A new week

Hi there, how are you? Been knitting a lot? I have been knitting consistently but I’m not able to show you everything because one of the projects  I have been knitting a lot on is a secret test knit.

I have been trying to finish certain things lately and so I have limited myself to a small number of projects to work on because I really want them to be done before I cast on for new projects.

So this past week I have worked on 3 things: a shawl, a cardigan and a sweater.

The shawl is the A Girl’s Best Friend by Isabelle Kraemer. I really love this pattern. I had seen a lot of knitting podcasters knit this and I really wanted to get this on the needles and I’m finding it to be such a joy to knit. I’m also super happy with the three yarns I chose, two single ply yarns one of which is my own hand dyed and then one 4 ply yarn from Madeleinetosh. I really love how the yarns knit up and how the colors go together. I’m pretty sure I will get a lot of wear out of this shawl when it’s done.

girls best friend

I’m almost done. I’m on the last section which is a sort of ribbing and I’m knitting that part in the Madelinetosh yarn. The grey is my yarn and the pink is Woolberry Fibre Co. So I have about 2 1/2″ of knitting to go on this but the rows are super long so this will take a few hours to finish.

I should finish this week and when I do, I’m going to cast on for the Baubles shawl by Andrea Mowry. I dyed some luscious yarn for this already in an alpaca/silk/linen blend so I’m excited to get that on the needles but I’m being serious so not casting on till my other shawl is done!

Then I have been working on my test knit as I said. It is a top down, seamless sweater with a lace yoke. I’m knitting it using Holst Garn Tides which is a wool and silk blend. I’m totally head over heels with Holst garn now. It is such a joy to work with and the price is just amazing! It is so much less expensive than many commercially produced yarns and they have so many colors to choose from. When I go to their website I just want to buy 10 balls of every single shade they have!

And then I have done one good/serious thing this past week. I actually picked up a wip from my pile of wips/shame! I can hardly believe it myself! And oh I’m so happy I did!

So I picked up my Veronika Cardigan by Shannon Cook. This is an oversized cardigan/wrap knit on an aran weight yarn. It is knit almost all in one piece and it is so simple! I think I’m about half way done now and I’m hoping I will be able to finish in the next two weeks. This is not really the appropriate garment for the upcoming season but I will get  a lot of use from this come autumn and next winter.

The yarn I’m using is Waltham from Kettle Yarn Co. I had bought this yarn for something else, a cardigan by another designer but I had some issues with the pattern and as I was about halfway done I ripped the whole thing out and decided to keep the yarn for something else. And I’m so happy I did because it is perfect for this Veronika cardigan.

I have other sweaters in my pile of wips that really need working on so once Veronika is done I’m hoping I will pick up another one and get that done but I have a little creeping doubt that might not happen immediately. Why? Well, because I’m about to cast on for another sweater test knit – that is as soon as I finish my second sleeve on the current one. And then I want to cast on for a second Flea cardigan- this time for my mum. And I just bought and received a kit for a sweater.

I usually do not buy indie dyed kits because they are usually out of my budget but for some reason I was unable to resist this time. The sweater is the Alyeska by Caitlin  Hunter. I already had the pattern and when I saw this kit from Olann I just went ahead and purchased it!

I have never had yarn from Olann before so this is exciting too. The kit is a mix of singles and one skein of mohair yarn. I’m really looking forward to knitting this and I’m trying to convince myself I need to wait and maybe have this as my summer vacation knit. That would be fun AND in the meantime I would work on something else from my pile of wips.

alyeska kit

This is the kit. How beautiful is this! I bought the biggest kit even if I do not need to knit the biggest size but I was just worried otherwise I might not have enough yarn or something.

So that was a big splurge!

This week I’m going to finish (hopefully) my shawl so I can cast on for the Baubles next week. I also have to finish my current sweater test knit and I’m about 40% done with sleeve two now so that will not be an issue and then I’ll go on to the new test knit. So then I will have one shawl and one sweater on the needles plus my Veronika cardigan. I think I should work on my sock club socks along with those projects so I get both pairs done by the end of the month. That would be a good idea, rather than cast on for a new garment but I know resisting will be tough.

And one more thing before I leave you today. I have not forgotten my Spring Challenge. I’m going slowly, slower than I had expected. I have created a page here on the blog for this where you can read about what I’m doing and comment and share what you are doing too.  I’m currently thinking about the type of supplies I will need to start working on the re-organization. Boxes I think for the yarn and I’m currently trying to find something for the knitting needle organization so if you have a good idea, do share. I have created a board on my Pinterest page for storage solutions so if you are interested do take a look.

I think this is all for today. Thank you for stopping  by. Have a great rest of the week and happy knitting 🙂

In a bit of a stand still

Hi there, how are you feeling today? I hope you are feeling good and having a nice start to your week. I’m feeling a bit…not really under the weather but just not in a great place for some reason.

Knitting wise I have been concentrating on a few projects. One is a sweater test knit that is top secret. I’m knitting it out of Holst Garn Tides which is a wool/silk blend. So far so good. I think I will finish the body today and then get on to the sleeves.

Then there is Sock Madness round 2! And this is a clear sign I’m not quite myself but I think I’m going to quit. Yes, that’s right! What happened?

