Back again with more socks

Hi there, how are you doing this week? I hope you are doing good and enjoying this beginning of summer if you are in the northern hemisphere.

I have been furiously knitting on a secret test knit that should be published soon. It is a colorwork sweater and I decided to knit two in stead of just one! I was convinced that a modified version would also look great and so I knit two versions. I do have to weave in ends on the second sweater and block it but that should be done quickly and hope to be able to share the pictures with you soon.

As I had to finish the sweaters rather quickly everything else was put on the back burner.

I did make it to round 5 of Sock Madness but then sort of left. Round 6 only 5 knitters from each team would make it to the next round and the pattern was not to my liking so I admit I did not try to compete for that round.

Since then I started and finished a pair of socks for my younger daughter. I’m a fan of selfstriping sock yarn and especially self striping yarn from Turtle Purl Yarns and I had a lot of small minis from them which I had set aside to use in my Northeasterly blanket. But that has been on hold for a few months now and I really wanted to use the minis so I decided on knitting a pair of scrappy socks.

I also wanted them to be extra cozy so I decided to make the leg extra high.

Scrappy Turtle Purl socks

How fun are these? Not everyone likes colourful non matching socks but I find them fun and my daughter loves them! So that is all that matters.

I actually think I will be making more like these. My daughter sleeps in handknit socks in winter and I think scrappy, long legged socks look extra cozy.

I am also working on a pair of socks now and I’m just inventing the pattern as I go. I’m using a self-patterning sock yarn from Turkey this time but what is different with this pair is that I’m using flexible double pointed needles from NEKO, a German brand. I’m using their bamboo version and so far so good. They are very nice in the hands and good to work with. I’m going to finish the pair before doing a proper review here and I will also be doing a little interview with the people behind these needles and I hope you will enjoy that later.

But here is the first sock

a sock on my new bamboo flexible NEKO needles
My own pattern

I was going to do a vanilla sock, then decided on a ribbing and then felt it was too simple and so added a little cable at regular intervals and I really like how this is knitting up. The cables do draw the sock in so it looks super narrow but then it stretches out when I put my hand in so I think this will be all good. These are also for my younger daughter but this time the leg is a rather short one.

I’m sort of un officially joining the SMAL or spinning makealong that Mina of the Knitting Expat is running now. I have spun up some merino fibre that I tried to spin up to a sort of DK weight and then dyed up the yarn in soft colours. I have knit a little swatch to verify if the yarn will work for what I have in mind.

My handspun yarn just out of the dye pots and drying

I want to knit the Soldotna by Caitlin Hunter but I’m a little worried maybe my yarn will not work. In some places it looks more like a worsted weight yarn. But I’m going to keep on swatching and hopefully I will be able to make this work. If not I will have to find another pattern that I could use this yarn for. If you have any good pointers or know of a colourwork pattern that calls for DK/worsted I’d love to check those out.

The colours are not showing up good here. The main colour is a light blue. The colours are more accurate in the picture above.

So this week I’m going to finish the pair of socks for my daughter, finish my swatching for my handspun so I can start the Soldotna if it works. I also will continue to work on my Olive Leaf Cardigan by Eri which I have yet to share with you. I’m getting close to being done with the body and then there are the sleeves. Friends of my husband have just had their first baby and I’m going to knit a little cardigan for their baby so I’m looking at patterns (I’m tempted by this one https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/baby-fir-jacket) and yarns in my stash and I look forward to getting that going. It’s been a while since I knit for a baby.

I hope you are having fun with your knitting too and if you would like to share pictures or names of patterns you are working on to inspire me and the other readers, that would be great.

Until next time, have fun and happy knitting.

Lots of knitting progress

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are doing well and enjoying your knitting as always.

I have been on a sort of finishing sprint lately and I’m hoping I will keep on going for some time as I have sooooooo many wips to finish!

First there is the Radisson poncho by Josee Paquin. I have been working very steadily on this project. The colorwork was very fun and the Cascade 220 yarn a joy to knit with. Here are some pictures from start to finish.

What do you think? This will be a gift for a family member. Shut I’m not saying who just in case that person is reading!

So last time I believe I mentioned that I had picked up my Boxy Chevron by Susanne Sommers which had been languishing a long time. And I’m so happy to announce that I have now finished my sweater. I finished Saturday and have been wearing it since then!

I still have my mountain of shame/pile of more or less forgotten wips.

This is a very boxy garment. You start by knitting the sleeves which is actually a very good idea for such a large, stockinette garment. The parts in red in my version are textured. The red yarn is Madeleinetosh Tosh merino single and the black/red main colour is my own hand dyed fingering weight.

I was worried about the sleeves being too snug but they actually fit very nicely. I’m not used to wearing oversized garments but this one does fit nicely and I enjoy wearing it so if you are thinking about a boxy sweater you should check this one out.

And most of all I’m especially happy to have it done! I see from my Ravelry project page that I started this one on August 21st 2018.

So as I was super happy to have that done, I dove into my pile of old wips and fished out another old project. This time I picked up a cowl that I started… on July 16th 2016! Oh boy! I’m a little ashamed to admit that!

The pattern is called Midsummer Haze by Joji Locatelli. I’m knitting this using my own hand dyed yarn, an alpaca/silk/linen blend which is heaven.

I had actually put this down 3 pattern repeats before finishing! What?!!

So last night I knit one repeat (15 rounds) and I’m going to knit another repeat today so that I can actually cast of this Wednesday!

Midsummer Haze by Joji Locatelli

So the bottom of the cowl is where I’m now at, just two pattern repeats from finishing. This cowl is structured a bit like a triangular shawl only knit in the round. It also comes with tassels and I’m thinking I will add those once the knitting is all done. Can’t wait to actually get this off the needles. Can you imagine, this has been taking up a set of needles, a project bag not to mention floor space when I could have so easily finished months ago! I will have to work on being more serious.

