The Maker of the Month Francofille Knits

I have admired from afar the work of Devan of Francofille Knits. She has a beautiful sense of color and I really wanted to try some of her yarns. I first approached her asking if she would be willing to do a swap and as she kindly said yes I then asked if she would be willing to do an interview for the blog and maybe even donate a skein of yarn for one of my readers. And she again said YES!

I’m currently knitting a pair using her yarn for the main color and using a pattern I have made up myself. I have sock one all done and I’m passed the heel on sock 2.

So here is my interview with Devan and I hope you will enjoy reading that and getting to know her.

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Tell me a little about yourself, where do you come from and where do you live and work today?

Let’s see.  I’m the indie dyer and designer behind Francofille Knits, and I host the Francofille Knits podcast.  For the last year, my husband and I have been living outside of a very small town in rural Indiana—our property is surrounded on all sides by corn and soybean fields!  Having grown up in the suburbs of Chicago, and living in college towns my whole adult life, this has been quite an adjustment for me, but one I’ve absolutely loved. Living in the country, the pace of life slows significantly, and I have more time to notice and appreciate the world around me.  I like to think that my dyeing and designing has benefited from this more intuitive and relaxed lifestyle.

Are you a knitter/crocheter/spinner/ weaver ? And if you do all, which craft is your most favorite?

I’m a knitter first and foremost, but I also dabble in crocheting and spinning.  I’m a relatively strong crocheter, but my spinning needs a lot of work!  Knitting is absolutely my happy place.

When did you learn to knit/crochet/spin/weave ? Do you remember who taught you?

I learned to knit and crochet when I was 16.  That summer, I was working as a counselor at a summer camp, and saw one of the British counselors knitting on a scarf and begged her to teach me! Lucky for me, she was patient enough to take on a student, and by the end of the summer, I was half way through the lumpiest, most uneven garter stitch scarf ever!  A few months later, I was watching a movie with one of my friends, when she pulled out an afghan and started crocheting.  Once again, I was obsessed and desperate to learn how to crochet.  I started several crochet blankets in high school, with my friend’s help, but I’m not sure if I actually finished any of them. I ended up putting both the knitting and crocheting down while I was in college, but ended up picking them both back up when I was in graduate school, because I needed a way to unwind that had nothing to do with my academic life.

Do you have a favorite type of project that you regularly turn to? Like socks or shawls etc.

I always have at least one pair of socks on the needles, and a sock pattern I’m writing up.  I usually have a shawl or two going as well.  I’m not a monogamous knitter—I need to be able to bounce from project to project as the mood strikes or I’ll quickly lose my knitting mojo.  Lace, cables, brioche, texture, I love it all!

Would you say that fibre crafts have become a lifestyle for you ? 

Absolutely!  Before starting Francofille Knits, I was a French professor—I earned my PhD in French Linguistics.  If you ever have trouble sleeping, I’d be happy to send you a copy of my dissertation—300+ pages on a specific change in word order in 13th-16th century French!  But, fate had a different plan for me than I had expected, and about a year ago, I found myself leaving my career in academia for a variety of reasons.  Thank god for fibre crafts!  My love of fibre crafts provided me with a new career, one that I have found just as fulfilling and satisfying as my previous career!

How did you come to dye yarn and how long have you been dyeing yarn ?

I’d been wanting to learn how to dye yarn for almost a decade! When the stress of writing my dissertation would get to me, I’d daydream about opening a yarn shop and selling hand dyed yarn.  I finally decided to take the plunge in April 2016 (just over a year ago!), and I haven’t looked back!  Inspired by some friends of mine (Ally & Abby of the Get Lit and Knit podcast), I took a class on yarn dyeing at YarnFest in Chicago, and it literally changed my life.

When did you decide to go professional and open a yarn shop ?

Like I said, I had been daydreaming about becoming a fibre artist for a long time.  But, I don’t think I actually started taking it seriously until June 2016.  I was having so much fun dyeing yarn, and dyeing up yarn faster than I could ever knit it.  I decided, after much Instagram support, to open up an Etsy shop to sell my extra skeins, and the rest is history!

What is the inspiration behind your shop and your yarns?

The inspiration for everything in Francofille Knits comes from my love of France and the world around me.  As you might have guessed from my shop name and previous career, I’m an absolute Francophile, and have been since I was a little girl.  I took my first French class when I was 5, and instantly fell in love with the language.  The further I progressed in my studies, the more I fell in love with France, it’s people, it’s culture and it’s history!  All of my colorways are inspired by places I’ve visited, people I’ve studied, or the French language itself.

When reading your about page on Etsy, you mention that the shop name comes from your love of France and everything French. Have you lived in France yourself ?

I have, but not for long enough!  I spent 5 months in Avignon when I was in college, way back in 2004.  I then got to spend a summer in St. Brieuc, Bretagne in 2010.  I’ve also gotten to travel to France several times, and even got married in France (St. Andiol, near Avignon) in the summer of 2015.  That was a real adventure, as I was the only person in our group of 16 who spoke French.  It was such a great experience, and I wouldn’t change a moment of it!

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Mon Coeur

What are your most popular colorways?

It’s hard to say, because it changes all the time! I change out the colorways in the shop every few months, based on my mood and the seasons.  If I had to pick a few, I’d say “Summer in Provence,” “Monet,” “Bûche de Noël” and “Sunset over the Seine” have probably been the most popular ones so far (and some of my favorites too!).

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Sunset over the Seine

Is there anything exciting going on in your shop these days ? Do you still have spaces for your Advent Calendar?

I’ve currently got a wide selection of fall colorways that I’m really quite proud of!  I also have just a few spots left for my Advent Calendar, 12 Days of Christmas, and Happy Hanukkah miniskein sets!  I’ve been having an absolute blast dyeing up all the yarn for these sets for the last few weeks, and can’t wait to get them shipped off to their new homes!

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Vendange

What do you have coming up for the shop til the end of this year? Any special deals/events/kals ?

Speaking of the holidays, in the next few weeks (mid October) I’ll be releasing my Holiday colorways and November Sock Club.  Every month, I dye up a small batch of a secret colorway and design a sock pattern to go along with it.  It’s such a fun creative project for me, and I think my customers enjoy it too as it always sells out, and there are several who sign up month after month!

Where do you see your business in say 5 years from now ?

I’d love to be able to quadruple my output and have several stores that carry my yarn. I just did my first craft fair, and loved it! I’m definitely planning on organizing a few trunk shows and signing up for some fiber festivals in the future as well.

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Macaron sock

In addition to your yarn dyeing, you also design patterns that you sell on Ravelry. Have you been designing long ?  How did you come to designing your own patterns?

I’ve been designing for almost as long as I’ve been knitting.  The first pair of socks I ever knit, actually, were my own design (I modified a vanilla sock pattern, adding a lace motif to the top of the foot).  I only started writing up my patterns at the beginning of 2016, though.  My first pattern was also my most ambitious to date—the Amboise Shawl, inspired by the Château d’Amboise. I absolutely love that triangular lace shawl, especially because it looks so impressive while being a fairly intuitive knit!