Well, so I got the pattern just after it was released and cast on immediately. This time the pattern is a mix of brioche and stocking stitch. This combination makes for a very loose fitting/elastic fabric so as I went on it just felt too big. And I’m sorry to say I did not like the pattern/outcome much.

And then I made a mistake! In the gusset section and discovered my mistake just after finishing the heel turn. So not long after but it did mean I had to rip back to the end of my flap and continue a few rows only ripping back a heel that is partly in brioche…well that did not sound so enticing. And I just wasn’t “feeling it” for some reason.

So before going to bed that night, I ripped out THE ENTIRE SOCK! And I haven’t cast on again. This is not like me but I think I’m just not in the right frame of mind at the moment and adding stress to my life is not a good idea right now. So I decided to just stop and only knit on things I truly enjoy working on.

I do have 2 pairs of socks on the go but haven’t worked on them this past week. I have just been working on my sweater and a new shawl.

I don’t wear a lot of shawls, I have a few favorite ones that I use a lot and the others just linger in my wardrobe. But I have a feeling this one may become a new favorite. It is the Girl’s Best Friend shawl by Isabelle Kraemer. I’m sure you have seen it lots of time. A lot of knitting bloggers/podcasters have made some. For extra pleasure I’m knitting mine with mostly new yarns, two out of three that is AND they are from my stash so good for me!

I still have plenty of knitting to do and I really enjoy working on this and I’m really happy with the yarn/colors. The grey is a singles I dyed. The pink is a singles too I got from a destash on Ravelry but don’t remember the yarn brand. The brown contrast color is a Madeleine Tosh Sock yarn. So pure luxury for this shawl.

Once this one is done I’m hoping I will finish my Across the Pond shawl by the Knitting Expat before I cast on for the Baubles shawl by Andrea Mowry.

So that’s all I have for you knitting wise. I am getting ready for a new Maker of the Month feature. I also am thinking about doing a giveaway when I reach 300 subscribers to my blog which should be soon. Amazing I know ! Who would have guessed that I would be able to maintain a blog for over 2 years now and grow a following of people that actually enjoy reading my blog! I’m so grateful for all those that follow and support my blogging adventures. I’m planning something nice, a giveaway that you will hopefully enjoy.

And one other thing. In February I talked about starting a Spring Challenge this April to organize my yarn and other crafting supplies and some of you expressed interest in joining me. The more the merrier and frankly if you are anything like I am, the support of others will be a big bonus.

So I haven’t forgotten. Life has just gotten in the way. I have family from Iceland visiting at the moment so I won’t be able to really get started till this weekend. I’m going to open a new page here on this website just for the challenge so that we can share ideas and progress. I’m thinking I should keep the challenge somewhat separate as not everyone may be interested in that and I want to continue blogging as usual and discuss other topics. I did think about opening a Ravelry thread in my group for this but after some consideration m I think I will keep everything here. What do you think?

I have started working on this and have a Pinterest board where I pin storage ideas to share with you for example. I so desperately need to organize not only my stash but also my many wips so I really look forward to getting started for real and if you are joining too, I hope you are gearing up as well.

That’s it for today I think. Thank you again for stopping by today for a chat. I wish you a great rest of the week and Happy Knitting

The US stash enhancement

Hi there, so as promised here is my haul report!

When I went to California I knew I would not be able to resist yarn buying. I knew I would have to buy something if only to save on shipping! But I also did not want to buy just anything. I wanted to buy things I might have a hard time finding in France or Europe. In the end I bought way more than I should have and I now feel somewhat guilty of having used this much money on yarn and knitting stuff. But hey, I’m not in the US on a regular basis so I’m just going to enjoy and try to resist yarn buying for a while…

My very first purchase was a silly one because I bought two skeins of Regia Pairfect and this is a yarn that can be found in Europe and frankly I found it rather expensive in the US but for some reason I was unable to resist.

So I have already knit a pair for my son with one of the balls. The one on the right is for myself. I really like the patterning on this one.

knit picks felici

I also knew that I had to try some Knit Picks Felici self striping sock yarn. I see a lot of pictures of Felici yarn and socks and this yarn is not sold in France and I believe it is hard to come by in Europe. it’s also not expensive so I had to try. I bought a set of 4 balls which is enough for 2 pairs – you need two 50 gr balls per pair.

I also fell for a couple of skeins from the Legacy Fibre Artz on Etsy, Chelsea and Sue. I saw one of their podcast episodes while in the US and really liked the yarn they showed and decided to take a look if they had some in their shop. They did.

legacy fibres  And I love the sheep enamel pin – a sheep in socks how cute is that?

Then I heard that my friend and designer Nancy Whitman was having a “going out of business” sale and I had to take a look. I ended up making two orders from her and I got a lot of beautiful yarn at an amazing price.

So from left to right: Claudia hand painted and I have started a sock as you can see, Araucania and Malabrigo – both are sock yarns, Madeleinetosh Sock, Madeleinetosh Tosh Light

I rarely buy Madeleinetosh because of the high price point but on the sale I got some at 30% off and the rest 40%. Too good to passe up on.

The Madeleinetosh yarns I’m going to use for shawls mostly I think. I’m thinking of doing the A girl’s best friend shawl by  Isabelle Kramer. That uses 3 yarns I believe and then I’m looking into other three color shawls for the rest.

