I’m back at last! Acquisitions, fos and more

Hi there, how are you? I hope you are doing well and  enjoying the last days of summer/winter (depending on where you are in the world).

Here in Normandy, France, summer is coming to an end although the weather could have us think otherwise. We have had a big heat wave which has calmed down now thankfully! So now the weather is just perfect. Sunny and a nice temperature of around 22-24°C. Which for an Icelander such as myself is just the best temperature, not too hot and not too cold.

I have been back from hospital now for just over a week. It was great to get back home to my family and friends. What was a little less nice; was having to go back to work straight away but hey, we all have to work to make a living so no complaining!

The stay at the hospital was really beneficial for me. I learned a lot about the back in general and how to use my back and body to best preserve my health. There are a million things we do everyday that affect the health of our back and sometimes we just need to be a little more careful about how we do things to make a big difference.

Being active is also a big thing when it comes to having a healthy back. People like myself that have health issues are not good with staying in the same position for hours be it standing up, sitting at a desk or lying in bed. As soon as I got back to working 8h a day at my desk, my back pain came running back! I have changed the position of my desk a little so that the computer is now higher up so I don’t need to look down at the screen. I’m also going to look for a very good ergonomic chair. The one I have is not good enough for such long hours. Getting a new chair will certainly make a difference for me.

I’m also going to have to get organised so that I can exercise. Since I came home, I have been going for walks and that is very good. But just walking is not enough. I need to do something more like swimming which I really like. So I’m going to look up the opening hours of the swimming pools near my home to see if I can go once a week and swim. And while I was at the hospital I did a little badminton and I thought that was quite fun so I might look into doing badminton as well. That is a good sport because it makes use of the entire body so all the muscles get some exercise. My problem is going to be the hours! Because I work 3 nights a week and most sports for adults are in the evening here, finding something that can work will be a challenge. Where as swimming; I can do alone, I just need to find the pool with the opening hours that allow me to go there.

Well that is enough and maybe way more health and sport update than you bargained for! Sorry about that:) So let’s get on with the knitting and fibre side of life. Since it’s been 2 weeks since I last posted I have a ton of things to share but I feel that would amount to an epic sized post that would just be too long for anyone to read so I’m going to tell you about some of the things today and the rest later in the week.

So first of, when I was in hospital I told you about knitting shorty socks for my son. Well I finished them while I was there. I really love how they turned out, mostly because of the yarn. I used my own SOX base hand dyed yarn and the way it was dyed gives it a fun patterning when knit up. Here they are all done:

shorties matteo

I also did a little bit of spinning. I had imagined doing way more spinning than I finally ended up doing. But hey, life happens. So I finished this fibre that I had begun spinning a very, very long time ago and I then plied the yarn too. The spindle is from my friend Louise of Spin City UK. She makes gorgeous hand spindles using resin for the whorl and she uses flowers and candy sprinkles and lots of fun stuff to make her spindles totally unique. Just looking at her spindles makes me smile.

The yarn is 2 ply and somewhere between fingering and DK in weight. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it. I need to wash it to set the twist and I really should measure the yardage as well. I just need to work up the courage and find the time and voila:)

And one more item that I finished during my hospital stay was the Risen

Qcardigan by Melanie Berg. I did the biggest size and I admit I was quite worried in the end that I would not have enough yarn to finish the sleeves and since I dyed the yarn especially for this cardigan I knew I did not have any extra! So I ended up playing a game of extreme yarn chicken and thankfully for me, I won! But by mere centimeters!

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I’m happy with the outcome and I have used it once and it fits nicely and it is warm without being heavy so I think I will get a lot of use out of this. And how much yarn did I have left once I bound off? Well,

risen 5 Yebb! That’s all I had left!

I also worked on my Pinwheel blanket and while I was away I got a package with minis. I signed up for a swapless swap on Ravelry and got 10 40 yard skeins from Mint Rain Yarns. I haven’t knit any of them up yet but I’m sure they will all look great in my blanket when I get to knitting them up.

mint rain yarn minis

Another gorgeous new acquisition is a purchase I made from Andre Sue Knits! The Andre Sue of the Andre Sue podcast I’m sure you all know and I’m guessing you are also familiar with her amazing hand painted sock blanks. It’s been a while since I started stalking her shop but her work is in such high demand that the only time you have a minimal chance of purchasing anything from her is if you set your alarm for her shop update and then choose and item and check out ASAP and then go back again if you want a second blank! Well, that is just what I did! I set my alarm for just before 1am and then I stayed on Etsy and refreshed the page until I saw her update. I managed to get 2 sock blanks and they arrived in just a week which is quite quick for an order from the US.

