m getting there:)

Have a wonderful week and I look forward to speaking to you again soon:)

Yarn Cake in Glasgow, Scotland

Hi there, I hope this post finds you in good health today. I’m doing fine and looking forward to getting my Thursday off work but Thursday is a public holiday here and in Iceland and most likely in many other countries. A short workweek is always fun. I don’t have any special plans for my day off but I believe the weather should be gorgeous so just maybe we’ll go to beach for some fresh sea air. It’s been super nice here weather wise lately and I believe the rest of this week should also be sunny and warm.

Today I’m going to share with you my trip to Yarn Cake in Glasgow, Scotland. I went there last April as you may know and for some reason I have yet to share my visit to this particular yarn shop so here goes:)

So before going to Glasgow, I had done some research online and asked for advice on Ravelry and Yarn Cake was one of two shops recommended to me.

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The shop seen from the upper level

Yarn Cake is a tine yarn shop slash café in a rather affluent part of Glasgow, close to the university. For me as a tourist, I did not find the location convenient and I would never have stumbled upon the shop by accident. It did take some time to get there and back.

As the name indicates, should you go there you can get both yarn and cake. The shop is in a tiny space and when you enter, on your left you have I think 3 little tables where you can sit down and have coffee and cake and on the right side wall you have shelves of yarns, mostly Drops when I was there. Then you can go up a few steps and there you have a kitchen (where they bake and prepare the food and drinks they serve) and some more yarn.

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Kitchen and yarns

I went there with my 16 year old son and so I just looked around and touched some yarn. Sitting down for anything else was not really an option.

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The shop offers mostly commercial yarns like Drops, Lang, Opal and WYS. They did have yarn from one local indie dyer and then also some yarns from Baa Ram Ewe too.

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So what did I think? Well, they do have some lovely yarns and the husband of the owner who was there was quite nice. What I liked less was the location (seen from a tourist standpoint) and also it felt somewhat cramped. If you have any more than 3-4 shoppers at at time, looking at yarn could get complicated.

I of course did not leave empty handed. So I bought a few things like a skein of Titus Aire from Baa Ram Ewe

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I also bought a few balls of Lang sock yarn and what is fun about this yarn is that inside each ball of yarn you have a spool of nylon thread in the same color to knit alongside the yarn when doing heels and toes. This is meant to reinforce those areas that tend to get worn out first.

 

And last but not least, I bought a few balls of Jamieson and Smith Shetland wool in different colors. I don’t have any plans yet for those. They just looked nice and they are local sort of so… I just need to find a fun fair isle pattern for maybe a tam or mittens for these.

jameson and smith yarn cake

So that concludes my tales of my visit to Scotland and I hope you have enjoyed reading about that.

Before I leave you, I thought I should give you a little update on my current works in progress.

First there is a pair of socks that I’m test knitting for Dana Gervais. I have almost gotten to the toe of sock one. I’m knitting the smallest size this time so they will be for my youngest. I’m knitting out of my own hand dyed yarns, SOX for the main color and SPARKLES for the heel and toe.

 

This is a beautiful pattern with a simple pattern repeat that soon becomes intuitive. The heel construction is rather new to me. I do think I have done this type of heel before but I’m not a 100% sure.

And then I’m working on my Sammal cardigan. This is part of the Sweater Spin kal being held by Sue of Legacy Fibre Artz and Andi of Andre Sue Knits. This is my first big spinning project as I spun all the yarn on my wheel, then dyed it and now I’m knitting the cardigan and loving it!

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The pictures show you the front at different stages of completion. This is an all over patterned cardigan so it does take some time to knit and I think the kal runs to June 1st so I will not finish in time but that’s ok. They inspired me to do my first garment spin and I definitely want to make more and already have a ton of plans for future sweaters and cardigans using my handspun yarn.

That’s all for today. I hope you are doing well and wish you a wonderful week ahead with hopefully lots of crafting time and nice weather. Speak to you soon 🙂

My latest FOs

Hi there, how have you been? Well I hope. It seems that maybe, and I mean just maybe, summer is actually around the corner here in Normandy. We have had warm temperatures for a few days in a row now so it’s starting to feel somewhat summer-y. School will soon come to a close for the kids and so exams are about to start and such.

As for myself, well I have been doing quite a bit of knitting. Surprise surprise! Or not 🙂

So today I wanted to show you my two latest FOs, one you have already  heard of I’m pretty sure and the other is my secret test knit that has now been made official!

So first my Cullum t-shirt by Isabelle Kraemer. I have knit that using some lovely italian linen dyed by a friend of mine in Australia. So this is quite the international project:) The pattern is easy to follow and was actually a very quick knit and I can easily see myself knitting another one just like it. I’m currently washing it and hope to block it later today but I did try it on and if you follow me on IG you may have seen the pictures but for those of you who don’t or haven’t seen the pictures, here are some

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This is the first time I have ever knit with a linen yarn. This one felt very nice on the hands and somewhat shiny and my friend Andrea who dyed and gifted me this yarn says it’s because this is brushed linen. I was expecting this to be somewhat harsh on the hands and to the touch but not at all. It really was a joy to knit with.

I have some linen in my stash that I recently bought and that one must be non brushed linen because it has a totally different handle. Even after knitting a swatch and washing that linen, it still feels somewhat “crisp”. Not sure if it will work for a summer t-shirt or if I should just resign and make something like a grocery bag. We’ll see.

My second FO like I said is the mystery test knit I have mentioned here before. The pattern is by designer Amanita and it is a DK weight shawl. This is a triangular shaped shawl with a patterned border on one side which is knit simultaneously to the rest of the shawl which is mostly garter stitch.

This was an easy pattern to follow and it went quite quickly too. I did misunderstand the instructions for one stitch, a sort of twisted stitch surrounding the patterned section, but I think it doesn’t really show much and I love the finished item. I knit my sample using my own hand dyed DK yarn and I ended up using just over 3 skeins. Actually 3 x 100 gr skeins + 6gr of skein 4. Maybe that was a gauge thing but if you should go ahead and make this shawl and don’t want to start on skein 4 for such a small amount of yardage, I would just recommend you keep a close eye on the amount of yarn you have when you start your last pattern repeat and possibly stop a few rows early so you have enough for the bind off.

The pattern was published on Ravelry yesterday, May 16th and is called Forest Mystery and it is already on the first page for HOT NOW on Ravelry! I can highly recommend this shawl. It is huge and my yarn is so soft and squishy. I can’t wait to actually wear it this coming autumn and winter.

Not being much for modelling, I asked my youngest daughter to model the shawl for me and she gracefully accepted so here are some pictures of her showing off my shawl.

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And speaking of shawls, I have started on my Starting Point mystery wrap by Joji and I’ll be sharing pictures later, if you don’t mind spoilers 🙂

That’s all for now. I NEED to get some knitting done before work. I wish you all a wonderful day and rest of your week. Happy knitting 🙂

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:)