Hi there, here I am again! Youpi! I´m on schedule! And so excited to be back into blogging. In fact, I´m so happy to be blogging again that I´m in the process of launching a second blog which will be dedicated to my cattery and my adventures as a new breeder. When it is ready I will of course share that with you so if any of you are also interested in cats you can follow there as well.
Knitting for others is a big issue and knitters can discuss this at length. Most of us, if not all, have an opinion about this. I think that maybe new knitters are more open to knitting for others.
After being a knitter for a few decades I have a sort of unwritten/unofficial rule. I do not knit on commission that is I do not knit to sell my finished items. I did sell years ago but not to individuals but to shops who would purchase my items and then resell. That was interesting and I sold both crochet baby softies in a baby shop and traditional Icelandic handknits using Icelandic Lopi in a number of souvenir shops in Iceland.
I have never sold here in France because I have come to realize that the general public is usually not willing to pay a correct price for a handknit item. Most do not realize the price of the wool nor the time required to make the item. So best not to go down that road.
So I knit for myself and those I find knit worthy – family members, friends or others I encounter in life and want feel would appreciate my handknits.
Most of my family loves my handknits and so I get to gift socks, shawls, hats and mitts on a regular basis.
This December I was surprised when one of my elderly neighbors asked if I would be willing to sell her a few pairs of handknit socks she wanted to gift for Christmas. As this is a very dear person I of course accepted. I gifted her a few pairs for herself and then she chose 3 pairs to purchase. Seeing how appreciated my work is always warms my heart. A little later her husband asked if I would be willing to knit him a pair of socks and I of course said yes again.
He had a special request. I wanted knee high socks to wear in boots when gardening. I rarely knit knee high socks. I looked on line and in my sock books. I started two times. The first time I started from the cuff and as I was maybe 10 cm in he tried it on and it was too large so I ripped back and started again and chose a different pattern.
I was just making it up as I went and wanted to knit a colorwork to get a double layer sock for extra warmth. But this time I wasn´t happy with the motif/pattern I chose. It was a checkerboard pattern in black and white. So again I stopped and ripped back.
But it was getting cold and so I had to make some progress. I ended up stash diving and doing something totally different. I chose an old Opal skein in dark green and some left over beige yarn of unknown origin and started on a toe up sock. I also chose to knit them two at a time using magic loop to be sure they were identical in length and to avoid second sock syndrome!
I had hoped to finish before Christmas but that did not work out. I have now finished his socks and hope to give them to him this week.
I´m quite happy with the result. They did take forever to knit and they look huge! I know the foot fits because he tried them on when I was a few cm past the heel. He has thin calves so I´m hoping they will go up to the knees without an issue! A little nerve wrecking I admit. I will let you know when he has tried them on.
I also wanted to knit something for his wife, now that I know she enjoys handknits. And there is my other neighbor who is going through cancer treatment. I had gifted her a shawl when she went through her first treatment a couple of years ago and I know she uses that a lot. And so I thought it was time for a second shawl for her.
I had purchased the Knitwent ebook from Helen of Curious Handmade and there I found the perfect shawl.
Hi there, it has been almost 1 year since I last posted! I´m sure you all thought I had given up and you would not be far from the truth. Some of you may know that I lost my grandmother in October 2018 and was profoundly affected by her loss. I did try to continue writing in 2019 but did not really succeed and then there was 2020! Phew I´m soooo glad that year is over!
2020 was a very difficult year for me as I´m sure it was for many of you too. The worst part for me was loosing my job after 16 years of working for “my” airline. Loosing my job after all those years, a job I loved and a company I saw myself working for until my retirement, was a shock. And my age is not helping. Starting over at 49 is far from ideal.
I admit that I am still in shock and anger mode regarding the loss of my job. Being unemployed is very difficult emotionally as well as financially. With Covid jobs are few and hard to get so I chose to go back to school and try to go back to doing freelance work as an independent translator – a job I have done previously. It is not easy to go back to school at my age and I admit there are days it is not fun but I´m hanging in there. I will finish my course end of May this year and then it will be time to face the world and try to stand on my own two feet. I´m excited and scared at the same time. If by some miracle I could get my old job back I would jump at the chance. If that is not an option, I will do my best to make a living for me and my family as a translator.
The loss of my job forced me to do some introspection and I decided that in all this adversity I deserved some encouragement. I decided to make an old dream come true and become a feline (Cat) breeder.
I did a course and passed the certification test and I purchased/adopted 3 queens – from 3 different cat breeds. I was unable to commit to just one breed. So let me introduce you to my 3 little girls.
First there is Romy a Cornish Rex cat. She is super cute and cuddly. Cornish Rex cats are active cats but they also love cuddles and are close to their human friends.
Don´t you just LOVE her crimped fur!!!
