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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More on Sock Blanks

What is a sock blank? Some of you are sure to be familiar with those and others maybe not so much.

A sock blank is a machine knit “blank” or a piece that looks like a short, wide scarf. A sock blank can be knit single or double and it is important to know which type you are buying because this will determine how you can use the blank for your knitting.

A hand dyed sparkle sock blank by www.knittinginfrance.com

A single knit blank will be twice as long, more or less, than a double knit blank. But the most important difference is that a single knit blank means that you only have 1 thread to work with which is fine if you are knitting one sock at a time or one mitten at a time or something like that. However if you were planning on doing a TAAT sock project or something similar you will want a double knit blank where you unravel 2 threads at a time and can thus knit 2 separate pieces.

Sock blanks by www.knittinginfrance.com

Dyeing sock blanks is a challenge I feel. You can do different things and maybe more with some regards versus dyeing a hank of yarn. However you should keep in mind that the pattern on your blank is not going to be reproduced exactly in your pair of socks for example. If you have a striped design, your socks will be striped but the final patterning will be different as everything depends on your needle size, the amount of stitches used and of course your pattern. Also if you design has dots or geometric designs for example, these will translate into a more sort of varigated design in your socks or other small circumference knit.

hand dyed sock blanks by Knitting in France

Here’s a picture of a pair of simple socks that I’m currently knitting using a blank that I dyed a while back. This was one of the first blanks I did and I first dyed each half in a different colour. Then I decided to overdye by doing a sort of dot design on top of the main colour. And on the picture below you can see the blank and its design and how the pattern then translates into the actual socks that I’m knitting. These will be simple afterthought heel socks and the front is 3×2 ribbing.

www.knittinginfrance.com You can see the dots in the blanket and how this gives a varigated end result. This is a double knit blanket which enables me to knit 2 socks at a time.

I will be selling some of my hand dyed sock blanks at the show in London this weekend and if you are coming I hope you will come by my booth for a chat and maybe even purchase something you like 🙂

Take care

General Hogbuffer

Does that name sound at all familiar? If not, then I’m so happy to be able to introduce you to this fantastic sock designer! A while back I was browsing Ravelry for some Sock patterns and I found this amazing designer that has a lot of gorgeous sock patterns and they are all FREE!

You can check out his Ravelry page here and he also has a blog on crafting which you might enjoy reading and for a peak just click here

I really admire his work and he does both colourwork and patterned/cabled designs and also has a few socks with innovative or unusual construction. So far I have not had the pleasure of knitting one of his socks but since I’m looking for a new sock to knit (yes I know, What a surprise!), I’m going to choose one of his designs. Actually, I think I’ll choose 2 because I have my latest Knitcircus Gradient Yarn Sock Club yarn waiting and then there is the upcoming show in London and I really can’t be seen there knitting with a yarn that is not mine 🙂 So as for the socks using my own yarn, I’m thinking of using a sock blank that I have dyed.

A hand dyed sparkle sock blank by www.knittinginfrance.com This is a sparkle sock blank, 75% super wash merino, 20% nylon and 5% silver stellina. This is a yarn that I adore! I love the sparkle and it is just so super soft and wonderfully comfortable for next to skin wear be it for socks or any other accessory. I just recently got theses sparkle sock blanks so this will be my first time knitting with one of those although I’m very familiar with the yarn itself. I dyed this with a new method of kettle dyeing where I left parts of the blank in the simmering dye pot for different lengths of time which in turn gives me a blank with different tones of fuchsia which I quite like. I did dye a few of these and will be selling them at the I Knit Fandango Show this week (May 15th and 16th) in London.

Now as for the pattern I chose, it’s called Maudie by General Hogbuffer of course and here is a link to the pattern on Ravelry

And here’s a picture of the sock Maudie sock pattern by General Hogbuffer I love the “braid/cable” design on the side.

As this particular blank is knit in single, it means that I will not be able to do a TAAT knit but as I have chosen a detailed pattern that is maybe for the better.

