The Mara Sweater

Hi there, how are you ? All melted away with the recent heatwave maybe? I hope not!

We had a few days of seriously hot weather here in Normandy which is not my favorite as I really don’t enjoy much heat. Also knitting in 30C+ is not the best, think clammy hands and sweat! Not a nice picture;

Luckily the weather has cooled down some and so I’m feeling better and knitting like crazy.

But before I can show you what I’m currently knitting on I have to show you my latest secret test knit.

This was a pattern by Renée Callahan of East London Knits. This was a top down sweater with what looks like an all over colorwork but is in fact a slipped stitch pattern and so very easy to do and no tension issues as there sometimes are with fair isle/stranded knitting.

The pattern calls for a slightly cropped sweater with 3/4 sleeves but you can easily knit to your liking and have a full length sweater and either full length or even short sleeves.

As you decrease on the sleeves you end up not being able to keep the patterning all around

I so loved this particular pattern that I actually knit two sweaters! And I finished both before the deadline for the test knit. Though I admit I still have not weaved in the ends of the second version just yet. But it is all ready for me to finish for good.

So I chose to use a wonderful UK yarn which I have used before as I took part in other test knits for other designers. I chose yarn from Cambrian Wool in the UK. I chose their 4 ply yarn and chose too very contrasting colors, Arian and Welsh red – that is a very pale grey and a rust red.

The prototype uses a main color and a gradient set as contrast colors but I felt like just using solid colors and limiting them to just two.

The stitch pattern is very addictive and I feel the sweater was easy to knit and the pattern well written.

The only issue or point where you have to be careful is where you split for the sleeves. As there are short rows on the neck, if you miscalculate your sweater will look wonky.

I admit that I made a mistake on my primary sweater and so once I had finished it, I ripped back the neck ribbing and short rows and reknit them.

I chose to knit 3/4 sleeves on this version and I quite like that.

Here are more pictures of me wearing the sweater

Then there was the second version. For that one I wanted to see how the garment would look if I only did the slipped stitch pattern on the yoke. I also chose a different combination of yarns. I chose Holst Garn Tides which is a wool and silk blend and I knit this held double with a thread of a lace weight sequinned mohair. I then used Nateby yarn from Eden Cottage yarn for the colorwork as contrast color.

See how the sequins sparkle?

This version turned out very different from the other. Because of the completely different yarns, this version turned out looser, less form fitting on the body. Also the sleeves are wider though I secretly suspect I may have made some mistake there and maybe knit on too many stitches. But it’s ok, it is still wearable.

I also chose to do 3/4 sleeves as this version is also quite warm so full length sleeves might be too much.

So I yet have to finish weaving in the ends and have pictures taken of me wearing the sweater. I will do later this summer.

You can check out my pattern page on Ravelry here https://www.ravelry.com/projects/bogga/miara-sweater

If you feel like knitting a garment and you like the colorwork look then this just might be the project for you 🙂

That’s all for today. I hope you are doing good and enjoying your summer so far. I will be back later to show you my latest socks, Olive Leaf cardigan and summer tee not to mention my next cast on which will be the Navelli by Kaitlyn Hunter.

So until next time, Happy Knitting!

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.

A new type of knitting needles

Hi there, how are you doing today? I hope you are well and have had a good end of May with plenty of fun knitting. Again I have failed to post regularly….not good…

But today I have something exciting to share with you. A while back I hinted at sharing information with regarding a new type of knitting needles. Well now it’s time to tell you all about those.

I was contacted by the woman behind the needles, Alexis end of last year. She offered to send me a pair to try out and of course I was excited to try them out. After all I have always been curious about knitting needles and all the different types of needles there are. This brand of knitting needles and crochet hooks is called My Two Ladies.

This new type of needles is midway between a straight needle and a circular needle. The difference between My Two Ladies’ needles and needles called “flexible single point needles” is that there is a movable stopper on Alexi’s needles meaning you can block your stitches at any point you choose on the cable. This allows you to use her needles for a large variety of project sizes.

My Two Ladies Adjustable needles

This is a great innovation for knitters who like to knit flat using single pointed needles. These will come in especially handy when knitting on the go like in public transport where you will be able to avoid stabbing your fellow travellers with your single pointed needles sticking out.

These needles come in sizes 3.5 mm /US 4 to 15 mm/US19.

I don’t usually knit flat when knitting garments so I don’t use my single points much these days. However I did try these out as I knit my Jaycee cardigan. I knit that one on a set of 3.5mm needles. That was a design knit front and back in one piece. The needle points are from rosewood so they have a beautiful design and are very nice in the hand and felt good working with them. I did use the adjustable stopper as at the beginning I did not have a lot of stitches on my needles and then moved the stopper along as they increased.