I have yet another finished object that I can share with you. This one you have not heard about before. I have a little friend who enjoys my knitting and a few days ago she asked me if I could knit her fingerless gloves in pink. So I went to Ravelry and did some research and I found a pattern that I liked. It is called Mitt Envy by Weezalana and this is a free pattern.

I had a commercial sock yarn in pink all ready to go and I think I finished the pair in less than a week. This was a well written pattern. The only change I made was that rather than do a 2×2 rib I always did a 1×1 twisted rib. I also may have made the cuff a little longer than the pattern called for but I’m not sure.

Mitt Envy

So this was a simple pattern and a very quick knit.

I’m also knitting on my Heart warmer cowl by Justyna Lorokowska. I cast on a few weeks ago and then put it aside for no reason. Now it’s back and being actively worked on. I’m knitting this using my own hand dyed yarn in a very luxurious blend of merino, yak and silk.

Heart Warmer cowl

And I did start a whole new project Sunday! A shawl! And not even the Bubbles shawl by Stephen West that I have been thinking about lately and wanting to start.

No I decided to do some knitting with my hand spun yarns and I had planned on knitting The Shift cowl by Andrea Mowry.

However, when I looked at the 3 skeins I had chosen for that project, I thought that I might end up with lots of left over yarns… not so good. And I knew she had designed something similar only as a shawl which requires twice as much yarn! So of course I purchased that pattern, the Nightshift shawl and chose another three hand spun skeins.

And this Sunday I cast on. I love knitting with my own hand spun. It does add something a little bit more special to the whole experience. Plus the yarn is super soft and colourful. However this is a big shawl so I’m thinking this will be some time in the making.

So as you can see, I have been knitting a lot and I still have plenty to do. But then what is on my working needles now for this week?

Well, most importantly I have to finish my Midsummer Haze cowl.

Then I have to finish my Heart Warmer cowl. I need to continue working on my Nightshift shawl and also work on my Jaycee cardigan which I forgot to mention above.

Jaycee cardigan by Isabelle Kraemer

I am going to test knit a pair of socks for a printed publication and that pattern will arrive in 2 days time. And then of course the first actual round of Sock Madness is just around the corner. I don’t know when the pattern will arrive but I’m in the starting blocks ready to cast on and put everything else on hold when it does.

What about yourself? Any exciting projects you are working on? Are you maybe planning on going to EYF in Edinburgh this coming weekend? If so lucky you! I dream of going one day.

I think this is all for today. This is quite a lot of knitting I see now that I have put this all on record so to speak. Now I just have to update my Ravelry project pages with more pictures and details. It does help to have a record of the patterns I knit, especially when I then leave them to linger in my pile of shame for months…

I’m off to go knitting. I wish you a great new week and I hope you will have plenty of time to work on your knitting and take part in fun fibre related activities. Thank you again for stopping by today and sharing your time with me. I truly appreciate you:)

Finished garments and Sock Madness

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are doing good and that so far March is treating you good.

After a spell of some incredible warm weather and sun, winter is back and it is raining a lot and the forecast for this week is mostly rain. But hey, as a knitter that is not an issue for me. Just more time to stay home and knit:)

Since my last post I have been able to finish two garments one of which was started back in October 2018.

I also finished my garment test knit, the DK sweater. I’m not allowed to show you pictures of the finished garment just yet but I believe the pattern will be revealed in a couple of weeks so soon. I’m very happy with the outcome and when my older daughter saw it blocking she asked if she could borrow it some time. Now that is validation 🙂

Here I’m about half done. Just to show you the color and give you an idea of what the pattern looks like.

I do have one but here. It’s with regards to the weight of the yarn. Most of my garments are knit in fingering weight yarns and knitting this in DK has made me realise that I really prefer fingering for garment knitting. A lot of people love knitting with heavier weight yarns and mention both how quickly the garment is knit and the warmth.

I actually prefer the lightness of fingering weight garments. Also I don’t need very heavy yarn as it never gets super cold here in Normandy. It really was eye opening to participate in this test knit with regards to my yarn preference.

And it’s funny because I do like DK shawls and hats and mitts. But for garments, I definitely prefer fingering. What about you? Do you have a preference for a particular weight of yarn for your garment knitting?

The garment I also finished and had started back in October was a second Cactus cardigan by Suvi Simola. I had almost finished the body when it was put aside and just left lingering for months. When I finally picked it up again it went super quick.

I knit my first one using Holst Garn Supersoft and this time I used Holst Garn Coast which is a 50/50 cotton/wool. This yarn feels very soft and light but it is not very elastic.

I should maybe have gone down a needle size here but it’s still ok. The fabric is very light. I only have to put on the buttons and I’m all done.

I’m very happy with the outcome. I knit this with the idea of gifting it to a friend. Now I just have to show it to her and get her to try it on and if it fits and she likes it, it will be hers. If for some reason she does not like it, well it will just be mine 🙂

The pattern is really simple and a great one to create some stable cardigan that can go with everything.

I have also started a new garment, a poncho using a DK type yarn – Cascade 220. This is a birthday gift for someone special and I really hope she will love it.

The pattern is called Radisson and the designer is Josée Paquin. I started this past weekend so I’m about half done I think. I really love the pattern and I’m being very careful with the colourwork. I stop regularly and pull on the fabric to make sure I’m not knitting too tight. I don’t want the fabric to pucker.

Here you can see all the colours. My main colour is black and then the contrast colours are blue, beige and white. This is a really satisfying knit and I’m really enjoying knitting on this.

Another new cast on was the start of Sock Madness! The pattern for the qualifying round arrived on Sunday and I of course immediately cast on. The pattern is called Smock Madness. I’m taking my time though because I don’t want to be too quick and end up in one of the quickest teams. I really want to make it to the last round as I did when I participated for the very first time. Since then I have never even come close to that! Beginners luck I suppose so now it really is time for me to repeat the performance:)

This first pattern is a fun one and not very complicated. It is an all over smocked pattern and currently I’m at the gusset on sock one.

