The end of an adventure and one last enabling post before we all commit to stash appreciation

Hi there, writing this post has been a long time coming. I have thought about this for a very very very long time and I think I really need to get it together and just take the plunge! The plunge in question is… closing my Etsy shop! Now I’ve said it!

I would like to take the opportunity to share with you the story of this shop adventure that is coming to an end.

In 2010 I was very unhappy with the work I was doing and I longed for a job that I would actually enjoy doing. I was already heavily into knitting and the idea of opening a shop started to take shape. At first I wanted to create a niche shop and concentrate on knitting needles. At the time, in France, knitting needles were very limited and most knitters only knit on long single pointed needles. I wanted to introduce circular needles to them. In my home country of Iceland we knit everything on circulars and I think they are fabulous. I started looking around at what was available and what I could sell. On the 1st of March 2011 I opened my shop, Knitting in France. I had my very own website and I offered a variety of knitting needles. I can safely say that I was a pioneer in France and even in Europe when it came to selling knitting needles because I introduced a number of knitting needles brands that were otherwise unobtainable in France and often in Europe at large.

I had Signature Needle Arts and was the only distributor for those in France and one of very few in Europe if not the only one. I also introduced Kollage square needles and I still have a few of those left. I was the first to sell these in France and one of very few in Europe. I also had Swallow casein needles from Australia and again the only one in France selling those. I had Indian Lake Artisans hexagonal, handmade wooden needles and still have some left in stock. Those are works of art and a joy to work with. I also believe I was their first stockist in France.

I was also the very first stockist of  Hiya Hiya in France and I’m proud of being the one to introduce French knitters to that brand and even European knitters because at the time very few shops sold these in Europe. And Chiaogoo, also the first stockist in France to offer those.

Today all the important yarn shops in France carry some of these brands that I took a chance on in 2011.

I also offered handmade knitting and crochet accessories and I took in a few commercial yarns such as Rooster yarns. I did also offer Dream in Color yarns and again I believe I was the only stockist in France at the time.

The product I took the biggest chance on was an amazing yarn, Qiviut from Arctic Qiviut company. Qiviut, if you are not familiar with that fibre, comes from the underdown of musk ox. It is a rare fibre and very labour intensive in production. It is the warmest wool you can have and Arctic Qiviut had both natural color yarn and hand dyed ones and they also offered luxurious blends with qiviut, cashmere,angora etc. A skein of this luxurious yarn costs a fortune but I did manage to buy a few for the shop and I did sell most of them though it took some time as the price was not for the faint of heart. I was of course the first to sell this yarn in France and I helped them organise a tour in England and France to introduce their yarns to other shops and today a few shops in England carry their yarns.

Later on I wanted to start dyeing my own yarn and totally fell down a rabbit hole. For a while my shop did well and I really enjoyed feeling like I was doing well. I took part in yarn shows in France and in the UK.

In 2013 we moved to Normandy and at that time I took the worst decision ever with regards to my business. I decided to close my independent website/shop and to concentrate on selling on Etsy.

Etsy is a tough platform to be on, the competition is fierce and even if you begin in one shop you can easily find yourself in another shop without noticing it. The indie dyed yarn business has exploded over the last few years and every day new dyers open shop. I think we have arrived at a crossroads where the offer way surpasses the demand. Today if you are not a podcast star as well as an indie dyer or a friend of a podcast star, it is very hard to get the word out there and sell your yarns. This is just my humble opinion and I may be totally wrong and maybe I’m just saying this out of deception. Who knows.

Anyway, I at least have come to a crossroad and I need to decide which way to go. I absolutely love my little shop, I love sourcing quality yarns, I love dyeing small batches and I love seeing pictures of what my clients then make with my yarn. But the hard fact is that I’m not selling enough for this to be a sustainable business. Unfortunately I don’t have the time needed to revamp and re-vitalise the shop. I work full time and I have three children. I also don’t have the finances to fund a big purchase of base yarn to be able to offer sweater quantities of different colors etc.  And let’s face it, maybe I just don’t have the talent!

So I have decided, with a heavy heart, that I need to close this chapter of my life. I need to just concentrate on my own knitting and this blog which I so enjoy writing. However to limit the financial loss and to make some space at the house, I need to sell as much as I possibly can of my current stock. And so I’m having a Going out of business sale! As of now and until November 1st I’m offering -30% off everything in the shop and I hope you will take the time to take a peek and maybe buy a skein or two. My base yarns are high quality and used by  a number of well known indie dyers in Europe and I have dyed them up in small batches with lots of love and care. I will include free stitch markers with every order, the more yarn you buy, the more markers you will receive:)

I know that this goes against my announced plan of Stash Appreciation that will start on November 1st but hey, if you are joining me in that, you do still have till November 1st to buy yarns no questions asked! And you would be supporting a very small home business at the same time:)

So, I’m sorry if this comes across as if I’m pleading for help. I did want to share the story of my yarn shop adventure with you and I did want to tell you about the discount just in case you were interested. Please feel free to share the info with all of your knitting buddies. There is no code needed, the prices are already discounted in the shop. I of course do worldwide shipping at reasonable prices. You can check out my sale by clicking here 

That’s all for today. Have a  wonderful weekend and enjoy your crafting:)

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Holiday knitting – that is the BIG question!!

