The Maker of the Month Francofille Knits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the inspiration behind your shop and your yarns?

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

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

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

francofille knits mon coeur

Mon Coeur

What are your most popular colorways?

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

francofille knits sunset over the seine

Sunset over the Seine

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

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

francofille knits vendange

Vendange

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

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

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

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

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Macaron sock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

francofille knits autumn afternoon

Autumn Afternoon

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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:)

More on charity sock knitting

Hi again, Well I’m so happy to be back again! So far I’m living up to my goal of blogging more frequently than usual in October as part of Blogtober.

So yes October is all about blogging more often, knitting all the socks and doing something related to Breast Cancer Awareness and today is related in some way to all three goals.

I recently blogged about charity sock knitting that I’m taking part in and if you didn’t read that post yet you can click here.

A lovely reader left a comment on that post sharing the project she is working on. I had heard of this project on the Bakery Bears podcast but didn’t know who organised this or how to get involved so when I saw this message I was so happy!

This project is being organised by the wonderful Sara of Sherlock Knits in the UK. Sara is a doctor in a Marie Curie hospice for terminally ill patients and her idea was to knit a pair of socks for each of her patients for Christmas. Her idea soon caught on and other knitters wanted to join and help so now the objective is to knit a pair of socks for all the patients in Marie Curie hospices in the UK for Christmas and that is 229 patients! What a wonderful project.

Sara learned that she was not the only one wanting to support Marie Curie hospices. The Yarn shop City Knits in the UK had joined forces with UK yarn manufacturer West Yorkshire Spinners to create a unique colorway for their shop only in support of Marie Curie. This yarn colorway is ONLY sold at City knits and 2£ of each purchase are donated to  Marie Curie.

Sara has also created and published a pattern for a vanilla sock she calls the Marie Curie Quest Sock and all proceeds from the sale of the pattern is donated to Marie Curie. So to go all out, you can buy the pattern, buy the yarn and then knit a pair of socks or two:)

wys marie curie

You can go on to the City Knits blog and read more about this project here  and then go on to buy a skein of this yarn if you wish.

I know that not all the patients at Marie Curie hospices are suffering from breast cancer but it does tie in with doing something for the cause and I’m thrilled to be able to participate and make a donation. I have placed an order for the main yarn, the variegated one in the picture above and I intend to make two pairs.

I’m told patients often have swollen feet so 72 stitch socks are appreciated.

The main body of the sock should be knit using the special Marie Curie color way but it is ok to knit contrasting heels/toes and cuffs using coordinating colors in other yarn brands.

Are you also participating in this project or would you be interested in joining?

That’s all for today. Have a wonderful rest of the day.

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:)

Stash appreciation for the end of year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sock knitting for charity

Hi there, how are you? It’s weekend here now and I hope you have the weekend to yourself with plenty of free time to just knit and enjoy some quality time with your favorite projects.

As you may know, I’m going to concentrate on sock knitting this month. I am suffering from a serious case of cast-on-itis and so am just itching to cast on for at least 3 new sweaters and a billion new socks but I’m going to try to be serious and responsible and FIRST finish the 4 pairs of socks I had already begun working on and when those are finished, only then, will I allow myself to cast on for a new pair of socks and if I’m really serious I will also pick up an old languishing sock wip and get that done too! A girl can dream:)

In my last post I shared my current sock knitting projects but I did not tell you about this particular project. So I’m not as much of a charity knitter as I would like to be for a number of reasons. Reasons include lack of time, I enjoy selfish knitting too much and then as I’m not part of any physical group of knitters I’m not always aware of charity knitting projects going around.  And here in France I think there really are very limited opportunities for charity knitting sadly.

I’m lucky enough to have made a number of good friends via the internet. I’m so happy and appreciative for all the new knitter friends in my life and I really could not imagine my life without you all. I may not know you “in person” but it still feels like we are very close. One of those friends is Andrea. Andrea lives in Australia and she is an amazing person and an impressive artist. Andrea sketches and knits and just makes magic with all things fibre related not to mention her photography which is simply inspirational. You can follow Andrea on Instagram where she has two accounts, one for her drawing art work where she is @zoozoostudio and one for her knitting and fibre related work where she is @yarnsalad.

Via her account as @yarnsalad she has launched a sock knitting charity project that I had to join in even if we live on opposite sides of the world. Andrea is knitting socks for children between 0 and 6 years old that live with their mothers in Australian prisons. I love knitting socks and I also love doing good and gifting my handknits so I immediately wanted to join in her effort.

I’m not sure what the deadline is to send her the socks but if you are interested in joining us and send a pair of socks or more, just either contact me or you can contact Andrea via Instagram. I’m sure she would be delighted if any of my readers wanted to contribute to her project.