I found the needles to be enjoyable to knit with and if you prefer knitting with single points or like the idea of being able to use a set of needles no matter the size of your project (and don’t like using a 40″ circular for a small project) you just might fall in love.

The tools we use in our craft are very important and even more important than our choice of yarn as even knitting with gorgeous yarn, if the needle is rubbish, you will not enjoy working your beautiful yarn. So I truly believe it is well worth trying out different options and getting good, quality tools that we enjoy working with. And as part of that belief I recommend you give My Two Ladies a try 🙂

Here are a couple of links to videos where you can see better how the needles work

I was able to interview Alexis for the blog and I am so happy to introduce her and her company to you today.

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Welcome Alexis and thank you for accepting to be interviewed for my blog. To begin, could you tell us a little bit about your self?  

I am a native New Yorker living in the outskirts of NYC with my family.   I have always been both crafty and fixing things.   I worked in a legal office for many years as an administrative assistant which definitely was not creative in nature.   I would work part time also in retail simply because I loved selling and meeting people.   That was my hobby.  I have always been proponent of volunteerism and have and continue to be  very involved in the anti-bullying movement.    I retired at 55, accidentally became a patented inventor, went to local university to take crash courses in entrepreneurship and business,  somehow landed myself the title of President of Alexis Crafting Needles LLC and loving every minute of it.  I still pinch myself.  


Are you a knitter or a crocheter or both?    

I am a knitter and also crocheter.  Actually not a master in either.  I consider myself mediocre at best.   I am amazed at the talent and perplexity of projects created.  I am so in awe of these fibre artists. 

Do you remember how you learned/who thought you and how old you were?  

I learned to crochet and knit when I was about 13 from my Italian grandmother.  The interesting circumstance about learning from Nonna was that she only spoke Italian and I only spoke English.  Yet these were my most cherished communications between us.


Did you immediately take to the craft or has this passion been gradual?

  I have always enjoyed arts of every type even before starting school.  Painting, drawing, woodworking, etc.  I started sewing in high school and actually took to it quickly.   My parents bought me a basic sewing machine and I started making halter tops for friends and classmates to make some money.   I crocheted much more than knitting in my younger days.  Dropping stitches intimidated me.  I started knitting again when I was 30 and wanted to make garments for my soon to be born child.  Having a purpose propelled my knitting skills.  Since then I mostly knit.  I retired at age 55 got very involved in a new local yarn shop that opened in my town.  I spent a lot of time there, learning, creating and fostering wonderful relationships.  


Would you say you are a lifestyle knitter/crocheter today? Meaning do you knit/crochet every day?  

I did knit everyday once I retired, but actually since inventing  my needles, going through the patent process and running my new business, I no longer knit every day.   Mostly when traveling and waiting in doctors offices.  


What lead you to creating your own company and developing these new knitting needles? When did this all start and what lead to it? Why create a new type of knitting needles?

 I created these needles  while knitting a large bulky blanket at the yarn shop.   I was very frustrated with circulars for this project and straights were just too short for the hundreds of stitches.    As I was complaining about my problem, somehow an idea just popped into my head.  I grabbed some needles and tools from the shop and right then and there made my working prototype.  The ladies at the shop just kept saying “how is it no one ever thought of this”.    


When did you first commercialise your new needles ? What has the feedback been like so far?  

Soon after creating my needles I started getting requests to make them for knitters in the shop.  Then I started getting requests from friends of friends.  I had a little business I never planned on having.   I was a big fan of The Shark Tank television show and thought why not inquire about obtaining a patent.  Definitely easier said than done.   It is basically two years since I began the patent process and learning how to proceed with my new found journey.   Coincidentally I received Patent Approval only two weeks ago (it has now been a little longer due to me not posting the interview sooner-edit from Knitting in France).  It’s an amazing feeling of accomplishment and worth the 24/7 work week. 


Would you say your needles have an advantage over say regular straight needles and why?  

Yes there are many advantages to these “adjustable needles”.   I consider these needles to be somewhat of a hybrid of circular and straights.   I have discovered a definite need in the marketplace.  The basic premise is that you can put hundred of stitches on these needles and knit flat, allowing you to see your pattern, take the weight off of your arms and upper body,  and no more heavy bunch of your project hanging in the middle of your circular cord.   But the real game changing feature of the needles is the adjustable spring activated sliding stopper that allows you to move the stopper as you are knitting and keep all your stitches at the forefront of your needles.  You knit so much quicker, easier and stress free.   They have been a lifesaver for those afflicted with arthritis and other hand ailments.  We have a very large repeat customer client base and it is the greatest feeling when you have customers telephoning or emailing to  say thank you for inventing them and how it has brought knitting back into their lives.  


Other than on your own website, where can we find your needles?  