My yarn is very dark so the patterning is not showing up very well in the picture. I’m using Arwetta Classic in colour 807 which is a deep burgundy/purple.

I have prepared the yarns for all the patterns. Before the start of Sock Madness we get a list of materials and what we need for each pattern. This year I chose to use mostly commercial yarns both to use those from my stash and also to avoid spending a lot of time winding skeins into balls. I only chose one indie dyed yarn this time and I have wound that already.

So there will be a lot of sock knitting in my future hopefully:)

This coming week I hope to finish my Smock Madness socks, make a good progress on my Radisson poncho and also continue to work on my Jaycee cardigan by Isabelle Kramaer. I’m just past the separation for the sleeves. I have yet to take pictures of this project but I’m knitting this using Drops Flora yarn for the first time.

I hope you will have a great week ahead and enjoy your knitting. Thank you for stopping by today and sharing some of your time with me.

Happy knitting:)

Hi there, how are you these days? I’m sorry it has been so long since I last posted but life has just gotten in the way somehow. I also feel I haven’t knit that much and so have less to share with you.

These past two weeks I have mostly worked on two projects. I should have finished my 6th pair of socks for Marie Curie but I’m still one sock away from that objective! I have finished 5 1/2 pairs and I have knit the cuff of the very last sock so I really just need to get my act together and finish asap! I would like to send my socks over to the UK beginning of November.

The two projects I have been working on lately are my Flea cardigan and the new Stephen West mystery knit a long:

My Flea cardigan is a joy to knit and so is the Holst Supersoft yarn. It is just such a fun pattern and the yarn is very nice so this project almost seems to knit itself.

This time I am not doing the “flea” patterning on the body because the giftee asked me not to. And I think it is just as nice without the patterning on the body.

Since those pictures were taken I have finished sleeve one and I just started on sleeve two this afternoon. So I am close to being done. Just a sleeve, the steek and the button bands. I should be done well before my mums birthday end of November.

The other project I’m working on as I said before is the new mystery shawl pattern by Stephen West. Each time he comes up with a mystery kal, thousands of knitters join in. I have joined before but have not always finished as sometimes part through the knit I find I don’t really like the item enough to finish.

Because of that I did hesitate about joining this time. But when I saw the yarn kits that had been put together for the shawl I felt they looked a little more sophisticated than usual and so I thought this one might not be as “out there” as some of his designs and so I went and bought the pattern.

Clue 4 will be published tomorrow and I am well behind schedule. I’m not even half done with Clue 3. I feel that the clues are either a little complex (like clue 2) or involve a lot of knitting (like clue 3) and so if one is not a monogamous knitter or does not have a lot of knitting time, it is easy to fall behind. But maybe that is just me looking for an excuse:)

I’m hoping I will be close to half done with clue 3 tonight. I really don’t want to fall too much behind or I’m afraid I might not make it to the finish line.

The construction for this shawl is very unconventional and unexpected. So far it is difficult to imagine the end result but I really like the yarns/colours I chose so I think I will like it anyway.

stephen west mkal

For once I was serious and got yarn from my stash and just dyed up the two mohair skeins. I feel these yarns go well together. There is not a lot of contrast between the different yarns but that does not bother me. I think they look nice.

I have decided not to show a picture of my progress here as there are knitters who want the shawl to be a true mystery and avoid seeing any spoiler pictures and so I don’t want to accidentally ruin their suspense. If you follow me on Instagram  you will able to see pictures as I do share there ( I just put in a picture of the yarn first and warn that picture two is a spoiler).

Are you also doing the mkal? What do you think so far?

I am planning a new cardigan to knit for maybe December now. I came across this new amazing brioche cardigan pattern by Lesley Anne Robinson of Knit Graffiti called La Brioheme. As soon as I saw the pictures I knew I had to knit this. It is a challenging pattern I think as there is some patterned brioche but I feel like taking on a challenge and knitting something special.

I immediately went and dyed up the yarn for this. I chose a non superwash BFL in Aran weight.

IMG_1881

This is not a great picture but you can see I chose a mustard yellow for my main colour and a light silvery grey for my contrast.

I can’t wait to get started on this one!

Now before I leave you for today, I have been thinking about doing something special for the blog this December as we count down the days till Christmas. A lot of dyers have Advent Calendars that are amazing but not everyone can afford to buy such calendars. So I was wondering if we could do something fun together that doesn’t cost anything but brings us all joy.

I personally love learning about knitting, knitting history and traditions and how knitters in other countries live. I was wondering if some of you, my dear readers, would be willing to join me and take an active part in the blog this December and share a little bit of your lives with us.

I could start off with an article on knitting and knitting traditions in Iceland and France and then maybe, hopefully, someone else will share some stories from their country. You could tell us if your country has a long knitting tradition and what that is, you can tell us about your favourite yarn shop, about how knitters in your country learn to knit etc. Anything that brings knitting and life in your country together. You can share pictures of you and your knitting, pictures from your hometown or LYS etc.

I think this could be such fun and depending on how many people want to join, we could have these new stories every few days on the blog in December.

I hope some of you are willing to join me. We don’t have to have 30 people join, even if just a few want to share I still think that would be fun.

If you are interested please send me an email at knittinginfrance@gmail.com and we can discuss further if you like.

That’s all for today. I need to get back to my mystery shawl knitting if I want to come somewhere close to half done with my clue by tonight.

Thank you for stopping by and sharing you time with me. All the best and happy knitting until next time:)

A little bit of knitting and some catty cuteness

Hi there how are you today? This past week has been very busy at work and so I feel a little tired and don’t feel like I have a lot to show for my knitting this time.

I can tell you that I have only just bound off pair number 3 for the Marie Curie Sock Quest and have cast on for pair number 4

marie curie sock four beginning

For this and the next 2 pairs I’m thinking I will use this yellow as the contrast colour. I’m feeling quite optimistic about being able to knit 6 pairs this time around which is great I think.

