Back from holiday

Hi there how are you now? it’s been super long since I last posted here. I took 3 weeks off work and just totally checked out of everything. Now I’m about to go back to work, tomorrow, so I think it’s time I did some blogging too:)

I did go away for a few days and I know that some of you enjoy seeing pictures from my travels and hearing about the things I’ve done but maybe that is not the case for everyone so I’m thinking I’ll do a separate post on my holiday travels so that those who are only interested in my knitting, can just ignore that post all together. I hope I’ll get to that this coming weekend at the latest!

But how about you? I hope you were able to take a few days off work and enjoy some free time to relax and recharge your batteries. I have enjoyed my time off work and I could actually imagine myself taking a couple of more weeks off. I had big plans for things to do around the house and so and of course only a small part of those was actually accomplished so more time off work would be much appreciated. But that will not be possible because in the real world, one does have to work!

Before I went on vacation I had shared with you my list of dream/vacation knitting. I had imagined I’d have more knitting time than I actually did I think. I did work on everything but just a little so no finished objects but one very close and a second one not that far off.

So let’s get down to business. I cast on for the Midsummer haze shawl/cowl by Joji Locatelli using my own yarn, an alpaca/silk/linen blend which is just gorgeous. I knit on this a lot while on short car rides and in queues. I’m very close to finishing this and I really like the look of it. I’m even toying with the idea of making a second one but in black.

midsummer haze

This picture doesn’t do it justice but you get an idea of the construction and patterning. I think I only have one repeat left so I should really just get going and finish this. I’m thinking this might be a Christmas gift for someone.

Socks. For some reason my sock mojo has been seriously affected lately and I have the hardest time to work on my gazillion sock wips. Of course, I didn’t bring a sock wip on vacation. That would have been too intelligent and might have resulted in a finished pair…so of course I just brought a new pattern! I decided on Calentito by Media Peruana and some self striping yarn I dyed myself.

This is a fun textured pattern for shorty socks/slippers. I cast on but did not work much on them so here’s where I’m at now

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Not much but I will finish! This pattern has a garter stitch toe which is unusual.

What got worked on the most was my Breathing Space sweater by Veera Valimaki. I’m knitting that using a new to me base, a blend of merino/mohair and nylon and I LOVE it. The main color is a charcoal/black and the contrast a light pink color. Now I’m done with the striping on the body and just need to knit a few more inches of main color before I can do the ribbing and cast off. Of course my sleeves will need to be done then.

I think I will really enjoy wearing this sweater come winter.

I did get a little bit done on a cardigan that I’m test knitting for  a young designer. I’m actually behind on that project so I need to concentrate on that in the coming days. I have also started a second test knit for another designer, also a cardigan plus another sock test knit so I have plenty to work on these days.

I have kept a little project next to my bed lately and I have knit on it at night as I listen to an audio book and last night I finished my pair of socks. I used my hand spun yarn and I knit two at a time socks knitting from each end of the yarn cake and that produced a pair of very different socks. But in this case I think it is kind of fun. They are very comfortable and will be great to wear in the wintertime at my desk.

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I think this is about all for today. I will be back with pictures and stories of my latest travel, the results of the survey I did a while back and I also need to get back on track with the Maker of the Month series.

Thank you for stopping by today and for spending time with me. I hope you have enjoyed seeing my latest knitting projects. Have a great week and I’ll be back soon.

Happy knitting

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.

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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.

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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 🙂

Meet the Maker of the Month – Michelle of Berry Colorful Yarnings

Hi there, the end of this month is chock full of information and blog posts as I took a little break and came back with a ton of things to share and also this meant that the Maker of the Month feature is way later in the month than usual. I do hope you forgive me for this and so here goes!

 

I first learned of Michelle and Berry Colorful Yarnings when I was in the yarn subscription club The Golden Skein (no longer operating). Every three months I would get three skeins of hand dyed yarns, each from a different dyer and one of those was Michelle.

Since then I have been following her on social media and of course on Etsy where she sells her yarns. Michelle specializes in self striping yarns and as a sock knitter, I find that super exciting! Somehow, self striping vanilla socks seem to knit up on their own, one is always so excited to get to the next stripe!

A while ago I contacted Michelle and she kindly accepted to do a little yarn swap and so I was lucky enough to get to try out some more of her yarns. This is the pair of socks I knit out of the first skein.

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I used my own hand dyed purple yarn for cuff, heels and toes so as to not disrupt the striping. I knit these from the cuff down and did an afterthought heel as I often do when using self striping yarn.

Michelle’s yarn is a pleasure to knit with and her sense of color is amazing. I have a few more of her yarns in my stash and cherish them very much! And I thought it would be so fun to interview Michelle and introduce you to her and her work if you don’t know her already. And she kindly accepted the interview AND a giveaway! So you just might be lucky enough to win one of her yarns yourself!