Is knitwear design something that you would like to develop further ?

Absolutely! It’s so much fun coming up with the right pattern to go with the colorways I dye up.  It’s so incredibly satisfying! 

What type of item/garment do you most enjoy designing? Does the inspiration for your patterns also come from France ?

I think the shawl designs have been the most fun, but designing socks has been a fabulous challenge, mostly because I’ve put out one (almost) every month this year.  Some of the patterns are more obviously inspired by France than others—the Amboise Shawl, and another shawl inspired by Chenonceau which hasn’t been test knit/published yet—while others are inspired by my home in rural Indiana.

And as if dyeing yarn and writing patterns wasn’t enough; you also podcast! Tell us about that. How did you come to podcasting, is that something you enjoy doing and for someone that is not familiar with your podcast, what would you say is the “theme” or main emphasis in your podcast. What will be find there.

I started podcasting at the beginning of 2016, in part because I knew that there were some significant changes coming in my life.  I knew that I was going to be changing career paths and that my husband and I would be moving, and wanted a creative outlet that would connect me with the online knitting community even more than I already was.  I had been a fan of the Knitmore Girls podcast and YarnGasm (and the long defunct Electric Sheep podcast) for years, and just decided to dive right in!  My podcast format is typically fairly standard, talking about what I’ve been working on, what’s going on in my life (just a little) and going over what yarn I’ve dyed up that week.  During the month of October, I’ve decided to challenge myself to do Vlogtober—recording videos every single day!  So far, I’ve been able to stay on track!

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Autumn Afternoon

For those that want to follow you and your shop, what would you say is the best venue for that ?

Instagram, for sure! For my personal knitting/life pics, you can follow me @bdevan, and for all things shop related you can follow @francofilleknits!

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A big thank you to Devan for taking the time to reply to all my questions. To check out her knitting patterns on Ravelry, just click here 

To check out her Etsy shop and her fabulous yarns just click here

Devan has generously accepted to donate a skein of yarn to one of you. To take part in this giveaway, just hop over to her shop and then come back and tell me what your favorite colorway is. The winner will receive this glorious skein hand dyed by Devan.

I will draw a winner using Random.org a week from today or october 24th. Good luck to everyone!

 

 

Miniature Socks

Hi there, I’m back again and true to  this month’s theme I’m yet again talking about socks.

This time though it’s all about mini socks. As you will know if this is not your first time on my blog, I’m a big sock knitter and I just think hand knit socks are so beautiful and comfortable. I also love little socks like ornaments and I recently discovered this amazing woodwork artist who makes incredibly cute miniature sock blockers and so I had to get some!

At first the idea was to make a miniature sock garland, maybe Christmas themed but 24 blockers would be an investment if bought at one time so not for now. But I could still do a small garland just for fun as a decoration element in my home office space. I’m still thinking about that idea but I have used some of the socks I have knit so far and  made key chains and they are also super fun.

So what do these look like?

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Cute as a bug! I say:)

I stumbled upon this artist by accident while browsing Ravelry looking for miniature sock patterns. I found this pattern with the cutest picture and it was the wooden blocker that drew me in and I immediately downloaded the pattern which by the way is free! and then went to Etsy to purchase some blockers.

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If you too would like to get some of these cute blockers you will find them at AlexWorkshopDesign Alexander is in Ukraine and he really does beautiful work and he has a number of products to choose from, not only these mini blockers.

The pattern that has been designed specifically for his blockers is a tube sock pattern so super easy to do. It is free on Ravelry like I said and is called the Pet Sock Project by Nailya Plaskey.  I think this could make a great little stocking stuffer or gift for a teacher or just for anyone for any occasion! I have about 14 of those and I’m sure I’m going to be getting some more as I find them soooo cute.

I have knit even smaller socks than this though. I once knit a few pairs of sock earrings! It may sound like a crazy project but it was fun and I sold out! I knit tiny socks with a short row heel on needles 1.5mm using lace yarn.

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I sometimes want to make more of these and sell. They are incredibly small but take up some time as the stitches are so teeny tiny.

Have you knit miniature socks? Do you maybe have a go to pattern for those? And what do you use them for? I’d love to hear from you on this subject so don’t be shy and leave a comment below.

That’s all for today, I’ll be back soon with some progress news/updates on my current life size sock knitting 🙂 Until then, have a wonderful week and enjoy your knitting:)

Stash appreciation for the end of year

Hi there, I’m veering away from this months sock theme here but I had this idea that maybe we could help/inspire/cheer each other on in a common project.

So this year I have spent more money than usual on yarn. I have a big stash in addition to all the yarn for my shop and still I find myself constantly stalking indie dyers and looking at online yarn shops drooling over gorgeous yarn I don’t really need and don’t have any immediate plans for. And I need to stop!

As an indie dyer I really shouldn’t encourage you to NOT buy more yarn but hey I need your support and maybe you need mine.

So the idea I have would to organize a sort of “Stash appreciation project ” from November 1st to January 31st. I’m not capable of going on a yarn diet. I have tried and knowing I’m not allowed to buy more yarn makes me want to buy ALL the yarn.

But if together we embark on a Stash Appreciation Project for three months where we encourage each other to explore and USE some of the beautiful yarns we have stashed all over our houses, maybe I will be able to not only NOT buy more yarn (or at least buy less) but I will actually make a dent in m stash! Doesn’t that sound way more exciting that going on a yarn diet? I think so.

Maybe we could have some prizes. Maybe a prize for the one that uses up the biggest number of skeins from their stash? A prize draw from those that have managed to refrain completely from yarn buying for 3 months? And just a general draw from all the participants willing to follow me in this project?

The prize would not be yarn as that would go against the idea of working through our stash. I’m thinking pattern prizes to encourage us to continue on the stash appreciation journey. I have a few hard copy knit patterns from Ysolda Teague I bought from her to make kits and I also have one for a crocheted shawl by a French designer and maybe I will be able to negotiate with a designer or two to donate patterns.

What do you think? I’d like to see if I can create a sort of forum here on the blog for this and if not, then I would create a thread in my Ravelry group.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and if anyone is interested in joining me. Let me know by leaving a comment below. 

That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with more on my sock knitting.

Knitting woes and successes

How are you today? It’s actually evening and so I’m posting this later in the day than usual but now that my working hours have changed I have less time to dedicate to the blog and so I may be changing the day I publish..or not.. I’m going to see. I know it can be confusing if you are used to seeing a new article every Thursday and then things change and the blog is updated at random. I really want to avoid that as much as I can.

Anyway I’m doing good and  I hope you are too. The past week weather has been horrendous with lots of rain but today we had a beautiful autumn day with sun and warm temperatures. Of course I should not be complaining as the weather here in Normandy France does not compare to the hurricanes that have been devastating lately. I do hope that you and your family are safe and sound and not suffering due to weather.