Then there is Rosée a Main Coon girl. Main Coons were my first pedigree cat love. They are majestic looking and so very sweet in character. They love their humans and seek their company all the time. Not lap cats, they don´t like to be petted constantly but they love to be close by, in the same room as you all the time.
And then there is Rubis my Ragdoll cat. I have wanted to have a Ragdoll for many years and finally now I have one. Ragdolls are similar to Main Coons in their size and character. They are very close to their humans, amazing purr machines, super cute and cuddly.
As you can see she is one of my favorite knitting buddies:) Love to have her cuddled up to my legs as I knit.
So yes cat breeding! A new adventure for which I´m very excited. I have lots to learn but I´m looking forward to the challenges as well as the rewards.
This is a knitting blog but many knitters like and own cats so I hope you don´t mind.
This is not a typical post but a sort of summary of what I have been doing for the past year.
As for knitting, I have never stopped. I´m so happy to be a knitter because without knitting I´m not sure how I would have coped over the past 2 years. I´m knitting every day, I still have a million wips on the go all the time. As an example my current wips are: 6 pairs of socks, 1 shawl, 2 cardigans, 1 baby cardigan and a crochet blanket! So lots to choose from when I sit down to knit after studying.
Hi there, how are you and how have you been? Seems I took an unofficial, un planned hiatus over the summer. Somehow time just wasn’t there or I wasn’t in the mood for blogging or something. In fact I have been largely off social media over the summer as well. Just did not feel much like sharing even though I didn’t stop knitting as one might have thought given my absence.
I did take two small holidays over the summer with my family which was very nice and much needed. I have some pictures I plan on sharing with you later to show you the beautiful places I went.
I didn’t stop knitting, in fact I think this summer is one of my most productive summers as I finished a total of 4 short sleeved tops/sweaters. Currently I am working on short sleeved top number 5 as well as a cowl, socks and a shawl and getting ready to cast on for a wrap and a pair of socks. So lot’s of knitting going on still.
Now I have finished my summer vacation and the kids are back in school and so life is getting back into it’s usual pace and I’m thinking I will get back to blogging regularly as before.
So I’m sure you are looking forward to seeing my new handknit sweaters right?
So this is the Magnolia sweater by Camilla Vad. This pattern exists in two versions, long and short sleeves. I absolutely love the pattern and the finished garment and am already planning on knitting the long sleeved version.
What makes this one particularly special is that I knit this using my own hand spun and hand dyed yarn! I had planned on having it in one colour only but I ran out of yarn and then was not able to replicate exactly this same yellow/mustardy colour so I overdyed with brown and I’m happy with how that turned out.
This is a little cropped pattern and if I had had more yarn I definitely would have knit the body longer. I could have added length to the ribbing but somehow felt that would change the intended look and so chose to leave as it was. The fibre I used was a superwash merino fibre.
Next in line was the Soldotna by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks. Everyone has been knitting this one and so I had to as well.
I did wonder about changing the pattern and knitting either 3/4 length sleeves or even full length sleeves but then ended up just knitting as per the pattern.
I used my own hand dyed yarns though not hand spun this time. I had spun up some yarn and dyed just for this sweater but it turned out to be too thick and I wasn’t ready to recalculate the entire pattern for this to work out so I got out some remnants of undyed yarns and dyed them up. Only the grey is a commercial yarn from Milla Mia.
I have yet to take a modeled picture showing the sweater on myself sorry:)
I’m quite happy with the outcome. I usually prefer fingering weight sweaters as I feel DK is sometimes too warm but I hope I will use this one a lot come winter. I did lengthen the body somewhat as I had seen lots of comments about the pattern being very cropped and a lot of people seem to have added repeats to the body so I did too and frankly I could have added a couple more but again yarn chicken was there to stop me…
Next in line was the Navelli again by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks.
This one is a pattern I immediately fell in love with and knew I had to knit. I even placed an order with one of my favorite indie dyers – Knit Cosmic Strings in Edinburgh, Scotland- just for this sweater.
Again I wondered about adding length to the sleeves only to end up adding just a tiny bit. I did however modify the sleeve construction in the sense that rather than knit first with the main colour and then change to a contrasting colour and turn that inside so only a few rounds of the contrasting colour show and the sleeve is basically knit double, I chose to do a classic ribbed cuff. And I’m really happy with that choice. And this is another pattern I can see myself knitting all over again but if I do, I will definitely be doing it with long sleeves or at least 3/4 sleeves for a winter version.
This is a design I really love and especially enjoyed knitting the pattern at the bottom. I can see myself knitting this again but then with longer sleeves; either 3/4 or full length sleeves.
But before I went on vacation this July I did finish another summer garment, a sleeveless top called Simply Perfect Summer . This was a quick and fun pattern to knit and I used a yarn called Belle from Drops. This is a DK weight cotton yarn I quite liked. It was the first time I used this yarn and I think I will use this again for knitting summery garments in the future.
I don’t think I actually shared finished object pictures with you so here goes.