I was not disappointed! The sock blanks are so amazingly well done. I really do not comprehend how she does it! How she manages to paint so precisely on the sock blank. When I showed the blanks to my kids; my daughter said: “you shouldn’t unravel them and knit, you should just keep them like this” and I admit I’m tempted. BUT I did buy them to knit them into socks so… At the moment I haven’t started; I’m enjoying looking at them as they are currently. But I did purchase Mina’s Beyond Vanilla Socks Part 2 patterns and I think I’ll knit her patterns using the blanks. So here they are in all their glory:

andre sue sock blanks Talk about gorgeous! These will be sure to knit into some amazing socks I’m sure.

Well that’s all for now. I don’t want to take up all your day/night so thank you for stopping by and spending some time with me. I wish you a wonderful week and hope you will have lots of time for knitting or whatever fibery craft it is you enjoy the most.

Until next time, take care 🙂

 

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A FO, a HO and a WIP

Hi there and welcome back. I hope you are doing good and enjoying your month of August. I’m still in the hospital/physical rehabilitation center but not for much longer! One more week and I’ll be home at last! 4 weeks is a long time to be away and I’m really getting a bit homesick and dreaming of being with my family and friends and eating yummy meals! Soon, very soon 🙂

But enough about that. Lets talk knitting, as you can gather from the title, I’ve made some knitting progress.

First the FO, I finished the pair of Jelly Roll socks for my youngest. I really like how they turned out, I especially like the double cuff and how it rolls.

jelly rolls for InesThe yarn is my own hand dyed on my SPARKLES base. The yellow is actually highlighter yellow, it doesn’t show that good in the picture. And even though the yellow is super bright it is not scary strange as the grey really tones things down and just works really well with the yellow I think.

And the HO, is the pair of shorty socks that I’m knitting for my son. I’m not using any particular pattern but rather using my regular sock recipe in short version. I have one sock done and I’m well passed the heel now- I have made some progress since this picture was taken

shorties for Matteo

I hope they will fit. He has much bigger feet than I do and I haven’t been able to have him try them on. Just in case they are not long enough, I have decided not to weave in the end at the toe so I can easily undo it and knit them a little longer. I really like the yarn and how it knits up, its on my SOX base.

And for the WIP, it’s my Risen cardigan by Melanie Berg. I’ve made some good progress there. I’m only 8 rows from cast off for the body and the its on to the sleeves. I was hoping to make them longer but that is something I thought of AFTER dyeing my yarn so I will not have enough yarn for full length sleeves. Actually, I’m scared I might not even have enough for 3/4 length sleeves either! So once I have cast off the body, I’m going to rewind the rest of my yarn so that I can knit both sleeves simultaneously. It is going to be one stressful game of yarn chicken! This will serve as a lesson to me to ALWAYS allow for at least 10% more yardage than the pattern calls for and TO MAKE A GAUGE SWATCH! I’m ashamed to say so but….I actually did not make a swatch. I was going to but… something happened I guess…no nothing happened. This is just me being rebellious and over confident! That will teach me a lesson!

Anyway, here are some pictures – not great ones as it is quite difficult to photograph oneself in a mirror…

It feels good on me and I’m already thinking of making a second one!

This last week here in Granville, Normandy, I’m going to finish the shorty for my son, finish the body of my Risen and get going on the sleeves and possibly pick up my sock from my last qualifying round of Sock Madness! That is the most difficult and most beautiful sock I have knit so far and it has been in hibernation for a while now. I need to finish it and I think picking it up here where I’m alone in my room at night and can fully concentrate would be a good idea. You probably don’t know which sock this is so here’s a picture to refresh your memory. The pattern is called Coffee Cantata.

sock madness round 6And this is where I’m still at today, just passed the cuff on sock nr 2. I might not get to the sock but I’m going to try.

Anyway that’s about it for my knitting except that I’m occasionally working on my Pinwheel blanket by Mina Philipp of the Knitting Expat Podcast. I have finished square 4 and just began square 5 yesterday.

square 5That’s it for today. I hope you have a great week and lots of crafting time. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to blog next week as I might be busy the first days after coming home not to mention that I return to work as of Monday! But I will be posting when I get the chance and share my progress with you plus some amazing acquisitions that I made this week and will hopefully arrive very soon in my mailbox.  I’m super excited about those:)

But before I go, here a few pictures from yesterday- the beach and the  book market that was held here yesterday.

