A yearly KAL to fill my sock drawer

Every year in January/ February Kirsten Kapur @throughtheloops host a Mystery sock Knit-along, and I am always looking forward to it. Her patterns are always interesting to knit and the instructions clear and easy to follow. Additionally it is the easy way for me to fill my sockdrawer. I find socks so long to knit, and a KAL makes me knit a pair in fairly 6-7 weeks because I try to be ajour with the weekly clue.

So when she announced the KAL last year (2017) I immediately jumped around to buy the pattern and search in my stash for yarn. This time the pattern called for two solid or semisolid colours, perfect for using up some leftovers. Except…

I might already have said I am living 15 mins walk from @labienaimee, and I often stop by to say hi on my way home from work. It is always very nice to be welcomed and have a chat, and I always check the shelves of yarn. Temptations… I was of course to weak to resist my preferred colours Namu and Yellow Brick Road. YBR is the colour I used to make my Ishnana cardigan, and Namu is a beautiful off-white with speckles of green, turquoise, brown, yellow, orange and more.

La Bien Aimeé Tough socks, bfl and nylon, is the perfect sockyarn. Colours Namu and Yellow Brick Road. Photo by @labienaimee.

The mystery socks KAL is divided into 5 clues. First clue introduced mosaic knitting – a two coloured technique using slipped stitches to form a motif. Next clue was cables along the ankle. I shortened mine as I don’t like my socks long. This do change the aspect of the sock making them a bit less organic (there’s two repeats instead of three) but I still think it look great, so…The heel flap is knit in the contrast colour and is really pretty. It’s a peacock stitch that gives a slight relief. It consists of alternate slipped stitches. The rest of the heel is formed by short-rows and it give a great fit for my foot. The instep and foot are again knit with the same cable pattern as on the ankle. The toe is knit with the contrast colour.

And this is how my socks look like. I love them and they have got a lot of use. Not only in my fancy dancing shoes 😉

Show off your socks – TTL mystery socks 2017. Click on the picture for a link to my Ravelry page and the details.

The Knit A Long for 2018 starts on February 1st, and of course I will knit a pair. The pattern is already in my Ravelry library, I have stash dived ( this year I am good!) and I am counting down. I am still pondering wether I want grey, red or blue socks this time. I might go for grey because I always choose colours and I do not have enough neutral knits in my closet.

TTL mystery socks KAL 2018 – click the picture for link to pattern on Ravelry.

As a sidenote, you might have noticed that I have done some changes in the layout of the blog, but it is still under construction and will probably take some time, as I prefer to knit rather than to tweak layout ideas and technical walkarounds, so please bear over with the childrens diseases.

In the meantime I will try to blog on a more regular basis. More regular than once a year is my goal.

Happy knitting!

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Edinyarnfest 2017

From the @knitmastery photobooth at #EYF2017.

As last year the Edinyarnfest passed like a blurr. I went with my lovely French/ expatriate tricopines group and had a great time, met old friends and made new ones, knit a bit, got inspired, ate a lot of food and came home high.

Travelling and sewing in ends of my Edinyarnfest cardigan,

meeting my new #tricopines and roommates, and the old beloved ones I don’t see very often. The mandatory G&T, and an early trip out to help finish the @labienaimee booth. Trying to take selfies, mostly failing.  

Friends

Friends. Sporting our tricopine xmas gift. LBA team dinner (where I totally failed to spot Jared Flood sitting at the table right next to me !).  Pause in between the battles at the Corn exchange and the hilarious fact the we all bought the exact same blue tweed @woollenflower pouch #teamblue. Meeting up with the #Norwegianteam. 

EYF shenanigans. A big in-house project bag from @Pinkhazelbags filled with yarn candy. Day 1 yarn acquisition – @OldMaidenAunt, @Woollenflower,  @Norneyarn (a gift from the #Norwegianteam ).  And day 2 – @MidwinterYarns, @Tukuwool, @Walkcollection, Uradale yarn ( @trollenwol) . One SQ, three colorwork projects and some shawls – I think I was rather reasonable !