I used a dark navy colour but on the pictures it looks more black.
But I have yet another finished garment to share with you. This is a test knit I did for a new to me designer called Wollmuschi. She designed a short sleeved summer top that I absolutely fell in love with when I saw her pictures. I was lucky enough to get to test knit and I chose to knit my version using my own hand dyed yarn. I used a blend of alpaca, silk and linen. This blend is perfect for summery garments and just any knit you want some flow and movement, a feeling of airiness. I dyed my yarn in black but the end result is more on the charcoal grey side. Still love it.
The pattern is called Nereus and has been published. I can highly recommend this pattern. It was fun to knit. I find the lace panel to be very feminine and the overall look and design to be so relaxed and just a go with everything type of garment. I am definitely knitting this one again. I can see this as one with longer sleeves or even a cardigan!
What do you think? I love mine!
So this is it for today I think. I hope I haven’t lost all my readers after my unofficial and unexplained summer hiatus. I’m happy to be back and I hope you have enjoyed coming back to my blog and that maybe you were inspired to tackle one of the patterns I worked over the summer.
This coming week I will be working on the following projects:
Ziggy by Joji
Ashes by Joji
Yuma by Isabelle Kramer
Socks I’m trying to design myself
Ship and boats by Caitlin Hunter
Lots of knitting to look forward to. I wish you all a great rest of the week and happy knitting. Till next time!
Hi there, I’m back from summer vacation and getting ready to post a real blog post with lots of knitting updates but I have been carrying around this little idea and I just have to get it out there before it is too late.
This time of year, a lot of indie dyers are announcing the popular Christmas yarn calendars. I have not yet been lucky enough to purchase such a treat which unfortunately is a bit out of my financial reach.
So I was thinking that probably I am not the only one in this case and that maybe you would like to do a Christmas calendar swap with me.
So the idea I have now is that those interested make themselves known by commenting below and give me their Ravelry id. I will then open a thread on Ravelry with the rest of the information and later we will each be able to post pictures there of our gifts.
So I’m thinking we would agree on either 24 or 25 gifts. Thinking maybe 24 mini skeins and 1 full skein for the 25th of December. Also we could include a little extra like a stitch marker, chocolate, tea etc as an added treat on certain days.
I could prepare a questionnaire that I could post in the Ravelry thread and then each participant copy pastes it into a reply and enters their personal preferences. Most easy I think would be to stay with only fingering weight minis. We could enter our color choices and if we do absolutely NOT want a particular color or no variegated or no speckles etc.
What do you think? I would then pair us up so that each participant sends out 1 calendar and receives one in return. I think we should aim to send them out mid October to be sure they arrive before December 1st. This would be an international swap so you do have to be willing to pay for shipping. Also very important not to sign up if you are hesitant or decide not to join at the last minute when your mate has sent out your calendar to you.
I think this could be lots of fun. The times I have organised a birthday swap it has always been a success and lots of fun. I personally always drool over the pictures of beautiful Christmas calendars and wish I could purchase one myself one day but currently the prices are just out of my reach. I’m sure you, like I, have a nice stash of beautiful left over yarns or minis that someone would love to have or try out.
If you are limited financially just let me know that you would prefer to be partnered with someone from your own country to limit the postage and I would do my best to comply.
I’m getting all excited just writing about this. Do let me know what you think and I can then set up the swap thread on Ravelry.
If for some reason only one person is interested I would still like to do the swap even if only on a one on one scale:)
All the best and I’ll be back soon with lots of knitting news
Hi there, how are you ? All melted away with the recent heatwave maybe? I hope not!
We had a few days of seriously hot weather here in Normandy which is not my favorite as I really don’t enjoy much heat. Also knitting in 30C+ is not the best, think clammy hands and sweat! Not a nice picture;
Luckily the weather has cooled down some and so I’m feeling better and knitting like crazy.
But before I can show you what I’m currently knitting on I have to show you my latest secret test knit.
This was a pattern by Renée Callahan of East London Knits. This was a top down sweater with what looks like an all over colorwork but is in fact a slipped stitch pattern and so very easy to do and no tension issues as there sometimes are with fair isle/stranded knitting.
The pattern calls for a slightly cropped sweater with 3/4 sleeves but you can easily knit to your liking and have a full length sweater and either full length or even short sleeves.
I so loved this particular pattern that I actually knit two sweaters! And I finished both before the deadline for the test knit. Though I admit I still have not weaved in the ends of the second version just yet. But it is all ready for me to finish for good.
So I chose to use a wonderful UK yarn which I have used before as I took part in other test knits for other designers. I chose yarn from Cambrian Wool in the UK. I chose their 4 ply yarn and chose too very contrasting colors, Arian and Welsh red – that is a very pale grey and a rust red.
The prototype uses a main color and a gradient set as contrast colors but I felt like just using solid colors and limiting them to just two.
