It’s mostly about the garments

Hi there, how are you? I was going to post yesterday but didn’t feel very inspired so I decided to wait till I did feel inspired so as not to bore you! After all you do come here to spend a few minutes enjoying yourself. I hope 🙂

So like today’s title says, it’s all about the garments. I’m suddenly wanting to knit all the sweaters and cardigans. I have a ton of yarn but mostly just individual skeins as I was always thinking SOCKS. So now that I’m all about sweaters that is a little bit of a challenge. Purchasing gorgeous yarns in sweater quantities is not always an option financially and I have to admit that I am trying to limit my yarn purchases and have been very serious about that for the past month and cross my fingers I will be for the coming 6 months or so. Being a yarn dyer I do have an advantage over some as I do have some stock of undyed yarn and can thus just use it for myself and dye in the color I want. Business wise that is of course not the greatest of ideas but hey.

So let me share with you my current most worked on wips. I do have a few socks going but I’m not really working on them these days.

So first up is my oldest of the current wips, my Sammal cardigan by Joji Locatelli. I ‘m knitting it out of my own handspun and hand dyed yarn. This is the first time ever that I have spun for an entire garment and it has inspired me to do so again. I have shown you pictures of this cardigan here before but some progress has been made since last time. I’m now on the last rows of the bottom ribbing. I’m so close to casting off the body and hope I can do so in the days to come. Then it will be on to the sleeves. Knitting on a number of garments simultaneously does mean that each garment does not get all the attention it deserves so finishing takes a lot longer. But that’s ok. This is how I’m currently rolling and as summer is here, I won’t be needing my garments till autumn and I figure I’ll have them finished by then.

So here’s a picture of my Sammal I took this morning.

sammal cardi june 8

I really love it. You may not see it in this picture but I have made a mistake in the cable the left side in this picture. Twice!!!! But I noticed when I was well beyond that and was too lazy to rip back so I’m keeping it like this. I don’t think everyone will focus on these mistakes and they just remind me that nothing in life is perfect.

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Then onto my Ravello. I have had the pattern in my queue for a long time. I really love the shape of this sweater and I have seen so many different versions of it. People play with stripes or color blocks. Basically you can do as you wish.

I dyed up a new yarn base that I wanted to test and used for this sweater. It’s a 50% alpaca, 25% linen, 25% silk. It is a joy to work with and so I might buy some for the shop in the future. I dyed the yarn in a light grey and love how it took the dye. For the stripes I used a skein I got from the Golden Skein. It’s a mohair and Wensleydale blend so feels somewhat similar to my yarn however it knit up all strange and crinkly. So I decided not to do more stripes and  just use the rest of the contrast yarn for cuffs and maybe the hem. This has become my bedtime knitting as it’s now just stockinette stitch round and round.

And my latest cast on is the So Faded sweater by Andrea Mowry. I actually splurged on a set of yarns from Legacy Fibre Artz for this sweater (before I went on my restricted yarn buying). The yarn is lovely and I think I will really love the outcome even though most of the colors are not really what I would normally go to.

so faded

For this sweater I have joined Kristy Glass’s first kal the Fadito! It’s a kal she is hosting in her Ravelry group where the objective is to knit a garment using the fading technique. Any garment pattern, adult size, works. If you are working on a faded garment you should join:)

Here’s where I’m at this morning.

so faded june 8

I started to fade a few rounds before separating for the sleeves so that when I separated I started on the new color and cut the old one. I’m not quite sure how much I will knit of each color before fading into the next. I’m thinking somewhere between 5 and 6 inches maybe and then the fading section is about an inch each time. I also think that beginning a new color on the separating row makes fading on the sleeves easier but I guess that will be proven or not when I get there:)

And last but not the least and this is not technically a garment but it is a current wip and has about the same yardage as a garment so I’m sharing anyway, its my Starting Point shawl/wrap by Joji Locatelli. This is a mystery kal that I’m sure you have heard all about and if you are not avoiding spoilers you have also seen what it looks like. I

If you do not want to see pictures to keep the surprise to your project, then I will say goodby to you here. Thank you for stopping by and I’ll speak to you soon 🙂

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Ah you are still here! Youpi! So on to the Starting Point. It’s a wrap/shawl that is knit in two pieces and so you knit each clue twice and as this is quite a big piece, that can make keeping up with the clues a challenge. Another challenge with this project is all the ends that need weaving in! You use 5 different colors and as a multicolored project that makes for a ton of ends! I try to weave in my ends after each clue because otherwise I would just give up.