Until next time, take care 🙂

granville plage 14auggranville plage 14 aug -1marche du livremarche du livre 1

Progress on my Risen and two new cast ons

Hi there, how are you doing? I’m doing fine and making the best of my stay here in Granville. I’m half done with my treatment/stay which is good because it’s beginning to feel like a long time without my kids.

Before coming here, I packed a ton of knitting stuff but finally I don’t have that much time to knit. What happens is that during lunch break more often than not I’m so tired that I fall asleep and so I only have about 1 hour to knit in the afternoon and then again I have my evening.

I finished the socks that I was test knitting and I was going to cast on for another pattern by Nancy Whitman for the kal I’m doing in my Ravelry group but….I guess this is somewhat due to homesickness, I cast on for socks for my kids:) I finished a pair coming here and that will be for my oldest so this weekend I cast on for shorties for my son and my youngest daughter.

For my son I’m not using any pattern really but just knitting “from experience”. I’m using a yarn I dyed myself in my SOX base and I really like how this yarn is knitting up so far.

shorty matteo 9 augIt knits up with a sort of striping effect. My son has big feet so these will not be finished in a jiffy! Even if they are shorties:)

And for my youngest I cast on for a pair of Jelly Rolls by the same designer as the Rose City Rollers. I had almost finished one sock when my kids came to visit last Sunday and my daughter tried the sock and unfortunately I had to rip about half of it back. The pattern gives an option for a ribbing on the arch or not and I had chosen the first option which is for a slipped stitch pattern which looks quite nice but was not able to keep the gauge loose and so when she tried the sock on, it was painfully obvious that the arch pattern was way too tight.

jelly roll 1Maybe if I had gone up a needle size or two it would have been perfect. So ripped back and began again. I really liked mixing the yellow in with the grey so I did not feel like doing a plain grey sock to the toe so I decided on stripes.

I like how that turned out. Now I just need to cast on for sock number 2.

I’m also making good progress on my Risen cardigan by Melanie Berg.

The pattern is easy to execute and knits up quite nicely. I really like the stitch pattern on the neck band. I’m a few inches from the cabled hem. My objective is to finish the body this weekend at the latest and then begin the sleeves next week. I don’t think I’ll be able to finish the cardigan before going home on August 20th but I’d love to be close to finishing.

My family brought me a book this weekend. I had purchased a new book with sock patterns and a skein of hand dyed yarn a while ago and it just arrived. I told them to leave the yarn at home as I already have way to much yarn with me here but I did want to see the book.

sock book by truly hookedThis is the first book by designer and yarn dyer Verity Casteldine. She sells her yarn under the name Truly Hooked on Etsy. The book is very nice and I really like the patterns that are not too complicated. Most of the patterns, I feel, are for women. What I noticed and think is a little funny, is that she only uses solid yarns for her patterns/socks in this new book.  I love crazy variegated yarns with lots of bright and contrasting colours that can only really be used for socks and I use those for simple vanilla socks. However, for socks with lace and / or cables I really prefer solid or semisolid yarns. I feel that way the pattern is not “hidden” by the yarn. I can see myself knit all the patterns in this book so it will soon find its place on my nightstand while I finish my wips and find the perfect yarn to start casting on.

This past weekend, there was a little celebration/festival here in Granville. It’s called “la nuit des soudeurs” or the night of the metal workers or something like that in English. I did not check out the fun at night but I did walk around and take pictures during the day. It was fun to see the creativity and the things people were making and I have included a few pictures here for you to see if you are tempted. Nothing to do with knitting of course but I thought you might like to see the pictures anyway.

Thats all for now. I hope you are well and enjoying your summer and your knitting.

Pattern purchase crazyness

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are doing well and enjoying your summer/winter (depending on where you are in the world). Here in Normandy the weather has not been very summery these last few days but this afternoon there is a glimpse of sun so maybe, just maybe we will get some nice summer days this weekend. That would be very nice.

I’d like to thank those of you who have sent me kind words and well wishes both here on the blog and on other social media. I’m almost half done with my 4 week treatment and I’m doing good. This is an intensive therapy for the back so my days are full of treatments and sports. It is difficult for someone who is used to being every sedentary like myself but I see progress already so that’s positive and everyone is very attentive to how we are doing and exercises are adapted on a need be basis. So all good news on the health front:)

So before coming here, I packed a certain number of knitting projects but finally I’m not knitting as much as I thought I would be. I don’t have so much free time and in the evenings I admit I’m quite tired so I usually don’t last very long. At the moment I’m working on the same 3 projects as last week.

