In a bit of a stand still

Hi there, how are you feeling today? I hope you are feeling good and having a nice start to your week. I’m feeling a bit…not really under the weather but just not in a great place for some reason.

Knitting wise I have been concentrating on a few projects. One is a sweater test knit that is top secret. I’m knitting it out of Holst Garn Tides which is a wool/silk blend. So far so good. I think I will finish the body today and then get on to the sleeves.

Then there is Sock Madness round 2! And this is a clear sign I’m not quite myself but I think I’m going to quit. Yes, that’s right! What happened?

Well, so I got the pattern just after it was released and cast on immediately. This time the pattern is a mix of brioche and stocking stitch. This combination makes for a very loose fitting/elastic fabric so as I went on it just felt too big. And I’m sorry to say I did not like the pattern/outcome much.

And then I made a mistake! In the gusset section and discovered my mistake just after finishing the heel turn. So not long after but it did mean I had to rip back to the end of my flap and continue a few rows only ripping back a heel that is partly in brioche…well that did not sound so enticing. And I just wasn’t “feeling it” for some reason.

So before going to bed that night, I ripped out THE ENTIRE SOCK! And I haven’t cast on again. This is not like me but I think I’m just not in the right frame of mind at the moment and adding stress to my life is not a good idea right now. So I decided to just stop and only knit on things I truly enjoy working on.

I do have 2 pairs of socks on the go but haven’t worked on them this past week. I have just been working on my sweater and a new shawl.

I don’t wear a lot of shawls, I have a few favorite ones that I use a lot and the others just linger in my wardrobe. But I have a feeling this one may become a new favorite. It is the Girl’s Best Friend shawl by Isabelle Kraemer. I’m sure you have seen it lots of time. A lot of knitting bloggers/podcasters have made some. For extra pleasure I’m knitting mine with mostly new yarns, two out of three that is AND they are from my stash so good for me!

I still have plenty of knitting to do and I really enjoy working on this and I’m really happy with the yarn/colors. The grey is a singles I dyed. The pink is a singles too I got from a destash on Ravelry but don’t remember the yarn brand. The brown contrast color is a Madeleine Tosh Sock yarn. So pure luxury for this shawl.

Once this one is done I’m hoping I will finish my Across the Pond shawl by the Knitting Expat before I cast on for the Baubles shawl by Andrea Mowry.

So that’s all I have for you knitting wise. I am getting ready for a new Maker of the Month feature. I also am thinking about doing a giveaway when I reach 300 subscribers to my blog which should be soon. Amazing I know ! Who would have guessed that I would be able to maintain a blog for over 2 years now and grow a following of people that actually enjoy reading my blog! I’m so grateful for all those that follow and support my blogging adventures. I’m planning something nice, a giveaway that you will hopefully enjoy.

And one other thing. In February I talked about starting a Spring Challenge this April to organize my yarn and other crafting supplies and some of you expressed interest in joining me. The more the merrier and frankly if you are anything like I am, the support of others will be a big bonus.

So I haven’t forgotten. Life has just gotten in the way. I have family from Iceland visiting at the moment so I won’t be able to really get started till this weekend. I’m going to open a new page here on this website just for the challenge so that we can share ideas and progress. I’m thinking I should keep the challenge somewhat separate as not everyone may be interested in that and I want to continue blogging as usual and discuss other topics. I did think about opening a Ravelry thread in my group for this but after some consideration m I think I will keep everything here. What do you think?

I have started working on this and have a Pinterest board where I pin storage ideas to share with you for example. I so desperately need to organize not only my stash but also my many wips so I really look forward to getting started for real and if you are joining too, I hope you are gearing up as well.

That’s it for today I think. Thank you again for stopping by today for a chat. I wish you a great rest of the week and Happy Knitting

My works in progress

Hi there, how are you? It’s Easter weekend here now and I hope you are having some time off from work and just enjoying some nice relaxing time with your family and friends, lots of chocolate at hand as well as your knitting.

Last time I blogged I did not have the time to show you all of my current wips or the post would just have been way too long and I don’t want to abuse your precious time so I decided to share those with you now.

First up, I’m test knitting a sock for KBJ Designs, an Australian designer. This is the fourth time I test knit for her I think and the third sock pattern.

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This pattern is really beautiful and keeps your interest all the time. It is a pattern that you need to follow so maybe not one you can work on in front of a complicated film or at an animated knit night. But oh so enjoyable.

I’m using yarn from Lolo Did It called Hippo for Thanksgiving and I really like how that is knitting up. I was afraid the speckles might obscure the stitch pattern but I think it’s ok.

Then there is my Midnight Sherbet by Kingfisher Knits. I’m knitting this one using my own organic merino DK yarn that I dyed specially for this pattern. I’m about 80% done so really looking forward to coming to the end of this one. There is like a lozenge pattern in the middle of the wrap but I chose not to include that and just knit straight on and then continue the cable that goes all through the length of the wrap. This is a two color brioche wrap so if you want to practice brioche knitting this is a  pattern I would highly recommend.

The pink side is the front and the blue is the back but really this is totally  reversible so both can be fronts. The cable is showing up better on the pink side as the yarn is lighter.

I also started a new shawl while I was in California, I chose the Across the Pond by Mina Philip of the Knitting Expat. I have had this pattern in my Ravelry library for a long time and I knew I wanted to knit this. I dyed up some of my Back to Basics fingering weight yarns especially and cast on while in the US.

I’m not very far on and the stitches are all scrunched up on my needles but you at least see the color and the patterning. I still have a lot of repeats to do of this main section and then there is a lace border and I dyed up a light silver color for that. I think this will look really nice once it’s done.

And then there is my first colorwork, steeked cardigan. I had almost finished in February before leaving for the US. When I came home I knit the button bands and prepared the steek. Here are a couple of pictures but I feel this cardigan deserves a whole post on its own so I will be sharing more on this work later.

On the left you see the cardigan with the button bands in place and on the right I have made the crochet reinforcement and the only thing left is to just cut the steek and fasten the buttons! I have even woven in all the ends!

I’m of course working on more socks and a new test knit cardigan and will share pictures of those when I have made some progress.

