Milk Infant Top

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Pattern: Milk Infant Top by Pixiepurls.

Yarn: TFA PureWash Fingering in Luna Peach (ooak) and Pink Grapefruit.

Ravelry Project page here.

This sweater is so adorable and wee and precious and makes me smile. As the name would suggest, this sweater is meant for tiny *infant* babies. It's only available in a few very wee sizes and according to most Ravelry comments runs on the small side as well. My baby girl is due at the end of February, my first winter baby! A baby that will have a true and legitimate use of sweaters from day 1 - as opposed to Micah who was born at the end of May who really didn't experience true sweater weather until the fall yet was still forced to wear knit sweaters even though it was questionable because his mother has a sweater problem. Anyways... so I wanted to knit a tiny sweater that the baby will wear for a week as a winter newborn before she immediately outgrows it. I think this will work! Knowing that the pattern runs small and also that my gauge was probably going to be a bit tighter than that called for in the pattern I chose to knit the size 6 months and I think it'll fit a very small baby. I'm estimating that this will fit an 8-9 pound baby. 

I plan on sewing in 2 little snaps to the inside of the sweater so it will stay fastened closed (the pattern includes instructions for a hidden button, but I think that a clear snap will lay flatter and be easier - if I ever get around to doing it that is...

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I posted the above photo on Instagram and Facebook earlier this week asking for feedback on what colourway to use for the trim. The voting was pretty unanimously in favour of Rose Grey (about 200 votes for Rose Grey and less than 60 votes for Pink Grapefruit) so, naturally, I went with Pink Grapefruit! This is the thing, I think that both are beautiful compliments to Luna Peach, and I totally see the argument for the soft and gentle Rose Grey that would have been more harmonious with the soft and gentle speckles in the main colour, but Pink Grapefruit was speaking to me. I'm a big believer in the power of colour and in this case I think that the design of the sweater is sweet and precious enough all on it's own and in order for it to fit my style it needed a punch of something. And that something was Pink Grapefruit. Had I done the crocheted edging in Rose Grey I probably would have found it just as lovely, but it would have been a bit too classic to be really me, it would be missing that modern edge that I gravitate towards. 

I've had this pattern in my favourites for years, like 6 years. I'm really happy to have finally knit it! I would knit it again, but probably not for a little while, because it is a total miracle that the crocheted edging looks as good as it does. I was painfully slow at it. The first row of picked up stitches was so tight that the second row was near impossible to crochet into. It took me all day, but, miracle of miracles, it worked! I was expecting/fearing gaps, bunching, puckering and basically just a real amateur finished look, but I'm thrilled with how flat it lays and how tidy it looks. I looks like I actually know how to crochet! I'm quite proud of it. 

Other than the pretty edging, I also really like the little fold over cuff on the sleeves! I'm not sure how much I'll use them but it's a really cute little detail that mimics ready-to-wear baby clothes and I think it's a sweet little touch. 

My very first FO for baby #3! She'll have loads of hand-me-downs from her brothers so I don't intend to go crazy knitting baby stuff in the coming months, but I couldn't resist one sweet little sweater made especially for her. 

These Sock Blank Socks Are Glorious!

Sock Blank Socks by Tanis Fiber Arts

Pattern: simple toe up socks. My "recipe" can be found here

Yarn: Blue Label Fingering weight yarn from a double knit sock blank.

Ravelry Project page here.

A few months ago I decided that it was time that we experiment with dyeing sock blanks - more specifically, we dyed one double knit sock blank - and this is the pair of socks that I knit from said blank! I don't think that we've ever done any dyeing or experimenting that was as controversial or as polarizing as the "sock blank experiment". I blogged about it and posted about it on Instagram asking people for their feedback and the answers were surprisingly strongly opinionated. I find that's actually not that rare when it comes to hand knitting socks, people are often diehard toe-up, top-down, two-at-a-time, dpn's or magic-loop. Whatever works for you, whatever your preference, if you knit a lot of sock there's a good chance you will have a method that you're devoted to. 

So, the sock blanks: people love the colours, hate the kinked yarn, find them way too much trouble for a humble pair of socks, find them amazing and inspiring, think they're totally worth it, would never waste their time on them, just straight up don't get it. It was very interesting to read all of the passionate responses that sock blanks brought out! What was doubly interesting was that I think that I felt each of those responses at one point during my sock blank experiment. 