I have been selling on the prestigious inventors platform The Grommet since I got my first shipment of needles.   It’s been a great stepping stone for me.  Then I started picking up local yarn stores and a small distributor which kept me selling enough but not too much to get overwhelmed.  I was chosen to attend the Home Shopping Network – American Dream Academy conference which was a great opportunity for any new inventor/entrepreneur.  Only 100 products were chosen from the entire United States.  This led me to have the chance to debut My Two Ladies on the Zulily home shopping site often.  I have recently hired sales reps to sell to local yarn shops in their territories.  This has been extremely helpful in getting the brand out across the country.   I have a few shops in Canada and plan searching for distributors in Europe. 


Where are your needles produced?  

My needles are handcrafted by a multi-generational family of expert woodworking artisans in a small town in India.   My Two Ladies is made of sustainably produced Indian rosewood with a no wax finish.  It is hand rubbed and polished with a proprietary finish that the family owns.  We have grown to have a wonderful working relationship based on high quality standards and respect for each other.    

I noticed that you now also sell crochet hooks and circular needles now. Are there other items you will be adding to your selection?    

Yes, we started expanding our line for several reasons.  Most importantly, there was a demand for luxury high quality tools.   Customers like the feel and warmth of our adjustable needles.   Also, selling just one item is not alluring to potential wholesalers simply because of saving time.   So I had my wonderful source in India make me short runs of ergonomic hooks, circulars and others products continue to roll out.  Fortunately I am now on my second run after almost selling out on the hooks and also circulars. 


And what about the yarn bowls, can you tell us about those? Are they hand made?  

The yarn bowls are an amazing piece of artistry.  Hand made taking  hours and hours to make just one bowl.  I put videos up showing the workmanship on my website and Instagram/Facebook accounts which you just cannot stop yourself from watching over and over. 


Where do you see your company in say 5 years time?  

Well, I came upon this wonderful journey when many are wrapping up their careers.   So, I am not wasting any time.  I am exactly where I forecasted to be when I created my business plan.   It’s been a huge learning curve for me, but with a good product, hard work and kind/helpful/supportive people,  I have been able to have success.   Within the next two years I will be concentrating on brand recognition.   Since receiving my patent not only for the needles but also the knitting method, I have definitely seen a   rise in inquiry’s and sales.  In five years the plan is to be a recognised luxury brand for fibre arts tools, if not THE leading luxury brand. 


Where can we follow you on social media?  

Facebook:   Mytwoladies    Instagram: mytwoladies_knittingneedle.       Website:  mytwoladiesknitting.com

Thank you very much for taking the time to answering my questions today. I wish you a lot of success with your enterprise and crafting.

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I hope you have enjoyed learning about this recent addition to our world of knitting needles and learning about Alexis and her journey into product invention and entrepreneurship in the knitting industry.

I hope you will have a wonderful week and enjoy your crafting as before and why not try out a totally new to you knitting needle while you are at it:)

More sock knitting

Hi there, how are you? Once again I have let life get in the way of my blogging! I don’t know why I find blogging on a regular basis is a challenge these days. I need to work on that some.

So since I last posted I have been working mostly on socks. I made it to round 4 of Sock Madness as I believe I told you last time. And I have now finished that round and qualified for round 5. Things are getting really serious now as only 10 of the quickest knitters in each team qualified for this upcoming round and if I want to make it to round 6 I have to be among the quickest 5 to finish! As we are getting closer to the end of the competition, only the quickest knitters are left so I have some serious doubts about making it on to round 6. I’m hoping the pattern will arrive on a weekday; early morning or beginning of the afternoon. I get most of my knitting done during the work week as we stay home at night and so where as on weekends I loose time doing chores and grocery shopping, homework supervision etc and so often end up having less time than I would like to knit on weekends.

Of the 5 knitters that will make it to round 6 only 1 yes that’s right ONE will qualify for round 7. For some stroke of miracle I was one of those knitters 4 years ago but I don’t think I am this year. I think I will be fine if I’m disqualified this round even though the competitor in me really wants to make it to round 6.

Now the pattern for this last round was a fun one including cables and lace knitting and it was a fairly easy one after a while. I did have some comprehension issues to begin with but there is a questions thread on Ravelry with moderators, the designer herself and of course other knitters so each time I was able to find answers rather quickly. And once in the rhythm of things the pattern became intuitive.

This time around I made them in my younger daughter’s size but she is a 36/37 EU. And I used a new to me commercial sock yarn from HOBBII.

The Cannon socks from Sock Madness 13 round 4

I really like the toe not being all stockinette but having a little sort of ribbing to it. The lace pattern moves around the leg so it is not easy to work using stitch markers and I think, virtually impossible to knit taat.

