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.

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Berry Colorful Yarnings in Daisy, self striping

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A close up of Daisy

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

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

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

And the winner is…

Hi there, today I only have a quick winner announcement to make as I have drawn for the winner for the Coffee with CC and Dami too giveaway.

I would have liked to see more people take part but hey, this just means those who did have a better chance of actually winning!

So drum rolls please:….

And the winner of the ebook Coffee with CC and Dami too is…post number 4 which is Tiffany Kornberg or whatanovelidea on Ravelry. Congratulations Tiffany, I will notify CC and she will gift you the ebook on Ravelry as soon as possible.

I hope you will enjoy the book and maybe share your future knits with me:)

To all the other participants, thank you for taking part. Next month’s maker will be a yarn dyer so again there will be soon be an exciting new giveaway to take part in.

Have a wonderful week and enjoy your knitting 🙂

An FOs, a wip and a future cast on

Hi there, how are you doing today? I hope your weekend was nice. Mine was very relaxed. I got a lot of knitting and spinning done and I’m super happy about that.

But before I dive into the show and tell, I wanted to remind you of my review of the new book Coffee with CC and Dami too that I reviewed last week. You can read the post here if you haven’t already and join in the giveaway and maybe win a copy of the ebook 🙂

Now on to the FOs. The first one is a shawl. I participated in the Snowmelt Mystery kal held by Helen Stewart of the Curious Handmade and I finally finished my shawl last week. I have woven in all the ends and just need to block it because currently it is way smaller (I think) than it should be. Also because there is some lace, this shawl really does have to be blocked. No way around that. I’m very lazy when it comes to blocking so there is no telling when I’ll actually get that done but hopefully sooner rather than later:)

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So this is it unblocked. I really love the outcome. I’m very happy with the colors I dyed up for the shawl and I loved, loved the yarn I chose. I love the yarn so much that I’m dreaming of ordering tons of this non superwash fingering yarn for future garment and shawl knitting. It’s what I call Back to Basics and it’s a 100% merino non superwash.

The other FO for this week was one that almost didn’t make it. And if you follow me on IG you will have seen the pictures and probably already know what I’m on about. For the others, here’s what happened. I decided to join in the Sock Madness competition this year for the second time. The very first round began just over a week ago and it is the qualifying round. That means that you have 14 days to finish a pair of socks. If you finish in time you get to participate and depending on when you finished you will be put into a team with other knitters that knit at your speed so you are paired up with knitters of similar speed. Of course you may be a super speedy knitter but with a very busy life but it doesn’t matter. If that is the case then all the better for you if you get paired up with knitters that are in a similar situation because that increases your chances of making it to the very end.

So I was determined to knit a pair in less than a week. Last year I knit really fast and got into the second to fastest team which may have been an error on my part but hey, I made it to the second to last round so yeah! Anyway this year I may have less time so I was trying to hurry  but not too much. But of course the competition spirit got the better of me.

The first pattern was not a complicated one but a very time consuming one and hard on one’s hands. It also ate up yarn at an alarming speed and very quickly I started panicking and thinking I’d not have enough to finish. I know we are not allowed to do contrasting heels and toes unless the pattern calls for that so I would have to change yarns along the way. I asked how and if that was possible and unfortunately for me I totally misunderstood the answer. So what did I do? Well I cast on for the second sock and knit to the heel, turned the heel on both socks AND THEN changed yarns and knit on merrily without a care in this world. On day 4 I updated my Ravelry project page and sent my email. And went to bed happy as could be.

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And then came the following day! Crashing news! I got heaps of messages on Ravelry both from other participants and the moderators explaining that I had totally misunderstood.