The stitch pattern is very addictive and I feel the sweater was easy to knit and the pattern well written.
The only issue or point where you have to be careful is where you split for the sleeves. As there are short rows on the neck, if you miscalculate your sweater will look wonky.
I admit that I made a mistake on my primary sweater and so once I had finished it, I ripped back the neck ribbing and short rows and reknit them.
I chose to knit 3/4 sleeves on this version and I quite like that.
Here are more pictures of me wearing the sweater
Then there was the second version. For that one I wanted to see how the garment would look if I only did the slipped stitch pattern on the yoke. I also chose a different combination of yarns. I chose Holst Garn Tides which is a wool and silk blend and I knit this held double with a thread of a lace weight sequinned mohair. I then used Nateby yarn from Eden Cottage yarn for the colorwork as contrast color.
This version turned out very different from the other. Because of the completely different yarns, this version turned out looser, less form fitting on the body. Also the sleeves are wider though I secretly suspect I may have made some mistake there and maybe knit on too many stitches. But it’s ok, it is still wearable.
I also chose to do 3/4 sleeves as this version is also quite warm so full length sleeves might be too much.
So I yet have to finish weaving in the ends and have pictures taken of me wearing the sweater. I will do later this summer.
If you feel like knitting a garment and you like the colorwork look then this just might be the project for you 🙂
That’s all for today. I hope you are doing good and enjoying your summer so far. I will be back later to show you my latest socks, Olive Leaf cardigan and summer tee not to mention my next cast on which will be the Navelli by Kaitlyn Hunter.
Hi there, how are you doing this week? I hope you are doing good and enjoying this beginning of summer if you are in the northern hemisphere.
I have been furiously knitting on a secret test knit that should be published soon. It is a colorwork sweater and I decided to knit two in stead of just one! I was convinced that a modified version would also look great and so I knit two versions. I do have to weave in ends on the second sweater and block it but that should be done quickly and hope to be able to share the pictures with you soon.
As I had to finish the sweaters rather quickly everything else was put on the back burner.
I did make it to round 5 of Sock Madness but then sort of left. Round 6 only 5 knitters from each team would make it to the next round and the pattern was not to my liking so I admit I did not try to compete for that round.
Since then I started and finished a pair of socks for my younger daughter. I’m a fan of selfstriping sock yarn and especially self striping yarn from Turtle Purl Yarns and I had a lot of small minis from them which I had set aside to use in my Northeasterly blanket. But that has been on hold for a few months now and I really wanted to use the minis so I decided on knitting a pair of scrappy socks.
I also wanted them to be extra cozy so I decided to make the leg extra high.
How fun are these? Not everyone likes colourful non matching socks but I find them fun and my daughter loves them! So that is all that matters.
I actually think I will be making more like these. My daughter sleeps in handknit socks in winter and I think scrappy, long legged socks look extra cozy.
I am also working on a pair of socks now and I’m just inventing the pattern as I go. I’m using a self-patterning sock yarn from Turkey this time but what is different with this pair is that I’m using flexible double pointed needles from NEKO, a German brand. I’m using their bamboo version and so far so good. They are very nice in the hands and good to work with. I’m going to finish the pair before doing a proper review here and I will also be doing a little interview with the people behind these needles and I hope you will enjoy that later.
But here is the first sock
I was going to do a vanilla sock, then decided on a ribbing and then felt it was too simple and so added a little cable at regular intervals and I really like how this is knitting up. The cables do draw the sock in so it looks super narrow but then it stretches out when I put my hand in so I think this will be all good. These are also for my younger daughter but this time the leg is a rather short one.
I’m sort of un officially joining the SMAL or spinning makealong that Mina of the Knitting Expat is running now. I have spun up some merino fibre that I tried to spin up to a sort of DK weight and then dyed up the yarn in soft colours. I have knit a little swatch to verify if the yarn will work for what I have in mind.
I want to knit the Soldotna by Caitlin Hunter but I’m a little worried maybe my yarn will not work. In some places it looks more like a worsted weight yarn. But I’m going to keep on swatching and hopefully I will be able to make this work. If not I will have to find another pattern that I could use this yarn for. If you have any good pointers or know of a colourwork pattern that calls for DK/worsted I’d love to check those out.
So this week I’m going to finish the pair of socks for my daughter, finish my swatching for my handspun so I can start the Soldotna if it works. I also will continue to work on my Olive Leaf Cardigan by Eri which I have yet to share with you. I’m getting close to being done with the body and then there are the sleeves. Friends of my husband have just had their first baby and I’m going to knit a little cardigan for their baby so I’m looking at patterns (I’m tempted by this one https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/baby-fir-jacket) and yarns in my stash and I look forward to getting that going. It’s been a while since I knit for a baby.
I hope you are having fun with your knitting too and if you would like to share pictures or names of patterns you are working on to inspire me and the other readers, that would be great.