I’m on square number 4 on my Pinwheel blanket

square 4 pinwheel blanket

I’m still working on my sock pattern test. I finished sock number 1 and I’m about to start the heel on sock number 2. I’m not yet at liberty to show you pictures but here is one of the yarns I’m using.

colors in sock knitting testThe main color is the blue/grey one (top right), the cuff/heel/toe is the bright yellow. Both these yarns are on my SPARKLES base. The little yarn balls are Madeline Tosh Unicorn Tails in different colours for the color patterning.

The result is a pair of very colourful and fun socks. I did run into trouble with the heel and toe so I used my “normal” toe on sock 1 and the heel is a mix of the pattern instructions and my own “normal” heel. It is a bit wonky but I was too lazy to rip it out and begin again. After all, I think I knit and ripped out the heel at least 4 times before just going with what I understood! So for sock number 2 I’m not complicating matters and I’m just going with my “normal” heel and toe. The look is very similar so it should not be a problem and should not be super apparent when wearing the socks.

And then there is the cardigan, Risen by Melanie Berg. I’ve separated for the sleeves and am now knitting the body. So far I really like the pattern. The collar/neckline has a very nice stitch pattern and I think this could become a piece of clothing that I will use a lot. I’m already thinking this could be great to have in different colours.

risen cardigan 3augThis picture was taken just before I put the sleeves on hold so I’m a bit further along now. I’m not going to cast on anything new until I have finished my sock test knitting and then I’m going to cast on for the Gilmore Girls socks.

 

I did a kit with CC Almon of the Geeky Girls Knit podcast/JavaPurl Designs and I dyed a skein of yarn for myself.  CC and VeganJilly of the Knitting Broomstick podcast are hosting a Gilmore Girls kal which started August 1st and runs until September 31st I believe. You do not have to knit using this particular yarn or pattern but IF you knit CC’s pattern  I believe you get extra points for the kal. Both groups on Ravelry have threads, the chatter thread is in the Knitting Broomstick group and the FO thread is in the Geeky Girls Knit group. So if  you like the Gilmore Girls show you should definitely join in. The pattern by CC can be found on Ravelry and is called Where you lead I will follow and here are a couple of pictures of the socks knit up in my yarn.

Now on the my latest acquisitions. As the title of this blog post indicates there has been some pattern purchase craziness going on! I don’t know if it is being away from everyone and having more time to browse the internet than usual or what but….I have bought loads of patterns lately! My last purchases were done on August 1st and although I did go slightly mad, to my defence, I did make use of coupon 7, patterns from Joji and amazingly they are all for cardigans! I guess I’m feeling very much like knitting up a wardrobe which is unusual as I mostly knit shawls and socks. But who can resist Joji’s patterns and her cardigans are all gorgeous. I already own a ton of her patterns; most of which I have yet to knit (can one talk about having a “pattern stash”?)

pattern purchases

Joji is having a special sale on all her independently published patterns until August 5 so you still have a few hours to make good use of her offer. You get -20% off her patterns using coupon code: jojifallkal

And then there is Andrea Mowry  which like I said before is a new to me designer. She has a number of very nice patterns that I can see myself knitting and wearing and she too is having a sale. I bought 5 of her patterns. 1 slipper socks, 2 shawls, 1 cowl and 1 hat. All very exciting patterns that I hope to knit up this coming winter. Andrea’s sale runs until August 7th and she offers -33% off her patterns using coupon code: bday33

I highly recommend you check out both Ravelry stores as I’m pretty sure you will find at least one pattern, if not 10, that you would like to make and getting them at a discounted price just makes the purchase even more exciting:)

That’s about all I have for you today. The weekend is coming up so I will have some more free time to knit and continue spinning also. I hope to finish my test sock this weekend so I can cast on for the Gilmore Girls socks. I’m donating a prize for the kal and you can find info on that by watching either or even better, both, podcasts: Geeky Girls Knit and The Knitting Broomstick. Do let me know if you are joining in and tell me what pattern and yarn you have chosen.

And before I leave you, here are a few pictures of some sights from my surroundings. The pink house is the family home of Mr Christian DIOR!

 

 

Knitting, spinning and exercise

That’s the program for the next 4 weeks for me. If you follow my blog you will know that I have a bad back and that I’m currently in hospital for a 4 week program for my back. So I arrived Sunday July 24th and I’ll stay until Saturday August 20th. Today was the first “real” day with lots of workout, more than I have done in years and years. I think I’ll probably fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow this evening. This program is to help us better understand our body and especially our back. To learn how to move and do things to best preserve our spine, to possibly find new drugs that work better than what I’m currently taking, to talk to others in the same situation and just generally to feel understood and not alone. Having a bad back is an invisible decease and while one may feel good and be able to do everything one day, that does not exclude us from having a horrible day the following day and not being able to accomplish half of what we normally do. And its not because we are lazy, its because we suffer even if it does not show on the outside.

