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!

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:)

A new rainy week

Hi there, how are you today? I hope the weather is better in your part of the world than it is here in Normandy. Last year at the same time we were already enjoying summer weather but this year its nothing but rain! Doesn’t feel like summer at all!

Nothing much has happened since I last spoke to you. Lots of work and not so much knitting. I haven’t even managed to finish my second pair in the Tour de Sock. The deadline for stage two is today and I’m only just past the cuff on sock 2. When I saw that I was not going to make the deadline I sort of lost my sock knitting mojo and put the sock on the side….I have to finish though and I’m sure I will. I have a total of 3 socks on my needles currently and strangely non of them have been getting any love at all lately. This is a picture of the Tour de Sock stage two sock I’m (supposed to be) working on

tour de sock second stage

It is a very beautiful pattern and the solid color does the patterning justice but there is just something that prevents me from knitting on as usual. Hopefully I’ll get my sock knitting mojo back very soon.

So rather than knit on socks, I have been knitting on my Ganz shawl as part of my summer kal that I’m running in my Ravelry group. I’m making slow but steady progress there.

ganz

I have done the gansey strip and picked up stitches and now I’m working on the stockinette section. It is now a very easy and relaxing knit that I can work on without thinking.

I really should just concentrate on getting that done and/or pick up my 3 sweaters that have been left dormant in project bags in my room for the last months….but….of course I did not and I just cast on for a new project! Not really a surprise there but hey. So what happened is that I was doing a test dye using possible new yarn bases. The company I was test dyeing for only needs a small amount of each yarn to knit a swatch before they choose which base they like so I found myself with some very nice, freshly dyed yarns and as I looked at them I thought of another skein of yarn that I had balled up and waiting on me. I put the side by side

party on my needles all wound upAnd all of a sudden it clicked! I need to cast on for a shawl and not just any shawl, no I need to cast on for Party on my needles by Joji Locatelli. The Grocery Girls Tracy and Jodie are doing a #jojialong in their group on Ravelry and I thought it would be fun to join and so I cast on.

The yarns are all different, the burgundy one on the left is a new base of sw merino/yak/nylon. It is super soft and gives a lovely stitch definition. The yarn is a natural light brown that I overdyed with red and that gave this beautiful sort of burgundy color.

The second yarn is a Donegal nep yarn that I have dyed and sold before. That yarn is also a darker yarn that comes in a sort of natural light grey with specks of brown and black. I space dyed that to match somewhat the burgundy one.

The third and last one is on my SPARKLES base and that was dyed in a neon yellow. The pattern calls for a high contrast bind off color and I thought this would be very fun.

At the moment I’m on the first section of the shawl where it is just garter stitch and I have not yet decided if I’ll do a small or a large version. Joji shows the small version in her pattern and it looks quite big or big enough so I’m not sure. I can knit one or two lace repeats before deciding which way I go so that will give me some time to decide.

This is where I’m at now

party on my needles shawl

Funny how the yarn looks almost pink in this picture. It really isn’t, its a burgundy/brown red shad in reality.

So that’s about all I’ve been knitting on lately.

Shop/business wise I’m still working on the Gilmore Girls sock kit.  We have had a very positive reaction to our kit and in just a week we have almost sold out. Last time I knew, only one kit was left so if you are interested you had better click the link above and grab the very last kit. There will be no others!

Dyeing self striping yarn is a huge undertaking, it is so time consuming. I’m almost done so now I’m really looking forward to shipping off all the yarn and for everything to be sent out to our buyers and then to actually cast on and knit my very own pair of Gilmore Girls socks using my very own 10 colour self striping yarn:)

That’s it for today. Thank you for coming by and spending some time with me and my knitting. I hope you have a wonderful week with lots of quality crafty time. Speak to you soon 🙂

News from America

Hi there, I’m writing to you from sunny California. It is quite refreshing to be here and enjoy 27°C at the end of September. What is difficult is the time difference and the jet lag. My trip actually took 25 hours “door to door”. I took a train, a bus and 3 flights. Believe me, when I finally arrived at my destination I was totally DONE!