Now on to the yarn. This is a wool and nylon blend, 75/25 in fingering weight and comes in 50 gr balls. I used one ball per sock as I did not want to join yarns part way through sock 2. But when I had finished my pair, I had a total of 33 gr left over which is quite a lot.

The yarn itself is soft to the touch and nice to knit with and I look forward to seeing how it will evolve with use. So far so good. And the best part is the price point. This yarn is very cheap! I purchased this directly from their website where they offer all sorts of yarns https://hobbii.com/

This is their Happy Feet yarn which I used for the first time. I have knit a pair using their Happy Feet XL before and they are nice though they have felted slightly with wear.

I’m not sure what yarn I will use for next round. It might be a one colour pattern but it might also be colourwork using two colours so I’ll just have to see when the pattern arrives. I have a bag of possible options all ready for cast on.

I also had a sock test knit for a publication but for the first time I really did not enjoy the pattern and so asked to quit the test as I was just not feeling it and having the hardest time to pick it up. Once I told them I was not going to finish; I immediately ripped back the almost finished sock one! That felt good though I am somewhat perplexed about this situation.

Another sock pattern I test knit has now been published on Ravelry and that was a fun pattern I enjoyed. I only had to knit one sock to finish the test so I still have to knit the second sock and will do so once I have finished Sock Madness.

That sock pattern is by Jo of KBG Designs and is called the Hidden Diamonds socks. The stitch pattern is easily memorised and fun to knit. This time I knit size small as these will be a gift. I chose to knit using my own hand dyed sock yarn in a fun orange colour. I think this pattern works best with a somewhat solid colour to really show off the stitch pattern. My yarn was not solid but not too crazy either and so I feel the pattern worked well here.

Hidden Diamonds sock

As for other knitting, I’m coming close to finishing my second Modernist by Renee of East London Knits.

This one is for a friend of my older daughter and she wants the exact same as the one I test knit and my daughter kept. So I’m knitting the same size using the same exact yarn, colour and all!

As I was looking for pictures to share I realise that I actually did not blog about this project before! So here goes.

I test knit this oversized cardigan for Renee a while ago. It is a fingering weight design and the shape is a little unusual at least for me as it is a cropped and oversized cardigan.

The construction is also unusual making the knitting all the more fun. I chose to use Holst Garn Supersoft in Marine blue, dark blue and I really like the outcome. There is an option for adding button holes but in both my versions I chose not to have buttons. My daughter wears her’s all the time and I’m hoping her friend will like hers as much too.

At the moment I am just 20 rounds of cuff from finishing the garment so I’m hoping that will be done tomorrow and then I have the weekend for finishing and blocking so she can have her cardigan next Monday.

And speaking of Renee Callahan of East London Knits, I have just started a new secret test knit for her. That is a top down sweater with some colourwork and I am having some issues finding the correct yarns for my version so I think I might actually end up knitting two versions. I have done part of the yoke in one combo and yesterday I started the yoke in another yarn combo. Im planning on knitting a bit to see how the pattern looks in each combo and then decide what I do. The deadline is short so I might finish just one in time for that and then knit the second one later. Who knows.

Well that’s it for today folks. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to follow my knitting as always. I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week ahead of you with plenty of knitting and good, summery weather on top.

Happy knitting

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:)

An almost monogamous knitter for once

Hi there how are things? I hope you have had a nice couple of weeks. I was kept busy between work and school holidays here in France. Now the kids are back at school and things are back to the regular routine.

Since I last posted I have been concentrating mostly on my current garment test knit. I’m almost done now and really like the fit and look of my new sweater.

I am somewhat off gauge wise though as my sweater is longer/bigger than it should be according to the pattern so I have had to modify the final decrease rounds. But it still worked out nicely.

Unfortunately the sweater is taking more yarn than I had expected and so I dyed up some yarn this morning and I’m crossing my fingers hoping I was able to get very close to the previous yarns. I only have the sleeves to knit now. If the colour is not quite there I will go with a contrasting coloured sleeves. As I write this the yarn is drying in the sun so I still don’t know yet if I was successful in recreating the beautiful yellow of my sweater.

This is an oversized, raglan sweater and the sleeves are mostly ribbing as the raglan arrives at the elbow.

It is quite a heavy sweater and it made me realise that I really prefer fingering weight garments. But this sweater really is nice and I look forward to finishing it.

Other than this sweater, I also finished my warm up socks for Sock Madness. I believe the contest/challenge will start in a few days, beginning of March, so it was important I finished this pair in time.

I’m also planning on finishing my test knit sweater before then too so that I can start the challenge without any other stressful deadline.

So my warm up socks also double as my contribution to the #knitterspayitforward2019.

