And the winner is…

Hi there, today I only have a quick winner announcement to make as I have drawn for the winner for the Coffee with CC and Dami too giveaway.

I would have liked to see more people take part but hey, this just means those who did have a better chance of actually winning!

So drum rolls please:….

And the winner of the ebook Coffee with CC and Dami too is…post number 4 which is Tiffany Kornberg or whatanovelidea on Ravelry. Congratulations Tiffany, I will notify CC and she will gift you the ebook on Ravelry as soon as possible.

I hope you will enjoy the book and maybe share your future knits with me:)

To all the other participants, thank you for taking part. Next month’s maker will be a yarn dyer so again there will be soon be an exciting new giveaway to take part in.

Have a wonderful week and enjoy your knitting 🙂

Maker of the Month – Part two

Hi there, I hope you are doing good since yesterday. Being Thursday today I sort of feel like the week is coming to an end as always on Thursdays. I sort of start counting down to Friday night when I can finally relax some and enjoy more knitting time.

I hope you enjoyed yesterdays post and interview with my friend CC of JavaPurl Designs. Today is the second half of my feature on her and her work and today is all about her new book which will be officially launched tomorrow March 10th at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

This second book of CCs is co-authored with her daughter Dami and includes 7 patterns, 5 socks, 1 wrap and fingerless mitts. The book is available both as a physical book and as an ebook. You can purchase her physical book at EYF if you are one of the lucky attendees or you can go to her website . The ebook can be purchased on Ravelry and the individual patterns from the book will be released on March 12th – for those who only want to buy one or two patterns.

This second book is called Coffee with CC (and Dami too) and has 7 coffee inspired patterns. Five of those are designed by CC herself and 2 by her daughter Dami who is not yet 18! So impressive! I would never have been able to design let alone publish a pattern at that age.

coffee with cc and dami too

If you read yesterday’s post you will have gathered that I’m a fan of CC and her patterns and you will have gotten some insight into the person behind these amazing creations. And if for some reason you have not read the post and her interview, I recommend you stop for a few minutes, read the post, and then come back here for the book review.

As always CC’s patterns are very clearly written out leaving no room for hesitations or errors. All the sock patterns are written both cuff down and toe up which I find amazing. That is two times the work for the designer for double the pleasure for us knitters. Whatever our preference when it comes to knitting socks, we are sure to find the pattern and instructions we need.

The patterns are graded by difficulty level which are indicated by the number of coffee cups. One cup is light, two is medium and three is strong. This will help you gauge each pattern better and if you are a new or newer knitter you can work your way through the book from the easiest to the most difficult one and come out a hero:)  Just saying 🙂

CC has also teamed up with indie dyers for this book and so each pattern features a gorgeous hand dye yarn making the pattern pictures that much yummier.  The photography is beautiful and the overall feeling when browsing the book is one of well being. That may sound strange given that I’m reviewing a book but what I mean is that it’s a friendly, relaxed book that makes you want to knit every single pattern and not only that, but it makes you feel you can!

Clearly I cannot say enough good things about this book and I do want to knit every single pattern in there. I felt the same way about her first book and I did start to knit the patterns from that one but have not finished yet as I tend to be constantly distracted but I will knit them all and the same goes for this one and I’m planning to start after Sock Madness. Would you be interested in doing a yearlong kal? Something very relaxing, just knit at our own speed as we knit all the patterns in either this or last years book? Or better yet, a mix of both? No need to commit to knitting 14 patterns but if you want to knit a few let me know in the thread on Ravelry that I have created in my group.

And now onto the individual patterns.

CC Babyccino_Main_small2 These are the Babyccino Socks designed by Dami. I love the stitch pattern she chose and the fact that you could knit a pair for every member of your family as they come sized from baby to adult!

CC Chai_Latte_Main_small2 These are the Chai Latte socks. Again a fun stitch pattern and it works perfectly with a self striping yarn. I love self striping yarns but most of the time I only do plain vanilla socks when using a self striping yarn. Having the option of a fun patterned sock that is tailored to a self striping pattern is amazing and I think it will make the knitting only that much more fun.

CC Espresso_Con_Panna_main_small2 The Espresso Con Panna socks. Again CC has used a textured pattern and I think this will work especially well with variegated yarns and I do have a ton of those in my stash! I also love how this one looks in this tonal yarn. I’d love to make these and I can see myself doing this pattern in all kinds of yarns because I think the end result will be so different depending on the type of yarn I choose (crazy variegated, subtle tonal or solid).

CC Hot_Chocolate_Main_small2 The Hot Chocolate with pink marshmallows speaks to me louder than the others because unlike CC I’m not a coffee drinker! I know, I know! But I do love a good hot chocolate 🙂 The pattern has a beautiful X and O pattern and I think it is best shown off when knit in a tonal or solid yarn and that’s what I plan on doing.

CC Instant_Coffee_Main_small2 The Instant Coffee socks. Again a very fun stitch pattern that works beautifully with a tonal or solid yarn. It looks super  yummy and textural. They say it is as easy as making instant coffee so this might become a new substitute for vanilla socks in the future.

CC Fingerless_Mitts_main_small2 1 shot, 2 shots, 3 shots fingerless mitts. How fun are these ? You have three designs in one as you can choose how far up your arm the mitts go and I love the cable design.

CC Flat_White_Main_small2 The Flat White Wrap. This is a beautiful  lace design shown here as a wrap but CC does explain that this can be modified to become a skinnier wrap, a scarf or even a cowl. That is a very versatile pattern and I think I might make the cowl version myself as I’m not a fan of scarf knitting and I think a wrap would be trying on my patience and I might put it aside to cast on some socks and then have a hard time picking it up again. So yes I’ll do the cowl.

Those are the beautiful patterns in CC and Dami’s new book being released tomorrow. I highly recommend you buy this book. The ebook is 19.20USD on Ravelry and that is good value for 7 designs I think.

A big  thank you to CC and Dami for gifting me their book and allowing me to review it before the official launch.