That’s it for today. I will be sharing my stash enhancements next time and some of the patterns I intend to knit up with those.

Thank you for taking the time to check on me today. I wish you a wonderful weekend and happy crafting!

I’m back!

Hi there, how are you and how have you been these past few weeks? It’s been way too long since my last real post and as you may know that is because I have just come back from a 3 week stay in California:

I had a wonderful time with my brother. It was a quiet visit as both of us were working and I was there to help out with his two girls so there was a lot of family time which was just very cozy and nice.

I did get to meet lots of new people and see places I had yet to visit but mostly it was just family and work.

I did buy some stuff…way more yarn and project bags than planned for… but I really felt like taking this opportunity to save on shipping! AND a friend of mine was having a going out of business sale that was just too good not to take advantage of.

I will be sharing my stash enhancements in a later post as not everyone may be interested in  seeing and hearing about that and since it’s been such a long time since I last checked in I thought I would stick to knitting today.

So this month of March has been very productive knitting wise. I have so far knit 5 pairs of socks and one cardigan. I’m currently working on a wrap, a shawl, 2 socks, about to steek and finish a cardigan and cast on for a new test knit sweater.

So lots of things to share with you today.

First of let’s do socks!

So as you may remember I’m doing no less than three sock clubs this year, both of Mina’s Knitting Expat clubs and the Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade one. This means that I receive one or two patterns a month depending as Helen’s club is a bi monthly one. So March was a 2 pattern month and I have finished both patterns.

First there is the Winter Rose socks from Helen Stewart. I knit those using Opal sock yarn and I think they look really nice. For some reason they were slow to knit and not just because of the all over lace pattern. For some reason I just had a hard time finishing them but now I’m done I really like them. These are for my older daughter.

 

Then there is the pattern from Mina’s Wanderlust club called the Dérive socks. I knit those using a small skein from Goosey Fibres for the main color and my Back to Basics yarn for the contrasting toe.

This pattern was simple to memorise and knit up relatively fast. These are for my younger daughter.

 

As I had knit a pair for each of my daughters I had to knit one for my son too. I used one of my stash enhancements for his pair. I actually purchased two balls of Regia PairFect yarns by Arne and Carlos and one of those was for my son. He has bigger feet than I do so the socks look too big on my blockers. I used up all the yarn or almost. I think only a few grammes were left in the end so they are rather high on the leg and I do hope he will like them. Spring is around the corner so not really the right time of the year for sock gifting but hey.

regia pairfect matteo I really like the autumnal colors and pattern in this yarn. I just did my regular vanilla sock here.

And then there is Sock Madness! You may know that I decided to join for the third time. This time I was careful not to finish too quickly because I wanted to avoid ending up in the fastest team as before so I took my time although that is relatif because I ended up knitting my pair in 4 days! And to show you how crazy fast knitters there are, finishing up in 4 days got me in the 5th fastest team. I took longer than necessary because I know that I have a lot of things to do in my daily life and cannot put everything aside for SM when a new round starts so I thought this strategy would put me in a team of knitters that have similar lives/imperatives as I do and so I might be able to stay in the game longer.

So the qualifying round had just started the day before I left so I had cast on at home and then knit on my trip over and so forth. The qualifying round pattern was a nice two color pattern using slipped stitches and a broken rib. The broken rib on most of the sock was what slowed things down. I used my own hand dyed SOX yarn for this pair as the main color and a very pale green yarn from the Wool Barn for the contrasting color.

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Round 1 is about to finish in less than 72 hours so round 2 is just around the corner. The round 1 pattern was a tricky one because it had beading, knotting and duplicate stitches. Once I understood how to make the stitch where the beads were to be threaded onto and how to then knot it, I was on a roll. The rest of the sock was just simple stockinette. The difficult part was once the socks were done, one had a lot of duplicate stitching to do and I have never really done duplicate stitching so it took a while. Especially on the first sock. I was worried for a while that I might be disqualified due to my bad stitching skills but in the end my socks turned out ok and I actually like them. Lucky for me I had brought yarn for those as well as beads just in case this pattern was the first one.

It is always good to challenge oneself and try new techniques and I can definitely do with some more duplicate stitching but I have to admit I did not enjoy that so much…

Now I’m just trying to get other things done before the next round starts.

I also knit a cardigan. This is a test knit I did for Making Stories, the European knitting publication by Verena Cohrs and Hanna Lisa Haferkamp. So far they have only published one book/magazine called WOODS but the second issue BREEZE is about to be published and this test knit is for the third issue that will be published this autumn I believe.

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This design is secret for the time being so not much I can share about that but here is what I can say. This is a buttonless cardigan with 3/4 sleeves knit top down in one piece. The yarn is an italian rustic yarn that has been hand dyed. There were not a lot of color choices I felt so I picked a dark grey color. This yarn was not a total joy to knit with I must confess. It was very very loosely plied and so I had to be careful to knit all the plies and not just one strand (that did happen a few times) and also the color rubbed off on my hands so after each knitting session my hands would be all grey which I did not much like.

When I came home I washed and blocked the cardigan and surprisingly the yarn did not bleed as I thought it would.  I had also had an issue with the hem curling up on it self but once I washed it, it just fell right into place.

This is a very nice cardigan for autumn and early winter I feel. Because it does not have full sleeves and is somewhat short it is not a cozy winter garment but rather a nice layer when the weather starts to cool down I think.

This is starting to get a little long so I think I will leave my works in progress for later. Thank you so much for coming back and for your patience waiting for me as I was away and not blogging.

I hope you are doing great and happy knitting till next time!

Happy Friday

Hi there, once again I’m late… I have been quite busy at work lately and so everything else has been somewhat on the back burner unfortunately.

But today is Friday, I have finished work and am looking forward to the weekend. I have plans of knitting and lots of prepping! Yes prepping because I’m going to vend at a yarn festival here in Normandy. It is the first show I vend at since 2014 so it’s been a while. It’s also the first wool/yarn festival to be held here in Normandy so very exciting. I have lots of organising to do, lots of yarn buying and dyeing, planning etc. And I hope to get some of that done this weekend; not to mention as much knitting as I can possibly cram in.

exhibiting bleu fil de la manche

I will be telling you more about this yarn festival in later posts here on the blog.