It really feels good to be able to talk to people who have similar problems and feel understood and I have high hopes for all the exercise and just basically everything that I will do here for the next 4 weeks. But this is not a “bad back” blog and you may not be interested in the least in my troubles so lets talk some knitting:)

On my drive here, I finished a pair of socks that had been on my needles for quite a while. It was a pair of Cobblestone Socks by Mina Philipp- part of her Beyond Vanilla socks 1 collection. I knit those using yarn from a German indie dyer I found on Etsy some while ago. I really like the colours but the yarn is quite coarse to the touch but that should be ok and probably means sturdier socks. It’s just not quite as enjoyable to knit with. So here are some pictures.

The second picture shows you a close up of the patterning. It’s a simple knit and purl patterning that is only done on the front of the socks. It’s easy to memorise and I like the results so I’ll probably use this pattern in the future for some more socks.

I’m continuing my work on the Pinwheel blanket which is also by Mina Philipp. That is a very simple pattern for a scrap yarn blanket. I rather like this pattern because each square is quite big so I imagine that the blanket will feel like a quicker knit compared to the Cozy Memories blanket where you have to knit a gazillion mitred squares. It will take quite some time to complete of course but I like it. So I’m knitting a little bit on this from time to time. Here is a picture from square 3 which I’m currently working on.

IMG_5690

I’m also knitting my second test knit for a designer and this time it is also for a pair of socks. I’m not at liberty to show you a picture yet but I can tell you that this is a colourful pattern and it has an unusual construction based almost entirely on short rows. At the moment I’m ready to start the heel on sock 1. I’m planning to work a little on this every day. I have until August 19th to finish and I’m pretty sure I’ll be done way ahead of that deadline.

I also cast on and began knitting my Risen cardigan by Melanie Berg. I dyed the yarn for that myself and I was determined to do a swatch and block and everything like any serious knitter does……but…..somehow I never got around to it before leaving for the hospital and yesterday I could have done a swatch and just washed and laid it out flat to dry somewhere but…. again I’m not a serious knitter so rather than do the intelligent thing, I just cast on for the neckband and voila! Last night I finished the first part of the neckband and this evening I’ll get started on the neckline.

I love the look of this cardi. A bit like the Featherweight Cardi I think and I’m sure I’ll get a lot of use out of this all year round. Here’s a picture of the beginning of the neckband.

IMG_5705

And my last knitting project at the moment is a mini knitting challenge with Françoise of Aroha Knits and it’s the #5shawls5days challenge. Every day for 5 days she sends an email with a pattern for a mini shawl. This is to help us familiarise us with different shawl constructions and maybe one day actually be confident enough to make our very own shawl pattern.  Yesterday was day one and that was a triangular shawl and I knit that using some of my hand dyed SOX yarn and it turned out nicely I think.

IMG_5706

That’s about it I think for my knitting. I did bring some fibre and spindles with me too. I was stressed out about having time on my hands on the evenings and weekend and not enough projects to work on so I took a ton! At the moment I’m spinning a braid from Sweet Georgia Fibres and I’m using my latest spindle purchase which is a type of supported spindle which allows you to use both hands for spinning/drafting where a traditional supported spindle only lets you use one hand. I find using this spindle very enjoyable and easy and so I’m making good progress.

IMG_5708

Thats it for today. Thank you for stopping by and sorry if my health update bothered you. Before I leave I want to include a little slide show to show you the beautiful surroundings where I am now. It’s a town called Granville and apparently Christian Dior lived here part of his life and his house and garden are now a museum that I’ll definitely visit while here. I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures. I wish you a wonderful week, enjoy your summer and your knitting until next time 🙂

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A new week and a WIP is now an FO

Hi there, I hope you had a great week and a wonderful weekend. What made my week was that I finally finished one of my shawls that was on my WIP table.

It’s a shawl I begun on December 27th and I finished last Friday 4th of March. I actually left it on my table for a few weeks not doing any work at all on it and then decided it was time to finish some of these lingering projects.

I did share with you that leaving a colour work project for a few weeks was not a good idea because I totally did not manage to continue the pattern I had back then. I seem to have understood the directions in one way in Dec/Jan and then I understood them in a totally different way in Feb! Go figure! So I ended up knitting and ripping out the colour work section at least 3 times.

The final result is very nice although I have conflicting feelings about the end colour work pattern. I almost feel that my “misunderstood” pattern looked better. But that’s another story.

The pattern is called The Love of Spiders by Melanie Berg.

