The end of an adventure and one last enabling post before we all commit to stash appreciation

Hi there, writing this post has been a long time coming. I have thought about this for a very very very long time and I think I really need to get it together and just take the plunge! The plunge in question is… closing my Etsy shop! Now I’ve said it!

I would like to take the opportunity to share with you the story of this shop adventure that is coming to an end.

In 2010 I was very unhappy with the work I was doing and I longed for a job that I would actually enjoy doing. I was already heavily into knitting and the idea of opening a shop started to take shape. At first I wanted to create a niche shop and concentrate on knitting needles. At the time, in France, knitting needles were very limited and most knitters only knit on long single pointed needles. I wanted to introduce circular needles to them. In my home country of Iceland we knit everything on circulars and I think they are fabulous. I started looking around at what was available and what I could sell. On the 1st of March 2011 I opened my shop, Knitting in France. I had my very own website and I offered a variety of knitting needles. I can safely say that I was a pioneer in France and even in Europe when it came to selling knitting needles because I introduced a number of knitting needles brands that were otherwise unobtainable in France and often in Europe at large.

I had Signature Needle Arts and was the only distributor for those in France and one of very few in Europe if not the only one. I also introduced Kollage square needles and I still have a few of those left. I was the first to sell these in France and one of very few in Europe. I also had Swallow casein needles from Australia and again the only one in France selling those. I had Indian Lake Artisans hexagonal, handmade wooden needles and still have some left in stock. Those are works of art and a joy to work with. I also believe I was their first stockist in France.

I was also the very first stockist of  Hiya Hiya in France and I’m proud of being the one to introduce French knitters to that brand and even European knitters because at the time very few shops sold these in Europe. And Chiaogoo, also the first stockist in France to offer those.

Today all the important yarn shops in France carry some of these brands that I took a chance on in 2011.

I also offered handmade knitting and crochet accessories and I took in a few commercial yarns such as Rooster yarns. I did also offer Dream in Color yarns and again I believe I was the only stockist in France at the time.

The product I took the biggest chance on was an amazing yarn, Qiviut from Arctic Qiviut company. Qiviut, if you are not familiar with that fibre, comes from the underdown of musk ox. It is a rare fibre and very labour intensive in production. It is the warmest wool you can have and Arctic Qiviut had both natural color yarn and hand dyed ones and they also offered luxurious blends with qiviut, cashmere,angora etc. A skein of this luxurious yarn costs a fortune but I did manage to buy a few for the shop and I did sell most of them though it took some time as the price was not for the faint of heart. I was of course the first to sell this yarn in France and I helped them organise a tour in England and France to introduce their yarns to other shops and today a few shops in England carry their yarns.

Later on I wanted to start dyeing my own yarn and totally fell down a rabbit hole. For a while my shop did well and I really enjoyed feeling like I was doing well. I took part in yarn shows in France and in the UK.

In 2013 we moved to Normandy and at that time I took the worst decision ever with regards to my business. I decided to close my independent website/shop and to concentrate on selling on Etsy.

Etsy is a tough platform to be on, the competition is fierce and even if you begin in one shop you can easily find yourself in another shop without noticing it. The indie dyed yarn business has exploded over the last few years and every day new dyers open shop. I think we have arrived at a crossroads where the offer way surpasses the demand. Today if you are not a podcast star as well as an indie dyer or a friend of a podcast star, it is very hard to get the word out there and sell your yarns. This is just my humble opinion and I may be totally wrong and maybe I’m just saying this out of deception. Who knows.

Anyway, I at least have come to a crossroad and I need to decide which way to go. I absolutely love my little shop, I love sourcing quality yarns, I love dyeing small batches and I love seeing pictures of what my clients then make with my yarn. But the hard fact is that I’m not selling enough for this to be a sustainable business. Unfortunately I don’t have the time needed to revamp and re-vitalise the shop. I work full time and I have three children. I also don’t have the finances to fund a big purchase of base yarn to be able to offer sweater quantities of different colors etc.  And let’s face it, maybe I just don’t have the talent!