Hi there, how are you doing today? I hope you are well and have had a good end of May with plenty of fun knitting. Again I have failed to post regularly….not good…
But today I have something exciting to share with you. A while back I hinted at sharing information with regarding a new type of knitting needles. Well now it’s time to tell you all about those.
I was contacted by the woman behind the needles, Alexis end of last year. She offered to send me a pair to try out and of course I was excited to try them out. After all I have always been curious about knitting needles and all the different types of needles there are. This brand of knitting needles and crochet hooks is called My Two Ladies.
This new type of needles is midway between a straight needle and a circular needle. The difference between My Two Ladies’ needles and needles called “flexible single point needles” is that there is a movable stopper on Alexi’s needles meaning you can block your stitches at any point you choose on the cable. This allows you to use her needles for a large variety of project sizes.
This is a great innovation for knitters who like to knit flat using single pointed needles. These will come in especially handy when knitting on the go like in public transport where you will be able to avoid stabbing your fellow travellers with your single pointed needles sticking out.
These needles come in sizes 3.5 mm /US 4 to 15 mm/US19.
I don’t usually knit flat when knitting garments so I don’t use my single points much these days. However I did try these out as I knit my Jaycee cardigan. I knit that one on a set of 3.5mm needles. That was a design knit front and back in one piece. The needle points are from rosewood so they have a beautiful design and are very nice in the hand and felt good working with them. I did use the adjustable stopper as at the beginning I did not have a lot of stitches on my needles and then moved the stopper along as they increased.
I found the needles to be enjoyable to knit with and if you prefer knitting with single points or like the idea of being able to use a set of needles no matter the size of your project (and don’t like using a 40″ circular for a small project) you just might fall in love.
The tools we use in our craft are very important and even more important than our choice of yarn as even knitting with gorgeous yarn, if the needle is rubbish, you will not enjoy working your beautiful yarn. So I truly believe it is well worth trying out different options and getting good, quality tools that we enjoy working with. And as part of that belief I recommend you give My Two Ladies a try 🙂
Here are a couple of links to videos where you can see better how the needles work
I was able to interview Alexis for the blog and I am so happy to introduce her and her company to you today.
Welcome Alexis and thank you for accepting to be interviewed for my blog. To begin, could you tell us a little bit about your self?
I am a native New Yorker living in the outskirts of NYC with my family. I have always been both crafty and fixing things. I worked in a legal office for many years as an administrative assistant which definitely was not creative in nature. I would work part time also in retail simply because I loved selling and meeting people. That was my hobby. I have always been proponent of volunteerism and have and continue to be very involved in the anti-bullying movement. I retired at 55, accidentally became a patented inventor, went to local university to take crash courses in entrepreneurship and business, somehow landed myself the title of President of Alexis Crafting Needles LLC and loving every minute of it. I still pinch myself.
Are you a knitter or a crocheter or both?
I am a knitter and also crocheter. Actually not a master in either. I consider myself mediocre at best. I am amazed at the talent and perplexity of projects created. I am so in awe of these fibre artists.
Do you remember how you learned/who thought you and how old you were?
I learned to crochet and knit when I was about 13 from my Italian grandmother. The interesting circumstance about learning from Nonna was that she only spoke Italian and I only spoke English. Yet these were my most cherished communications between us.
Did you immediately take to the craft or has this passion been gradual?
I have always enjoyed arts of every type even before starting school. Painting, drawing, woodworking, etc. I started sewing in high school and actually took to it quickly. My parents bought me a basic sewing machine and I started making halter tops for friends and classmates to make some money. I crocheted much more than knitting in my younger days. Dropping stitches intimidated me. I started knitting again when I was 30 and wanted to make garments for my soon to be born child. Having a purpose propelled my knitting skills. Since then I mostly knit. I retired at age 55 got very involved in a new local yarn shop that opened in my town. I spent a lot of time there, learning, creating and fostering wonderful relationships.
Would you say you are a lifestyle knitter/crocheter today? Meaning do you knit/crochet every day?
I did knit everyday once I retired, but actually since inventing my needles, going through the patent process and running my new business, I no longer knit every day. Mostly when traveling and waiting in doctors offices.
What lead you to creating your own company and developing these new knitting needles? When did this all start and what lead to it? Why create a new type of knitting needles?
I created these needles while knitting a large bulky blanket at the yarn shop. I was very frustrated with circulars for this project and straights were just too short for the hundreds of stitches. As I was complaining about my problem, somehow an idea just popped into my head. I grabbed some needles and tools from the shop and right then and there made my working prototype. The ladies at the shop just kept saying “how is it no one ever thought of this”.
When did you first commercialise your new needles ? What has the feedback been like so far?