So here is my interview with Michelle


 

I see from your about page on Etsy that you opened your shop in 2011. Had you been dyeing yarn before then and selling elsewhere or is 2011 the year it all started?
2011 was the first time I had sold anything I had dyed and I started off with my etsy shop right away.

How did you come to start dyeing yarn and then selling online?
I have always been a lover of indie dyed yarn and I was buying yarn from international dyed but the shipping times and costs at that time were starting to add up. I had mentioned to a knitter friend of mine that “I wished I was talented enough to dye yarn” and her replay was “you are” so after chatting with my husband I jumped in feet first and haven’t looked back!

Do you work as an indie dyer full time or is this a part time thing ?
Dyeing is a part time thing for me. We homeschool our two girls and I help my husband run his business.

Where do you get your inspiration for your colourways from ?
I get my inspiration from many sources but I really love pulling colors from nature. There are some really beautiful combinations right in front of our eyes. I love when a customer brings me a photo and asks for a self striping yarn from it. This really allows me to be creative.

What is your most popular colorway? and/or most popular yarn base?

The most popular colorway has to be The Pats doorway, themed for the New England Patriots Football team. Second would be either the 12 color Rainbow or the 12 color 12 days of Christmas colorways.

bcy 12 days of christmas

I know you are most known for dyeing self striping yarn. How did you come to choose that type of dyeing method/yarn? Do you also sometimes dye tonal or semi solid yarns?
I had been dyeing yarn for several years when I wanted to do something a little different than what all the other dyers were doing. So I tried the self striping technique. I still love dyeing tonals and semi solids and will jump at the chance to dye them 🙂

Do you accept custom orders?

Currently no.. but after the first of the year my plan is to bring that option back to the shop.

What does a typical workday look like for you?
After getting the husband out the door, I get any business related emails and paperwork needed done. I get the girls schoolwork done and then some lunch.. if we don’t have a ton of activities for the day then off to the dye studio I go.. I get lost in the fun of color.

What have you got planned for Berry Colorful Yarnings in 2017? and where do you see your company in say 5 years from now?
2017 for BCY will be a slower year. But 2018 is hopefully going to see a few fiber shows and crammed full of new color combos and maybe even some fun new stripe tech.

Where does the name of your shop, Berry Colorful Yarnings come from?
Berry is my last name, Colorful for what I strive to always make my yarns, and Yarnings was what my youngest daughter would call anything I was doing with yarn or fiber, so Berry Colorful Yarnings happen to just fit so nicely!!

And a little about yourself, where do you come from/live?
I live in southern New Mexico, I spent 11 years here as a kid (military kid) then in 1996 my husband and I moved to CA and lived there for 17 years. We moved back to this area a few years ago and love it here.

Are you a knitter and/or crocheter?
I learned to crochet as a kid but didn’t learn to knit until 2009. My middle niece showed me how one summer.

When did you learn to knit/crochet?
Crochet I was about 10 and 2009 is when my niece showed me how to knit..

What are your favourite projects to knit/crochet? I’m guessing socks but I just might be wrong 🙂
I just recently became a sock knitter, that is why my stripes are a bit wider than some. I needed to be able to knit my own yarns into a hat or cowl. I love love to knit hats!!

bcy shawl

If you are a big sock knitter, do you have a go to pattern/recipe?

I love a toe up vanilla sock at the moment!

Do you knit socks cuff down or toe up?
Toe up for sure

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media? Do you have a blog?
I prefer Instagram (all though pretty pictures) I have a website that’s under construction and I would love to try and get my blog going again.. fingers crossed but right now I am mostly on IG as @Bcyarnings 🙂

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Thank you so much Michelle for taking the time to answer my questions and giving me and my readers a little sneak peek into your life. And an even bigger thank you for donating a yarn for the giveaway! Michelle has donated a skein of her Daisy colorway that I show you here below.

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Berry Colorful Yarnings in Daisy, self striping

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A close up of Daisy

To enter this giveaway and have a chance of winning a skein of Michelle’s self striping yarn in the Daisy colorway you have to:

  1. go to her shop and take a look at her in stock yarns and/or sold yarns and
  2. come back here to leave a comment telling us which one of her colorways is your favorite
  3. Also tell us what pattern you would knit with her yarn should you win

I will use random number generator to draw a winner from the comments below (So I will not be replying to anyone so as not to disturb the drawing) on May 5th. Good luck to you all and enjoy the browsing 🙂

My big March plans

Hi there how are you today? it’s raining cats and dogs here in Normandy this morning. It almost feels like winter is coming back and they have predicted this kind of weather for the rest of the week I think. Funny how gloomy weather can sometimes affect your mood at least on weekdays. Because yesterday, Sunday, it was the same and I wasn’t bothered at all! In fact I spent almost the entire day knitting! Maybe a little too much time to be quite honest because my hands felt a bit sore by the time I went to bed.

But March is a very heavily busy month knitwise. It hadn’t started  out as such but as we got closer to the end of February, beginning of March the projects just piled on.

