Meet the Maker of the Month – Michelle of Berry Colorful Yarnings

Hi there, the end of this month is chock full of information and blog posts as I took a little break and came back with a ton of things to share and also this meant that the Maker of the Month feature is way later in the month than usual. I do hope you forgive me for this and so here goes!

 

I first learned of Michelle and Berry Colorful Yarnings when I was in the yarn subscription club The Golden Skein (no longer operating). Every three months I would get three skeins of hand dyed yarns, each from a different dyer and one of those was Michelle.

Since then I have been following her on social media and of course on Etsy where she sells her yarns. Michelle specializes in self striping yarns and as a sock knitter, I find that super exciting! Somehow, self striping vanilla socks seem to knit up on their own, one is always so excited to get to the next stripe!

A while ago I contacted Michelle and she kindly accepted to do a little yarn swap and so I was lucky enough to get to try out some more of her yarns. This is the pair of socks I knit out of the first skein.

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I used my own hand dyed purple yarn for cuff, heels and toes so as to not disrupt the striping. I knit these from the cuff down and did an afterthought heel as I often do when using self striping yarn.

Michelle’s yarn is a pleasure to knit with and her sense of color is amazing. I have a few more of her yarns in my stash and cherish them very much! And I thought it would be so fun to interview Michelle and introduce you to her and her work if you don’t know her already. And she kindly accepted the interview AND a giveaway! So you just might be lucky enough to win one of her yarns yourself!

So here is my interview with Michelle


 

I see from your about page on Etsy that you opened your shop in 2011. Had you been dyeing yarn before then and selling elsewhere or is 2011 the year it all started?
2011 was the first time I had sold anything I had dyed and I started off with my etsy shop right away.

How did you come to start dyeing yarn and then selling online?
I have always been a lover of indie dyed yarn and I was buying yarn from international dyed but the shipping times and costs at that time were starting to add up. I had mentioned to a knitter friend of mine that “I wished I was talented enough to dye yarn” and her replay was “you are” so after chatting with my husband I jumped in feet first and haven’t looked back!

Do you work as an indie dyer full time or is this a part time thing ?
Dyeing is a part time thing for me. We homeschool our two girls and I help my husband run his business.

Where do you get your inspiration for your colourways from ?
I get my inspiration from many sources but I really love pulling colors from nature. There are some really beautiful combinations right in front of our eyes. I love when a customer brings me a photo and asks for a self striping yarn from it. This really allows me to be creative.

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

The most popular colorway has to be The Pats doorway, themed for the New England Patriots Football team. Second would be either the 12 color Rainbow or the 12 color 12 days of Christmas colorways.

bcy 12 days of christmas

I know you are most known for dyeing self striping yarn. How did you come to choose that type of dyeing method/yarn? Do you also sometimes dye tonal or semi solid yarns?
I had been dyeing yarn for several years when I wanted to do something a little different than what all the other dyers were doing. So I tried the self striping technique. I still love dyeing tonals and semi solids and will jump at the chance to dye them 🙂

Do you accept custom orders?

Currently no.. but after the first of the year my plan is to bring that option back to the shop.

What does a typical workday look like for you?
After getting the husband out the door, I get any business related emails and paperwork needed done. I get the girls schoolwork done and then some lunch.. if we don’t have a ton of activities for the day then off to the dye studio I go.. I get lost in the fun of color.

What have you got planned for Berry Colorful Yarnings in 2017? and where do you see your company in say 5 years from now?
2017 for BCY will be a slower year. But 2018 is hopefully going to see a few fiber shows and crammed full of new color combos and maybe even some fun new stripe tech.

Where does the name of your shop, Berry Colorful Yarnings come from?
Berry is my last name, Colorful for what I strive to always make my yarns, and Yarnings was what my youngest daughter would call anything I was doing with yarn or fiber, so Berry Colorful Yarnings happen to just fit so nicely!!

