Rook Mitten Pattern

Introducing the Rook Fingerless Mitts! This pattern is available for sale on Ravelry here and on my website here

Whenever we get a new yarn in the studio I immediately want to cast on for something new and exciting with it. At the same time I am often struck with indecision, which is unusual for me as I am typically a very decisive person. I feel so much pressure to pick the best possible project to highlight the yarn. What colour should I feature? What pattern should I knit? A shawl? Socks? A sweater? The arrival of our PureWash Fingering base saw me struggling with all these decisions, but in the end I'm really happy with the directly that I ended up going in. 

The yarn is crisp, smooth and soft. I initially chose a more elaborate cabled motif for these mitts, but quickly frogged that idea in favour of this striking basketweave pattern. I have become completely obsessed with this texture! A pair of socks has already been cast on and sketches for a sweater and a hat are in the works featuring this pattern as well. I just can't get enough! 

From the pattern blurb:

As knitters we wait with bated breath for the arrival of fall and the return to a life full of warm, wooly goodness! The first hint of chill is upon us and though it’s not quite cool enough to pull out my full blown winter gear I’m desperate to wear wool again and these fingerless mitts are just the thing to keep me happy during these transitional weeks.

This new yarn and the wave of creative inspiration that it has spurred in me has come at just the right time. I haven't felt like I've been spreading my wings creatively in terms of my design career lately but now I just can't stop imagining all the things that I'd like to knit in our PureWash bases!

Aquarelle Flax


PatternFlax by tincanknits

Yarn: TFA Green Label in Aquarelle. 

Ravelry project page here.

I knit this sweater for Micah hot off the heels of my first speckled Flax back in May. I loved the first version so much, but knew that it wouldn't fit him for long and decided to set it aside in the gift pile and instead knit him another one in the next size up. The pattern is so quick to knit in these wee sizes that knitting it twice, especially in a fun yarn, is no trouble at all. The Aquarelle colourway is one of the first speckled colours that we did for a big update back when we were just starting to experiment with this technique. Though I love it, our initial runs were unpredictable and I think that since developing this colourway we've made quite a bit of progress in terms of consistency between batches. Just like my Comet version and my speckled Chevy hat, I continue to be pleasantly surprised at how well these wild colourways knit up. 

Since fall has officially arrived in my part of the world I've finally had a chance to dress my boys in their warm wooly sweater again and I have to say, it feels good! 

Also!!! This is kind of a huge discovery and any parent of young children should definitely pay close attention to what I'm about to write because it could change your life: THIS COLOURWAY HIDES EVERYTHING!!! Yogurt? Peanut butter? Cracker crumbs? Not a trace of evidence is left behind. Game changer.  

Mood Board Monday - Gold and Grey

Don't forget about today's Etsy Update at 12pm (noon) EST! Details in Friday's blog post. ;)

A current WIP in Gold laying on a bed of Slate, bouquet, wheat, leaf, shoes, lemons, paint, house, my Gold WIP with my gold stitch markers!

A current WIP in Gold laying on a bed of Slatebouquetwheatleafshoeslemonspainthouse, my Gold WIP with my gold stitch markers!

More specifically this post could have been titled "Gold and Slate" because that's the exact combo I'm crushing on big time these days, but really Gold looks great with any grey, so I'm trying to be open minded and all inclusive here today. :) I just love this colour pairing. The truth is, I'm a die hard fan of cool blue/grey's but am not typically drawn to yellows*. The two paired together, however, has totally won my heart!

*Though I claim to not love yellow, I've used our Gold colourway in 13 projects according to Ravelry! This project will be the 14th, so maybe I am a bigger yellow lover than I thought! 

TFA PureWash Fingering - Etsy Update on Monday

PureWash Fingering in Sunday, Sprout, Lotus, Cosmic Night & Graphite.

PureWash Fingering in Sunday, Sprout, Lotus, Cosmic Night & Graphite.

Big announcement you guys! There will be an Etsy Update on Monday at 12pm (noon) EST featuring a brand new base: introducing TFA PureWash Fingering! If you haven't yet heard about our PureWash Base you can read all about it here. In a nutshell, TFA PureWash is our custom made line of eco-friendly, organic, washable wool yarns. We started our PureWash adventures with DK and Worsted weight offerings and are excited to be adding to it with a 100% merino fingering weight. 

New! TFA PureWash fingering in a wide range of colours!

New! TFA PureWash fingering in a wide range of colours!

Developing this new line of yarns has been very rewarding and also very educational in so many ways. One of the things I learnt about was how long the whole process can take, including how much lead time it can take between placing an order and actual delivery... I hadn't anticipated selling out of our initial batch of PureWash DK and Worsted so quickly and even though I immediately ordered more it has taken a few months to produce. So, though we'll have lots of all the bases in stock in the coming weeks - and I've learnt my lesson and have already placed a follow-up order for when this next batch runs out - it means that I have to master a new system for keeping on top of my ordering and inventory. Learning curves and professional/personal growth, all good things, right!?

