My main knitting project these days is a secret sweater that I'm knitting for Chris for Christmas. It's actually not so secret, he knows that he's getting a sweater and he sees me working away on it in the evenings, but I'm going to try and keep some of the details from him until the very end. When I need a break from that I sneak in a few rows on the gorgeous border of my French Cancan that I'm knitting up in the Gift Bundle colourway Milkyway. I'm crazy about how this colourway is knitting up! It's light and cheerful and a little bit bright, but not too much... just so lovely. I am having a heck of a time with the border lace though! Maybe because I'm not knitting on it often enough to get into a proper groove with it, I have made so many mistakes already. Fingers crossed that blocking somehow miraculously corrects all my little glitches?
About two and half years ago I came across the work of weaver Maryanne Moodie online and fell instantly in love. I travelled to Brooklyn to attend one of her now famous workshops and blogged all about the life changing experience here. I know that sounds dramatic, but I swear, as someone who works alone, in my house, with my kids most of the time, it was an incredibly inspiring experience to get to talk with someone who is equally as passionate about her fiber craft as I am and who was able to open my eyes to a whole new way of looking at and working with my precious hand dyed yarns.
Fast forward to today and I am thrilled to be able to share this revelatory experience with all of you! We've put together a fabulous weaving kit which features all you need to get started weaving your own wall hangings. What better way to express your love of fiber and colour than to create an original work of art to proudly hang on your wall?
- 1 loom, handmade with sustainable timber by Loom & Spindle. Weaving area is approx. 13" x 9".
- 1 copy of Maryanne Moodie's modern weaver's guide, On The Loom.
- A variety of our yarns and colourways to complete your first weaving. Bases included are aran weight, chunky and bulky. See colourways in images below and written descriptions on kits page.
Sam and I had a blast creating our wall hangings when we did a mini workshop of our own right at my dining room table. I chose the Pink palette and Sam worked with the Blue palette. I love each of our interpretations. We scoured pinterest to come up with some inspirational images and baby, the sky is the limit! We've created a Weaving pinboard to help get you started. Trust me, once you start, your piece will take on a life of it's own and you will be delighted with each and every over/under/over/under motion of your needle. It's so much fun. I'm already itching to start a new one!
Are you as excited about this as I am? Have you ever tried weaving a tapestry? Are you hooked? And most importantly, what palette should I use for my next weaving?
It's that time of year again where we're all scrambling to knit gifts for our loved ones! Every year I go through the same internal struggle where I go back and forth over wether or not to knit gifts. This is me literally every day in December: "It's just a quick hat! I can totally do it. But if I knit one for her I should really knit something for her 2 sisters. I know, I'll knit them matching hats. Oh! Hat and mitt combos would be so cute, they'd be set for winter! I've been wanting to knit dad a vest for years, this is the year I'll do it, it's so fast, no sleeves! What the heck do I get my brother... socks are a small project, I can manage that right?" Over and over again until every evening when I eventually sit down and say out loud to Chris "I'm not knitting anything this year, tomorrow lets get serious about making a Christmas shopping list, ok?"
So, what does my lack of organization have to do with today's blog post? Good question. Nothing really. Just know that I feel for you and I admire all of you who manage to do any gift knitting whatsoever! Since we're just shy of a month away from Christmas and there is technically still plenty of time to knit a few gifts, I thought it would be the perfect time to remind you all that I have a few free patterns that might tick some boxes for you. My absolute favourite hat/mitt Christmas gift combo is my Grammy's hat and mitts set. Designed to use up odds and ends of worsted weight yarn they are a quick knit that don't break the bank since I highly encourage you to stash bust for this project. Easily modified to fit all head sizes (baby to adult) these hats are the perfect project for those looking for some fun, colourful knitted gifts.