In fact yes I can change yarns if I have to BUT first I have to run out of my original yarn and that was not my case! At first I was in shock! Wow was I not going to qualify for Sock Madness? What to do? After some encouragements from fellow competitors I cut open the toes, ripped back to the heel and then put both socks on a long circular to knit them two at a time using the rest of my yarn. Even though my hands were hurting, I was so determined to make it that I finished in just over a day! And guess what? All this stress and mess could have been totally avoided! I did have plenty of yarn. After finishing I weighed the rest and I had 9gr left! Grrrr

But hey, I finished my socks for the second time and sent in my email on day 6. I don’t know if they will put me in a team that finished on day 4 or on day 6, we’ll see soon enough. Here are my finished and qualified socks.

This qualifying round comes to an end this Thursday I think so maybe round two will begin sometime next week. But until then I’m working on two projects.

My first wip is a secret test knit for a cardigan and I’m not allowed to share any pictures of that. I’m trying to get as much done of that as I can while I wait for round two of Sock Madness to start. It’s quite a simple cardigan in fingering weight yarn. I’m past the armholes and just knitting on in stocking stitch now for 6″ before the stitch pattern changes some. So this is a knit that I can easily pick up and work on anywhere anytime.

My second wip is the Grand Central Socks by Mina Philipp and they are part of her New York Sock collection. I have cast on for them using my Zen Garden yarn that I bought last time I was in Iceland. I’m past the heel on sock one and I’m knitting them on my Hiya Hiya Sharp 9″ circulars.

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It is a fun stitch pattern and easily memorized making this a fun and easy knit.

I said I had done lots of spinning this past weekend and I did. I have been doing a sweater spin. I decided to join Sue of Legazy Fibre Arts and Andi of Andre Sue Knits on their sweater spin. It is the first time  I have ever spun for a particular project and the first time ever that I spin so much for a single project. I was not even sure I would make it to be honest.

Ì chose a 50/50 merino  and silk blend that I have spun as is, that is undyed, and now I have 5 skeins of that which together weigh 635 gr for about 1784 meters. That’s about a fingering weight yarn.

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I’m really happy with the outcome. The yarn is quite consistent and looks good. I have washed it now and it is relaxed and the twist is correct so I think it will knit up nicely.

Next stage is to dye the yarn. I haven’t chosen my color yet. Dyeing all this yarn which is also hand spun and has cost me so many hours of work, is a little overwhelming. I have to get it right! So I’m hesitating between grey? Blues? Maybe a petrol/denim blue? Or should I do something subtle with a little bit of speckles? Or should I just leave the yarn undyed? What do you think?

And then I need to find a pattern. I have been thinking of this the entire time I have been spinning. I still have some fibre left so if I need more yardage I can spin some more before going to the dye pot. Here are the patterns I have been and still am, thinking about and maybe you can help me decide.

The Boxy Sweater by Joji Locatelli – This is a simple sweater to knit I think and Sue is knitting this one with her hand spun. This was the very first pattern I thought of but I’m not so sure any more.

Sammal cardigan by Joji Locatelli – this is a brand new pattern and currently is at the top of my list. I like the fact that it is a cardigan as I use cardigans much more than sweaters. I like the fact that it has all over patterning. As my yarn is hand spun it is not as perfectly smooth as mill spun yarn and so maybe an all over stitch pattern is better suited? Also I have enough yardage for my size.

Boathouse by Alicia Plummer. I really love her designs and this  is a simple short sleeved sweater/t shirt. I could of course knit longer sleeves. It has stripes and I could dye one of the skeins in a contrasting color for this.

Japan Sleeves by Joji Locatelli. I have admired this design for a long time and I purchased the pattern a while back. This also would require two colors but that’s fine. I’m a little intimidated by the lace panel on the sleeves but otherwise I think it is not a very complicated knit.

Tau by Melanie Berg. This is a beautiful cardigan with a mix of patterning and stocking stitch. I definitely want to knit this some time. Maybe with this yarn?

Threshold by Melanie Berg. This is a sweater with some patterning on the front. As always it’s a gorgeous design and I’m really tempted.

