End of year and beginning of a new one

Hi there, how are you today? Getting ready to celebrate the beginning of 2017 no doubt. We will be celebrating with some friends at their house so minimal preparations on my side which is great as I’m getting ready to go home to Iceland for a few days and have to prepare my bags. And I also managed to get myself a big cold with a sore throat and all! How annoying is that! Anyway that won’t stop me from having a nice evening with friends.

This past year has had its share of ups and downs. This year I have come very close to closing down my little indie dyer business but thanks to some encouragements from wonderful people and exciting propositions for 2017 I’m still open and hope to make 2017 my best year ever, business wise!

I have just completed dyeing a special order for a wonderful knitting retreat that will be held in January. I don’t think I’m allowed to disclose where or who runs it just yet, I think the yarn is a surprise so I’ll just tell you more once the retreat has begun. But that is very exciting and I hope the participants will enjoy using my yarn.

Then I have been contacted to participate in a book project which sounds super exciting for me and would be a fun project to take part in and give me a great exposure also.

And then just yesterday I was contacted by a company that sells subscription/or not knitting related boxes and they want to try my yarn and stitch markers so I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that will pan out. So that is very exciting.

I’m going to close the shop for a little while now in January to give me some time to take stock and add more items for sale and I hope that when I open again my shop will look fabulous. Next March it will be 6 years since I started my little business so I think that will call for some sort of a celebration/giveaway. I’ll need to think about that.

I’m going to continue blogging in the new year and hope to be able to add some new features to the blog. I already have something very exciting planned for you in January. I really enjoy writing my blog and even if we don’t actually meet each other, it does feel like speaking to a friend and sharing a passion and little snippets of life. I’d like to link my blog to the shop, maybe have everything in one place/website but I don’t quite know how or if I’ll do that just yet.

I’d like to develop my Ravelry group some more this new year. I admit I’m not very active on Ravelry but it is a place where knitters meet and do fun things so I think I should get more involved there. Are you active on Ravelry? If yes, what features do you like the most? Are you an active member of different groups? I’d love to hear from you on that subject.

Now on to real knitting. This year has been a year of a lot of knitting. I haven’t really counted everything that I’ve knit and I haven’t been setting up Ravelry project pages for each item either unfortunately. I’m going to try and be more serious about that in the new year. I’m also thinking about doing a knitting journal, where I would write down information about every project I knit as I think it would be interesting at the end of the year to see just how much I have achieved. This year I organised my first ever KAL over on Ravelry and that was fun and I might do that again in the new year.

I had imagined myself finishing a lot of my wips and start the new year with an almost clean slate but… suffering from startitis like I do that was never going to happen. So I currently have 6 pairs of socks I’m actively working on. I have one shawl that needs some love, one pullover that is close to being done, a cardigan that I have only just begun and then set aside and a gazillion half done socks!

What I have planned for the beginning of the new year are at least two things and both are KALs. First there is the #Shlanket mystery knitalong organised by Mina Philipp of the Knitting Expat. This is a huge shawl/blanket knit in either worsted or aran weight yarn. I chose aran weight to get a really huge and comfy wrap.  I dyed the yarn myself and have wound one skein of each color to be ready tomorrow morning. This project calls for three colors and I have gone a little out of my comfort zone by choosing these colors

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They look kind of bright in this picture but they are actually more pastel-like in real life. I hope they will work well together in this pattern.

Then there is a Brioche Challenge KAL that Louise Tilbrook is holding. This kal also begins tomorrow January 1st and you can knit anything you like as long as it is brioche. The kal is meant both for the beginner brioche knitter as well as for those that know some brioche and maybe want to expand their skills.

I have decided to join and knit a shawl that I’ve had in my Ravelry library for a while now. It is called Briochealicious by Andrea Mowry. It is a paid for pattern on Ravelry. It looks huge and cozy and fun and it mixes brioche with garter stitch so should be a fun and relaxing knit. Here are the colors I have chosen for this

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The two yarns on the right are my own hand dyed yarns and the two on the left are store bought. I don’t knit a lot with purple but I do think this can work only now as I’m writing this and looking at the picture, I suddenly have a doubt…I may have to go for a browse in my stash or dye studio.

Of course I have planned on knitting a lot of socks and a few garments as well. What are your plans knitting wise for the new year? Will you be joining in the same kals as I am?