Last week we packed up the kids and drove to Toronto for a lovely long weekend spent with family and friends. I didn't bring my good camera and apparently only took 3 photos the whole time we were there. We were staying with my cousin and there were tons of opportunities to take fun photos of the kids playing (my cousin has 3 kids that my boys adore!) or of their beautiful, recently renovated home... but that's just not my style. I take photos every single day in my own home but can't get into the habit of documenting moments that matter when I'm away. I'm working on it!
Toronto was awesome. I have been very weary about traveling with the kids and the fact that we all enjoyed this short trip is very encouraging. I might plan something a bit more ambitious for the spring! When I asked Rowan what his favourite part of the weekend was he didn't say the Aquarium (which was awesome) or his cousin's birthday party, or any of the other fun activities we did together, he said that his favourite part was Friday morning when he and Chris accompanied my cousin and her 3 kids on their walk to school. So sweet. My favourite part was getting to see my family, including my sister who lives in Toronto, and getting to see Julie! The last time we saw each other we each had 1 child, and they were wee! Now we both have a big kids and babies, and they are adorable!
I didn't knit a stitch while we were in Toronto, but I did knit quite a bit in the car. As a parent, I have a very real and very profound love of car knitting. It's one of the only times that I can just sit there and do nothing but knit. Sure, there are lots of breaks to reach back and hand out snacks or change the song we're listening to or answer questions about how much longer it's going to be etc, but for the most part it was 5.5 hours of sitting and knitting. It's the only way to make a long car ride with 2 young kids feel like a mini-vacation in and of itself. As long as you can tune out the whining, it's heaven.
Above are a few skeins I've set aside for the sweater I'm working on right now. It's going to be a good one!
This week's mood board came about when I realized that everything I'm into these days seems to include a french braid style cable and also happens to be in this beautiful grey/white/frost platte. It was just begging to be pulled together in a mood board! And he, beautiful cables in a soothing palette is a great way to start off the week. Happy Monday!
So, this is what you all want to know: this Thursday night, for a limited time only, I am re-listing unlimited inventory in every single one of our colourways in ALMOST every single one of our permanent collection bases AND THEN SOME!!!
Available colourways include all of the colourways on our COLOURS page.
Available bases include all of the bases on our YARNS page (with the exception of Silver Label Mulberry silk, sorry guys. It's truly out of stock!) INCLUDING our entire line of PureWash yarns: Fingering, DK, Worsted and Chunky. Woohoo!
This will be the first time we'll have the PureWash bases available in this format, order whatever colourway you fancy in whatever quantity you need! I'm excited to see what colours you pick. ;)
After I put the boys to bed on Thursday night I'll start listing all of the yarns on the site, expect to see them all there by about 9pm. I'll keep the shop fully stocked until Saturday morning. The Kits and Gifts section is also well stocked with Palettes, Mini Sock Yarn Skein sets, Mitten Kits in a bunch of new colourways and Gift Bundles.
This will be a dyed to order update, please allow about 3-4 weeks for us to get everything dyed and in the mail to you.
So, what do you think? Are you as excited as I am?
We put up our Christmas lights over the weekend! We probably won't turn them on regularly until after December 1st (Chris' rule!) but just the fact that they're up makes me happy. It also has me thinking about the holidays and our annual Boxing Day update! We're planning lots of cool things for this year's update. Last year the mystery sock skein sets were a big hit, so we'll definitely have lots more of those. I'm also hoping to feature lots of new OOAK colourways and am pretty inspired by these hot shades of yellow, orange, pink and purple right now.
I'd love to know what types of colours you'd like to see us experimenting with. Any special requests?
Good day friends! Today I'm popping in to let you know that for 2017 we're going back to our roots and are running the TFA Year In Colour Club! In 2016 I needed a break and I'm glad that I experimented with running the Club in a different way. Even though we ended up dyeing more yarn and shipping 9 Club months rather than 6, it was shockingly easy to pull off compared to the effort and planning involved in organizing the Year In Colour. I should mention, in case it's not clear, the difference is that the Year In Colour Club runs the entire year long and includes a pattern to accompany the yarn of the month whereas for 2016 we did 3 month instalments of a yarn-only Club. So, the Year In Colour Club is a ton more work but in turn somehow feels more important. I'm ready to tackle it again and I'm thrilled with the feedback I've gotten so far since announcing it on a few of my social media platforms yesterday.