Knitting socks for young children is fun and super quick and so I now have 2 1/2 pairs (as I write this). I chose to knit two pairs of tube socks because I think tube socks are super practical because they can fit a large range of sizes and they also maybe wear longer as you can wear them anyway; I mean there is no instep and no sole side so I imagine more wear could be had out of those. They are maybe not as cute but still I really like them. So I have two pairs of tube socks and if I have enough time I will make more of those.

charity socks one

Those are knit with a German sock yarn, I don’t have the ball band anymore but it’s an Opal type yarn so should wear nicely. These are not twins but they do look nice still I think.

charity socks 2

These I knit using my Sparkles yarn. These are much smaller than the first pair so more of a baby size versus a toddler size for the first pair.

charity socks 3

This is the pair I’m currently working on. I’m knitting this one with my Sox base yarn in grey and the yellow stripes and toe are from Berry Colorful Yarnings. I really like this sock. I think it is a sort of 3-4 year old size.

I’m happy to know that I will contribute at least 3 pairs and I hope to be able to get more done in the next 2-3 weeks. It really does not take long to make  a small pair so I don’t have any excuse!

Do you sometimes knit for charity? If so, which ones? I would love to hear about any charity knitting projects you may be participating in and who knows I might decide to join them too 🙂

That’s all for today. I hope you have a wonderful rest of this weekend. Speak to you soon!

My Birthday yarnie gifts

Hi there, I’m sorry I did not keep my word and post a second time last week. Time seems to constantly elude me these days. I hope you understand:)

I wanted to show you some of my Birthday gifts because yes it was my Birthday not so long ago. First off, my daughter the artist made me some super fun stitch markers from polymer clay.

I love using these!

And this year is the second time I organize a Birthday swap in my Knitting in France Group on Ravelry. It is a small swap which I think suits us all well as the pressure is limited and we don’t have to send gifts every month of the year. It is however super fun when it is one’s turn to receive those yarny gifts and it just so happens that I’m the last to celebrate my birthday. I’m still waiting for some to arrive but I thought I should share with you those that I have so far.

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This was the first gift I got and it arrived the morning of my Birthday! A nice sock size project bag, amazing chocolates and a Finnish specialty. A wonderfully smelling hand cream and a fun needle gauge/key ring from Succaplokki. And two skeins of yarn. The pink one is from Wollmeise and the purple one is from a new to me French dyer called Squirrel’s Yarns. I love the colors and will most likely be using them to knit into socks. The project bag also contained a gift, a hand knit shawl!

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Yes that’s me wearing my new shawl:)

The second gift arrived soon there after.

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How fun is this Truckin’ project bag? And the yarns are gorgeous! The green yarn is Harry Potter inspired from Just a Girl and her Dog Yarns. The Teal one is actually hand spun and the label says Creek Side Farm. Both are gorgeous and the Honey straws have me intrigued.

The third gift arrived this past weekend.

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I love the lamb post card. The monkeys on the right are actually magnets and now reside on my fridge. The Minion tin contains some buttons and the yellow piece you see behind the mignon is a table cloth and I think it may have been woven.

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I absolutely LOVE this tag to attach to a hand knit gift. Not sure I’ll ever be willing to part with it though. It’s now hanging on a wall next to my desk.

When I first saw this I thought this was a crochet kit but it’s actually a knitting pattern. You can knit a 3D fish and it comes with the beads and the DMC thread. Amazing. One of my daughter has already requested she keep this once it’s done.

And to finish I got this bag of beautiful teal colored silk to spin into something gorgeous. And 2 skeins of Claudia Handpainted yarns for a future pair of socks.

Amazing right?! I do love a good yarn/knitting swap and as this is birthday related it is even more fun I think. I might organize this for the third consecutive year in 2018 so if you are interested in joining do let me know. I will be asking in my Ravelry Group soon if people are interested in joining again. Actually this year I think I only have one new participant all the others joined the first time around and jumped on the chance to join in again for this second time. We’ll see if we have enough participants for a third edition.

But I did also treat myself to some yarnie goodness using my birthday as an excuse. I know I’m an adult and that I don’t need an excuse to buy yarn BUT seeing as I already have more than I need and that I’m trying to cut down on yarn purchases, I’m using the Birthday excuse anyway!

So I purchased some yarns from a destash on Ravelry. This is the first time I have ever done this and I admit I was a bit apprehensive as I did not know the seller at all. I saw a post from this person on Instagram and the yarns pictured were all gorgeous so I had to jump over to Ravelry and take a look. Well I actually ended up buying not 1, not 2, not 3 no no no! I bought 5!!! Yes that’s right I  bought 5 skeins! And they have arrived and they are all as gorgeous as they were on Ravelry.

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Both of these dyers are new to me. I had known about the Wool Barn but never seen their yarn in person and I admit I was oblivious to Woolberry Fibre Co. The yarns are gorgeous. 3 out of 5 skeins are singles so they will be knit into  shawls or cowls in the future. The others will become socks I think.

I also bought more yarn from Lolo Did It. I of course wanted to indulge myself but I also wanted to help with Lolo’s Hurricane Harvey charity and I received my Harvey yarn this weekend. And it’s gorgeous and Lauren even added a complimentary tape measure! Always useful.

