Mood Board Monday - Forest Floor

Floe Mitts, rust, bird, dodge truck, fiddleheads, TFA PureWash DK in Forest Floor.

Floe Mittsrust, birddodge truck, fiddleheads, TFA PureWash DK in Forest Floor.

So I'm a little late with this mood board. Forest Floor was the March Club colourway and I apologize for not posting this board at a time that would have made sense with the release of the colour and Club pattern (like, say, in March!) but better late than never right!? Forest Floor is very difficult for me to photograph. The skein looks decidedly brown, knit up it looks green. It's really a mix of both and just can't seem to decide which colour to be, which is always fun. A shape shifter! 

Starting Point Wrap

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Pattern: Starting Point by Joji Locatelli

Yarn: TFA PureWash Fingering in Crystal, (a Club colourway) Highlighter and Peacock. Purple Label Cashmere Sock in Seabreeze. The Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga in Blue Lobster.

Ravelry Project page here.

What an adventure!!! This was only my second time ever doing a mystery knit along (MKAL) and I have to admit, it took a lot out of me. I was fully committed to it. I knit each clue within a few days of it's release every week. I looked forward to the next clue coming out and seeing what we would be doing next. We all know that I struggled with my colour selection for this project but once I had my scheme nailed down I knew that there was no direction this wrap could go in that I wouldn't love. This palette is just SO TANIS and makes me very happy. 

Starting Point Wrap knit by Tanis Fiber Arts

Going in to this project, I knew that we were knitting a rectangular wrap and I had assumed that we'ed be starting at one end and working our way to the other, knitting bands and stripes of colour. I was expecting something kinda like Joji's 3 Color Cashmere Cowl design. When we instead started off by knitting 2 triangles I was immediately intrigued! I love a MKAL that throws a few curve balls your way. That's where all the fun comes from! You think you know what direction you're going in and then bam, full 180! If I'm being completely honest, out of the 5 clues I'd say that clues 1 and 5 were really the only curve balls, clues 2, 3 & 4 were quite similar, which made clue 5 all the more exciting! Would I have liked a few more curve balls or unexpected twists and turns thrown my way during the process? Yes. However, there is a fine line between designing a pattern that keeps the knitter constantly on her toes and designing a pattern that is so full of "excitement" that the results are disorganized and chaotic. In this case, those less exciting clues resulted in a beautifully balanced design. 

The thing that I am most pleasantly surprised about is just how wearable this warp is! As I was knitting this I was thinking that it may end up too big and bulky to be practical for me, but I was completely wrong. The proportions are lovely, even on my small frame. I wore it to the park with the kids to take these FO shots and half expected to have to take it off in order to do any actual playing but it didn't get in the way at all! I pushed the kids on the swings, spun Micah around in this weird spinny chair thing they have at our park, climbed under this rope contraption to rescue Micah a few times, all the while wearing this elegant wrap. Come the colder months I could definitely see myself wrapping this bad boy around my neck a few times for the ultimate cozy winter scarf. 

This was truly an enjoyable knitting experience that resulted in a truly beautiful piece of knitting. I'll admit, the mystery aspect - though really the main focus of this whole experiment - is hard for me. I don't think that it's my preferred way of knitting colourwork projects. Though I am completely in love with my new wrap, there are a few colour placement tweaks that I would have made had I known what I was doing ahead of time. Actually, maybe, maybe not. Maybe I'm overthinking it. I love knitting with colour and generally devote a lot of energy to arranging colours in exactly the order that I want them in, veering a way from that and losing a bit of control is arguably a really good thing for me to do once in a while. I wasn't able to successfully push myself out of my comfort zone when it came to colour selection, but maybe going outside my comfort zone in terms of colour placement is enough for one project! Baby steps. ;)

Did you KAL? I think that my favourite part about the whole thing was knitting the same pattern with so many thousands of knitters all over the world at the same time. It's incredible isn't it? KAL's really are more about the community, a gorgeous FO is the cherry on top!

What should we KAL next? 

My current favourite picture!

My current favourite picture!

Mood Board Monday - My Starting Point Palette

The knitting project that his been dominating the past 5 weeks of my life is officially complete! I'm working on a full blog post with all my thoughts and lots more photos but for today I wanted to celebrate this fabulous palette! It took a bit of trial and error to settle on it, but once I did I knew I had made the right call. Turquoise with a pop of neon is a scheme that will always work for me. Happy Monday!