But before I share those with you let me show you my two Fos.

First off is a pair of socks that I was test knitting for my friend and designer Dana Gervais. The pattern is called Good Karma and will be a for sale pattern on Ravelry in the near future.

The pattern is fun to knit and quite intuitive. It’s a mirrored pattern which means that the pattern is placed differently on each sock so that they mirror each other. I managed to knit them quite quickly as I had big plans coming up and absolutely wanted and needed to get them done in time.

I used one of my newer bases which I call POP. It’s a merino/donegal nepp tweed yarn. And what is especially fun with this tweed yarn is that the nepps are multi colored instead of just plain black as usually. I have knit socks out of this yarn before and I really love both knitting with it and the finished project. So here are some pictures of my finished socks.

 

They look really nice even if I say so myself! I’m taking a break from test knitting socks this month due to my heavy workload but I really look forward to doing it again.

My second finished object is a shawl that I started on January 1st 2017. This was part of the brioche challenge hosted by Louise Tilbrook Designs. I did choose a pattern that was not all brioche thinking it would go quicker although just from looking at the pattern pictures, I could see that it is quite big. Well, I got sidetracked needless to say and I only just finished last week. I knit this using two of my yarns in my SOX base and two other yarns. And it is huge! I haven’t blocked the shawl yet and frankly I don’t know if I will. Maybe I’ll just lightly steam block it before giving it away because yes I’m going to gift it to someone special. Shh not saying just in case she reads my blog.

The shawl I’m babbling about is the Briochealicious shawl by Andrea Mowry. It is a mix of brioche and garter stitch so quite a relaxing knit and I really did enjoy knitting on it. I can even see myself knitting a second one that I would keep. But here’s a picture – although you can’t see it in its entirety because of the size.

Yes that’s me modelling the shawl 🙂

And now onto current works in progress. I can show you two but one is a secret test knit. I was contacted by a relatively new designer that I love. I have knit one of her sweaters, the Kitsune sweater. And I already have a cardigan of hers on the needles although I’m still at the very beginning there. Well so she contacted me and asked I was willing to test knit a new cardigan and once I saw the picture there was no turning back! So of course I said yes please! It is gorgeous! However she has asked us test knitters not to share any pictures until the pattern has been released so I won’t be able to show you anything for the moment. I’m knitting it on my SPARKLES base in a teal colorway and I think it will be amazing. I have one month to finish so that is part of the reason why I say March is a heavily busy knit month.

The first wip I can share, is the Snowmelt shawl by Helen Stewart of the Curious Handmade. This is a mystery kal and the last clue came out last Thursday. I have begun knitting on that clue but I won’t be able to continue until I finish my all consuming wip that I’ll tell you all about in a moment. So I’m knitting this shawl out of a new base of mine that I call Back to Basics. It’s a non superwash merino fingering yarn and it is gorgeous. I was hesitant to order non superwash fingering but I do not regret it. In fact I want to order much more. I love the fact that non superwash items do not grow so I think it will be perfect for garment knitting and I have a ton of sweaters and cardigans I want to knit using this base. But back to the shawl. I had heard Helen’s recommendations on the yarn before hand and so I dyed up 3 skeins just for this project and I’m really happy with the outcome and how they work together. This is a half pi shawl and I think it is the first time I knit one of those or if I have before, then it was ages ago because I don’t remember it. Here’s a picture of where I’m at now – I do want to finish soon so I can enter it into the FO thread in her Ravelry group for a giveaway.

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Snowmelt shawl by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade knit in Back to Basics by Knitting in France

I’m really happy with my choice of colors and I look forward to finishing the shawl.

And now onto the all consuming wip! I told you last time, I think, that I was participating in the Sock Madness competition for the second time this year. Well it has just began. The first pattern was released late Thursday night so I only got to cast on and do one cuff on that very first day but I have been knitting on this non stop since then. The first round is a qualifying round and we have 14 days to finish the pair. The faster you finish the better of course and that will also determine in which team you end up. The teams are composed of knitters that knit at similar speeds so although there are hundreds of knitters partaking in the competition you are only every competing against the members of your team so people of similar speed. That is great because it gives everyone a chance to participate. Last year I ended up in the second to fastest team I think which was quite stressful and makes me think maybe I should not try so hard to finish asap this time around but I can’t help myself. I really want to finish them at lightning speed and also when I browse the chatter and FO threads I realise that there are so many knitters that either are way speedier knitters than I am or have way more time because I’m not the fastes. Of course I’m not way behind either.