And then there are the project bags! So I watch a lot of podcasts and I’m always drooling over yarns and project bags and I finally let myself be totally enabled and I bought a few!

These two bags are from By the Bay Yarn on Etsy. These are sturdy canvas bags that somewhat resemble the famous Fringe Supply bags. They are beautifully made drawstring bags with a handle and two inside pockets. The pink one is a medium size and I have my Midnight Sherbet wrap in that. It is big enough for a sweater project though. And the purple one is the large size and that one is really huge. Would be great for a sweater or a blanket project.  I’m super happy with these two bags and the price is great too, so is the service and fast shipping. I truly recommend these if you are looking for quality project bags.

I was also enabled by the famous Andrea Mowry but I subscribe to her newsletter and in one of those she was promoting Madder Root bags and so I totally fell for those too.

madder root

I got a small and a medium. The pattern is like knit stitches. These are sturdy bags and take a lot of yarn. What I especially like about these is the clip on the top. You can clip them shut and so hang them from your wrist or as I did while travelling, hang them from your hand bag/carry on. Brilliant!

The last bag purchase I made was actually from Norway and I got that when I came home but as it is part of this recent haul I think it deserves to be mentioned. This is a Norwegian company and I was totally enabled by Skeindeer Knits on one of her episodes. She showed this bag and I just had to have the same! I even chose the same red color!

plystre bag

This is a canvas bag with a leather strap and I think this can be used as a regular handbag as well, not just a project bag. I like the front pocket which is quite big and can keep your wallet and phone or knitting notions. The interior has various pockets including one with 3 eyelets for knitting stranded colorwork without getting your yarns in a total mess. The company that makes these is called Plystre. They have just come out with a bigger bag that is a backpack and I really like that one too.

And to finish of, I was also gifted some yarn! I was able to meet up with a dear friend who is also a celebrity but he works with Cat Bordhi and organises knitting retreats with her all over the world. Cat and Jim have used my hand dyed yarns when they do retreats in Iceland and this was the first time we actually met in person.

Jim used to own his own yarn company that was called Frog Tree Yarns. He still has some yarn left and he gifted me two skeins of sport weight yarns and I think I will make socks with those, or mittens or hats.

frog tree

And a pack of 10 skeins of fingering weight de haired llama yarn! Ultra soft and amazing yarn! I think I will knit a stole or something special with that.

So as you can see, I have made quite a lot of purchases. So this means even more yarn and notions to organise as I embark on my Spring Cleaning Challenge! More on that soon!

That’s all for today. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed taking a look at my purchases.

Happy knitting!

My works in progress

Hi there, how are you? It’s Easter weekend here now and I hope you are having some time off from work and just enjoying some nice relaxing time with your family and friends, lots of chocolate at hand as well as your knitting.

Last time I blogged I did not have the time to show you all of my current wips or the post would just have been way too long and I don’t want to abuse your precious time so I decided to share those with you now.

First up, I’m test knitting a sock for KBJ Designs, an Australian designer. This is the fourth time I test knit for her I think and the third sock pattern.

IMG_1150

This pattern is really beautiful and keeps your interest all the time. It is a pattern that you need to follow so maybe not one you can work on in front of a complicated film or at an animated knit night. But oh so enjoyable.

I’m using yarn from Lolo Did It called Hippo for Thanksgiving and I really like how that is knitting up. I was afraid the speckles might obscure the stitch pattern but I think it’s ok.

Then there is my Midnight Sherbet by Kingfisher Knits. I’m knitting this one using my own organic merino DK yarn that I dyed specially for this pattern. I’m about 80% done so really looking forward to coming to the end of this one. There is like a lozenge pattern in the middle of the wrap but I chose not to include that and just knit straight on and then continue the cable that goes all through the length of the wrap. This is a two color brioche wrap so if you want to practice brioche knitting this is a  pattern I would highly recommend.

The pink side is the front and the blue is the back but really this is totally  reversible so both can be fronts. The cable is showing up better on the pink side as the yarn is lighter.

I also started a new shawl while I was in California, I chose the Across the Pond by Mina Philip of the Knitting Expat. I have had this pattern in my Ravelry library for a long time and I knew I wanted to knit this. I dyed up some of my Back to Basics fingering weight yarns especially and cast on while in the US.

I’m not very far on and the stitches are all scrunched up on my needles but you at least see the color and the patterning. I still have a lot of repeats to do of this main section and then there is a lace border and I dyed up a light silver color for that. I think this will look really nice once it’s done.

And then there is my first colorwork, steeked cardigan. I had almost finished in February before leaving for the US. When I came home I knit the button bands and prepared the steek. Here are a couple of pictures but I feel this cardigan deserves a whole post on its own so I will be sharing more on this work later.

On the left you see the cardigan with the button bands in place and on the right I have made the crochet reinforcement and the only thing left is to just cut the steek and fasten the buttons! I have even woven in all the ends!

I’m of course working on more socks and a new test knit cardigan and will share pictures of those when I have made some progress.

That’s it for today. I will be sharing my stash enhancements next time and some of the patterns I intend to knit up with those.

Thank you for taking the time to check on me today. I wish you a wonderful weekend and happy crafting!

I’m back!

