Pretty Corners Vol. 11

I love my humble little home office. Don't get me wrong, I hate the carpet! There are a ton of things that I would change if I had time, energy and a plan. I think that a big part of the reason why I don't do anything about sprucing up my office is because I know that any room that is overflowing with yarn is already a winner. I've been toiling away winding mini skeins this week. Lots of work, but oh so photogenic!

WIP Wednesday - Tartan-esque Truss Shawl

The top photo up there was the listing shot I used a few years back for a small batch of Blue Label fingering weight yarn in a colourway I had called "Too Tartan". I don't really feel like the colourway name makes any sense because it's not really an amped up version of Tartan at all. It's Tartan-esque... anyways, I've been hoarding a single skein from the batch for years and finally found the perfect project for it. I'm making a Truss shawl! It's going to be just right for fall. The colourway is knitting up beautifully. This is such a lovely project. Soothing and meditative with just enough excitement every 4th row to keep things interesting. I've just crossed the half way point and am already looking forward to unravelling all that beautiful fringe!

Whatcha working' on?  

Seabreeze Saco Stripes

Saco Stripes knit by Tanis Fiber Arts

Pattern: Saco Stripes by Pam Allen

Yarn: Quince & Co. Sparrow in Moon and TFA Silver Label Mulberry Silk in Seabreeze.

Ravelry Project page here.

Mods: Knit the top in Seabreeze - a simple colour blocking mod that I like a lot. Modified the neckline shaping A TON in order to get a proper fit. Straps are wider and shorter. Finished neckline edges with icord edging.

Today I'm going to tell the story of the photoshoot that should have been. I had been putting off photographing and posting about this FO for a while because I had a vision of super cute FO shots that we'ed take at an ice cream shop. I'd order a pretty and photogenic ice cream cone, probably with sprinkles, I'd sit on a picnic table in the shade and look effortlessly chic and summery in my new hand knit top that just happened to coordinate beautifully with my ice cream. But time was running out, we would be leaving for vacation in a few days and had lots to do to prepare and taking a mid-morning ice cream break just wasn't a priority. We took these photos, which I'll admit I think are fine but not fantastic, in the office while I was toiling away. It took all of 2 minutes and didn't disrupt the day at all. Fine.

That same afternoon I ended up getting a spontaneous hair cut. I wanted a trim before heading out of town for nearly a month and my stylist could fit me in, so I took the appointment. Then, that evening, with freshly cut and styled hair, Chris suggested we treat the boys to an after supper ice cream! So there I sat, on a picnic table, eating my lovely and photogenic cone of soft serve, wearing my pretty new top and looking my best rocking a professionally styled hairdo... but with no camera. We all enjoyed our ice cream, I laughed with Chris over the irony of how the day had turned out and we went home. Imagine that the photoshoot had worked out ok? Picture me holding this ice cream cone in these pics. 

So... about this tank! Now that it's complete I really love it. It's incredibly comfortable. It was my first time knitting with linen and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I love the finished fabric and am very happy with the finished garment. I'll definitely be knitting more linen tops in the future, but I will probably not knit this pattern again because it gave me trouble and I did so many mods to the neckline in order to make it fit and of course I didn't take proper notes because by the time I got it right it was the third attempt and I was so over it. Obviously... now I wish that I had kept those notes.

Both the linen and the silk yarns that I was working with are quite unforgiving. After several failed attempts I ended up finishing the neckline openings with an applied icord edging. It was impossible to get it looking completely neat and tidy and I ended up closing a lot of gaps around the neck opening with duplicate stitch - which worked out super well. It tightened up the loose and gaping stitches that looked messy and resulted in a very neat and properly finished look. Despite the icord edging the edges do curl in a little bit, but I can live with it. 

Saco Stripes fails

Aye Yai Yai! I kind of  can't believe that I'm at a point in my life where I feel comfortable posting a photo of myself looking like that on the internet. Actually, I guess I'm not that comfortable with it because I started this paragraph with Aye Yai Yai! I felt like I had to share because these photos illustrate the issues with my first 2 attempts. Attempt #1 on the left has the neckline done exactly as written in the pattern, which frankly seems unlikely since the result looks nothing like those of the pattern shots. Why are the straps so thin!? In attempt #2 on the right my mods were too aggressive and the neckline ended up too snug. You can also see all the puckering and gaping I was having with the applied icord edging around the neckline. I was about ready to give up. I'm glad that I didn't. I'm not typically a perfectionist and I can live with something even if it's not perfect. I'm also not above putting a knit aside if it's just not working out, but I decided to give this tank one last go and it finally worked! I had made one version too big, one version too small, clearly the third version would come out just right. And it did. Huzzah!

Saco Stripes knit by Tanis Fiber Arts

My handmade summer wardrobe is still very small, but having a few special pieces to rotate in among my basic t-shirts feels like a big step. Handmade every day!

And we're BACK!!!

The shop is open, fully stocked and ready for orders! I'll be making more Mini Sock Yarn Skein Sets as soon as I can. Also, stay tuned for a What The Fade update soon, because... how could I not!?

What a month! This summer we spent a glorious 23 days at the cottage (including 2 travel days). The first week was rough as we all decompressed, got into vacation mode and came up with a game plan for how to deal with the fact that Micah is NOT a good sleeper - not great at home and absolutely terrible away from home - we were zombies! We worked out a system that involved me sleeping in the bottom bunk in Rowan's room and Micah spending most of the night kicking Chris in the head in "our" bed. Good times! 

Despite the sleepless nights, we are miraculously refreshed. I love our little slice of paradise more than anything and feel so incredibly lucky that I'm able to bring my kids back to the place that shaped me every summer. Rowan and I cried as we drove away from the shore, heartbroken that our time there was over for another year, but grateful for the memories we made this summer.