I have lots of knitting to share with you again but I’m afraid that if I share everything this will become way too long so I’m going to try and post again later this week.

First issue has to do with some knitting successes and other not so much successful knits.

If you follow me on Instagram you will now that my Breathing space sweater is in time out. I actually finished the body and bound off. I very proudly tried it on and….disaster! It was way too large/wide. Words cannot begin to describe the deception! I had been working on the sweater since late July and I was using a very special yarn that I had dyed myself. And it just looked PERFECT! Or so I thought!

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After looking at myself in the mirror for a while I had to face the truth. I knew that it was no use to close my eyes and cast on for sleeves as if everything was perfect. I new that after washing the sweater would likely stretch a little bit and that would just make it totally unwearable. I had to RIP IT BACK!

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To ease the pain, I did so immediately! I just sat down and ripped it back to the underarms and it has been sitting in timeout since. I’m wondering if I should just rip it out entirely and begin all over again and I seriously think I might. Start with a clean slate so to say.

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I had knit the XL size as I’m both tall and rounds but clearly XL was too big so I think I will go down one size and maybe modify the pattern and do less increases on the body. I hadn’t realised it was meant to be so “roomy” . I think I would like it to fall closer to the body without being at all clingy. And I also might knit it a bit longer than I originally did.

I do want to knit on it again because I really love the pattern and my yarn but I’m thinking that maybe I need to finish a few projects BEFORE I pick it up again just to be sure I’m in the right mindset and ready to concentrate on this.

Ripping back is never easy, especially when you are 50% finished with a garment but I think I made the right choice and I’m proud of myself for having bit the bullet and ripped back immediately. A few years back, I think I would have just pouted and thrown it in a plastic bag as far back in my closet as possible. Hoping never to encounter this again. At least getting older brings some wisdom!

As for successful knitting. I can share two HOs with you today and both are test knit socks. The first pair is a Harry Potter inspired sock pattern and that pattern has actually been published as a free pattern on Ravelry now. It is called Chaussettes Knittich which in French means Knittich socks. The designer is a friend called Liisa Lanka and she is a Finnish knitter and now designer living in Paris, France.

I was lucky enough to get to test knit her first ever sock pattern. This is a relatively simple sock pattern with two text stripes inserted and the pattern comes with charts for you to follow as well as an empty one for you to try out your own text/design.

I chose to knit my pair in the Griffindor colors as my older daughter is a Harry Potter fan and in the Griffindor house. I have finished sock one and am currently working on sock 2. I used my SOX yarn base.

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Another successful knit is also a test knit sock. It’s a very interesting pattern with an unusal to be heel construction and the stitch pattern travels around the foot. It is called Convergence and the designer is Dana Gervais. This pattern will be published for sale on Ravelry this autumn I believe. Again I used my own yarn on my SOX base.

 

I’m working on two more pairs of socks at the moment, one is a second test knit for Dana and I’m only at the very beginning.

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And the other I’m actually getting close to the toe on sock 2! I’m using the Central Park Socks pattern by Mina Philipp only I have adapted the pattern to make them into shorty socks. I’m knitting the main part using my first EVER Lolo dit it yarn and then using my own SPARKLES yarn for heels, cuffs and toes. I just happened to have the perfect match in my stash! I absolutely LOVE how these are knitting up and I foresee more shorty socks in my near future.

central park shorty socks

I think this is all I have time for now. I will try to be back later this week to show you my progress on the big mystery kals of the moment, the What the Fade and Road to Rhinebeck. I also need to show you my knitting related birthday gifts because yes I did get a year older last Saturday and as I organise a Birthday Swap in my Ravelry Group I’m receiving wonderful yarny gifts, two have arrived and two more are on their way:) And by the way, please feel free to join my Ravelry Group:)

So until next time I hope you are doing good and having a great time knitting all the things. I’ll be back soon. Promise!

 

A test knit reveal and more

Hi there,

Thank you for stopping by today. I hope you are doing good and that you had a nice weekend, maybe even a prolonged weekend if you live in the US. Back here in France school has started again and I’m happy to get back into the routine. When working from home, I admit that it is way easier when the kids are at school than having them all 3 at the home. Even if they are not very young. So seeing everyone return to school feels good:)

I had a sale in my shop over the weekend and if you purchased anything I would like to thank you for your support. It means a lot to me. I’m still pondering whether to continue or not. Selling on Etsy is a challenge and if I want to have a chance of continuing I will have to get my own ecommerce website and launch a crowdfunding project to get the necessary funds to set up a new website and purchase new yarn bases and other items indispensable to running the shop in a productive way. I’m not sure whether that is a reasonable thing to do or if  people are not willing to support/fund another indie dyer. There are so many dyers out there and even if we usually say there is a place for everyone, the market is already well supplied in indie dyed yarn and so a project like mine might not awake interest. I’m still thinking this over and I just might launch a Kickstarter campaign. After all either I won’t make my goal and nothing happens or I do make my goal and get to fulfill my dream. I will keep you updated of course.

Now onto knitting. As the title of today’s post says, I’m about to reveal one of my test knits. So as I told you before, I was test knitting 2 cardigans and a pair of socks. I have just finished the first cardigan and the pattern has now been released on Ravelry.

This new pattern is called Tommelise and the designer er Agata known as Amanitaknits. I have already knit a number of her patterns and this is the third time I test knit for her so I feel I can recommend her patterns without a second thought.

This time it is a fingering weight cardigan. The pattern is meant more for spring/summer/early autumn wear as it is rather short and has 3/4 length sleeves. The pattern is easy to follow and what can be called a potato chipy knit. The cardigan is knit in one piece so no sewing but a lot of purling. But that’s ok. If you don’t like purling, just look at this as your chance to work on your purling speed or why not learn to knit backwards and work on that while doing the cardigan.

I knit mine using my SOX yarn base which is a 75/25 merino/nylon yarn that I hand dyed myself is a lovely red brique color. Almost a Harry Potter red.

I did choose to modify the pattern slightly. This is the first time I ask to modify the pattern as I’m test knitting. I wanted the cardigan to be longer, the body that is. I also wanted full length sleeves. So my changes include: a longer body, longer sleeves including a longer cuff.

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Here are a few pictures of me wearing the cardigan. I actually finished this twice! What happened was that I knit the sleeves very long and after washing and blocking the cardigan, I ended up with VERY long sleeves. Too long. So I ripped back and reknit just the cuff and now it fits perfectly.

I think this pattern is beautiful and if you live someplace where the weather is mild; I would definitely recommend following the pattern to the T. I chose to lengthen the cardigan because I usually wear this type of garment in winter over a tshirt.