Currently 4 clues are out and I believe the 5th and last clue is to come out tomorrow. I have finished clue 4 on one half and I’m planning on working on clue 4 on the second half tonight but I doubt I’ll finish this evening as it is a lot of knitting.

I do like how this is knitting up and I love the yarn I chose which is my own, Back to Basics, non superwash fingering weight merino yarn. I did make a mistake though. Not sure what’s up with me these days but I seem to make way more mistakes in my knitting than usual.

So what happened is that on one half I inverted colors 4 and 5. When I discovered that I was way past the mistake point and if I had ripped back I knew I would have been unable to keep up with the clues. So I wondered if I should keep the colors as I had knit them so that the two pieces would NOT be identical or if I should get back on track and these two sections would just be inverted and nothing else. I went with the latter solution and when I look at it now, even if you can definitely see this, I think it will still be ok. I admit I did actually ponder ripping back yesterday. But that would mean ripping back to the beginning of clue 2 on one piece and that is just soooooooo much knitting! So I’m just keeping this as is!

Here is a picture of the half where clue 4 is done

starting point clue 4

And here is one where you see the two halfs together

starting point clue 3 and 4

What do you think? Would you have ripped back to fix the mistake?

Well that’s all for today. Thank you for stopping by and spending some of your precious time with me. Have a wonderful rest of the week and an even better weekend!

Happy knitting 🙂

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

titus

 

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 🙂

It’s all about the socks once again

Hi there, how are you doing today? Fine I hope. For once it is a sunny day here in Normandy. We had begun thinking that spring was not actually going to come this summer but today it’s really sunny and nice so we are crossing our fingers the nice weather is here to stay.

Now I haven’t finished telling you all about my last travel and the yarn shops I visited. There is one shop left on my list, Yarn Cake in Glasgow Scotland and I’ll be telling you all about that one next week if all goes to plan. Today I thought I should tell you about my latest sock knitting as that is mostly what I’m knitting on these days.

A while back I told you that I had joined Sock Madness for the second time and that this time I was way to enthusiastic (fast) knitting on my qualifying socks and so was put into the fastest team! And boy are those ladies fast!

So as of round 2 I got disqualified. Not only because of speed but because I misunderstood the colorwork chart. I finished my socks in time and got the confirmation email that I was qualified for round 3 and then the next day I got a second email saying that I had misunderstood and thus knit the pattern wrong and so I was disqualified. Re-knitting both socks was not an option as my teammates are so quick so I forfeited. What a deception! I was so very sad and just generally angry with myself for being so stupid and actually knitting two whole socks without realizing my error! But what is done is done and colorwork (this year’s theme) is not my fortĂ©. So now I’m a cheerleader and as such I’m knitting the patterns along with my teammates but I no longer have the stress of finishing in the blink of an eye. I admit I was so disappointed at first that I thought about just forgetting all about Sock Madness but I got a lot of heartwarming encouragements from fellow knitters and so decided I had to keep going and I’m really happy I did.

So here is a picture of the pair that got me disqualified.

sock madness round 2

Instead of the pattern repeat being always the same like I did, it should have been like a mirror image. You may have seen pictures of these knit the correct way and they do look nicer than mine. Another issue I had with these, as these are stranded throughout, even though I used a bigger needle than the pattern called for, they still came out small and rather stiff. I clearly need to work on my tension when doing all over colorwork.