And a little about yourself, where do you come from/live?
I live in southern New Mexico, I spent 11 years here as a kid (military kid) then in 1996 my husband and I moved to CA and lived there for 17 years. We moved back to this area a few years ago and love it here.

Are you a knitter and/or crocheter?
I learned to crochet as a kid but didn’t learn to knit until 2009. My middle niece showed me how one summer.

When did you learn to knit/crochet?
Crochet I was about 10 and 2009 is when my niece showed me how to knit..

What are your favourite projects to knit/crochet? I’m guessing socks but I just might be wrong 🙂
I just recently became a sock knitter, that is why my stripes are a bit wider than some. I needed to be able to knit my own yarns into a hat or cowl. I love love to knit hats!!

bcy shawl

If you are a big sock knitter, do you have a go to pattern/recipe?

I love a toe up vanilla sock at the moment!

Do you knit socks cuff down or toe up?
Toe up for sure

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media? Do you have a blog?
I prefer Instagram (all though pretty pictures) I have a website that’s under construction and I would love to try and get my blog going again.. fingers crossed but right now I am mostly on IG as @Bcyarnings 🙂

bcy

Thank you so much Michelle for taking the time to answer my questions and giving me and my readers a little sneak peek into your life. And an even bigger thank you for donating a yarn for the giveaway! Michelle has donated a skein of her Daisy colorway that I show you here below.

bcy daisy

Berry Colorful Yarnings in Daisy, self striping

bcy daisy close up

A close up of Daisy

To enter this giveaway and have a chance of winning a skein of Michelle’s self striping yarn in the Daisy colorway you have to:

  1. go to her shop and take a look at her in stock yarns and/or sold yarns and
  2. come back here to leave a comment telling us which one of her colorways is your favorite
  3. Also tell us what pattern you would knit with her yarn should you win

I will use random number generator to draw a winner from the comments below (So I will not be replying to anyone so as not to disturb the drawing) on May 5th. Good luck to you all and enjoy the browsing 🙂

The Mountain of Wips

It’s time I told you about my mountain of wips. A while ago I was inspired to do something about this after watching Jilly of the Knitting Broomstick talking about how she tackled hers.

I keep a part of my stash in my bedroom and that’s also where my Mountain of Wips has been formed. It wasn’t on purpose, it just sort of happened with time.

I’m constantly working on a million projects at the same time and constantly giving in to the urge for a new cast on. Then there are projects that must be done or maybe there is a deadline and so other things are put aside for a few days which then turn into weeks and even months. Little by little the pile grows and grows until it has taken on a life of its own it would seem.

My pile had just taken on this ugly image of a pile of bags of all kinds and just looked messy and unorganised…which it totally was. I also knew that I might not want to knit everything that was in there. And I also new that some of the bags did not contain wips but projects to be – a skein of yarn, a pattern and a needle. Ready for me to cast on. But somehow I just hadn’t gotten to do so.

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The plastic boxes on the right house part of my stash and as you can see there are a number of project bags all over!

There was no method to this madness so I just took one bag at a time and looked at its content. If it was an actual work in progress I then decided if I wanted to finish it or rip it out. I admit I only ripped out very few wips.

All the bags containing “to be knit” projects were emptied. I put the yarn back into the stash box and put the pattern aside for future use and the needles back in my bag of needles.

I wanted my pile of wips to be just that, no piles of ready to go knits. I don’t need those. I just get everything ready when and if I want to cast something on.

So after going through all the project bags this is what I ended up with.

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It’s not a very good picture but at least you see there is now only one project bag on the floor. The rest fits in my bin. (since the picture was taken I have added one big “to be knit” bag but it doesn’t count because it is a necessity for Sock Madness).

As for the contents of the remaining project bags, here’s the list:

2 cowls

3 shawls

2 pairs of gloves – one is fingerless and it is my oldest wip ever!

2 cardigans

1 pull over – which is sooo close to being done!