Soon after creating my needles I started getting requests to make them for knitters in the shop. Then I started getting requests from friends of friends. I had a little business I never planned on having. I was a big fan of The Shark Tank television show and thought why not inquire about obtaining a patent. Definitely easier said than done. It is basically two years since I began the patent process and learning how to proceed with my new found journey. Coincidentally I received Patent Approval only two weeks ago (it has now been a little longer due to me not posting the interview sooner-edit from Knitting in France). It’s an amazing feeling of accomplishment and worth the 24/7 work week.
Would you say your needles have an advantage over say regular straight needles and why?
Yes there are many advantages to these “adjustable needles”. I consider these needles to be somewhat of a hybrid of circular and straights. I have discovered a definite need in the marketplace. The basic premise is that you can put hundred of stitches on these needles and knit flat, allowing you to see your pattern, take the weight off of your arms and upper body, and no more heavy bunch of your project hanging in the middle of your circular cord. But the real game changing feature of the needles is the adjustable spring activated sliding stopper that allows you to move the stopper as you are knitting and keep all your stitches at the forefront of your needles. You knit so much quicker, easier and stress free. They have been a lifesaver for those afflicted with arthritis and other hand ailments. We have a very large repeat customer client base and it is the greatest feeling when you have customers telephoning or emailing to say thank you for inventing them and how it has brought knitting back into their lives.
Other than on your own website, where can we find your needles?
I have been selling on the prestigious inventors platform The Grommet since I got my first shipment of needles. It’s been a great stepping stone for me. Then I started picking up local yarn stores and a small distributor which kept me selling enough but not too much to get overwhelmed. I was chosen to attend the Home Shopping Network – American Dream Academy conference which was a great opportunity for any new inventor/entrepreneur. Only 100 products were chosen from the entire United States. This led me to have the chance to debut My Two Ladies on the Zulily home shopping site often. I have recently hired sales reps to sell to local yarn shops in their territories. This has been extremely helpful in getting the brand out across the country. I have a few shops in Canada and plan searching for distributors in Europe.
Where are your needles produced?
My needles are handcrafted by a multi-generational family of expert woodworking artisans in a small town in India. My Two Ladies is made of sustainably produced Indian rosewood with a no wax finish. It is hand rubbed and polished with a proprietary finish that the family owns. We have grown to have a wonderful working relationship based on high quality standards and respect for each other.
I noticed that you now also sell crochet hooks and circular needles now. Are there other items you will be adding to your selection?
Yes, we started expanding our line for several reasons. Most importantly, there was a demand for luxury high quality tools. Customers like the feel and warmth of our adjustable needles. Also, selling just one item is not alluring to potential wholesalers simply because of saving time. So I had my wonderful source in India make me short runs of ergonomic hooks, circulars and others products continue to roll out. Fortunately I am now on my second run after almost selling out on the hooks and also circulars.
And what about the yarn bowls, can you tell us about those? Are they hand made?
The yarn bowls are an amazing piece of artistry. Hand made taking hours and hours to make just one bowl. I put videos up showing the workmanship on my website and Instagram/Facebook accounts which you just cannot stop yourself from watching over and over.
Where do you see your company in say 5 years time?
Well, I came upon this wonderful journey when many are wrapping up their careers. So, I am not wasting any time. I am exactly where I forecasted to be when I created my business plan. It’s been a huge learning curve for me, but with a good product, hard work and kind/helpful/supportive people, I have been able to have success. Within the next two years I will be concentrating on brand recognition. Since receiving my patent not only for the needles but also the knitting method, I have definitely seen a rise in inquiry’s and sales. In five years the plan is to be a recognised luxury brand for fibre arts tools, if not THE leading luxury brand.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about this recent addition to our world of knitting needles and learning about Alexis and her journey into product invention and entrepreneurship in the knitting industry.
I hope you will have a wonderful week and enjoy your crafting as before and why not try out a totally new to you knitting needle while you are at it:)
Hi there, how are you? Once again I have let life get in the way of my blogging! I don’t know why I find blogging on a regular basis is a challenge these days. I need to work on that some.
So since I last posted I have been working mostly on socks. I made it to round 4 of Sock Madness as I believe I told you last time. And I have now finished that round and qualified for round 5. Things are getting really serious now as only 10 of the quickest knitters in each team qualified for this upcoming round and if I want to make it to round 6 I have to be among the quickest 5 to finish! As we are getting closer to the end of the competition, only the quickest knitters are left so I have some serious doubts about making it on to round 6. I’m hoping the pattern will arrive on a weekday; early morning or beginning of the afternoon. I get most of my knitting done during the work week as we stay home at night and so where as on weekends I loose time doing chores and grocery shopping, homework supervision etc and so often end up having less time than I would like to knit on weekends.
Of the 5 knitters that will make it to round 6 only 1 yes that’s right ONE will qualify for round 7. For some stroke of miracle I was one of those knitters 4 years ago but I don’t think I am this year. I think I will be fine if I’m disqualified this round even though the competitor in me really wants to make it to round 6.