That’s all for today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the time spent with me this year. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read my posts. Thank you for sharing and interacting. Thank you for making my life brighter and for bringing me joy. I do hope you will continue to spend time with me in 2017.

Until next time I wish you and your family and friends all the very best for the new year and look forward to checking in with you again in January.

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An interview with a talented designer and a giveaway

Hi there, I hope you are all well and getting ready to start your weekend. I just finished my dayjob and am looking forward to this weekend and hopefully I’ll get some quiet time to work on my knits. I’d love to cast off my Come What May shawl by Susan B Anderson which has be waiting for that to happen for weeks! Shame on me!!!

Now, today’s post is a little bit different from usually as I’m going to present a very talented designer to you. And this talented designer has generously offered to give 2 of you one of her independently published patterns! Lucky you:) And I’ll tell you more about that in a bit.

The designer I want you to meet is called Nancy Whitman and I discovered her not so long ago. I think I first saw one of her designs on Pinterest and I clicked through to Ravelry where I fell in love! I have since then bought 5 of her patterns and have a few others just waiting to be put in my cart.

Nancy designs a lot of accessories and I particularly love her shawl designs – which is why I have bought 5 of them. She does also design socks and cowls and I just might add some of those to my library of patterns.

Before I introduce my interview with her I’d just like to show you the patterns that I have purchased from her so far. Just to give you a little idea about her work and get you drooling just a little bit:)

First there is Ganz which is a textured shawl

ganz I love the cables and gansey style patterning here. This is a shawl that lends itself perfectly for some squishy solid colored yarn.

Then there is Tappan Zee and I totally love the border detail which is inspired by beautiful bridges and a stitch pattern by Barbara Walker. I really look forward to knitting this sooner rather than later.

tappan zee

Next in line is actually the first pattern of hers I ever bought – the Piet on Point shawl – this stunning shawl was inspired by the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian and I’m sure you will all understand why I had to get that one.

piet on point Don’t you just love how this shawl is set up? The colors and modularity? Endless possibilities with regards to color combos of course.

Then there is the High Street Shawl but this is also a modular garter stitch shawl and it kind of makes me think of the Sweet Memories blanket everyone is knitting these days because of the row of different coloured squares. Also endless possibilities in color.

high street shawl

And last but not the least, there is the Eden Prairie shawl which is inspired by a stained glass design. This one, once again gives you the chance to play with color and come up with a unique shawl.

Gorgeous don’t you think?

So have I got your full attention now? I’m sure I do so here comes:)

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First things first. How did you come to knitting? Tell us about how and when you first learned to knit.
I learned to knit and crochet by my paternal grandmother at age 7 or 8. She had little to no education but was amazing with knitting, sewing and crochet. She relied on those skills to help support her family after she came to the US in her early 20s. I am fortunate to have many samples of her crochet work plus a ski sweater she knit for my dad in the 1950s.

Do you also crochet and maybe spin and weave too?
I know how to crochet, but prefer to knit. I don’t spin or weave. There just isn’t enough time to do all the things I would like to do!

When knitting, did you used to tweak the patterns you knit or did you scrupulously follow instructions as a new knitter?
I have scrupulously followed a pattern when I absolutely loved it, but that was not the norm. As a beginning knitter, I relied heavily on patterns until I developed the skills to go rogue.

When did you begin designing and what was the first ever design you published?
My first published design, Green Goddess Socks, was released in 2008, but I can’t say for sure when I knit my first design. I can tell you that publishing patterns was a whole other world from knitting your own designs. I tend to design on the needles with little advance planning. Sometimes I would have to fudge to get what I wanted. You can’t write a pattern that way so you have to knit and reknit to get the precise method to achieve your design. Then you have to write it in a way others can understand it. Publishing brought a new discipline to how I knit and how I kept track of what I knit. Unfortunately, the old ways creep in every now and then.

When browsing your Ravelry pattern shop, I see that you are into accessories, shawls, cowls and socks mostly. Is there a particular type of garment you especially enjoy designing?
I have been leaning toward accessories because it’s a smaller commitment than a sweater. Right now, I really love doing shawls, but that could change at any point.

What is the name of your most popular design and why do you think that particular pattern has such a success?
The shawl Eden Prairie is my most popular pattern. I have a few theories as to why that’s the case. The pattern benefitted from the general popularity of shawls over the past few years. The pattern appeals to people who like modular designs. Also, Eden Prairie is based on a piece of Prairie style stained glass and captures both the feel of stained glass and the Prairie color scheme. A different color palette changes the look so it can appeal to folks who want to knit a piece of stained glass.