I really love the finished item and I’m so happy to have finished. Now I only have one cardigan and two pairs of socks for test knitting! Yes! two socks! I just accepted a  new sock knitting test knit 🙂

In other knitting related news. I have started both Mkals; the What the Fade by Andrea Mowry and the Road to Rhinebeck by Mina Phillip.  I was surprised by how short Clue 1 was in the Road to Rhinebeck shawl. It took less than an hour to finish, maybe as little as half an hour so not much to share with you.

I’m still working on Clue 1 for the What the Fade mkal. I was happy to see that it is at least partly in brioche and I’m just over half done with clue 1. For this kal I splurged and  purchased an entire Fade kit! 6 entire skeins of fingering weight yarn from Dragon Hoard Yarns on Etsy.  I’m very excited about this project as I’m a fan of Andrea’s patterns so I’m pretty sure this will be amazing not to mention of epic proportions seeing the quantity of yarn!

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How gorgeous are these yarns?! I’m using them from the top down, that is the brown skein at the top is my color A and the bottom white and speckled skein is my yarn F.

And this is where I’m at now

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According to the pattern, the first (darker) picture is the front/right side. I however think brioche can be used either side and like both equally much so far. Of course the pattern may not be entirely in brioche and so the darker side will have to be the front. We’ll see. I’m going to try my best to keep up with the clues and try not to fall behind as that might lead to me being discouraged and casting on a gazillion new things rather than catch up!

If you are doing these kals, I’d love to hear what you think so far and if you’d like to share pictures I’d love to see your versions.

This is all for today. I’ll be back soon with a super exciting new post full of pictures from Iceland’s first ever yarn crawl! I was not lucky enough to participate myself but a cousin of mine who lives in Iceland and is a great knitter, did attend and she sent me tons of pictures to share with you all and I think you will enjoy seeing those. Depending on time, I might post later this week. If times runs out on me, then this coming weekend.

Until then, thank you for stopping by and I wish you all a wonderful week with plenty of knitting:)

Current and future knitting

Hi there how are you this week? It has been super hot here in Normandy over the last week or so and all of a sudden the temperature plummeted today and along came the rain. I’m not complaining though as the heat was getting to me. I don’t enjoy working when it is super hot and I spend all my day at my desk perspiring like crazy. And my hands feel clammy making knitting less enjoyable. So a cooler weather is just fine with me.

I have knit quite a bit since last time but I don’t have much to show as most of what I have been working on are test knits I’m not allowed to share just yet. Out of the 3 test knits 2 are almost done and that’s such a relief. Mostly because I have so many things I want to cast on…

The pair of socks is almost at the toe so should be finished by the end of this week. Cardigan 1 I did actually finish yesterday. I wove in the ends, washed and blocked it. But… I had knit longer than usual sleeves and after washing my cardigan grew. I know super wash yarns tend to grow when washed and that’s why I prefer to knit garments with non super wash yarns but sometimes I just don’t have any and the yarn I REALLY want to use is super wash. Anyway, I used my own hand dyed yarn for this, on my SOX base and I absolutely love the color and feel of it but I did knit the sleeves too long. So when I tried the cardigan on last night as it was close to being dry, there was no denying that the sleeves were just way too long. I did check with my daughter to see what she thought because I didn’t want to rip back and re knit part of the sleeves. My daughter told me that long sleeves were “in” so I should leave it as was. Phew. But still I was not quite sure so I reached out to a cousin of mine who is also a knitter and showed her some pictures and she agreed with me, the sleeves had to be fixed. Maybe that decision is what made me have a very restless night! Being unhappy about my sleeves! Anyway, this morning I ripped back a few inches on both sleeves and re knit the cuff. I have finished one sleeve and am working on the second and hopefully I’ll have that done tomorrow.

Even if this was not a major issue, it still had me upset. And maybe even more so because I received some gorgeous new yarn in the mail yesterday and all I wanted was to cast on something new!

The yarn I received was a gift from a wonderful fellow knitter/dyer in Australia! Her name is Andrea and you can follow her on Instagram as @yarnsalad.

She gifted me 6 skeins of a 2 ply silk/lambswool yarn that was originally spun for fashion house Missoni! How amazing is that? I don’t know how or where but she buys yarns that were spun for luxury fashion houses but are no longer needed and then dyes them using natural dyes in her home.

I think that wound up the variegated yarn looks even more amazing (on the right side on the second picture). So now I have to find a pattern for this gorgeous yarn. It’s a thin two ply so between a lace and a light fingering weight. My very first thought when I saw the yarn was RAVELLO! But I already have two so knitting a third one might be too much! And then I remembered another pattern from the same designer, Isabelle Kramaer, called A Hint of Summer and I actually own that. It’s a pattern written for this type of yarn so I’m 99% certain that’s what I’m going to go for.

Here’s a picture of that pattern taken from the Ravelry project page

a hint of summer

My version would not be striped like this but I’d rather do a color block or a few larger stripes with the grey sparkle yarn. I think this could work out very nicely. What do you think? Have you maybe knit this pattern yourself already? I’d love to hear your opinion.

I’m also getting ready for the two big Mystery Kals about to start. I purchased both the Knitting Expat Road to Rhinebeck Mkal pattern and Andrea Mowry’s What the Fade Mkal. Both are shawls and both start tomorrow. This may be too much but hey, these will be fun and I do wish I was going to Rhinebeck 🙂

So the Road to Rhinebeck calls for a DK weight yarn and I’m knitting that with my own DK yarn. I have already wound my yarn and got a project bag ready as you can see here

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I really love these colors together and the project bag… How amazing is that?! It’s a mumin bag from Knitgizmomakes.

The Andrea Mowry What the Fade shawl is a huge one, I think-, as it calls for 6 skeins of fingering weight yarn. I’m not supposed to be buying yarn at the moment but..I accidentally went on Etsy and happened upon a shop update from Trysten of Dragon Hoard Yarns Co. And she had a kit. For the What the Fade kal. So what was I to do? I have never knit with her yarn, I want to try it, I had bought the pattern, I needed yarn for the project, she had a kit, it was in stock… Well one thing lead to another and I bought the kit PLUS an extra skein for some added sock knitting pleasure. I purchased this last week and so I was prepared to maybe not get to cast on at the start as the yarn might take a while to arrive. Well my yarn arrived TODAY! And it’s amazing! As soon as I finish talking to you, I’m going to start winding the yarn into cakes and finding a project bag and just get all the last details ready to cast on tomorrow.  And here is my yarn

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What do you think? These are not the colors I’m usually drawn to but when I saw her listing I just sort of fell in love and had to get this. These have such an autumn feel to them and just look like they will knit into something incredibly cozy.