Since my last post I have managed to finish 2 1/2 pairs of socks. So I thought I should show those to you today. First up is a pair called Sterntaler socks by Becky Sorensen of Sopranoknits. These were a quick knit. Fairly simple socks with a little bit of texture. It says to fade out the textured pattern on the back before knitting the heel. I tried that but didn’t like it so I just stopped when it was time for the heel and did not do any sort of transition and I think it looks just fine.

I knit these using my SOX yarn and I think they look quite nice. I’m setting these aside to use as samples of my SOX yarn knit up on my stand at the wool festival I told you about.

The second pair I finished just a few minutes ago. These are the Resfeber socks by Mina Philipp of the Knitting Expat. This is the first pair of her Wanderlust sock club. Being the crazy sock knitter I am, I signed up for both of her sock clubs this year so I will be getting a pattern a month and the plan is to knit them all as they arrive!

This was a simple textured knit and purl pattern with a garter stitch heel which was fun to knit. I used my new favorite sock yarn which is a merino/mohair/nylon blend. It is perfect for socks and garments alike and I think it is especially perfect for colorwork projects. The yarn is ultra soft and a joy to work with and because of the mohair there is a slight halo.

I joined a sock test knit at the last moment this week. I joined on Monday, got the pattern on Tuesday and had to finish one sock by Thursday. And I made it! Well, I was only knitting the smallest size so not really a big feat but hey!

So this was a test knit for Dana Gervais. It’s been a while since I test knit for her and so I was very happy to be able to join, even if last minute.

This was a fun knit and even if the pattern looks somewhat complex it really is super simple and easily memorizable.  I knit this sock in my SPARKLES yarn in the Something about CC colorway which is a very very bright pink! Now I just have to finish the second sock so it does not become a lingering wip as so many before!

And on the subject of lingering wips, it is almost time to start my challenge! I just need to finish the second sock I just showed you and I will be ready to start fresh beginning of February. The idea now is to always have 1 new sock and one old wip sock on the go at all times. I know I will always have at least two pairs of socks at any given time so I figure if I do one from my pile of wips every time I start a new one; I might actually get something done.

I think I will be starting with the socks from my wips. I’m currently somewhat actively working on 2 cardigans so the ones in the pile will have to wait a bit longer. I’m also getting ready to cast on for a new wrap so the old shawls will have to wait too.

I’m sort of hopeless! I’m sure you are rolling your eyes at me as you read this. Thinking I’m never going to do as I say. And you may be right! But I’m going to try. I really do need to make my pile of wips disappear and I prefer to do so by knitting everything up rather than frogging everything.

Some of you have shared with me that you too have lingering projects that need love and I’m happy to have you join me. I have opened a thread in my Ravelry group so we can share and give each other the moral knitterly support needed to keep focused:)

My knitting plans for next week are to finish the second sock I talked about and to choose the first wip sock to work on. I have one cast on planned ( and many more I’m dreaming of). It is a brioche wrap in two colors called the Midnight Sherbert by Madeleine Windsor. I have dyed up some organic, non superwash DK merino yarn especially for that.

And I’m going to continue working on my colorwork cardigan that I have yet to show you…. I think I have to write a whole post about that one. I have so much to say but just to tease you, here’s a glimps

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That’s all for today folks. Thank you again for stopping by and spending some time with me. I hope you have enjoyed your time in my company. I hope to be back beginning of next week as usual. February is around the corner and lots of fun knitting is planned. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and a good work week ahead.

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

Happy new knitting year

Hi there! First off I would like to apologize for the long silence. I can imagine you may have wondered if I had stopped blogging all together! It’s probably been close to a month since I last posted here and I have not been very active on social media either. Not to mention that I closed my Etsy shop. So I guess I have given you all the reasons to think I was just going off the grid.

Well, I’m still here and I hope to keep blogging and growing my blog in this new year. The past month or so has been very busy to say the least. Both on a personal level as well as on a professional level. I’m hoping I will be able to get back into my rhythm of blogging once a week. I might, if I can, blog more to begin with because I have so much to share with you. Things have just been piling up!

Now I wish you and your family and friends all the very best in this new year. I would like to thank you for the past year we have spent together. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to follow my blog and my knitting adventures. Thank you for sharing your story and for commenting here on the blog. Thank you for supporting my yarn dyeing business if you are one of my clients. I hope 2018 will be a good year for you, one of happyness and good things. I hope you will be able to indulge yourself in knitting and anything else fibre related that you may enjoy. I hope you will be able to build on your skills and and learn new things. And I hope you will keep on following me on my journey as before.

I honestly don’t know where to begin. I have so much to share but I don’t have much time and I’m assuming the same goes for you so I cannot write an epic blog post. I will have to portion down all the things and share over time.

Maybe I should start where we left off, with Christmas knitting. I think I will do that.

So last time I blogged, I was knitting a lot of socks. I did not knit much for Christmas gifts. I had been intelligent enough to have set aside a few things during the year that I was able to gift for Christmas but basically I did not gift much knitwear this past Christmas. I mostly knit for myself! And mostly socks.

So here goes, and I may have shared the first two pairs with you already but I guess that’s ok as it was such a long time ago.

I made up this simple pattern to use with self striping yarn and I think it worked out great with this beautiful yarn from the Cozy Knitter called Gingerbread House. The pattern is a very simple lace pattern that is worked on the first row of each new color. I did write down the pattern and I’m hoping I will be able to write it up in a formal fashion and maybe even put up on Ravelry this year. Who knows, 2018 might become the year of knitting designs for me…

Then there was another pair of self striping socks in a Christmas colorway. This time a pair of shorty socks.

Again I made up a super simple pattern and used as I came to a new color. This one I also wrote down just in case. The yarn is Vintage Christmas from the Yarn Jar. I had some brown yarn I had dyed myself in my box of minis/left overs and used that for heels and toes.

And now on to the pairs I think I have not before shared here with you.