EYF shenanigans, take two (and the ones I more or less planned). The brilliant @julietillyflop tea towel “I’d rather be knitting!”, a simple and pretty silver brooche and fair-isle buttons front @ancaitinbeag, a mini pouch and glow-in-the-dark stitch markers from @little_greygirl.  All the books: the fabulous Norah Gaughan Knitted  Cable Soucebook, a Japanese stitch dictionary, a increase – decrease manuel , and the preordered Coming home by OMA and the 2017 EYF Wooltribe. And of course the bags (one can never have enough bags): Oma projectbag gifted with the preordered copy of my Oma book, the eyf tote bag that I will customise throughout the year with all the scraps from this year’s knits so I can bring it next year as a trophy. A @woollenflower tweed pouch, the Birdie brooche by @stitchbirdie, a hand-sewn note book, ceramic buttons and a measureband-bracelet from @beyondmeasure.  

Red like a lobster on Friday night at the Ceilidh where I was wearing my just-in-time finished Edinyarnfest cardigan. Pattern : Ishnana by Ysolda. Yarn : Merino Twist sock by La Bien Aimée, colour Yellow Brick Road. I love it and I have been living in this since. 

Sunday breakfast and last day with almost all my flatmates before we go home. Exciting about the egg and bacon, granola and yoghurt, the delicious coffee. And of course knitting, modelling the latest scarf, laughing and talking over our voices. Just like that all weekend.  

Sunday at Portobello beach to pause, breathe the sea and say hello to the Border terriers. Delicious lunch, a stroll at the beach, looking at the seashore houses, and then tea and knitting with these lovely ladies.

We are all #sadpaca because we’re leaving.

A huge Thank you ! to Jo and Mica and the whole #EYF team for making another memorable Edinyarnfest ! 

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Edinyarnfest 2017 cardigan (part 2)

I can see the finishing line! Which is good, as I’m packing tonight. 

I already posted this on instagram but I’ll repeat here because, you know, someone could be interested in a quick and dirty phototutorial of steeking using a sewing machine.  

Step 1: mark where you want to sew. As always when you want to sew. I used sewing thread, so you can barely see it.

Normally, it it much better to do this by knitting two Purl ridges along the border where you will cut  ( or cast on : k1,p1,k3,p1,k1 -approximately). Except I forgot that from the last time I steeked son I only added 3 extra knit stitches.

Step 2.: 

Sew 2 rows along each side of where you want to steek to secure the stitches. I made an extra row of zigzag because my swing machine had some tension problems.

Here you can see the three extra stitches I cast on. I will cut in the row in the middle. 

Step 3 : Cut. I snip of the middle strand so the edge will be straight and neat.

Done!

Step 4 : pick up stitches. It’s important to be consistent to where you pick up so the edge will be neat. I pick up under the two legs of the stitch (or under the v), and never in one leg of the stitches, which will deform the stitch and the edge. 

Et voilà!

Inside. It’s rather nice but I want to handstitch a nice ribbon band to hide and protect the raw edge. I will go hunting for that at the Edinyarnfest!

And now I’ll have to BO those sleeves and give the cardi a soak !

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Edinyarnfest 2017 cardigan

I blame Julie (@Julieknitsinparis). She tricked me into this crazy journey only a month ago with her enthusiasm. “We should have a KAL and knit a sweater for EYF in this yarn!” The said yarn was La Bien Aimée Merino Twist. A FINGERING WEIGHT YARN. Of course I said yes. Because the yarn is awesome, the colour is amazing and Julie enthusiasm is too hard to resist and very contagious. But on freaking 3.0 mm needles ! I must be crazy.

The same evening Julie WhatsApp’ed me “What about this cardigan?” with a picture of Ysolda’s Ishnana cardigan that have been in my ravelry queue for ever, almost. Or at least since last year’s EYF when we both admired it’s cable panels. 
I don’t know how it happened but somehow I have done a lot of knitting because I’m now into the sleeves. My decision to knit in the round and steek afterwards might be one explanation to the relative speed I maintain as I have knit half of the cardi like that.  

