Knitting woes and successes

How are you today? It’s actually evening and so I’m posting this later in the day than usual but now that my working hours have changed I have less time to dedicate to the blog and so I may be changing the day I publish..or not.. I’m going to see. I know it can be confusing if you are used to seeing a new article every Thursday and then things change and the blog is updated at random. I really want to avoid that as much as I can.

Anyway I’m doing good and  I hope you are too. The past week weather has been horrendous with lots of rain but today we had a beautiful autumn day with sun and warm temperatures. Of course I should not be complaining as the weather here in Normandy France does not compare to the hurricanes that have been devastating lately. I do hope that you and your family are safe and sound and not suffering due to weather.

I have lots of knitting to share with you again but I’m afraid that if I share everything this will become way too long so I’m going to try and post again later this week.

First issue has to do with some knitting successes and other not so much successful knits.

If you follow me on Instagram you will now that my Breathing space sweater is in time out. I actually finished the body and bound off. I very proudly tried it on and….disaster! It was way too large/wide. Words cannot begin to describe the deception! I had been working on the sweater since late July and I was using a very special yarn that I had dyed myself. And it just looked PERFECT! Or so I thought!

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After looking at myself in the mirror for a while I had to face the truth. I knew that it was no use to close my eyes and cast on for sleeves as if everything was perfect. I new that after washing the sweater would likely stretch a little bit and that would just make it totally unwearable. I had to RIP IT BACK!

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To ease the pain, I did so immediately! I just sat down and ripped it back to the underarms and it has been sitting in timeout since. I’m wondering if I should just rip it out entirely and begin all over again and I seriously think I might. Start with a clean slate so to say.

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I had knit the XL size as I’m both tall and rounds but clearly XL was too big so I think I will go down one size and maybe modify the pattern and do less increases on the body. I hadn’t realised it was meant to be so “roomy” . I think I would like it to fall closer to the body without being at all clingy. And I also might knit it a bit longer than I originally did.

I do want to knit on it again because I really love the pattern and my yarn but I’m thinking that maybe I need to finish a few projects BEFORE I pick it up again just to be sure I’m in the right mindset and ready to concentrate on this.

Ripping back is never easy, especially when you are 50% finished with a garment but I think I made the right choice and I’m proud of myself for having bit the bullet and ripped back immediately. A few years back, I think I would have just pouted and thrown it in a plastic bag as far back in my closet as possible. Hoping never to encounter this again. At least getting older brings some wisdom!

As for successful knitting. I can share two HOs with you today and both are test knit socks. The first pair is a Harry Potter inspired sock pattern and that pattern has actually been published as a free pattern on Ravelry now. It is called Chaussettes Knittich which in French means Knittich socks. The designer is a friend called Liisa Lanka and she is a Finnish knitter and now designer living in Paris, France.

I was lucky enough to get to test knit her first ever sock pattern. This is a relatively simple sock pattern with two text stripes inserted and the pattern comes with charts for you to follow as well as an empty one for you to try out your own text/design.

I chose to knit my pair in the Griffindor colors as my older daughter is a Harry Potter fan and in the Griffindor house. I have finished sock one and am currently working on sock 2. I used my SOX yarn base.

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Another successful knit is also a test knit sock. It’s a very interesting pattern with an unusal to be heel construction and the stitch pattern travels around the foot. It is called Convergence and the designer is Dana Gervais. This pattern will be published for sale on Ravelry this autumn I believe. Again I used my own yarn on my SOX base.

 

I’m working on two more pairs of socks at the moment, one is a second test knit for Dana and I’m only at the very beginning.

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And the other I’m actually getting close to the toe on sock 2! I’m using the Central Park Socks pattern by Mina Philipp only I have adapted the pattern to make them into shorty socks. I’m knitting the main part using my first EVER Lolo dit it yarn and then using my own SPARKLES yarn for heels, cuffs and toes. I just happened to have the perfect match in my stash! I absolutely LOVE how these are knitting up and I foresee more shorty socks in my near future.

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I think this is all I have time for now. I will try to be back later this week to show you my progress on the big mystery kals of the moment, the What the Fade and Road to Rhinebeck. I also need to show you my knitting related birthday gifts because yes I did get a year older last Saturday and as I organise a Birthday Swap in my Ravelry Group I’m receiving wonderful yarny gifts, two have arrived and two more are on their way:) And by the way, please feel free to join my Ravelry Group:)

So until next time I hope you are doing good and having a great time knitting all the things. I’ll be back soon. Promise!

 

Lots of stripes and a test knit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is a picture of the set

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

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

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

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