Then there was round 3 and I finished that pair within the 2 week period (most of my teammates finished in 2-4 days I think). I’m very happy with the end result and the colors I had chosen for this pattern. I was very careful this time around about my tension. I did use a bigger needle for the sock and the tension was much better this time.

 

Currently we are on round 4 and this time it’s not a colorwork pattern but a beaded sock. I really love this one and so far I have only done one repeat on sock one but I’m hoping I’ll be able to finish again within the two weeks. As a cheerleader I also have the luxury of not exactly following the pattern and I took advantage of that and instead of using two colors of beads as the pattern calls for, I’m only using one and I really like how that looks.

I’m knitting with my SPARKLES yarn and I really love how it is knitting up.

I have also subscribed to the New York Sock Club that Mina Philipp of the Knitting Expat is doing and she issues a pattern a month and so far I have kept up with those. Here is the pair from April, The Grand Central socks and I knit those using sock yarn from Knit Cosmic String in their Chai latte colorway.

I have only just cast on for the May sock, Union Square socks, and I’m knitting those in a self striping yarn from the Yarn Enabler.

I’m also doing a sock test knit for Dana Gervais and I really love this new pattern. I’m knitting it on my SPARKLES base and it is gorgeous even if I say so myself. The pattern has not been released yet but I’ll be sure to post pictures on IG when it is.

I was somewhat naughty and bought a ton of commercial sock yarn some time ago and when it arrived last week I of course had to cast on for a pair immediately. I cast on using a new to me yarn. It’s a cotton sock yarn from Regia and I knit a pair of shorty socks for my youngest. The pattern was just something I came up with and I really love the outcome and as spring and summer is getting closer I have this urge to knit shorty socks so I think you will be seeing more of those here.

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She doesn’t like her socks very short so I knit a longer cuff than I had expected but that’s ok. She has the option of rolling it down as I show on the second sock.

Phew that’s a lot of sock knitting! I was intending on finishing my Ramble shawl by Andrea Mowry before the Starting Point mystery kal by Joji begins this Friday. Only problem was that as I had put the shawl down for a while, once I picked it up again I was just off and yesterday I ended up ripping back the brioche section. I had done just over one repeat so quite a lot but it just didn’t look like it should and I would never have worn it like that so I decided to rip back and begin on the brioche section later. Maybe not until the Starting Point is over but at least then it will be done correctly.

I hope you have enjoyed spending some time with me today and sharing my sock knitting. Are you also avid sock knitters or do you mostly knit something else like garments? Would you be interested in us doing a kal this summer? Maybe something from June 1st to September 1st? With a prize or two in the end? Please let me know by leaving a comment below and also let me know what you would like that kal to be about. I have ideas such as : 1) socks  (of course) 2) a shawl -either we all knit the same or we just each knit our own 3) a garment 4) or we can decide on a designer and just knit any pattern by that particular designer

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Also I almost forgot, My -20% off everything sale is still going until May 15th so if you would like to try out my yarn for the first time or maybe get some more if you already enjoy my yarns, now’s the time! Just use the coupon code MADMAY17 at checkout and you will get a 20% discount on all in stock items. I of course ship worldwide at low prices so I hope you will take advantage of this offer. The shop you can find by clicking here

Until next time I wish you a wonderful week and hopefully lots of quality knitting time. Speak to you soon 🙂

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 AimĂ©e. Everyone is talking about the Bien AimĂ©e 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 AimĂ©e 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 AndrĂ© 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!

Progress and some selfish birthday dyeing

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are doing good and that you had a nice weekend.

My weekend passed way quicker than I would have liked. I did get some knitting done yesterday though and that was nice. Lately I’ve been very much a semi monogamous knitter focusing most of my time and attention on the Audrey cardigan by Jane Richmond. This weekend I worked on that too and I should be finishing it this week.

