The Sale goes on

Hi there and thank you for all the kind messages. I’m slowly getting back to normal. Losing a close family member suddenly feels totally unreal and completely unjust. A lot of crying has been done and that will be going on for the foreseeable future. They say time heals all wounds so I now just need to give it time.

In spite of everything, life must go on and part of that for me is reopening the shop. I still need to sell as much of my current stock as possible to be able to continue on with my modest plan for 2018. So I have re opened the shop. It will be open from now and until December 4th or so. Then it will probably be closed for good unless… unless I still have lots of yarn left in which case I would reopen for a week or 10 days at the end of December.

So if you like my yarn, if you have yet to try it or if you just want to show a small business owner some support head on over to my shop and enjoy the discount:)

That’s all for now. I’ll be back next week with pictures of my knitting from this week. I have been doing some healing knitting as I contemplate and think of everything.

Have a wonderful and crafty weekend:)

The Maker of the Month Francofille Knits

I have admired from afar the work of Devan of Francofille Knits. She has a beautiful sense of color and I really wanted to try some of her yarns. I first approached her asking if she would be willing to do a swap and as she kindly said yes I then asked if she would be willing to do an interview for the blog and maybe even donate a skein of yarn for one of my readers. And she again said YES!

I’m currently knitting a pair using her yarn for the main color and using a pattern I have made up myself. I have sock one all done and I’m passed the heel on sock 2.

So here is my interview with Devan and I hope you will enjoy reading that and getting to know her.

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Tell me a little about yourself, where do you come from and where do you live and work today?

Let’s see.  I’m the indie dyer and designer behind Francofille Knits, and I host the Francofille Knits podcast.  For the last year, my husband and I have been living outside of a very small town in rural Indiana—our property is surrounded on all sides by corn and soybean fields!  Having grown up in the suburbs of Chicago, and living in college towns my whole adult life, this has been quite an adjustment for me, but one I’ve absolutely loved. Living in the country, the pace of life slows significantly, and I have more time to notice and appreciate the world around me.  I like to think that my dyeing and designing has benefited from this more intuitive and relaxed lifestyle.

Are you a knitter/crocheter/spinner/ weaver ? And if you do all, which craft is your most favorite?

I’m a knitter first and foremost, but I also dabble in crocheting and spinning.  I’m a relatively strong crocheter, but my spinning needs a lot of work!  Knitting is absolutely my happy place.

When did you learn to knit/crochet/spin/weave ? Do you remember who taught you?

I learned to knit and crochet when I was 16.  That summer, I was working as a counselor at a summer camp, and saw one of the British counselors knitting on a scarf and begged her to teach me! Lucky for me, she was patient enough to take on a student, and by the end of the summer, I was half way through the lumpiest, most uneven garter stitch scarf ever!  A few months later, I was watching a movie with one of my friends, when she pulled out an afghan and started crocheting.  Once again, I was obsessed and desperate to learn how to crochet.  I started several crochet blankets in high school, with my friend’s help, but I’m not sure if I actually finished any of them. I ended up putting both the knitting and crocheting down while I was in college, but ended up picking them both back up when I was in graduate school, because I needed a way to unwind that had nothing to do with my academic life.

Do you have a favorite type of project that you regularly turn to? Like socks or shawls etc.

I always have at least one pair of socks on the needles, and a sock pattern I’m writing up.  I usually have a shawl or two going as well.  I’m not a monogamous knitter—I need to be able to bounce from project to project as the mood strikes or I’ll quickly lose my knitting mojo.  Lace, cables, brioche, texture, I love it all!

Would you say that fibre crafts have become a lifestyle for you ? 

Absolutely!  Before starting Francofille Knits, I was a French professor—I earned my PhD in French Linguistics.  If you ever have trouble sleeping, I’d be happy to send you a copy of my dissertation—300+ pages on a specific change in word order in 13th-16th century French!  But, fate had a different plan for me than I had expected, and about a year ago, I found myself leaving my career in academia for a variety of reasons.  Thank god for fibre crafts!  My love of fibre crafts provided me with a new career, one that I have found just as fulfilling and satisfying as my previous career!

