in yarn is such an awesome feeling! Now that we’re finally approaching the actual (grand) opening of the shop I feel like a huge burden is being lifted off of my shoulders. I’m a perfectionist and one of the horrible traits that come with perfectionism is that some things are never finished. I can’t just do something or it feels like I’m half-assing it. This makes things a bit harder than they have to be at times and make me feel like I’m slacking (even though I’m really not).
I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that I’m an actual workaholic. I never knew how much time I spent working until I started working in a shop (7 days a week). The first two months felt like I wasn’t working at all and nothing was getting done. Now that I’m back to “normal hours”, it feels like I’m working even less! I guess this feeling is caused by working 80+ hours a week when I’m at home, so now that I ‘only’ work 56 hours a week it feels like I’m slacking…
The biggest lesson in this realization is that my work/ home balance is shit and I need to delegate more time to other things I’m ACTUALLY half-assing and neglecting.. (like cleaning and such).
While learning new things about myself I’ve been working on some new projects and patterns as well. It took me a while to find the time and peace of mind to start knitting again (I haven’t been knitting much the past two months), but it’s back with a vengeance.. I have SO many ideas and plans I seriously don’t know how I’m going to manage them all. I started by finishing something I’ve been working on for a while:
I remember spinning this yarn during the previous Euro Cup. It was my first attempt at a fine fractal spun yarn, and I’m very happy with the way it turned out. It’s a Dutch Wool Diva fiber (something with camel, I’m not entirely sure, but I’m in France right now and I’m paying ridiculous amounts of money for mobile internet, so I’m not going to look it up if you don’t mind LOL). The colorway is “Jungle Night”, and I have another one waiting for me at home. I thought I could spin two of the same, but it’s really hard because my spinning has gotten SO much better since I switched to my Joy. It’s interesting because the Bliss spins faster than the Joy, but I’m less hurried because my ankle doesn’t hurt, and that apparently results in much more even spinning.
So I wanted to knit something for Ma’iq, and I’m still feeling guilty for not having knit so much for him all this time, so I decided to redeem myself and knit him a cute fall/ winter cardigan 🙂 It’s a little big for him (I think) but that’s only good. I know the colourway is called Jungle Night, but I felt it could also work as a deep sea kind of thing, so I added sea horses to the yoke and waves (I’m not sure if you can actually see them, I also had to cut a section of yarn that was too light and made the pattern too difficult to see).
Here’s a close-up of the sea horses and the waves (and I think this one makes it even harder to see, but oh well). The vest was knit top down and in all the excitement I actually forgot to add short-rows beforse starting the body. Thankfully it’s a cardigan that will probably be worn during 1 fall/ winter season, so I’m not too worried. I also only remembered after steeking so there was no way I was going to be able to fix it anyway. I haven’t put it on the actual child yet, but that’s because we’re in France and it’s so hot I’m melting in a bikini. I haven’t washed it (but I’m sure it’ll be dry in minutes so it might be a good idea), and there’s no buttons on it, but for this one time I’m going to ignore it and make this an FO post regardless.
Now I don’t mean this in a bad/ arrogant way, but I was actually a little impressed when knitting this cardigan. When you look at handspun yarns they usually seem very irregular and uneven, (and obviously so did this one), but it knits up very nicely (which says more about the fiber than the spinning haha), and the fractal spun effect looks really nice. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve never been a fan of barberpole yarn. The same way that I used to hate cable knitting and fair isle felt really dull and not something I would like to wear.. oh how knitting brainwashes you.. But apparently this also works with spinning… I used to reaaally dislike barberpole in my yarns, so much so that I would avoid making “real” 3 plies because I didn’t want to end up with a barberpoled yarn. I’m still not a fan of 2 different colors spun together to make an EVEN barberpoled yarn, but fractal spinning has totally opened my eyes to all sorts of new possibilities for yarns and knitting.