Here are my final thoughts: I LOVE the finished socks, I will knit from a sock blank again but I will not be adding sock blanks to my regular repertoire of things we sell at TFA. The dyeing is much more labour intensive than our usual methods (even our speckling system), and at this point we would not be able to produce enough to make it worth our while. Knitting with kinked yarn left me feeling kinda "meh" about it. I don't think that I would go to the trouble of winding the blank into a skein and then soaking and drying it to remove the kinks before knitting... maybe I would if I had planned ahead but usually when I'm ready to start a pair of socks I like to grab a skein and go. So the kinked yarn is not a deal breaker for me but it does leave me feeling a little lukewarm.

I intentionally experimented with a double knit blank thinking that the resulting matching-socks would be super amazing (and they are!) but when I look deep into my soul I realize that I really don't give a crap about my socks matching. In fact, I might even prefer my socks not too match, which is why I don't go out of my way to match stripes when I knit socks with self striping sock yarn (example 1, 2, 3, 4). The double knit made it a real chore to wind the yarn in preparation for knitting. Next time I'll do a single knit for sure. I also like that a single knit opens up more possibilities for using the yarn in a shawl or other large project. You can also knit directly from the blank much easier than with a double knit. 

But really, enough about the pro's and con's, lets just admire these beautiful socks shall we? I mean, I think they're really, truly, lovely. The results are stunning and would not be achievable with any other method of dying. There are beautiful gradient yarns on the market, but not they're not quite like this. These almost have a handspun look. I think they're special. :)

Sock Blank Socks by Tanis Fiber Arts

This reminds me that I don't currently have a pair of socks on the needles... I better get on that stat!

Rowan's Pink Dragon Hat

Patternwee balaclava by mama cerise. Used pfong001’s mods for the dragon spikes. 

Yarn: TFA PureWash Worsted in Lightning and lots of leftover bits of Blue Label Fingering weight held double in Saffron, Orange Blossom, Royal Flush, Orchid, Jewel & Concord (a Club colour from 2014 - Grape would be a good substitute). 

Ravelry project page here.

I knit this adorable little hat for Rowan last year. Despite the fact that I took photos and had totally intended to blog about it I somehow never got around to it. We have a new podcast episode up this week, in it we talk all about PureWash and we held up this hat as an example of how well the yarn holds up after a full winter of constant little boy usage. The hat still looks as good as new! It's a true testament to how user friendly our PureWash yarns are. 

Other than the fabulousness of the yarn, there is clearly also a heck of a lot of fabulousness in this pattern! The Wee Balaclava pattern on it's own is super practical and great for little ones, but the dragon spikes (or dino spikes depending on your wee one's preferences) put this little number over the top. It's just so stinking' cute! Rowan found this hat over the weekend and after a summer of not wearing it he is officially ready to bring it back into regular rotation. It's not exactly balaclava weather around here yet, but it still thrills me to know that when it hits, Rowan will be ready! I'm planning on knitting one for Micah as well. What I really love about the design, other than the obvious rainbow spike element, is the fact that this stays over his ears and neck. Cowls/neck warmers can droop, exposing their precious little throats, hats can fall off and never seem to stay put over their little ears (unless they have earflaps and are tied under the chin of course - another look that I love on little ones!) but this balaclava really stays put. I pop it over Rowan's head and know that he will be toasty warm no matter how hard he plays. 

It's never too early to start planning winter accessories! 

Our Dyed To Order Update Today!

Tanis Fiber Arts Speckled Rainbow!

Today's Dyed-To-Order Update is live! It took me 4 extra minutes to get all the listings up this morning, sorry to anyone who had a panic attack when it looked like things were sold out at 9:02! The colourways will be available all day directly on our "Shop Colours" page. Have a good one!

TFA Fall Colourwork KAL

TFA Fall Colourwork KAL

Hi guys! I’ve been pondering ideas for a fall KAL for a while and yesterday when the Tin Can Knits newsletter landed in my inbox I felt a surge of inspiration. What do you think about doing a colourwork KAL? We’ve done them in the past and they’ve always been popular and inspiring, why mess with a good thing?

I happen to have a bunch of colourful patterns to chose from, but you don’t have to knit one of my patterns to join in on the fun, it’s just all about knitting with colour! It could be a hat, a cowl, mitts, socks, a blanket or of course a sweater (big or small!) whatever you like. Stripes or fair isle, as long as your knit features a minimum of 2 colours, and uses mostly TFA yarn, you’re in!

The Dates: Cast on October 19 and cast off December 11th.* 
To enter to win a prize: Post a photo of your finished project knit in mostly TFA yarn and featuring at least 2 colourways in the Fall Colourwork KAL Ravelry thread (which doesn’t exist yet - I’ll make the thread when the KAL begins). 
Tags: Tag your project on Ravelry with TFAColourKAL and be sure to hasthtag #TFAColourKAL if you post pics on social media so we can see them! 
Fun: There will of course be some fun prizes too!