For this new pair I’m thinking I will either do some sort of an all over ribbing pattern or maybe use the Simple Skyp pattern. Now that I’m on pair number 4 I really feel that variety is important to keep the stamina going:)

Other than this sock project, I recently accepted a new test knit for KBJ designs. This is a shawl pattern and it is coming along nicely. The pattern is written for a fingering weight yarn and just before being contacted for the test knit, I had just finished plying a gradient hand spun yarn. And when I decided to do the shawl I just really felt like I had to use this beautiful gradient that goes from sand/beige to dark navy. I decide to start with the navy and I am now just into the second colour. The picture below was taken before I got to colour 2.

I am looking forward to seeing this shawl finished. Knitting with my hand spun is an added bonus for sure.

Other than this not much knitting progress but as promised, I am going to introduce you to my newest family member.

So I am a kitty person. My kids jokingly (I hope) call me the crazy cat lady! I already had a mixed breed female and a pure breed Main Coon male. But those are getting old, 10 and 11 years old and I was just feeling like I really needed a baby in my life. Maybe this is linked to my age but I just turned 47!

Anyway, my birthday was earlier this month and I was just totally decided that I had to get a kitten for my birthday and I was looking online at different ads etc. I then came across this ad from a breeder not far from my home who had Main Coon kittens. I looked at the pictures and immediately fell in love with one of the kittens. (His name being that of a norse god may have helped). His name is Odin.

odinn eleveur

How could anyone resist such a beautiful kitten?

My other Main Coon is brown tabby like this one only he does not have any white. So anyway I contacted the breeder and asked a few questions and in 2 days I decided this had to be my kitten. And on my birthday I drove to get him!

He is the cutest. He is  3 1/2 months old now and he is very well educated. He has not had any accidents or anything since he got here.

To begin with my other two cats were less than impressed and made it more than clear that he was not welcome. Now 10 days later he has been accepted and I’m so happy.

He is beautiful and I love him sooooo much!

Here are a couple of pictures from his first days at home.

odinn 18sep18

I work from home and the first few days he spent like glued to me. Trying to stay in my lap, on my desk, behind the computer screen. How cute is this? I admit concentrating on work was not easy:)

 

 

And because he is a little baby still and very curious and playful, I have to learn to be careful with my yarn and knitting. The others have never been interested but Odinn has gnawed a cable on one of my circulars so badly I had to throw them away. And as you can see from the picture below, he does enjoy yarn as much as I do though in a different way 🙂

odinn and yarn

Cutest yarn lover ever!

That’s about all for today. I hope you didn’t mind the kitty talk. I know I am a little crazy about cats, about as much as I’m crazy about yarn and knitting.

I hope you have a great rest of the week and lots of time to enjoy your crafting. I’ll be back next week with more knitting.

Take care 🙂

The Marie Curie Sock Project

If you are a regular reader of my blog or/and follow me on social media, you will know that this year, as last year, I have joined an amazing charity knitting project being run by knitter and doctor Sarah Holmes in the UK.
I had been following Sarah on Instagram (@sherlock_knits) and I think I had purchased some yarn from her when she did a destash. And then one day last year, I saw a post from her on IG talking about a dream, a bonkers idea as she called it, that she wanted to make come true.
Sarah is a doctor in one of the Marie Curie hospices in the UK. Those are hospices for the terminally ill and unfortunately there are always patients that spend their Christmas in the hospice. Sarah wanted to knit  and gift sock to those patients on Christmas Day.
I like so many others, immediately wanted to join in this beautiful project.
The idea was to use yarn from UK yarn company West Yorkshire Spinners that creates a special Marie Curie colorway each year (I believe) that is then sold in this one yarn shop in the UK called City Knits. Part of the proceeds for each ball of yarn are then donated to Marie Curie. So by knitting socks with their special edition yarn, one not only participates by knitting a pair of socks but you are also offering financial support.
marie curie socks 4
Last year I knit 4 pairs of socks and I’m planning to knit 6 pairs this year.
At the moment I have finished 2 pairs and am working on my third. This year I’m trying to change and do something different for each pair so as to break up the monotony of using the same yarn for all the pairs.
My first pair was simple vanilla
marie curie 18 number one
My second had a textured pattern on the front only
marie curie pair two

marie curie pari two close

On this second picture you can see how the texture changes the look of the fabric