Life Lately

Life has been busier than ever lately. Some of it was expected and some of it took us by surprise. Last month's Dyed To Order Update has kept our minds and hands occupied, which is just what we needed. I'm very confident that I should be able to have all remaining orders in the mail by next week, we're so close to wrapping it all up! I'm going to miss having an office overflowing with gorgeous speckled skeins! All the more reason to wrap this up and move on with the next update/excuse for me to play around with beautiful yarn. Thanks for making this my job guys, really, I love it so much!

I shared a few very personal things over on my Instagram account last week. I often battle with just how much of myself I want to share online, knowing where to draw the line can be tough. For years I've struggled personally with infertility. When I first found out that I would never be able to have children naturally I was devastated (obviously). A very close friend of mine suggested that I open up about it on the blog, that it might help to share, and at the time I thought that I would never, EVER, be able to do that. Nothing that anyone could say would help. Everything stung. Even the well meaning comments (and they're all well meaning, nobody sets out to hurt to infertile lady) were a reminder of my pain. I don't know what changed last week, but all of a sudden I felt like I was ready to share a little bit about my story. Infertility is so heavy. I think that I was probably ready to talk about it a few years ago but I couldn't figure out how to bring it up gracefully. A blog post titled "I'm infertile"? I couldn't think of a way to say everything I felt I had to say about what it's like to not be able to conceive in one blog post. So I didn't, and instead I did a short but precise Instagram post about it. And it feels amazing! The comments, the feedback, I get so overwhelmed with positivity every time I think about that one little post. Sharing is amazing. 

One of the main reasons I wanted to share my fertility issues is because I know that from the outside it looks like I've got it real easy. I had my first baby at 28 years old, 2 years later, right on schedule I had my second baby. It certainly didn't look like I was having a hard time. In my case I was lucky that I found out that I would never be able to conceive naturally very young (I was 27). In my case I was also VERY lucky that there was just one very specific issue (a fallopian tube issue and I ended up having surgery to have them removed. Without fallopian tubes there is zero chance of getting pregnant naturally) and once the fallopian tubes were removed I was a very good candidate for IVF. In the grand scheme of infertility, I consider myself very lucky. 

I could go on and on about the ups and downs (we've experienced a lot of both) and how we've dealt with it all but right now I just felt like I wanted to put it out there and that's enough. We're still trying to grow our family and this year things haven't been working out quite as easily, but we're still trying. It involves lots of doctors appointments, ultrasounds, needles, procedures... but it's all worth it. I'm not ready to give up just because it's hard. Mentally it takes up a lot of space, and it deserves to. Knitting helps. ;)

On Monday June 12th Chris and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. We weren't able to do anything special, we didn't even get to snap our annual photo, but hopefully things will settle down and we'll be able to make it up this weekend. Chris summed it up pretty perfectly in his instagram post

7 years ago today... we had a clean house and ate in restaurants. We really messed that up, but I've never been happier in my life.

Yup, that's us! 

Mood Board Monday - Orange Blossom

Bright, cheerful, undeniably summery. Orange Blossom is our favourite sweet and peppy orange shade. Orange can be a polarizing colour. Searching through my own collection of projects using Orange Blossom was interesting. Unsurprisingly to me I tend to favour it when used in combination with lots of other colours. It plays so well in a rainbow! I'm Are you an orange person?

Truss Shawl Pattern

Truss Shawl by Tanis Fiber Arts

The May Club colourway, Flox, was fully mood-boarded yesterday and so today, VOILA! the May Club pattern! This year the patterns are not exclusive to Club members, Truss is available on Ravelry already, but as a Club member the pattern is included as part of your membership. Hooray!

I love designing for the Club because it motivates me to flesh out ideas I'm playing around with in bite size, single skein projects. I've been wanting to design a shawl with fringe for some time and since it's a perfect Club project (single skein - check!) the Club deadline was just the incentive I needed to get the ball rolling and see this idea through. And guys, I love it! This is my favourite shawl. I know that I've been going on about the joys of massive shawls recently, and though they are special, there is just nothing like a single skein project to create the perfect, totally wearable, spring and fall shawl. 

Truss Shawl by Tanis Fiber Arts

How fun is that fringe!? I love it. I want to put fringe on everything. 

Truss Shawl by Tanis Fiber Arts

TFA Year In Colour Club memberships are available all year long. It's not to late to sign up! Join now and you'll receive your January, March and May skeins along with the next batch of shipments in July. 

 

Indian Summer

Indian Summer knit by Tanis Fiber Arts

Pattern: Indian Summer by Amy Miller

Yarn: TFA PureWash Fingering in Natural, Trinity (a Club colourway from last year) and Red Label Cashmere/Silk Single in Paisley. 