They have also generously offered to give one of you a copy of their ebook! How amazing is that? So in order to enter and be eligible to win a copy of the ebook, please leave a comment below with your Ravelry id and tell me which of these 7 patterns you love the most. I will draw for a winner Friday 17th of March. Best of luck to you and I’ll be back after the weekend. Until then, have a great weekend and enjoy your knitting.

 

The Maker of the Month is CC Almon of JavaPurl Designs – Part one

Hi there, how are you today? I hope your week is shaping up to be a good one.

Now as you will have guessed from the title, today it’s time for the Maker of the Month and today I want to introduce you to CC Almond of JavaPurl Designs. I have a lot of things to share with you regarding this month’s maker so this is actually going to be a two post series. Tomorrow I will be sharing something very exciting with you and there will be a giveaway too:)

I’m actually  lucky enough to have met CC in real life. We met when we were both vending at the I Knit Fandango show in London a few years ago. We were able to talk some and CC bought some of my yarn and I also gifted her  a skein which she then used to design a sock pattern with. It was the first time ever someone used my yarn for a design so I was and still am overly excited and proud.

That first pattern (for me) is called Strawberries & Cream Frappe socks: It first appeared as an individual pattern and then later was part of her first book, Coffee with CC.

Here’s a picture for you to see if you are unfamiliar with the pattern

These are the ones I knit using the yarn/colorway that I designed specially for the pattern and called Strawberry Frappuccino. Aren’t these just gorgeous ?

I later collaborated with CC and her friend Sam of KnitRunDig on Etsy but she is a bag maker. Together we made a Gilmore Girls themed sock kit. CC did the pattern, Sam the bag and I did the yarn. That was my first and so far only kit collaboration and it really was a fun one. The pattern is called Where you lead I will follow. I did a ten color self striping yarn that I called You have been Gilmored and here are some pictures for you

CC is a self proclaimed geek and a lot of her patterns are inspired by tv series/books/films such as the Gilmore Girls, Outlander and Dr Who. CC regularly does kit collaborations with other indie makers and those are always gorgeous.

I have knit a number of her sock patterns and I really love her style and that fact that all or at least almost all her sock patterns are written both toe up and cuff down. That is unusual for a sock pattern I feel and so amazing because as we all know some of us only do cuff down and other only toe up and this way no matter our preference, her patterns will work for us.

Last year CC published her very first book of knitting patterns that is called Coffee with CC. That book, as you can see from the title, was all coffee inspired patterns and my ( I say my because I’m so happy about this) Strawberries & Cream Frappe socks also appear in that book. I did a little video review of that book and you can see that here

I was able to interview CC about her work as a pattern writer, her podcast and general knitting life so here is CC of JavaPurl Designs.

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Hello C.C. and welcome to the Knitting in France blog. Before we go on to talk about your new book, would you please tell us a little about yourself?
Hiya Bogga! I’m C.C., a Christ follower, wife to the Hubs Russ (for almost 20 years), Mamma to Dami (who’ll be 18 later this year), a knitter, a designer, a fibromyalgia fighter, & 1/2 of JavaPurl Designs & Geeky Girls Knit Podcast (& I love love love coffee & anything PINK!).
You are a very prolific knitter, when did you learn to knit and do you remember how or who taught you?
I learned to knit in 2005. I used a kit from a big box store & taught myself. I’d always wanted to learn to knit (no one I knew knit though), so this was my solution.
I have been following you since we met at the I Knit Fandango in London in 2014 so you have obviously been designing for some time. When did you publish your first ever design and what was it?
I had a couple of freebie patterns & a basic shawl pattern that released in 2012, but I consider my first design release to be Rescue Me, Chin Boy, and Show Me the Stars (Doctor Who Inspired Socks) which released in 2013.
How did you come to make and publish your own designs?
The sock design I mentioned above came about because I had a skein of yarn that demanded to be a certain pair of socks, but I couldn’t find the pattern I needed. So I designed it!
I think I know the answer to the following question, but then again you might surprise me, what is your favourite thing to design?
SOCKS! I have fallen in love with socks after swearing I’d never knit them. And look at me now.
As a knitter and a designer, is there a favourite type of yarn or wool blend you prefer over all others for sock knitting?
The sock yarn I use must, must, must have nylon in it. I’m pretty flexible otherwise, but nylon is a must for me to make the socks last as long as possible (because I wear handknit socks pretty much every day).
Do you have a favourite colour or type of dyeing method for your sock designs (I mean variegated/tonal/self striping etc) ?
My favourite colour is PINK (as evidenced by my stash & hair), but most of my sock designs use variegated or tonal yarn. However, I have created some sock patterns recently that highlight self-striping yarn (which is my favourite to knit with).
I know you regularly do collaborations with yarn dyers and bag makers, what has your experience of that been?
It’s been great! I love sharing an idea theme with a dyer and/or bag maker and then see what happens. It’s so fun to collaborate!
Do you have such a collaboration coming up soon and if so what is it?
After the book releases, I’m collaborating with Julia of Pandia’s Jewels for a 12th Doctor inspired sock pattern (Doctor Who that is) and with Jess of Ginger Twist Studio for an Outlander inspired shawl pattern.
You published your first book, Coffee with CC, in 2016 how did that come about? Could you tell us a little about the process of getting your own design book published and the hoops you had to jump through to make that all work out?
I designed a couple of coffee inspired patterns & then found out I had been accepted to vend at Edinburgh Yarn Festival for the 2nd time. I had been thinking of writing a book & this gave me the push to do it. I included those 2 patterns, plus 5 more. My book is self-published & wouldn’t have come about without my sample knitter, my test knitters, my tech editor, my copy editor, my photographer, amazing yarn dyers, & the help of the Starship members who helped me with all the self-publishing info that I hadn’t dealt with before. I ended up getting the book done in a few short months & my only wish was that I had a little more time so it wasn’t a race to finish in time.
You now work with your daughter Dami on your design business and you publish both of your designs under the label JavaPurl Designs. When did Dami start to design and was it a natural move for you to add her to your business for a joint venture rather than designing separately under different labels?
Dami’s first pattern released last summer (a sock pattern inspired by the tv show Elementary). She then designed 2 patterns for our White Christmas collection & she has 2 patterns in the new book. She was already involved in the business as my sample knitter (along with lots of other help). And since we already collaborate on the podcast (which I talk about below), it was natural for us to team up in the design business.
You also have a weekly podcast that you do with Dami called Geeky Girls Knit, when did you start podcasting and how did you come to podcast?
We started podcasting in August, 2012. A knitter had shared the world of knitting podcasts with us. She & other knitter friends kept telling us that we’d be great video podcasters. So we gave in & tried. And now we have over 230 episodes because we consistently podcast on a weekly basis.
What do you like most about podcasting?
Dami was a young 12 year old when we began & it’s been amazing to watch her grow on screen. And the community we’ve come to be a part of is so special to us. My best friends are knitters & we can’t imagine life without them.
And now on to the new book. The book is called Coffee with CC (and Dami Too) ~ Another 7 Pattern Caffeine Inspired Knitting Collection, can you tell us a little bit about this new book, the inspiration behind it and how it came to be?
After my first book released, some knitters suggested some other coffee drinks that could inspire us. And we thought of some too, so we just decided to jump in and do it. This time around, we’re inspired by espresso shots, babyccino, chai latte, espresso con panna, flat white, hot chocolate with pink marshmallows, & instant coffee.
Is this new book also mostly focused on sock knitting?
Yes, there are 5 sock patterns (all of them have both toe-up & cuff-down instructions). But, there is also a fingerless mitts pattern & a wrap pattern.
When and where will you launch the new book?
The book officially launches on Friday, 10-March-2017, at Edinburgh Yarn Festival.
Where can people find you online and what is the best way/place to follow you on social media?
Ravelry & Instagram are my favourites & you’ll have the best luck finding me there. 🙂
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A big thank you to CC for taking the time to answer my questions. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing your new book with you and there will be a giveaway too so see you tomorrow 🙂