Are you joining in these kals? I’d love to see your yarns if you are:)

The only actual knitting I can share with you today is a sock I’m knitting. So as I’m not supposed to be buying yarn; I of course am constantly looking at yarn shops and being tempted and so I went ahead and placed my very first order with Lolo did it! And the yarn arrived very quickly and the shipping was not ridiculous which was a pleasant surprise. And so of course I had to cast on the same day my yarn arrived and decided on doing a pair of shorty socks for myself thinking this way I’ll be able to get two pairs out of the skein. And I went hunting for a yarn that could go with Lolo’s yarn  and I found it. I had a partial skein in this lovely purple on my SPARKLES base and it just goes perfectly with the main yarn.  As for the pattern, I’m adapting the Yorkville pattern by the Knitting Expat. This is a pattern from her current New York sock club and I just changed it to be a short version and I love it. The lace pattern is super simple and easily memorized and just works up so nicely in this yarn. I’m on the toe now and hope to cast of sock one tonight!

That’s all for today I think. Next week I hope I will be able to share more actual knitting with you. Thank you so much for stopping by and spending some time with me. I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week and I look forward to checking in with  you again very soon 🙂

Happy knitting!

My first ever yarn survey and more

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are doing fine and that your week is up to a good start. Here in Normandy the summer seems to be back as it is extremely hot and muggy today. Not my preferred weather when working all day at my desk. I’m actually kind of looking forward to autumn and being inspired or enabled by all the knitting podcasters out there that are constantly talking about wanting it to be autumn to start wearing knitwear again 🙂

This past week I have only cast on for ONE new thing and it’s a pair of socks that I’m test knitting for someone so I can’t share a picture yet with you but I believe the pattern will be released in the next two months so I’ll share when that has gone official.

I’m also still working on my two test knit cardigans and making acceptable progress on both. Still nothing significant so not really worth showing pictures this week. Hopefully next week I will have things to show you.

So I thought now was a good time to talk to you about my yarn survey that I shared here on the blog as well as on my social media. The idea was for me to get some insight into the mind of knitters that enjoy and purchase indie dyed yarns. I was curious to see what makes a knitter crack and click that purchase button. What are people looking for; what makes them come back for more and what types of yarns are people interested in. I also wanted to explore the possibility of a crowd funding project involving yarn. More on that later.

A total of 100 knitters participated in my survey and I’m very happy and grateful about that.

You can click on the link below to see the detailed results for each question if  you are interested.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-YX5GF7G6/

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But here is a little overview. The first question was: Do you buy yarn from indie dyers or small businesses and the majority said yes, just over 80%. That was not a surprise as most knitters today are in love with indie dyed yarns.

Question 2 was: what makes you click the BUY button when browsing an online yarn store.

Most people said it was the colorway or 54%. For the rest it was a mix of colorway, yarn blends and price. People had the possibility to expand on the question and  you can read the different answers if you click the survey link above. This also was not a real surprise but still I was curious to see what was the most important to knitters when making a yarn purchase.

Question 3 was about quantity. I was wondering if people generally only buy 1 skein or if they tend to buy more. And this question was specifically about hand dyed yarns. From my experience as a shop owner/indie dyer, I had seen that most people only buy one skein although I have been lucky enough to have buyers who like me cannot control themselves and buy up to 7 at a time! So me personally, I usually buy at least 2 skeins and that has to do not only with my yarn hoarding problem/habit but about shipping too. Often when buying from overseas, shipping is expensive and I feel it is not justified for just one skein when sometimes the cost for two is nearly the same. So I might as well get two:)

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Question 4 was about the use you reserve for your hand dyed yarns. I was curious to know if knitters generally use hand dyed yarns for “special” projects or just for anything and everything. If hand dyed yarn was more of a splurge/ luxury purchase and so reserved for special occasions. Most of you did say that was the case and that you do tend to use the hand dyed yarn for special projects. That does not mean you won’t use them for socks for example, just that you use them for projects that for one reason or another are special to you. Again; people had the possibility to expand and leave a note which you can see by clicking the link above. As for me, I tend to use hand dyed yarns that I buy from other dyers in projects I intend for myself and I usually knit socks, shawls and sweaters with them.

Question 5 was about what makes you come back for more. As an indie dyer myself, I have certain clients that regularly buy from my shops and others that only come by once and never again. And this does not necessarily have anything to do with them having had a problem with their order or giving a negative feedback or anything like that. So I was curious. I know that I have a few favorite indie dyers myself and I regularly go back to their shops and browse and when I can I do buy more. In my case I go back for a number of reasons such as colors, quality of the yarn, customer service and shipping prices.

Most of the knitters said they went back because they were drawn to that dyers colorways. So that was very clear in the responses. For others it was a mix and a lot of people left a note and I really saw that I’m not the only one to not only focus on color but also on customer service/contact with the dyer as well as price, goodies included or not etc.

candy yarn www.knittinginfrance.com

Question 6 was about kits. As an indie dyer I have tried selling kits myself. I have offered shawl kits, a baby cardigan kit and a sock kit. The only one that really sold well was a shawl kit with a pattern from Isolda Teague. In all those cases these were small; not yarn greedy projects. But still I had hoped for more success. Personally I do enjoy the occasional kit but I’m not often able to indulge in such purchases as they very often; or those I fall for; very expensive. I was under the impression from watching all the knitting podcasts on YouTube that most knitters were very much into kits but its not really so. It’s just under a 50/50 division here so maybe there are others that share my opinion/concerns where kits are concerned.

Question 7 was a delicate one. I asked if you were willing to support an indie dyer/small company grow bigger via crowd funding and if yes, how much would you be willing to invest. Although a lot of people said straight no, a lot of others expanded on their answers saying under what circumstances they would be willing to support a small company.

As a knitter I have supported one yarn company go big and that was Knit Circus Yarns. That was a Kickstarter campaign that went well over the starting goal and really gave them a huge bust and I’m happy to have participated in that at my own little level.

I also support a podcast on a monthly basis with a small donation. I support The Bakery Bears podcast because I think they are fabulous and because for a small amount each month I get access to free patterns; extra videos and tutorials not to mention a new knitting magazine that is issued every 6 weeks or so. I appreciate all the added value I get for my money and I also greatly appreciate that they are not constantly asking for money; in fact they never do. They of course mention their patrons and Patreon but more for information on things and not as a means of asking for money. Some podcasts are constantly asking for money and telling us how expensive and how time consuming their podcast is and I do appreciate and understand that, I just don’t like being told so time and time again. After all if you want to have a podcast, that is your choice and you choose how much time and energy you put into it;no one else does. But oh that was way off subject! sorry about that.

Back to the crowd funding. I was of course asking for selfish reasons amongst other things. My shop opened in 2011 and first I had my own ecommerce website but when we moved to Normandy I had to close due to a number of reasons and when I opened up again I went 100% to Etsy. Etsy is a difficult market place to make it when one is as small as I am. There are a million other makers offering similar things at similar prices and even if you enter one shop to browse you easily find yourself in a completely different shop without really noticing it and so sales are easily lost.