And now I’m panicking because eyf is in one week and I didn’t see the last week go by. I have to finish the sleeves and do the steeking and pick up the button bands and neck band. And I should get some nice ribbons and buttons. And of course block it…

So I knit,knit, knit…

Is anyone else in the same boat?

(To be continued…)

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News

I am a terrible blogger  (my autocorrect proposed ‘parent’, here, but I think I am fine with parenthood, really 🙂 ). Last post was about the #brorhatforfallKAL   back in September last year.  The KAL came,  went, a lot of hats popped up and I was happy. So I ought to share some of them here !

Hats made by (from upper left to lower right) @zigeunerin23, @susaneyres, @osloknitter, @zoezu, @julieknitsinparis, @parisgrynet, @pat.a.modeler, @beaetsescroquignols and @bitterpurl on instagram.

It’s so fun to see the different hats. I also love the hacking  of @julieknitsinparis who made it in fingering weight and fair isle and in babysize (read her notes on her ravelry project pages for more info), whereas @pat.a.modeler did a folded brim and @parisgrynet downsized the pattern. Pattern Hacking is one of my favourites, and this what we’re doing most of the time, right?

I realised during the KAL that there were less talking and much more knitting. I am not a very chatty person myself (this mught surprise some people, others no) so maybe it reflects me. Anyway it made me think about how to host a KAL and how to create enthusiasm. Which is a tough one for me because I love being social but I hate being in the middle of the frenzy. And I just want to go knitting. 

 
Another FO I would like to show is my Sun Rose sweater. I am really happy about how it turned out. The pattern is by Laura Aylor and is well written and has very clean lines that make the yarn take its own place. I made some slight modifications, the major one being to modify the sleeves and  knit them long. I am always cold, so 3/4 sleeves never work for me. The sleeves are also knit one size bigger than the yoke to fit my bulging knitting muscles :)) . I omitted the eyelets and did a wide reversed stockinette border to prevent from rolling. I mirrored this for the hem.

The yarn is by La Bien Aimée. It’s their dk merino and the colourway is called Le littoral. Lavender blues with grungy ochre speckles. This colour has my name written all over, so of course I had to make a sweater out of this. As this is handdyed yarn, I alterned my skeins to have an even result as possible. 

Finishing socks. 

I finally finished the ones I started back in September just before Christmas.  I love that heel. Vanilla is the new black by Anneh Fletcher. La Bien Aimée yarns tough sock which is a bfl nylon base perfect for socks. Colourway Interstellar. 

I am currently following the #yarnlovechallenge over at Instagram, and today’s post was about community. If I get more information from my knit friends I will make a blog post about the events going on in Paris/France on a regular basis. Don’t hesitate to comment here to. But as I said on ig: using the Event features on Ravelry is THE best thing! Just saying 🙂

Have a good Sunday !

Happy knitting !

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Take-off #brorhatforfallKAL 

And the KAL is officially open!

Bror hat in La Bien Aimée Merino dk. MC is Madeleine and CC is French Grey

I hope you will join in if you haven’t already done so.  Come over and say hi and share your pictures and ask questions in the KAL thread in the L’Oisivethe Ravelry group and use #brorhatforfallKAL so I can find you on instagram.

Gilliat from De Rerum Natura, the yarn I used to design the Bror hat

I find stranded knitting very relaxing so I expect to make good progress this weekend, but I also have other knitting plans, like starting the sleeves on the Sun Rose sweater. This is a simple and easy top-down seamless pullover by Laura Aylor, and I am in love with it’s simplicity and the small and effectfull details. I knit it in La Bien Aimée Merino dk and the colourway is the awesome La littorale. I had only 4 skeins so I had to find a pattern that matched this, and as I am knitting a size S with size M sleeves, I will have just the right amount of meterage. As the yarn is hand dyed and slight differences in the colour may occur, I altern with two skeins every other row. 