What do you personally, as a knitter, enjoy knitting the most?
It changes over time. Right now I love knitting shawls and have more ideas than time to knit. When I first started publishing patterns, I was really into socks. Before that, I almost exclusively made sweaters. I think it’s important to be flexible and knit what you are inspired to knit.

Do you have a favorite yarn weight and/or blend that you especially enjoy working with?
I have always been a wool person. It wears well and has great shape retention. When mixed with other fibers that don’t do as well on their own, they become more stable. I am happy to knit with silk, cotton and linen, but only when blended with wool.

As far as my favorite weight yarn, right now it would be sport-weight yarn or lighter. Since I am knitting so many shawls, I tend to use fingering a lot now and I love tosh merino light.

Is knitwear design your primary occupation?
No it is not. I also have an online yarn shop called Whitknits.com. I stock a lot of madelinetosh yarn so that is why I use a lot of it.

How do you see your future as a knitwear designer?
To continue to self publish my designs and to expand where those designs are available. My designs sell in LYS through Ravelry’s in-store pattern sales program. They are also available as downloads and kits on other sites, as well as printed and kitted at fiber shows.

Where can we follow you on social media? Blog?
Probably the best place to follow me is on facebook:https://www.facebook.com/Whitknits/?ref=hl

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Thank you very much Nancy for sharing with us. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you and I’m so happy that you accepted my interview and super grateful for your generosity as you have gracefully accepted to donate 2 of your patterns to my readers.

So like I said, Nancy will be gifting 2 patterns and to share the joy I have decided to draw for 2 winners, so one pattern each rather than  just have one winner that gets 2 patterns. If you would like to join in the giveaway for a chance to win a pattern of your choice from Nancy Whitman’s Ravelry shop then this is how to join:

Go on Ravelry to check out Nancy’s pattern shop – you can click here

Browse her patterns and then come back here and leave a comment with your Ravelry name and the name of the pattern you would like to win. You have until Friday 18th of March to participate and leave your comment and I will draw 2 lucky winners using Random.org on Saturday March 19th. Nancy will then gift each winner the pattern of their choice. Please note that you can choose any of her self published patterns (that means excluding ebooks or patterns published by a third party).

Enjoy the browsing and good luck to you all:)

 

Holiday knitting – that is the BIG question!!

Hi there, I hope you are enjoying your summer so far. Personally I wish the weather here in Normandy was better and that I had more vacation!!!! However there is light at the end of the tunnel and in just a few days I’ll finally have my summer vacation!!! Can’t wait!!

So now my big dilemma is what should I knit during the vacation??????? I have to have 2 projects. Not too voluminous as I will travel some but not too small either as the fear of finding myself out of knitting would just be overwhelming. So I’m thinking maybe a shawl and a pair of socks. What do you think? Do you bring knitting/crochet on your vacation? How do you choose your projects? Would you like to share your choice/s for this summer?

Now for the shawls I might have 3 choices. I say “might” because I actually bought some yarn online – 2 were kits that included a downloadable pattern + yarn. The third I had already bought the pattern and then later bought the right yarn and that one has arrived.

So what could definitely be a contender is the Bagatelle Shawl by Rachel Brown of Porpoise Fur. This cowl was designed as part of the Boardwalk collection from Kettle Yarn Co. I actually saw the cowl “in person” at the I Knit Fandango in London last May. My stand was opposite Linda’s of Kettle Yarn Co and my friend and I immediately fell in love with the pattern so as soon as it was released I went online and purchased it! And just last week I finally got around to ordering the same exact yarn and same exact color as the sample was made with! Now I’m sure you’re curious so here goes:

www.knittinginfrance.com You should definitely check out the pattern on Ravelry (I included a link up there). It really is gorgeous and Kettle Yarn Co’s yarn is simply gorgeous!! So I’m really looking forward to getting started on that. And I would also encourage you to check out the entire Boardwalk Collection that Kettle Yarn Co just released. It includes 6 gorgeous patterns all knit with her beautiful yarns, all designed by women, photographed by a woman, modelled by women etc! So a wonderful enterprise and 6 wonderful patterns. Just click on the name a few lines up and it will take you to the collection:)