How did you come to dye yarn and how long have you been dyeing yarn ?

I’d been wanting to learn how to dye yarn for almost a decade! When the stress of writing my dissertation would get to me, I’d daydream about opening a yarn shop and selling hand dyed yarn.  I finally decided to take the plunge in April 2016 (just over a year ago!), and I haven’t looked back!  Inspired by some friends of mine (Ally & Abby of the Get Lit and Knit podcast), I took a class on yarn dyeing at YarnFest in Chicago, and it literally changed my life.

When did you decide to go professional and open a yarn shop ?

Like I said, I had been daydreaming about becoming a fibre artist for a long time.  But, I don’t think I actually started taking it seriously until June 2016.  I was having so much fun dyeing yarn, and dyeing up yarn faster than I could ever knit it.  I decided, after much Instagram support, to open up an Etsy shop to sell my extra skeins, and the rest is history!

What is the inspiration behind your shop and your yarns?

The inspiration for everything in Francofille Knits comes from my love of France and the world around me.  As you might have guessed from my shop name and previous career, I’m an absolute Francophile, and have been since I was a little girl.  I took my first French class when I was 5, and instantly fell in love with the language.  The further I progressed in my studies, the more I fell in love with France, it’s people, it’s culture and it’s history!  All of my colorways are inspired by places I’ve visited, people I’ve studied, or the French language itself.

When reading your about page on Etsy, you mention that the shop name comes from your love of France and everything French. Have you lived in France yourself ?

I have, but not for long enough!  I spent 5 months in Avignon when I was in college, way back in 2004.  I then got to spend a summer in St. Brieuc, Bretagne in 2010.  I’ve also gotten to travel to France several times, and even got married in France (St. Andiol, near Avignon) in the summer of 2015.  That was a real adventure, as I was the only person in our group of 16 who spoke French.  It was such a great experience, and I wouldn’t change a moment of it!

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Mon Coeur

What are your most popular colorways?

It’s hard to say, because it changes all the time! I change out the colorways in the shop every few months, based on my mood and the seasons.  If I had to pick a few, I’d say “Summer in Provence,” “Monet,” “Bûche de Noël” and “Sunset over the Seine” have probably been the most popular ones so far (and some of my favorites too!).

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Sunset over the Seine

Is there anything exciting going on in your shop these days ? Do you still have spaces for your Advent Calendar?

I’ve currently got a wide selection of fall colorways that I’m really quite proud of!  I also have just a few spots left for my Advent Calendar, 12 Days of Christmas, and Happy Hanukkah miniskein sets!  I’ve been having an absolute blast dyeing up all the yarn for these sets for the last few weeks, and can’t wait to get them shipped off to their new homes!

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Vendange

What do you have coming up for the shop til the end of this year? Any special deals/events/kals ?

Speaking of the holidays, in the next few weeks (mid October) I’ll be releasing my Holiday colorways and November Sock Club.  Every month, I dye up a small batch of a secret colorway and design a sock pattern to go along with it.  It’s such a fun creative project for me, and I think my customers enjoy it too as it always sells out, and there are several who sign up month after month!

Where do you see your business in say 5 years from now ?

I’d love to be able to quadruple my output and have several stores that carry my yarn. I just did my first craft fair, and loved it! I’m definitely planning on organizing a few trunk shows and signing up for some fiber festivals in the future as well.

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Macaron sock

In addition to your yarn dyeing, you also design patterns that you sell on Ravelry. Have you been designing long ?  How did you come to designing your own patterns?

I’ve been designing for almost as long as I’ve been knitting.  The first pair of socks I ever knit, actually, were my own design (I modified a vanilla sock pattern, adding a lace motif to the top of the foot).  I only started writing up my patterns at the beginning of 2016, though.  My first pattern was also my most ambitious to date—the Amboise Shawl, inspired by the Château d’Amboise. I absolutely love that triangular lace shawl, especially because it looks so impressive while being a fairly intuitive knit!

Is knitwear design something that you would like to develop further ?

Absolutely! It’s so much fun coming up with the right pattern to go with the colorways I dye up.  It’s so incredibly satisfying! 