1 scrap blanket – the Pinwheel blanket by Mina Philipp – I have a few squares done

10 pairs of socks! Yep that’s right, 10! Most of those are half done, that is one sock done and the other only just started.

I have decided that I now need to work on a wip at all times. I’m allowed to cast on for new stuff BUT I also have to choose a wip and work on concurrently. This way my Mountain which is now back to being a pile will slowly turn into just an extra project bag or two. (It’s ok to dream).

It may not look like much of an improvement when you compare the two pictures, but it actually is! I now know what I have waiting and getting all this done is no longer overwhelming. I know I can and want to do it. It’s just going to take time but that’s ok. Knitting is  supposed to be fun and that’s how I like it.

As I’m writing this Sock Madness 11th edition has just launched which means that my knitting time will be concentrated on that and nothing else will be worked on except in between rounds but when that is done, I’ll be back to working on my pile of wips.

So you also have a mountain/pile of wips that needs sorting and working on? Or have you maybe already gone through it and come out a winner? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter and how you organise yourself. Please share by leaving a comment below.

That’s it for today. Have a great weekend and until next time, Happy Knitting!

The February Plan

Hi there, It’s me again! Sorry if you think this a bit too much for one week but like I said at the beginning of the week I had soo much to share!

So today is or should just be  a short post but a necessary one because we are at the beginning of February and I have this big plan for what I’m going to knit this month and I thought maybe some of you would like to knit along with me.

So I’ll be knitting 2 shawls and 3 socks – that I know of for the time being – and a cowl

Here is a picture of all the yarns except the Snowmelt shawl which I had not dyed when I took the picture.

all-the-february-yarns

Row 1 (bottom) Yarns for the socks Row 2 (middle) my 3 color cashmere cowl Row 3 my Snowday shawl

First the shawls. So there is the Snowday shawl by Knitting Expat Designs. This pattern was published in January and I immediately bought it. I loved the colors Mina chose for hers and I just knew I had to knit this. I’m using my own yarn of course. Mina wrote the pattern for a sport weight yarn but I don’t have any so I’m using a DK yarn. This is a new base that I’ll introduce in the shop next week. It is a non superwash organic wool from South America and I really look forward to knitting with it and seeing how it knits up. I loved the colours Mina chose and so I decided to stay with the same theme/colours.

snowday-yarn

Mina is hosting a year long kal in her Ravelry group for all her patterns so this shawl can be entered into that.

 

The second shawl is a mystery knit along and it is the Snowmelt mkal being held by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. This is a 5 clue, 3 color shawl and the mkal launched yesterday on the 2nd of February. I have chosen another new yarn base for this shawl. This yarn is a 100% non superwash merino in fingering weight. it dyes up beautifully and it is very soft and I look forward to knitting with it for the first time. Just looking at the yarn and the ply I’m sure it will be gorgeous and give a beautiful stitch definition. I dyed up 3 skeins in complimentary colors for this and again the theme is blues.

snowmelt-yarn-1

I’ve heard Helen say that color A is the one that has the most lace and she recommends using the lightest color for that. I don’t want to use the speckled yarn for the lace so I’m thinking then the light blue on the right side. I was going to have the darkest one as color A but I should probably follow Helen’s advice. So I look forward to knitting on this.

And then there are the socks and they all come with a kal. I’m very kal these days it seems and yet I rarely participate in the chatter.

So first it is the Lovealong kal – this kal is being hosted by Dani of the Little Bobbins; Amy of the Periscoping sisters (the designer of the sock pattern) and Christy of Yarn Café Creations who dyed the yarn Amy used in her design. This means you can actually enter your socks into at least 2 threads to win a prize and if you knit the socks with Christy’s yarn then you can enter in her group too. So as I have some of her yarns, that’s what I’m doing!