So I have decided, with a heavy heart, that I need to close this chapter of my life. I need to just concentrate on my own knitting and this blog which I so enjoy writing. However to limit the financial loss and to make some space at the house, I need to sell as much as I possibly can of my current stock. And so I’m having a Going out of business sale! As of now and until November 1st I’m offering -30% off everything in the shop and I hope you will take the time to take a peek and maybe buy a skein or two. My base yarns are high quality and used by  a number of well known indie dyers in Europe and I have dyed them up in small batches with lots of love and care. I will include free stitch markers with every order, the more yarn you buy, the more markers you will receive:)

I know that this goes against my announced plan of Stash Appreciation that will start on November 1st but hey, if you are joining me in that, you do still have till November 1st to buy yarns no questions asked! And you would be supporting a very small home business at the same time:)

So, I’m sorry if this comes across as if I’m pleading for help. I did want to share the story of my yarn shop adventure with you and I did want to tell you about the discount just in case you were interested. Please feel free to share the info with all of your knitting buddies. There is no code needed, the prices are already discounted in the shop. I of course do worldwide shipping at reasonable prices. You can check out my sale by clicking here 

That’s all for today. Have a  wonderful weekend and enjoy your crafting:)

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?

mini socks 2

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.

mini socks 1

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.

www.knittinginfrance.com

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:)

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

IMG_8483

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

IMG_0002IMG_0001

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:)

A Weekend Yarn Sale

Hi there, I hope your week has been good and the upcoming weekend will be even better.

Today I’m just posting a  little info. To make room (and some money too to be honest) I’m having a sale in the shop, my first ever US LABOR DAY SALE. The sale is on til Monday September 4th and EVERYTHING in the shop is 20% off. No code needed!

I’m hoping to sell as much yarn and other goodies as I can because I want to bring in some new yarn bases that are not usually on offer with indie dyers and so might be of interest to you.

As always I ship worldwide at low prices and I hope you will not be deterred from shopping due to shipping charges.

That’s it for tonight. I have posted about the sale on my social media and thought I should do so here too as my blog followers are not necessarily following me elsewhere and I would not want you to lose out on my sale. This might be your chance to test some of my yarns and try them for yourself rather than just read about everything I knit with my yarns:)

So if you feel like browsing/shopping just click here 

Have a wonderful weekend. Those that are in the US , happy holiday and maybe you are lucky enough to have a prolonged weekend. I hope you’ll get a chance to do lots of knitting this weekend. I started my What the Fade shawl and am hoping to finish clue 1 over the weekend. I’m also looking forward to casting on clue one of the Road to Rhinebeck mystery kal tomorrow and maybe you too are joining in those.

Enjoy your weekend, happy knitting and I’ll speak to you soon:)

 

A couple of HOs and some dream knitting/planning

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

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

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

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

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

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

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

Veronika-73_medium2

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

i see spring

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

midsummer haze pattern picture

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

tale as old as time

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

calentito

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

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

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

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

There has been a lot of knitting happening

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

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

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

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

Here are my socks

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

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

IMG_8089

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

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

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

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

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

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

so faded 4jul

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

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

ravello 4jul

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

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

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

IMG_8110

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

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

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

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

 

My latest FOs

Hi there, how have you been? Well I hope. It seems that maybe, and I mean just maybe, summer is actually around the corner here in Normandy. We have had warm temperatures for a few days in a row now so it’s starting to feel somewhat summer-y. School will soon come to a close for the kids and so exams are about to start and such.

As for myself, well I have been doing quite a bit of knitting. Surprise surprise! Or not 🙂

So today I wanted to show you my two latest FOs, one you have already  heard of I’m pretty sure and the other is my secret test knit that has now been made official!

So first my Cullum t-shirt by Isabelle Kraemer. I have knit that using some lovely italian linen dyed by a friend of mine in Australia. So this is quite the international project:) The pattern is easy to follow and was actually a very quick knit and I can easily see myself knitting another one just like it. I’m currently washing it and hope to block it later today but I did try it on and if you follow me on IG you may have seen the pictures but for those of you who don’t or haven’t seen the pictures, here are some

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is the first time I have ever knit with a linen yarn. This one felt very nice on the hands and somewhat shiny and my friend Andrea who dyed and gifted me this yarn says it’s because this is brushed linen. I was expecting this to be somewhat harsh on the hands and to the touch but not at all. It really was a joy to knit with.

I have some linen in my stash that I recently bought and that one must be non brushed linen because it has a totally different handle. Even after knitting a swatch and washing that linen, it still feels somewhat “crisp”. Not sure if it will work for a summer t-shirt or if I should just resign and make something like a grocery bag. We’ll see.

