It’s all about the knitting

Hi there, how are you? I hope you have read the interview I did with Caitlin of Goosey Fibres and that you enjoyed that. If you haven’t read that yet you should click here and then join in the giveaway:)

I have been doing a lot of knitting lately. It is helping me stay sane and not lose myself as I go through some difficult personal times. So today I will be showing all my finished objects and some of my current works in progress.

First off a pair of Christmas socks I’m knitting for myself. I’m making the pattern up but I’m not sure I can call this a design as it is such a simple pattern. It is fun to make and I think this is perfect for self striping yarns that have even stripes. My socks are knit in Gingerbread colorway from the Cozy Knitter. A splurge I made for myself.

I’m getting close to the heel on sock two. I’m knitting those toe up and they are somewhere between shorty socks and a regular sock. I didn’t want to lose any yarn so I had to knit to a certain point where I could pick up from for the beginning of sock two.

I’m enjoying this knit and I look forward to having them all done.

I have also finished sock one of my current sock test knit and I have cast on for sock two. This is a very nice pattern that I’m enjoying working and the result is beautiful. I’m using my new blend, 50/50 merino/cotton to knit those . The yarn is very soft and because of the merino content it does have some give. I’m interested in seeing how the socks will hold up to wear. They are super soft and comfortable to the touch.

kbj testkbj test 2kbj test 3

I’m really thrilled about the colorway I dyed up too:)

And  then there are my hats. I have finished two winter hats. The first is a new pattern from my friend Madeleine of Kingfisher knits. It’s called Vendemmia. I knit this using my 100% baby alpaca yarn in chunky weight. I did have to break into skein two which was a bummer but I think the next time I will not knit it as long because it is a little big/long on me and if I do that, one skein will be sufficient. I also had this great pompom I had bought in Iceland a while back and it goes perfectly with this hat.

Now I just need to wait till it’s cold enough to wear this:)

My second hat is a free pattern on Ravelry from the girls of  Espace Tricot in Canada. It is called Pull the Wool Over and I love it! It is a super simple pattern and it is knit using an aran weight yarn held with a mohair yarn so it has some fuzziness to it. I did put a pompom on it but it’s too small so I have ordered more pompoms and will put a bigger one on this hat.

The last picture shows the two yarns held together in the skein. I got my youngest to model and as you can see she did have some fun:)

I’m currently working on the first pattern from Knitvent 2017. If you are not familiar with Knitvent, this is a pattern collection that Helen of Curious Handmade puts out every year leading up to Christmas. And every week over I think 6 weeks you get a pattern for an accessory. The first pattern this year is for a multi colored cowl that she designed to use with the famous Advent Calendars that so many indie dyers are selling these days. Of course you can substitute that for your own leftovers or ever just knit using one or two colors. There are endless possibilities for this project yarn/color wise. I put together 24 minis and left overs and so I’m knitting as the pattern says, one color per section and as I finish one section I take the yarn out of my bag to be sure I don’t accidentally use it again. This is super fun even though the pattern itself is quite simple. The fact that you change colors/yarn every 8 rows and that there usually is also a change in stitch pattern keeps one interested and wanting to knit just one more section!

land of sweets cowl

This pattern is called Land of Sweets. I try to keep the colors close but not too close and I use the highly variegated for the stockinette sections rather than the lace ones. I’m having lots of fun with this one and I’m currently just past 65% done. And no I’m not a math genius, Helen gives us the percentage every so often in her pattern which is super nice.

And then there is the child cardigan that I’m test knitting and not finishing as quickly as I had hoped for. So I’m knitting this in size 14 years old and I’m using yarn from Rooster that I had in my stash (I used to sell this yarn in my shop). The pattern is fairly simple BUT clearly at the beginning I misunderstood the increase instructions and I kept going when I should not have! This means that my cardigan is bigger/wider in the front than it should but more importantly the neckline is not as it should be!

child cardi test knit

I think the width will not be a problem and as you can see I’m close to being done. I’m on the cuff of sleeve 2 and then I need to do the neckband and the button bands.

child cardi neck

So the cardigan should have a sort of square shaped neckline and so I should just knit the neck band and then pick up and knit the button bands. But because of my mistake, I now find myself with a V-neck cardigan and I’m not sure how I can go about making this work. Here’s what I’m thinking and maybe you can help here

  1. should I start at the bottom of the V neck and just cast on 1 stitch and then gradually increase every row until I have filled the gap and the button band can be knit in a straight line?
  2. should I try to knit a cuff/neck band all the way around the V neck? From beginning to end? And then knit the button band separately? Or maybe first knit the button band, then pick up the cast off stitches at the top and begin the neckband from there?
  3. or should I attempt making a sort of shawl collar/neckband? Knitting everything in one piece from the bottom of one side to the other?

