Blogs I love, Knitting

A Big Welcome to Guest Blogger Borghildur!

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!

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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.

baby set

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.

baby bunny

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.

sjonvarpssokkar hat and mitten sheep sets

traditional icelandic mitts traditional icelandic scarfs

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.

handknit bag

my own design for knit and felted handbags more knit and felted hats and mitts

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.

knitting on giant needles

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!

baby dress

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:

bogga mittens bogga cowl

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 🙂

Bogga

Family, Knitting

All About Miss Fox

Progress and photos of Miss Fox have been scattered through several different posts, so I thought I would bring them together for you here…

yarn for miss fox

For Miss Fox, I’m using Cascade Yarns Cascade 220 in a lovely rusty brown, cream, and black (for ear and tail tips!).

Her dress will be the Knit Picks Shine Sport in cream with light pink and bright Spring green accents!

  

I started with Miss Fox’s head. Here I’m getting ready to attach her ears…

  

… and embroider her cute little face! I believe her ears are my favorite! 

  

Next, I made her body…

  

It was a beautiful day for anything, but especially for knitting!

  

This, by the way, is my favorite “nice weather” knitting spot, which I got to enjoy while knitting Miss Fox’s body and one of her feet!

  

Body finished! Now on to the feet…!

  

The feet are interesting…

  

…because you start at the bottom of the shoe, work up to the top and bind off…

  

…then pick up stitches…

  

  …for the little pink socks!

 

Foot finished! Now you pick up stitches for the leg…

  

…and of course, repeat, because Miss Fox needs two feet and two legs! 😉

Now it’s time to sew up the legs, stuff them, and attach them to the body! Perhaps next time you see her, Miss Fox may be all in one piece…! 😃

Family, Knitting, Uncategorized

Bunny Finished!

The Bunny is complete…

… and clothed!

Here is her little dress just finished…

front
back

I think her dotty pink dress is just the perfect final touch!

Although, when I make her a second dress, there is one thing I believe I will do differently…

… leave a hole for the adorable little tail!

Now, for a little fox…

yarn for miss fox
head and ears

Claire is making a gorgeous little elephant! Check out her blog for a peek!

Family, Knitting

Bunny Progress

The bunny has been growing!



two little feet

Two feet, ready for stuffing…



two little feet

Two little feet, finished and ready to go!



bunny



One little bunny, with head and legs attached…



little bunny

….and body stuffed!





Voila! Arms…



cute little tail


And tail!



cottontail

(Love that tail…)



happy bunny

I think bunny is very happy to be all in one piece now! 



start of a pink dotty dress


This week, Claire and I are working on dresses for the bunnies! 

Family

Vera

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My precious little niece, Vera Elisabeth, was born December 5th, 2014!

She’s just two months old now, the apple of her Mommy and Daddy’s eye, and treasured by the whole family!

Its a really good thing she’s super snuggly and loves to be held because we all adore her and are constantly waiting for our turn to hold her!

I have it on good authority that her orange Gullfoss Blanket is her favorite, which makes me so glad because whenever she is wrapped up in her blanket, she’s wrapped up in a warm loving hug from her doting Aunt Sarah! ❤️❤️❤️

Family, Knitting

Gullfoss Blanket for Baby

I’ve been doing alot of knitting for my little niece-to-be lately!

Just off my needles this morning is the Gulfoss Blanket by Karen S. Lauger.

gullfoss1

I used Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash. It’s a lovely light worsted weight 100% wool that can be machine washed (on cold) and dried (on cool), so it’s perfect for baby items – warm, soft, and washable!

gullfoss2

The color is called “Tangerine Heather,” and I love it! The brilliant orange makes me feel so happy!

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You start with a nice textured seed stitch border that continues up the sides of the blanket.

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There is also a very interesting horizontal stockinette stitch that functions as a second border before the cable stitch pattern starts.

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The cables are really fun to knit! They are not too hard but definitely keep things interesting! They form a beautiful textured pattern on both sides of the blanket, making it reversible!

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I found this post by Jaala Spiro extremely helpful because in it she teaches how to work cables without actually using a cable needle. Not having to use a cable needle is really nice because it allows you keep your rhythm flowing and unbroken.

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The small markers along one side there are the wonderful antiqued brass removable stitch markers from Fringe Supply Co.;

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I used them to mark each pattern repeat as I went so that it would be easy to count how many repeats I had done and how many I had left to go! This made keeping track of my progress really easy!

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Now I’m off to weave in the ends and block the blanket!

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What have you been working on lately? Feel free to share in the comments, we’d love to hear all about it! Have a lovely Labor Day weekend, Everyone!

 

Family, Knitting

Knitting for Baby

There will be a lovely new little niece joining our family circle this winter! (Joe and I absolutely love being Uncle and Aunt!)