What type of item/garment do you most enjoy designing? Does the inspiration for your patterns also come from France ?

I think the shawl designs have been the most fun, but designing socks has been a fabulous challenge, mostly because I’ve put out one (almost) every month this year.  Some of the patterns are more obviously inspired by France than others—the Amboise Shawl, and another shawl inspired by Chenonceau which hasn’t been test knit/published yet—while others are inspired by my home in rural Indiana.

And as if dyeing yarn and writing patterns wasn’t enough; you also podcast! Tell us about that. How did you come to podcasting, is that something you enjoy doing and for someone that is not familiar with your podcast, what would you say is the “theme” or main emphasis in your podcast. What will be find there.

I started podcasting at the beginning of 2016, in part because I knew that there were some significant changes coming in my life.  I knew that I was going to be changing career paths and that my husband and I would be moving, and wanted a creative outlet that would connect me with the online knitting community even more than I already was.  I had been a fan of the Knitmore Girls podcast and YarnGasm (and the long defunct Electric Sheep podcast) for years, and just decided to dive right in!  My podcast format is typically fairly standard, talking about what I’ve been working on, what’s going on in my life (just a little) and going over what yarn I’ve dyed up that week.  During the month of October, I’ve decided to challenge myself to do Vlogtober—recording videos every single day!  So far, I’ve been able to stay on track!

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Autumn Afternoon

For those that want to follow you and your shop, what would you say is the best venue for that ?

Instagram, for sure! For my personal knitting/life pics, you can follow me @bdevan, and for all things shop related you can follow @francofilleknits!

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A big thank you to Devan for taking the time to reply to all my questions. To check out her knitting patterns on Ravelry, just click here 

To check out her Etsy shop and her fabulous yarns just click here

Devan has generously accepted to donate a skein of yarn to one of you. To take part in this giveaway, just hop over to her shop and then come back and tell me what your favorite colorway is. The winner will receive this glorious skein hand dyed by Devan.

I will draw a winner using Random.org a week from today or october 24th. Good luck to everyone!

 

 

Yarn Cake in Glasgow, Scotland

Hi there, I hope this post finds you in good health today. I’m doing fine and looking forward to getting my Thursday off work but Thursday is a public holiday here and in Iceland and most likely in many other countries. A short workweek is always fun. I don’t have any special plans for my day off but I believe the weather should be gorgeous so just maybe we’ll go to beach for some fresh sea air. It’s been super nice here weather wise lately and I believe the rest of this week should also be sunny and warm.

Today I’m going to share with you my trip to Yarn Cake in Glasgow, Scotland. I went there last April as you may know and for some reason I have yet to share my visit to this particular yarn shop so here goes:)

So before going to Glasgow, I had done some research online and asked for advice on Ravelry and Yarn Cake was one of two shops recommended to me.

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The shop seen from the upper level

Yarn Cake is a tine yarn shop slash café in a rather affluent part of Glasgow, close to the university. For me as a tourist, I did not find the location convenient and I would never have stumbled upon the shop by accident. It did take some time to get there and back.

As the name indicates, should you go there you can get both yarn and cake. The shop is in a tiny space and when you enter, on your left you have I think 3 little tables where you can sit down and have coffee and cake and on the right side wall you have shelves of yarns, mostly Drops when I was there. Then you can go up a few steps and there you have a kitchen (where they bake and prepare the food and drinks they serve) and some more yarn.

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Kitchen and yarns

I went there with my 16 year old son and so I just looked around and touched some yarn. Sitting down for anything else was not really an option.

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The shop offers mostly commercial yarns like Drops, Lang, Opal and WYS. They did have yarn from one local indie dyer and then also some yarns from Baa Ram Ewe too.

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So what did I think? Well, they do have some lovely yarns and the husband of the owner who was there was quite nice. What I liked less was the location (seen from a tourist standpoint) and also it felt somewhat cramped. If you have any more than 3-4 shoppers at at time, looking at yarn could get complicated.

I of course did not leave empty handed. So I bought a few things like a skein of Titus Aire from Baa Ram Ewe

titus

 

I also bought a few balls of Lang sock yarn and what is fun about this yarn is that inside each ball of yarn you have a spool of nylon thread in the same color to knit alongside the yarn when doing heels and toes. This is meant to reinforce those areas that tend to get worn out first.