What do you think? I’m planning on finishing the sleeve tonight and then start testing my neck options but I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this matter.

These are all my finished objects and most worked on wips. I’m planning on casting on for two more big projects; both are test knits, one cardigan and one pullover. I’m also thinking about some more sock designs that I would like to work on and I even have an idea for a shawl. So many ideas and so little time!

I  hope you are doing good and that you are having a great start to your week. I will be back at the end of the week when I draw the winner for the yarn from Goosey Fibres. Next week I will be away some so I’m not sure if or when I’ll be able to post. Also I think I will close my Etsy shop in a few days. Might even be at the end of this week as next week I will be away most of the time. So just in case you are interested, everything is 25% off, no code needed and you can check out the shop by clicking here

That’s all for now. Take care and happy knitting

The Maker of the Month – Goosey Fibres

Hi there, as promised here comes November’s Maker of the Month interview that I did with the lovely Caitlin behind Goosey Fibres.

I’m not sure where I first heard of her yarns, probably on a knitting podcast, but I went looking for her shop and when I found it on Etsy, there was no turning back! I had to buy yarn!

She has some beautiful color ways and I love the fact that she offers all or almost all in 50 gr skeins. Now that I’m all about the shorty socks, I love this option.

So I of course asked if I could do a little interview with her for the blog to introduce you all to her work and lucky for me, she accepted!

So far I have only knit one pair of shorty socks with her yarn but they are beautiful and I have many more planned.

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Here I used 2 50 gr skeins and I love the colors. The yarn was a joy to work with and the socks fit nicely and are comfortable. I will definitely be knitting more socks from all the yarn I bought from her.

So here goes my interview with her which I hope you will enjoy and of course there will be a giveaway!

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goosey fibres

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

Hi, I’m Caitlin (Cait), I’m a yarn-dyer / stay-at-home-mum.

I live in the States, south of Boston, but not quite the Cape. I’m from Oakland, California, but we moved here 3 years ago, right before my son was born. I’m so happy to be somewhere that I’m tucked away in the woods, in a quiet little town. I loved California, but started feeling burnt out from being constantly surrounded by people and noise. I’m basically a home-body, surrounded by toys and yarn.


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

I knit and crochet, but I definitely consider myself a knitter first and foremost. I would love to try spinning and weaving, but don’t feel like I have the time right now to sit down and learn.


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

I learned to knit when I was 8. I was home sick and curled up in my parents’ bed, and my mum gave me a couple straight needles and some worsted weight yarn and taught me the knit stitch. I didn’t really make anything, but loved the click click click of the needles. I FULLY became a knitter when I was much older, at 28. Both my sisters-in-law were big knitters and made it look so tempting, so I made my then-boyfriend (now-husband) a hat. I used Youtube videos, mostly, to learn new stitches.

I am teaching myself crochet only recently, in the past few months. I’m making a sampler blanket with my waste-yarn. It’s HIDEOUS, but I LOVE it. It’s got bobbles and waves and every other crochet stitch under the sun.


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

Sweaters and socks, there’s always at least one of each on my needles. I’m a sweater fanatic and work on those at home, and carry socks around with me to work if I’m in the car or…anywhere, really.

goosey fibres cardigan

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

100% It’s a hobby, a passion, a business, a therapy, a constant thought in my mind.


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

I started dying one winter a few years ago on cheap yarn that I only bought a few skeins of, mostly to see if I liked it and if it could potentially be a more affordable way of getting yarn I wanted. It was NOT cheaper, but I loved doing it.  I started dying, also, because I had spent too much on yarn one month and my husband got nervous about my yarn-spending. He jokes that I started yarn-dying out of spite, because I hate to be told not to do anything.


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

I opened my shop for a couple reasons. 1. Because I thought my colors were pretty and I felt confident that I could reproduce them. But largely 2. Because we had bought a house and I had left my job to stay at home with my son, who needed speech therapy and OT, and we were feeling BROKE. Money was really tight and there was a real fear that we weren’t going to be able to keep making ends meet, so I thought maybe I could sell a skein or two and at least help pay with heat. Instead, it took off, and I’ve been able to help pay most of the bills. It was really a huge boon, opening my shop.

goosey fibres yarn 3

What is the inspiration behind your shop and your yarns?

My initial (and constant) inspiration is my son, August. We call him Goosey, so I named my shop after him. As for my yarn names, I’m inspired mostly by language and turns of phrase, or books. Sometimes, a sentence or couple words will just stick in my mind, and I start seeing colors that I think represent those words. I think I have Synesthesia, so words have colors in my mind. I try to show that in my yarns.