This first pattern, Twisted Madness, is not a complicated one but it is very time consuming and hard on the hands because it is basically an all over cable pattern. That makes progress slow and it just eats up yarn. There are minimum requirements so each time I have to knit the socks to my size or for my oldest to meet those and for this first pair one skein of fingering yarn is not enough. After knitting to the heel on the first sock I was seriously worried so one of the moderators told me to cast on for the second one and knit to the same place and then make a decision on if I had enough to finish or if I should change yarns. And so I did, I knit the second sock to the heel turn and then decided to turn the heel on both socks in my current yarn. After that I only had 40 gr left and I’m pretty sure I would not have had enough to finish and as we are not allowed to do contrasting heels, toes and cuffs I could not knit to the toe and then change yarns so I thought after the heel would be good spot to change.

I hesitated between yarns. My yarn was a turquoise with some yellow and I had another skein in only turquoise but of course not the exact same shade and I also had a skein of yellow also not the same shade. Finally I went with the yellow and I think my socks will look just fine when they are done.

This is where I’m at now:

 

This stitch pattern is basically a left leaning cable over 2 stitches and produces this nice pattern that you can  see close up on the picture on the right. What do you think about my choice of second color for the socks? I think they will be ok. When worn, people will see a yellow sock with a turquoise and yellow heel so I’m sure it will be ok.

So after I had turned the heel on both socks I decided to knit them taat magic loop. I’ll be knitting on them this afternoon but I’m taking a little break this morning and going to knit on my Snowmelt shawl and spin a little just to give my hands a little time off from the pattern. I chose to knit them on a long circular needle from the get go because just seeing the stitch pattern I realised that knitting them on a 9″ circular would be too hard on my hands.

So I need to finish these asap to qualify of course but also so that I have more time in between rounds so that I can finish my Snowmelt and make good progress on my test knit cardigan. Once the two weeks of the qualifying round are up, the organizers need a few days to set up the teams and so I have some time to finish other things. Each round thereafter is also 14 days but the objective is to always finish way before the time limit. So quite a busy month ahead. Are you also participating in Sock Madness this year? I’d love to know if you are so I can follow your progress on social media.

So planning wise the month of March is 90% Sock Madness and then my test knit cardigan. But I did fall for the Stephen West Mkal temptation and sign up for the Marled Magic Mystery Kal The first clue came out last Friday and I haven’t had the time to start and  realistically I may not be able to until the kal is actually over but anyway. I fell for this because he recommended that one use mohair yarn – this is a shawl knit holding two fingering weight yarns together and either use one constant color and only change on of the yarns throughout or to change both all the time. I had a few skeins of mohair/silk yarn in my stash of undyed yarns and I really don’t like the fuzziness of mohair and haven’t dyed or sold much of this yarn and when I saw the pattern and yarn recommendations I thought “it’s now or never”. Either I do this or these skeins will stay in my stash forever. And so I dyed all the skeins, 8 of them I think in a very pale mint green and then I went looking in my stash and my shop yarns for colors that could work with it and I’ve come up with a surprising palette. Actually very different from the colors I’m usually drawn to so I don’t even know if I’ll actually wear the shawl once it’s done. I might give it to someone or maybe I’ll find myself in love with all those new colors. Who knows!

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Only one of these yarns is not mine and I might just change it out for one of my own to make this a 100% Knitting in France shawl. Are you doing the mkal? I’d love to see your yarn choices and see your progress as I wait to be able to start mine.

Well, that’s all for now I think. I’ll be back this Thursday with a Maker of the Month feature and a giveaway so stay tuned for that. Until then, have a wonderful week and happy knitting 🙂

The Maker of the Month – Yarn Cafe Creations

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you had a nice weekend and that this week has been a success so far. I had a nice and relaxed weekend myself. I did not quite as much knitting done as I would have liked but I did enjoy working on my projects and that is all that counts.

Today is not going to be my regular post with updates on my projects and so forth because today I’m doing the Maker of the Month February edition.

I have planned to introduce you to a new maker every month and those will be either yarn dyers, pattern designers or other kind of makers that are involved in the knitting/crochet/fibre world. I have already planned interviews all the way to next July which is very exciting and if you have any suggestions for a maker I should check out and maybe feature here please do let me know.

So the Maker of the Month this February is yarn dyer Christy Houghton of Yarn Cafe Creations. I’m sure some if not all of you have already heard of her and maybe  you even follow her podcast The Girls in the Yarn Cafe.

I heard of her first on the Periscoping sisters podcast I believe because she was collaborating on a kit with Amy and I just absolutely LOVED her yarn for that kit and went ahead and bought a couple of skeins. Since then I have subscribed to her YouTube channel and follow her on social media and of course I continue buying her yarns:)

The first yarn I bought from her was a fingering weight yarn and the colorway was called Ocean Mist

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I think it is just such a mesmerising colorway.

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And I ofcourse knit a pair of Simple Skyp Socks – my first pair of those actually.

Since then I have aquired a few more skeins, all in 4 ply fingering weight because I absolutely love her fingering base and of course I love knitting socks.

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These two are waiting to be turned into socks. The one on the left is Mermaid Party and the one on the right is Calgary.