 

And last but not least, I bought a few balls of Jamieson and Smith Shetland wool in different colors. I don’t have any plans yet for those. They just looked nice and they are local sort of so… I just need to find a fun fair isle pattern for maybe a tam or mittens for these.

jameson and smith yarn cake

So that concludes my tales of my visit to Scotland and I hope you have enjoyed reading about that.

Before I leave you, I thought I should give you a little update on my current works in progress.

First there is a pair of socks that I’m test knitting for Dana Gervais. I have almost gotten to the toe of sock one. I’m knitting the smallest size this time so they will be for my youngest. I’m knitting out of my own hand dyed yarns, SOX for the main color and SPARKLES for the heel and toe.

 

This is a beautiful pattern with a simple pattern repeat that soon becomes intuitive. The heel construction is rather new to me. I do think I have done this type of heel before but I’m not a 100% sure.

And then I’m working on my Sammal cardigan. This is part of the Sweater Spin kal being held by Sue of Legacy Fibre Artz and Andi of Andre Sue Knits. This is my first big spinning project as I spun all the yarn on my wheel, then dyed it and now I’m knitting the cardigan and loving it!

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The pictures show you the front at different stages of completion. This is an all over patterned cardigan so it does take some time to knit and I think the kal runs to June 1st so I will not finish in time but that’s ok. They inspired me to do my first garment spin and I definitely want to make more and already have a ton of plans for future sweaters and cardigans using my handspun yarn.

That’s all for today. I hope you are doing well and wish you a wonderful week ahead with hopefully lots of crafting time and nice weather. Speak to you soon 🙂

My latest FOs

Hi there, how have you been? Well I hope. It seems that maybe, and I mean just maybe, summer is actually around the corner here in Normandy. We have had warm temperatures for a few days in a row now so it’s starting to feel somewhat summer-y. School will soon come to a close for the kids and so exams are about to start and such.

As for myself, well I have been doing quite a bit of knitting. Surprise surprise! Or not 🙂

So today I wanted to show you my two latest FOs, one you have already  heard of I’m pretty sure and the other is my secret test knit that has now been made official!

So first my Cullum t-shirt by Isabelle Kraemer. I have knit that using some lovely italian linen dyed by a friend of mine in Australia. So this is quite the international project:) The pattern is easy to follow and was actually a very quick knit and I can easily see myself knitting another one just like it. I’m currently washing it and hope to block it later today but I did try it on and if you follow me on IG you may have seen the pictures but for those of you who don’t or haven’t seen the pictures, here are some

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This is the first time I have ever knit with a linen yarn. This one felt very nice on the hands and somewhat shiny and my friend Andrea who dyed and gifted me this yarn says it’s because this is brushed linen. I was expecting this to be somewhat harsh on the hands and to the touch but not at all. It really was a joy to knit with.

I have some linen in my stash that I recently bought and that one must be non brushed linen because it has a totally different handle. Even after knitting a swatch and washing that linen, it still feels somewhat “crisp”. Not sure if it will work for a summer t-shirt or if I should just resign and make something like a grocery bag. We’ll see.

My second FO like I said is the mystery test knit I have mentioned here before. The pattern is by designer Amanita and it is a DK weight shawl. This is a triangular shaped shawl with a patterned border on one side which is knit simultaneously to the rest of the shawl which is mostly garter stitch.

This was an easy pattern to follow and it went quite quickly too. I did misunderstand the instructions for one stitch, a sort of twisted stitch surrounding the patterned section, but I think it doesn’t really show much and I love the finished item. I knit my sample using my own hand dyed DK yarn and I ended up using just over 3 skeins. Actually 3 x 100 gr skeins + 6gr of skein 4. Maybe that was a gauge thing but if you should go ahead and make this shawl and don’t want to start on skein 4 for such a small amount of yardage, I would just recommend you keep a close eye on the amount of yarn you have when you start your last pattern repeat and possibly stop a few rows early so you have enough for the bind off.