Now the pattern for this last round was a fun one including cables and lace knitting and it was a fairly easy one after a while. I did have some comprehension issues to begin with but there is a questions thread on Ravelry with moderators, the designer herself and of course other knitters so each time I was able to find answers rather quickly. And once in the rhythm of things the pattern became intuitive.
This time around I made them in my younger daughter’s size but she is a 36/37 EU. And I used a new to me commercial sock yarn from HOBBII.
I really like the toe not being all stockinette but having a little sort of ribbing to it. The lace pattern moves around the leg so it is not easy to work using stitch markers and I think, virtually impossible to knit taat.
Now on to the yarn. This is a wool and nylon blend, 75/25 in fingering weight and comes in 50 gr balls. I used one ball per sock as I did not want to join yarns part way through sock 2. But when I had finished my pair, I had a total of 33 gr left over which is quite a lot.
The yarn itself is soft to the touch and nice to knit with and I look forward to seeing how it will evolve with use. So far so good. And the best part is the price point. This yarn is very cheap! I purchased this directly from their website where they offer all sorts of yarns https://hobbii.com/
This is their Happy Feet yarn which I used for the first time. I have knit a pair using their Happy Feet XL before and they are nice though they have felted slightly with wear.
I’m not sure what yarn I will use for next round. It might be a one colour pattern but it might also be colourwork using two colours so I’ll just have to see when the pattern arrives. I have a bag of possible options all ready for cast on.
I also had a sock test knit for a publication but for the first time I really did not enjoy the pattern and so asked to quit the test as I was just not feeling it and having the hardest time to pick it up. Once I told them I was not going to finish; I immediately ripped back the almost finished sock one! That felt good though I am somewhat perplexed about this situation.
Another sock pattern I test knit has now been published on Ravelry and that was a fun pattern I enjoyed. I only had to knit one sock to finish the test so I still have to knit the second sock and will do so once I have finished Sock Madness.
That sock pattern is by Jo of KBG Designs and is called the Hidden Diamonds socks. The stitch pattern is easily memorised and fun to knit. This time I knit size small as these will be a gift. I chose to knit using my own hand dyed sock yarn in a fun orange colour. I think this pattern works best with a somewhat solid colour to really show off the stitch pattern. My yarn was not solid but not too crazy either and so I feel the pattern worked well here.
As for other knitting, I’m coming close to finishing my second Modernist by Renee of East London Knits.
This one is for a friend of my older daughter and she wants the exact same as the one I test knit and my daughter kept. So I’m knitting the same size using the same exact yarn, colour and all!
As I was looking for pictures to share I realise that I actually did not blog about this project before! So here goes.
I test knit this oversized cardigan for Renee a while ago. It is a fingering weight design and the shape is a little unusual at least for me as it is a cropped and oversized cardigan.
The construction is also unusual making the knitting all the more fun. I chose to use Holst Garn Supersoft in Marine blue, dark blue and I really like the outcome. There is an option for adding button holes but in both my versions I chose not to have buttons. My daughter wears her’s all the time and I’m hoping her friend will like hers as much too.
At the moment I am just 20 rounds of cuff from finishing the garment so I’m hoping that will be done tomorrow and then I have the weekend for finishing and blocking so she can have her cardigan next Monday.
And speaking of Renee Callahan of East London Knits, I have just started a new secret test knit for her. That is a top down sweater with some colourwork and I am having some issues finding the correct yarns for my version so I think I might actually end up knitting two versions. I have done part of the yoke in one combo and yesterday I started the yoke in another yarn combo. Im planning on knitting a bit to see how the pattern looks in each combo and then decide what I do. The deadline is short so I might finish just one in time for that and then knit the second one later. Who knows.
Well that’s it for today folks. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to follow my knitting as always. I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week ahead of you with plenty of knitting and good, summery weather on top.
Hi there, I thought it was about time I told you more about my participation in Sock Madness.
If you are not familiar with this event, it is a speed knitting/sock knitting competition which is held once a year. This year is the 13th edition. Each year a very large number of sock knitters sign up to challenge themselves and others. To begin with each round is 14 days long but towards the end the rounds get shorter. Also the number of knitters that qualify for the next round goes down until only 1 knitter is left as the biggest winner.
This is the fourth time I take part. The very first time, I had incredible luck and actually made it to the very last round, round 7 before being eliminated. Then for two years in a row I was eliminated early on due to misunderstanding the pattern and so not knitting the sock correctly. Both times I was hugely disappointed and even wowed not to join again. Of course I have been unable to resist the temptation and always join!
So some time before it really starts a warm up pattern is published just to get us going. Knitting the warm up pattern is not an obligation but encouraged.
This year the warm up pattern was called 13 Memories as this is year 13. This was a fun pattern mixing lace and scrap knitting. I really enjoyed choosing my yarns and I do love how my pair turned out. All the yarns I used were my own hand dyed yarns.