TFA 8-ply twist in some of our favourite speckled colourways!

TFA 8-ply twist in some of our favourite speckled colourways!

On top of a whole bunch of PureWash Fingering in a selection of our permanent collection colourways we'll also have tons of very small quantities of random bits and bobs in this update. There will be a bunch of single skeins across various bases and colourways - mostly things that were leftover from last month's big dyed-to-order website update. Since we sometimes have to dye more skeins than what is on order to ensure colour consistency we end up with some leftovers. We've also dyed up some of our favourite speckled colourways on our 8-ply twist sock yarn base and on Amber Label Cashmere/Silk DK weight for the luxury lovers among us! 

Moving forward through fall/winter, we hope to do more Etsy update more frequently, I'm thinking maybe as often as every 2 weeks or so, in order to be able to continue to dye our new bases in as many colourways as possible and to build up our inventory of glamour shots so when we're ready to add these yarns to our website permanently we'll have the photos ready to roll. We've already started dyeing up some Chunky (!!!) for our next update, so stay tuned for that! Don't you just love this time of year? So much good knitting vibes wafting through the air!

I'm working on a new pattern in our PureWash Fingering and I'm pretty jazzed about it. I just might scatter this awesome textured basketweave across all of my accessories from now on. 

See ya Monday!

Sam's R&R Hoodie in Fig

PatternR&R Hoodie by Tanis Lavallee (me!)

Yarn: TFA PureWash Worsted in Fig. 

Ravelry project page here.

For me, one of the most rewarding parts of hiring an employee has been having someone around, full time, who's job it is to act enthusiastic and excited about my yarn and patterns! Ha! I kid, but not really. Chris and my mom (and most recently Rowan) have been great cheerleaders for me in the past, but now Sam is on board and I get to see genuine proof of her enthusiasm for our work in what she chooses to knit. It's so much fun.  

Sam knit her R&R Hoodie in our PureWash Worsted weight yarn in the Fig colourway and I think that she did a fantastic job. She chose a metallic zipper much like the one I went with for my Charcoal hoodie and we both love it. There has been a lot of talk in the Ravelry group about the difficulty in finding a good zipper match these days, and I totally agree that finding the perfect zipper to go with all of our colourways could be tough, so consider a metal zipper! Metallics go with everything and add a touch of cool to your finished knit. 

Last but not least, can we just take a moment to appreciate the beautiful setting offered by that cooperative weeping willow tree up there? We have lived in our current house for over 6 years and for 6 years I have wanted to do a photoshoot featuring that tree because I love me a weeping willow. I have no idea what took me so long to make it happen. I think I've tried in the past and that the light was just never right, but on this particular day it worked and I'm so happy about it! Doesn't Sam look amazing nestled in the cascading branches of my favourite tree?

Mood Board Monday - Trellis

On Saturday I knit an adorable little toddler hat out of our Trellis colour way (I believe it was the June Club colour way. Maybe May?) Knit in Chunky yarn it basically knit itself and turned out super cute. Speckled colourways on big, thick strands of yarn is really pretty magical. I had a blast knitting it and was inspired to make up a mood board featuring this lovely shade! 

WIP Wednesday - I'm back baby!

Oh, hello friends. Here I am just casually working in my office, sporting a skein necklace and having an important teleconference meeting. Ha! I'm browsing the new Brooklyn Tweed collection online and talking to my sister on the phone. It's all an illusion!

Guys, last week I felt overwhelmed by all the things I wanted to do and the lists that I had been making while my days were otherwise occupied by baby Micah. Mostly though, I was just sad because Micah had started daycare and I can't believe how quickly time flies and I am struggling to accept the fact that these boys of mine will one day grow up. I dream of them growing into the types of adults who want to live at home and work in their mother's yarn dyeing business with her forever! But Chris reminds me that that's not really what I want for them, maybe a little independence is a good thing... But not yet. Dear God not yet! They are still babies so I'm going to wallow in it a bit longer. 

Anyways, eternal baby dreams aside, it took me all of 3 days to get very comfortable with the idea of Micah spreading his wings at daycare and myself relishing my freedom at home and at work! I didn't quite know what to do with myself this time last week, but today, today I am very happily keeping myself very busy. I've sorted out my desk as best as I can - I consider myself a very organized person but my desk just looks at me and screams "liar!". I've made very good headway at taking a few of my most loved self-designed-but-never-published sweater patterns and finally working them out into finished designs. I've crossed a few minor tasks off of that epic to-do list, and I'm feeling pretty great! 