That’s a lot to choose from and of course there are millions more. I already own all of these patterns and a ton more in my Ravelry library. I feel that I have to choose something really special because this yarn is so special. My first ever hand spun and hand knit adult size garment! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the pattern choices I have mentioned. And if you have knit any of those I’d love to hear your thoughts on the pattern and the finished garment. Or if you have another pattern to suggest? If you have knit a garment with your handspun; do tell and share with us.

That’s all for today. Thank you for stopping by and spending some of your precious time with me. Do participate in the giveaway for CC’s ebook (I will draw for a winner on Friday) and share your thoughts on my future handspun sweater.

Until next time; take care and enjoy your knitting 🙂

 

Maker of the Month – Part two

Hi there, I hope you are doing good since yesterday. Being Thursday today I sort of feel like the week is coming to an end as always on Thursdays. I sort of start counting down to Friday night when I can finally relax some and enjoy more knitting time.

I hope you enjoyed yesterdays post and interview with my friend CC of JavaPurl Designs. Today is the second half of my feature on her and her work and today is all about her new book which will be officially launched tomorrow March 10th at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

This second book of CCs is co-authored with her daughter Dami and includes 7 patterns, 5 socks, 1 wrap and fingerless mitts. The book is available both as a physical book and as an ebook. You can purchase her physical book at EYF if you are one of the lucky attendees or you can go to her website . The ebook can be purchased on Ravelry and the individual patterns from the book will be released on March 12th – for those who only want to buy one or two patterns.

This second book is called Coffee with CC (and Dami too) and has 7 coffee inspired patterns. Five of those are designed by CC herself and 2 by her daughter Dami who is not yet 18! So impressive! I would never have been able to design let alone publish a pattern at that age.

coffee with cc and dami too

If you read yesterday’s post you will have gathered that I’m a fan of CC and her patterns and you will have gotten some insight into the person behind these amazing creations. And if for some reason you have not read the post and her interview, I recommend you stop for a few minutes, read the post, and then come back here for the book review.

As always CC’s patterns are very clearly written out leaving no room for hesitations or errors. All the sock patterns are written both cuff down and toe up which I find amazing. That is two times the work for the designer for double the pleasure for us knitters. Whatever our preference when it comes to knitting socks, we are sure to find the pattern and instructions we need.

The patterns are graded by difficulty level which are indicated by the number of coffee cups. One cup is light, two is medium and three is strong. This will help you gauge each pattern better and if you are a new or newer knitter you can work your way through the book from the easiest to the most difficult one and come out a hero:)  Just saying 🙂

CC has also teamed up with indie dyers for this book and so each pattern features a gorgeous hand dye yarn making the pattern pictures that much yummier.  The photography is beautiful and the overall feeling when browsing the book is one of well being. That may sound strange given that I’m reviewing a book but what I mean is that it’s a friendly, relaxed book that makes you want to knit every single pattern and not only that, but it makes you feel you can!

Clearly I cannot say enough good things about this book and I do want to knit every single pattern in there. I felt the same way about her first book and I did start to knit the patterns from that one but have not finished yet as I tend to be constantly distracted but I will knit them all and the same goes for this one and I’m planning to start after Sock Madness. Would you be interested in doing a yearlong kal? Something very relaxing, just knit at our own speed as we knit all the patterns in either this or last years book? Or better yet, a mix of both? No need to commit to knitting 14 patterns but if you want to knit a few let me know in the thread on Ravelry that I have created in my group.

And now onto the individual patterns.

CC Babyccino_Main_small2 These are the Babyccino Socks designed by Dami. I love the stitch pattern she chose and the fact that you could knit a pair for every member of your family as they come sized from baby to adult!

CC Chai_Latte_Main_small2 These are the Chai Latte socks. Again a fun stitch pattern and it works perfectly with a self striping yarn. I love self striping yarns but most of the time I only do plain vanilla socks when using a self striping yarn. Having the option of a fun patterned sock that is tailored to a self striping pattern is amazing and I think it will make the knitting only that much more fun.