This pattern is called Sugarplum Fairy and is by Knitterarium. This pattern is for sale on Ravelry. I knit those with yarn from Lolo Did It called Hippo for Christmas. I absolutely LOVED knitting these socks! The yarn is nice and the pattern a total joy to work. I can definitely see myself knitting more of those. I love how high up they are, I love the lace detail on the top and all the twisted stitches just look so nice. I had begun knitting this before I left for Iceland but I finished the pair there.

Next up is a pair that I cast on on Christmas Eve or should I say the yarn is one I used to cast on on Christmas Eve. I was going to knit ‘Twas the night before Christmas by Little Bobbins Knits and after knitting the cuff and the first pattern repeat I had to surrender to reality and change pattern. This yarn was way too busy for such a delicate pattern. So I ripped everything out and lucky for me, as a patron of the Bakery Bears podcast I had received a pattern for Christmas from Kay called  And All Was Calm (I think) and I swiftly cast that on. I’m not entirely satisfied with the results. I think I should have just knit a plain vanilla sock with this yarn but I didn’t have anything else as I had tried to limit my yarn on this trip and I had to cast something on so. I did like the pattern and I think I have to knit it again in a less crazy yarn or maybe even a solid yarn. This is a patron only pattern so not available on Ravelry.

Here you see a part of the sock blank which was just amazing. I got that from Joyance Fibre. She is based in Holland and she paints the most amazing sock blanks. The very busy parts on the legs are where there was a Santa Claus on the sock blank. The sock blank was beautiful, the yarn was enjoyable to work with but it just wasn’t the right yarn for this particular pattern.

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Here you can better see the socks and the lace pattern which is somewhat obscured by the yarn.

I had started this pair just before leaving I believe and it was the first pair I finished in Iceland. The main yarn is from Lolo Did It but I don’t remember the colorway. The contrasting yarn is from Goosey Fibres. The pattern is Caramel Apple Socks by Vanillawool. I absolutely ADORE this pattern. I love the lace pattern that knits up into a delicate sock. Such fun to work. The pattern comes in one size only, 64 stitches but can easily be adapted to a bigger size and that is what I did as I usually knit 72 stitch socks on 2.25mm needles. This pattern was really fun to knit and the lace pattern soon because memorized and I just really got into a rhythm when knitting them. I’m planning on knitting these again and I could definitely see me knit those as shorty socks for summer.

Then there is another pattern I made up myself and cast on while in Iceland. I had bought my very first skein of yarn from Molly of The Homespun House. It was one of her Christmas colorways and I really wanted to knit something with that while on holiday. I was still on a twisted rib high after my Sugarplum Fairy socks and so I went for a twisted rib sock. I did twisted rib on the front of the leg and foot only and all the way to the cast off. And I’m really pleased with the results. Just what I had in mind when I cast on.

This was on a tweed base so there are some black nepps and then lots of colored speckles on top of a light green base. I really like those.

The last pair I cast on while in Iceland was the pattern I had planned on knitting on Christmas Eve; the ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Little Bobbins. As the yarn I had planned for that pattern did not work out, I had gone to a LYS (and I’ll share all about that in a future post) but unfortunately I wasn’t able to buy any sock yarn suitable for that there. But lucky me, my cousin came for a knit afternoon on December 30th and she so generously gifted me a skein of yarn! A beautiful skein of yarn from a new to me Icelandic dyer! The dyer is called Dottir Dyeworks and her yarn was beautiful. I have yet to visit her shop and discover more about her and her yarns but the one I got was perfect. Of course I had to cast on for a new pair of socks and this was the perfect yarn for Little Bobbins pattern.

I really enjoyed knitting this pattern and the yarn went perfectly with it. I finished this pair shortly after getting back home.

While in Iceland I did also work on my 2nd Avenue Wrap by Amy Miller. That wrap is huge and it is taking me FOREVER to finish.

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While in Iceland I knit from the little blue marker to the top. Not a huge deal but then I was all about the socks! I have since knit a little bit more on this and am now in the next section which is knit in the black sparkle yarn. I did change the stitch pattern. I was supposed to be like in the grey section at the top; a mix of stockinette and garter stitch. I chose to knit like a seed stitch or something similar just to maintain some interest as this is somewhat boring to knit. I’m knitting this entirely out of singles yarns that I have dyed myself EXCEPT for the pink yarn which is a singles I purchased from another dyer. The pink is also the only yarn that does not have sparkle. I think this will be such a great piece once it’s done. I can really see myself wearing this and wrapping up both inside and out. But it is looooooong to knit….

Since I came home I have been knitting mostly on socks! A shocker I know! But I also have started a shawl and two sweaters.

I think this will be all for today. I hope you have enjoyed coming back and spending some time with me today. Next time I will share my knitting objectives for 2018 so stay tuned.

Hugs and happy knitting:)

It’s all about the knitting

Hi there, how are you? I hope you have read the interview I did with Caitlin of Goosey Fibres and that you enjoyed that. If you haven’t read that yet you should click here and then join in the giveaway:)

I have been doing a lot of knitting lately. It is helping me stay sane and not lose myself as I go through some difficult personal times. So today I will be showing all my finished objects and some of my current works in progress.

First off a pair of Christmas socks I’m knitting for myself. I’m making the pattern up but I’m not sure I can call this a design as it is such a simple pattern. It is fun to make and I think this is perfect for self striping yarns that have even stripes. My socks are knit in Gingerbread colorway from the Cozy Knitter. A splurge I made for myself.

I’m getting close to the heel on sock two. I’m knitting those toe up and they are somewhere between shorty socks and a regular sock. I didn’t want to lose any yarn so I had to knit to a certain point where I could pick up from for the beginning of sock two.

I’m enjoying this knit and I look forward to having them all done.