Anyway, I’m going to have to cast on today so that I have some rows worked before leaving for the show and I’ll be showing you some pictures next week. I may not have made much progress between casting on and then but that will just be a good thing as that would mean I was way to busy selling stuff in my booth to do any knitting:)

That’s it for today, take care and have a wonderful day

Socks and more socks

Hi there, this morning the weather here in Normandy, France is just beautiful! The sun is shining, the sky is blue and its slightly warm. Weather like that always brings my spirits up, even though I do have to work and won’t be able to go to beach! In the last two days I’ve made some progress on my latest knits and so I decided to show you some pictures – please not I did not knit all this in 2 days its just to show you that one thing is finished and the rest almost there:)

www.knittinginfrance.com This is the pair of 2 in 1 socks I’ve been working on lately and as of this morning I just finished! The yarn is gradient yarn from Knitcircus and this pair was actually knit using the rest of a skein that I had used to knit another pair of socks. So from this one skein, I actually got 2 pairs – one medium sized and the second in a child size for my youngest daughter. Would you believe that both pairs came from the same set of gradient striping skein?www.knittinginfrance.com Also both pairs were knit using the 2 in 1 method I learned from a pattern by Kate Atherley. I must say that I have totally fallen for this method of sock knitting. What I need now is to discover how to use this and knit patterned socks, like with lace panels or something because so far, I’m only able to knit plain stockinette socks using this method and I’ve lately discovered a million gorgeous sock patterns online that I’d love to knit but am bothered because I can’t use the 2 in 1 method to do them! On that subject, I’m going to prepare a post soon about all those free and gorgeous sock patterns I’ve discovered lately and maybe you will see something you too will want to knit.

So, one pair of socks done! On to the next 3! Yes, I said 3! Good (or not) that they are all “in progress” so should not take long to finish. So first off, there is my pair of Regency Socks by Heatherly Walker. I’m knitting those using one of my own hand dyed sock yarns in a gorgeous blue colour www.knittinginfrance.com

Then there’s my pair of Philosophers Walk socks by Lesley Melliship  and I’d like to  add that I sell kits for those online and will also offer kits at the I Knit Fandango show in London 15-16th of May 2015. I’ve completed one sock and the second one is almost done so this really should become my priority now as I’d love to show them in London to show people that are interested in buying the kit. So here are mine www.knittinginfrance.com  I really love how purple and yellow go together.

And then the last pair of socks that I have going at the moment, and I’m planning on writing  a post on these later on, are socks knit from a sock blank. A sock blank is a piece of machine knit yarn that is either knit double or single and then you basically “unknit” it as you knit. No need to wind into a ball, you just get going immediately. This is also a fun medium to try with regards to handpainting yarn. This particular blank was a test on my part where I did 2 different colours and dots and the knitted result is rather fun. The pattern is just simple stockinette and ribbing.

www.knittinginfrance.com You see how I inverted the colours- half is dark with dark green dots and the other half is light with dots the colour of the other side’s MC. Hm that sounds complicated but I hope you get the idea 🙂

So, I’m still hooked on sock knitting as you can see. Now before I say goodbye for today, I want to let you know of an update in the shop. I just received the NEW version of the Sock Ruler – the new version has measurements both in inches and centimeters so no matter what pattern you want to knit, the Sock Ruler will be perfect! If you are not familiar with this new awesome tool, then let me explain. The Sock Ruler is a Ruler like the name indicates and you use it instead of a tape measure. It is made out of rigid plastic and has the shape of a sock on one end. It makes measuring the different parts of your sock a breeze as your sock can lay flat so it is way less fiddly than using a tape measure – not to mention I have not lost one Ruler so far where as my tape measures have  a tendency to disappear into thin air making it necessary to have a gazillion on hand all over my project bags and house basically.