My second FO like I said is the mystery test knit I have mentioned here before. The pattern is by designer Amanita and it is a DK weight shawl. This is a triangular shaped shawl with a patterned border on one side which is knit simultaneously to the rest of the shawl which is mostly garter stitch.

This was an easy pattern to follow and it went quite quickly too. I did misunderstand the instructions for one stitch, a sort of twisted stitch surrounding the patterned section, but I think it doesn’t really show much and I love the finished item. I knit my sample using my own hand dyed DK yarn and I ended up using just over 3 skeins. Actually 3 x 100 gr skeins + 6gr of skein 4. Maybe that was a gauge thing but if you should go ahead and make this shawl and don’t want to start on skein 4 for such a small amount of yardage, I would just recommend you keep a close eye on the amount of yarn you have when you start your last pattern repeat and possibly stop a few rows early so you have enough for the bind off.

The pattern was published on Ravelry yesterday, May 16th and is called Forest Mystery and it is already on the first page for HOT NOW on Ravelry! I can highly recommend this shawl. It is huge and my yarn is so soft and squishy. I can’t wait to actually wear it this coming autumn and winter.

Not being much for modelling, I asked my youngest daughter to model the shawl for me and she gracefully accepted so here are some pictures of her showing off my shawl.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And speaking of shawls, I have started on my Starting Point mystery wrap by Joji and I’ll be sharing pictures later, if you don’t mind spoilers 🙂

That’s all for now. I NEED to get some knitting done before work. I wish you all a wonderful day and rest of your week. Happy knitting 🙂

Back after a little vacation

Hi there, how are you? It’s been at least two weeks since my last post and I hope you have had a great time during that interval and are enjoying spring/early summer. Here in Normandy the weather has been beautiful although not warm but it is supposed to change as of tomorrow and turn all grey and rainy!

After being away for two weeks and having travelled and knit a lot, I of course have a ton of things to share with you but rather than write an epic post that would take most of your day to read, I’m going to break it up into a number of posts and maybe post every other day or so until I’m back on schedule.

So if you have followed me for at least a little while you will know that I went away for a week with my kids for spring break. We went to Iceland and then I took a couple of days to go to Glasgow, Scotland with my son.  This meant that I only got  2 1/2 days in Iceland, then I went for 2 days to Scotland and then again 2 1/2 days in Iceland or so.

That was a very short break in Iceland but I did get to see my family and one friend so that was great. Being “home” always feels so good. Just being in the country where I grew up and everything is so familiar and feels so right even though I have been away for a very long time and now also consider France to be my home. Spending time with my parents, grandmother, sister, aunt, uncle and nephews and nieces… it just fills my heart with joy and charges the batteries.

I didn’t do any travelling in Iceland it was really all about family time, a little work and of course some essential shopping (that is food and sweets to bring to France and yarn of course). I visited one yarn shop and of course a supermarket that sells yarn too and I’ll be sharing pictures and info about both in a future post.

Glasgow was a fun short trip. We stayed in the center of town and we did a lot of walking! So much so that I came home with huge blisters on my feet! The weather was not the best but it did not stop us from sight seeing, shopping and just generally making the most of our short stay. I even checked out the two yarn shops that had been recommended to me! You will of course learn all about those and what I came away with after visiting:)

But since it’s been awhile since my last post I thought I might kick off by sharing my latest finished objects. I think I have 4 socks, one cowl and one cardigan so let’s get going.

First the socks. These are not necessarily in the order I finished them because I don’t actually remember which was finished when. Probably because I’m knitting on so many socks at a time constantly so let’s just pick one at random.

The first one is a test knit that I did for my friend, the designer Dana Gervais. The pattern has not been released yet but should be soon I think. Her sizes are not S,M, L but rather they go by the width of your foot so narrow, medium, wide and extra wide. I did the wide version but it turned out to be too big for me so should you knit this pattern you might want to consider doing a size smaller than usual or go down a needle size. I used yarn I purchased in Glasgow for these, Lang wool.

The pattern is very easy to remember and the heel construction is different from “usual”. However, once the test was done, I ripped back and I’m going to reknit these in a size smaller because I really enjoyed the knitting and the finished sock looks really nice.

Next up is a simple vanilla sock that I knit on 9″ circulars using yarn from one of my most favorite indie dyers ever, Knit Cosmic Strings. I didn’t use any pattern, just knit from memory, my standard vanilla sock toe up.