I have also finished sock one of my current sock test knit and I have cast on for sock two. This is a very nice pattern that I’m enjoying working and the result is beautiful. I’m using my new blend, 50/50 merino/cotton to knit those . The yarn is very soft and because of the merino content it does have some give. I’m interested in seeing how the socks will hold up to wear. They are super soft and comfortable to the touch.

kbj testkbj test 2kbj test 3

I’m really thrilled about the colorway I dyed up too:)

And  then there are my hats. I have finished two winter hats. The first is a new pattern from my friend Madeleine of Kingfisher knits. It’s called Vendemmia. I knit this using my 100% baby alpaca yarn in chunky weight. I did have to break into skein two which was a bummer but I think the next time I will not knit it as long because it is a little big/long on me and if I do that, one skein will be sufficient. I also had this great pompom I had bought in Iceland a while back and it goes perfectly with this hat.

Now I just need to wait till it’s cold enough to wear this:)

My second hat is a free pattern on Ravelry from the girls of  Espace Tricot in Canada. It is called Pull the Wool Over and I love it! It is a super simple pattern and it is knit using an aran weight yarn held with a mohair yarn so it has some fuzziness to it. I did put a pompom on it but it’s too small so I have ordered more pompoms and will put a bigger one on this hat.

The last picture shows the two yarns held together in the skein. I got my youngest to model and as you can see she did have some fun:)

I’m currently working on the first pattern from Knitvent 2017. If you are not familiar with Knitvent, this is a pattern collection that Helen of Curious Handmade puts out every year leading up to Christmas. And every week over I think 6 weeks you get a pattern for an accessory. The first pattern this year is for a multi colored cowl that she designed to use with the famous Advent Calendars that so many indie dyers are selling these days. Of course you can substitute that for your own leftovers or ever just knit using one or two colors. There are endless possibilities for this project yarn/color wise. I put together 24 minis and left overs and so I’m knitting as the pattern says, one color per section and as I finish one section I take the yarn out of my bag to be sure I don’t accidentally use it again. This is super fun even though the pattern itself is quite simple. The fact that you change colors/yarn every 8 rows and that there usually is also a change in stitch pattern keeps one interested and wanting to knit just one more section!

land of sweets cowl

This pattern is called Land of Sweets. I try to keep the colors close but not too close and I use the highly variegated for the stockinette sections rather than the lace ones. I’m having lots of fun with this one and I’m currently just past 65% done. And no I’m not a math genius, Helen gives us the percentage every so often in her pattern which is super nice.

And then there is the child cardigan that I’m test knitting and not finishing as quickly as I had hoped for. So I’m knitting this in size 14 years old and I’m using yarn from Rooster that I had in my stash (I used to sell this yarn in my shop). The pattern is fairly simple BUT clearly at the beginning I misunderstood the increase instructions and I kept going when I should not have! This means that my cardigan is bigger/wider in the front than it should but more importantly the neckline is not as it should be!

child cardi test knit

I think the width will not be a problem and as you can see I’m close to being done. I’m on the cuff of sleeve 2 and then I need to do the neckband and the button bands.

child cardi neck

So the cardigan should have a sort of square shaped neckline and so I should just knit the neck band and then pick up and knit the button bands. But because of my mistake, I now find myself with a V-neck cardigan and I’m not sure how I can go about making this work. Here’s what I’m thinking and maybe you can help here

  1. should I start at the bottom of the V neck and just cast on 1 stitch and then gradually increase every row until I have filled the gap and the button band can be knit in a straight line?
  2. should I try to knit a cuff/neck band all the way around the V neck? From beginning to end? And then knit the button band separately? Or maybe first knit the button band, then pick up the cast off stitches at the top and begin the neckband from there?
  3. or should I attempt making a sort of shawl collar/neckband? Knitting everything in one piece from the bottom of one side to the other?

What do you think? I’m planning on finishing the sleeve tonight and then start testing my neck options but I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this matter.

These are all my finished objects and most worked on wips. I’m planning on casting on for two more big projects; both are test knits, one cardigan and one pullover. I’m also thinking about some more sock designs that I would like to work on and I even have an idea for a shawl. So many ideas and so little time!

I  hope you are doing good and that you are having a great start to your week. I will be back at the end of the week when I draw the winner for the yarn from Goosey Fibres. Next week I will be away some so I’m not sure if or when I’ll be able to post. Also I think I will close my Etsy shop in a few days. Might even be at the end of this week as next week I will be away most of the time. So just in case you are interested, everything is 25% off, no code needed and you can check out the shop by clicking here

That’s all for now. Take care and happy knitting

Knitting through sorrow

Hi there, how are you doing this week? I hope you are doing good and enjoying your week so far.

As you will know if you follow my blog or on my social media, last week was a difficult week for me and my family. The loss of a loved one is always a life changing event I think for those of us left behind. It stirs up so many feelings, brings so many questions.

As I work through my loss and my subsequent feelings and questions, I have found solace in knitting. Knitting has helped me to stay focused. It has helped me to sort through my feelings. I can knit and think, I can cry and knit. I can console myself and knit. And frankly, without knitting, I don’t know how I would have coped.

I felt a need for knitting. Not to have idle hands at any time. And yet, I did not want to work on anything that required brain power, no complicated designs, no big projects. Of course this could only lead to a lot of sock knitting! And I will be sharing pictures of my socks here in a bit.

I knit so many socks that it has become like second nature for me. I don’t need a pattern and yet I still buy tons of sock patterns – just for the stitch patterns that are used. I always do my own heel and toe and cast on and cast off. But i’m totally unable to resist a beautiful sock pattern and this past week, as I have been knitting on socks I have also bought a few new patterns!

I’m now quite quick to finish a pair of socks so that adds to the pleasure of knitting a pair as I have a finished object within days. I do still have one cardigan in the wip pile for myself and a cardigan for my  youngest and that one I’m working on these days. A little at a time. But for comfort I have really been drawn to sock knitting and here’s what I have to show for it!

These are the #MarieCurieQuestforSocks. I’m helping knitting a pair of socks for every patient staying in a Marie Curie Hospice at Christmas in the UK. The main yarn, the patterned one, is  a special yarn dyed by West Yorkshire Spinners for this charity. I’m almost done with pair 4. And for this last pair I knit them two at a time magic loop and I did them as tube socks so now I just have to pop in the heels. I should be able to send all 4 pairs off before the end of this week.