The 13 memories socks

I was not totally convinced at first when I saw the pattern. I was worried that the lace pattern would be obscured by the yarn. That is why I chose rather subdued colours, nothing wildly variegated. I’m very happy with the results. I still have to weave in the ends of one of the socks and then I will put together a nice little package to my lovely recipient who lives in Denmark.

If you are not aware of this #knitterspayitforward2019 this is a “thing” launched by dr Holmes, the same person as the one who organises the Marie Curie sock challenge for Christmas. This time around, the idea is to offer to knit something for another person, whether we know them or not.

In my case I posted on Instagram and said I wanted to join this fun project and knit a pair of socks for someone and asked those interested in receiving a pair of scrappy, hand knit socks to comment on my post. I only got 2 comments and the “winner” was my new Danish friend.

If you are interested in joining you definitely should and remember to use the tag so the rest of us can follow along.

In this new week my main focus will be on finishing my sweater as I have said above. I do have 2 cardigans going, one has been on hold for months and I just picked it up again today. I have 1 1/2 sleeve to finish so not much left and I’m hoping I will also be able to finish that this week.

The other cardigan is at it’s beginning so lots of work there still but it will be good to pick it up again and make some progress.

Then of course there will soon be Sock Madness, a truly mad sock knitting challenge so as soon as the first pattern arrives I will be concentrating on that.

On a more personal note, I have just started walking! I used to be active as a young woman but I have let myself go lately. I work from home so most of my time is spent sitting in front of a computer so I have very limited physical activity. I was inspired by Kay Jones of the Bakery Bears who has started going for walks. I’m going for 30-40 minute walks and it really feels good. I listen to audio books and podcasts and just enjoy the incredibly beautiful weather and getting some alone time with myself and a good book. I’m really happy I started moving a little and just hope I will keep up the good work:)

That’s it for today. Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed seeing my knitting progress and hope you will have a great week ahead with plenty of fun knitting.

5 years of blogging!

Hi there, how are things with you today? I hope you are doing good and enjoying your month of January in spite of it being labelled as the most depressing month of the year.

I’m sorry I did not blog last week. Have been so busy working on my 3 test knits, two of which are big projects that are top secret on top of that! So I just felt like there wasn’t enough knitting to share.

But I’m here today and guess what! Today January 21st 2019 it has been exactly 5 years since I started blogging about my knitting and my then shop. How amazing is that? I’m sort of blown away by this fact and at the same time proud of myself for keeping up with this project and so grateful for you and your support. If I didn’t have wonderful readers this blog would not be celebrating it’s 5th birthday today! So let me send you a big virtual hug! I hope to continue with this blog for many years to come and to grow the blog and make it into the best knitting blog there is!

So lots of hard work in sight. But now unto the fun stuff, the actual knitting.

So as I said I’m working on 3 test knits currently. The secret ones are an oversized fingering weight cardigan and the second is a large wrap/shawl. Both are beautiful designs but require a lot of knitting time.

The third project is not a secret and this is a pair of socks that I’m test knitting for the talented Jo of KBJ designs.

This pattern is called Arcadia socks and I’m testing them using one of my hand dyed yarns. It is a 50/50 merino/cotton blend which feels nice to the touch and I’m sure will be very comfortable to wear. However I’m not sure I actually like this blend for socks. I’m almost finished with sock one now so I’m not ripping back. I will finish the sock with this same yarn which is a beautiful color. It just doesn’t feel like when knitting with a wool/nylon blend. I’ll have to finish and actually wear the socks some before I decide though.

I’m farther along now as I’m almost at the first toe decreases but this gives you an idea. There is a textured pattern on the sides that goes from cuff to beginning of toes. It really looks super nice and I can see myself knitting this again and maybe adapting the pattern to ankle socks.

It seems I have been busy knitting socks along with my test knits and this is not surprising as I have such large projects going that when I change projects in between I really need something small.

Lately my hand knit socks have gotten some attention from my friends and one of them even bought a few pairs from me to gift to her family for Christmas. I don’t usually accept to knit to order because I feel it is impossible to price. If I were to charge not only for the wool but my time too, a pair of socks would just be way too expensive for anyone to buy. But this time I did make an exception. She then asked for an additional pair and another friend asked for one too and so forth so I now have 3 pairs to knit. Currently 2 are done and I’m working on the 3rd and last one.

This time as they are insisting on paying me something I chose not to use indie dyed yarn but some commercial sock yarn. It is beautiful and good quality but at a lesser cost.

For the first two pairs I used a new to me sock yarn. It is called Woll Butt and is a German sock yarn. It is a 75/25 wool/polyamide blend. It feels like Opal sock yarn so I think this will be a good workhorse yarn.

An all over stockinette sock for this pair
I did ribbing for the leg and front of foot on this one

I really like the outcome and I think the yarn has knit up very nicely.