Loss of sales means loss of income and that then leads to very meager means to improve and grow bigger and better. I’m at a point where I need to make up my mind about either closing and just dye for fun and make stitch markers and stuff and just use myself; gift to friends or share in giveaways – and all of those are perfectly good things to do. Or I can up the game and get myself my very own ecommerce site again, get more stock so that I can offer more yarns, spend money on advertising and marketing and really invest time and money to become something. And so I was wondering if someone would accept to support me and my little endeavour. I will be talking more about this issue later, maybe in a month or so. I’m working on this idea and hope to share it and actually launch a crowd funding campaign and see what happens.

www.knittinginfrance.com

But back to the survey! Question 8 was about yarn weight. Personally I mostly buy and use fingering weight and I was curious to see if that was the case or not for knitters generally and yes it is! The majority said fingering weight/4 ply yarn. A few DK and a tiny few worsted/aran weight yarns. I’m wondering if that is because we love knitting shawls and socks? What do you think?

 

Question 9 was about super wash versus non superwash. Most indie dyers offer superwash yarns and so in majority of the yarns they offer. I offer both super wash and non superwash in my shop. As a knitter I used to ONLY use superwash yarns before but lately that has changed. Often knitwear is hand washed any way so it is not a question of hand washing or not. What changed for me was when I learned/realized that non superwash wool does not stretch as much as superwash does. This in my eyes, makes non superwash wool THE perfect wool for garments, whether it is fingering weight or thicker. The yarn takes the dye differently because the process while milling is not the same but I really love non superwash yarn. My favorite shawl yarn in my shop is the Back to Basics yarn.

 

And the last question, question 10 was about yarn blends. I was wondering if when buying from an indie dyer/small business you looked for unusual blends, something you don’t often see in commercial yarn or not.  Most of you said yes and some even added a note with their answer that you can read in the survey results. I think that a lot of indie dyers are offering the same base yarn and often the yarn comes from the same supplier. I have tried to offer different bases/ blends with different fibres such as merino, BFL, alpaca, donegal neps, cotton and silk. Lately I have tried two new bases that I’m dying to incorporate into the shop because I’m sure you too would love those. One is an alpaca, linen and silk base. Gorgeous and light, perfect for shawls and summer/spring garments. The other is a mohair, merino and nylon blend which is perfect for socks and garments. Like I expected most knitters are like me and are interested in combining a new hand dyed yarn with a new and unusual to them blend.

 

I hope you have enjoyed seeing the results of this survey and also hearing my input on those. I’m planning on launching a second survey shortly, also geared towards knitters and yarn buying and I will announce that both here and on my social media.

I think this is all for now. I wish you a good week ahead and hopefully you will have plenty of time to knit and crochet to your heart’s content. See you soon 🙂

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A couple of HOs and some dream knitting/planning

Hi there, I hope you are doing great and enjoying summer/winter where you are. Here summer is proving to be quite nice and this morning it is actually super hot which is not so nice when one has to work in a non air conditioned space. But hey, I’ll be on holiday at the end of the week so lets not complain. I will spend most of my vacation time at home but we’ll do some travelling just to clear our heads and re-energise. But even if we don’t go or do anything spectacular, just the idea of having some time off work sounds amazing! I of course have big plans for my vacation knitting and imagine myself accomplishing amazing amounts of knitwear during this time. Way more than I will really be able to do I’m sure. But that’s ok; part of dream knitting is exactly that, dream and dream BIG!

But before I share my dream knitting with you, let me show you my hos. The first ho is sock one of a pair that I just test knit for my friend Dana Gervais. This pattern is called Abundance and will be published on Ravelry in August.

As always the pattern is very well written and a joy to knit. I chose a semi solid yarn as I think that was needed to really show off the patterning involved.

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The second ho is my second Ravello sweater. I have finished the body and since I took the pictures yesterday I have begun knitting the first sleeve. I hope I’ll be able to finish this one soon. I was a little wary about the yarn as it is heavily variegated and maybe more suited for sock knitting but I had 3 skeins of the same colorway so I really wanted to make a garment. I think it will be ok. When worn with jeans I think it looks fun.

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I’m still working on or should I say, I still should be working on some other almost finished projects but those might have to wait for September to be picked up seeing as my dream knitting list is somewhat substantial.

So on to the dream knitting. I don’t actually dream of the act of knitting while I sleep. I mean this more as a daydream thing. You know the sort of thing that goes through your head as you browse Ravelry and find a gazillion patterns you MUST make.

As I will get some time of work very soon, I of course see myself spending lots of time knitting. In reality I most likely will not as I do have to do stuff for my kids who might not enjoy spending all day with me while I knit, but a dream is a dream so here goes.

I decided that I needed a plan for my vacation knitting and so I put together a number of things ready for vacation…and yes I have to admit that I have cast on 3 out of 5 projects already…

So number one and this one came after all the planning was done and I’m already knitting on it a lot. It’s the Veronika cardigan by So Very Shannon. This is a worsted weight, oversized cardigan and I fell for this after seeing a picture of Tracy of the Grocery Girls wearing her’s on Instagram. It looks like the perfect thing to throw on as I work in the winter and get chilly. I have had a worsted weight cardigan on the needles for more than a year and it wasn’t working out and I just kept putting off the ripping out but when I decided on Veronika, I went ahead and just ripped it all out (I was on the yoke/shoulder section of a bottom up cardi). The yarn I’m using is hand dyed from Kettle Yarn Co in her Waltham Aran base and it is a 100% BFL yarn. I’m not far enough on to actually show you a picture as the construction is unusual and you would not really get a good picture so here is a picture taken from the designer’s Ravelry page and a link to the pattern if you too want to cast one on.

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Number two is another garment. It’s a sweater by Joji Locatelli called I see Spring. This is a top down raglan knit with sport weight yarn. I rarely use sport weight yarn and so for this occasion I ordered some from my yarn supplier and dyed up my version of the color Joji used for her sweater, a pink with some purple speckles. This one I have not yet cast on for but I have all the yarn wound into cakes and the needles ready along with a print out of the pattern. Below is a picture from Ravelry and again a link to the pattern.

i see spring

Number three is a cowl that looks like a shawl and this is another Joji Locatelli design called Midsummer Haze. I always wear my shawls like this, with the deepest part of the shawl in the front and the idea of this actually being a cowl is very appealing to me. I would like to make at least two, one for me and one for a Christmas gift. I also have the same yarn base as Joji used for hers. It’s the same yarn as I used for my first Ravello a 50% alpaca/25% silk/25% linen blend. I’m knitting the first one as is with the same yarn as my Ravello so a light grey. The second one I want to overdye a skein and make it either dark grey or black. So this one I have cast on and done a little bit so it’s ready for car knitting. Again below a picture from Ravelry and a link to the pattern.

midsummer haze pattern picture

Number four is also a neck piece, it’s a cowl called A Tale as Old as Time by Anne Vally and this is a kit I bought from Little Skein in the Big Wool so I’m actually lucky enough to have the exact yarn the pattern calls for. I really love self striping yarn and this one has such gorgeous colors. I’m planning on not using it all up but leave a little bit to use in either a scrap blanket or scrap socks. This is a super easy pattern so ideal for car knitting or when just wanting to not think of anything. I did modify the beginning of the pattern/cast on but I hope that will be ok. So far I have done less than 10 stripes so not much to show yet but here is a picture from Ravelry and a link to the pattern.

tale as old as time

And then number five which is the last item on my dream knitting list (for the moment at least) we have a pair of shorty socks/slippers. I saw these on Instagram and immediately fell for them as I think these look amazing in variegated yarns and I have plenty of those. The pattern is called Calentito by MediaPeruana and I can see myself knitting a pair in different sizes for gift knitting. Below is a picture and a link to the pattern as always.

calentito

That’s it for my vacation knitting…I think. What about you? Have you planned on anything special for your holidays? I’d love to see/hear about your knitting plans.