It has been a joy to participate in this project and I have dedicated my participation to a friend that passed away last week from a rare disease. I had intended on knitting a 5th pair but when a close family member died just two days after my friend, I just broke down and I think I have to just take things slowly and only work on what I can, no stress involved. And so I’m going to be proud of these 4 pairs. That’s probably more than the average donation so no need to be sorry for not knitting 5 pairs. As you can hear, I’m trying to convince myself that this is ok:) And it is! I know it is!

But I have not just been doing charity knitting. I have also finished a pair of shorty socks for myself and those I knit out of my first ever skein of Wolmeise yarn. This skein was gifted to me by a friend about 5 years ago or so and it has been sitting in my stash since. So this pair of socks counts towards my Stash Appreciation Project – where the aim is to knit using beautiful yarns from stash.

The yarn is a dark navy blue so not easy to see the pattern. It is a sort of open work patterning that I adapted from some other pattern I had purchased. I really like the look. The yarn itself feels very nice and the socks are very comfortable. Also I’m very much into shorty socks these days. They are both comfortable to wear and quick to knit so win win!

As I prepare for a Maker of the Month feature for January 2018, I’m knitting my first pair of socks with yarn from Biscotte Yarns. A Canadian yarn dyer well known for their self striping yarns. This pair of shorties is for my youngest. I don’t know the colorway name as this came from a 200 gr bundle of self striping yarns. My new favorite! You buy either 100 or 200 gr of self striping yarns, mill ends, so what you get and how much of each is a surprise. This particular yarn came in a 62 gr skein so I have enough for a shorty pair for my daughter and there will be some left over.

So the yarn feels very nice and I love working with it. But more on that later!

biscottes yarn shorty sock

And last but not least, I designed a sock pattern! I did say before that I was in a place where I needed simple, comfort knitting. Nothing that required brain power. Well before getting all the bad news, I had actually started working on a design and I would knit on this a little bit each day. Not a lot at a time but sufficient for it to grow and now I have a finished pair!

I really like the pattern. Now I just need to grade it, make sure the stitch pattern works in all the sizes I would like to have. Then I have to re knit a pair in my own yarn and of course write up the pattern.

The idea here is to start selling kits including my patterns and my yarns. Maybe that would be a good idea to help me keep my business alive in the new year.

Anyway, I’d love to hear what you think of this attempt. I used a very sparkly yarn from Yarn Lab UK. A very nice dyer that sells on Etsy. I believe this colorway is called Poirot’s Christmas.

I found a stitch pattern in a stitch dictionary and adapted that to my stitch count and I think it looks nice.

new sock design 12nov

The stitch pattern will show up better in a solid or semi solid colorway and that is how the next pair will be knit.

IMG_0495

My test knit sock has grown since this picture but not enough. I am now past the heel and about half done with the foot so hopefully I will have at least sock one done by the end of this week and can start on sock two this weekend. I really enjoy using this new yarn base, 50/50 merino/cotton. It feels nice and the stitch definition is very nice.

So that’s about all for this week. I just need to finish the heels on my last Marie Curie socks, finish my second Biscotte yarn shorty sock, finish the test knitting sock I’m still working on AND start knitting some Christmas socks! I have never been so excited about knitting Christmas socks! I have splurged on some beautiful self striping colorways from different dyers so I have plenty to work with. Hopefully next week I will be able to share something there.

Thank you for all the kind thoughts and messages you have sent my way lately. I’m not very present on social media these days as I’m just not feeling very social. I know you understand. They say time heals all wounds and time will help me to carry on and be the best I can be.

Just one more thing before I leave today. I will be publishing this month’s Maker of the Month interview this coming Friday, November 24th so don’t miss that!

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

All my current wips

Hi there how  are you? I’m fine. This past weekend we had truly miserable weather here in Normandy so I did get to spend a nice amount of time knitting in front of the tv. However as I have a million things going, I don’t seem to have made much progress on anything.

I did manage to finish one of my current test knits. That was a two color cowl and I cast that off last night so now I just need to give it a little wash and  block. I’m not able to share pictures with you just yet though as this pattern will be part of a new knitwear collection to be published before the end of this year and the designer wants to keep everything a secret until the release. But that was good to at least get that one done.

I have made a little progress on a new sock test knit that I’m doing. This is the first test knit I do for this particular designer and I really like her pattern. I’m knitting the socks using a new base from my shop, the 50/50 merino and cotton base and it’s working up really nicely so far.

IMG_0495

This designer is KBJKNITS   from Australia and she has a number of designs on Ravelry.

The children’s cardigan I’m also test knitting (for a different designer) is now well on it’s way. I’m at the bottom edge for the body and hope to finish that tonight so then I will have to do the sleeves, collar and button bands. Still plenty of work.

And with all this test knitting I’m thinking, maybe I too could design something? I have one pair of finished socks that I designed a while back but never wrote up the pattern, I have a baby dress and a blanket in the same situation. And last night I started on a second pair of socks. This time I’m trying my hand at designing shorty socks.

new sock design 12nov

So far so good. I’m thinking in the future I could sell kits with my own pattern and hand dyed yarns. What do you think?

I also cast on for two new projects this past weekend. Both are from newly purchased patterns and the yarns are from my stash so totally in the theme of my Stash Appreciation Project!

The first is a hat. I saw the pattern on Instagram and immediately went over to Ravelry to buy it. I knew I had just the right yarn and the fur pompom! So the pattern is called Vendemmia and is by the talented Madeleine of Kingfisher Knits. I wasn’t able to knit a lot on this over the weekend because I wanted to knit on ALL my wips so I allocated a small time to each project but at least I got it going and so far so good:)

vendemmia 1

I’m using my chunky alpaca yarn for this and a pompom I purchased the last time I was in Iceland. Everything feels so squishy and luscious! I can’t wait to be able to wear this hat!