For the 3rd and last pair I’m using Regia Pairfect sock yarn.

I really like this yarn too. I think it is fun to have all the stripes on the leg and then have a “serious”, all blue foot. So this is exactly where I am now on this pair. I’m hoping I will have this finished by the end of this week.

Lately I have been buying some more commercial sock yarn to use when I’m knitting socks for family and friends as well as for my youngest who uses my hand knit socks a lot in winter. There are a lot of nice sock yarns out there and many I have never heard about. So end of December I found this shop on Etsy that sells commercial sock yarn from Turkey and I purchased 4 balls from them that just arrived today.

I really love them all. They knit up to self patterning socks. Those all have stripes but not regular stripes, but some small and some larger. I look forward to trying these out and will be sure to tell you what I think when I get working on them.

Another project that I am working on but has not seen a lot of love lately due to lack of knitting time is my Northeasterly blanket. I had put it aside to concentrate on the test knits and then last night I just had to pick it up and knit some on that. I really love how it looks and I hope I will keep at it and one day finish. But I think it is important that I knit on the blanket every now and then. I cannot let it go into hiatus or it might never be done.

My kitten just had to be in the picture. He is so curious! So last night I finished the column that is on the needles in this picture and started on column 8. So what I’m doing is first adding the width to the blanket so I knit to a certain hight and then put the stitches on waste yarn and start a new column. I’m thinking I will do this until I feel I have the right width. And then I will pick up the stitches on hold and go up and so forth. I have seen blankets where people knit to the right length they want the blanket to be and then start on the next column but that means working a very long strip of garter and I somehow find it more motivating seeing the blanket grow width wise in a relatively short amount of time.

So this week I’m as before working hard on my three test knits and I hope to finish the Regia socks. Hopefully I will be able to do a column or so in the blanket too.

I have a lot of other languishing projects like two cardigans! And I really want to work on those too so maybe I will steal a moment to do so this week. I’m not really planning on any new cast ons until I have finished the Regia socks. When those are done I’m going to cast on for a new pair of socks, probably for my daughter. I’m trying to avoid any big cast ons until the test knits are over.

I do have some fun experiences to share with you regarding new knitting needles and techniques. I’m currently trying those out and I think I have really found a wonderful new technique for knitting which is a wonderful addition to my previous knitting skills and I look forward to share that with you but I feel I need to prepare carefully for that and take lots of pictures and so forth to really do these justice. I do hope to have something ready in a couple of weeks or so and look forward to that.

Otherwise, I think I have covered everything I wanted to share with you today. Thank you again for stopping by and sharing my knitting with me. Thank you for being loyal and supportive. Without you my little knitting blog would not be here today!

I wish you a wonderful rest of the week and hope you will have lots of knitting time to enjoy this week. Take care

The Lorelei sweater

Hi there, how are you? How has the new year treated you so far? Well I hope. I’m doing fine, not really following my big ideas about reduced yarn purchases (more on that later) but other than that rather good. Although I am feeling a little overwhelmed just now because I just made a big investment and ordered a Chromebook… You may know that I work from home so on my desk I have my work computer hooked to two screens and to the side my personal PC. When I write my blog it means that I do so from my desk which sometimes feels like I’m still at work when all I want to do is stand up and move somewhere else. I think this in part has worked against me being a regular blogger and so I thought that in order for me to really stand under my big blogging ideas, I have to have a laptop computer so I can write my posts easily from anywhere in the house. And now I just made that purchase!

I look forward to getting this new laptop and the new possibilities I think it will bring me. And I also hope this will seriously help me refrain from any further yarn purchases until I have paid up the computer in 4 months!

So now you know! And so on to more interesting stuff like knitting:

This past week I feel like I have not had enough knitting time somehow. I worked on finally finishing my test knit sweater and I’m getting ready to cast on for the second time for my secret oversized cardigan test knit (the design did not really work out so after knitting the entire thing almost all of us are now faced with ripping back and starting over again).

I have done a tiny bit of progress on my Northeasterly blanket but nothing to show really at this time.

I did start a new cardigan by Isabelle Kraemer, the Jaycee cardigan which is beautiful.

I’m only just at the beginning so I’m not including a picture today. I’m knitting this using Drops Flora yarn for the very first time and so far so good.

This week I will continue working on that and I will start a new test knit. Again this will be a secret test knit (and yes I agreed to this before making the decision to not do so many test knits in 2019). This time it is a wrap/shawl and I just got the pattern today so this evening I’m planning on knitting a swatch.

Now the most exciting thing I want to share with you this week is my finished Lorelei sweater by the talented Agnes of Amanitaknits!

I have test knit for her on a number of occasions and I am an absolute fan of her designs. They are always so gorgeous and this sweater is no exception.