The other cool thing about the Year In Colour Club is that memberships are available all year long. The Club runs for the entire calendar year, but if you're not certain you want to sign up right away, that's fine! Or, if it's just not fiscally responsible for you to sign up until after the holidays, don't worry, it won't be too late! We've got so much going on in the next two months and I feel like I'm introducing an exciting new project every week, which is incredibly rewarding for me, but at the same time I realize that tempting you all with so many ways to spend your money between now and the New Year might make some of you say "enough!" I want to reassure you that though I do a lot of "One Of A Kind" sales and things like the Gift Bundles are available for a limited time only, there will always be another Etsy Update, another fantastic One Of A Kind colourway and another new kit just around the corner, it's ok to skip one and come back for the next one. Am I the world's worst sales person or what?
The 2017 Year In Colour Club will feature 6 exclusive colourways with 6 custom patterns designed by me for you. :) Though the colourways will be exclusive to Club members the patterns will not be. I'll be releasing the patterns for sale as individual pdf's throughout the year, so if you'd like to knit the Club patterns from stash yarn that's a fun way to participate in the Club atmosphere without breaking the bank! I've also added a 2 skein membership option this year. In past year's it would happen so frequently that people would request an extra skein to either A) enlarge items (knit an extra big shawl!) or B) use the yarn for a completely unique, non-Club pattern (like a baby sweater or a big 2 skein infinity cowl!) so letting the people who know that they will always prefer more yardage choose that option right off the bat seemed like a good idea.
I've included a few more details about the Club on the Clubs page. Things like the exact yarns we'll be featuring and what months the Clubs will be running. I'm really excited about next year's Club, I'm already working on a few mood boards for colourway ideas I'm keen to explore! Are you as excited as I am?
Rowan has tragically outgrown his gorgeous turquoise Christmas In July sweater. The little doll that he is, he continues to wear it even though the sleeves are too short and it's a bit snug around the chest. When I expressed that maybe it was time to pass it down to Micah he seemed a little disappointed so I promised to knit him a new sweater. I hemmed and hawed over the colour palette and pattern. I had originally figured that I'd re-knit Christmas In July in a different palette, but then decided that I'd give a new yoke design a go. I sat down with my graph paper and got to it. I'm very pleased with the new little yoke I came up with, if I do say so myself. I'm only showing you the inside for today because there may still be a few tweaks to be made before the full reveal!
I initially attempted to knit the yoke in a beautiful palette of gold, rust, orange and grey. A palette I pulled from the bottom half of the above right image featuring my bits and bobs of leftover sock yarns. The palette was different and unique and in the right hands would be completely stunning, but I totally messed it up and ended up frogging it. I might give it another go, but at the time I just wasn't loving it and decided that I'd have better success if I stayed in my happy place. My happy rainbow-yoke place. :) Rowan had also requested hot pink, and I couldn't make it work with the original rusty palette, but rainbow with a hit of hot pink! Heck yeah, that I can definitely work with! Oooh, also worth mentioning, I'm knitting the body in a really fun light grey speckle! Thank goodness Rowan likes colour, this sweater is going to be funtastic! He comes home from daycare and asks if it's done yet, which breaks my heart, I need to knit faster! Lastly, he also has expressed interest several times in helping me knit it! He'll sit in my lap and hold the needles while I wrap the yarn and help him insert the needles and knit the stitches. Getting a video of us knitting together is definitely on my list of things to do this week.