Hi there, I hope you are enjoying your summer so far. Personally I wish the weather here in Normandy was better and that I had more vacation!!!! However there is light at the end of the tunnel and in just a few days I’ll finally have my summer vacation!!! Can’t wait!!

So now my big dilemma is what should I knit during the vacation??????? I have to have 2 projects. Not too voluminous as I will travel some but not too small either as the fear of finding myself out of knitting would just be overwhelming. So I’m thinking maybe a shawl and a pair of socks. What do you think? Do you bring knitting/crochet on your vacation? How do you choose your projects? Would you like to share your choice/s for this summer?

Now for the shawls I might have 3 choices. I say “might” because I actually bought some yarn online – 2 were kits that included a downloadable pattern + yarn. The third I had already bought the pattern and then later bought the right yarn and that one has arrived.

So what could definitely be a contender is the Bagatelle Shawl by Rachel Brown of Porpoise Fur. This cowl was designed as part of the Boardwalk collection from Kettle Yarn Co. I actually saw the cowl “in person” at the I Knit Fandango in London last May. My stand was opposite Linda’s of Kettle Yarn Co and my friend and I immediately fell in love with the pattern so as soon as it was released I went online and purchased it! And just last week I finally got around to ordering the same exact yarn and same exact color as the sample was made with! Now I’m sure you’re curious so here goes:

www.knittinginfrance.com You should definitely check out the pattern on Ravelry (I included a link up there). It really is gorgeous and Kettle Yarn Co’s yarn is simply gorgeous!! So I’m really looking forward to getting started on that. And I would also encourage you to check out the entire Boardwalk Collection that Kettle Yarn Co just released. It includes 6 gorgeous patterns all knit with her beautiful yarns, all designed by women, photographed by a woman, modelled by women etc! So a wonderful enterprise and 6 wonderful patterns. Just click on the name a few lines up and it will take you to the collection:)

Now on to my second contender and this one I have the pattern which I downloaded from Craftsy which is also where I bought the kit. The pattern is called Drachenfels and is by Mairlynd and here is a link for more info on that. I chose the colorway shown on the picture below and that is called Fire. The yarn is Brown Sheep Company. So I’m really looking forward to actually receiving the yarn and cross my fingers and hope it will get here in time!!!

www.knittinginfrance.com

And the last contender is also a kit I bought from Craftsy and same thing here, I have the pattern but not the yarn! This one is called The Mara Shawl Light kit.www.knittinginfrance.com The pattern is by Amy Hendrix and the yarn I chose is Madelinetosh Merino Light in Cosmic Wonder Dust ( love the name) and that is actually the colorway you see in the picture above.

So all gorgeous patterns with beautiful yarns!!!!

Now for the socks! Should I take some yarn and try to design a new pair? Should I pick one of the billion sock patterns I have in my Ravelry Library? Or should I just choose something completely soothing and just let the yarn do the job – here I’m thinking of doing a 2 in 1 socks using one of my Lorna’s Laces hand dyed sock yarns I recently indulged in. ??? Lots of questions here and I’m going to have to decide as I always cast on and do a few rows BEFORE leaving on vacation! A habit of mine, don’t know why but I just need to do this! Maybe to be 100% sure that I’ve chosen THE right project for my holiday knitting!

And on the question of sock knitting, as I’m working on my current pair of 2 in 1 socks which I think I just might call “Siamese socks” as of now, I’m thinking that this could actually be THE most soothing knitting I ever do. I just love the rythm to this and even though I’m basically “just” producing vanilla socks, the fact that I knit them simultaneously and that one is inside the other, one is entirely purled and the other knit, there is just something about that which keeps the interest going and at the same time gives you this soothing, relaxing feeling. So I’m actually rather leaning towards that. I’d love to be able to make up a new pattern using that technique, same basis but just do something with the stitch pattern for example. So I just might but I’m not sure. After all vacations are made for relaxing so I might end up just doing a regular 2 in 1. Here’s  a picture of my current pair of Siamese socks. I’m knitting them in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd sock in Rainbow

www.knittinginfrance.com

I think this is about it for tonight. I’d love to hear your take on holiday knitting so do join in the discussion and share your thoughts on the matter:) Also don’t forget that I’m doing a huge RENEWAL sale in my Etsy shop as I’m hoping to carry out a number of significant changes this autumn.

www.knittinginfrance.etsy.com

That’s all so until next time, take care and enjoy your crafting time:)