CC Espresso_Con_Panna_main_small2 The Espresso Con Panna socks. Again CC has used a textured pattern and I think this will work especially well with variegated yarns and I do have a ton of those in my stash! I also love how this one looks in this tonal yarn. I’d love to make these and I can see myself doing this pattern in all kinds of yarns because I think the end result will be so different depending on the type of yarn I choose (crazy variegated, subtle tonal or solid).

CC Hot_Chocolate_Main_small2 The Hot Chocolate with pink marshmallows speaks to me louder than the others because unlike CC I’m not a coffee drinker! I know, I know! But I do love a good hot chocolate 🙂 The pattern has a beautiful X and O pattern and I think it is best shown off when knit in a tonal or solid yarn and that’s what I plan on doing.

CC Instant_Coffee_Main_small2 The Instant Coffee socks. Again a very fun stitch pattern that works beautifully with a tonal or solid yarn. It looks super  yummy and textural. They say it is as easy as making instant coffee so this might become a new substitute for vanilla socks in the future.

CC Fingerless_Mitts_main_small2 1 shot, 2 shots, 3 shots fingerless mitts. How fun are these ? You have three designs in one as you can choose how far up your arm the mitts go and I love the cable design.

CC Flat_White_Main_small2 The Flat White Wrap. This is a beautiful  lace design shown here as a wrap but CC does explain that this can be modified to become a skinnier wrap, a scarf or even a cowl. That is a very versatile pattern and I think I might make the cowl version myself as I’m not a fan of scarf knitting and I think a wrap would be trying on my patience and I might put it aside to cast on some socks and then have a hard time picking it up again. So yes I’ll do the cowl.

Those are the beautiful patterns in CC and Dami’s new book being released tomorrow. I highly recommend you buy this book. The ebook is 19.20USD on Ravelry and that is good value for 7 designs I think.

A big  thank you to CC and Dami for gifting me their book and allowing me to review it before the official launch.

They have also generously offered to give one of you a copy of their ebook! How amazing is that? So in order to enter and be eligible to win a copy of the ebook, please leave a comment below with your Ravelry id and tell me which of these 7 patterns you love the most. I will draw for a winner Friday 17th of March. Best of luck to you and I’ll be back after the weekend. Until then, have a great weekend and enjoy your knitting.

 

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 new to me way of sock knitting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Round 1 and all uneven rounds: knit all stitches

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

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

Voila!

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

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

 

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

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

My works in progress and a redraw for a winner

Hi there, how are you? I hope you had a wonderful weekend and that your week is shaping up to be a good one.

I have been making good progress on my knitting projects and getting ready for others and I’d like to share those with you today.

So first I have two finished objects that I think I have not shared with you yet. Both are socks. Surprise surprise:)

The first is the Lovealong Socks. A pattern by Amy Meeks of the Periscoping sisters. I knit these socks as part of a kal that is being hosted by Amy in the Periscoping sisters Ravelry group, by Dani of Little Bobbins Knits Ravelry Group and Christy of the Yarn Cafe Creations Ravelry Group – only if you knit with her yarn which I did. So I entered my pair into all three FO threads and now I just need to cross my fingers and wait and see if I win anything!

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This was a fun pattern to knit. The pattern only gives one size, and it’s not my sock size, so these will be for one of my girls. The yarn is the Banana Split colorway from Yarn Cafe Creations and it is super soft and squishy. It may be a bit on the busier side where the pattern is concerned. I mean the patterning would show up more if I had used a tonal or a less speckled/variegated yarn. But I still love them. They were actually quite a quick knit too.

I also finished another pair that was/is part of another kal. Those are the Prairie Socks by Kay Jones of the Bakery Bears Podcast. I’m a huge fan of Dan and Kay’s podcast and when I saw the socks on their podcast I really wanted to knit them asap. I found a single skein of a mystery yarn base and I dyed it up specially for this project. The inspiration behind the color was just thinking of grass and colorful flowers and I really love the outcome. Both of the socks and the yarn. I have of course entered this pair into their kal/giveaway thread and cross my fingers.