IMG_7620

 

Then there are the Incantation socks by Kay Jones of the Bakery Bears Podcast. I’m a fan of her patterns which tend to be simple and yet fun to knit and this one is no exception and I can see myself knitting many of these in the future. For this particular pair, I used a yarn that I splurged on from La Bien Aimée. Everyone is talking about the Bien Aimée yarns all the time so I thought I should try out for myself and see what all the fuss was about. And so I indulged myself and purchased one sock set and one regular skein of sock yarn as well as a magazine and a Fringe bag!!! Anyway I used the sock set for this sock and I still have plenty of yarn left so I think I’ll knit a pair of shorty socks with the rest. The colorway is fabulous, I love both the main color and the contrast mini for heels and toes. The yarn is a BFL superwash and it is not soft to the touch but still nice to work with. The quality is just regular as could be expected from any yarn dyer – I think a lot of dyers have the same suppliers depending on where in the world they are so usually the same base/type of wool can be found in any number of indie shops. But this is not meant to be a review on their yarn so let’s just go to the picture so you can see.

 

I really love the speckled main color and the mustardy contrast. The pattern is a simple 4 round repeat I think and produces a neat textured pattern.

Then there is another pair of plain vanilla socks in a self striping yarn. The colors are super bright and fun and to keep the striping I did a contrast heel and toe. I used my own yarn for that, a SPARKLES neon yellow. The main yarn, the self striping one, is from a new to me dyer that I discovered on Etsy. She is Swedish and calls herself the Asfaltflikkan I believe. She only does self striping yarns and I purchased two skeins from her shop.

IMG_7736

Again this was just my own formula. I knit these from the cuff down and I did a short row heel.

And then there is the cowl. I have had this pattern in my Ravelry library for a long time. I knew I had to use some special yarn for this and I decided I would use a merino and silk blend that I had purchased to test the base. It is a rather costly blend/base yarn so I haven’t purchased any so far for the shop but it is a dream to work with. So I dyed up two shades of light blue/turquoise and then I had one skein of 100% silk undyed and used that as was. The cowl was a very quick knit even though it is a big/long cowl and maybe the yarn had something to do with that. I think I would like to knit more of this in different colours and maybe some would become Christmas gifts for later this year.

IMG_7719

This is the 3 Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locatelli.

And to finish today I have the secret test knit cardigan. The pattern has now been released and I do highly recommend it. This was a fun knit and ended up being quite quick considering I was doing the biggest size and it’s a fingering weight cardigan. For the biggest size I used up about 3 1/2 skeins of my SPARKLES yarn. It fits nicely and I have been using it regularly since I finished. The pattern is called Lucille and is by the designer Amanita. This is the second pattern of hers that I knit. The first was a sweater but I won her pattern in an IG game and loved it. And currently I’m working on another test knit for her; this time for a shawl and it is also a secret knit until the pattern has been published so no sharing at the moment but here comes the cardigan.

 

It is mostly stockinette but there is a little garter cuff on the sleeves and some textured stitches on the bottom of the cardigan. If you are looking for a great cardigan that is easy but not too easy to knit, I would definitely recommend this pattern.

I think that’s about all for my FOs. I have a ton of works in progress and I’ll be sharing those later.

Thank you so much for coming back and spending some of your precious time with me. I really appreciate that. I hope you enjoy seeing my work and that you’ll be back for more later this week. Until next time, take care and enjoy your crafting:)

Hi there, how are you? It’s been two weeks since my last post. I’m sorry I didn’t write anything last week and I’m sure you wondered what that was all about. Well it was all about Sock Madness!

After knitting the qualifying pair of socks, I ended up in THE fastest team! I immediately got a lump in my stomach and regretted having been so ultra competitive. I should have taken more time to finish but hey! So I’m in a team called Amaranth Zebu – don’t ask me what that means, I have no idea 🙂

So the pattern for round 1 came last Monday and I was sure, for some reason, it wouldn’t arrive until later that week so I spent Monday morning knitting on other things. At noon I discovered the pattern was there and I panicked! I immediately cast on and there was no stopping me! I knit like crazy and finished my pair in 4 days! The round is open for 14 days but just knowing that I’m with some crazy speedy knitters made me worried and I could not imagine dropping out after only one round! And so I made it to round 2!