This KAL will be hosted over in the TFA Ravelry group. Come, chat, make friends!

For my part, I intend to work on turning my Luminosity Hat pattern into a sweater pattern. 

So, you in? What will you be knitting? I hope to be releasing my Duo Chrome pattern during this KAL (it's worth scrolling through that thread, there are lots of gorgeous Duo Chrome's in progress!) maybe you want to pick up a few speckles in Sunday's update so you're ready to cast on right away? 

*Not by accident I’ve chosen the exact same start and end dates as the Strange Brew/Dog Star KAL going on over in the Tin Can Knits group. If you choose one of those patterns it will can totally count towards both KAL’s, so go check that out too!

 

Dyed-To-Order Update! This weekend!

There will be a dyed to order speckled update on Sunday, Oct 1st starting at 9am ET!

(TIME ZONE CONVERTER)

The update will remain live while supplies last. I'm hoping the better part of Sunday evening and hopefully even into Monday but I would definitely recommend aiming to get your order in early in the update to be safe. This will be a web update, so on Sunday at 9am all of these lovely speckled colourways will appear right here at the bottom of our SHOP COLOURS page where you will see all the items available for purchase and you'll be able to add them to your cart along with any of our permanent collection items. 

Since this is a Dyed To order Update please allow 4-6 weeks for processing. We're aiming to have everything in the mail by the end of October and will likely start shipping much sooner. 

TFA Dyed-To-Order Update Oct. 2017

After careful consideration I have selected these 9 colourways for this week's Dyed-To-Order Update. It was so hard to narrow it down to a manageable amount! As much as I'd love to offer every speckle we've ever done, that's just not doable for our wee team of two. I had intended to chose 6, but whaddayaknow, 9 just makes a better collage and who am I to argue with the collage Gods?

These 9 colourways will be available on all of our permanent collection bases: PureWash Fingering, PureWash DK, PureWash Worsted, PureWash Chunky, Blue Label Sock Yarn and Purple Label Cashmere Sock - see our yarns page for details on these bases. 

For the past 9 months I've had Red Label and not Purple Label as part of our permanent collection but it's time for a switch up! As of Sunday, Purple Label will be available in all of our colourways and Red Label will go back to being exclusively available in updates. 

See you Sunday for a leisurely and lovely shopping experience!

Tanis Fiber Arts speckles

Club September 2017 - Ah Caramel Hat

Ah Caramel Hat by Tanis Fiber Arts

Pattern: Ah Caramel Hat by Tanis Lavallée (me!)

Yarn: TFA Orange Label Cashmere/Silk Worsted in Club exclusive Abyss colourway. 

The Ah Caramel Hat pattern is the September offering from theTFA Year In Colour Club. 2 years ago I designed the Ah Caramel fingerless mitts and have been jonesing for the coordinating hat ever since. These cushy, meandering cables come together beautifully to create a cozy slouch. Knit in a bouncy yarn and topped with a fun pompom it’s my favourite kind of quick knit.

The Abyss colourway featured is exclusive to Club members for the duration of the calendar year, but the Ah Caramel Hat pattern itself is available to all on Ravelry. I've created a discount so if you purchase the Ah Caramel Hat pattern you'll get 50% the coordinating Ah Caramel Fingerless Mitt pattern (or vice versa). The discount is automatically applied (you don't need a coupon code) and it applies to previously purchased patterns - you don't have to buy the 2 at the same time. 

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 JanuaryMarchMayJuly and September skeins along with the last batch of shipments in November. 

It has been unseasonably warm here this fall. We are into the last week of September and they are announcing a heat warning for our area - we are being advised to stay indoors in AC as much as possible because the humidex is supposed to reach over 40°C! Keep in mind I'm in Montreal, Canada. We usually get a beautiful sunny yet crisp fall. It's the best season of the entire year! Needless to say this type of weather is not exactly the most appropriate for photographing warm and wooly cashmere knit sets... I did my best in the classic ensemble of shorts, t-shirt, scarf, hat mitts and sweat.

Ah Caramel knits by Tanis Fiber Arts

*Though I did knit a coordinating scarf to round out this set of cushy cabled accessories I'm not planning to publish the pattern. It's very straight forward and I think anyone in possession of either of the other 2 patterns (hat or mitts) could figure out the scarf. I've published notes to my Ravelry project page here that should get you going in the right direction.  