Of course, I am totally taking advantage of this opportunity to knit lots of fun baby things – starting with this adorable bonnet, socks, and mitts set from Homespun Handknit by Linda Ligon.

It’s called the Bouncing Baby Set, pattern by Jean Scorgie. Ravelry notes here.

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Isn’t it absolutely adorable!! (It’s really hard not to squeal in my head when I write/think that… 🙂

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I really love the yarn – it’s Tosh Merino Light, by Madelinetosh, which means it is a 100%  superwash merino wool! This makes it super soft and warm as well as washable – perfect for baby things!

I also love how its a single ply – it knits up so soft and cushy in the garter stitch… and I LOVE the color – it’s a gorgeous variegated green called “Lowland,” and it’s hand-dyed!

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So, I made the little bonnet first!

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The construction is really interesting. You knit it flat, shaping it with increases and decreases just two stitches in from the edge.

Then you sew the back edges together and voila! Adorable baby bonnet!

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I think it looks a bit like a tulip… So cute!

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And the little baby knee socks are even cuter – if that’s at all possible!

You knit them flat using short rows to shape the foot, and then sew up the bottom of the foot and back of the leg!

I think it’s so clever how they curve over the little knee area to help them stay on…

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And LOOK at these tiny baby mitts! No thumbs to worry about! And the cute little ties are adjustable and removable if need be…

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These are so overwhelmingly adorable that I may have to get another skein of Tosh Merino Light in another gorgeous hand-dyed color and make a second set …

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One thing’s for sure: Little niece will be braving the winter in the best cute and cuddly style!

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What are some of your favorite baby knits? Do you have something fabulous on the needles for a special little someone in your life right now? We’d love to hear…

Health, Knitting

Great Intentions

When I was preparing for sinus surgery a few weeks ago, I thought, “Great! I’ll have lots of time for knitting during the weeks that the doctor told me I have to stay in and rest while I recover, right?!”

Wrong.

I have learned five things about knitting and recovering from surgery:

1) They put this gel stuff in your eyes to protect the corneas from scratches. I’m extremely grateful for this as I prefer that my corneas remain scratch-free! However, I learned that one should not expect to read or knit for several days after as the gel also makes it difficult to focus the eyes and it takes awhile for the gel to wear off.

2) Surgery has the general effect of leaving one deeply exhausted and in need of large quantities of sleep. Also, one gets tired very easily, needing to go back to sleep rather frequently. This depressing lack of energy leaves one with very little knitting time.

3) Effective pain medications intensify both of the above, and are a temporary necessity of life.

4) Patience is definitely a virtue, and I’m now looking forward to being recovered from surgery so I can get back to my knitting! Flexibility is also a virtue and sometimes we need to adjust our intentions/expectations to deal with reality. 🙂

5) I’m very grateful for Ravelry and Pinterest where I can appreciate the knitting of others while I’m practicing being patient and flexible! Here are a few finds that have been making me smile:

Gorgeous baby booties, pattern by Saartje de Bruijn available on Ravelry; these particular booties knitted by Leah. These are definitely going in my queue!

Saartje's Bootees
Saartje’s Bootees

 

This adorable knitted lamb is too cute for words! The pattern is adapted from “Tiger with Dress” by Barbara Prime; knitted by fuzzymitten on Ravelry.

Wooly Lamb
Wooly Lamb

 

These Baby Bunny Booties made me squeal with delight when I saw them! They are definitely going into my queue in preparation for future nieces and nephews! Pattern by Sylvia Leake on Ravelry.

Bunny Baby Booties
Baby Bunny Booties

 

How clever! Baby Mitts with no thumbs to worry about! These are definitely going into my queue! Designed by Susan B. Anderson, you can find them on Ravelry here, and the free pattern at spudandchloe.com (just scroll down the page a bit to find the Baby Mitts pattern).

Baby Mitts
Baby Mitts

 

Love this gorgeous Leafy Baby Sweater by Renata Brenner! The lacey leaf stitch pattern is stunning!

Leafy Baby Sweater
Leafy Baby Sweater

 

I’ve recently become obsessed with hand knit washcloths, and these Vintage Hankie Washcloths by Julie Tarsha are too cute for words! I know just the friend to make them for!

Vintage Hanky Washcloth
Vintage Hankie Washcloth

 

I’ve never made a Tea Cozy before. Stinkymum on Ravelry has provided fabulous instructions on how to make a Proper English Tea Cozy! I definitely think its time I gave it whirl!

Proper English Tea Cozy
Proper English Tea Cozy

 

And someday (when I have all my energy back, of course!) I’m totally going to make the gorgeous Rona Lace Shawl by Anna Marie Jensen… I’ve never made a round shawl like this before and I’d love to learn how!

Rona Lace Shawl
Rona Lace Shawl

 

What’s been making you smile lately? Please share in the comments, we’d love to see!