And actually I’m currently knitting with one of her yarns because like I told you in my latest post, I have decided to join in the Lovealong kal that is being hosted by Dani of Little Bobbins knits, Amy Meeks of the Periscoping sisters who designed the pattern and Christy whose yarn was used to design the sock. And to be able to have 3 times the chance of winning something in this kal I of course decided to knit with one of Christy’s yarns. The yarn I chose is again her superwash merino 4 ply base and the colorway is called Banana Split.

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Beautiful, right? And once it’s been wound up into a skein, this is what it looks like:

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So colorful and yet subtle and it totally lets the pattern shine. I feel this was a great match for this pattern as both the yarn and the pattern are equally beautiful and don’t overshadow each other.

This is where I’m at currently

But enough about me. It’s time I shared the interview with Christy so here goes:

Hello Christy and welcome to the Knitting in France blog.  To start off would you please tell us a little bit about yourself ?
When did you learn to knit and do you remember who taught you, if you learned from a person that is ?
I learned to knit, after years of crocheting, by watching YouTube videos. I knew I likes the look of knitting more than crocheting but had always been intimidated by it. Once I started knitting, I couldn’t stop! It became my new passion. That was about 7 years ago.
Do you have a favorite type of project to knit? I for example am a big sock knitter and always have a ton of those on my needles.

I will go through phases where I am in love with sock knitting and then I find a sweater pattern that I just can’t put down. I have recently discovered shawls and wraps and am finding these an absolute joy to knit!  I guess I don’t have a favorite type of project, I just like to continuously challenge myself with new knitting projects. 

Do you crochet, spin and or weave as well ?

I only crochet but hope to learn spinning someday. 

Do you knit in public and if so, do you have a favorite spot to do so?

I knit in public all the time!  My favorite place to knit in public would be at a conference. I am constantly attending conferences for my job and find it easier to focus on the speaker if I’m knitting. 

I see that Yarn Cafe Creations opened on  Etsy in 2015 and I was wondering if you had been selling elsewhere before then or if your yarn dyeing adventure began in 2015 with your Etsy shop?

I started on Etsy in 2015 and it was first and only attempt at selling yarn. I feel like I found the right place to sell my yarn and have been very happy with the results. 

What prompted you to start your own yarn dyeing business?

I discovered hand-dyed yarn on Instagram and couldn’t believe how expensive some of the yarn was. I decided to research it to see if the bare yarn was expensive. I wanted to know if it was worth the money to buy hand-dyed yarn. I found that there was bare yarn available at very reasonable prices and felt like I could make a quality product to sell at a more affordable price.  I knew that  there were probably people out there who couldn’t afford to pay what some of these yarn dyers were charging. I wanted to make it more affordable for people who may not be able to afford this type of yarn. 

Where does the name of your shop, Yarn Cafe Creations come from?

My boyfriend actually came up with it. I love coffee and coffee shop decor so he thought this name would represent me well. 

Where do you get your inspiration for your colourways from ?

Well, color is not my strong suit. I usually look at clothing fashion to see what colors people are wearing that season. Then I will look at online color palettes for inspiration. I also love to look at nature photos to see what beauty I can find out in the world. 

What is your most popular colorway? and/or  most popular yarn base?

Ocean Mist on Fluffy Sock. 

Do you have a target audience/clients? I mean do you try to cater especially for say the sock/accessories knitter or do you also try to appeal to the garment knitter with larger dye lots?

I have stocked many different yarn bases in my shop but have found that I sell much more sock/fingering weight yarn than any other yarn type. I would love to carry many different yarn weights but have tried to cater to what sells. Sock yarn is much more popular for sock knitting, shawl knitting, and other light knits. 

Do you accept custom orders?

I do custom orders all the time and really enjoy doing them. 

Do you dye yarn full time or do you also have a “regular” job ?

I work full-time as the Director of Quality over 7 medical offices. I am also a marriage and family therapist and own my own practice. I see clients 1-2 nights a week. Yarn dyeing happens on the other weeknights and on the weekends. I like being busy. 

What does a typical workday look like for you?

I start my day in the morning by dropping off packages at the post office and then heading to my medical job. There are a lot of meetings during any given week and a lot of tasks that require my attention. At about 5:00, I will then go see a therapy client or head home if it’s not a therapy night. When I get home, I will usually do a couple of batches of yarn and then get orders ready to go out the next day. Then it’s off to bed!

What have you got planned for Yarn Cafe Creations in 2017? and where do you see your company in say 5 years from now?

I have many collaborations with bag makers and pattern designers coming up in the next few months. I’m hoping to continue to grow this business while still being part of the medical community. I have a passion for both. In 5 years, I hope that people will still love my yarn enough to still be purchasing it. This will allow me to continue to do what I love. 

You also have a podcast called The Girls in the Yarn Cafe that you do with your daughter and I love watching that podcast every time you publish an episode. Can you tell us a little bit more about the podcast like when you started and what you show and discuss for those that might not yet be familiar with your podcast ?