The new to me way of sock knitting

Hi there, how are you doing today ? I hope you have had a great week since last time. Here in Normandy the weather has been strange. Some days it’s really wintery and others it’s actually quite warm. We are sort of in between two seasons and depending on the day it’s more winter or more spring.

I do admit that spring weather does feel good although I do always make good use of bad weather Sundays. My favorites actually because I can just spend the day in some “homely” clothes, bake a cake for and then spend my time knitting with the family in front of the tv.

But now on to knitting. If you follow me on social media, you will have seen pictures of my most recent FO, a pair of socks I knit on 9″ circulars.

I had this idea for a new way (to me at least) of knitting two at a time socks and so avoid Second Sock Syndrome which I sometimes fall victim to. I started to knit and got quite excited about the whole process and shared pictures on social media. I innocently called them my Siamese Socks but quickly stopped because I learned that to some people the word siamese is racist and degrading and so I was being called those too. What a shock! As you may or may not know, I’m not a native English speaker and so I’m not always fully aware of subtleties and maybe don’t always use the correct word or phrasing. To me the word was neither degrading nor racist. I just felt it was perfect for my pair of socks. But like I said, after being called **** I stopped using that and now just call them my “two in one 9″ circular socks” which is a lot longer and more boring name but hopefully that will not cause me problems. So if you were one of the offended people, I do apologize but I also insist on saying that my intention was only to use a word I thought perfect for my pair of socks.

So if you have not seen these famous socks yet, I’m sure you are anxious to!

So like I said above, the idea was to knit two socks at a time without doing them magic loop or one inside the other as I have already experimented with and shared here on the blog before. I have recently started using 9″ circular needles and quite enjoy them and so I was wondering if I could do this using those.

I had heard about a new pattern or recipe called “The Afterthought Everything Socks” on Ravelry where you basically knit a tube and put in waste yarn for the heel and toes and of course this can be knit either on a long circular, on dpns or even on a 9″ circular. I don’t own the pattern myself so I haven’t read it but my idea came from there.

Personally I don’t much like afterthought heels, mainly because I’m always unsure of when to start my toe. I like being able to either try the sock on or at least measure from the heel. So I wanted to build on the idea but only do afterthought toes which I feel is much easier. And so off I went.

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My method means that you knit the first sock cuff down and the second toe up. So I cast on 64 stitches for the cuff and knit a 2 x 2 rib for about 1 1/2 inch in contrast color yarn. Then I changed to my main yarn which is a self striping SOX yarn that I dyed myself. I knit the leg until the total length (from cast on) was 5 1/2″.

Then I picked up the contrast yarn again and knit a short row heel over 32 stitches. This is the heel that I use 90% of the time. I think it is just a regular short row heel but here’s how I do it. I knit 31 stitches and then wrap the last stitch and turn. I purl (or in my case knit backwards) 30 stitches and then wrap and turn. Each row you knit/purl one less stitch before the wrap and turn until only 10 stitches are left in the middle. Then I knit to the end of the row picking up the wraps along with each stitch. To be more precise I knit the 10 heel stitches and then I knit the next 11 stitches knitting the wrap along with each stitch. At the end of the row, I turn and purl those 11 stitches + the 10 heel stitches and then it’s time to purl the last 11 stitches being careful to pick up the wraps as well. At the end of the row turn around and knit 21 stitches ( 11 + 10 heel stitches) and then wrap and turn stitch 22. Purl  stitches and then wrap and turn.You are now halfway through your heel and as of this row you knit/purl one more stitch each row as you knit the previous wrap and turn stitch. So this first time you knit the 10 heel stitches + the 11th along with its wrap and then you do a wrap and turn. Next row you purl 11 stitches + the previous wrap and turn and then you do a wrap and turn. So on this second half of the sock you knit your middle stitches plus the previous wrapped stitch along with its wrap AND THEN you do a wrap and turn. I  hope you understand what I mean. I’m not really explaining this very well. I think that whatever short row heel would work fine. I knit my heels on my 9″ circulars.