So I finally did finish the shawl and blocked it lightly before gifting it to a friend. Here are some pictures

It’s quite a big shawl and the yarn which is from Sunshine Yarns is super nice and squishy. I’m really happy to have this off my needles. Next in line I’d love to cast of my Come What May shawl – I literally only have the bind off left so that should not take too much time. And then I have the sweater for my daughter and my cardigan to finish but those will need a bit more time especially my cardigan.

I’ve also begun my Sock Madness challenge and I’m knitting pair number 1. Now there were some surprises like I thought I’d get an email to tell me that the game was on and that I had a pattern waiting but no. So I was waiting on March 1st for that to happen and by the late afternoon I decided to go on Ravelry and check out the thread in the Sock Madness group and that’s when I discovered that there is no email! One has to follow the thread and that is where we get alerts about the patterns etc. A second surprise was that the first pattern was not the one I expected. So before the Sock Madness began, we got  a list of what is needed for each pattern, what kinds of yarn, yardage and accessories and the patterns were named after the alphabet: A, B, C etc so when I prepared my yarns I thought that pattern A would be the first and so I did not prepare all the way to pattern E which is the last one. Lucky for me, I had prepared the yarn for the actual first pattern so once I found the pattern I was able to cast on.

This first pattern is called SlipStripeSpiral and the designer is Mylène Pipers. This is a very nice pattern and I especially appreciate that I’m learning new things. First they are knit toe up and the toe is not the regular toe up but a round toe which is a very nice touch. Second the heel is a mix of Cat Bordhi’s sweet tomato heel and Japanese short row shaping. I do admit that the heel is a bit complicated and it did give me some trouble on the first sock. Now I’m on sock number two and hopefully this second heel will be easier to do. I must admit that the pattern does include links to YouTube videos that show the techniques use but….I was to busy/stupid to actually watch those but I just might take a look before doing the second heel. That way I can truly say I have learned a new trick:)

So I have until March 14th to finish this first pair and I think that will not be a problem. Here are some pictures

I really like the slipped stitch pattern and how it creates vertical stripes. I could see myself doing a variation of this pattern by doing both vertical and horizontal stripes, that could be quite cool I think.

So due to the nature of Sock Madness, I have to be quite monogamous while doing that  but I must not forget the Knit From Stash 2016 Kal either. I’m still on sock number one of the March sock but I hope to finish it this week and cast on for the second one. There is less pressure there as I have until the end of the month to finish my pair. The pattern is gorgeous and the West Yorkshire Spinners 4ply yarn is working up nicely and showing off the textured pattern.

calathea sock 6mars This is how far I’ve got on the first sock. The pattern is called Calathea by Heatherly Walker.

And before I leave you today I wanted to show you my latest fibre related “toy”. One night I was browsing the internet and thinking about spinning and I came upon this website for an artist that invented something called a “spindolyn”. I checked out her website and watched a few YouTube videos and naturally I had to have one! And so I gave in and placed an order. And boy am I happy I did! The spindolyn is every spinners dream (I think) for spinning on the go – or even just spinning around the house. It works like a supported spindle only it allows you to control your spinning/fibre with BOTH hands. I mostly spin on a wheel but I have a nice collection of all sorts of spindles and I admit I desperately want to get prolific at spindle spinning but it’s taking me a lot of time and so I thought maybe the spindolyn would help me work on my spindle skills. It is a true joy to work with and I can spin in front of the tv with my family – which I cannot do with my wheel because the “hissing” sound the wheel makes disturbs them. Also, I will have to go to a rehabilitation center for a month soon (for my back problems) and I cannot see myself spending a month somewhere and not be able to spin and so I will definitely be taking my spindolyn with me.

This is what it looks like

spindolyn Here it is lying on my thighs but when working I place the stand between my thighs. It is also possible to buy a floor extension which I think is quite brilliant. I probably should make a little demo video to show you how I spin on this but in the mean time you can check out the website and there you will have access to her videos as well. And she also sells other spinning accessories that are very unique too. The website is called Spindolyn

I think this will be all for today. I have a lot of things to share this week I feel so I probably will be doing some more posting this week so stay tuned.

Thank you for stopping by and take care:)

Finished and half finished objects

Hi there, at last (seems like I’ve been waiting for days) it’s almost WEEKEND! Hope you too are off from work and will be able to enjoy some downtime to relax and knit. I won’t have much downtime but I hope I’ll get some knitting done anyway.