Our podcast started with just me. I made a couple by myself and it was called The Girl in the Yarn Cafe. I decided to have my daughters come on as guests, just for fun. Trysten is my only knitting daughter and after she was a guest we found that people loved us together. She and I have a great dynamic on our podcast and we have so much fun doing it. I think we do it for our own entertainment and are just so happy that people enjoy being part of it. I hope we can continue doing it for years to come. 

What is the best way/best place for people to follow you on social media?

I am most active on Instagram and Ravelry. I do have a Twitter and a Facebook page but I’m less active on those.

Thank you, Bogga, for your interest in my yarn business!  I appreciate your support!!

Thank you so much to Christy for accepting my interview and for sharing her knitting and yarn dyeing life with us. And Christy has also generously donated a skein of her yarn for a giveaway! This is on her 4 ply superwash merino Fluffy Sock base and the colorway is called Pumpkin Carving and it is gorgeous!

To join in this giveaway all you need to do is go over to Christy’s shop Yarn Cafe Creations browse her gorgeous yarns and then come back here and leave a comment with your favorite colorway. I know choosing is close to impossible but just write down one of the many you love 🙂 You have until February 14th to join and leave a comment and I will draw a winner using random number generator and announce the lucky winner here on the blog on February 15th. The winner will then have one month to claim his/her prize and if not claimed I will draw a second time.

That’s it for today. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day to spend time with me. I hope you enjoyed the interview with Christy and I wish you the best of luck with the giveaway. Next time the post will be all about my knitting and my new knitting needles that I love so much I have to share so you too can try them out.

Take care and happy knitting 🙂

The February Plan

Hi there, It’s me again! Sorry if you think this a bit too much for one week but like I said at the beginning of the week I had soo much to share!

So today is or should just be  a short post but a necessary one because we are at the beginning of February and I have this big plan for what I’m going to knit this month and I thought maybe some of you would like to knit along with me.

So I’ll be knitting 2 shawls and 3 socks – that I know of for the time being – and a cowl

Here is a picture of all the yarns except the Snowmelt shawl which I had not dyed when I took the picture.

all-the-february-yarns

Row 1 (bottom) Yarns for the socks Row 2 (middle) my 3 color cashmere cowl Row 3 my Snowday shawl

First the shawls. So there is the Snowday shawl by Knitting Expat Designs. This pattern was published in January and I immediately bought it. I loved the colors Mina chose for hers and I just knew I had to knit this. I’m using my own yarn of course. Mina wrote the pattern for a sport weight yarn but I don’t have any so I’m using a DK yarn. This is a new base that I’ll introduce in the shop next week. It is a non superwash organic wool from South America and I really look forward to knitting with it and seeing how it knits up. I loved the colours Mina chose and so I decided to stay with the same theme/colours.

snowday-yarn

Mina is hosting a year long kal in her Ravelry group for all her patterns so this shawl can be entered into that.

 

The second shawl is a mystery knit along and it is the Snowmelt mkal being held by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. This is a 5 clue, 3 color shawl and the mkal launched yesterday on the 2nd of February. I have chosen another new yarn base for this shawl. This yarn is a 100% non superwash merino in fingering weight. it dyes up beautifully and it is very soft and I look forward to knitting with it for the first time. Just looking at the yarn and the ply I’m sure it will be gorgeous and give a beautiful stitch definition. I dyed up 3 skeins in complimentary colors for this and again the theme is blues.

snowmelt-yarn-1

I’ve heard Helen say that color A is the one that has the most lace and she recommends using the lightest color for that. I don’t want to use the speckled yarn for the lace so I’m thinking then the light blue on the right side. I was going to have the darkest one as color A but I should probably follow Helen’s advice. So I look forward to knitting on this.

And then there are the socks and they all come with a kal. I’m very kal these days it seems and yet I rarely participate in the chatter.

So first it is the Lovealong kal – this kal is being hosted by Dani of the Little Bobbins; Amy of the Periscoping sisters (the designer of the sock pattern) and Christy of Yarn Café Creations who dyed the yarn Amy used in her design. This means you can actually enter your socks into at least 2 threads to win a prize and if you knit the socks with Christy’s yarn then you can enter in her group too. So as I have some of her yarns, that’s what I’m doing!

Then there is the January Challenge in Louise Tilbrook Designs group on Instagram and Facebook. You are supposed to knit a pair of socks and somehow challenge yourself. I’m cheating a bit because I want to knit one of Louise’s patterns and I chose one that is not necessarily very challenging but hey I’m the boss of me so! I’ve chosen the Bleaberry Tarn socks, a paid for pattern on Ravelry and I’m going to knit it in one of my new colorways that I’ve called Baby Pink Sparkles.