I also continue working on the Harry Potter inspired stockinette scarf for my daughter. Luckily I’m knitting it in Aran weight yarn on 5.00mm/US8 needles so it does go quickly and so I usually get 4-5 inches done each time I pick it up. I have sort of left it for tv watching at night as I’m not super passionate about all this straight stockinette but little by little I’m getting there. I think I might be about 10″ short of having half the scarf done. I need to keep at it because as my daughter reminds me, I do have a ton of other Harry Potter inspired knits to do!

Last week I also picked up a  sock that I began in August but has been left in my huge basket of “wips and soon to be cast on”. It’s a pattern called Falling Leaves and it is by Nancy Whitman. It is a very simple and elegant pattern using twisted stitches. The cuff has a beautiful leaf design but otherwise it is pretty straight forward. I’m knitting it using a merino and bamboo yarn I dyed myself a while back. This is a gorgeous base, super soft and a joy to work with. I think I have just a skein or two left in the shop and I ‘m thinking I should order some more because this is a really nice yarn. Here is where I’m at currently:

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I also cast on for yet another project. This time a test knit for a shawl that was designed using my Cash’Sock base. This pattern will be published soon and the designer was kind enough to let me join the test knitters. I’m of course knitting it in my Cash’Sock base and as soon as the pattern is released I’ll be sharing pictures and more info with you on that.

But like I said my main focus has been on the Audrey cardigan. Last week I actually finished the first sleeve. But I really didn’t like it. It was much too wide and just didn’t look good so I ripped the whole thing out! Not a happy thing to do but I’m really glad I did. I then reknit the first sleeve using fewer stitches. The body of the sweater is knit in one size bigger than what I should have chosen so instead of being fitted it is quite large. When reknitting the sleeve I chose the next size down and that works perfectly. I’ve now completed the first sleeve and am close to half done with the second I think.

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I’ve ordered a bunch of buttons online. I wasn’t sure what would look best with this cardigan so I’m excited for those to arrive and choose the right ones. Actually I’m really excited about finishing this cardigan and actually starting to wear it. It is a very simple pattern I think I will get lots of wear out of it. I did knit it in a size too big but that should still be ok. Also, I knit the sleeves longer than the pattern called for. Because my version will not be fitted I will be using my as a layer on top of short and/or long sleeved t-shirts and so I wanted the sleeves to be longer. I’m pretty sure I’ll knit a second Audrey and when I do, I will follow the pattern!

I’m kind of obsessed with the idea of knitting cardigans and sweaters at the moment. And it ‘s not necessarily a good thing because that means more casting on when I have this huge basket of wips just waiting for me to give them some love and FINISH them off! Usually I multitask and I knit on a number of things at a time. I also feel like I used to get more done or that I knit more than what I’m doing these days. And so now I find myself with this huge pile I’ve created and it consists of HOs and wips AND “to cast on” – projects I decided to do this summer and got the yarn wound, printed out the pattern, found the needles and notions and put everything nicely into a project bag ready to be knit. Only they haven’t been knit yet. And still I’m thinking/dreaming of new cast ons rather than tackling those that are already there ready and waiting! Don’t know whats wrong with me!!!

And so in the same line of crazy thinking, last Friday I was feeling very excited about a new project. It was my birthday and I decided I’d dye up some yarn  for myself and use to knit a new cardigan of course.

I felt like dyeing lace weight yarn that I will then knit held double. I used two base yarns, both a mix of merino and silk so super soft. And one of the blends has silver stellina for some glitz!

I decided to dye one yarn in a semi solid grey

img_6009-1   This is the merino and silk base and then I dyed the merino/silk/stellina base as a variegated yarn using lots of different colours. I used 4 colours per skein but due to the technique involved some of those blended into yet another colour. I dyed each skein individually and used different colours so none of the 3 skeins I dyed looks the same.

I think this will make the project even more fun. So I have 3 semi solid grey skeins and 3 variegated skeins which should be more than enough for a cardigan.

At first I had thought of doing the Jih sweater by Isabelle Kramer which is actually written for lace weight yarn held double – hence my inspiration for dyeing lace weight yarn.