My second new project is a cowl called The Land of Sweets by Helen of Curious Handmade. This is the first pattern in this year’s Knitvent. The pattern is designed using an advent calendar from an indie designer so using 24 mini skeins in different colors. I don’t have an advent calendar of minis but I do have lots of minis and rests of yarns from projects I have knit over the years. So I found myself a christmas project bag

christmas project bag

And then went rummaging through my stash to find compatible minis. I wound them up into mini yarn balls and threw them into the bag.

land of sweets minis

The idea is to just pick a mini at random for each section of the cowl and once I have knit with one yarn/mini I take it out of the bag to be sure I won’t use it a second time.

I think this is going to be a fun knit. The idea behind all those minis is great and I think it is what will make this more fun than if it were knit in only one or two colors.

So far I have only just begun so nothing much to show you but here’s where I’m currently at.

IMG_0494

I’m also continuing knitting on the Marie Curie Quest for socks charity knitting. I’m so close to finishing pair number 3. I can feel myself losing momentum here after knitting almost 3 vanilla pairs in the same yarn but I’m going to try and stay focused and knit 4 pairs as I planned on doing.

I think this is about all for now on my knitting. Thank you for stopping by and spending some time with me today. I hope you have enjoyed reading up on my knitting and seeing the pictures. I’ll be back later this week with some more info and hope to see you then:)

Test knits and knitting needle testing

Hi there, how are you today? Did you get much knitting done this past week? I did some, not a lot. I feel like I’m making such limited progress these days. I just don’t have the time or maybe I’m working on too many projects at once, if that’s a thing. I’m not sure.

I do know that I have a lot of things going. I think I have 5 pairs of socks on the needles that I’m actually knitting on (way more in my mountain of wips), I have one wrap and one child size cardigan and one cowl. So I do have a lot to choose from. The cowl and the child cardigan are both test knits and I need to finish those in November. I can show you the cardigan but not the cowl just yet.

So the cardigan will be part of a book that I think will be published next year. I was going to use my own yarn but I didn’t have  just the right thickness so I went with something from my stash. its called Rooster Almerino baby – the yarn that is. The pattern can be knit as either a pullover or a cardigan and I chose to do the cardigan and I’m knitting it for my youngest. I don’t have enough for a single color cardigan so I’m going to use 2 or even 3 colors and I think that will be fun. I’m very close to finishing the body. Then I have the sleeves, collar and button bands to do.

cowtown test knit child cardi

This is not where I’m at now, I have made good progress since I took this picture actually. I like the stitch pattern and it keeps the knitting interesting. The color is a very light green and it looks very nice. My daughter loves it.

For the socks, I haven’t really made any significant progress so no pictures today. I have though started on pair number 3 for Marie Curie and this time I’m using a blue tweed contrasting yarn for the cuff, heels and toes and it’s funny how it changes the main yarn. It really brings out the blue in the Marie Curie yarn so I feel like I’m knitting on something totally different and that is good because knitting 4 pairs of vanilla socks in a row using the same yarn can get boring. I’m thinking I might do the last pair, pair number 4, with some white – their yarn/colors are yellow, blue and green. (I’ll show a picture a bit further down in this post of the sock so you can see how it is knitting up with the blue cuff). I don’t have any more of the yellow contrast yarn I used in the first two pairs and I only have a little bit of this blue tweed yarn… I think. I might need to go stash diving though just to be sure because it does look good. AND it’s Stash Appreciation time! So I should go stash diving and use some of my “old” yarns.

I have created a thread in my Ravelry group for the Stash Appreciation project that is running as of now and until January 31st so if you are interested in joining please do. I’d love to hear what you might knit and see a picture of your yarn. I’m going to knit a sweater using some older hand spun yarn but I haven’t started yet. I feel like I need to finish the test knit cowl before I can start anything that big. i also want to knit some Christmas socks from one of my special Christmas yarns and again I think I need to finish at least pair 3 for Marie Curie before casting that on. I’m afraid if I cast on for new things now, I might not finish what I need to finish, in time.

On to other things. I have tested a few new things lately and I need to share that with you. First, the knitting needles.

I bought some new knitting needles after hearing about them on social media. The first pair was a fixed circular from LYKKE. Everyone is talking about those and I really wanted to try them out. This is a Norwegian brand but the needles are manufactured India from driftwood. I was expecting them to feel somewhat like wooden needles, a feel similar to Indian Lake Artisans needles for example but they feel super slick and sort of “plasticky” and I’m pretty sure that is not a word.

I bought two pairs, a 2.25mm and 3.50mm and I”m currently knitting a sock with the 2.25mm ones – the sock you see on the picture to the right. So back to the needles. They don’t feel like wooden needles so that was a surprise to me. They are however very nice to use. The yarn glides beautifully and they feel good in my hands so I can understand how popular they are. They are not however a game changer for me, I mean that I’m not going to go overboard and buy their entire collection to only use theirs. But they are nice so if you have been wanting to give them a go I’d say go ahead. I’m pretty sure you will like them.

The other set of needles I bought were meant for sock and sleeve knitting. I saw those somewhere and thought they looked so exotic and I just had to give them a go. These are the Addi CrasyTrio needles. As the name indicates, they come in sets of 3 needles.

IMG_0462

First I need to say that when I knit socks, I  use circulars 90% of the time. I either do magic loop or a 9″ circular. These needles are more directed towards the knitters that prefer knitting socks with two shorter circulars at a time. They actually look very much like the Neko needles except the Addi needles have  a tiny cord between the needle tips whereas the Neko needles are all plastic (no cord at all). This does make the Addi’s easier to manipulate I think. And they are definitely sturdier. I have only knit two pairs with the Neko needles and they come in sets of 4 needles – you only knit with three but they give one extra. And I broke two needles out of 4 without even noticing and I lost a bunch of stitches so that put me off those for a while. Although I must say the customer service was excellent and they sent me replacement needles.

addi and marie curie

This is pair 3 of my Marie Curie socks on the Addi CrasyTrio

But back to Addi. I have knit one sock and am on the second one (although not from the same pair) and I must say that the beginning was not fun. The needles come with an instructional booklet and a sock recipe. I followed the instructions for casting on over two needles and then taking one out so you have half of the stitches on each. Well that was just impossible to do! I struggled until everything was off and then cast on again over just one needle and then transferred half the stitches over to needle two. The very first row was fiddly but after that it was fine. If you usually use two circulars rather than magic loop or a 9″ I’m sure you would like these. I however like the flow of knitting on q 9″ and so so stopping and turning my work around seems tedious to me now. Also when knitting the needle points click on each other making noise so this is not an option for me if watching the tv with my family:)

I’m going to finish my two pairs I started with on these but I’m not convinced they will be used much. I do want to try them on a sleeve though and maybe I will like that better. Who knows. Anyway it was very interesting to try out.