Then there is the January Challenge in Louise Tilbrook Designs group on Instagram and Facebook. You are supposed to knit a pair of socks and somehow challenge yourself. I’m cheating a bit because I want to knit one of Louise’s patterns and I chose one that is not necessarily very challenging but hey I’m the boss of me so! I’ve chosen the Bleaberry Tarn socks, a paid for pattern on Ravelry and I’m going to knit it in one of my new colorways that I’ve called Baby Pink Sparkles.

The third sock is for a kal being held by designer Rachel Gibbs. I’ve never knit one of her patterns before and I follow her on IG. I saw a post about her kal that actually began in January but I believe runs till the end of February so I decided to join and knit one of her patterns. Rachel designs lots of textured/patterned socks and the patterns are really gorgeous. I chose the Time Stream Socks and I’ve chosen another one of my Sparkles yarns in a turquoise colorway I had in my stock.

The last of the planned knits for the time being is a cowl. I’ve had this pattern in my Ravelry Library for a long time and never gotten to knit it so it is time. I have chosen an amazing yarn. This is a new base that I was trying out and want to later offer in the shop. It is a pricy one because it is a 50/50 merino and silk yarn. It is incredibly soft and knits up like a dream. I already have a cowl knit in this yarn and I love it. So the pattern I’ve chosen is the Three Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locatelli and I think this is the only planned knitting this month that is not part of a kal.

So I dyed two skeins of my merino/silk yarn and then I had one skein of a 100% silk yarn in natural, undyed state.  I think this will be heavenly and I really look forward to getting started on that one too.

three-color-cashmere-cowl

Have you planned what you want to work on in February? Are you maybe joining in some of the kals that I’m doing? I’d love to hear what you have got planned so don’t be shy and leave a comment below.

That’s it for now. I wish you all a wonderful weekend ahead with lots of quality knitting time. Thank you for sharing your time today with me. And until next time, happy knitting 🙂

Hi there how are you today? I hope you are doing good, that you had a nice weekend and that this new week is shaping up to be a good one.

As always I have been knitting “like the wind” 🙂 I don’t have a finished object this week to share but I have a lot of HOs and an almost FO.

I have a ton of things to share with you but  I feel I must divide things up into at least 2 or 3 posts or you’ll end up spending the entire day reading my blog and you do have some knitting to do so that won’t work!

So I think today I’ll show you my HOs and share some news of my shop and then later I’ll share my February knitting plans which are shaping up to be quite ambitious!

So first the knitting. If you follow me here on the blog and on IG you will have seen all the socks I’m working on. I have A LOT of socks going at the moment and some are “active” and others are waiting to be picked up again and finally finished.

First there is the test knit I shared with you last week. I often test knit for designer Dana Gervais who is a very talented sock knitting designer. Currently I’m testing her Galoway sock which will soon be published on Ravelry. This is a very fun pattern. The front is all cables from cast on to toes and the back all the way to the end of the heel is in ribbing. The cable pattern is easy to memorise and you can knit it without using a cable needle which is what I did. I chose to knit this using a new yarn base that I have just introduced in my shop and I call POP. It’s a tweed yarn with colorful nepps that make this yarn super fun to work with. I have finished sock one and now need to cast on for the second one.

 

Then there is the simple vanilla sock that I’m knitting using my Valentine’s Day colorway, I call it Be My Valentine. This is a self striping yarn with a 4 color repeat and each repeat is quite short/small. The socks I’m knitting are 72 stitches on a 2.00 mm needle. I’m really happy with how this yarn knits up. The yarn base is my SOX merino/nylon base so a soft and yet sturdy sock yarn. I have finished sock one and I’m already past the heel on number two so hopefully this one will be a FO next week.