Once the heel is done, I continue the foot in the main yarn until the sock is about 2″ shorter than the intended foot. At that time I insert a waste yarn for separation. In my case I used the contrasting yarn but I think I should have used something completely different because the main yarn also has black stripes. So if you are going to try this, I recommend you use a waste yarn in a totally different colour just for ease.

I knit two rounds in waste yarn but you could knit more if you prefer. I left the cast on and end tail long and sticking out as  a reminder for when picking up the toe stitches and also to be sure that when doing so I would be picking up the stitches at the right place (I was afraid I might otherwise end up with a wonky toe).  I did not cut my main yarn but you could if you prefer. I just pulled a bit on it to be sure that there were a few inches of yarn between the two socks for weaving in later.

And now it was time for the second sock. I switched back to my main yarn and knit to the heel. To be sure my socks would be identical I measured the first sock from end of heel to waste yarn and then knit the same for the other. I then knit a short row heel and so on until I cast off using a stretchy bind off.

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Then it was time for surgery! To separate the two socks, I threaded the stitches on to two circulars. Here you can see the first circular. I followed the waste yarn and threaded the needle on to the last live stitches of my main yarn.

When I had both needles in, one on each sock, I started to unravel my waste yarn and separating the socks.

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And here they are, two individual socks; one on each needle. I used a regular long circular for this as it is not possible to knit the toe on a small 9″ circular.  And then I knit 1 round before beginning the decreases. My regular toe, and you could use whatever toe you prefer, is 1 round knit all stitches, 1 decrease round until only 10 stitches are left.

img_7465

Round 1 and all uneven rounds: knit all stitches

Round 2 and all even rounds: Knit 1, SSK, knit to 2 stitches before end of needle, K2tog, knit 2, SSK, knit to 3 stitches before end of round, K2tog, knit 1.

I don’t know how to Kitchener so I cut my yarn and then turn the sock inside out and do a three needle bind off.

Voila!

img_7466

I don’t know if I was clear enough for you but basically you just knit one cuff down sock to the beginning of the toe, knit a few rounds of waste yarn and then go on to knit a toe up sock from the end of the toe. Once done, you separate the two socks and knit each toe individually. You can knit this on a long circular, a 9″ circular or even dpns.

I’m not inventing anything new here although I worked from an idea in my head. It’s just a new to me way of knitting a pair of socks and maybe you too would like to try this out.

 

That’s it for today. Thank you for stopping by and spending some time with me. I hope you have enjoyed reading about these socks and hopefully I did not get you all confused!

Until next time, take care and enjoy your knitting:)

A winner and a surprise giveaway

Hi there, I hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day yesterday with your loved ones.

As promised I have drawn for a winner for the Yarn Cafe Creations giveaway today and the winner will receive this skein of Pumpkin Carving in her fabulous fingering base yarn.

yarncafecreations-pumpkin-carving-2

And the lucky winner is…. Samantha! So Samantha, when you see this please contact me by either leaving a message here on the blog, by sending me a DM on Instagram or by sending me an email to knittinginfrance@gmail.com so I can get this skein to your mailbox asap!

To all the others, thank you so much for participating and no worries there will be plenty more giveaways this year.

And as a matter of fact there will be one here right now! And this one is a bit of a surprise even for me. Turns out I won Mina’s New York Sock Club ( Mina of the Knitting Expact podcast and designs) in a giveaway held by Andy of AndreSueKnits. Only being the impatient person I am, I had already purchased my membership to the club so I contacted Mina and she accepted to forward my prize to someone else and so I’m doing a giveaway.

If you are a sock knitter or want to become one, I love Mina’s patterns and want more of them, if you were thinking of signing up for the club but haven’t done so yet, this is the giveaway for you! To join it’s super simple, just leave me a comment below and tell me a little bit about your sock knitting journey (if you already are a sock knitter) or why you want to start knitting socks if you are a newbie to those.

I will draw a winner using Random Number Generator this Friday, February 17th, in the evening my time. So this is a bit of a “flash” giveaway. I hope you will join in and best of luck to everyone:)

The Maker of the Month – Yarn Cafe Creations

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you had a nice weekend and that this week has been a success so far. I had a nice and relaxed weekend myself. I did not quite as much knitting done as I would have liked but I did enjoy working on my projects and that is all that counts.

Today is not going to be my regular post with updates on my projects and so forth because today I’m doing the Maker of the Month February edition.

I have planned to introduce you to a new maker every month and those will be either yarn dyers, pattern designers or other kind of makers that are involved in the knitting/crochet/fibre world. I have already planned interviews all the way to next July which is very exciting and if you have any suggestions for a maker I should check out and maybe feature here please do let me know.

So the Maker of the Month this February is yarn dyer Christy Houghton of Yarn Cafe Creations. I’m sure some if not all of you have already heard of her and maybe  you even follow her podcast The Girls in the Yarn Cafe.

I heard of her first on the Periscoping sisters podcast I believe because she was collaborating on a kit with Amy and I just absolutely LOVED her yarn for that kit and went ahead and bought a couple of skeins. Since then I have subscribed to her YouTube channel and follow her on social media and of course I continue buying her yarns:)

The first yarn I bought from her was a fingering weight yarn and the colorway was called Ocean Mist

yarncafecreations-ocean-mist

I think it is just such a mesmerising colorway.

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And I ofcourse knit a pair of Simple Skyp Socks – my first pair of those actually.

Since then I have aquired a few more skeins, all in 4 ply fingering weight because I absolutely love her fingering base and of course I love knitting socks.

yarncafecreations-calgary-and-mermaid-party

These two are waiting to be turned into socks. The one on the left is Mermaid Party and the one on the right is Calgary.