When reading your about page on Etsy, you mention that the shop name comes from a family discussion. Could you tell us a little about that, how you came up with the name ?

I think I touched on this a little. I wanted it to represent how much I love Goosey, something that shows him as he gets older how much he inspired me and changed my life.


What would you say inspires you most in your work as an indie dyer?

It seems to depend on the season. I have a constant line of Harry Potter yarns, because I feel like those are my people. But the weather also inspires me, as well as my surroundings. I love New England and it’s wacky weather. I’m also inspired by movies and pop culture.

goosey fibres yarn 1

When you dye yarn, do you decide on a theme or do you dye “on the fly” so to speak?

A bit of both. Often, there will be a word or thought stuck in my head, and I want to show what that looks like, as far as color. But other times, I just wonder what a couple colors would look like together and will start experimenting.


What are your most popular colorways?

Always and Wizarding Wheezes have been the most popular, but with Winter on its way and weather getting chillier, people are going more for blues and greys. So lately Polar Express is picking up steam, as is Hagrid’s Hut.


You are one of few dyers to offer fingering weight yarns in 50 gr skeins and as a sock knitter I really appreciate that. I think it is great when doing contrasting heels/toes and cuffs or just when knitting for small feets. Is there a reason why you decided to offer this option in your shop? And what has the experiment been like for you, are people buying more 50 gr skeins than the typical 100 gr ones in fingering weight?

I thought the 50g skeins were going to be a limited option, but they have been wildly popular! I love them for making my son socks and for heels/toes/cuffs. They’re the perfect size for those things! I’m a complete convert and will be keeping them in the shop indefinitely. 50g skeins are the best!

goosey fibres sock blank cheat day

You also dye sock blanks, is that a new addition to the shop?

Sock blanks are actually one of the first things I tried to release in the shop, but my early versions were so ugly. I had no idea how to get clean lines or anything. It’s been a long experimental process with blanks, and I’m still thinking of new techniques to try.


Do you have a preferred method of dyeing or material to work with? Like do you enjoy hand painting sock blanks more than dyeing yarn in the skein?

It depends on my mood. If I’m a little cranky or just feeling really quiet, I prefer to work on blanks. Then, I can just sit and paint and listen to podcasts or music. Generally, though, I love working with skeined yarn. There are so many dying techniques, that I find skeined yarn very energizing to work with.

goosey fibres sock blank 1

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

I have a deal starting 11/20 running till December 10th. I am also thinking of starting KALs for whatever main project I’m working on. For instance, I’m currently knitting the Slade cardigan by Michelle Wong, so I am going to list kits for that and offer a discount for as long as I’m knitting it. That way it’s kind of like a KAL, because we can all work on it together. So, there will always be some kind of kit offered at a discount, depending on whatever project I’m working on.


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

I hope it’s still going strong! There’s a real fear that it might fail or…just the uncertainty of the future. But I hope to only go up. I’d like to move out of my home studio and expand to a more commercial setting. I’d love to start doing trunk shows and be carried in more shops, as well.

 

A lot of dyers also podcast or do a blog. Do you do either of those?

I DO have a podcast on youtube, though am not great about my regularity. I get quite camera shy. If you wanted to watch it, it’s Goosey Fibers on YouTube.


Do you  have a group on Ravelry for your yarn and customers? Are you active there? Do you regularly organise kals and other events via your Ravelry group?

This is another area I need to improve on. I have a group on Ravelry, called Goosey Fans, but it’s fairly stagnant. In the near future, I will start doing KALs and fun giveaways, but life has been so busy this year I haven’t quite had the time. New Year’s resolution!


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

The best way to get insider news and deals is to sign up for my newsletter on gooseyfibers.com! In the future I hope to leave Etsy entirely and work only on gooseyfibers.com, and the newsletter is the best way to stay on top of any news!

Thank you so much for the interview! This was fun; it’s a lovely thing, to look back on beginnings and to see how far it’s come. You’ve also helped me set some goals for myself!

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Well a big thank you to you Caitlin! I did love reading your answers and if my questions helped you in a small way that is just wonderful!
I hope you have enjoyed getting to know Caitlin and if you too want a chance to win some of her amazing yarn, please join in the giveaway!
How to join? Just go over to her shop and browse and drool and then come back here and leave a comment with the name of your favorite colorway from her shop.
When will we draw the winner? We will draw the winner next Friday, December 1st here on the blog.
What can you win? This amazing set of yarns. A full skein of Tesseract on the Goosey Sock base and a 50 gr skein in Decoy Detonator on her Gosling base
goosey fibres giveaway
Good luck to you all:)

All the November plans

hi thee how are you? I’m super busy these days as I have family from Iceland staying with me so any free time is taken up taking care of and enjoying their company.