And for pair number three I’m doing Hermione socks
marie curie pair three
I’m just past the heel on sock number one.
The next three pairs will have yellow heel/toes and cuffs. By using contrasting yarn I am able to knit 2 pairs from one ball of yarn.
I think this project is so amazing and it really brings me joy to participate.
I would like for a lot of people to join forces this year for an even bigger result than last year and I so I asked Sarah if I could share the story here on my blog and if she would accept to answer a few questions. Luckily she said YES!
I do hope you will enjoy the interview that follows.
******************************************************************************
Could you tell us a little bit about you as a knitter. When you learned and what knitting means to you today. What your favorite projects are etc
I learned to knit as a child – I can’t actually remember who taught me, but I think it was a combination of my grandma, my mother and a family friend. I tried every sort of crafting under the sun as a child, including crochet, lacemaking, cake decorating, knitting, tapestry, cross-stitch and never really settled on one thing, but when I left university I took up knitting again when I discovered Rowan. I subscribed to the magazine and looked forward to each issue popping through the door – I’d then head off to the local department store to buy the yarn for a garment. I was a truly monogamous knitter at that time – I’d have been horrified by the stash I seem to have built up now, and couldn’t have imagined working on more than one project at a time. My years as a junior doctor meant I didn’t have that much time to knit, so I grew out of the habit, but about 11 years ago a colleague was having a baby and I decided I wanted to make her a present, and I became hooked again. I discovered my local yarn store, Baa Ram Ewe in Leeds, who introduced me to Ravelry and my knitting life hasn’t been the same since! I discovered knitting in the round, sock knitting, colourwork and the joys of hand-dyed yarns. Now I usually have lots of different projects on the go (which can mean I am slower to finish things) which means I always have something I enjoy working on even if I get tired of one particular project. At this time of year I’m usually busy knitting socks and shawls for Christmas presents (and this year and last it has been the Marie Curie socks of course) but at the start of the year I enjoy cosying up with blanket knitting or making garments.
And now on this amazing project you are organising for the second consecutive year. Could you tell us a little about the Marie Curie hospices in the UK – their work, the number of patients (just a general idea) for example.
Marie Curie is a UK charity that has been around for 70 years. Every day of your life matters, from the first to the last and we believe everyone living with a terminal illness should be able to get the most from the time they have left, however hard that may sometimes feel. We aim to be there for people, and their families, when they may feel like no-one else is, to help them cope when they don’t know how. Marie Curie Nurses care for people in their own homes, when they need them most, day or night. The charity also has 9 hospices around the UK, at the heart of their communities offering specialist round-the-clock care, either as inpatients in the hospice wards or coming to our outpatient units for support or treatment, We also have trained volunteers and advisers who are there for people with practical information and support when they don’t know what to do. Every day matters when you’re living with a terminal illness.
Last year more than 50,000 people were helped by our services. 7,711 people were cared for by our hospices, and 33543 by Marie Curie nurses.
How are you linked to the Marie Curie hospices yourself and how was this project born?
I am a doctor and I am one of the consultants working in the Marie Curie Hospice in Bradford. When I heard about the Marie Curie yarn last year, I decided I would like to knit a pair of socks from the yarn for each of the patients in the hospice on Christmas Day – 16 people in total. We always give the patients a little gift on Christmas Day, usually soap or toiletries, and I just thought it would be nice to give something a little bit different. When I posted about my idea on Instagram, lots of people offered to help, and I realised I was going to end up with more than 16 pairs of socks. So I decided to try to aim for 229 pairs instead – enough for every patient in every Marie Curie Hospice around the country. Socks came in from all around the world in the end!
What is this years objective and what are the deadlines?
This year I’m aiming to do the same and knit a pair of socks for every patient in every Marie Curie Hospice on Christmas Day, so 229 pairs in total. But it would be great to go even bigger! I’d love to be able to give a pair to everyone who comes up to see us as an outpatient , or perhaps we might have enough to give a pair to the family members visiting on Christmas day too.
I believe last year the socks were to be simple vanilla socks, is that also the case this year? And what sizes(stitch numbers) are you looking for ? 
No, any pattern is fine – it’s great seeing all the different pairs come in and how individual they all are. The only requirement is that they need to use the Marie Curie yarn please. We need a variety of sizes as we don’t yet know who will be in the hospices on Christmas Day, or what size feet they have, so we just need a good mix of sizes. As it gets closer, I should have an idea of any sizes that we might be short of, and I’ll keep everyone updated through my Instagram feed or through the FlowerPowerFund Instagram feed.
Once we have knit our socks, where should we send them?
If you could send them to me at my work address please, that would be great. Just let me know what size they are, and also who has made them and where they’re from as it’s nice for the recipient to know where they’ve come from. Samdrawsthings on Instagram has come up with a lovely sock wrapper that people can download for free from her blog, and a matching card if people would like to write a personalised note.
The address to send them to is:
Dr Sarah Holmes
Marie Curie Hospice Bradford
Maudsley Street
Bradford
BD3 9LE
United Kingdom
*********************************************************************************
Thank you so much to Sarah for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions and for allowing all to join in her amazing project.
As those are meant for Christmas Day I think Sarah would appreciate having them the first week of December so they can dispatch the pairs to all the different hospices all over the UK.  I do hope you will join the fun if you have the time and if so do share pictures of your socks. It is such fun to see all the socks that are being knit for this project on social media.
That’s all for today. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog. I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week and plenty of time to enjoy your knitting.
Next week I’ll share pictures of the best birthday gift ever!

I’m back

How are you today? It has been way longer than planned since my last blog post. I have been busy at work as always and I also had my parents over for a few days from Iceland and then my son was passing his Baccalaureate test which was quite stressful. I’m happy to say he passed and so now we are just waiting to hear back from university if he gets a space in the department he has applied to study at. Hopefully we will soon know.

It has also been incredibly hot here these past few weeks and that has made knitting a little less appealing as my hands are sweaty and my fingers bloated. But I still do knit each day of course.

So since last time I have been knitting on different projects. I don’t have an FO to share just some progress on the different items.

First up there is my Main Street summer Tee by Pip and Pin. I have had very little time to work on this one lately so I’m still not done though I’m getting there. I haven’t shown a picture of my progress on this in a while so here goes.

main street 17jul

So I have finished (I think) the front and I’m now knitting the back up to where the shoulders will join. Then I will have the neck line/rib to do and the little sleeves. Not much to go so hopefully this will be done by the end of the month.

Then there is my DK weight shawl. The pattern is called Milu and is by Tamy Gore. This too has not been getting its just share of love lately. I really love how this is working up though and the colors I chose:

IMG_1541

I’m hoping I will soon be picking this up to finish.

I have just recently started on a secret test knit again. This is a sweater that is worked in pieces ( at least partly) and I’m knitting this using a new to me yarn called Ulysse by De Rerum Natura. This is a French merino yarn in a DK weight. The yarn is nice to the touch and enjoyable to work with but… what is a little funny is the texture of the yarn. Both just when looking at a strand of this yarn and also looking at my knit fabric, this looks like the yarn has been partially felted. Very strange. I have never knit with such a yarn before so I am a little surprised and look forward to see my finished object and how this yarn will  wear.

Have you knit with this yarn before? What did you think? I’d love to hear. As I’m not allowed to show progress pictures I can only show you the swatch I did.

IMG_1542

I really love this blue color and I think my finished sweater will look really nice once its all done.