Let me share with you some major achievements (well not necessarily major but rather some happy cast offs)

First, I finished the body of my Snowflake sweater by TinCanKnits! Wow that was a super quick knit. I’d forgotten how much quicker it is to knit with DK yarn compared to fingering! The pattern is fun and easy. I did have some challenges at the beginning for the lace yoke and actually ripped it out twice. The third time was a charm even though I did make one small mistake but I was too far along and just to…annoyed to bother to rip everything out once more so I left it in and I think it’s ok, it’s not something that screams at you and probably non knitters won’t even notice:)

After that it was smooth sailing. If you are planning on knitting this sweater, I highly recommend the use of stitch markers for the lace yoke. I’d even go as far as to say that it is ESSENTIAL. I don’t know why I did not use them from the get go as I usually do! But  hey, I got through it and now I only have the sleeves to do and the button bands for the yoke.

www.knittinginfrance.com   Not the best picture but I was alone so I’m using the mirror.   www.knittinginfrance.com What do you think about the bright pink?

So I cast off the body part of Snowflake Wednesday 16th of September and the same day I also cast off and even wove in the ends of my Drachenfels shawl by Melanie Berg! Talk about efficiency!

I’m very happy with the shawl and it is going to be a birthday gift for my mother.

www.knittinginfrance.com I really like the colors. I bought the pattern as a kit with the yarn on Craftsy. The yarn is from Brown Sheep Company.

Also I played around with dyeing sock yarn. I dyed just 2 skeins as a test and shared on social media. The feedback was so good that I actually sold one of the two skeins! Which is great! So now I have one to test and I’m going to knit a pair of simple vanilla socks with that yarn.

www.knittinginfrance.com The yarn I sold is the grey one and I’ll be knitting with the blue one.

That’s all for today. If you have finished anything lately you’d like to share with me, please do. I’d love to see what you’re working on.

Take care:)

On and off the needles and some organisational thoughts

Hi there, today is a very rainy morning here in Normandy, France. Feels like autumn is only just around the corner. This summer has been a strange summer with more clouded and rainy days than real summer days which was quite disappointing. Now September is just a few days away, School will start in just over a week and things will rapidly be going back to the usual routine. Summer vacation with the kids at home 24/7 for 2 months when I work full time just like my husband and only get 2 weeks off, well it is partly stressing because working from home with kids in the house is not always easy and then partly cool because I can sleep a little later in the day (yes I do like sleep in a little bit). When school starts I will be getting up early and I know I will more done!

I’ve shared with you before that I was planning on big changes in the shop and as of yesterday I’ve put the shop in “vacation mode”. So currently it is not possible to place any orders. I don’t know exactly for how long it will remain closed, it depends on how much work I can get done each day and also, I have a work trip coming up late September so maybe I will wait until that is over and done with to open rather than open for a few days and the either close or  just not ship anything for 10 days. Not sure just yet but I’ll keep you posted on how things go.

I’ve ordered a planner! My very first planner! I’m anxiously waiting for it to arrive and I have high hopes that it will help me organise myself better and get more things done. Writing down what needs to be done, planning a certain number of tasks that must be done in a certain time frame will help me keep focused and the pleasure of then actually crossing that task off in my planner will be a high! There are a number of planners out there and they all look good and most of them super cute as well. I chose the one called Passion Planner because I felt it would be the best for me. They have a free version of the weekly planner layout in pdf form that you can download if you want to give it a go before committing to buying one.

So although the thought of autumn weather and more rain and cold is not very exciting I am really looking forward to having more time to myself ( with the kids at school) and getting ORGANIZED. And mostly rethinking my shop and giving it all that I’ve got and more in a last ditch effort to actually make it financially viable. So fingers crossed and willing to take on lots of work and challenges, that’s exactly what I’m going to do!!!

Now, enough of non knitting related babble! On the more serious and entertaining subject of knitting!

So like I told you last week, I did manage to knit in Sicily albeit the high temperatures! And it just made me love beach knitting even more. Here in Normandy I love knitting at the beach, usually it is not super hot and even if I have to wear a fleece pullover that’s fine with me. If the sky is blue, the sun is shining and I’m in the sand facing the ocean with some knitting in hand, that works for me! Of course in winter I don’t do any knitting at the beach as the weather is not appealing for outdoors knitting but I do all the more inside:)

So in Sicily I had 2 projects that I had already cast on for the trip and  I brought an extra ball of yarn just in case I finished an object and I did so good thinking there!