I might not post regularly over the next 3-4 weeks as I will be relaxing as much as I can and just spending time with my family but I’ll post from time to time on Instagram if you want to follow me there. I’m @knittinginfrance on Instagram.

I have some thoughts for the coming autumn regarding my little indie dyed yarn business that I would like to share with you and ask for your thoughts on. I’ll use my off time to think more about that and come up with plan A and plan B and  hopefully there will be something fun involved for you.

So until next time, have a wonderful summer(winter if you are in the southern hemisphere) and enjoy your knitting. Please subscribe to my blog if you enjoy spending some time with me and seeing my knitting. I’m almost at 200 subscribers so I will be doing something fun soon to celebrate once that milestone has been reached. Thank you again for spending some of your precious time with me today and HAPPY KNITTING!

Knitting, spinning and so forth

Hi there, how’s it going for you this week? Well I hope. Maybe you are even on holiday by now? Lucky you if you are:) I’m not on vacation yet not until the last week of July and this year we will mostly do staycation but that’s ok because we are lucky enough to live close to beautiful beaches so if the weather is nice we can do plenty of beach going and knitting.

But until then it’s work and a lot of it. Plenty of stress and hard work so thank goodness for knitting! As knitting is one of very few things that keep me sane!

And speaking of knitting, well as always I have a gazillion things on the needles, way more than I’d like to admit and that can only mean one thing: slow progress on each project!

A side effect of having a lot of projects on the needles at the same time is that progress on each one is limited and projects can even find themselves put aside for an X amount of time…some may even end up in the scary pile of …ufos.

So currently, I am mostly doing garment knitting as you will have noticed if you follow my blog and social media. I’m in a sort of sock slump. I usually knit a pair of socks or should I say finish a pair of socks every 7-10 days but lately I have been concentrating on my garments and socks have been left aside. I do need to pick them up as I have a ton to finish not to mention I signed up for Tour de Sock which starts this coming July 15th! More on that later.

so faded 4jul

So on the garment side, I’m still working on my So Faded sweater. I only have half a sleeve and a neck line to go and for some reason I keep putting the sweater aside and find myself systematically picking something else, anything else up instead. I think I really do not enjoy the “fading” process. The pattern is great and I can definitely see myself making more of these but only in one color or maybe do some stripes but no fading! I’m knitting this as part of the Fadito kal being hosted by Kristy Glass and the kal runs until August 20th I believe so I really need to finish by then and shame on me if I don’t because there really is not much left!

And then there is the Ravello by Isabelle Kramer. I absolutely love that pattern and I have finished my first one. I have shared pictures of my progress here with you and I absolutely love the yarn that I chose to knit this with and one day I might order some more to dye up for the shop because it was a joy to work with and has produced such a lightweight garment and yet so warm. If you don’t remember what that yarn was, it is a blend of 50% alpaca, 25% linen and 25% silk. And so here are a couple of pictures of your’s truly wearing the finished Ravello!

 

And would you believe that the day following my cast off, I actually cast on for a second one! I have more of Isabelle Kramer sweaters and some are similar in construction to this one and so I really should have cast on for another pattern of hers but I was just to enamoured with this one.

This time around I chose a fingering weight yarn from my favorite UK dyer, Knit Cosmic Strings in a colorway that I like. I had 3 skeins of this particular colorway and then I needed a fourth one in a contrasting color for stripes and I found this one skein in a sort of neon green and yellow with some black and purple which I thought would be perfect. Well it turns out to be too similar to my main color so the stripes don’t really show up. I was  too lazy to rip  back, find a new yarn and start over so I just kept going. Of course this was not the right way to go about this as each sweater does take a significant number of hours to complete and the price per skein of hand dyed yarn is quite high. But I think this will be ok in the end. I think this sweater will look nice with jeans and this yarn is softer and feels less warm to the touch than the other one so I’m thinking Ravello One will be great for really cold days and Ravello Two for the autumn and early spring. Anyway we’ll see but here’s a picture of where I’m at today. The two skeins below are of my main color still in the skein and then the two yarn cakes are my main color on the right and my contrast color on the left.

Looking at the picture I do see the green/orange stripe but I don’t know…

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Here you can see the sweater better. The yarn is very busy, I mean the main color but I like the colors and I hope this will look nice on me once it’s done.

And the last garment that I can show you and I’m working on these days is the Rock Creek by Caitlin Hunter. I’m knitting this using Malabrigo worsted which is a singles yarn and I hope it will hold up well to wear in spite of it being a singles yarn. I knit a size S as I have been told this will grow once washed and the recipient is somewhere between a size S and a size M. Cross my fingers and hope this will fit her in the end.

I’m at the arms right now. I now need to cast on for a sleeve and I think that I need to knit both sleeves and then they will be joined to the body and the yoke will be knit in one piece. It has been a long time since I knit a bottom up sweater and even longer since I knit this type of yoke. The front is in seed stitch and the back in stockinette and I did some short row shaping on the back for it to be longer than the front. I think this will be a super cozy sweater and a joy to wear with a pair of jeans in the Icelandic winter.

rock creek 11JUL

And I also joined Tour de Fleece which is an event for spinners and we spin every day along with the athletes doing the Tour de France bicycle race. My goal with this first participation was to work on my spindle spinning skills and I have but not as much as I had hoped for. I have bit spun as much as I had intended on my spindles but what little I have, I have enjoyed and I feel there is some improvement. I think the reason why I have been spinning more on my wheel than on my spindles is because I had this exciting project on my wheel already when the Tour began and I have been unable to put that aside. I’m planning on making a two ply barber pole, multi colored yarn. So one ply is a mix of all sorts of merino yarns in lots of different colors and the second ply is just undyed roving. I’m using a BFL and triobal (nylon) blend for the white ply because I might decide to make socks with the resulting yarn. I have finished spinning the multi colored merino and I’m currently spinning the BFL. On my spindle I’m spinning a beautiful blend of merino and silk; the same as what I used for my Sammal Cardigan.