Now only “problem” there is that I’m going to Iceland with my kids beginning of April and I’m crossing fingers and toes and hoping that the second pattern will arrive BEFORE I leave so I can work on them there. If it doesn’t, it means it will arrive while I’m away from home and if I want to stay in the game, I will have to bring a ton of yarn with me because you never know which pattern is coming next! Before the start of the competition we get a list of materials needed for each pattern so we can prepare and have everything ready to go. But if I’m not home when the pattern comes, well that’s complicated!

So I’m stressing about that now. Hopefully it will arrive before I leave and all will be good! But here’s my finished pair for round 1

The pattern repeat is easily memorizable. It is knit using two contrasting colored yarns. I chose two different bases also, the burgundy one is on my Sox base and the yellow one is on the same base as my POP only it has black nepps instead of the colored ones. I think these go together really well.

The stitch pattern is quite stretchy. Also the heel construction was totally new to me and I think it makes for a “bigger” heel, that is more rows so when I finished the socks ended up being a little big for me. But the colours aren’t “manly” enough for me to give them to my son so I’m going to keep them anyway.

These were knit toe up with an afterthought heel, but not the typical afterthought heel but a version with a small heel flap. A new to me way of knitting a heel.

So once the socks were off my needles I went back to knitting on my secret test knit cardigan. I’m only 6 rows from casting off the body now and I hope to do that today and start on sleeve one. I’m supposed to finish early next week and I’ll do my best to keep the deadline although I think I may need a few more extra days. Also I’m not able to just knit on one thing so of course I cast on for a shawl! I’m doing the Ramble shawl by Andrea Mowry. It’s half garter and half brioche. At the moment I’m on the garter portion. It’s knit using two yarns and I’m using a gradient yarn I handspun and then a hand dyed yarn. I originally chose Chai Latte from Knit Cosmic Strings which is a beige and brown yarn but it ended up being too close in color to the lightest color of my gradient so the two color stripes in the garter section didn’t show up. It was all just sort of one color so I ripped back and chose another yarn I had wound up and works really nice. It’s Smooshy from Dream in Color in the Beach Fog colorway and this time the two yarns really contrast each other. I haven’t knit much so far so no picture of my progress yet but here is my handspun yarn and a picture of the pattern with the two yarns I originally chose.

I really love the brioche portion of this shawl and look forward to getting there in my knitting.

Another project I’m preparing is the Sammal cardigan by Joji Locatelli. I’m going to knit it with my handspun yarn that I spun as part of the sweater spin organized by Andre Sue Knits and Sue of Legazy Fibre Arts. It’s been awhile since I finished the yarn and I was holding of dyeing it. It felt a bit overwhelming because the yarn was so special. I’d spent so much time making it and I had chosen a gorgeous pattern and so the dyeing had to be just so. Also I didn’t know what color to dye and then this weekend I finally took a decision. It would be grey! And so I dyed my yarn in a light grey color and luckily the weather here in Normandy was glorious this past weekend so the yarn dried up nicely in my garden and last night I wound one of the skeins into a  ball to swatch.

Now swatching is not an everyday occurrence for me. I rarely swatch for anything. But as I’m using handspun yarn which is not 100% even like commercially spun yarn, I felt swatching was a must. Not to mention the fact that knitting an intricate cardigan in handspun yarn only to find out it doesn’t fit…well that was just not an option.

So I knit up a swatch last night and washed it before going to bed so today I’m going to check the gauge and if it doesn’t fit then redo my swatch. I didn’t cut the yarn because I don’t know how many swatches I may need to do and I’m afraid I might run out of yarn which would be a catastrophe!

So this is going to be my next cast on, after I finish my test knit cardigan. I’m planning on taking this with me on Easter vacation to Iceland and knit on this and the future Sock Madness socks while I’m there.

That’s about all I think for now. The weather here is beautiful today and it is supposed to be gorgeous all the time until the weekend of course! But then bad weather on weekends is never all bad for us knitters as it’s just ideal for cozy knitting inside:)

I wish you a wonderful and productive week. I hope you will have nice weather and lots of quality knitting time. I’ll be back next week for more news on my knitting and soon ( in April) there will be another Maker of the Month feature and April’s maker is a yarn dyer so lots to look forward to!

An FOs, a wip and a future cast on

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

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

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

IMG_7516

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

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

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

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

IMG_0020 (1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_7515

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

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

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

IMG_7511

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time; take care and enjoy your knitting 🙂