Then there was the qualifying round. This round serves to make up the teams. Knitters of similar speed and lifestyle are matched together. This way everyone has an equal chance of getting as far as possible in the competition. After this round, teams of 40 knitters each were created.
Each time we need to show that we have knit the required number of pattern repeats or rounds which is why you see the yellow yarn going through one of the socks above.
So that’s the end of the qualifying round. Beginning of round 1 we are a team of 40 knitters but only the 36 quickest knitters qualify for the next round.
This year the pattern for round 1 was a lace pattern with a particularity. The stitch pattern was not the same on both socks. There was one pattern for sock A and another for sock B. Now this had me a little unhappy as I felt they would not look good as a pair. We were allowed to knit each sock using a different yarn and I decided to do that in order to end up with two pairs rather than one. So I hurriedly knit one of each and once I was done and qualified for the next round I knit the other two.
You can see the difference in stitch pattern here in the pictures above. The yellow sock is knit using Mondim yarn from Rosa Pomar in Portugal. The grey pair is my own hand dyed yarn.
And here you have my two finished pairs.
And now it was time for round 2. This time only the quickest 30 would qualify for the next round.
The pattern for round 2 was a very fun color work pattern. I chose to use my own hand dyed yarns and the contrast one was a self striping yarn which I feel made the end result even better. These may look daunting but really they were not and just so fun that they were super quick to make.
Color work socks are such fun!
Then there was round three. Again I chose to use my own hand dyed yarn. This time I chose a sock blank so the socks may look less polished. And this time only the 20 quickest would qualify for the next round.
The pattern for round 3 was a lace and cable design with a new to me beaded cast off. I was worried the beaded cast off would be difficult but in the end it was not.
So now we are getting to round 4 which starts sometime next week. This time around only the quickest 10 will qualify for the next round, round 5 so things are definitely getting serious!
So far I have been finishing my pairs in about 4 days but that might to be quick enough for this upcoming round but we’ll see. I will of course keep you posted.
There is something to be said for this competition and even if I am knitting away feverishly alone in my corner of the world, it is fun to challenge myself. Also these patterns always teach me new things. This year I have done a new cast on and a new bind off. I also knit a new to me heel. Learning new techniques is definitely a plus.
So now you know a little more about Sock Madness and if you feel like taking part next year, you can look up the group Sock Madness Forever on Ravelry for more information.
That’s all for today. Thank you for stopping by and spending some of your time with me. I wish you a great weekend and hopefully you will get some quality knitting time in there.
Hi there, how are you? Or should I say how have you been? It has been such a long time since I last posted. Probably the longest I have ever gone without posting. And if you follow me on other social media you may also have noticed that I have been mostly absent there too.
I’m sure some of you have been wondering how come. So a number of different reasons. One is work. I have been working a lot of overtime for work. So when I finish my work day I just haven’t had the energy to keep staying at the computer and write.
And the longer I go without posting, the harder it gets to get back into it. I even went as far as wondering if I should stop blogging all together if I’m unable to maintain a regular schedule. After all, if I start posting very irregularly, most of my readers will loose interest and then what is the purpose?
But I’m not ready to throw in the sponge, so here I am and I hope you are happy to be here again:)
I have done a lot of knitting since last time. I have also visited a yarn shop in Iceland I want to tell you about as well as share more with you from that visit. So I have lots of knitting and some purchases to share. But not all in one or the post will be too long. So I’m hoping I will write a follow up post soon for the rest of the things I want to share.
But first I need to show you the sweater I test knit. I had shared Some pictures of the beginning of this project but now the pattern has been released on Ravelry so no more secrets.
The pattern is called the Rosa Bonheur sweater by Christelle Nihoul. This is a DK weight raglan sweater knit in one piece from the top down.
I knit this using my own hand dyed merino DK yarn. The pattern is well written and easy to follow. The actual knitting was quite quick and I really love the design m the shape of this sweater.
I love the pattern details that outline the raglan/sleeve shaping. I feel this really adds interest to the finished garment.
As soon as I was done knitting this sweater was swept away from me by my oldest daughter so I haven’t even gotten to take final pictures of either me or her wearing it. But maybe that is the highest compliment, when the finished item is so loved that there is no time actually model and take pictures of it.
I’m also very happy with my chosen yarn and dye job. Knitting out of my own hand dyed yarn as always such a pleasure for me.
So for today this is all. If you are looking for a DK project I highly recommend this pattern and I’m sure if you do cast on, you will love the finished garment as much as I and my daughter do:)
Next time I plan on telling you about my Sock Madness knitting and progress. As a tease, let me just tell you that I qualified for round 4 which will start in a week or so. Very exciting!
Thank you for stopping by. Thank you for staying loyal and taking the time out of your busy schedule to spend a few minutes with me.
I hope you have been well these past weeks and wish you lots of happy knitting in the coming weeks.