The pattern was published on Ravelry yesterday, May 16th and is called Forest Mystery and it is already on the first page for HOT NOW on Ravelry! I can highly recommend this shawl. It is huge and my yarn is so soft and squishy. I can’t wait to actually wear it this coming autumn and winter.

Not being much for modelling, I asked my youngest daughter to model the shawl for me and she gracefully accepted so here are some pictures of her showing off my shawl.

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And speaking of shawls, I have started on my Starting Point mystery wrap by Joji and I’ll be sharing pictures later, if you don’t mind spoilers 🙂

That’s all for now. I NEED to get some knitting done before work. I wish you all a wonderful day and rest of your week. Happy knitting 🙂

And then there was Glasgow Scotland and the Queen of Purls

Hi there, I’m back again with some more of my travels and yarn purchases. If you have read my latest posts you already know that I went on a small trip to Iceland to see family and from there I took a two night trip to Glasgow Scotland with my son.

We had actually never been to Glasgow which is a bit of a surprise as most Icelanders have. Glasgow is known as a shopping paradise for Icelanders and indeed there are a lot of interesting shops to visit in Glasgow.

We stayed in a hotel in downtown Glasgow which was super convenient both  for the airport bus and the sightseeing hop on hop off bus. And of course that meant we were close to all the shops and restaurants. During our short stay we walked a LOT! So much so that after only day 1 my feet had blisters! But there was no time for lamenting. We only had two days so these had to be put to the best use.

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a nice street view

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a shopping center in downtown Glasgow

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as you may have guessed, Glasgow train station

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A famous pub – this pub is actually the last in the UK to allow access to women! Only in 1970 were women allowed to enter the establishment. And funny thing, since then all the pub owners/managers have been women!

We took a sightseeing tour around Glasgow, we visited an exposition on comics and saw original drawings from Frank Quickly who drew Superman, Batman and other big heros. That exposition was super interesting and fun to see.

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This is the real thing! A superman cape that was used in the movies

Of course, no trip is complete without a visit to the local LYS. I had done some research before going and asked for advice on Ravelry. I found out that there were two yarn stores that I must visit, The Queen of Purls and Yarn Cake.

So today I’m going to tell you about The Queen of Purls. I went there on day one! I was so excited and a little worried that if I didn’t check it out immediately I wouldn’t have the time to so.. I managed to convince my 16 year old son that this was an absolute must stop! And he of course obliged:)

So this shop was not very far from our hotel, maybe a 20 minutes walk or so. It is a small shop in a street that is not very touristic. I mean it’s not in the main shopping area of the city and I think that as a tourist, if you have not done your research beforehand, you would not come across it in your tour of the town. Luckily I had done research:)

It is a small shop run by a very lovely lady. She offers  commercially dyed fibres mostly for felting but  also for spinning (I  believe the braids are hand dyed). She has a nice selection of both indie dyed yarns and commercial yarns as well as knitting needles and accessories.

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Yarns, needles and notions

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Fibres for felting and or spinning

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Needle gauges and stitch markers

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Tuku wool from Finland and Queen of Purls hand dyed yarns

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The sweetest project and notions bags

 

If  you were one of the lucky ones to go to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival last March you may have seen the Queen of Purls stand there:)

I enjoyed looking around her shop and chatting with the lovely owner who is also an indie dyer and sells her yarns in the shop. Of course leaving empty handed was not an option so here is what I went away with.

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The most amazing project bag (the blue one) and notions pouch from Looking for Grasshoppers

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Hand dyed fingering yarn from Queen of Purls herself

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Tuku wool from Finland. I have been hearing about this wool lately on social media and podcasts and had to buy some to try for myself

 

So if you are ever in Glasgow, I do recommend you check out this fun little yarn shop. Here is a link to her website for you research purposes.

Litla Prjonabudin in Reykjavik, Iceland

Hi there, I’m back with the rest of my yarn haul from Iceland. This time I’m going to share with you this lovely knitting shop that I discovered on my last trip to Iceland. I learned about this shop from my friend and designer Cat Bordhi. When Cat does knitting retreats in Iceland, she brings her retreat-ees to this shop and that to me was a gauge of quality.