And now to finish, the project that has gotten THE most love and attention lately. The project that has had me monopolized to tell the truth. My Stitch Surfer socks by Louise of Biscotte Yarns. I’m knitting these as part of a kal being held this summer by Michelle and Lesley of the Knotty Knit Wits. I had seen this pattern a long time ago but shied away from casting on thinking this would be too complicated for me. So when Michelle decided to do a kal I jumped on board. The discussion on the Ravelry thread has been helpful as the beginning is a little tricky.

IMG_1535

I managed to finish my first so without too many issues. Then it was time to do sock number two.

I wanted them to mirror each other and I do believe the pattern is actually written for that, however I misunderstood something and even though I did change the MC to be CC on the second sock; they don’t really mirror each other as I had hoped.

I also ran into issues for the heel on the second sock. I don’t really know where I went wrong or what I did but once the heel was done, my yarn was not where it should have been. I did manage to continue and the mistake does not show too much.

IMG_1536

Once you get going on these, you quickly become fascinated and caught up in the fun. And as my first pair is not perfect and these are super fun to make and just look at, I have decided that I have to make a second pair, this time for one of my daughters.

For the second pair I’m also going to be more careful with the yarn choice. In my current pair, there are long sections where both yarns are very similar in color and this is confusing.

IMG_1566

On my pictures the colors show up clearly but in real life the long grey/blue section is too much like the grey/blue of the main color which had me confused at times.

That’s it for my knitting at the moment. I’m trying to be serious and finish these projects before casting on for new ones or picking up others from my pile of wîps. And yet I have found myself buying way more new sock patterns than can be considered reasonable. So I find myself with a  nice pile of patterns that need to be made asap.

This week and weekend I hope to finish my Stitch Surfers and cast on for the second pair. Make progress on my shawl, the summer tee and my sweater test knit. I’m trying to be organised and knit on each a little every day or at least every other day.

My summer vacation is coming up not too far away and I will have to organise and plan for my vacation knitting.

I also have to do the third and last giveaway of this summer! I had spoken of this way back and then just did the first two! I do apologize.

So this third and last giveaway is to celebrate this knitting blog and all of you who take the time to stop by and follow my knitting adventures. I would like to give you a little something back and so I’m thinking I will put together a little surprise package for the winner using my own hand dyed yarn or fibre (if the winner is a spinner), some of my hand made stitch markers and other fun accessories. So how should we do this?

Well I’m thinking the following/

Leave a comment below and tell me why you follow my blog. What you enjoy about your experience here and if you have suggestions for topics I could write about please include those. Tell me if you follow other knitting blogs and maybe what it is that makes you want to read a knitting blog. And then tell me if you would like a knitting or spinning prize and tell me if there is a color you absolutely do NOT like. And if you are a knitter, tell me if you would like to win a fingering or a DK or an Aran weight hand dyed yarn.

I’m thinking I will leave this open for 10 days or so and draw a winner from the comments somewhere between July 27th and July 29th. In order not to mess up the prize drawing I will not reply to any comments but depending on what you have to say, I might later blog about the replies I get and possibly announce something new if you give me an idea for something I cannot pass up.

I do hope to be back next week with  a new blog post and then end of July for the prize draw. Until then I hope you have a great week and enjoy your crafting in spite of the heat (if it is hot where you live).

Happy knitting 🙂

Biscotte Yarns and more

Hi there, I hope you are doing good today and enjoying your weekend. I had intended to post yesterday but time just got away from me.

So last week I shared my first ever all over colorwork and steek cardigan and introduced you to Atelier Camelir and her hand made ceramic buttons with a follow up giveaway.

Today I would like to introduce you to a different maker and do another giveaway for the fun of it!

Today I would like to introduce you to an independent yarn company from French Canada called Biscotte Yarn. You may of course already be familiar with their yarns, they are after all quite well know for their high quality yarns. But maybe you have yet to know them and so let me introduce you:)

Biscotte yarns was founded and is still run by two talented and passionate people, Louise and Patrick.

They started dyeing back in the early 2000 and soon realized that they were on to something as people started wanting to buy their hand dyed yarns.

Biscotte Yarns was founded in 2007 and from that time they have mostly concentrated on developing self striping yarns. I think that even today they are most known for their self striping yarns even though they have lately started dyeing different types of yarns and yarn weights.

I believe they are the original or at least one of the very first hand dyers to do self striping yarns and today their catalogue has an astounding 80 self striping colorways!

As a sock knitter I love self striping sock yarn but they are not exclusively made for sock knitting of course. They can make super cute baby garments, cowls or hats and mitts.

Louise, one of the founders of Biscotte Yarns is also a knitwear designer and some of her designs have been published in Knitty for example. I think her most well know pattern must be the Stitch Surfer socks that were published in Knitty and these are perfect for a self striping yarn paired with a complimentary solid yarn. This is a free pattern and so I highly recommend you take a look and why not, try your hand at knitting these fun socks.

I have yet to knit a pair of Stitch Surfers but after seeing Michelle of the Knotty Knit Wits rave about how fun they are, I really have to cast on ASAP.

Louise has also developed an amazing free sock knitting app that you can get on Itunes and Google play and you can learn more about that here

Biscotte Yarns not only offer single skeins for sale but they also have a lot of fun kits that include a pattern and the yarn to knit it.

Not so long ago I placed my first order with Biscotte Yarns and I of course ordered self striping yarns. At the time, they were doing “Josie’s surprise bundles” and I hope they will again. Those were 200 gr bundles of a mix and match of self striping yarns. Basically a surprise package with different colorways in all sorts of quantities. I find those super fun to try out different colors and use as contrast or just a fun addition to a pair of socks.

I used one of those to knit a pair of shorty socks for my youngest.

biscottes yarn 1biscottes yarn 2biscottes yarn shorty sock

How fun are these!

The yarn is soft and a joy to work with so I am not afraid of recommending Biscotte Yarns to you to try out.

As I placed my order I decided to reach out to Louise and ask if I could do a little review here on the blog and if she would be willing to donate a prize and to my great pleasure she accepted.