The yarn is less saturated in the second half of my skein somehow and so you see that one of the socks is greener than the other. But that’s ok. I still love them.

And then on to works in progress. Of course I have numerous pairs of socks on the go as always. I’m only going to share one which is a pair that I’m test knitting for my friend Dana of Dana Gervais Designs. This pattern was actually designed using one of my hand dyed yarns! Which I’m so excited about. And of course I had to test knit this, no question about that. I did choose to you a different yarn for this than she used in the design, but it’s still one of my own. I chose the POP base, which is a  tweed base with colorful nepps in that make such a fun addition to the yarn. This yarn knits up so nicely. It’s the second time I use this base for one of Dana’s designs.

So this pattern is currently being tested and it has mirroring patterning. I’m currently working on the left sock. The picture on the left is of the front of the sock/leg and the one one the right is of the back of the leg. I’m just at the heel here. I think these will be gorgeous and I really look forward to having them finished.

I’m also working on three shawls at the moment. There’s the Snowmelt kal, a shawl pattern by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. I’ve finished clue 3. Here’s a picture I took after clue 2. I’m sorry but I don’t have a picture of it as it is now, ready for clue 4. I’m using a new base that I call Back to Basics. It’s a fingering weight 100% non superwash merino yarn and it is such a joy to knit with.

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This is a fun knit and I’m happy with the colors I dyed up for this.

Then I’m also knitting the Snow Day shawl by Mina Philipp of the Knitting Expat Designs. That shawl is designed for a sport weight yarn but I’m knitting it using a new base in my shop that is DK weight. It’s a 100% organic merino yarn and the color palette is similar to the one in my Snowmelt shawl.

I’m getting close to finishing this shawl and really love all about it; both the pattern and the yarn and colors I chose.

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This is a fun asymmetrical garter and slipped stitches shawl and I think it will be super cute and cozy to wear:

The last shawl I’m working on is one that I cast on in January for the Brioche challenge being held by Louise Tilbrook. Clearly I did not finish it in time! But I’m getting there, slowly but surely. I’m doing the Briochealicious shawl by Andrea Mowry. Some of the yarns are my own some are either store bought or from another indie dyer. This shawl is huge! It’s not a complicated knit, it has a lot of garter in it. I think it’s just the size, the number of stitches that make this such a slow going project. Well and then of course I’m not a monogamous knitter so I haven’t been focusing on it much lately. But now I really want to get it done. Because I have found two other shawls that I want to cast on! More about those later. I don’t have a picture of my shawl to share today. it’s such a big shawl and I’m only using a 40″/100 cm cable so it’s all scrunched up so I feel I wouldn’t be able to take a good picture of it. You’ll just have to wait and see when it’s all done and gorgeous:)

So that’s about it for knitting this week.  This coming week I’ll work on my shawls and my test knit socks and continue working on some socks that are in need of love in my pile of wip. Oh which brings me to my challenge of last week! The cleaning up/reorganising of my mountain of wips! Gosh, I was so excited to share all these works in progress I totally forgot about that until just now! But this is becoming quite a long post so I think I will keep that till next time. And I’ll also have to tell you all about the upcoming sock knitting challenge that I’m joining in on as of March 1st! Lots of things to share still! Hope you will stick around and come back for more:)

But before I leave you today, I have a winner to announce! You may remember a giveaway I did in January in conjunction with my Maker of the Month feature which for January was Knit Cosmic Strings. I did draw a winner for the giveaway only the lucky winner never contacted me! I did remind everyone of this in a post this February but still no sign of the winner so I’m considering that as a forfeit of the prize. So I have just drawn again from the comments for the giveaway and this time around I do hope the lucky winner will see this and contact me so I can send the gorgeous yarn out! And as a reminder here’s the yarn

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So drum rolls please. And the winner is….Aylin A who wrote:

The colors are all gorgeous, but if I had to decide on a favorite it would definitely be Peony!

So if you are the lucky Aylin A, please either send me an email at knittinginfrance@gmail.com or send me a private message on Instagram where I’m @knittinginfrance so I can get your details and ship the yarn out to you asap!