Morning coffee and knitting

As this sweater grows, it become less portable as an on-the-go wip, so I cast on a pair of socks the other week. I love handknit socks and the season is upon us. It’s a pattern I discovered over at Yahairas instagram feed @bitterpurl (he blog is also awesome) and it’s called Vanilla is the new black by Anneh Fletcher. It is plain vanilla socks with an interesting heel. I knit all my socks in bfl / nylon because I find it more sturdy, as I tend to wear out my socks in no time! The yarn is La Bien Aimée  (yes it’s my new favourite yarn, no I am not sponsored) and the base is Tough Sock. This colourway is their Interstellar. And these speckles are so good! 

Sock-knitting on the metro

If my weekend would be longer, I could dig deeper into my wip basket. But I think these three will keep me occupied enough for now. 

I wish you a lovely weekend. Happy knitting !

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Bror hat for fall KAL 

Bror hats knit in de rerum natura.

Do I have time for yet another KAL? Do you? 
This time it’s different. This time I am the one hosting the KAL  (insert exclamation marks here). I have never done such a thing, so please bear over with my clumsiness and ad hoc (lack of) preparation as I decided this on a whim because fall will come quickly and when it’s there you want to have the hat ready!

Here’s the facts:

  • Pattern : Bror hat
  • Dates  : September 15 to October 15
  • #brorhatforfallKAL on social media 
  • KAL thread for Q&A and general chatter in the L’Oisivethé  group on Ravelry 

Choose the yarn you want to use, show it off and whip up a stranded hat for fall!

Notes about the hat pattern: 

It’s a simple stranded hat Aimée at La Bien Aimée commissioned me to make for the shop last winter. I made a set of two and I called the set Søsken, one boyish called Bror and one girlie called Søster, using different yarns : Gilliatt from Dererum Natura and Knit by numbers (KBN) from John Arbon. Both yarns are a treat, and if you want to use the original yarn, I do recommend them both. They are quiet different though. The Gilliatt is woollen spun and lofty, whereas the KBN is soft worsted spun  and incredibly soft. 

The pattern design will suit knitters that are new to stranded colour work, although it doesn’t explain how to knit stranded – that, you will have to figure out yourself. For an experienced knitter, it is plain smooth stranded cruising. I promise it will take under a week to knit it up in worsted weight yarn. But you might want to knit it in a different weight, which is fully possible as the pattern repeats are short and you can adapt easily.

A cowl I made in fingering yarn (Koigu) using the motifs from the Bror hat.

I am knitting in a dk weight his time. I have spared these two skeins of La Bien Aimée for this and it’s their Merino DK in colours Madeline (seconds) and French Grey. I’ll use Madeline as the main colour.

La Bien Aimée Merino dk

I am eager to start, and I hope you will knit along with me. That would be fun! 

Happy knitting!

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Knit like a Latvian

Our trip to Riga.

The beautiful old town of Riga.

For years now,  since I picked up knitting again, I have wanted to visit the Baltic countries. Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian knitting patterns and traditions all make me dream. This summer I was lucky enough to convince my young fellow travellers to go to Riga. Little they knew about my plans to ramble around in the streets of the old town and look at the numerous hand-knits everywhere. 

Riga shenanigans. Latvian mittens above all.

I did contain myself. I did not fill up my luggage with Latvian mittens, although I would have taken them all if I could, nor did I succumb in the delicious store of Hobbywool. Only one (1) skein of yarn went home with me, but on the other hand, it’s enough to make a sweater or a huge shawl. I found a great book with pattern for Latvian mittens called Latvieša Cimdi  (Latvian mittens) so I can make me some pairs myself. It’s in Latvian,  but all the mittens are charted and the pictures are very clear, and there is no cuff and no thumb gusset on Latvian mittens so I will figure it out. The Latvian braid and the fringes, on the contrary, is a technique I only vaguely remember, but I already used YouTube to learn it and I have a Norwegian book about mittens where the how-to for fringes is described.