So now, I’m happy to be able to offer you another giveaway. The prize this time is a full skein of self striping Bis-Sock in the colorway Lilas et moi.

self-striping-yarn-Lilas_et_moi_1600x

100 gr, 85 % superwash merino and 15% nylon – 400 meters or 435 yards.

To join and have a chance of winning this amazing skein of self striping yarn, just take a moment or ten to go over to the Biscotte Yarn website and then come back and tell us what colorway or what kit you would love to have.

I will draw a winner on Tuesday June 26th! Have fun and good luck to all.

Stranded colorwork, steeks and a giveaway

Hi there how are you today? I do hope you have had a pleasant weekend with lots of time to craft to your hearts content.

I was able to make some progress. Not as much as I had imagined I  could but then when is that ever the case!

But hey for once, I’m not going to share about my current knits but rather share an older project with you AND there will be a giveaway too as promised!

A few months ago I decided it was time for me to make not only my first all over colorwork garment but to do my first ever steek too.

And I decided I would try the Holst Garn yarn as I had heard of that often in stranded knitting and it is a very affordable yarn too so off I went and ordered some balls of different coloured Holst Tides which is a wool and silk blend.

As for the pattern I decided on the Damejakka Loppa or Flea Cardigan by  Pinneguri.

This was a really fun pattern and it uses a number of different colours and one can totally loose one self when browsing the different versions that people have made and shared on Ravelry.

From the start I decided it would be for myself. I have since decided I have to make a second one in different colours for my mother and I hope to get to that later this year.

IMG_0841IMG_0825IMG_0842Here you see the beginning of my cardigan and the colorwork which is mostly in the yoke. After the yoke, the body has the typical Norwegian “flea” pattern which I did do as the pattern calls for. When I knit the second one which will be for my mother I will do a solid body as she asked me not to include the flea pattern on the body.

IMG_0907

The colours in the body are rather subtle and the pink main color is somewhat heathered which does not show in the pictures.

You can see my steek on the above picture. It looks like  a column of stitches on the front. I think there were just 5 steek stitches so it really does not add much to your knitting to do a steek but boy does it speed up the process of cardigan knitting. Not having to purl back but just knit  round and round makes for such a speedier process.

img_0997

Soon my body was done and then the sleeves went quickly. I think it was with this particular cardigan that I started knitting sleeves on 9″ circulars. I now cannot imagine doing sleeves any other way. I find that sleeve knitting on 9″ circulars is such a joy and way less fiddly than when knitting a sock as it is just round and round and  a few decreases. At least in my case; the sleeves go way quicker this way.

IMG_1151

Next step was to knit the button bands on either side of my steek. So I picked up and knitted stitches along the steek. And one thing I have to say, the idea of steeking and cutting my knitting has always scared me. I have imagined horror scenarios where the entire piece unravels once the steek has been cut. Or that I cut in the wrong place or just any other unlikely scenario might occur.

However I slowly overcame my fear as I knit on this garment because of the yarn. The Holst garn is not thick nor is it especially sturdy but it is a little rustic and so I was pretty sure the yarn would “stick” to itself and nothing would unravel. And of course that did turn out to be the case.

flea ready for steeking So once the button bands were done I crochet a chaine on either side of the middle stitch in my steek portion to secure the stitches before cutting between the crochet chains.

damejakka open

And tada! Here it is open just after I cut the steek. And NOTHING is unravelling.

Unfortunately I forgot to take another picture to show it after tucking back the steek sides. I did not sew a ribbon over the cutting but I think I might next time I knit this. But for this first steeked garment it was very simple. I left the crochet chains in place and just folded back/inside the part of the steek on each side and sewed it loosely down. As the yarn is  a little rustic, it just clings together and even if I did not put a ribbon on top it still looks quite good.

And then I washed and blocked my cardigan…

damejakka blocking

and promptly put it aside!

And so it languished for a few weeks, 99% done. Just missing the buttons. Why do I so dislike sewing on buttons?

As I was knitting on this cardigan I saw a shoutout from a French ceramist asking for people willing to test her products and give honest feedback. I jumped on the occasion and contacted her and was lucky enough that she accepted my proposition.

And so this first ever all over colorwork, steeked cardigan has super special hand made buttons.

camelir boutons

Are these amazing of what? These are just gorgeous. They are handmade from ceramic. They are not coated or glazed so feel “raw” to the touch. I love the little butterfly imprint and the colouring.

The creator behind these amazing buttons is a French lady called Cecile.

She creates ceramic buttons which are just amazing and really add value I feel to a garment that you have invested both time and money in making. These buttons are not fragile and you can handwash  your garment  without any worries.

Cecile has  a large selection of buttons on offer of different sizes and forms as well as in different colours so chances are that you will be able to find just the right set of buttons for yourself if you decide to go ahead and treat yourself.

Cecile also works with leather and has some handmade items out of leather on offer too.

She has a shop on Etsy as well as her own blog which you can find here 

Here is  a close up of the buttons sewn onto my cardigan.

damejakke finished with buttonscamelir close up of buttons

Beautiful right?

Now Cecile was generous enough to give me/you a set of her handmade ceramic buttons. This is not a  set like the one I used for my cardigan but rather a selection of different buttons to show you what she can make. These will look beautiful on any project that either does not require more than 1-2 buttons or one that is a little whimsical and you can allow yourself to show them all off in one fun garment.

camelir prize buttons

These come in a little linen (I think) bag, hand printed by Cecile. You will also get her business card and care instructions for the buttons. They will be well protected to travel in total security from my home to yours.

So this is the first giveaway to celebrate my blog now having reached 300 subscribers.

If you like these beautiful, hand made ceramic buttons and would like to have these to test out yourself, you can join in the giveaway by going to her shop and taking a look at what she has to offer. Then come back here and leave me a comment telling me what you liked most in her shop or if you won, what would you use these buttons for (do you have a project waiting for these or maybe these will be perfect for something you are dying to knit).

As there are more giveaways coming (yes you are lucky) this will be a short one. If you can comment to join sooner rather than later, I will draw the winner this Thursday June 22nd afternoon. I don’t know when I will get to the drawing so up until I do, you can still enter.