I’m also still waiting to hear from this month’s Maker of the Month winner so if you participated in that one, please check out the winner announcement and contact me if you are the lucky one.

I want the prizes to go out to readers of my blog, people that follow my blog and enjoy spending time with me here so I’m not looking people up. I think that when you participate in a giveaway, you should follow up and see if you won or not and so if a prize is not claimed within a month, I’m going to re-draw for a winner. I hope you understand and agree with me on that. At least this is how I’m thinking/processing for the time being.

And there will be another giveaway beginning of March for that month’s Maker of the month so you still have a chance of winning something:)

That’s all for today. Promise! Take care and have a great week:)

The Maker of the Month – Yarn Cafe Creations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I think it is just such a mesmerising colorway.

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is where I’m at currently

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

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

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

Do you crochet, spin and or weave as well ?

I only crochet but hope to learn spinning someday. 

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

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

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

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

What prompted you to start your own yarn dyeing business?

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

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

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

Where do you get your inspiration for your colourways from ?

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

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

Ocean Mist on Fluffy Sock. 

Do you have a target audience/clients? I mean do you try to cater especially for say the sock/accessories knitter or do you also try to appeal to the garment knitter with larger dye lots?

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

Do you accept custom orders?

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

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

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

What does a typical workday look like for you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care and happy knitting 🙂

My trip to Iceland and the yarn I brought home with me

Hi there, thank you for stopping by today. I hope you are doing good and that so far your week is shaping up to be a good one.

As promised I’m going to share with you my little trip to Iceland. If you have been following me here for a while you may know that even though I live in Normandy, France, I’m actually Icelandic and all my family lives there except for my brother who lives in California.

I don’t go home enough. I used to go to Iceland 3-4 times a year but as the children have gotten older I find myself going less as I’m bound by school and school vacations. This January it was actually a whole year since my last trip home. That was way too long and so I’m hoping I’ll be able to go at least two more times this year. Seeing family and friends is important and even just being in Iceland, you know just the air, the scenery, the language, the people, the culture. It’s all so reassuring and familiar. It really feels good even though I now do consider France to be my home as I’ve been living here for 18 years!

Anyway, I had a lovely time with my family and got to see everyone even if I only stopped for 6 days. Of course I had to go yarn shopping! As one does when on vacation right?

So the last day in Iceland I went with my mother, who is also a knitter by the way, to a small town called Hafnafjordur. There we first went to this grocery store and if you follow knitters that go to Iceland, you may know that most grocery stores carry yarns. And this particular one has not just a section of yarn, it’s more like a yarn shop inside the grocery store.

I had never been there so it was fun to see and browse. They have a lot of scandinavian yarns in addition to the Icelandic lopi. And they also had a great selection of books, knitting needles and accessories of all kinds. and I did buy some yarn there and some fur pom poms that will make great hats.

Here are some pictures I took to show you

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This yarn is made of wool and nettles.

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Lots of knitting and crochet books

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gorgeous sweaters

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I found this pattern to be fun

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Love this sweatedr

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this is a beautiful child size cardigan

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more sweaters and I took this picture to show you the grocery shop right next to the yarn

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They had lots of store samples

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See the yarn in the racks? This is a new Icelandic yarn

 

So here is what I purchased from them

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Fur pompoms: The two grey are rabbit and the big one at the top is fox

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I had to try the wool and nettles yarn

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This was a cheap merino yarn from China I bought for a future fair isle project

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This is the new Icelandic yarn I had never seen: Einrum and this is a blend of Lopi and Thai silk

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And this is a self patterning sock yarn I wanted to try

 

That was a nice haul don’t you think? Later that day I went to another yarn shop but I think I’ll share that with you in a separate post as this is a lot for one day;

So thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed seeing this yarn/grocery shop and the yarns I purchased. More to come soon 🙂

AND THE WINNER IS…

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

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

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

Have a great rest of your week:)