And actually I’m currently knitting with one of her yarns because like I told you in my latest post, I have decided to join in the Lovealong kal that is being hosted by Dani of Little Bobbins knits, Amy Meeks of the Periscoping sisters who designed the pattern and Christy whose yarn was used to design the sock. And to be able to have 3 times the chance of winning something in this kal I of course decided to knit with one of Christy’s yarns. The yarn I chose is again her superwash merino 4 ply base and the colorway is called Banana Split.

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Beautiful, right? And once it’s been wound up into a skein, this is what it looks like:

yarncafecreations-lovealong-yarn

So colorful and yet subtle and it totally lets the pattern shine. I feel this was a great match for this pattern as both the yarn and the pattern are equally beautiful and don’t overshadow each other.

This is where I’m at currently

But enough about me. It’s time I shared the interview with Christy so here goes:

Hello Christy and welcome to the Knitting in France blog.  To start off would you please tell us a little bit about yourself ?
When did you learn to knit and do you remember who taught you, if you learned from a person that is ?
I learned to knit, after years of crocheting, by watching YouTube videos. I knew I likes the look of knitting more than crocheting but had always been intimidated by it. Once I started knitting, I couldn’t stop! It became my new passion. That was about 7 years ago.
Do you have a favorite type of project to knit? I for example am a big sock knitter and always have a ton of those on my needles.

I will go through phases where I am in love with sock knitting and then I find a sweater pattern that I just can’t put down. I have recently discovered shawls and wraps and am finding these an absolute joy to knit!  I guess I don’t have a favorite type of project, I just like to continuously challenge myself with new knitting projects. 

Do you crochet, spin and or weave as well ?

I only crochet but hope to learn spinning someday. 

Do you knit in public and if so, do you have a favorite spot to do so?

I knit in public all the time!  My favorite place to knit in public would be at a conference. I am constantly attending conferences for my job and find it easier to focus on the speaker if I’m knitting. 

I see that Yarn Cafe Creations opened on  Etsy in 2015 and I was wondering if you had been selling elsewhere before then or if your yarn dyeing adventure began in 2015 with your Etsy shop?

I started on Etsy in 2015 and it was first and only attempt at selling yarn. I feel like I found the right place to sell my yarn and have been very happy with the results. 

What prompted you to start your own yarn dyeing business?

I discovered hand-dyed yarn on Instagram and couldn’t believe how expensive some of the yarn was. I decided to research it to see if the bare yarn was expensive. I wanted to know if it was worth the money to buy hand-dyed yarn. I found that there was bare yarn available at very reasonable prices and felt like I could make a quality product to sell at a more affordable price.  I knew that  there were probably people out there who couldn’t afford to pay what some of these yarn dyers were charging. I wanted to make it more affordable for people who may not be able to afford this type of yarn. 

Where does the name of your shop, Yarn Cafe Creations come from?

My boyfriend actually came up with it. I love coffee and coffee shop decor so he thought this name would represent me well. 

Where do you get your inspiration for your colourways from ?

Well, color is not my strong suit. I usually look at clothing fashion to see what colors people are wearing that season. Then I will look at online color palettes for inspiration. I also love to look at nature photos to see what beauty I can find out in the world. 

What is your most popular colorway? and/or  most popular yarn base?

Ocean Mist on Fluffy Sock. 

Do you have a target audience/clients? I mean do you try to cater especially for say the sock/accessories knitter or do you also try to appeal to the garment knitter with larger dye lots?

I have stocked many different yarn bases in my shop but have found that I sell much more sock/fingering weight yarn than any other yarn type. I would love to carry many different yarn weights but have tried to cater to what sells. Sock yarn is much more popular for sock knitting, shawl knitting, and other light knits. 

Do you accept custom orders?

I do custom orders all the time and really enjoy doing them. 

Do you dye yarn full time or do you also have a “regular” job ?

I work full-time as the Director of Quality over 7 medical offices. I am also a marriage and family therapist and own my own practice. I see clients 1-2 nights a week. Yarn dyeing happens on the other weeknights and on the weekends. I like being busy. 

What does a typical workday look like for you?

I start my day in the morning by dropping off packages at the post office and then heading to my medical job. There are a lot of meetings during any given week and a lot of tasks that require my attention. At about 5:00, I will then go see a therapy client or head home if it’s not a therapy night. When I get home, I will usually do a couple of batches of yarn and then get orders ready to go out the next day. Then it’s off to bed!

What have you got planned for Yarn Cafe Creations in 2017? and where do you see your company in say 5 years from now?

I have many collaborations with bag makers and pattern designers coming up in the next few months. I’m hoping to continue to grow this business while still being part of the medical community. I have a passion for both. In 5 years, I hope that people will still love my yarn enough to still be purchasing it. This will allow me to continue to do what I love. 

You also have a podcast called The Girls in the Yarn Cafe that you do with your daughter and I love watching that podcast every time you publish an episode. Can you tell us a little bit more about the podcast like when you started and what you show and discuss for those that might not yet be familiar with your podcast ?

Our podcast started with just me. I made a couple by myself and it was called The Girl in the Yarn Cafe. I decided to have my daughters come on as guests, just for fun. Trysten is my only knitting daughter and after she was a guest we found that people loved us together. She and I have a great dynamic on our podcast and we have so much fun doing it. I think we do it for our own entertainment and are just so happy that people enjoy being part of it. I hope we can continue doing it for years to come. 

What is the best way/best place for people to follow you on social media?

I am most active on Instagram and Ravelry. I do have a Twitter and a Facebook page but I’m less active on those.

Thank you, Bogga, for your interest in my yarn business!  I appreciate your support!!

Thank you so much to Christy for accepting my interview and for sharing her knitting and yarn dyeing life with us. And Christy has also generously donated a skein of her yarn for a giveaway! This is on her 4 ply superwash merino Fluffy Sock base and the colorway is called Pumpkin Carving and it is gorgeous!