I’m sorry to say that I was late finishing and the pattern was published last week I believe but I have not updated my pattern page on Ravelry and posted pictures on Instagram.

This is a fingering weight sweater with an unusual construction. I’m not going to go more into details on the construction as this is a paid for pattern but let me just say that I’m pretty sure you have never knit a sweater in this way. I had not.

I chose to use yarn from Knit Cosmic Strings and I chose a sort of caramel colour which is totally out of my comfort zone. And I’m so very happy I did. I think the sweater looks stunning in this colour/yarn.

Can you see the beautifully patterned yoke?

And here is one of the sweater blocking. On this picture it looks like the arms are a mile long each! I was really worried I would have to rip them back some and redo the ribbing once it was dry. Lucky me, it fits perfectly. The arms are long but not too long. Maybe I’m just an unusual shape and didn’t know it 🙂

What do you think? I’m sure you agree that it is a beautiful pattern. I’m sure I will wear this a lot.

This is my main accomplishment and I don’t have much more to share with you this time around. I can however tease you and let you know that I am currently trying out two new knitting needle types. Both of which are unusual and one of them is used for a particular style of knitting which I am so enjoying learning. This is partly why I have so little knitting to share. I have been practicing knitting in this new to me way. I’m going to work on those for a little longer before I share my thoughts with you but that is definitely something to look forward to.

This is all for today. Thank you for stopping by. Have a great rest of the week. Happy knitting 🙂

Holiday knitting plans

Hi there, I hope like me you will get a few days off work over the upcoming holidays.

Time off means more time to knit and to make the most of the free time I feel like I have to plan ahead.

This is what I have come up with.

Finish my test knit. I have finished the body and started on sleeve one. When both sleeves will be done I will redo the neck/upper yoke again.

I really like the colour of the yarn and I think this will be a beautiful sweater once done.

And then there are the socks. I have three partially done pairs, one of which is a very old wip.

If we start from the left:

The red sock is my own design, one sock is done and now I need to finish the pair. Then there is the Thomasina socks by Kay Jones of the Bakery Bears. I’m close to being done with sock one. Next there is a self striping yarn from Turtle Purl Yarns in their Mistletoe colorway. This is what I plan to use for Christmas Eve cast on. These will be simple vanilla socks. And then there is THE wip!

This is a pair I knit as part of the final round in Sock Madness a couple of years ago. This is by far the most complicated sock pattern I have ever worked. For lack of time I knit a size that does not fit me so I will have to gift the pair when it’s done! The pattern is called Coffee Cantata

So that means 4 pairs of socks + finish a sweater. And then there is one new project I have only just cast on for. It’s a shawl design by Isabel Kraemer called Euclid.

Not much to show yet but this is a beautiful design and I’m using my hand-spun yarn, this is a camel and silk blend so truly luxurious. And the fibre has not been dyed so this is a beautiful natural colour with some sheen from the silk. I think this will be a gorgeous, big and cozy shawl once done.

This is probably very ambitious and I may not actually finish as much as I dream I will but if I do, that would be amazing.

I will of course be taking my new knitting journal with me to document my progress as of January 1st 2019.

How about you? Have you made any special plans for some holiday knitting? Are you going to take part in the Christmas Eve sock cast on? Have you chosen your yarn and pattern? I would love to hear what you have planned.

That’s all I have for now. Have a wonderful weekend and an even better holiday week up a head. I might not blog next week, depends on the time I have available between the family and festivities.

Wish you all the best! Happy knitting

Knitting plans

Hey there, I hope you had a nice weekend and a good beginning of a new week. Christmas is happening next week! Wow how time flies! Soon we will be in 2019! 

It will soon be time to reflect on this past year and make plans for the new one, be they knitting related or not. 

The beginning of a new year can be exciting in terms of new beginnings and exciting things ahead.

Where I’m concerned I have decided to sort of make a few commitments/objectives related to my knitting and my blog.

I haven’t really thought this all through or ordered by order of importance but here are the things I need to work on for 2019:

For the blog I want: 

I want to be more consistent, to absolutely post once a week and sometimes more but to really have a fixed schedule both for me to work on and for you to count on.

I want to maybe organise something with you like maybe a knit-a-long or a game of some sort.

I want to continue interviewing interesting makers and try to offer an interview once a month.

I want to maybe find ways of making my blog better, maybe more interactive, maybe for it to reach more readers.

I would like to finally start writing down patterns I come up with and possibly offer them here on the blog for sale and some as free perks for my readers.

For my knitting I want:

I want to make a dent in my mountain of wips, a dent that can actually be seen by the naked eye!

I want to work more on my creative side and write up patterns.

I want to learn new techniques, I want to learn about different breeds of fibre animals and the yarn available to us.