This is what the new ruler looks like – On the left side you have the CM and on the right side the IN. IMG_3127

The Sock Ruler www.knittinginfrance..com Here you see how I measure the length of my leg for example. So if you too would like to give this tool a try, here’s a link to it in my shop

Thats all for today my friends. Have a wonderful day and I look forward to writing to you again soon:)

ps- my last post on a Pin It Win It Contest has got quite a few likes so I’m still thinking about maybe doing one just for the fun. Someone mentioned that “small bloggers” would not have a chance to win due to lack of followers but my blog is small too and this is a way to draw attention to my blog as well as my shop and I think it could also draw attention to your blog if you have one. And also no need to have a blog to participate, if you have a Pinterest account you could participate and share on your Pinterest. I’m not expecting the winner to have a 1000 shares of the board, I’m guessing more like 10-15 so this would basically be more for the fun of it for all of us. So this is still working its way in my head, I’ll let you know what I decide and if you have further thoughts on the matter, do share 🙂

Like mother like daughter

Hi there, as we all know sharing something we love with those we love is a great pleasure. Sharing with people we just met who appreciate our work and share the same passion is also wonderful.

As a knitter I share that love with my mother who has always knitted and taught me when I was young. Today, I share my love of yarn dyeing with my youngest daughter. My other two children are not too interested although my son does help out with the shop (going to the post office or working at shows with me) and my oldest daughter much appreciates my handknit socks and blankets.

But my youngest, Inès, who is about to turn 9, loves working in the studio with me and has worked on the carding machine and enjoys dyeing as well. That is such fun and this weekend she even said to me: “mom, when I will be big I too will teach my little girl to dye yarn”. Isn’t that just too wonderful:)

Do you have stories of sharing your passion with others? Pictures you’d like to share with us? I’d love to hear/see and I’m sure the other readers would too.

Here are some pictures of my little indie dyer

A proud indie dyer at work www.knittinginfrance.com Ines is dyeing a sock blank. She came up with the design herself a young indie dyer at work www.knittinginfrance.com  Hard at work, deciding on organising the colours and so onsock blank being painted by hand www.knittinginfrance.com Almost done

And here is the sock blank ready for you to knit from www.knittinginfrance.com Following morning, here she is with her sock blank all dry and ready for sale! I offered to knit her a pair of socks with her yarn but she would rather I sell it 🙂

What would you like to buy at I Knit Fandango this May?

Hi there, as you probably all know I’m preparing for the I Knit Fandango craft show that is being held in London 15-16th of May. It is tough to decide what to pack and how much of each especially when like this time, I have to travel by air and then take a taxi to the hotel ALL ALONE! So I have to pack wisely as there is just so much I can carry by myself. But then I also do not want to spend my money and time on doing a show if my booth is half empty from the beginning as missing out on sales is NOT an objective. Going home with tons of stuff is not an objective either so the balance between too much, not enough and just right is a tough one to find.

This is why I thought maybe you could help me out. If you are planning on attending the show what would you like to see/try/buy? And even if you are not coming, when you do attend shows, what do you tend to look for? Are you more on the look out for yarn? A particular yarn type? Knitting accessories? All inclusive kits?

And as I mentioned yarn, what are your favorite colours at the moment or colours you’d like to knit this summer?

I’m done, I think, almost, with the dyeing. This weekend I did dye for a crochet shawl kit that is going to be very nice. This kit uses 778 m of yarn and rather than doing 2 skeins of 400m each I decided to do  1 huge skein of 800m. This ensures that the colour is consistent throughout the project and that you only have to ball 1 skein instead of 2 – even though it is huge).

And as I found this was a rather brilliant idea (if I say so myself) I decided to do a few more and sell individually as this is a good size for many shawl designs. What do you think? Do you knit shawls yourself? If so you knit mostly with fingering weight or do you use lace weight?

I also did some sock blank dyeing, both kettle dyed and hand painted and here are some pictures. At the bottom of the drying rack you can see some balls of yarns, this is yarn that came in a wound ball and I dyed as was for a sort of varigated effect. The only problem is once it’s been dyed I need to undo the ball and wind into a skein for it to dry properly and that is not much fun):

hand dyed sock blanks and balls of yarn www.knittinginfrance.com hand painted sock blanks www.knittinginfrance.com

Well thats it for now. If you feel like sharing and helping me decide what to bring or not to bring, what to dye or not to dye, all constructive advice is appreciated 🙂

Take care and enjoy your crafting