The above left image is a palette that I pulled for my own selfish knitting purposes. These skeins are currently sitting on my desk and as soon as I get the chance I'll be knitting this gorgeous shawl: Take It All by Lisa Hannes. The construction looks fun, the design looks like it will keep me on my toes, and when I picked these skeins off the wracks here in the office I knew immediately what they wanted to become. The pattern has been purchased and I've even wound a few of the skeins (I used some in the yoke of Rowan's sweater!)
What are you working on these days?
Creating mood boards for dynamic colourways like the Gift Bundle exclusive Milkyway is always a difficult task, but it's a challenge that I thoroughly enjoy. Rather than fixate on finding inspiration images that are exactly the same colours as the yarn I try to find images that represent the overall vibe of what I feel the yarn embodies. The Milkyway colourway is special, kinda like rainbow hair, star confetti, holographic jeans special, y'know? It's a "pull out your coolest neon green knitting needles and knit yourself a shawl" kinda special. ;)
It's the most wonderful time of the year!!! We have been planning and scheming behind the scenes for months to put together this year's Gift Bundle and now that it's finally time to share it with you I am giddy with excitement! I really hope that you love this year's bundle as much as I do. You may have spotted my glorious watercolour pouch in a few blog posts and instagram posts over the past year. The bag is made by Krista of Spotted Stones and is something that I purchased the second I saw it, even though I didn't have a specific use in mind for it at the time, but I couldn't picture myself living without it. When it arrived in the mail I propped it up on my mantle for a while just so I could enjoy it's beauty. Then one day I was leaving the house with my knitting in tow and needed something to corral all of my notions so I grabbed my mantle-decoration-pouch and haven't looked back since.
The organic linen for the pouches is hand dyed by Krista in that gorgeous watercolour effect. Since these pouches are obviously a labour of love I thought that it was a long-shot when I contacted her this summer about the possibility of collaborating on this project, but to my delight she was just as excited about the idea as I was! I have long wanted to put together a set of my favourite notions, things that are simple yet stylish, and I couldn't be happier with the set that we've come up with! That gauge ruler is probably my favourite. It was a new type of design project for me. We worked with a local company to have the rulers laser cut and etched. They were beautiful in their all-natural birch state but then one day I decided to use my vast assortment of sharpies to colour in the star and even though it was kind of insane to decide to hand colour each of the 16 segments of the TFA star a different colour, it was clearly the right thing to do. ;) I hope it makes you smile to know that lots of love was put into each and every one of those glorious rainbow rulers! You can read about all of the other notions included on the Gift Bundle page here.
When it came time to design a custom colourway to include with this year's Bundle it was a no brainer. We wanted to echo the watercolour fabric in a signature TFA style hand painted colourway we've called Milkyway. I've been thinking a lot about what our signature style is lately and I've decided that this is it. Dynamic, multicoloured colourways that are somehow still knit-able and wearable (hello Tartan!). Fun to look at, fun to knit with and fun to wear. The triple threat! We've dyed the Milkyway colourway on our PureWash DK weight base. I'm currently knitting a shawl with it and am LOVING the results. I'll be posting progress pics soon!
And one of my favourite tasks of the year... putting together the TFA calendar! The calendar is available as part of the Bundle and is also sold separately. I'll be honest with you. I keep 2 for myself. One to use as my actual calendar that I mark up with appointments and reminders and one to save in pristine condition because I love those gorgeous yarn filled pages! It's such a thrill to see my photography in print. I'm so used to seeing it online but there is really something special about a hard copy.
So, there you have it friends, your Christmas gift list all figured out for you! ;) We've got a few other goodies planned for the fall/winter season (did you see this teaser I posted on Instagram yesterday!?) I just love this time of year!