The second giveaway will then be launched over the coming weekend so do stay tuned for some more fun.

That’s it for today. I do hope you have enjoyed stopping buy and seeing my Damejakka Loppa and its beautiful handmade ceramic buttons. Join the giveaway and try your luck. I will ship worldwide so don’t be shy.

Happy knitting and best of luck 🙂

Knitting, spinning and planning

Hi there how are you today? I hope you had a nice weekend and that you were able to participate in the WorldWide Knit in Public day where you are. Unfortunately I did not. I had to work and just totally worked the day away not even remembering what day it was till the evening when I took a look at IG!

I’m sure there were things going on I could have joined but hey, maybe next year.

I have been knitting seriously this past week. I finished my secret test knitting wrap! That is such a relief! I’m always happy when I finish a test knit even if it is an enjoyable one. Just knowing that I managed to finish in time feels so good. So I will be sharing pictures of that when the pattern will be released.

My second test knit is going well. Today I finished the body and started sleeve one. I’m knitting the sleeve on a 9″ circular so it should go pretty quickly. I really like knitting sleeves on short circulars as I feel it goes so much quicker when there is no cable management, no pulling on the needle to get to the right place.

IMG_1409 2

I’m knitting this with Holst Garn Supersoft. It is the first time I use the Supersoft but it is working very nicely as all their other yarns.

I really like this red color and the pattern!

IMG_1412 2

This is the yoke detail, some lace and some ribbing.

IMG_1413 2

And the  bottom hem. I really like this unusual rib she uses.

Oh and by the way, this is a design by Suvi Simola, a Finnish designer 🙂

So I’m happily working on this every day and hope to make good progress on my sleeve this week. I would love to have this cardigan finished in 2 weeks time. That should not be an issue.

Since last week, I did take on a new test knit. Again. But a small one this time, just a pair of shorty socks.

This is a very fun pattern that is great for stash busting as you can knit using your left over sock yarns. You need two contrasting colors and the designer specifically asked that the main color be a speckled yarn.

I do have those and I love the one I chose but… I think it was not the best choice for this pattern. Because even if it is mostly white, it does have a lot of colored speckles and in all the colors! So it was not easy finding a contrasting color to go with it. Each time I ended up realizing that one of the “speckles” was the same color as my contrasting yarn! GRRRR

So I actually knit the part with the contrasting yarn 3 times… So the first time I really did not knit many rounds and I even did not take a picture of my progress before ripping back but this is the yarn I used.

IMG_1396

I felt my light pink was too similar to some of the speckles and just did not stand out enough. So I decided to try a more pink yarn.

IMG_1400 2

And again I felt it was not good enough so again I ripped back. And the third and last try was with a grey yarn. Again I feel it sometimes mixes with the speckled one but I’m not changing yet again.

I’m about to start the toe decreases so this is a super quick knit. I should have the pair  done next time I blog.

I’m feeling like knitting on and on and on! And I’m just loving browsing Ravelry for pattern ideas and going through my Ravelry library which is HUGE! And as summer is coming/here I’m thinking I should resist the long sleeved wool sweaters and go for something summery.

So I have printed out 3 patterns that I would like to cast on and I have (I think) found the yarns I want to use for them. I’d love to hear what you think.

First up is a pattern called Main Street by Pip and Pin. And the yarn I’m thinking of using is from Knit Cosmic Strings

main street idea

Ok so yes this is a CRAZY yarn but I still like it and so I’m going to give it a try in this summer top.

Then there is the Tegna by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland knitworks. Everyone seems to either have knit the Tegna or be knitting the Tegna. I resisted for a long time but now I had to give in. I’m thinking of using yarn from Mothy and the Squid.

tegna idea

This is the same colorway but 2 different dye lots so they are not exactly the same but I’m thinking if I blend them together doing 1-2 rounds of each it will just melt together.

And last but not least there is Este by Justyna Lorkowska and I’m thinking of knitting this with my own hand dyed yarn. I have the same yarn base as she used in the design but I don’t have enough in one color so I’m thinking of doing a striped version or maybe one main color with one big color block/stripe …Not sure yet.

estes idea

That is a lot of knitting! Not to mention when you know that I have a ton of wips that need finishing and that I constantly accept new test knits! So maybe I will only end up knitting one out of the three. Who knows! But at least planning and coming up with the yarns has been fun.

It was a little difficult though because most of my stash consists of single skeins! I love hand dyed yarns and usually those are on the expensive side meaning I rarely buy more than one or two at at time and when I do, I usually buy different colors! The more the merrier until one starts to knit garments and all of a sudden all those single skeins are useless!

I think I will have to seriously rethink my yarn buying and by less but more to the point, with a purpose. Even if I don’t have a pattern picked maybe just buy yarn thinking I will want to make a garment with it in the future.

And spinning! I have been spinning lately and I just finished what I think is a gorgeous skein of a two ply sock yarn. This is a blend of cheviot, silk and nylon so should be the perfect yarn for socks. Now I just need a little bit of time and the perfect pattern:)

I really love this rich burgundy shade.

And before I say good bye for  today, I’m almost at 300 subscribers to the blog! How fun and how amazing is that!

When I started about 3 years ago or so I wasn’t sure I would be able to stay with it and more importantly I didn’t know if people would actually come to my blog and want to follow my story. So I’m so happy and proud to still be here and for all the fun and interaction I have with you all that take the time out of your busy days to check in on me.

So this of course means it’s going to be time for a giveaway!

I do have 2 giveaways from different sponsors that I need to organise and I will also sponsor one myself! I’m thinking these should all take place in the next 10 days or so (if I get up to 300) so stay tuned! There will be a skein of self striping yarn, hand made ceramic buttons and a mix of things for the blog giveaway. I will tell you all about these in the coming days!

That’s it for today. Thank you again for stopping by. Have a great week and lots of crafting. See you soon:)