But now I’m not so sure. I’m rather leaning towards Dexter which is a cardigan also designed by Isabelle Kramer. Or maybe even the Madewell by Joji. I have a ton of patterns in my Ravelry library that I want to knit…. But still; I’m 90% sure I’ll be doing the Dexter cardigan.

So what do you think of my pattern and yarn choice? Do you think the grey+variegated will look good? Or am I delusional?

Are you working on a garment at the moment? I’d love to hear/see what you are knitting/crocheting these days.

That’s all for today. Thank you for stopping by and spending some time with me today. I hope you will have a wonderful new week and may it bring you lots of knitting time and happiness:)

Pattern purchase crazyness

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are doing well and enjoying your summer/winter (depending on where you are in the world). Here in Normandy the weather has not been very summery these last few days but this afternoon there is a glimpse of sun so maybe, just maybe we will get some nice summer days this weekend. That would be very nice.

I’d like to thank those of you who have sent me kind words and well wishes both here on the blog and on other social media. I’m almost half done with my 4 week treatment and I’m doing good. This is an intensive therapy for the back so my days are full of treatments and sports. It is difficult for someone who is used to being every sedentary like myself but I see progress already so that’s positive and everyone is very attentive to how we are doing and exercises are adapted on a need be basis. So all good news on the health front:)

So before coming here, I packed a certain number of knitting projects but finally I’m not knitting as much as I thought I would be. I don’t have so much free time and in the evenings I admit I’m quite tired so I usually don’t last very long. At the moment I’m working on the same 3 projects as last week.

I’m on square number 4 on my Pinwheel blanket

square 4 pinwheel blanket

I’m still working on my sock pattern test. I finished sock number 1 and I’m about to start the heel on sock number 2. I’m not yet at liberty to show you pictures but here is one of the yarns I’m using.

colors in sock knitting testThe main color is the blue/grey one (top right), the cuff/heel/toe is the bright yellow. Both these yarns are on my SPARKLES base. The little yarn balls are Madeline Tosh Unicorn Tails in different colours for the color patterning.

The result is a pair of very colourful and fun socks. I did run into trouble with the heel and toe so I used my “normal” toe on sock 1 and the heel is a mix of the pattern instructions and my own “normal” heel. It is a bit wonky but I was too lazy to rip it out and begin again. After all, I think I knit and ripped out the heel at least 4 times before just going with what I understood! So for sock number 2 I’m not complicating matters and I’m just going with my “normal” heel and toe. The look is very similar so it should not be a problem and should not be super apparent when wearing the socks.

And then there is the cardigan, Risen by Melanie Berg. I’ve separated for the sleeves and am now knitting the body. So far I really like the pattern. The collar/neckline has a very nice stitch pattern and I think this could become a piece of clothing that I will use a lot. I’m already thinking this could be great to have in different colours.

risen cardigan 3augThis picture was taken just before I put the sleeves on hold so I’m a bit further along now. I’m not going to cast on anything new until I have finished my sock test knitting and then I’m going to cast on for the Gilmore Girls socks.

 

I did a kit with CC Almon of the Geeky Girls Knit podcast/JavaPurl Designs and I dyed a skein of yarn for myself.  CC and VeganJilly of the Knitting Broomstick podcast are hosting a Gilmore Girls kal which started August 1st and runs until September 31st I believe. You do not have to knit using this particular yarn or pattern but IF you knit CC’s pattern  I believe you get extra points for the kal. Both groups on Ravelry have threads, the chatter thread is in the Knitting Broomstick group and the FO thread is in the Geeky Girls Knit group. So if  you like the Gilmore Girls show you should definitely join in. The pattern by CC can be found on Ravelry and is called Where you lead I will follow and here are a couple of pictures of the socks knit up in my yarn.