I want to be more organised – don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to become a monogamous knitter but just try to control the number of wips at any given time and most importantly keep track of them via a knitting journal and this is a project I will share here on my blog too.

I’m thinking also about maybe doing less test knits, at least garment test knits as those take up a lot of time and yarn.

For my knitting related purchases I want:

Now this is a difficult objective and I know I have to be vague here or at least open for changes. I would love to refrain from any yarn buying for a year and only knit from stash but I know that is one objective I will never be able to reach.

So the idea is to come up with a yarn budget, some sort of a reasonable amount a month and IF I don’t use the amount one month I can save up and have double the amount the next month allowing me to maybe buy more yarn for a bigger project (or just buy more yarn). I have not decided on what this amount should be but I will.

I also need to stop buying so many knitting patterns. I have a gazillion knitting patterns in my Ravelry library and I am constantly buying more knowing full well that I will not be knitting them any time soon! I need to come up with some sort of a system. Maybe create a queue or a favorite’s bundle where I can add all the patterns that have me salivating and then when I actually know I have the time and yarn to make that project I can go ahead and buy the pattern.

I might also look over some of my pattern stash and pick maybe 10 patterns (that I already own) and decide to knit all those in 2019. That could be a fun thing to do and an interesting objective.

What about you? Do you take the time to look over your past projects or plan for the future knitting wise? If so I would love to hear how you go about things. Do you maybe set yourself some sort of objective like knit X pairs of socks? Or earmark a certain number of patterns you absolutely want to knit in the new year? Do share 🙂

Now my knitting these days. What’s new? Well, I have finished one test knit out of two. And this might be the reason behind me thinking of taking on fewer garment test knits.

So I just finished test knitting an oversized cardigan. Such projects require a lot of time and money (a lot of yarn) and sometimes I don’t honestly know if the finished item is something I will love to wear.

So I have just finished this big project and it looks a lot different from the designers prototype. I think that is in part due to the yarn (I chose Tuku wool fingering) and also because I may have chosen to big of a size. 

When the body was done I tried it on and it felt cozy and big. Now that the sleeves have been added, they feel awkward, as if they are not quite right. I can’t imagine ripping back to the sleeve placement and start over again so I’m actually contemplating ripping back period! Can you imagine?! 

I’m just lost at this time. I have sent pictures to the designer and I’m just waiting to hear back from her and also to seeing what the other test knitters have but at the moment I am the only one to have finished.

I’m putting this on time out and not weaving in the ends nor blocking. Maybe I will see things clearer in a few days.

But it is very frustrating and disappointing after such a long time and big effort to not be absolutely in love with the finished object.

My other test knit is coming along slowly but surely. This one also has an issue, this time with the neck line and most of the test knitters have had this issue and so the designer is going to rewrite the upper yoke part. In the mean time I continue with the body and when that is done I will do the sleeves. Only when all is done will I come back and redo the upper yoke.

I do really like the design and the colour of my yarn so far.

This colour is way out of my comfort zone but I really look forward to wearing this sweater when it’s done.

Now that I have “finished” one big project I of course have to cast on for new ones. So I cast on for a colourwork cowl in chunky yarn.

The pattern is called Midwinter Cowl and I told you about this last week. I’m knitting this out of my 100% baby alpaca. The yarn is super soft and fluffy and after knitting I am just covered in alpaca fluff!

This will be a Christmas gift I hope and I’m close to being done.

Midwinter cowl

The challenge with this pattern is that it calls for knitting with 3 colours/yarns at a time for most of the patterning. I am not used to working with 3 yarns at a time so that is slowing me down.

I chose two colours that are very close in shade, one is dark blue and the other black and so on the picture above you most likely won’t be able to distinguish between the two. I did wonder about changing one out for a stark contrast but then couldn’t be bothered…

So I have one block of colourwork left and then I will be on the bottom ribbing and cast off.

And last night I cast on for a beanie! I had knit a hat for my dad last year but it has grown in size and so he doesn’t wear it any more so I decided I had to make a new one in a different yarn and I found this pattern for free on Ravelry.

It is a super simple 2 by 2 rib all the way to the crown decreases. And one can decide on the length depending on whether we want a fold up brim or not. I’m going for the fold up. I have a week to finish and I’m hoping that will work.

When those two are done I will return to my red sock that I’m designing on the go. I have one sock done and need to cast on for the other.

And of course I have bought a few more sock patterns since last time with #Sockvent18 and all…so I might cast on for a pair or two during the holidays.

This is all for today. Thank you so much for stopping by today. I will be back later this week and then there might be a break for a week as I will be off work for a few days to enjoy Christmas with my family.

If you don’t have the chance to stop by later this week let me just wish you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays (which ever you celebrate). 

Hugs