The third sock is for a kal being held by designer Rachel Gibbs. I’ve never knit one of her patterns before and I follow her on IG. I saw a post about her kal that actually began in January but I believe runs till the end of February so I decided to join and knit one of her patterns. Rachel designs lots of textured/patterned socks and the patterns are really gorgeous. I chose the Time Stream Socks and I’ve chosen another one of my Sparkles yarns in a turquoise colorway I had in my stock.

The last of the planned knits for the time being is a cowl. I’ve had this pattern in my Ravelry Library for a long time and never gotten to knit it so it is time. I have chosen an amazing yarn. This is a new base that I was trying out and want to later offer in the shop. It is a pricy one because it is a 50/50 merino and silk yarn. It is incredibly soft and knits up like a dream. I already have a cowl knit in this yarn and I love it. So the pattern I’ve chosen is the Three Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locatelli and I think this is the only planned knitting this month that is not part of a kal.

So I dyed two skeins of my merino/silk yarn and then I had one skein of a 100% silk yarn in natural, undyed state.  I think this will be heavenly and I really look forward to getting started on that one too.

three-color-cashmere-cowl

Have you planned what you want to work on in February? Are you maybe joining in some of the kals that I’m doing? I’d love to hear what you have got planned so don’t be shy and leave a comment below.

That’s it for now. I wish you all a wonderful weekend ahead with lots of quality knitting time. Thank you for sharing your time today with me. And until next time, happy knitting 🙂

End of year and beginning of a new one

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

img_6394

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

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

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

img_6391

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

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

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

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

Stash enhancements and works in progress

Hey there how are you doing? I hope you are doing good and enjoying life and crafting. I’ve been doing a lot of knitting but not really making any significant progress because, I think, I’m working on so many projects at the same time! I currently have 4 socks on the needles that I’m working on and my Ganz shawl which I’m doing as part of my summer kal. And of course I have 3 partially knit sweaters that are languishing in project bags in my room. I really need to finish my socks and then get back to knitting the sweaters finishing one after the other. Because I’m already well into each one so I don’t really have a lot left. But somehow my startitis is just way to strong and  I keep casting on for new socks and adding new shawls to my Ravelry library. I don’t know if you have the same “problem” but if you do, I’d love how you manage your startitis to actually finish what needs to be finished or if like me, you just give into urgent cast on urges.

So lets begin with some show and tell of socks

knit from stash may

I finished my #knitfromstash2016 May socks. This is a yearlong kal I’m doing as part of a sock knitters group on Facebook called Addicted to sock knitting. We get one pattern per month by designer Heatherly Walker and this was the May pattern. It’s called Rhytidome and I really like how they turned out and I feel my yarn really is perfect with this pattern.

Then there is my round 6 pair from Sock Madness that has not been getting any love lately but I’m going to get to it when I have a little less socks going because that is a pattern that needs to be knit pretty monogamously because it is quite complicated.

sock madness round 6I’m knitting these with a Lornas Laces yarn and I’m playing yarn chicken because this pattern is a real yarn eater so I knit the toe in some plain white yarn. If by some miracle I have enough yarn then I’ll rip back the toe and redo in the same yarn but that is highly unlikely.

I’m also participating in the #BeyondVanillaKal1 with Mina of the Knitting Expat Podcast. I bought her new sock pattern collection and I’m knitting them as part of the kal. I have one pair done and now I’m working on paire number 2. I’m using some fun yarn I dyed last week. I was testing a new method of dyeing and I dyed 4  50gr skeins of SOX base yarn. I’m knitting the Pebbles pattern in medium but I’m doing a short leg because I want to use just one 50gr skein. These will be for my youngest.

Here are some pictures of the socks and the yarn. I’ve done one sock and I’m at the heel for the second now.

The yarn I’m using is skein number two from the right

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And then there is the Tour de Sock which like Sock Madness is a sock knitting competition but this time it also serves as a fund raiser for Doctors without frontiers. Also in this competition everyone can do all the rounds. You get points for each pair you finish depending on how quickly you finish etc and those points will determine the winner. I’m feeling a lot less competitive this time and going quite slowly, maybe too slowly even but then this round the pattern is quite complicated with lots of charts so I can’t knit on this at work. I really need to pay attention and follow the pattern. I’m at the heel turn on sock one now and I have 6 more days to finish my pair.

So I’m definitely not going to win anything but at least I’m supporting a good cause and I get to knit gorgeous socks. So this is round 2 and here are pictures from round one and two

The pictures above are the round one pair

The pictures above are from round 2 the cabled side is the front and the knit and purl side is the back. This pattern has a very interesting heel construction. I’m using WYS Signature 4 ply. This pattern really calls for a solid yarn to really appreciate the patterning.