I will definitely use this technique more often 🙂
While we’re on the subject of fractal handspun yarns, meet Fireshadow. Another Dutch Wool Diva handdyed fiber. I spun this one during the same time I spun Jungle Night. This is a chunkier yarn compared JN and is knit using 4mm needles instead of 3mm. I’m working on another cardigan for Ma’iq (I did mention I was trying to make up for the lack of knitting right?). It’s not enough for a whole cardigan so I’m pairing this yarn with some Tosh Merino Light.
I haven’t made much progress yet, but I’m really loving this combination. It’s simple and low-contrast, and the handspun has enough space to shine 🙂 I’m not using a pattern for this one, it’s a simple top-down, raglan cardigan knit back and forth. I’m switching colors every two rows. I’m thinking of keeping this cardigan nice and simple, because the handspun and the stripes will give the whole project enough character.
At first I wasn’t sure about the combination, because the handspun is a two ply and the madelinetosh is a single, but now that I’m knitting, and the yarns both have enough space because I’m working on a 4mm needle, I feel as though this is going to work out just fine 🙂
Remember this project? I started (and restarted) this project in February and I’m working on it again. I really love the combination and the yarns and the colors and everything, what I’m not very fond of is how the yarns keep tangling. For some reason I keep moving this project around and everything keeps tangling. Obviously it’s the silks fault, because silk will tangle like a b*** if you even look at it the wrong way, but I’m afraid it’s just me and I’m simply not giving this project the proper amount of care.
This thing is getting big and the rows are getting long. This is one of those moments when I’m thoroughly pleased with myself for learning to knit continental style waaay back. I purl almost as fast as I knit nowadays, so I’m really not too bothered by the long rows of purling. What I do notice more and more is that it’s a very delicate project (especially the silk rows), so I’m not comfortable knitting this very often, or as an in between project. I feel I enjoy knitting this for longer periods of time (mainly because I have to stop knitting in the middle of the row and I hate leaving this project like that). The yarns are tangly (I just made up a word there, but I think this conveys the meaning well enough lol) enough as is, and leaving the project mid-row is becoming less and less appealing.
In the list of FO’s there’s two that should be added. I don’t have a better project atm, so this one will have to do, but I finished two handspun yarns. The one on the left is a single named contrast and the one on the right is a nameless chain plied yarn I started spinning when I was pregnant. I finished it a while ago but never had the time to actually wash and measure it. Now all they need is a label and they’re good to go.
The shop is mostly finished and all we need to do now is expand, expand and expand some more. There’s so many things I want to do, and so many different yarns I want to get, so many awesome workshops.. the list is endless. I’m trying to keep this blog about my personal knitting and the shops website/ blog about the shop, so if you’re curious about the shop you might want to check out the blog over here. I have been working on a new project and you can see Ma’iq wearing it in these pictures. He’s totally in love with the buttons so every time he’s in the shop he’ll go look through them (and ovbiously take them out for a walk).
I’m currently writing out the pattern, but here’s a little sneak preview of what it looks like. Here you see Ma’iq picking out the buttons he likes to play with next haha.
Now that we’re moving onto the knitting department I can also tell you about the things I’m planning and working on right now. I’m probably not the only one who does this, but when I plan for a holiday I usually take waaay too much stuff with me. You hope for nice weather and a lot of nice activities, but sometimes you end up with crap weather and you can’t do anything other than sit inside. This is why I bring too much yarn/ knitting projects with me.
I’m currently working on this project here. When I’m in the shop most people who are not familiar with Lopi yarns ask me who’d ever want to knit with lopi. I usually end up telling them how much I love Lopi yarn and how soft it becomes after washing. About the properties and the qualities but the best way to explain is to actually knit something and let them feel the difference. So here’s the project I’m currently working on (and I’m almost ready to finish if I don’t run out of yarn). The pattern is called “The Rain Outside” and it’s a garter rib shawl with very unique short row, lace sections in between. I think it’s a lovely pattern and it’s a very nice project to work on. The only drawback is the bleeding petrol yarn. It’s to be expected of petrol, but my hands are blue when I work on this shawl. It’s something I can live with 🙂
Another project I’m planning for is a baby jacket using Scheepjes Highlands yarn. I love this yarn because it’s soft and has an amazing stitch definition. It’s also very affordable and durable, so it’s perfect for a baby jacket. My kid tends to get everything really, really dirty, so it’s nice to know I can simply throw this one in the washer without any worries.