I had made a few purchases online before going and those were waiting for me when I arrived here. I’m travelling light which is great when travelling but inconvenient when it comes to shopping as I just don’t have any space for new purchases. This is a good thing for my wallet but frustrating for the knitter in me.

Now here are my goodies:

www.knittinginfrance.com You have 2 pairs of Addi Turbo Sock Rockets that I look forward to trying. One Circa row counter which actually has 3 counters in one, a book called Sequence Knitting by Cecelia Campochiaro. I have read about this book online and I understood that this was a special book that I HAD to have, unfortunately I did not realise how big this book is, it’s a hardcover book and it is super heavy! Its full of wonderful new patterns that can be worn inside out for example. This is a treasury of innovative patterns that I look forward to dive into and I’d love to design something using this as a start point for something and I’m actually thinking of using one of the yarns you see on the picture for that.

And speaking of yarns, I have 2 from Mrs Crosby. I’ve heard of this yarn and seen it online but this is the first time I actually have some. I chose yarns from the Mrs Crosby Loves to Play line and this yarn has 55% super wash merino, 15% nylon and 30% outlast. I’ve never worked with Outlast yarn so I’m quite excited about that.

The colours I chose are Toucan (the variegated/speckled one) and Spangled Cotinga (the turquoise one). I’m going to cast on for a pair of socks with the Toucan one and the Spangled Cotinga I think I might do  a pair of mitts or maybe design a cowl using the Sequence Knitting book as inspiration.

I also got one skein of the Regia Pairfect yarn. This yarn will produce a pair of socks that should be identical.You have a yellow thread at the beginning and in the middle so you can start each sock at exactly the same place and thus the striping pattern for the leg will be identical. So I look forward to trying that out.

I also got 2 books as a birthday gift: Luxury Yarn One Skein Wonders edited by Judith Durant and The Knitters Book of Yarn by Clara Parkes.

So you can imagine that I’m going to have lots of fun with all these goodies!

Now as for the trip over here which was super long, I did knit quite a bit. I cast on for a pair of socks as I was on the train to Paris.

www.knittinginfrance.com Here you can see the beginning, I had just completed the toe increases. I used my gradient yarn from KnitCircus and my project bag from KnitRunDig. The pattern I’m doing is called Toe Up Socks with a Difference by Wendy D. Johnson.

www.knittinginfrance.com As you can see I’ve finished one sock. When I arrived in San Francisco I was on the cuff! And I finished the cuff and cast off the next day. This pattern is unusual due to its heel construction as the gusset is actually on the sole and not on the side of the heel. Its fun to try a new way of doing things and this is sufficiently simple to do while travelling. As for the cast off, on the picture you can see that the cast off has created like a crochet chain that you can see distinctly. I used Judy’s surprisingly stretchy bind off for the first time. I also did the cuff in k1tbl,p1 which was not what the pattern called for so a little change there on my side. I really like the outcome and the yarn. However, I have quite a bit left of the first ball of yarn and so I did not get to use all the colours which is a little disappointing.  I would have loved to have all the colours in my sock but for that I would have to either knit bigger socks or socks with a textured pattern that uses more yarn. But on the positive side, I have some yarn left for some hexapufs for example.

I also knit on my shawl, In the Moment by Joji Locatelli.

www.knittinginfrance.com I took this picture shortly before reaching Portland. Since then the shawl has grown but I’m still on the striping section. I only have a few repeats of the striping section left to do but I think I may have to do additional repeats as I feel my shawl is too small when compared to the pictures in the pattern. It says that gauge is not critical so of course I did NOT knit a swatch! Maybe that is proving to be a bad idea…. Anyway I’m not going to rip everything out  but rather continue and if I feel it’s too small then I’ll just add on some repeats before going to the border section. What I do love so far is the colour combination. The Pumpkin Spice (orange) colour is a beautiful orange, not too bright, not to flashy but rather a smooth, calming, gorgeous orange and it goes perfectly with the brown Pine yarn.

I’m going to continue working on my shawl this week and I’m on the leg of my second sock so I think I’ll be able to cast on for a second pair while I’m here in the US or at least as I travel back home.