Hi there, how are you and how have you been these past few weeks? It’s been way too long since my last real post and as you may know that is because I have just come back from a 3 week stay in California:

I had a wonderful time with my brother. It was a quiet visit as both of us were working and I was there to help out with his two girls so there was a lot of family time which was just very cozy and nice.

I did get to meet lots of new people and see places I had yet to visit but mostly it was just family and work.

I did buy some stuff…way more yarn and project bags than planned for… but I really felt like taking this opportunity to save on shipping! AND a friend of mine was having a going out of business sale that was just too good not to take advantage of.

I will be sharing my stash enhancements in a later post as not everyone may be interested in  seeing and hearing about that and since it’s been such a long time since I last checked in I thought I would stick to knitting today.

So this month of March has been very productive knitting wise. I have so far knit 5 pairs of socks and one cardigan. I’m currently working on a wrap, a shawl, 2 socks, about to steek and finish a cardigan and cast on for a new test knit sweater.

So lots of things to share with you today.

First of let’s do socks!

So as you may remember I’m doing no less than three sock clubs this year, both of Mina’s Knitting Expat clubs and the Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade one. This means that I receive one or two patterns a month depending as Helen’s club is a bi monthly one. So March was a 2 pattern month and I have finished both patterns.

First there is the Winter Rose socks from Helen Stewart. I knit those using Opal sock yarn and I think they look really nice. For some reason they were slow to knit and not just because of the all over lace pattern. For some reason I just had a hard time finishing them but now I’m done I really like them. These are for my older daughter.

 

Then there is the pattern from Mina’s Wanderlust club called the Dérive socks. I knit those using a small skein from Goosey Fibres for the main color and my Back to Basics yarn for the contrasting toe.

This pattern was simple to memorise and knit up relatively fast. These are for my younger daughter.

 

As I had knit a pair for each of my daughters I had to knit one for my son too. I used one of my stash enhancements for his pair. I actually purchased two balls of Regia PairFect yarns by Arne and Carlos and one of those was for my son. He has bigger feet than I do so the socks look too big on my blockers. I used up all the yarn or almost. I think only a few grammes were left in the end so they are rather high on the leg and I do hope he will like them. Spring is around the corner so not really the right time of the year for sock gifting but hey.

regia pairfect matteo I really like the autumnal colors and pattern in this yarn. I just did my regular vanilla sock here.

And then there is Sock Madness! You may know that I decided to join for the third time. This time I was careful not to finish too quickly because I wanted to avoid ending up in the fastest team as before so I took my time although that is relatif because I ended up knitting my pair in 4 days! And to show you how crazy fast knitters there are, finishing up in 4 days got me in the 5th fastest team. I took longer than necessary because I know that I have a lot of things to do in my daily life and cannot put everything aside for SM when a new round starts so I thought this strategy would put me in a team of knitters that have similar lives/imperatives as I do and so I might be able to stay in the game longer.

So the qualifying round had just started the day before I left so I had cast on at home and then knit on my trip over and so forth. The qualifying round pattern was a nice two color pattern using slipped stitches and a broken rib. The broken rib on most of the sock was what slowed things down. I used my own hand dyed SOX yarn for this pair as the main color and a very pale green yarn from the Wool Barn for the contrasting color.

sm12 qualifying

Round 1 is about to finish in less than 72 hours so round 2 is just around the corner. The round 1 pattern was a tricky one because it had beading, knotting and duplicate stitches. Once I understood how to make the stitch where the beads were to be threaded onto and how to then knot it, I was on a roll. The rest of the sock was just simple stockinette. The difficult part was once the socks were done, one had a lot of duplicate stitching to do and I have never really done duplicate stitching so it took a while. Especially on the first sock. I was worried for a while that I might be disqualified due to my bad stitching skills but in the end my socks turned out ok and I actually like them. Lucky for me I had brought yarn for those as well as beads just in case this pattern was the first one.

It is always good to challenge oneself and try new techniques and I can definitely do with some more duplicate stitching but I have to admit I did not enjoy that so much…

Now I’m just trying to get other things done before the next round starts.

I also knit a cardigan. This is a test knit I did for Making Stories, the European knitting publication by Verena Cohrs and Hanna Lisa Haferkamp. So far they have only published one book/magazine called WOODS but the second issue BREEZE is about to be published and this test knit is for the third issue that will be published this autumn I believe.

IMG_1067

This design is secret for the time being so not much I can share about that but here is what I can say. This is a buttonless cardigan with 3/4 sleeves knit top down in one piece. The yarn is an italian rustic yarn that has been hand dyed. There were not a lot of color choices I felt so I picked a dark grey color. This yarn was not a total joy to knit with I must confess. It was very very loosely plied and so I had to be careful to knit all the plies and not just one strand (that did happen a few times) and also the color rubbed off on my hands so after each knitting session my hands would be all grey which I did not much like.

When I came home I washed and blocked the cardigan and surprisingly the yarn did not bleed as I thought it would.  I had also had an issue with the hem curling up on it self but once I washed it, it just fell right into place.

This is a very nice cardigan for autumn and early winter I feel. Because it does not have full sleeves and is somewhat short it is not a cozy winter garment but rather a nice layer when the weather starts to cool down I think.

This is starting to get a little long so I think I will leave my works in progress for later. Thank you so much for coming back and for your patience waiting for me as I was away and not blogging.

