Today I’m super excited to introduce you to one of my favorite bloggers: Borghildur (Bogga) of knittinginfrance.com! I’ve been following her lovely blog for quite a while now, and I always find her posts interesting and inspiring! She writes about her life in France, her passion for the fiber arts (knitting and hand-dyeing yarns and wools in particular) and crafting by hand in general. Something I love about the way Bogga writes is how she shares her life and love of fiber arts in such a real and down to earth manner. She gives a glimpse into the normal and the everyday of a fellow fiber artist, and it’s a wonderful breath of fresh air!
Something else I truly admire about Bogga is the way she has turned her passion for knitting, handcrafting, and the fiber arts into her own small business – a way to support herself, doing what she loves! That takes a lot of courage, commitment, and hard work. Many of us (including myself) have dreamed of this; it’s so exciting to see Bogga putting it into action every day! You can visit her blog, knittinginfrance.com, by clicking here; and you can visit her Etsy shop by clicking here.
And now for the piece by Bogga – Enjoy!
THE PASSION THAT GREW OR HOW I WENT FROM BEING “JUST” A KNITTER TO SELLING ONLINE
Hi, my name is Borghildur or Bogga as I’m known to most people. I’m Icelandic and I live in France. First off, I’d like to thank Sarah for allowing me to participate in her blog by writing a guest post, and thank you for taking the time to read my words.
So today I’m going to talk about this passion that grew from general interest to something much bigger and totally consuming. Knitting!
If you are reading this blog, I’m guessing that you too are a knitter and maybe also a crocheter and even a spinner and thus understand how this passion can be overpowering 🙂
So to begin at the beginning, as a child in Iceland, I learned to knit (among other crafts) at school and I thought that was nice and my mother enjoyed knitting so she would help me out also. I would knit simple things like garter stitch hanger covers or scarfs. When I became an adolescent I lost interest in crafts and knitting and it wasn’t until I became pregnant with my first child that I really got back to knitting. At the beginning of my pregnancy I lived in France where access to knitting supplies and just general interest in the craft was almost non existent! I did however manage to source some yarn by mail order and also bought some magazines with patterns. At the time I did both knit and crochet and my supplies were either Phildar or Bérgère de France (you may know these brands). Then we moved to Iceland for a couple of years and I continued to knit on a regular basis. Then we moved back to France in 1999 and haven’t left since. When I came back knitting was still almost unknown though I did make friends with 1 person who knit like me! That was exceptional.
I think everything changed when I fell pregnant with my third child. I took time off from work to be a stay at home mom but still wanted to be active and do things. I also had this dream of making my own living and doing something I love and so I looked into selling my hand knits. I actually made 3 contacts with shops that agreed to buy and sell my hand knits. I did also do some commission knitting for individuals – those were only baby clothes.
As for the three shops, one was a shop in downtown Reykjavik, Iceland, that sold baby items and for them I crocheted softies/toys for small babies. That went on for about a year but as the crocheted toys did not sell as well as expected I stopped doing them.
Then there was the souvenir shop at the National Museum of Iceland. I worked with them for about 2 years. I would knit accessories out of Icelandic wool, loop and lett loop. Accessories for adults and children. I would mostly use traditional patterns and colour work and I really enjoyed knitting those and was super proud that my handiwork was being sold at the National Museum.
Here are some picture to give you an idea of the items I knit for them.
Then there was an independently owned and run souvenir shop in downtown Reykjavik, Iceland, and for them I mostly did knit and felted accessories. What I was most proud of there were my handbags that I designed and knit and felted for them only. I used Kuoni yarn (Estonian) and even though that was not Icelandic those did sell well.
So this was really the beginning of me trying to turn my love of knitting into something that could bring me income. I soon realised that selling finished goods was not a viable solution. When you have shop contracts thats good but when selling to individuals, it is very difficult to get a valid price for your work and materials. And for shops, well if your things sell well, you need to find the time to fulfil incoming orders. So I abandoned this idea.
However this had opened up my mind to so many other things fibre related and I began to document myself. I would buy a gazillion books and read and learn about all sorts of knitting techniques, fibres, tools, selling techniques and so forth. I began knitting constantly, every chance I had. Here’s a picture of me knitting on my extreme knitting needles which I found quite interesting, although due to the size of the needles I always felt that I was not really knitting as the movements are not the same.
In 2011 I suffered a back injury and was out of work for a year. During that time I seriously thought about how I could turn this passion and new knowledge into a job with an income. I began dyeing yarn (which I LOVE doing) and then later on I learned to spin (also a huge passion for me).
And that is when I launched my online knitting shop which I still enjoy running. I developed a passion for making stitch markers and knitting needle holders and sell those in my shop. And I even tried a little designing only I didn’t actually write down the patterns like I should! I wish I had!! I designed a cowl and fingerless mittens and those I did write down but the super cute baby dress that has received lots of compliments…. I did not write that one down!
Isn’t that cute? I used my own hand dyed yarn as well 🙂
And the cowl and mittens also knit with my hand dyed yarns:
So as you can see I’ve come a long way from my child hood garter stitch scarfs. I’m constantly trying to learn more about fibre and yarn, how they can be worked, what the quality of each one is, how to best dye or knit them. I’m also progressing as a spinner and a hand dyer and maker of accessories. I really love what I do and as of recently I have started blogging as well as upped the ante on my social media presence and that is a great way to share my passion with others and continue to learn and help others on their way to more learning as well.
When I look over my “career” in the knitting business, what I love most is the actual knitting and spinning. Knitting has also introduced to me to a lot of interesting likeminded people and that is a great perk and knitters/crocheters are just such nice people as we all know 🙂
I hope you enjoyed reading about how my passion went from knitting garter stitch hanger covers to where I’m at now. If you too have dabbled in selling your work or if you have become obsessed with learning everything there is to learn about knitting/spinning/crocheting/dyeing I’d love to hear about your experience.
That’s all. thank you for reading 🙂