That’s all for today. I’ll be sharing some pictures with you later from San Francisco and Portland.

Until next time, take care and enjoy your knitting/crocheting/spinning 🙂

 

Have I become sweater/cardigan crazed????

Well, the answer to that question just might be “YES! my dear yes you have!!”

I don’t know if it is the happiness of having cast off the body of my Snowflake sweater or what but I find myself completely drawn to patterns of sweaters and cardigans and I imagine myself wrapping myself up in some gorgeous hand made sweaters and cardis! Might be the onset of winter and need to feel warm and cozy. Are you by any chance experiencing the same thing?

I usually “only” knit socks, mittens, shawls and cowls so this is a new sensation for me. And I’ve been buying A LOT of patterns on Ravelry in the last week! So I hope my sweater/cardigan phase will last for a while as I really need to knit them all up.

The thing about such big projects is that you need at least 5 or more skeins and all my stash is built up for my other knitting passion, that is just 1-2 skeins of the same thing. This means that I either have to buy new yarn or dye some up myself. I’ve decided to dye myself and that way I’ll be able to share on Ravelry and maybe, just maybe, someone out there will like the look of my yarn and want to buy some! So this could actually be a smart business solution (and not just a crazy knitter who doesn’t know what to do with her money). See, I knew I was not loosing my mind but being business savvy:)

Now, on to sharing. Let me introduce to you the patterns that I’ve chosen (so far…)

The first cardigan pattern I bought is Cloud Bay by Lete’s Knits

www.knittinginfrance.com I think this is a beautiful and yet simple cardigan that can be worn with almost anything and I see myself using this a lot in the winter and even all year round as I love to wear a tshirt and a cardi over that. So I’m going to knit this one for myself.

And then there are all the patterns I bought from Joji Locatelli on Ravelry ( all the patterns were bought on Ravelry).

The first two patterns are not sweaters or cardigans but a cowl and a shawl.

www.knittinginfrance.com This is the Three Color Cashmere cowl I’m going to dye my own yarn for this and I’m going to use the same colors as shown here because I think they are super nice.

www.knittinginfrance.com This is the In The Moment shawl and I’ve actually cast on for this as this is going to be one of my travel knits next week.

www.knittinginfrance.com  These are the colors I’m usingwww.knittinginfrance.com and this is how far I’ve gotten – I’m not going to knit more on this until I actually leave.

And now on to the sweater and cardigans.

First is the Bello Sweater

www.knittinginfrance.com Simply gorgeous I think

Then we have The Traveller Tunic

www.knittinginfrance.com I’ve seen pictures of this a bit longer where it’s almost a dress. I think I’ll make mine a bit longer and wear it with a pair of leggings.

And then there is the Gather Together cardigan

www.knittinginfrance.com I really love the yoke on this one. I also see myself wearing this a lot

And the last one I bought from Joji is the Looking Back sweater

www.knittinginfrance.com This sweater is buttoned up all the back and I’m not sure if I’ll do that or if I’ll improvise and do a full back.

And last but not least, I noticed that some of my favorite podcasters were talking about this “featherweight cardigan” and I actually thought it was just any cardigan only knit in fingering or lace yarn, but it turns out it is an actual pattern called Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig. After seeing this cardi on their podcasts and on Ravelry I of course was not able to resist and bought the pattern.

www.knittinginfrance.com I’ve seen different versions of this on Ravelry where people have made it longer than the pattern calls for and I think i just might do that too. This is actually the pattern I’m going to start with and I’m going to make 2! I think! I’m going to start with one for my sisters Christmas gift. The pattern can be knit in either lace weight or fingering and for my sister I’m doing lace weight. I’m dyeing the yarn as I’m writing this. I chose my merino, silk, stellina base which is not only gorgeously soft but super beautiful too. I’m dyeing her yarn in a gray/mauve color. A mix of colors I came up with and think looks super cool (not sure I’ll be able to replicate but I’ll try). And once her’s is done I hope I’ll cast on one for myself too. It really looks nice.