Norwegian handcuffs above and Latvian mittens below. The same motifs in both and (Latvian) fringes on the Norwegian handcuffs. Pictures from Håndplagg til bunader og folkedrakter by Heidi Fossnes and Latvieša Cimdi by Maruta Grasmane. 

Digression: Talking about that, I love to see the similarities and the differences between the Latvian folks traditions and the Norwegian ones. The summer after I went to Switzerland as an au pair, I worked as a tourist guide in Fagernes folkemuseum in Norway, a museum showing local traditions from the pre-industrial era in that region, and this was the very beginning of my interest in these kind of local / national heritage. The Norwegian institute for traditional garments  (Folkedraktrådet ) is situated in the same premises, and I met so many passionate people during my short stay that I got smitten. Now I find knitting being a very close part of this, and in Norway, stranded knit garments, wether it is mittens or socks, has been a central part of the traditional habits. Out of necessity, of course, hash winters oblige. But  the knitters always seemed to embellish their garments, as this was one of the few ways of showing their wealth in poor and hash rural society. In shortage of money, the women used their imagination and took what they had locally and copied the garments they could see on the marketplace,  garments coming from southern part of Europe, as Germany and Austria.  And the Baltic countries also, I recon. At least,  when I see the Latvian motifs on the mittens, they make me think that migration is a great benefit for all, and I believe that we wouldn’t have the same richness in patterns thanks to that. 

But Latvia was not only haberdashery and traditions. And no one can go on without food. Local pastries, bortsch soup and sourcream, potato pancakes, berries and locally brewed beer. And the very traditional hamburger and French fries because kids are kids… 

One should never neglect food.

And last but not least, travelling is about being together. These two fills my heart. They are sometimes great pals and sometimes each others worst ennemies. And sometimes they stick together against me. And that’s OK as long as I have decided it is. Haha.

Great travel companions.

Of course, Riga is a place I need to go back to. There are so many places I didn’t visit, and so much more I want to discover. But until then, I can dream of Latvian mittens , and even make a pair or three. If I can make up my mind which one I want to make first. 

Mittens mittens mittens

Happy knitting! 

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KAL ? KALs !


I often get over-excited by the perspective of a Knit-along  (KAL). So I often start a new project on impulse. Looking back, I have been participating, or at least have had the intention to participate, in five KALs since the beginning of the year. Not too bad… Cavalcade. 

Through the loops mystery socks 2016 #ttlmysterysocks2016

Kirsten Kapur is holding her yearly Mystery-sock-along every January. This was my 4th year participating. Socks-along is the easiest way for me to have at least one pair of socks a year, and her patterns are good looking and well written, so in general I just hop on that train.

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Pattern : TTL Mystery socks 2016 by Kirsten Kapur. Yarn : The Plucky Knitter Primo Fingering, colour Maneater. 

Raveled here.

 

Waiting for rain-KAL #waitingforrainkal

I have already blogged about this shawl, but I’ll show it once more because I love the blue shades in this lace.

Waiting for rain by Silvia Bo Bilvia

Pattern : Waiting for rain by Silvia Bo Bilvia. Yarn : SweetGeorgia Lace Merinosilk in colour Sapphire.

Raveled here.

 

So very Shannon Tops, Tanks and Tees KAL ’16  #tttkal16

So very Shannon hosted a KAL of tops and Tees in spring, and I took the opportunity to finish a top I already started in February using three skeins of La Bien Aimée yarns. I made up the pattern as I knit, and it turned out exactly as I wanted to. I love the mohair-silk panel. It’s so soft and fluffy.

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Pattern : my own. Yarn : La Bien Aimée Merino singles in colours Vespa and Fa a long long way, and Silk mohair in Vespa. 

Raveled here.

I could not resist two skeins of La Bien Aimée yarns in a Happy Accident colour Pêche mignon, and I got inspired to knit up a bolero / shrug. I finally ended up using it more like a scarf than a bolero as shown in the pictures, so I will have to work on that shape again. Anyway, I loved working lace in this yarn, it is so soft as butter, and the colours!