This yarn will become a pair of socks in the future.

So as you can see I have been spoiled lately with yarn. I hope I haven’t made you jealous or caused you to break your “no yarn buying” ban. I don’t often share my purchases but as I was on the subject of gifts and so I thought it would be fun.

On another note, I’m bringing the Maker of the Month feature back. I hadn’t intended on stopping during the summer but things happened. I’m hoping we will be doing the first feature in a week or two and the next maker is a yarn dyer and as always there will be a giveaway associated with the feature so stay tuned!

I think this will be all for today. I was going to show you my progress on the mystery kals but I have changed my mind and I’m not going to share until they are officially over. For the first time ever I have not shared pictures of my progress on these on social media and I have even avoided seeing other peoples pictures as well so this time it really is a true mystery knit a long for me.

I hope you have a wonderful week with lots of knitting time! Speak to you soon:)

Knitting woes and successes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Iceland’s first ever Yarn Crawl

Hi there how are you ? I hope your week has been enjoyable and most of all I hope you are safe. My mind and heart are with those who live in the areas touched by the hurricanes in this moment.

As for myself I’m cozy and doing good here in Normandy. I have a ton of knitting on my needles and many that need to be worked on seriously due to deadlines. I still have one cardigan and 3 socks on my needles for test knitting! Yes, I admit, I’m a bit crazy!

I’m of course also participating in the big kals of the moment, What the Fade

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Which is turning out to be a lot of fun. I’m enjoying all the brioche knitting.

And The Road to Rhinebeck

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This was clue one, clue two just came out and I look forward to continuing on this. This time I’m using my own DK yarn. And if you are wondering about my bee project keeper it’s from Sugartots on Etsy.

Now I’m not going to talk about my own knitting today. As the title of this post indicates I want to share with you information and lots of pictures of the first ever Yarn Crawl in Iceland and I’m sure (or should I say, I hope) you will enjoy seeing and reading about that.

I have a cousin in Iceland that is a Knitter with a capital K and she told me about this event that took place last Saturday the 2nd of September. I would have loved to be part of this and spend a day with fellow knitters enjoying yarn fondling and endless inspiration not to mention yarn buying!

Unfortunately I was not able to go to Iceland but my cousin who was attending accepted to take pictures for me and tell me all about the event. Well she did way more than that. She took a gazillion pictures and she even purchased yarns and other goodies for me that I have now received!

So many of you will be familiar with the concept of a yarn crawl but if you are not let me explain. A yarn crawl is a day where a number of yarn shops work together and offer discounts, promote new yarns/books etc, There are designers that come and promote their designs, yarn dyers that do trunk shows etc. Basically a dream day for any knitter.

This was the first time ever this event was organised in Iceland and they are hoping this will be an annual event from here on out. Six yarn shops participated in the event and participants got a postcard that they could get stamped at each shop to participate in a prize drawing at the end of the day.

Each shop had something nice to eat and drink, designers came and presented their books and designs, indie dyers attended with their yarns and some stores had talks given by designers on different knitting or yarn related topics.

Many of these designers are unknown to me and yet they are not only Icelandic like I am but talented and have beautiful designs. So I will definitely need to go check them out on Ravelry. The two indie dyers have gorgeous yarns and sell on Etsy so maybe you would like to get some of their yarns to try for yourself.

The rest of this post is going to be pictures as I think those best describe the feel of the event and I will comment below some on different things. Enjoy!

 

I loved seeing how the shops had loads of knitwear on display. I think that’s a great idea for people to see how the different yarns knit up as well as touch and maybe even try on different designs before deciding whether or not they should cast on. I really love the rainbow lace shawl in the last picture.

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Walls of yarns! Just looking at these makes my fingers itch!

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Yummy refreshments to keep up stamina and strength while yarn shopping:)

 

Designers selling their patterns

This lady is called Audur Bjort and she is a pattern designer and you can see some of her work here and she also is a sewist and  the needle cozy pictured here alone is a present from my cousin that she bought from Audur Bjort. It’s very nicely done and I love the fabric.

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This little slide show, shows you Icelandic wool and traditional patterns. The wool is hand dyed using natural dye stuff and the company is called Thingborgir.

And now it’s time for the indie dyers. There were two doing trunk shows on this day.

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The first dyer is Fra Heradi or in English From the Shire and she is on Etsy. The last picture showing two beautiful MCN skeins is of the yarns my cousin gifted me! Amazing!

The second indie dyer is called Vivid Wool and I believe she too is on Etsy

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Her yarn looks very nice too.

The colorful crochet blanket pictured here, I believe is a design by design team called The Harbour Project. They run a knitting and crochet blog in English and sell their patterns on Ravelry.

I think I can safely say that the first ever yarn crawl in Reykjavik, Iceland was a success. I loved following from afar via my cousin. The goodies she gifted me are gorgeous and I can’t wait to use them for something amazing.

That’s all for today. Have a wonderful weekend and happy 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And this is where I’m at now

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

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

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

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