And before I say good-bye, are you into KAL’s? Would you be interested in a little fun and informal knit a long for one of these sweater/cardigan patterns? Maybe we could organise something like that and share our pictures and progress and help each other out if needed, either here on the blog or I could create a thread on Ravelry. Let me know what you think of that.

Well, that’s all for today. Enjoy your weekend and I hope you get lots of time to resource yourself and knit and crochet and spin some.

Until next time, take care:)

Some progress and some new stuff

Hi there, I hope you had a great weekend. I actually got quite a lot of things done even though I did not get to do everything I had on my “to do” list but hey, I didn’t really expect I would so that’s ok.

First off, I went through my PERSONAL STASH! Oh my! I think it’s been years since I last dug this far into my stash! I unearthed some gorgeous yarns that have now moved closer to the surface and will hopefully be used sooner rather than later, but I also got the confirmation that I have become a die hard YARN SNOB! I knew so but seeing it like this, up close and in person really made that fact real!

So I posted an ad on Facebook offering to give someone a big chunk of my stash – all the yarns that I know I will never actually use. Most of these are full skeins, labelled and everything. Some are leftovers but just a small part. I actually must have close to 10 kg of yarn to give away! I also put in some knitting needles to go with this. I asked if an association would like this to knit for charity or something and I discovered that I’m not the only yarn snob in Normandy! Because actually NO ONE was interested! Someone did point out an association that might be interested so I have to find their contact info and check with them. I was a bit sad that all this yarn was just sitting in big bags in my garage and no one wanted it! I do hope I will end up finding someone to make good use of all this. Some of the yarn is “fantasy” yarn but it could be fun as an embellishment for example or to knit a pillow or something. Most of the yarns are wool/nylon blends, some I bought when I was knitting for premie charities. Most of the yarns are from Bérgère de France and Phildar. So if you by any chance live in Normandy and are part of a charity knitting group, do get in touch with me and I’ll gladly donate all this yarn and knitting needles for you to make good use of!

So this was my good deed and big “off the list” project of the  weekend, I had been dreading it for a while but finally I got it done and that is a good thing.

I also did some knitting. I almost finished my first Irma mitten. Now I just need to weave in the ends, sew the cuff and knit the thumb. But seeing the pattern all knit up is a huge pleasure.

www.knittinginfrance.com   I’m quite    sure  the person this is intended for  will love the mitts. Seeing as this someone is big into horses. I’m not saying who the recipient is just in case this person accidentally came across this post:) But yes I’m really happy with the outcome and I’ve already cast on for the second one and hope it will go well too.

I also took a decision about my travel knitting and I decided that I would do the Leftover shawl only it would not be my travel knitting. I’ve found all the leftovers I want to use and put them in a little basket next to my favorite chair in the living room and it will be my new tv knitting project.

www.knittinginfrance.com    This is the actual pattern picture

www.knittinginfrance.com And this is what I’ve knit so far

 

I have decided that I’ll be taking 2 projects with me on my travel (in addition to the two gorgeous sock yarn skeins that will await me in SFO) and I will knit 1 shawl and 1 pair of socks.

So last night I went online and I had recently been  going through all of Joji’s Ravelry store and I really love her designs and yesterday, believe it or not, I actually bought 6!!!!! patterns!!!!

I’m crazy! 1 shawl, 1 cowl and 4 yes 4 cardigans/sweaters. I don’t have enough time to share them all with you right now but I will soon. So anyway, I’m going to knit the shawl I bought and it is called In the moment and is by Joji Locatelli and I’m going to use two of my newly dyed yarns, the ones with the bronze stellina in autumn shades.

www.knittinginfrance.com This is the yarn I’m using

www.knittinginfrance.com Here I am getting ready: my yarn all wound up, my new project bag, I’ve printed out the pattern and just put on Midsummer Murders ( I love Barnaby).

And here’s how far I’ve gotten and this is how it will stay until I actually leave: www.knittinginfrance.com

 

That’s all for today. I hope you have a wonderful week with plenty of time to devote to your favorite craft. Next time I’ll tell you more about my latest dye works and all the new patterns I just bought!