The first project was a pair of tube socks for a little friend of mine. I used some of my hand dyed sparkle sock yarn and as I did not have her at hand for testing and measuring I decided the only way to go was tube socks. I also decided that I would knit these using the 2 in 1 method that I’ve come to like so much. And that got me thinking. I’d love to write the pattern for these socks using the 2 in 1 method and even try my hand at making some YouTube videos to show how I do it because this is a method that is unlike any other sock knitting method and I believe it is important for knitters to see how it is done and read the instructions and most of all to actually knit a pair of test socks. So hopefully I will actually put this project on my future Passion Planner and get it done! The socks worked out perfectly and the little girl loved her socks so that was a very successful knit.

www.knittinginfrance.com

The second project I had planned for was the Mara Light shawl by Amy Hendrix using Madelinetosh light yarn. I actually bought this as a kit on Craftsy. The kit came with 2 skeins but the pattern actually calls for 1 1/2 – at least that is what it took for me to knit to the size called for in the pattern so I have 1/2 a skein left of this gorgeous yarn. I didn’t finish in Sicily but just after getting back home. I still need to wash and block. The pattern is über simple, just garter stitch and 2×2 ribbing. This makes for some good airplane knitting, tv knitting or beach knitting. In the end, I did look forward to casting off as there is not much going on but I think that is just because it is a big project which doesn’t require much thought and I’m usually doing smaller things so maybe my attention span has been spoiled:)

www.knittinginfrance.com It doesn’t look like much like this but once washed and blocked it will be gorgeous. It is the perfect size to use as a wrap around this winter and I think I will gift this to someone in my family for Christmas.

Then there was my SOS ball of yarn! It was a ball of Lorna’s Laces Shepherds socks but believe it or not, I’ve lost the ball band so I don’t have the name of the colorway. It is beautiful though as all Lorna’s Laces yarns. Its soft blues, purples, tans and a tiny pink maybe. So first I was going to knit a second pair of tube socks, I cast on, knit a few inches and then discovered I had done THE mistake, that is mixed up my yarns and my socks were no longer 2 individual socks but siamese twins! That got me upset and I frogged what I had done and decided I’d do something else and as I had just recently purchased a book called Custom Socks by Kate Atherly I decided to make my own pattern. After all my very first sock pattern worked out quite nice so I thought a second one would be great fun! And off I went. I planned out my pattern, chose a stitch pattern and cast on.

www.knittinginfrance.com  www.knittinginfrance.com  This is a close up of the pattern.

I really love the way they look and although I have not been through all the sock patterns you can find on Ravelry I’m confident they have something unique. So I’m now going to write up the pattern and knit a second pair using my own yarn. I also need to think of a name for the pattern and that is something I don’t find easy so if you have any ideas, do share them with me.

I’m planning on doing a test knit of my two sock patterns in September so if you want to do a test knit, leave me a comment below. I’ve never organised a test knit but I’ve read up on the matter and I here’s how I think I’ll organise this. Each test knitter would get a copy of the pattern and is then free to choose a yarn to knit with as long as she gets gauge. If the test knitter wants to knit using my yarn they would be offered -20% off retail price. You would get 4 weeks to complete the pair. I would open a thread on Ravelry for the test knits for all involved to post progress pictures and ask questions or post remarks. Once the test knit phase is over and the pattern has been corrected if needed and polished up, each test knitter would then receive a pdf copy of the final pattern.

And if you don’t remember what my first sock pattern looked like, here’s a picture

www.knittinginfrance.com www.knittinginfrance.com Coral Reef socks

So those are all OFF the needles. So ON the needles I’m mostly working on 2 projects. One is a pair of worsted weight socks, my pattern and my yarn, for my sister. This is super simple but I still might just write the pattern up and offer for free with any yarn purchase in the same weight category. I’ll see about that. And I’m doing a second shawl, this one also bought as a kit from Craftsy. It is Drachenfels by Melanie Berg and I’m almost up to the striped portion

www.knittinginfrance.com So far it looks nice and I’m sure the finished shaw will be very nice. I’ve already decided I’m going to gift this to someone in my family for Christmas. The yarn is from the Brown Sheep Company.

And just before I leave for today, I’m not sure I showed you a picture yet but I finished my Beetlebum shawl by Renée Callahan of East London Knits a while back now and I’m ashamed to say that I have yet to wash and block it! But here’s a picture just as proof that it is done although sadly it’s beauty is not really shown in the unblocked shawl.

www.knittinginfrance.com Even though unblocked you get the picture of the pattern and how it is worked and you can just imagine how gorgeous it will look once blocked. The yarn is my own, lace weight and super soft. This is a real stunner!

 

That’s all for today. I’d love to hear and see what you are working on now or what you have cast off this summer. Do share pictures or the names of patterns you are working on so I can take a look and maybe even add to my Ravelry queue:)

Take care and enjoy your crafting until next time:)