The name, Littla Prjonabudin, means the Little Knitting Shop but it’s not so little in real life. It is located not far from the supermarket I shared with you in my last post. This is not in downtown Reykjavik so you do have to know it’s there or you will not find it. The shop is run by a very nice young lady who accepted me taking some pictures of the inside of her shop.

She has a wonderful selection of yarns and accessories. All the brands you see and hear about online like Quince and Co, Twig and Horn, Fringe Supply Co, Hiya Hiya, Regia sock yarns and a selection of scandinavian yarns and at least one indie dyer from Finland called Knitlob’s Lair. She also has a great selection of knitting magazines like PomPom, Amirisu etc.

The interior is a little vintage looking and she has sofas and chairs to sit down and knit a few stitches.

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The outside of the shop

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Here you can see some of the Quince and Co yarns

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pattern books

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A little knitting nook

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colorful sock yarns

 

Doesn’t this look inviting and tempting to you?

I could have made some serious damage there had I had the finances to! I wanted another Fringe supply co bag, A Twig and Horn tote bag, a couple of sweater quantities of Quince and Co yarns, 10 or so balls of Regia and Opal sock yarns and a few skeins of indie dyed yarns along with a lovely selection of knitting magazines and books! Yebb, I mostly wanted to buy EVERYTHING in there!

Not having unlimited cash for yarn I did have to limit myself and I purchased an issue of Amirisu, the one called Iceland and is mostly about knitting in Iceland and patterns inspired by Iceland. And then I purchased two skeins of Regia Pairfect sock yarn from the Arne and Carlos range.

regia pairfect

I think these will make for very nice pairs.

And of course I had to try this new to me indie dyer from Finland, Knitlob’s Lair.

knitlobs lair

 

This is a 100 % superwash merino in fingering weight. I love the colors. I’m not sure what I’ll knit with this. Maybe a sockhead hat? Maybe a cowl? Maybe a pair of bedsocks? We’ll see.

So if you are ever in Iceland and want to visit a yarn shop, this would be a good candidate. She doesn’t have a web page really (it’s just a page with here address and FB details) but you can follow her and/or contact via her Fb page which by clicking here

This sums up my yarny adventures in Iceland for this time around.  More to come on my trip to Glasgow. I hope you have enjoyed learning about this little yarn shop in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Until next time I hope you have a wonderful weekend with lots of knitting time. See you soon 🙂

More from my trip to Iceland

Hi there, how are you today? I hope your weekend has been fun and filled with lots of quality knitting time.

As promised here is the rest of my yarn haul from my trip to Iceland this January. So like I said in my latest post, I first went to this grocery shop and bought lots of yarn and beautiful fur pompoms for future hats. Then after that we went to this yarn shop, a true LYS, called Handprjon. They also have a website which is www.handprjon.is

I had heard of this shop and I had been on their website but I really wanted to go there in person and I was not disappointed. It felt like the dream yarn shop: big, with lots of yarns and accessories. They have big brands like Regia, Cascade, Madeleinetosh, Manos del Urugay, Abuelita, Hedgehog Fibres and also lesser known brands like Zen Garden.

Here are some pictures from the shop

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A wall of yarn

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See how big this shop is?

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Here you see Regia, Madeleinetosh, Hedgehog and Zen Garden

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This is just brilliant! They were selling a pattern booklet to knit the Iceland mitts and hat

Does this not make you want to go and spend some time in their shop? The last picture, of the Iceland mittens and hat, I thought it was such a  brilliant pattern. I really love how they look.

The lady working the shop was very nice and we spent some time chatting about knitting, yarn and patterns. That was so nice. And of course I could not leave empty handed. I only bought two yarns but boy were they GORGEOUS yarns.

 

Beautiful don’t you think? I’m a lot into variegated and speckled yarns at the moment. And I think I have never knit with either of these brands so I’m very excited. I have a little doubt about Hedgehog, I may have tried that before but I’m not sure so I’m guessing I haven’t or I would remember. Both of these will become socks some time.

That’s it for today. Have a lovely Sunday and a wonderful new week. I look forward to being back and chatting with you:)