And then there is my summer kal which you can still join if you wish to. We are knitting patterns by designer Nancy Whitman and the kal goes to August 31st with some lovely prizes that will be drawn at random once the kal is over. I’m knitting a gansey inspired shawl called Ganz. I’m using my own hand dyed yarn, a 100%DK in a sort of watermelon red color. First one knits like a gansey inspired strip and I’ve done that and now I’m on to some short row shaping. I still haven’t understood how I go from the current shape to the final shape so this is a bit of a mystery knit for me so far. Here is where I’m at now

 

ganz 14jun

That’s all of my knitting for now. And inspite of my intention of NOT buying more yarn, well, I’m just not able to resist. So here is what I’ve gotten lately.

First, I’m doing The Golden Skein for the first time ever. I’m doing the biggest club (of course) so every  3 months I get 3 skeins of yarn and I just got the summer shipment.

the golden skein summer green

Beautiful green yarns. Now I just need to find patterns to go with these yarns. What is fun is that I have never knit with any of these yarns and that is the very fun part of the Golden Skein subscriptions for me, I’m discovering lots of interesting dyers for the very first time.

And then there was that time I lost my head on Etsy, as happens to the best of us:)

tamiwicolors yarnFirst I bought these 4 gorgeous skeins from I think, a new indie dyer in Germany. I love the colors. The yarn is 75/25 merino/nylon but feels a bit rustic, like my BASIK base so these will become socks. This dyer is totally underpriced which may explain why I got 4 skeins at once! The shop is called Tamiwicolors  and she is on Etsy. Just click on the name and you’ll find yourself in her shop. Definitely go take a look, her color combinations are lovely.

I also fell for another Etsy shop, this time for a better known dyer that I have been drooling over for a long time but not bought from until now. This is a dyer in Finland called Lanitium Ex Machina and I love their variegated colorways and I chose 3 skeins on their stellina base. The  colors are gorgeous but the yarn is not soft. Maybe it will soften with knitting and washing but now it feels rustic to the touch and the glittery thread/stellina is quite “hard” to the touch. Nothing like my stellina base which is super soft and can be used for next to skin items like shawls or cowls in addition to socks. This yarn will make gorgeous socks but definitely nothing next to the skin for me.

lanitium ex machina

So I have lots of new gorgeous yarn for loads of future socks:)

And speaking of socks, just before letting you go, I thought I’d mention again the very limited edition sock knitting kit that I’m doing with JavaPurlDesigns and KnitRunDig. It’s the Gilmore Girls sock kit which includes a pattern by JavaPurlDesigns, a project bag by KnitRunDig, a 10 color self striping yarn hand dyed by myself and a selection of little goodies for some additional fun. This kit went up for pre-order last Sunday June 12th after noon and in just 48H we have sold 80% of the kits! We are super happy about the interest for this super cool kit. And if you, like me, love knitting socks and enjoy self striping yarns, project bags and surprise goodies you need to go over to the JavaPurl website and get a kit while we still have some left.

With that, I wish you a wonderful and crafty week:) Speak to you soon

gilmore girls

Yarn substitutions

Hi there, today I’m going to share with you this great ressource I recently discovered.

We all have to or want to substitute yarn in a pattern at some time. It’s hard to actually not come across that “problem” when one is a knitter or a crocheter. Could be because we don’t have the particular yarn our pattern calls for in our stash and we don’t want to or are not able to buy it. So then we have to find the right substitute and that can sometimes be tricky.

I usually try to find something that is not only of the same weight but if possible with the same or similar composition. Then one always (well the serious knitters) has to swatch to be sure the gauge is the same and if not then make the necessary calculations to modify the pattern just to be sure we’ll end up with a garment that can actually be worn by a human being.

And now there is a free website that can make yarn substitution way easier than ever before! This may not work for indie hand dyed yarns but it does work for a very large number of well known commercial yarns and I’m pretty sure you will find this useful.

The website is called Yarn Sub

You can search for yarns by brand, weight, fibre content or name. They have a huge database of both well known and lesser known brands. So how does this work?

Well, you enter the yarn that your pattern calls for and the site then comes up with a list of possible substitute yarns and sometimes even links to buy that yarn from an online shop.

I think this is just brilliant and I actually played with this when looking at what yarn to use for my daughters oversized sweater.

You should definitely check this out and bookmark it as it can come in handy I’m sure.

That’s all for today. Take care and have a wonderful week.

 

 

 

 

I need a little help from you:)

Hi, as I’m working on my “renewed” shop I’m wondering about my yarn dyeing. I know what I like, but what do YOU like? I’d love to hear what type of yarn you mostly use and what type of dye technique you prefer. For example with socks you have solid colors, varigated, striped, speckled etc. Knowing what YOU like would really help me narrow down my future yarns. The following polls will only take you a minute to take so I hope many of you will have the time and be willing to help me on this:)

If you have the time and are willing, I’d love for you to leave me a comment also just to say anything else you think might help me or if you have certain preferences for certain projects. For example if you prefer self striping yarn for socks but only knit shawls etc with solid color yarns.

www.knittinginfrance.com

A big thank you for taking the time out of your day to give me a helping hand:) Have a wonderful weekend.