Mood Board Monday - Abyss

copper tub, feathers, doorway, raindrops, TFA Orange Label in Abyss (TFA Year In Colour Club Sept. 2017), Ah Caramel Hat and Mitts patterns. 

copper tubfeathers, doorwayraindrops, TFA Orange Label in Abyss (TFA Year In Colour Club Sept. 2017), Ah Caramel Hat and Mitts patterns

Abyss is the September Year In Colour Club colourway and it is a stunner! I'll be blogging more about the featured pattern tomorrow but for today I wanted to introduce you to this beautiful deep blue/green shade. When designing the colourway for this month I knew that I needed to come up with something that would not only fit into the year's spectrum but that also complemented our Caramel colourway since I'd be photographing the hat I intended to design alongside the Ah Caramel mitts. I love this deep teal colourway and am really pleased with the way that it complements Caramel!

Etsy Update! Wednesday, September 20th at 12pm (noon) ET

We’ve got an Etsy Update coming at ya this Wednesday, September 20th at 12pm ET! You can find the Etsy shop right here and here's a link to a handy time zone converter in case you don't live in my time zone. At precisely 12pm on Wednesday our Etsy shop will be loaded with gorgeous speckled yarns and kits!

WHITE LIGHT full skeins sets

This update will feature mostly skeins (as opposed to kits) but when I feasted my eyes on this gorgeous rainbow of lightly speckled goodness I knew that they just had to be bundled up and sent off to new homes together as a package deal. This is the WHITE LIGHT full skein set. It features 6 full skeins of our now discontinued Green Label Aran Weight yarn. Truth be told we found a few boxes of Green Label in the garage (we thought that we had none left!) so a speckled Green Label Etsy Update seemed like the perfect opportunity to reclaim that space in the garage! (In case you missed it - Green Label was phased out and replaced full time by our organic PureWash Worsted weight base earlier this year.) So, that's why we've got a bunch of Green Label available in this update. This kit is spectacular. I may or may not have squirrelled one away for myself... 

Tanis Fiber Arts Etsy Update!!!

Taking photos of these gorgeous OOAK speckled colourways is sheer pleasure! All the editing and listing can get tedious, but playing with the yarn and focussing in on my favourite sections of each pile of skeins never gets old. I took proper glamour shots of each colourway, and even though it literally doubles my workload I could not help but take a few detailed shots of each batch of yarn as I was working with them. The nuances in these speckled colourways have to be seen close up (you can browse through my Flickr account for lots more images). They are just so much fun. We've focussed on wearable colourways for the majority of this update. Lots of "neutral speckles" (trust me, there is such a thing). Colourways that I think would make fantastic Flax sweaters, R&R Hoodies or Sunday Drives. And not just sweaters for kids, I'm talking adult sweaters. There are at least a dozen colourways in this week's update that I could very realistically see myself wearing a whole sweater in. Once again, I may or may not have put aside a few skeins specifically for that purpose... but I digress. 

We will have a wide assortment of colourways available in sweater quantities of the following bases: Green Label Aran Weight, PureWash DK, PureWash Fingering, Amber Label Cash/Silk DK Weight and Purple Label Cashmere Sock Yarn. 

See you on Wednesday friends! 

Why I Opened Up About Infertility

TFA Podcast Episode 6

Yesterday Chris and I published episode 6 of the TFA Podcast. We hadn't filmed an episode in 3 months and it felt good to get back to chatting about TFA in front of the camera. The good/bad thing about the way that we approach the podcasts is that they aren't scripted, they are just recorded conversations, honest and sincere, and we never quite know how or where they will go. During editing I often wish that I could go back in and change the way that I said something, or elaborate a bit on something that I don't feel I explained properly, and today I'm feeling that way about the part where I explained why I wanted to open up about my struggle with infertility. 

I said that I wanted to share it because I didn't want anyone to think that it was easy for us, but I wish that I had expanded on that just a touch. It's not that I need you guys to feel sympathy for me, to know just how hard it was, it's that I didn't want anyone who might be struggling themselves to see my perfect family, me with my cute baby bump, and to think that I had it easy and then feel badly about themselves because they did not. That's the thing that brothers me. The thought that my good fortune could cause someone who was having a hard time to have an even harder time. I hope that by letting people in on my struggles that others who are struggling can look at me and find hope. 

I also never want my children to think that I am ashamed of my infertility or how they were conceived. Not talking about it kind of felt like I was keeping a dirty little secret. I am not happy about my infertility, I'm not even ok with it, but I am not ashamed. 

I could have kept my infertility to myself forever because, frankly, it's nobody's business. But I'm learning that I am a sharer. It's taken me a while to figure that out about myself, but it's a little trinket of mid-thirties self discovery that I feel really good about. 