Every year when we return from the cottage I realize that I subconsciously missed something about our regular life at home that I didn't think I would. Last year it was my collection of coffee mugs, I was so happy to see them upon our return! This year it was our bathroom. We all share 1 bathroom and though it's not glamorous, it's so lovely to take 5 minutes to myself in the morning and evening for a little bit of self care. Somehow I fell out of that routine while away and didn't realize how much I missed it.

Though I brought yarn for 4 projects with me, I didn't knit a stitch while I was away! That happens to me sometimes while I'm on vacation, I don't do it intentionally, but sometimes I think my mind just needs to not think about knitting for a bit. That might sound crazy to some, but I'm sure it's healthy. I devoured 3.5 books (much of my reading time would have normally been spent knitting - I'm not comfortable knitting and reading at the same time, though what a game changer it would be if I was!) and I took an almost complete break from social media. Again, not intentional, it just kinda happened and was shockingly easy. I'm happily back to perusing Instagram in my spare moments and look forward to sharing more over there again starting very soon, but I do not regret the accidental break. 

The boys start back at daycare next week and Chris and I have started brainstorming for our next update and mapping out what our fall will look like. I'm looking forward to getting back to work and feeling productive. I hope you've all been enjoying your summer as much as we have! 

Mood Board Monday - Driftwood

The July Year In Colour Club colourway, Driftwood, is a really big deal to me. I have had most of the images used in today's mood board saved on my desktop for ages, years probably! I've been wanting to nail down the perfect barely blue/grey/beige beachy colourway forever and I finally feel like we've done it! Our July Driftwood colourway is smooth and calming and blue/grey/beige in all the right ways. This mood board is everything to me! Driftwood inspired the July Fluidity wrap design, which I'm equally proud of.

Fluidity Wrap and Scarf

Fluidity Wrap by Tanis Fiber Arts

Pattern: Fluidity wrap and scarf by Tanis Lavallée (me!)

Yarn: TFA PureWash Fingering in  Club exclusive Driftwood (wrap) and Fig (scarf). 

The Fluidity wrap and scarf pattern is the July offering from the Year In Colour Club. The pattern includes instructions for both a  single skein scarf version and a larger 2 skein wrap option. I can honestly say that I love both equally! I thought that I was favouring the wrap as I was knitting it, but then this lovely scarf swooped in and stole my heart. No need to pick a favourite.  

I find the rectangular shape of scarfs and wraps to be so incredibly easy to wear. I feel like recently ye old rectangle has gone by the wayside in favour of trendier shapes like triangles, crescents and cowls, but I've always had a soft spot for rectangles (though I do love triangles too... again, why bother trying to pick a favourite when it comes to knitting!?) This shape is just so easy to wrap around your neck and shoulders and I love how the curved hemline of Fluidity hugs my shape. It's full of texture and light as a feather - the perfect summer knit!

The Driftwood colourway featured in the wrap version shown above is exclusive to Club members, but the Fluidity pattern itself is available to all on Ravelry. 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 JanuaryMarchMay and July skeins along with the next batch of shipments in September. 

Mood Board Monday - Spearmint

Just look at that little Spearmint Sproutlette Dress up there! If you can't tell I'm kind of squealing as I type this. It's just so stinking' cute! Spearmint is a colourway that I found challenging to make a mood board for because it's got hints of both yellow and blue. Sourcing images that reflected all the nuances of the shade was hard, but I'm so happy with the soothing palette this mood board represents. 

Etsy Update Tomorrow + Summer Holidays!

We’ve got an Etsy Update coming at ya this Wednesday, June 28th at 2pm EST! You can find the Etsy shop right here. At precisely 2pm tomorrow afternoon it will be loaded with gorgeous speckled yarns and kits!

This week's update will feature a little bit of a lot of things. After last month's huge Dyed To Order Update we were left with a lots of odds and ends (we dye in consistent batch sizes regardless of how many skeins are sold in an attempt to maintain consistency within the colourways, which often/always leads to leftover skeins). Tomorrows update will include all of those leftover skeins as well as 2 brand new So Faded palettes that I'm quite excited about: Soft & Sunny and Watery Blues. Each bundle includes 5 full skeins of PureWash Fingering for $140. 

I’ve also put together 3-colour skein sets of Red Label Cashmere/Silk fingering weight yarn in gorgeous groupings. Each set will include 2 semi-solids from our permanent collection colourways and 1 superstar speckled colourway! I’m envisioning these sets being awesome for shawls since there are so many beautiful 3 colour shawl patterns out there, or, you could of course knit 3 separate projects with them. You've got to be open minded about colourways if you choose to purchase a Mystery Skein Trio. Returns will not be accepted based on colour preferences. Each set will be a surprise, and each will be made up of colourways that I would personally use together. Each trio includes 3 full skeins of Red Label for $114. 

On top of the kits we will also have lots of small batches and a few sweater quantities available in most of your favourite speckled colourways (and maybe a few new ones too!) It will feature mostly PureWash Fingering with a little bit of Purple Label, PureWash DK and PureWash Worsted thrown in for good measure. Due to the small batches it will probably be a pretty fast paced update, so if that's not your style, sit this one out and wait for the next one which will be when we get back from our summer holidays in August. 

Speaking of holidays... we're gearing up to take our summer break! We work all year for our summer re-fueling sessions at my family's cottage in Nova Scotia. The webshop will be closed and not accepting orders between July 5th and August 5th. 1 full month off! All orders placed before we close up shop will be processed and shipped asap.

TFA Summer Vacation

I love having a few very busy weeks before we head out east! I'm already getting a little antsy about what knitting I'm going to bring with me... Yikes!

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


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!