Ravelry Project page here.

I am thrilled to announce that knitting a fingering weight, positive ease, long sleeve, hip length sweater is nowhere near as daunting as I had expected it to be. I have admired and then immediately removed from consideration many beautiful fingering weight sweater patterns because I thought that they were going to be "just too much knitting". Typing that out feels really silly because I clearly love to knit, but I always thought that I would get bored, or that it would take too long, or that I just wouldn't finish it. But then I knit Find Your Fade and realized that that line of thinking is poppycock. I used more yardage in that shawl then I did in this sweater. I have a whole new outlook on sweater knitting and I'm so excited about it! 

This is the very first Amy Miller pattern I've knit and I feel like I've only just scratched the surface of her beautiful pattern collection! She's got so many perfectly detailed classic designs. I just love her style. The pattern is very well written and concise, which I appreciate. It's only 4 pages, including the cover page and a decent sized chart and legend. For a sweater that's concise! At fist I wondered if it was going to lack detail but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was just right. I think that many designers (including myself) are guilty of adding in way too much information in patterns, or being too wordy, which can sometimes lead to unnecessary confusion for the knitter. I like Amy's clear and concise style. 

The above two photos highlight my two favourite things about this sweater design (other than the fit which I modified ever so slightly for more positive ease) the beautiful lace hem detail and those stripes at the shoulder! I love a good drop shoulder and the way the stripes are handled in the shoulder shaping is just perfection. I opted to graft the front and back shoulders together using kitchener stitch whereas the pattern specifies a 3 needle bind off. I think that the 3 needle bind off is technically the better choice and would result in a crisper line, but while I can kitchener stitch with my eyes closed I can't do a 3 needle bind off to save my life! I tried and the results were tight, puckered, and straight up not attractive. It just didn't work. So I did what I was comfortable with and I'm happy with the results. 

Indian Summer knit by Tanis Fiber Arts

Like all multicoloured projects it took me a while to settle on a colour palette for this sweater. A three-colour palette is my sweet spot in the sense that there are literally limitless options! I definitely find that the best way to settle on a colour palette is to start narrowing down your options right away. In this case I decided that I wanted a subtle lace hem colourway. Lots of the FO's of this sweater on Ravelry have a very high contrast, poppy lace colour but I decided that I wanted something softer. Next up, keeping with the softer theme I opted for a tone on tone stripe. These stripes definitely still pop, but it's pink on pink rather than something like black and white. That helped to narrow my options down a bit, but in the end what sold me on this palette was the Paisley colourway. It's sensational. It's a pink/coral/red shade with speckles of every colour of the rainbow. I find myself just staring at those flecks when I'm wearing this sweater. It's hard to capture in photos, but I think you can spot them right?

There is nothing softer or easier to wear than a lovely, drapey lightweight sweater. The fit and style of this sweater reminds me of my beloved Wolf River. For years I've favoured a more tailored and trim silhouette, but there is definitely room in my sweater wardrobe for plenty more of these easy breezy shapes. 

Happy Birthday Micah!

Happy Birthday Micah!

Happy 2nd birthday to my sweet baby boy! I can't believe it. I just can't. Two is big. I still call him my baby, but the truth is he is very much a little boy now. He blew out the 2 candles on his birthday cake like it was no big deal. He plays with hockey sticks and shovels and cars. Those seem like boy things to do, not baby things. He scream/giggles "no more kisses" when I try to smother him in kisses. He strips down fully nude whenever he gets the chance. He colours, he sings, he dances. Big boy stuff, right? I'm very proud of my big boy, but I know I'm not fooling any of you, he'll always be my baby. 

Handspun Crazyheart

Crazyheart by Tanis Fiber Arts

Pattern: Crazyheart by Tanis Lavallee (me!)

Yarn: TFA handspun for the yoke and TFA PureWash DK in Rose Grey and Chris Grey for the body. 

Ravelry Project page here.