 

I think this is all I have to share with you today. Like I said earlier, I did sign up for Tour de Sock and my intention was to compete but seeing as how my sock mojo has since come to a halt, I might just knit along at my own very slow pace. Anyway, at least I’m supporting a good cause since the money raised from registration goes to Doctors without Borders.

So until next time, have a wonderful week and hopefully lots of crafting time:)

There has been a lot of knitting happening

Hi there, how are you? It’s been two weeks since I last posted and that’s because I had my mother over from Iceland and so I was extra busy. Also work has been very stressful lately and that has sort of drained my energy a lot and left me sort of bland, tired and just not interested in doing anything much.

I’m hoping things will slow down a bit at work but I know that realistically that is not likely to happen. I’ll be on vacation in 3 weeks and I can’t wait. We don’t know if we will go anywhere as money is very tight but at least I’ll be OFF WORK! That makes me smile!

Anyway this is supposed to be a knitting blog so here goes. As you may know, if you live in Europe or watch European knitting podcasts, we had a heat wave here and I was just melting in my room/office and yet that did not deter me from knitting. Knitting keeps me sane so I have to knit everyday whatever the temperature!

So since last time I have knit 3 pairs of socks. Two I knit for a family friend to gift to someone in South Korea! How exciting is that! She purchased some Icelandic Lett Lopi and I knit two socks out of that. I’m not used to knit so thick socks nor using Lett Lopi either as I’m a bit of a snob or a soft yarn snob should I say. But knitting with such thick yarn definitely made progress a breeze.

Here are my socks

The dark blue and grey ones, I improvised a rib pattern and just did my usual short row heel and rounded toe. The turquoise and blue ones I knit the Rye socks from Tin Can Knits. I’m quite happy with the outcome.

I also knit a pair of shorty socks for my youngest. She loved the yarn and immediately put her socks on. This last weekend she took them to a sleepover and…came home without them! GRRR, I’m so sad! I loved those socks and the yarn was not cheap! My daughter is also very distressed and we are hoping her friend will find the socks in her house. Cross our fingers and toes. And here they are

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The amazing yarn is from UK dyer Mothy and the squid.

I have also been working a lot on my sweaters and I actually managed to finish one! I have also made good progress on my other two and have now cast on for a new one that will be a Christmas gift! No I’m not THAT organised, it’s just that I recently got this pattern and purchased some yarn just for this and I couldn’t hold off any longer to cast on!

But first, drum rolls please, my 99% finished Sammal cardigan by Joji Locatelli. You have been hearing about this one and seeing my progress for the past months and I’m so proud to have finished the knitting. I now need to weave in the ends, sew on the buttons and wash and block!

I absolutely LOVE LOVE my cardigan. It looks beautiful, the handspun yarn looks and feels amazing! I’m sure I will get a lot of wear out of this one come winter. The pattern was easy to follow and fun to knit and I feel it fits me very nicely. This is the first time I have ever spun yarn for an entire garment and then dyed and knit it so this one truly is mine! From fluff to finished object!

And on to the other garments I’m still working on. I’m all about sweater knitting at the moment and sock knitting has been put on the back burner for the moment. I’m getting close to finishing my two sweaters and I already have yarn and patterns picked out for the next ones.

So first up is my So Faded sweater by Andrea Mowry. The pattern is simple and fun to knit, what I do not enjoy so much is the fading process. I don’t much enjoy the  part when one is fading from one color to the next. Also I feel that the colors in the kit I purchased especially for this knit, well they produce more of color blocks than a fading effect. At least compared to what I had imagined. I’m now on sleeve number 2 so I should be done in a few days.

so faded 4jul

And then there is my Ravello by Isabelle Kramer. Now that is a wonderful pattern. I can definitely see myself knitting more of this. And you can personalise and change up the colors, do stripes, color blocks, fades or whatever and so have multiple versions of this sweater that will all look unique.

The grey yarn is one I hand dyed myself. This is a new base to me that I wanted to try out and I absolutely love it. It’s a mix of alpaca, silk and linen and it’s a joy to work with. It’s very light and airy and just feels so relaxed. It really feels like the perfect yarn for this relaxed pattern. The pink yarn is one I got while in the Golden Skein. Its a Wensleydale yarn and it feels totally different from my grey yarn. I didn’t much care for how it knit up in the stripes and so I only did 3 stripes and then I felt that a contrasting hem would be fun and I still think it is. Only I don’t like the texture. This yarn is stretchy and so while the sweater feels very loose and relaxed, the hem is stretched and just …not right. So I’m 99% sure I’ll rip the hem out once I’ve finished my second sleeve and then reknit it with my main yarn.

ravello 4jul

One feature I like about this sweater is the large neck opening and the look which is sort of “un finished”. Also what I have noticed is that the sleeves go so much quicker when I knit them on short circulars. Just after half of sleeve one, I got this illumination that maybe short circulars would help me go quicker and so I changed to 9″ circulars and boum! The sleeve just flew off my needles so now I’m working sleeve 2 on 9″ circulars and I have ordered some more to be able to do the So Faded sleeve 2 also on a short circular.

And like I said earlier, I cast on for a new sweater. I thought that would be fine since I finished my Sammal cardigan. I had imagined I would finish all 3 garments BEFORE casting on for a new garment but…

So I found this gorgeous pattern on Ravelry called Rock Creek by Caitlin Hunter. I immediately knew I had to knit this and not only for myself but for my sister too! So I decided I would knit her one for Christmas. I didn’t have any suitable yarn in sufficient quantities so I ordered some online. The pattern calls for Malabrigo Rios but that was mostly variegated, at least in the shop I chose, so I went for Malabrigo Worsted which is a beautiful single ply yarn. I hope it will wear well. The pattern says that Malabrigo Rios grows a lot when blocked so I wondered if the Malabrigo Worsted would too and so asked my followers on IG if they had any experience with this and most said that all Malabrigo yarn they had used did grow. So I decided to go one size down and I hope I won’t regret that. I’ll be very careful the first time I wash and block the sweater. It is an oversized  chunky sweater that will look great over a tshirt and jeans I think. This is where I’m at now

IMG_8110

Sorry for the disarray on my desk 🙂 The front is seed stitch and the back is plain stockinette stitch. I like the color I chose too.

So that’s about all for today. This week I need to concentrate on a test knit that I’m doing for my friend Dana Gervais, another sock of course and it’s going nicely but slowly. I will also do my best to finish my two sweaters, the So Faded and the Ravello so I can cast on for two more. I will also be working on a new secret test knit – an open cardigan that I will be casting on for this week.

And there’s Tour de Fleece! I may have to do a post just on that! Are you taking part? I am for the first time and I have decided to concentrate on improving my spindle spinning skills rather than try and spin the most yardage. I’ll share pictures and more on that later.

Until next time, thank you for stopping by and spending some time with me. I have enjoyed sharing my knitting projects with you and maybe I have inspired you to cast on for a new sweater/cardigan too:)