To join in this giveaway all you need to do is go over to Christy’s shop Yarn Cafe Creations browse her gorgeous yarns and then come back here and leave a comment with your favorite colorway. I know choosing is close to impossible but just write down one of the many you love 🙂 You have until February 14th to join and leave a comment and I will draw a winner using random number generator and announce the lucky winner here on the blog on February 15th. The winner will then have one month to claim his/her prize and if not claimed I will draw a second time.

That’s it for today. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day to spend time with me. I hope you enjoyed the interview with Christy and I wish you the best of luck with the giveaway. Next time the post will be all about my knitting and my new knitting needles that I love so much I have to share so you too can try them out.

Take care and happy knitting 🙂

What’s on my needles? A LOT

Hi there, how are you ? I hope you are doing fine. I am just good and enjoying my knitting. I think I have rarely had so many projects going at the same time. It does feel ever so slightly overwhelming but… I’m just totally unable to resist the cast-on-itis. As soon as I get my hands on a new yarn I immediately need to cast on for something, no matter how many other projects I’ve got going at that time!

I hope you are like that too, it would make me feel less of a crazy person:)

So what exactly am I knitting on these days? So two shawls and a ton of socks. Shawl number one is the Cozy Shlanket by Mina Philipp and this is a mystery knit-a-long with clues being released each Sunday. I’m currently on clue 3 but clue 4 which is the last clue, just came out. I’m knitting the Aran version as I wanted a really huge shlanket and I imagine myself having this on my shoulders as I work my evening shifts. The yarn is my own of course and I dyed it specially for this project. I did go out of my comfort zone color wise but I think it will be fine. Here’s where I’m at now

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The rows are slowly getting bigger and bigger. This will be super cozy once done.

Then there is shawl number two which is also part of a kal and an Instagram challenge. This is the Brioche challenge launched by Louise Tilbrook designs and it encourages us to knit brioche during the month of January. Lots of people have joined and are knitting brioche of various levels of difficulty. I chose a pattern that I’ve had in my stash for a while. It is not all brioche but rather has sections of brioche and sections of garter stitch. It’s called Briochealicious and is a for sale pattern on Ravelry by Andrea Mowry. The pattern calls for 4 yarns/colors and I’m using two of mine and two store bought. Here is where I am now

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You can see that at the beginning of the second brioche section I messed up! But I decided not to tink back but leave it. Not sure that was the right decision but I’m too far into this now to tink back so I’m just going to convince myself that no one will notice 🙂

And then there are the socks! All the socks! I think I have become a sock knitting crazy lady. I have so many socks in my pile of wips that need their second sock done and then there are all the socks I’m currently working on.

Let’s begin this with three pairs of FINISHED socks! First of is a pair I knit for my daughter. The yarn is my own. I was playing with dyeing and unfortunately I did not write down the method so I won’t be able to replicate which is super silly because I really love how the yarn knits up. The stitch pattern is something I found on Ravelry and I adapted that to my own sock formula.

 

Then there is my pair of Christmas Eve Cast On socks. I joined the movement led by Dani of The Little Bobbins podcast and I cast on a pair of socks on Christmas Eve. I used the Simple Skyp pattern which is a free pattern on Ravelry and I dyed a skein of yarn just for this. I wanted a yarn that reminded me of fairy lights and I think I succeeded.

 

And then I finished a pair called London Skies. This is a twisted rib pattern and it took me forever to finish. I think it was a combination of the twisted stitches and the yarn that was a little wooly. I used West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply yarn. Boy was I happy when I cast off the second sock!

 

And then there are my socks in progress. Mostly they are knit using my own hand dyed yarns and  they are at various stages of completion. I have promised myself to finish them all asap and as soon as I finish one sock to cast on for the second to avoid the second sock syndrome.

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This is a one of a kind colorway I dyed and the pattern I’m using is the same as on the finished brown pair above.

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These will be for my youngest. This is also a one of a kind colorway I dyed and I’m again doing a Simple Skyp Sock. I love how it is working up.

 

 

This is a HO. This is a test knit that I’m doing for my friend and designer Dana Gervais. I have finished one sock and just begun the ribbing of sock number two. This is knit using two yarns and I thought I had chosen contrasting yarns. One green and one pink. Well it turns out that the mostly green yarn has some yellow and the mostly pink has some green so they actually mix and look a lot like it was just one yarn. Only when you look at the heels and toes can you really see the difference. Fortunately the stitch pattern on the front still stands out so it worked out good in the end. These are fun to knit and the pattern quickly becomes intuitive.

And speaking of Dana, I have just begun a new test knit for her. When this picture was taken I had only done one pattern repeat but I’m further along now. It’s a gorgeous cable pattern and the yarn is a new yarn base I just got. When I saw her picture of the socks on Instagram I just new I had to get in on this test knit and that I had to knit it in this particular yarn so I dyed a skein and wound it up and then waiting until she was ready to post a call for testers. Lucky for me I got to test for her again.

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You can’t see much but the yarn is a tweed yarn with colorful neps that add an extra pop of fun to the yarn.

And the last pair of socks is one I’m knitting using yarn from Knit Cosmic Strings. It’s the Shoreditch colorway that is gorgeous. I’m again doing a Simple Skyp sock (which seems to have become my go to pattern these days).

 

I also signed up for a kal with designer Rachel Gibbs and I’m going to knit a sock of course. Her pattern is called Time Stream Socks. My yarn is all caked up and ready, I just need to find a moment to cast on. I believe the kal is to the end of February so I think I’ll make it. In addition I think I only need to finish one sock to qualify:) Will you be joining?

That’s it for today. As you can see I have a lot of work ahead of me with all the knitting projects I’ve taken on. I’d love to hear from you, what you are working on and if you feel like sharing a picture that would be awesome.

Until next time, take care and have a wonderful week:)

A parade of finished objects

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are well and enjoying the time leading up to the Christmas holidays. I hope you will get a few days off to enjoy the time with your family. I get a couple of days off around the Christmas weekend so that will be a wonderful and welcome break from work.