So I can’t decide if I want to knit or crochet this, and what it wants to become. Scheepjes Luca is really soft and drapey, but it’s so hard to decide on what to do with it. For now I’m just going to pet it and listen carefully, I’m sure it will tell me what it wants to be when it grows up 🙂
I haven’t even started this project, but it’s already one of my favorites. Scheepjes Silvi in two colors and Mohair Rhythm. It’s all in my head, but I’m sure it’s going to be awesome when it’s done 🙂 I’m working on the design choices right now, it’s so hard to pick something and stick with it. The design part is still going all over the place, but I’m getting there 🙂
Onto the design I’m currently (actually) working on. It’s a top-down something something, but I’m really not ready to talk about it yet. Yes, you are seeing this correctly, I’m knitting 2×2 ribbing in Scheepjes Mohair Rhythm on 3mm needles. I’m definitely a masochist when it comes to knitting. It can’t be insane enough, but I’m honestly starting to have doubts about my sanity. See this is the problem: the ribbing looks really nice in this yarn, it’s very fuzzy, but you can clearly see the ribbing. On the other hand it’s really hard to see what you’re actually knitting while knitting. The K’s look like P’s and the P’s look like K’s. It’s really very frustrating if you’re knitting this in between other things and while talking to other people. This is something you need to have good lighting for and a bit of focus (which I don’t have right now). So right now the progress on this thing is a bit slow, but that’s ok so long as there’s progress 🙂
Say hello to Scheepjes Bloom. This is a pure cotton yarn that’s super airy because it’s knit. I’m going to use this to crochet an Avalon top. I started one a very long time ago, but I used the wrong kind of yarn and I wasn’t really looking forward to the project from the beginning. This yarn will look much better and have an amazing stitch definition, so I think it will be a better choice for this top.
I haven’t mentioned it on the blog yet, but there’s two amazing indie dyers from Utrecht whose yarn I’m allowed to sell in the shop. One of those indie dyers (Chestnut Cabin) has dyed two ah-ma-zing custom colors for the shop. One of which is the beautiful blues in this picture. I’m super sad because I forgot to bring the cards with me so I’m unable to write down the fiber combination, but there’s cashmere in here and it’s glorious. I’m going to use these two to rework my last pattern from 2014. I had designed a lace shawl/ cardigan but I wasn’t happy with the way it turned out. It was too big and it constantly fell off my shoulders (which sucked so much). So I reworked the charts and I’m now working on the new version. When it’s done there’s going to be kits and the pattern will (finally) be published on Ravelry as well. It totally feels like my knitting is kicking my ass to work harder haha 🙂
When I met Andrea for the first time she had these two neon yellow hanks of handdyed yarn with her. I fell so hard I had to have them both. I’m combining them with mohair rhythm to knit this adorable jacket for Ma’iq. The pattern is called Antoine and it’s a double sided jacket for boys (but I guess it would work for girls as well). I’m going to knit one side held double with the mohair and the handdyed, and the other side just using the handdyed. The mohair will make it somewhat wind-proof which is what we’ll need in Dutch fall and winter seasons 🙂
The last ball of yarn is a 600m light laceweight, royal alpaca, handdyed yarn (also by Chestnut Cabin). I’m going to knit myself a fall/ winter cardigan/ sweater for in the shop. I have two of them *winkwink*
So this concludes my plans and projects.. (lol as if), it only took me 3 days to write this post and I’m sure I’ve forgotten a whole lot of things, but now that most of the work is done I’m able to update more frequently again 🙂
Happy knitting 🙂 (also if you have any good suggestions for the Luca yarn please let me know, I’m really having a hard time deciding haha)