Now on to my second contender and this one I have the pattern which I downloaded from Craftsy which is also where I bought the kit. The pattern is called Drachenfels and is by Mairlynd and here is a link for more info on that. I chose the colorway shown on the picture below and that is called Fire. The yarn is Brown Sheep Company. So I’m really looking forward to actually receiving the yarn and cross my fingers and hope it will get here in time!!!

www.knittinginfrance.com

And the last contender is also a kit I bought from Craftsy and same thing here, I have the pattern but not the yarn! This one is called The Mara Shawl Light kit.www.knittinginfrance.com The pattern is by Amy Hendrix and the yarn I chose is Madelinetosh Merino Light in Cosmic Wonder Dust ( love the name) and that is actually the colorway you see in the picture above.

So all gorgeous patterns with beautiful yarns!!!!

Now for the socks! Should I take some yarn and try to design a new pair? Should I pick one of the billion sock patterns I have in my Ravelry Library? Or should I just choose something completely soothing and just let the yarn do the job – here I’m thinking of doing a 2 in 1 socks using one of my Lorna’s Laces hand dyed sock yarns I recently indulged in. ??? Lots of questions here and I’m going to have to decide as I always cast on and do a few rows BEFORE leaving on vacation! A habit of mine, don’t know why but I just need to do this! Maybe to be 100% sure that I’ve chosen THE right project for my holiday knitting!

And on the question of sock knitting, as I’m working on my current pair of 2 in 1 socks which I think I just might call “Siamese socks” as of now, I’m thinking that this could actually be THE most soothing knitting I ever do. I just love the rythm to this and even though I’m basically “just” producing vanilla socks, the fact that I knit them simultaneously and that one is inside the other, one is entirely purled and the other knit, there is just something about that which keeps the interest going and at the same time gives you this soothing, relaxing feeling. So I’m actually rather leaning towards that. I’d love to be able to make up a new pattern using that technique, same basis but just do something with the stitch pattern for example. So I just might but I’m not sure. After all vacations are made for relaxing so I might end up just doing a regular 2 in 1. Here’s  a picture of my current pair of Siamese socks. I’m knitting them in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd sock in Rainbow

www.knittinginfrance.com

I think this is about it for tonight. I’d love to hear your take on holiday knitting so do join in the discussion and share your thoughts on the matter:) Also don’t forget that I’m doing a huge RENEWAL sale in my Etsy shop as I’m hoping to carry out a number of significant changes this autumn.

www.knittinginfrance.etsy.com

That’s all so until next time, take care and enjoy your crafting time:)

Works in progress

Hi there, If you follow my blog you know that this week has been a super happy mail week and that I recently received my order of gradient yarns from Knitcircus Yarns. I of course got super excited and despite my good intentions of actually finishing some of my works in progress BEFORE casting on for yet another project I was unable to resist. I chose to use the Sand Castle Yarn and do the Come What May Shawl by Susan B Anderson

huge yarn cake from Knitcircus - www.knittinginfrance.com  Come What may shawl by Susan B Anderson - www.knittinginfrance.com   And here is my progress so far

the come what may shawl - www.knittinginfrance.com

My progress so far on the Come What May shawl by Susan B Anderson

Looks pretty good so far I think. And the pattern is a joy to knit, simple but not too simple and as it’s knit on size 4 mm/US6 needles it progresses super quick I feel and that is always a good perk.

I’ve not forgotten about my baby blanket although it’s been on the back burner these past 2 days, but I really love how the pattern works out, I love the colour which I hope the parents will also like and feel is unisex. I just hope I dyed enough yarn….As I never write anything down but dye “to feeling” (if that is a thing). What do you think? I do need to be careful to count my stitches because sometimes I stop and realize that I’ve crossed the stitches at the wrong place and I need to unravel a few stitches down a few rows. But so far so good, now I just need to be serious and continue so it will be finished in time for my little niece or nephew.

progress on my baby blanket - www.knittinginfrance.Com

My baby blanket so far

I’ve also been doing some work for the I Knit Fandango show which is coming up in just a few days!!! Can you believe that!! I’m so excited and I look forward to perhaps meet some of you and to share with you here the pictures of my booth and so forth. So i’ve been doing stitch markers and fibre crafts themed earrings. Do you like these?

Fibre craft inspired earrings for next weeks show - www.knittinginfrance.com

Some fibre craft inspired earrings for the I Knit Fandango show in London next week

Well thats all for today, take care and enjoy your day:)