Now on the my latest acquisitions. As the title of this blog post indicates there has been some pattern purchase craziness going on! I don’t know if it is being away from everyone and having more time to browse the internet than usual or what but….I have bought loads of patterns lately! My last purchases were done on August 1st and although I did go slightly mad, to my defence, I did make use of coupon 7, patterns from Joji and amazingly they are all for cardigans! I guess I’m feeling very much like knitting up a wardrobe which is unusual as I mostly knit shawls and socks. But who can resist Joji’s patterns and her cardigans are all gorgeous. I already own a ton of her patterns; most of which I have yet to knit (can one talk about having a “pattern stash”?)

pattern purchases

Joji is having a special sale on all her independently published patterns until August 5 so you still have a few hours to make good use of her offer. You get -20% off her patterns using coupon code: jojifallkal

And then there is Andrea Mowry  which like I said before is a new to me designer. She has a number of very nice patterns that I can see myself knitting and wearing and she too is having a sale. I bought 5 of her patterns. 1 slipper socks, 2 shawls, 1 cowl and 1 hat. All very exciting patterns that I hope to knit up this coming winter. Andrea’s sale runs until August 7th and she offers -33% off her patterns using coupon code: bday33

I highly recommend you check out both Ravelry stores as I’m pretty sure you will find at least one pattern, if not 10, that you would like to make and getting them at a discounted price just makes the purchase even more exciting:)

That’s about all I have for you today. The weekend is coming up so I will have some more free time to knit and continue spinning also. I hope to finish my test sock this weekend so I can cast on for the Gilmore Girls socks. I’m donating a prize for the kal and you can find info on that by watching either or even better, both, podcasts: Geeky Girls Knit and The Knitting Broomstick. Do let me know if you are joining in and tell me what pattern and yarn you have chosen.

And before I leave you, here are a few pictures of some sights from my surroundings. The pink house is the family home of Mr Christian DIOR!

 

 

Wips and Fos

Hi there, I said I’d be back soon and so here I am:)

I’m currently on vacation from my “real” job but we are not going anywhere this year but rather just relaxing at home and visiting sites near our home. So far we have had a few good days with beautiful weather and have been able to go to the beach which I always enjoy but today and yesterday the weather was not very good and the forecast for this week is not brilliant so I’m not sure what we’ll do….

So as for FOs, I have finished 2 shawls and both were part of kals that I’m taking part in on Ravelry. The first one is the Summer Nancy Kal that I’m hosting in my Ravelry group. This is a very relaxed kal going until the end of August where we knit patterns by designer Nancy Whitman.

I chose to knit a shawl called Ganz which is a DK weight shawl with some gansey inspired patterning. I hand dyed my own yarn for this project in a summery watermelon color.

I really like how this turned out and I think I’ll use this a lot come autumn and winter.

The second FO is also a shawl. That one is called Party on my needles by Joji Locatelli. This is a new shawl she released a very short while ago. I saw some podcasters working on this shawl and just had to buy the pattern and cast on. I also decided to join in the Grocery Girls Joji along on Ravelry for some added fun.

I knit the large size and I also used yarns that I hand dyed myself. The main color is a new base I tested; a yak, merino, nylon base which is a total pleasure to knit with and is super soft to the touch. The contrast color for the stripes is a Donegal nep yarn which I always feel give a bit of a rustic feel. And then the second contrast color used for the bind off is in my SPARKLES base in neon yellow.

I really like the outcome. Now I just need to build up some courage to block the shawl:)

As for my wips, I have a gazillion socks going, 2 sweaters, 1 cardigan and a new scrap yarn blanket and of course a shawl!

The shawl is again part of my Summer Nancy kal that I’m hosting on Ravelry. The pattern is called Tappan Zee by Nancy Whitman and the yarn is my own hand dyed. This time I’m trying a new base yarn in 100% superwash merino singles. And the contrast color I have just begun using is Madelinetosh merino light which is actually the same base yarn as what I dyed myself. I love the texture and feel of this yarn and it knits up beautifully. This is where I’m at for now.

Tappan zee close up

Next time I’ll share more wips, possibly some FOs and new acquisitions:) Until next time, have a wonderful week. I hope the weather is nice where you are and that you have plenty of crafting time to enjoy:)