I have kept knitting though but everything regarding the blog and my huge upcoming project, the crowd funding has been on the back burner due to lack of time.

On that subject, I did update my pages here on the blog and you can read the English version here or the French version here. Basically what I explain is that building a successful campaign takes time and effort and it is far from easy. I’m also worried about the timing, the end of the year is often tight financially for people, I know it is for me. But I’m trying to stay positive and after all, a lot of little things can make one big thing meaning a lot of small contributions can help me stay a float!

I’m hoping I will be able to launch the campaign next week around November 6 and I will of course notify you here.

On other news, there is my Marie Curie Charity knitting I told you about (if you haven’t read that post just hop on over here).

I’m joining Sarah of Sherlock Knits in knitting socks for all the patients in the Marie Curie hospices in the UK for Christmas. This is an ambitious task but rewarding on many levels. The original idea was to only use the special Marie Curie yarn by West Yorkshire Spinners.

wys marie curie

The variegated color on the top is the Marie Curie colorway that was meant to be the main color. However they are still in need of a lot of socks and time is getting short so they are now accepting socks in any yarn as long as it is in the Marie Curie colors; that is yellow, blue and white. Of course if you can use the special colorway that would be amazing. That yarn can only be purchased from one shop in the UK as they are the ones who actually commissioned WYS to do this and part of the proceeds also goes to Marie Curie. Here is a link to their shop if you are interested in joining in and using the special yarn: http://www.cityknits.co.uk/marie-curie~2839 As I’m writing this I see they are out of this yarn but hopefully there will be more in the future. In the meantime just use any or all of the three colours.

They are asking for men’s size socks only as patients often have swollen ankles so only size 72 stitches and I believe they should be simple vanilla socks. They need to have the socks by December 13th to be able to package them all and get them out to each of the 9 hospices in the UK.

marie curie pair one

I’m about 75% done with pair number 2 and all from one ball with contrasting heel/toe and cuff on one and only heel and toe on the second. I’m planning on knitting 4 pairs if I possibly can. I did buy 2 skeins of the Marie Curie yarn so that should be possible, just a question of time.

If you are interested in joining in this project and willing to knit a pair of socks, please let me know and I’ll get you all the info needed.

Now onto other things. It’s November 1st today and this signals the beginning of the Stash Appreciation project! I’m thinking of creating a hashtag, #KIFSTASHAPPRECIATION so if you share your projects on IG we will all be able to follow each other’s progress.

I know that this Stash Appreciation Project is not meant to be a yarn diet, it is just meant to incite us to use some of the amazing yarns we have in our stash. However I did go completely wild this past October and I bought a lot more yarn than I ever thought I would. I hope participating in this project has not had the same effect on you! Anyway I now have even more reason to only knit from stash! I think I may suffer from a mailbox syndrome. I so enjoy going out to my mailbox and getting to open up a package! It may not be normal!

So back to the stash! I’m of course going to keep knitting socks and my Marie Curie socks will be a part of that as I have had the special yarn in my stash for a few weeks and the contrasting yarn for months. I have a gazillion sock yarn skeins that I’m dying to use so no shortage there.

mothy and the squid christmas sock

This is a new to my stash yarn from Mothy and the Squid and I’m knitting a Christmas sock making up the pattern as I go.

I also would love to knit a sweater as a Christmas gift for someone and I’m going to knit that from my handspun yarn from a while back.

I would also like to work on my pile/mountain of wips and I think that can qualify for Stash Appreciation as those wips and yarns have been in my stash for longer than I care to admit. If you too have some projects waiting for your attention; this might be the right time:)

I have created a thread in my Ravelry group as I was not able to set up a forum here on the blog and the link to that is here. I look forward to seeing your yarns and your future projects. I will share mine both here and in the thread.

Another project that I’m planning on, and this is not related to the Stash Appreciation, is getting more into natural dyeing. I have tried dyeing with avocado peel and stone and now I have some Vitelotte potato peel drying and I hope to try to dye some yarn with that soon.

vitelotte potatoes

I think this could make for some beautiful yarn don’t you?

I think this will be all for now. I will be back soon with more info on my Fundraising Campaign as well as more finished objects and progress on the Stash Appreciation. I hope you have enjoyed stopping by today and spending some of your time with me.

If you are at all interested in seeing my yarns and other handmade items, please click here to browse my Etsy store; Everything is 30% off for another 24 hours!

 

 

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!

francofille knits mon coeur

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!).

francofille knits sunset over the seine

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!

francofille knits vendange

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.

francofille knits macaron socks

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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