We are not going to Iceland for Christmas and New Years this year. Most years we go to Iceland because the holidays are just more magical there and also we have more family there and Christmas is just generally  a bigger celebration there and New Years with all the fireworks is way better than here in France. Sadly this  year we will not be able to go so we will be celebrating with friends and family here in Normandy. We have set up our Christmas tree and decorations and feeling the Christmas spirit coming. This leads to gift shopping of course! I like shopping but I really do not enjoy it at this time of year. All the shops are so crowded, people everywhere. It just takes all the fun out of the shopping I think and so I have been doing my shopping online. Not as much fun but at least it’s less stressful.

But I’m not only doing store bought gifts this year. I wasn’t going to do any Christmas Gift knitting this year and then somehow I just am! No idea how that happened but here I am! So last year I knit the adults in my family hats and mittens and this year I’m doing hats and cowls and I’m knitting for the children as well. I have been knitting like a crazy person this past week and I still have a hat and a half to go plus 4 cowls!  Not to panic though because I plan to go to Iceland at the very beginning of next year and so I will be delivering my gifts in person. That gives me a few extra days which will me much needed.

So here are some pictures of what I have done so far:

img_6367-1This is the Antler hat – a free pattern on Ravelry by Tin Can Knits and I knit this out of my own hand dyed super wash merino DK yarn. It’s a fun pattern and I’m considering buying the mitten pattern that goes with this.

 

The Maryam hat by Mina Philipp – a paid for pattern on Ravlery and I used a 100% non super wash aran weight BFL yarn that I had all dyed up.

 

img_6370The Open skies hat also by Mina Philipp – a paid for pattern on Ravelry

img_6369This hat is knit out of some of my handspun yarn and I really love how the yarn knit up. I did a navajo ply so this is a 3 ply yarn and that explains the striping/colour distinction you see going on. This is about a DK weight I think. The pattern is Latu by Meiju K-P and this is a free pattern on Ravelry.

And then there is the Barley hat by Tin Can Knits- another free pattern on Ravelry

img_6368I again used my DK merino yarn for this hat and really like the outcome.

So just two more to finish! I hope these will be appreciated by the recipients.

Another project that I finished last week and that I’m super proud of are the O.W.L mittens for my daughter. This is  a Harry Potter inspired pattern that can be found in the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits magazine by Interweave Press. I used my own hand dyed fingering weight yarn and I’m super happy with the outcome and so is my daughter. I did apprehend these a little to begin with but I was so lucky that Andrea of the Fruity Knitting Podcast did a fair isle tutorial in her last episode and that was a true revelation for me. It helped me with yarn management and knitting with one yarn in each hand and how to catch your floats impeccably. And so these actually were finished quite quickly once I had seen the tutorial.

The front is the owl and the back or palm has the spells written out.  That was a big “small” project that I’m so happy with having finished successfully.

I think that’s about all for today. This week I’m of course continuing on my gift knitting so hats and cowls for this week. I’m also working on socks, two pairs actually. One is for a new years gift and the other is a test knit that I will share with you next time.

I wish you a wonderful week and hope you have plenty of knitting time to destress before the holidays. So until next time, happy knitting and take care 🙂

More socks

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are fine. On my side all is well. This morning was the first really winter cold morning. I even had to scrape the ice off the windshield of my car this morning! We felt the change coming yesterday and last night sitting at my desk working I felt really cold and put on my thrummed slippers:) Today I’m wearing hand knit socks and a warm sweater so I should be ok for tonights shift at work:)

I have done a lot of knitting this last week I feel and I have a ton of things to share but I’m afraid I may end up with a post that is way too long and will just put you off from the get go… So I’m going to try and prioritise and share the rest with you later..if I’m able to control myself that is:)

So on to the knitting right away! I’m in a big sock knitting phase at the moment as you may have noticed. Last week I finished a pair of socks that I was test knitting for Dana Gervais who is a designer on Ravelry and she has a lot of wonderful sock patterns. I’m actually working on another test knit for socks for her now so all in all that makes 3 socks that I have test knit for her. The pattern for the socks I finished around last week has now been released on Ravelry so I can share the pictures with you here.

The pattern is called Robin’s Egg and I knit it on 2.25mm needles and I used my SOX base in the Strawberry Frappuccino colourway. The socks have a cabled pattern on the front and a ribbed pattern on the back of the leg. The pattern repeat is quite intuitive and so soon memorised which means they sort of fly off the needles. I really enjoyed knitting these socks and I think I might knit a second pair in the future. Here are some pictures of my finished socks.

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The socks I’m test knitting now have not yet been released so I can only show you the back side of those. I’m also using my own yarn and this time I’m using my bronze sparkle base in very autumnal colours. This pattern is also a very fun and intuitive one. The stitch pattern is much bigger (more rows) but it feels very natural or should I say logical so they too are rather quick to knit.

img_6276These colours just scream autumn I think. I really like how they work together and the finished pair will be gorgeous I’m sure. I have finished one sock and I’m on the cuff for the second at the moment.

I also cast on for a new pair of socks this week. That was due to a purchase I made on Etsy and as soon as I got the yarn, I just HAD TO CAST ON! There was no way around it! A little bit of history here first. I follow a lot of knitting podcasts both audio and video and I had seen an episode of The Periscoping sisters and one of them ( I never know which is Amy and which is Debbie) was releasing a new sock pattern and she had a collaboration with an indie dyer called Yarn Café Creations. I absolutely adored the colourway. In the kit there was one skein for the main body of the sock and a small contrasting one for heels/cuffs and toes. I knew I wouldn’t be able to buy a kit but I absolutely needed the yarn – the one for the main body I mean. And so I went online and lucky for me, there were 2 skeins of this exact yarn in stock and so I bought both! The colourway is called Ocean Mist and it is gorgeous! I wanted to knit a pair of socks of course and I needed a simple yet interesting pattern that would let the yarn shine and then I remembered The Simple Skyp socks by Adrienne Ku. I had seen those knit by Tracy of the Grocery Girls. And thats what I did. I’ve finished sock one and I’m past the heel on sock two so I think I might finish this evening.