I hope you are doing great and happy knitting till next time!

Yarn enabling

Just a very short message today with hopefully a full post this coming week.

My friend and designer Nancy Whitman is closing her online yarn shop and so is hosting a “Going out of business ” sale offering-40% off everything! She has beautiful yarns such as Malabrigo, Madelinetosh, Claudia, Rowan and many more. I have actually made 2 separate orders myself for way more yarn than I should have so I thought I should share the info with all of you! This is a gré opportunity to get some quality yarns at a great price and at the same time to support a small business owner by minimizing her losses. Do check out her shop here http://www.whitknits.com/index.php

Happy yarn shopping:)

HI there, how are you? It’s been a while, way too long actually. I got busy at work and then getting ready for a long trip. As I’m writing this I’m actually in sunny California where I will be staying for a little while. I’m working as usual and after work I’m helping my brother with his girls. It’s been a long time since I saw them so spending some time with them is a treat.

Before leaving home, I was super busy finishing important knitting projects. Two of which were test knits.

The first one was a shawl that has not yet been published. It will be called the Temperance shawl and is by KBJ Designs. It is a single color shawl and uses 160 grammes so almost two skeins of fingering weight yarn. I knit mine with my merino/mohair/nylon yarn. It is an amazing blend and has a little bit of halo from the mohair content.

The pattern repeat is simple and it has a lovely lace border. It is also huge!

My second test knit was for a cropped sweater and that pattern has now been released. It is called Akane and the designer is called Eri.

I knit mine using a fingering weight yarn from Knit Cosmic Strings in the colorway Raspberry Ripples and I really love the outcome. I did not even need to blend skeins. As I’m not much of a fan of cropped tops, not necessarily flattering on my body type, I amended the pattern a little bit. I knit both the body and the sleeves longer than the pattern called for and I really like how that worked out.

I also managed to almost finish my colorwork cardigan, the Flea cardigan by Pinneguri. When I get back home I just need to knit the button bands and STEEK! That will be very exciting and I’m already thinking of my next colorwork cardigan.

I knit this using Holst Garn in a wool/silk blend and really enjoyed working with this yarn.

So these three projects were my main focus before leaving for the US. Everything else was put on hold.

Now I’m working on another test knit, a cardigan again in a DK yarn. This is an exciting project for Making Stories. I’m not allowed to show any revealing pictures but it I’m using a special Italian yarn and I chose a grey color. I’m just at the separation for the sleeves. The construction is interesting and as this is Knit on 4 mm needles it grows nicely.

I’m also doing Sock Madness again. This is my third year. The first year I was put in the fastest team and made it to the last round although I did not win. Last year I was in the second fastest team I think but was disqualified after 5 rounds out of 7 I believe because I misunderstood a colorwork pattern. That was a huge disappointment. I actually knit the socks twice because at one time I realized it was not correct. The second time I was sure everything was correct but unfortunately I misread the charts and so my pattern did not come out right. I was so sad I thought maybe I would never join again. But the competitive spirit got the better of me and I joined again.

The qualifying round is on now. I did manage to make a mistake on my second sock and had to rip back about half a sock but that’s ok. I had decided I would take my time with the first pair so that I would end up in a less speedy team and so maybe have a better chance of staying in the game longer. So I cast on March 1st and I finished last night or March 6th. This was a fun pattern and I can see myself tweaking it a bit and knitting a second pair. The qualifying round is running to March 14th I believe and after that all the participants that finished a pair will be divided into teams, depending on speed and from then on we will compete against our team mates each round. Each round will get shorter and less people will qualify for the following round and so forth until the end. It is a little crazy but also a lot of fun.

This means that the first real competition round will start while I’m away from home. Before leaving we had received the list of materials for each pattern but I could not take everything with me so I took all the tools and 4-5 yarns so now I just hope the pattern will arrive BEFORE my flight home so I can make good use of all those flight hours.

But enough of chatting, here are my socks for the qualifying round

I used my own hand dyed SOX yarn for the main color and a pale green from Baerenwolle for the contrast.

That’s all for now I think. This week I will concentrate on my test knit cardigan and also work on my February socks from Helen Stewart’s Sock Society and the March socks from Mina Phillips sock club.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have enjoyed seeing my work. I hope to be back next week with more knitting. Until then have a great week and happy knitting:)

My knitting projects and a new challenge for April

Hi there how are you today? It’s Monday and a new work week has begun.  This is the last week before Winter Vacation for my kids so they are all feeling kind of tired and more than ready to be on vacation. I’m lucky enough to get a few days off also but not just yet. But I too really look forward to that.

I will be going to California beginning of March and will stay there for 3 weeks which is exciting. I will be working so it’s not going to be all fun and knitting but it will be plenty fun still.

I’m trying hard to be strong and not go crazy ordering a billion things online that I cannot find here in France. I don’t actually need anything so whatever I buy (because I know I will) will just be for some personal indulgence. And I need to try and keep the urge or the yarn buying monster under control.