You may know, or not, that when I began my online knitting shop I specialised in knitting needles. I sold all kinds of knitting needles, different styles and materials. I was the first to ever sell Hiya Hiya, Kollage, Indian Lake Artisans, Knit Stix, Swallow, Signature Needle Arts and more brands here in France and in some cases even in Europe.

Would you be interested in me doing a series of post about knitting needles? If anyone is interested I could maybe put something together and share my thoughts on different styles and brands etc. Leave me a comment below and let me know.

One more thing before I leave today. I don’t know why I have waited to the very last minute to do this properly, but I have just got my first really good looking yarn ball bands! Now my yarns can look really professional I think.

IMG_0479 I love my new label. With the future of the shop so uncertain I don’t know if I will get to use them but at least they will be a nice souvenir and I can still use them on my own personal yarn and when I dye yarn for friends and family.

I’ll be back later this week with an update on my potato peel dye experiment. Also there will be an update on the shop on the Future of Knitting in France pages- both the English and French one very soon. Not the news I was hoping to share this week but well.

Until next time, I hope you have a great rest of your week. Enjoy your crafting and thank you for stopping  by:)

All the November plans

hi thee how are you? I’m super busy these days as I have family from Iceland staying with me so any free time is taken up taking care of and enjoying their company.

I have kept knitting though but everything regarding the blog and my huge upcoming project, the crowd funding has been on the back burner due to lack of time.

On that subject, I did update my pages here on the blog and you can read the English version here or the French version here. Basically what I explain is that building a successful campaign takes time and effort and it is far from easy. I’m also worried about the timing, the end of the year is often tight financially for people, I know it is for me. But I’m trying to stay positive and after all, a lot of little things can make one big thing meaning a lot of small contributions can help me stay a float!

I’m hoping I will be able to launch the campaign next week around November 6 and I will of course notify you here.

On other news, there is my Marie Curie Charity knitting I told you about (if you haven’t read that post just hop on over here).

I’m joining Sarah of Sherlock Knits in knitting socks for all the patients in the Marie Curie hospices in the UK for Christmas. This is an ambitious task but rewarding on many levels. The original idea was to only use the special Marie Curie yarn by West Yorkshire Spinners.

wys marie curie

The variegated color on the top is the Marie Curie colorway that was meant to be the main color. However they are still in need of a lot of socks and time is getting short so they are now accepting socks in any yarn as long as it is in the Marie Curie colors; that is yellow, blue and white. Of course if you can use the special colorway that would be amazing. That yarn can only be purchased from one shop in the UK as they are the ones who actually commissioned WYS to do this and part of the proceeds also goes to Marie Curie. Here is a link to their shop if you are interested in joining in and using the special yarn: http://www.cityknits.co.uk/marie-curie~2839 As I’m writing this I see they are out of this yarn but hopefully there will be more in the future. In the meantime just use any or all of the three colours.

They are asking for men’s size socks only as patients often have swollen ankles so only size 72 stitches and I believe they should be simple vanilla socks. They need to have the socks by December 13th to be able to package them all and get them out to each of the 9 hospices in the UK.

marie curie pair one

I’m about 75% done with pair number 2 and all from one ball with contrasting heel/toe and cuff on one and only heel and toe on the second. I’m planning on knitting 4 pairs if I possibly can. I did buy 2 skeins of the Marie Curie yarn so that should be possible, just a question of time.

If you are interested in joining in this project and willing to knit a pair of socks, please let me know and I’ll get you all the info needed.

Now onto other things. It’s November 1st today and this signals the beginning of the Stash Appreciation project! I’m thinking of creating a hashtag, #KIFSTASHAPPRECIATION so if you share your projects on IG we will all be able to follow each other’s progress.

I know that this Stash Appreciation Project is not meant to be a yarn diet, it is just meant to incite us to use some of the amazing yarns we have in our stash. However I did go completely wild this past October and I bought a lot more yarn than I ever thought I would. I hope participating in this project has not had the same effect on you! Anyway I now have even more reason to only knit from stash! I think I may suffer from a mailbox syndrome. I so enjoy going out to my mailbox and getting to open up a package! It may not be normal!

So back to the stash! I’m of course going to keep knitting socks and my Marie Curie socks will be a part of that as I have had the special yarn in my stash for a few weeks and the contrasting yarn for months. I have a gazillion sock yarn skeins that I’m dying to use so no shortage there.

mothy and the squid christmas sock

This is a new to my stash yarn from Mothy and the Squid and I’m knitting a Christmas sock making up the pattern as I go.

I also would love to knit a sweater as a Christmas gift for someone and I’m going to knit that from my handspun yarn from a while back.

I would also like to work on my pile/mountain of wips and I think that can qualify for Stash Appreciation as those wips and yarns have been in my stash for longer than I care to admit. If you too have some projects waiting for your attention; this might be the right time:)

I have created a thread in my Ravelry group as I was not able to set up a forum here on the blog and the link to that is here. I look forward to seeing your yarns and your future projects. I will share mine both here and in the thread.

Another project that I’m planning on, and this is not related to the Stash Appreciation, is getting more into natural dyeing. I have tried dyeing with avocado peel and stone and now I have some Vitelotte potato peel drying and I hope to try to dye some yarn with that soon.

vitelotte potatoes

I think this could make for some beautiful yarn don’t you?

I think this will be all for now. I will be back soon with more info on my Fundraising Campaign as well as more finished objects and progress on the Stash Appreciation. I hope you have enjoyed stopping by today and spending some of your time with me.

If you are at all interested in seeing my yarns and other handmade items, please click here to browse my Etsy store; Everything is 30% off for another 24 hours!