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Pattern : my own. Yarn: La Bien Aimée yarns,  colour Pêche mignon  (Happy Accident), Sock minis in Yellow brick road. 

Raveled here.

Through The Loops Mystery Shawl 2016 #ttlmysteryshawl2016

Another great KAL hosted by Kirsten Kapur.  This was my first time knitting one of her mystery shawls. It’s a pi-shawl (half-circle), and I really enjoyed the revealing of the different clues over 5 weeks. One of the reasons for joining, was the fact that I had the exact yarn she used in the sample in stash. Kettle Yarn Co Yarn Beyul. A mix of merino, yak and silk. A lovely drapey yarn, perfect for shawls.

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Pattern : TTL Mystery Shawl 2016 by Kirsten Kapur. Yarn : Kettle Yarn Co yarns Beyul in colour Turquoise Tarn and Yurt. 

Raveled here.

Dotted Rays KAL #DottedRaysKAL

This KAL was certainly not planned. Aimée at La Bien Aimée launched à Dotted Rays KAL and I joined on a whim, because this is a great canvas-pattern, and I could play with all the colours! I pulled out two grey skeins of TanisFiberArts in my stash and a lot of colourful scrap yarn. This is my fun-knit, and a project I can knit while chatting with others, so it’s pretty perfect. 

 Pattern : Dotted Rays by Stephen West, Yarn : TanisFiberArts Purple label cashmere sock colour Rock as main colour and various scrap yarn for the stripes from La Bien Aimée, Hedgehog Fibres, Malabrigo, Koigu and Madelinetosh. 

Raveled here.

And I already spotted other KALs, so there will certainly be other realisations later on. Until then: Happy knitting! 

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Destash and yarnlove

Teaser #DestashDesTricopines

Hi! How lovely that you are still hanging around here! 

Some may have seen that Bintou @NappyknitterJulie @Julieknitsinparis and I organised a destash event at La Récyclerie in Paris last Sunday. We were 7 tricopines who dragged some kilos of yarns over, and luckily for us, knitters came to get yarney goodies and spend some hours knitting in good company. 

I love every single skein in my stash, so sorting out something to sell was not.easy. But sometimes you have to come to the evidence that you will probably not knit that skein and it will be better off with someone else. Anyway, here is my heap.

Prepare for the destash

I find it rather funny that you can see my colour scheme. 

Picture from @nappyknitter IG account. Getting ready…

La Récyclerie is situated on the northern limit of Paris, close to le Puces de Clignancourt.  It’s an urban farm (they have hens!) promoting recycling and sustainability. They have an atelier where you can come with anything broken and learn how to repair it, spaces to grow vegetables, it is a huge café where you can have bruch or cake with family and friends, and several separate spaces where you can organise an event, like our destash or a conference or a concert. All in a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere. We will definitely be back there. 

Picture from my IG account @achkaknitting

In addition to the destash, both Bintou and Julie held free knittingcourses, which were quite a success.

Picture from @labienaimee IG account

But who says destash says restash. Of course I could not resist after destashing a huge volume of yarn, and among them, the beautiful blue-green worsted weight I got from Bart and Francis found a new home – I do hope the knitter who bought it will show me the finished result !

Mon restash du #DestashDesTricopines (Madelinetosh Twist DK, Cephalopod yarns Skinny Bugga, SweetGeorgia Merinosilk lace, Walkcollection Luxe fingering and Plucky Knitter Feet)

We will organise other destash and tricothés, so if you missed out this first edition, don’t be too sad. Follow us on instagram to get the info : @nappyknitter @Julieknitsinparis @achkaknitting  

Dotted rays on the go by @knitternatter 

In the meantime, get that knitting going (there are several kals going on right now that I am attending. Check them out on instagram and ravelry : #ttlmysteryshawl2016 #dottedrayskal  and #leKALquidestash.  More about that next time.)

#dottedrayskal #ttlmysterykal2016 #leKALquidestash

I wish you a wonderful weekend !  Happy knitting ! 

  

 

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