This is such a fun pattern, a two row repeat and I really love the  look of it. The yarn like I said is gorgeous and it is also super soft. It’s a merino/nylon blend but it is a bit more “plump” than most fingering weight yarns and just a joy to knit with.

Last week I showed you the progress I was making on a cowl. A cowl I was knitting as I was trying out this new base yarn which is 50/50 merino and silk. The yarn is of course outrageously soft and a total dream to knit with. Due to the high silk content it is pricier than regular merino/nylon fingering weight yarns of course but I really think that for a special project it is totally worth it so I might look into getting some of that for the shop. I knit the cowl in simple brioche stitch and I really love the outcome. It is so soft and warm next to my neck and the patterning created by the yarn was the cherry on the cake. I dyed the skein mostly in grey but did a small portion in gold. I didn’t know how that would knit up specially as I was doing brioche but I thought maybe it would create like a block of colour on the bias. In fact it created an overall pattern and I think that is really fun.

 

I think I will call it a day here. I don’t want to take up all of your free time today:) After all, you do have knitting to do!

I’ll be back later this week with the rest of my knitting because like I said above, I have a ton to tell you about! So until next time, take care and enjoy your knitting!

Lots of stripes and a test knit

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you had a nice weekend and that this new week is shaping up to be a good one. Here in France it’s been raining a lot lately so the temperatures have been quite mild. But rain is just so depressing.Or is it? Well I think that for knitters it’s not so much as we can just get cozy and knit on and enjoy being inside.

Now on to knitting and dyeing. I have been on a self striping high since I knit the pair of blue self striping socks for my daughter – I showed you pictures in my second to last post. And that inspired me to continue working on dye techniques to produce self striping yarns and I have come up with 3 different colour ways so far. One is in the shop and available for purchase, that is the Christmas is Coming colour way. The other two I have not yet listed and I’m thinking maybe I’ll offer those as “dye to order” kind of thing.

Depending on how one winds the yarn before dyeing, different results can be achieved and I have been playing with that. And I have knit 2 1/2 pairs of vanilla self striping socks since then to see how my new yarns knit up. And I love it!

Here you have the yarns. So I did one ball of self striping yarn and one small ball of contrasting yarn for heels, toes and cuffs. Just seeing the yarn like this, all wound up, makes my fingers tickle. I find self striping yarn so appealing.

And here you have the socks all knit up. I’m really pleased with the results and that the stripes are perfectly calibrated so I have been able to knit two 100% matching pairs so far and I’m currently working on the third and last one. What do you think of these colour ways? Do you knit with self striping yarns? I’d love to hear your thoughts on these.

As a general rule, self striping yarns are more expensive than solid or variegated yarns because of the work involved in producing them. But a few select dyers have yet been able to build their career on those and dye exclusively self striping yarns. I’d love for these to be part of my offer but getting the word out there, that I have some, is not easy and maybe people prefer to buy only from the “Big Names”. I don’t know.

Personally, I have always liked self striping yarns but I only use them for vanilla socks. I could see myself use them for mittens though and possibly for a hat, maybe like a Sock Head Hat. I don’t often buy self striping and that’s mostly because of the price + shipping as most of the big name self striping dyers are in the US and shipping from the US to Europe is prohibitive in most cases. Funny how shipping from the US to Europe seems to be so much more expensive than shipping from Europe to the US. Not sure why that is but anyway, now that I know how to dye up a self striping yarn, I can just dye them myself:)

So since last time almost all my knitting time has been consumed by knitting these “test” socks to see how my yarn knits up. But I have also been knitting a pair of socks as a test knitter for a Ravelry designer. I’m almost done with that pair, hopefully I’ll finish today or tomorrow at the latest. I don’t think I’m allowed to show a picture just yet but I will share once she publishes the pattern. I also accepted to test knit another pair for this same designer as soon as I finish the current one so I seem to be only knitting on socks for the time being.

And speaking of test knitting, have you ever been a test knitter? I’m rather new to test knitting. So far I have test knit one cowl, a shawl and 2 pairs of socks. It is quite fun and it also means you get a free pattern which is always a bonus:)

Currently the designer Madeleine Windsor who designs under the name Kingfisher Knits, is looking for test knitters for a cowl and a beret that she has designed using one of my yarns. There are three sizes going from child to adult and this is knit using an Aran weight cash’merino yarn. This particular yarn is not in the shop at the moment but testers who want to do the test knit using my yarn are able to order the yarn directly from me and not only do they get a discount but they also get to choose their colour as I then dye the yarn to order. Once the patterns will be released I’ll be putting the yarn up in the shop for sale.

Here is a picture of the set

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Nice don’t you think? So if you are interested in testing for her, you can get in touch with her on Ravelry, here is a link to the discussion thread she has set up for this test knit.

Other than this, not much new. I’m just working and knitting socks:) I kind of look forward to my second pair of test socks to be done and then I’ll give socks a little break I think and return to my shawl knitting or something. And oh, I almost forgot. I bought a few skeins of new and exciting new yarn bases to try out. And those are luxury bases such as merino and silk blends or a yak, merino and silk for example. So far I have only dyed one skein and that was in the 50/50 merino and silk base. it’s a fingering weight yarn so 400 meters for 100gr and boy is that a gorgeous yarn! It’s ultra soft and the silk gives the yarn a lovely sheen and I can just see that this will be something luxurious. I’m not sure what I’m going to knit with this first skein. I thought of doing socks but it feels a bit too luxurious for socks. I thought of a shawl but 400 meters is probably not enough as I like shawls to be on the bigger side. Maybe a hat, like a Sock Head Hat? Or a cowl?

What would knit with a yarn like this? If you have suggestions for a fun pattern,  please share:)

I think this is all for today. I hope you have a great week. Thank you for stopping by and spending some time with me today. I look forward to being back and sharing more of my knitting with you next week. Until then, take care and enjoy your knitting:)