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And  then there are the two Simple Skyp socks. This is a free pattern on Ravelry that I absolutely love. It has become my sort of go to pattern rather than knit a vanilla sock. I think it works great with all types of colors and yarns. Works great with solid yarns as well as with some crazy variegated. So currently I’m knitting two pairs, one for myself and one for my youngest. So my pair is knit using yarn from KnitCosmicStrings. I shared an interview with them this January and the yarn I’m using is in the Shoreditch colorway which is the exact same yarn as the giveaway yarn. And speaking of the giveaway, the winner has yet to claim her prize and the clock is ticking…

simple-skyp-in-knitcosmicstrings

I really enjoy using this yarn and I love how the yarn knits up. I think it looks great knit up into this skyp pattern. On this picture you get an idea of how this colorway knits up both in simple stockinette (sole) and in the skyp pattern (leg and top of foot). So obviously one sock is done and the other is almost at the heel.

And the one I’m knitting for my daughter, I’m knitting out of my own yarn. It’s a dye test I did for fun using my SOX base. I’ve also finished one sock and I’m just past the heel on the second so hopefully this pair will be an FO very soon.

simple-skyp-for-ines

I’m also knitting another pair as a present for someone and again I’m using my own SOX yarn in a fun colorway that I made up just playing with my dyes so a truly one of a kind. The pattern is just a simple knit and purl pattern I found on Ravelry in a free sock pattern that I no longer remember the name of and the rest is just my normal sock formula. For this pair I have also done one sock and am just past the heel on the second so again this should be an FO shortly.

birthday-gift-socks

And to end this parade of socks, I cast on the Prairie socks by Kay Jones of The Bakery Bears Podcast. I’m a huge fan of Kay and Dan’s podcast and watch it every time a new episode is published. I saw these socks on one of the podcasts and really loved how sweet it looked. I had a skein of some unknown undyed yarn. And not knowing what it was I could hardly sell it in the shop so I dyed it up for myself and chose colours I thought would be great for this particular pattern and I really like how it knits up.

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So this is sock number one. I did an extra long leg, 7″ from cast on to beginning of heel flap. I’m knitting according to the pattern. I usually do a short row heel for my socks but decided I had to follow the heel in the pattern for this one. You can’t really see the patterning very clearly on the picture but it is a very lovely and easy pattern and could become a go to pattern just like the Simple Skyp sock. This pattern is a paid for pattern on Ravelry.

Of course I do have more socks than just these on my needles and I do need to pick them up and finish. I think I should challenge myself to picking up a pair of wip socks every two weeks or so and finish it off along with my current works in progress. I need to do something to get them off my needles and off the pile of wips in my bedroom.

And to finish, there is my almost FO this week which is the Cozy Shlanket by Knitting Expat designs or Mina Philip. This was a mystery knit a long and it has already finished. I’m at the icord bind off currently and my objective for today is to finish the bind off and weave in all the ends because I want to be able to say that I finished the shawl in the month of January. That should not be difficult!

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It’s not easy to photograph while the shawl is still on the needle because it is quite huge and all scrunched up on the needle. I think it is a very nice pattern and as I chose to knit the Aran weight version mine is really huge and super warm. I’m not sure if I will give this to someone or if I’ll keep it and  have on my office chair for when I work the evening shifts as I often get cold in winter.

I do have another shawl on my needles that I should finish by the end of today because it is part of the #BriocheChallenge being hosted by Louise Tilbrook Designs on Instagram and Facebook (The Everyday Knitter). I’m knitting the Briochealicious shawl by Andrea Mowry which is a mix of garter and brioche. I’m at the last brioche section so getting close to the end but I’ll never be able to finish today so that one will have to carry on into February. I’ll show you a picture when it’s done because it is so big that I can’t really do it justice while still on the needle.

I think this will be all for today. It’s turning out to be quite a long post. I’ll be writing more posts this week as I feel I have so much more to share and I want to share it ALL RIGHT NOW! So you’ll be seeing more posts than usual from me this week.

Thank you again for stopping by and spending some time with me. I hope you have enjoyed seeing my works in progress and until next time, take care and enjoy your knitting:)