I started this little sweater as part of the CrazyCamaroKAL we hosted earlier this year. For such a sweet and quick little knit I sure let it drag on. For ages it was missing just 1 sleeve and when I sat down and finally finished it I think it took all of about 1.5 hours, tops. I know exactly what was making me procrastinate on picking this up and giving it the final push... I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to get the entire sweater out of 1 skein of Rose Grey and that I'd have to crack into a second skein for just a few yards. It's a ridiculous thing to make me get derailed, after all, I had set aside 2 skeins of Rose Grey precisely for this purpose, but something inside me just did not want to find out that I was going to be so close yet just short. In the end, I did run out of my first skein half way through the ribbing on the second sleeve, so literally 3 tiny rounds from the end. I refused to break into a second skein for such a minimal amount of yardage and was all set to turn it into a feature and use the Chris Grey for the second cuff when I realized that I had some leftover Rose Grey in Yellow Label just sitting there on my leftover yarn wall. It's not an absolutely perfect match, but it's definitely good enough! 

When I pointed it out to Chris has said (like he always does) that that's exactly the type of thing that he loves about hand made garments. And he's so right. Nothing too perfect, always a little signature, a reminder that this was made by a human. I love that. 

This sweater is so super cute and I love how pretty the handspun is in the yoke. I also love the combination of Rose Grey and Chris Grey! I've made 3 striped Crazyhearts and for all 3 I've opted for a very low contrast stripe and I'm a big fan. If you converted this image to black and white I bet you'd barely see the stripes, but that's what I like, colourwork doesn't always have to be loud to be impactful.  

Crazyheart by Tanis Fiber Arts

I have loads of this handspun left which is a thrill because I love it. I think I'm going to set some time aside very soon to do some spinning. I haven't spun in 2 years!!! I know that for certain because Micah will be 2 next week and I haven't gotten any spinning done since the week before he was born when I went on a massive (for me) spinning kick. Micah is a sweetheart but he is not the kind of kid that can be trusted around roving...  

Joji's Mystery Wrap - My Palette(s)

Before I dive too deeply into all my planned chat about the drama involved in choosing my palette for Joji's Mystery Wrap KAL, I wanted to take a moment to send out 1 million virtual hugs to all of our amazing customers, old and new, who stopped by on Sunday and participated in our Mother's-Day-Dyed-To-Order-Speckled-Extravaganza-Update. We're going to have a very busy month and we're so excited about it. Thank you! 

Jodi's Mystery Wrap Palette

So, Joji's Mystery Wrap. Where to begin! First of all, are you knitting it? I was on the fence only because it's a big commitment to dive into a 5 week long, 5 skein, mystery project without any guarantee that you're going to like to results. But then I cheated and snuck a peek at the spoiler thread in her Ravelry group and saw some very speedy knitter's progress and I was hooked! It's so cool. Why I ever doubted Joji I don't know. I swear I'll never doubt her again. So then it came time to pick a palette. I talked my mom into knitting it as well so she came over and we started going through all our options. I brought out my bin of coveted/hoarded purchased fingering weight yarn (not to be confused with my bin of coveted/hoarded dyed-by-TFA fingering weight yarn) because this seemed like the perfect project to finally put a few of those stashed skeins to good use. After much deliberation mom and I each picked a palette:

Mom chose the top palette: Crystal, Atlas, Blueberry Burst, Rose Grey and a long stashed skein of The Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga in The Very Quiet Cricket. 

I chose the bottom palette: Iris-esque, Brick, Hedgehog Fibres Sock in Glazed, Caramel and Sand.

We had each chosen a star and built the palette around it, which is a really good way to build a palette in my opinion. Mom's star is Blueberry Burst and my star was Glazed (both pictured in the bottom left of our respective stacks.) I know, you're all totally blown away by my palette. It's so outside my comfort zone! I acknowledge that yet I was fully committed to branching out and trying something new. I wholeheartedly love this palette. It's so rich and beautiful and would make an amazing wrap... but... not for me. It's just not me and I wasn't comfortable or confident knitting with it. I knit an 1/2 of Clue 1 and wasn't sold on my colour placement but thought that maybe I just needed to rearrange the colours. So I started over with a different colour placement and still felt very lukewarm about it. Check out this instagram post to see this palette knit up (you'll have to scroll through a few images to get to it).

So I admitted defeat and went back to the drawing board with a clearer understanding of what would make me happy. When I looked deep into my heart the answer was clear: turquoise

Highlighter, the Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga in Blue Lobster, Crystal, Seabreeze and Peacock.

Highlighter, the Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga in Blue Lobster, Crystal, Seabreeze and Peacock.

So I picked my all time favourite palette and started fresh and I'm so happy that I did because now I know that I am going to love this wrap. Ravelry project page with a spoiler pick of my progress so far knit up in this palette here

I've started a thread in our TFA Ravelry group for us to have our own little KAL within the KAL. 

Are you in? Have you chosen your colours? Was it as hard for you as it was for me?