But before I go, I do have some big projects that need finishing. First off is my Temperance shawl that I’m test knitting for KJB designs. I did show you my progress last week. I have been knitting on this every day since and I’m about 17 rows from cast off. That does not sound like a lot but it is because I’m well over 400 stitches per row now so each row takes quite some time to finish. I am planning on casting off at the end of this week though.

temperance shawl 19feb

This shawl is HUGE! I’m already well into my second skein of fingering weight yarn. I have begun on the lace edging as you can see. The shawl is way bigger than my needle so it is all scrunched up but you get the size.

temperance shawl lace

Here you can see the lace edge a little better. It is fun to knit and looks really nice I think. I’m knitting this with my own hand dyed yarn in a merino/mohair/nylon blend which is ultra soft and the yarn has a little halo so it really looks as soft as it feels.

My second big test knit that I’m hoping I will finish by the end of this week, maybe Sunday or so, is my Akane sweater by ERI a Japanese designer.

I have finished the body. This is a cropped sweater and I did lengthen the body and for a time was afraid I might have lengthened it too much but after trying it on I see that I definitely did not lengthen too much.

So the body is finished and I finished the collar and sewed the shoulders and I have also cast on for the sleeves. I decided to knit the sleeves concurrently as sleeve knitting can get boring and also because I really want to finish by the end of the week if I possibly can. So I’m knitting one pattern repeat on sleeve A and then one repeat on sleeve B and then back again to A etc. So far I have done 2 repeats on both sleeves.

akane 19feb

When I took this picture I had only done one repeat though so my sleeves are a little longer now.

I really like how this is knitting up and I think it will be very cute over a black long tshirt or maybe even over a white tunic/blouse.

I’m also working a little on two other projects that are not test knits and so do not have an impending deadline. There is the Flea cardigan. I have finished the body at the moment. I will have to come back later and do the button bands and steek but first I need to knit the sleeves. Here I’m only knitting one sleeve at a time because I need two yarns and so knitting both concurrently felt like a bother.

flea cardigan 19feb

And I did pick up my Midnight Sherbet brioche wrap and knit a little last night. I’m getting sort of bored with my two big test knits as I cannot allow myself to knit on anything else really or I will miss the deadline so even just knitting a few rows on this one felt good.

The pink is the front and the blue is the back. If you look closely you will see that I have done the second cable; you can see it better on the pink side. I won’t be able to take this with me when I leave for the US so this wrap is going to be a while in the making. But that’s ok.

And that’s all I have worked on since last time. I have not knit a single stitch on a sock! And it feels strange! When I finish at least one of my two test knits I will take a little break and go back to my socks.

I also need to start thinking of what projects to take with my on my trip. I will have lots of knitting time on the flights but not so much I think during my actual stay. I will be test knitting a cardigan so that will be my big project. I will bring my Winter Rose socks with me – the first pattern from Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade Sock Society. Those were published now in February and I have only done a little bit of knitting on those so I want to take them and finish. I will also knit the next sock pattern from Mina’s Knitting Expat sock club; the one that will be published on March 1st. So that makes 2 socks + I think I will need yarn for at least one vanilla sock. And I want to knit a shawl. I have dyed up some yarn and have even wound it up already. I’m going to cast on for the Across the Pond shawl by Mina Philip of Knitting Expat Designs. So that means that for 3 weeks I will have : 1 cardigan, 1 shawl and 3 socks to knit on. Probably way too much but I can’t risk not having enough!

And on another very exciting subject. A reader of this blog suggested a sort of joint effort/challenge to work on my mountain of wips. A challenge to organize and get on top of our crafting supplies and I immediately knew this had to be done!

So the idea is that in April I- and hopefully others will join in- will work on my organizing my craft supplies and claiming back some of my bedroom space and making things look pretty again.

You may only have yarn and knitting/crochet supplies to work on but  I have a ton of lots of different supplies on top of yarn and fibre. I also have beads, jewelry supplies and tools, polymer clay and everything that goes with that not to mention stash from my almost defunct shop etc.

I need to take a good look at my supplies and think how best to store them in an organized manner. What I want to keep and what I want to donate and what I want to swap!

Yes because when we have worked so hard at getting our craft space all spruced up and organized we should be able to welcome a few new supplies into our home don’t you think?

So I’m thinking I will work on this project behind the scenes somewhat and prepare posts to share with you here on the blog during March as I and maybe you, prepare for the challenge. And then we will have the entire month of April to actually work on this challenge and get things done. And when we are done, most of us will be likely to have a pile of “would like to swap” yarn/needles etc and so I was thinking we could each publish those in my Ravelry group and then do an unofficial swap. If you see something I own and want to swap, I will take a look at your stuff and then we can swap a skein for a skein sort of thing. What do you think?

This is an idea in its infancy and still needs working on but I would love to hear what you think? Would you like to join? Would it not be wonderful to have a clean, newly organised stash and craft space before the summer? It does make me dream:)

I will be creating a thread soon in my Ravelry group where we can discuss this further and I will be launching subjects and then we can all chime in and share ideas and links to good storage solutions etc. I for one am super excited about this challenge because for me this will be a challenge as I’m not the most organized person.

So that’s all for today. Thank you for stopping by and spending some of your precious time with me. Do leave me a comment if you would like to join in the April challenge and help me find a catchy name and hashtag so we can share all over and see what each one is doing when the time comes.

Till next time, take care and happy knitting:)

Endless new projects and rabbit holes to fall down

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are doing good. I was supposed to post yesterday but I just felt out of energy and needed some quality knitting time and so here I am today!