So, now that we've officially rolled into the month of November we can A) start getting excited about Christmas! and B) call Slow Fashion October a wrap. It's been a very interesting for me to spend an entire month somewhat focused on a single subject. It's not my usual blogging approach, I find it quite difficult to set up rules and timelines for myself like that. To be honest, it's not my preferred method of blogging, I'm more of a "write what I feel like writing about when I feel like writing about it" kinda blogger and have a hard time sticking to a blogging schedule. Regardless, Slow Fashion October was a fun exercise for me both in terms of blogging and in terms of sorting through my thoughts on a subject that I feel quite passionate about.
After having spent the month analyzing my decisions and chatting about how we can all contribute to Slow Fashion October I've come away with two conclusions.
The first is that as makers we are already way ahead of the game when it comes to slow fashion. I would argue that the fact that we know what it takes to make a garment and care for a garment means that we are less likely to purchase without thinking. We value our handmade items and care for them and some of that care and responsibility pours over into our ready to wear purchases as well. We're capable of mending and we know how to hand wash. There came a point, about mid-month, when it sort of hit me that going on about slow fashion on my blog to my audience of makers was basically preaching to the choir. It was kinda nice because it made me think of my Slow Fashion October posts as conversations I was having with like-minded people, but at the same time it started to feel like I was missing the mark since I can think of so many people who could really benefit from thinking about there own purchasing habits, people who have never considered slow fashion because they've never heard of it. Those people aren't reading knitting/crafting blogs and though I think that as a community we have a voice and probably more reach then I'm giving us credit for, the Slow Fashion October conversation has mostly been happening in the knitting/sewing world and we are not the problem.
My second takeaway speaks to the fact that within every movement there is an anti-movement, which is a weird way of saying that as soon as something becomes popular people will start to hate it and in this case I think that's missing the point. This relates back to my first takeaway, the fact that we are having this discussion as a group of makers and therefore there is definitely the inclination towards sweeping statements about all handmade wardrobes and knitting exclusively with expensive small batch farm yarns, but I don't think that's a reflection of the Slow Fashion movement as a whole. This is where it gets kinda tricky, Slow Fashion October is a term coined by Karen Templar and she has spearheaded and organized the whole month for us to chat about our slow fashion commitment. "Slow Fashion" is a movement all on it's own, not specific to any month, Karen just opted to choose October as our month to celebrate it. Slow fashion is for everyone and has nothing to do with wether or not you make your own clothes. You can buy brand new clothes, exclusively at fast fashion stores, but keep those clothes and care for them and pass them on (or be on the other end of the line and accept hand-me-downs) and be just as active a participant in Slow Fashion as any of us hand makers. I think that overall that point has been made and acknowledged a lot over the month, plenty of people sharing their self-portraits clothed in long worn, much loved hand-me-downs - in fact those are many of the more popular posts I've seen on Instagram, posts of items with a story - and the inclusive nature of the movement, the fact that we can all participate and make a difference in our own way, is what I choose to focus on.
And lastly, this whole month I've been thinking about this wonderful article by Emily Matcher called: Sorry, Etsy: That Handmade Scarf Won't Save The World. I love this article and feel like it relates back to my last point about the inclusivity of slow fashion and the most important part of the movement which is the part where we're trying to make a difference! This article makes too many good points to quote them all, but the one of my favourites is about the handmade toothbrush because that's just so funny to me!
Most believe that the economies of scale inherent in mass production outweigh the benefits of nearness. These same economies of scale most likely make a toothbrush factory less wasteful, in terms of materials, than 100 individual toothbrush makers each handcrafting 10 toothbrushes a day. An efficient toothbrush factory bound by strong environmental regulations would benefit everyone the most.
I think the reason why I like the points made by Emily in her article is because it argues for social change on a large scale rather than each of us individually opting out of a flawed fast fashion system only if we can afford to. We need to push large companies to make a big difference in a positive way. I choose to continue to support large brands that are making good decisions in an effort to encourage them to do more of that. Buying small, buying local, buying handmade is all good, but if we're really trying to save the world (and we all are, right!?) then we can't only think small, we need to think outside of our tiny bubbles and go big!