Crystal Rhilea

Rhine by Suvi Simla knit by Tanis Fiber Arts

Pattern: Rhilea by Suvi Simola

Yarn: TFA PureWash DK Weight in "Not-Quite-Crystal"

Ravelry Project page here.

I cannot say enough good things about this sweater pattern. The construction was clever and interesting and the instructions were clear and very detailed - not overly complex, just completely thought out. Every stitch accounted for, everything always lining up perfectly, not a single thing overlooked. Sometimes patterns leave a bit of wiggle room for fudging, I'll admit to being guilty of doing this myself - giving the rate at which to pick up stitches rather than giving the exact number of stitches to pick up for every size - and in my defence that's usually because the number of stitches picked up, along the edge of a button band for example, changes depending on the length of the body and I usually encourage knitters to knit the body of their garments to the length that suits them best, so those numbers change. Regardless, this pattern was very thorough and clear and lovely. It was my first Suvi Simola pattern and I had a truly lovely experience with it. 

Rhine by Suvi Simla knit by Tanis Fiber Arts

My favourite detail is probably those two rows of purl stitches that run across the shoulder and down the sleeve. I also love how the sleeve cuffs are treated, the direction of the knitting changes and the ribbed cuffs are extra long. 

Rhilea is very loose fitting throughout the body. Paired with the trim sleeves, long cuffs and curved hem I think that the proportions are beautiful. I knit the smallest size and with a finished bust measurement of 44" that's a whopping 10-12" of positive ease on me (my bust size is currently in fluctuation due to my pregnancy). This extra ease is great for me right now, what with my ever expanding belly, but I think that it will be even more lovely post pregnancy when the belly is gone and the sweater will drape and flow beautifully. Kinda like my Veronika, I love it when I'm pregnant, but I love it even more when I'm not. 

The lacy back pattern is really pretty without being "too lacy" if you know what I mean. This sweater still provides plenty of warmth but the addition of the lace makes it lighter and of course adds interest. I like the graphic, textural element it adds. 

I sincerely do love the design of this sweater, and I think that I would love it just as much had I knit it in a solid colour, but... this colour... I would die for this colourway. It's a very slight variation on our January Club colourway Crystal and it's DA BOMB! It's just everything I've ever wanted in a colourway. Just look at it! I find myself staring at the cuffs of my sweater while I'm wearing it, just admiring the little flecks of neon colour that Chris so expertly painted into these skeins. He's amazing, a real talent. I think that I have used Crystal in no less than 7 projects since January and I am still not over it. It's exclusive to Club members until the end of the year and then BAMO, we'll be doing a dyed to order Crystal update for sure. You all need some Crystal in your life! Have I made my point about how much I love Crystal? No? I really LOVE Crystal. K, I'm done. 

Rhine by Suvi Simla knit by Tanis Fiber Arts & my baby belly!

Baby bump! I think that I am officially crossing over into the phase of pregnancy where I definitely look pregnant and not just like maybe I ate a big lunch. I'm feeling good and the whole family is excitedly watching my belly grow. Rowan checks out my belly every day and exclaims "You're getting so huge!" I love it. 

My Truss Shawl For Fall

Truss Shawl by Tanis Fiber Arts

Pattern: Truss Shawl by ME!

Yarn: TFA Blue Label Fingering Weight in "Not-Quite-Tartan"

Ravelry Project page here.

I LOVE THIS SHAWL! I designed this shawl as the feature pattern for the May instalment of our Year In Colour Club. My mother knit the original sample for me in the Club colourway Flox and I gave it back to her for keeps when I was done photographing it. I knew immediately that I would be knitting one for myself before the cool weather rolled in. I debated over what colourway to knit mine in for some time. Even though the original pattern sample features our Red Label Chasmere/Silk yarn - which is super dreamy for shawls - I really wanted to knit mine with our PureWash Fingering base because I have a real love affair with the light and airy fabric PureWash Fingering creates at a looser shawl gauge. However, I stumbled upon this single skein of Blue Label fingering weight in my stash, a OOAK colourway from a few years back, that is exactly the type of colours that I wanted for my fall version of this shawl so I went with it and I have absolutely no regrets! This colour is off the charts lovely. It's very close to our Tartan colourway, just a bit cooler toned. It's heavenly. 

Since I didn't knit much of the original sample it was fun to approach this pattern almost as though it was my first time working from it. It's a very soothing and relaxing knit. Easily memorized, just enough going on to never be boring, I'm still as thrilled with it today as I was when I first published it back in May. It's one of my very favourite of my patterns I think. 

I know that I'll be wearing this a ton as soon as the weather cools. I am officially ready for the arrival of fall now!

Truss Shawl by Tanis Fiber Arts