As you may deduct from the title of today’s post, I’m not being very successful at working on my Mountain of Wips! Shame on me!!

If you have been following my blog for a while you are probably not surprised at all and I shouldn’t be myself only I really did mean to work on my wips and it was and still is a goal for 2018. Only I keep getting sidetracked! Constantly finding new patterns I need to make or apply for a test knit for which I’m subsequently accepted! So the current state of affairs is Zero wips progress but lots of fun knitting nevertheless.

So let’s get this going and I’m going to share with you my current works in progress.

I had started on the Winter Rose socks by Helen Stewart but they are the first pattern in her new sock club. I started off with a Lolo did it yarn but changed my mind and found a solid Opal yarn that I thought might do the pattern better justice. I’m not far along as I have managed to put myself into a deadline situation so I’m going to put these aside and will knit on them in March.

So first off is my colorwork cardigan the Flea Cardigan or Damejakke loppa by Pinneguri. I’m going to write a post on this one because it is my first ever all over colorwork garment and first ever steek. I’m not quite at the steek just yet but I am almost done with the body. I’m at the beginning of the bottom rib and then I need to see if I steek or if I knit the sleeves first. I’m not quite sure.

I absolutely LOVE knitting this garment and the colorwork has been such fun. I’m using Holst Garn in a wool and silk blend and it knits up so nicely and once it will be washed and blocked I think it will be gorgeous even if I say so myself!

I’m even dreaming of knitting more of this pattern, maybe another one for myself plus one for my sister and one for my mum… The yarn and the gazillion colors available from Holst are definitely enabling.

damejakke 14feb

The bottom ribbing and the button bands on the front as well as sleeve cuffs will be in this orangey/brick/red color you see at the collar/neck band.

And then there are the test knits! I am a big sucker for test knitting. Not quite sure why. Maybe because I always want to knit everything and I’m constantly looking at new patterns to buy and test knitting gives you instant access to a not-yet-published pattern in exchange for your work.

So now I’m working on two test knits, one has to be done at the end of the month and the second needs to be done beginning of March. However as I’m going away beginning of March (more on that later) I actually need to finish both by the end of February.

First up is a sweater that I’m test knitting for Japanese designer Eri. This is a very fun pattern for a somewhat boxy and cropped sweater. I did lengthen it some for my taste though. The stitch pattern is easy to follow and soon becomes memorized. I’m using fingering weight yarn from Knit Cosmic Strings in colorway Rasberry Ripples and I think it is really looking very nice. I’m not even alternating skeins, I felt the yarn was that similar that it would be ok and so far so good.

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Here you see the pattern a little closer –  and the picture above is truer to color than the one below.

 

Akane 14feb

I’m almost at the shoulders on the front. The back is done so I’m super close to finishing the body and hope to get going on the sleeves tomorrow at the latest. I really love the design and I have seen a picture from the designer wearing a lace yarn version and it looked amazing so I’m already thinking I will need to knit another one in a different yarn! Crazy, crazy me right!

The second test knit was a sort of last minute one. This designer I like and have test knit for before sent out a call for shawl testing. I wasn’t going to say yes but her shawl did look nice but then I saw that she had a tight deadline and so all her usual testers were saying they were not available so I of course contacted her and said that if she could extend the deadline by a few days I’d love to test knit for her. And she said YES!

So here I am, test knitting the Temperance shawl by KBJ Designs. This is a fingering weight shawl and I’m using my own hand dyed yarn in one of my favorite blends; the merino/mohair/nylon blend and I love the outcome.

temperance shawl 14feb

I have actually been able to knit consistently on this shawl and so I’m almost at the end of this stocking/eyelet section and ready to start the lace border. I’m hoping this will be done in a week or so.

So hopefully I will finish both test knits by the end of this month…ready to cast on for next month’s test knit! Yes that’s not a typo! I applied to and was accepted to knit a cardigan for a future edition of the Making Stories magazine. I have just ordered the yarn today (we must test knit with the same yarn as the designer used) and I plan on casting on March 1st. This is a tight deadline, only 1 month to finish so I’m going to try and be serious for once and limit new cast ons in March.

As for the rabbit hole I mentioned, well that is sock related. So as you may know, I do love sock knitting although there are no socks on show today. Two years ago I participated in my first ever Sock Madness- a sock speed knitting competition. The first year I actually was put on the second fastest team (learned my lesson) and I made it to the final round though I did not win – there were some seriously fast knitters there! The second time around; that is last year, I made sure I took a little bit longer to finish my pair in order to be placed in a somewhat slower team and that worked. Only I was eliminated after 4 or 5 rounds I think after  misunderstanding a colorwork chart. I actually knit sock one twice. Knit it up showed a picture and it was wrong so I ripped back and started again. I finished my pair and sent it in all in time to be qualified for the next round only the following day I was contacted and told I had misunderstood the chart and so was disqualified! Talk about deception! Needless to say I felt like crying and NEVER taking part again!

Yet when I saw sign ups were opening for this year I of course went ahead and signed up for as they say third time’s a charm or something like that!

I think the qualifying round is in March and then the serious stuff will start end of March or so. During my time in the Sock Madness competition I will be solely concentrating on the competition and all other knitting will be set aside for in between rounds knitting. Are any of you taking part this year? Have you taken part before?

I just printed out the list of materials today so I can get everything ready and this year the theme is clearly colorwork as most of the patterns include 2 yarns/colors unless they all use contrasting yarns for heels and toes. But usually the patterns are innovative and demanding so I’m expecting complicated colorwork.

Well, I think this is all for now. Thank you for stopping by and spending some of your time with me. I hope to be more punctual next week. I hope you have a great rest of the week and enjoy lots of knitting, crocheting, spinning or just general crafting happiness.

 

 

It’s looking a lot like Christmas…

Yes you read that right! As I’m sitting here at my desk and writing, I’m watching the snowfall outside. This is the first snow we have had here in Normandy this winter and it’s coming down quite heavily. We are not used to snow and even a little bit can cause serious disruption in transportation so even if it looks nice to look at, it is not really welcome. I for one do not enjoy driving in the snow. I’m way out of practice as it’s been so many years since I moved from Iceland to France.

snow blainville

So hopefully by tomorrow morning this will just be a nice memory and all the snow will have gone!

It does however create a nice knitting atmosphere, I cannot deny that:)

So this past weekend I did a lot of knitting but on a lot of different projects so nothing really made changed dramatically.

I cast on for the first pair of socks out of Mina Philip second sock club (yes I bought both! so now I get a pattern a month from her until the end of this year). The pattern is called Warm and Snug socks. This pattern is made for self striping yarns and lucky for me, I had this set of Snow White self striping yarn with sparkles from Turtle Purl that I have been wanting to knit for a while. So that just was perfect. I found some leftover yarn from my stash for cuffs,heels and toes to maintain the striping.

This pattern is rather simple, like a variation on a vanilla sock as the patterning is on the front leg only. And this is a stitch pattern I have never used before and so very fun to try out.

I have just finished sock one and I immediately cast on for sock two in an effort to avoid second sock syndrome. And so I have finished the cuff of sock two and will get going on the leg tomorrow.

It is not easy to show the texture but if you look closely you will see that certain rounds are “shorter” meaning instead of seeing 4 rounds of one color it’s as if there is just one. That is the result of this new textured stitch she has included in this pattern.

Here are a better pictures taken with a side view to show you the difference on the front and the back of the leg.

You see how certain stripes on the front are raised and only a thin line? Clever hah?

Being the sock knitting maniac that I am, I not only signed up for both of Mina’s (The Knitting Expat) sock clubs but I also signed up for Helen Stewart’s (Curious Handmade). So every other month I will have one new sock pattern and the other month I will have two! Like in February. The patterns do not come out on the same day luckily so Helen’s pattern was just published on the 5th of Feb and I immediately cast on! Thinking maybe I should knit one sock of each pattern and then go back for the second sock. Not sure. maybe I should just finish one pair and only then get going on the second!

Anyway the first pattern in Helen’s club is called Winter Rose Sock and I’m knitting it with a yarn from Lolo Did It called Hippo for Thanksgiving. It’s a light grey color with some wintery speckles in red, orange, green and yellow. I’m only a few rounds into the cuff so too early to show off here.

This weekend I also knit a little bit on my brioche wrap from Madeleine Windsor of Kingfisher Knits. This is a recent pattern of hers called Midnight Sherbet and is knit in DK yarn. I’m knitting mine with my organic merino DK yarn and it feels and works up beautifully. I’m about 20% done so far so not much but I’m enjoying it.

If you look closely on the pink side picture, you can see a cable on the right side. That was a little challenging but now I fully understand so I’m ready to tackle all the future cables. I think this will be such a great piece. Warm and cozy.

I also worked on my cardigan and sweater. The cardigan is my first ever colorwork garment and my first steek project. I’m also knitting it with HOLST garn and it is the first time I’m using that yarn. I’m maybe 40% done, I think I’m getting close to where the ribbing begins on the bottom of the body. Still a few centimeters/inches from that but should be done soon. I’m really enjoying this project a lot and this yarn is nice to work with and I’m super excited to see how it will looked once the garment has been washed as I’ve heard this yarn “blooms”.

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This pattern is called Damejakka Loppa or Flea Cardigan on Ravelry and is by Pinneguri.

I have also started a new test knit. It’s a cropped sweater by Japanese designer Eri called Akane.  I’m using yarn from Knit Cosmic Strings and the pattern is fun to knit. I’m knitting a bit longer than the pattern calls for.

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That’s about all the knitting I’m working on actively these days.

hat madeleine

I did launch my first ever yarn sale here on the blog this past weekend. I have created a new page here called Boutique where I intend to sell yarn on a regular basis. Currently you will find the Hindiber hat kit that i launched in collaboration with Madeleine Windsor of Kingfisher Knits. Each kit includes a download link for her pattern which comes in 3 sizes and a skein of my DK merino yarn. You have a number of colorways to choose from, some are superwash and others are my organic non superwash DK base.

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The price of the kit is 25€ + shipping (7€).

hat madeleine

I hope you will go take a look at the kit. I’d also love to hear what you think of the set up for the yarn sale. It is not like a regular e-shop but more like a blog post. When clicking the buy button you are taken to Paypal where you can pay with your Paypal account or a credit card so even if it looks different it is a serious set up.

That’s it for today. Have a wonderful week ahead with hopefully lots of knitting and yarn cuddling:)