I've picked up the stitches for the border on my blanket and am well on my way to having a great, chunky edging on that beauty. I can't wait to block it, it's so crisp and colourful and awesome! I'm also working on a simple sock knit in our 8-ply twist sock yarn (an occasional Club or Etsy exclusive base) in Hummingbird and I'm remembering why it is that I prefer knitting socks top-down with a gusset heel. It's just so comfortable to me. I love working he slipped stitch heel and find it repetitive and soothing. Turning the heel is so satisfying. I love picking up stitches around the heel flap and working the decreases after those stitches are picked up makes the foot just fly by. Yup. It's my favourite. It's not always the right choice for socks, but for a simple stockinette sock in a fun colourway it just can't be beat in my book. 

So, watcha workin' on this Wednesday?

TFA Blanket KAL FO Gallery + Another Winner!

There were lots of gorgeous and colourful blankets knit this summer and picking just a few to highlight here on the blog is not something that I'm capable of doing. I love them all! To simplify things for myself I've opted to break it down into 2 major pattern groupings. There were 2 patterns that were the runaway hits of the KAL, Bounce and Fly Away, both by Tin Can Knits, so I've made lovely collages featuring a few of the projects knit using those patterns. Aren't they inspiring!? I love how varied the colour choices you all used in your Bounce blankets are and how varied the layout choices in the Fly Away blankets are. Amazing. All of them. 

Among the pool of participants I've randomly chosen one winner to receive the same prize that I gave away last week (3 skeins of TFA PureWash DK shown below) PLUS the Tin Can Knits e-book of your choice! And the winner is...... Jolene! AKA YarnAndYarn who knit a stunning Bounce. Congrats!  

TFA PureWash DK in Orchid, Hummingbird and Ravine.

TFA PureWash DK in Orchid, Hummingbird and Ravine.

So, this has been fun right? Are we ready to start thinking about our fall knitting and what sort of KAL we're going to do next? Sam and I have sweaters on the brain these days. Is a TFA Sweater KAL too ambitious or are you game?

Blanket KAL - first wrap up post and a GIVEAWAY!

Thanks to all who entered! A winner has been chosen at random and contacted. Congratulations Dawne!

TFA PureWash DK in colour ways: Orchid, Hummingbird and Ravine.

TFA PureWash DK in colour ways: Orchid, Hummingbird and Ravine.

Despite losing steam towards the end on my own project, I've really enjoyed this KAL. Seeing all the gorgeous colourful creations pop up in the Revelry group has been such a blast. Every single blanket I see makes me want to cast on a new colourful project, or try a new graphic pattern layout. Maybe we should make this an annual event? 

In the spirit of super fun KAL's I've got a few prizes to give away to thank you all for participating in our TFA Summer Blanket KAL! Next week I'll have an awesome prize to give away to a winner chosen from the pool of participants. You've got until Monday to post an official FO photo on your Ravelry project page to be included in that draw. And be sure to tag your projects with our KAL tag TFAblanketKAL so I can find your project and enter you to win!

Today's prize is open to anyone and everyone. If you had a crazy summer and weren't able to participate in the KAL, have no fear, you can still join in on the fun by entering to win these lovely skeins of our PureWash DK weight yarn in Orchid, Hummingbird and Ravine. I'm trying a fancy new entry form for this giveaway. Fingers crossed this works! Fill out the form below to be entered to win. I'll announce a winner next week. Good luck! 

Life Lately - Transitioning

Our lives here at TFA headquarters have gone through a lot of transitions in the past several years, but for me personally, none of those periods of growth or change feel quite as difficult as the one we're in right now. Micah has just started daycare and logistically speaking I should be just sailing through this shift, dancing around my house, going up and down the stairs willy-nilly without worrying about baby gates! Leaving cups of coffee and WIP's laying around! Sitting down and eating lunch peacefully and quietly!... but instead I'm finding myself a little lost these days. I miss my buddy! Maybe I also miss my excuse for not sitting down and focussing on my to-do list? I think that might be a big part of it. When I was pregnant with Rowan I had a lovely and easy pregnancy, I worked right through it and barely slowed down. I was totally unprepared for how challenging it would be to juggle a baby and work and I paid for it. When I became pregnant with Micah I vowed not to make the same mistake again and took it easy right from the get go. I was a champion at resting and relaxing and letting myself off the hook. I made sure that work got done and since I love my work I didn't find it difficult to make time for it, but I didn't push myself any harder than I felt I could handle. It was the right thing to do as our first year as a family of 4 was amazing. All along I knew that Micah would be starting daycare in the fall of 2016 and that is when I would buckle down and get back to work and do all the things that I de-prioritized in order to focus on my time with him. 

And now it's fall 2016, Micah is currently at his first full day of daycare and I feel this very strong sense of responsibility to get to work and be super productive. For the past two years any time I would get an idea that was too involved for the stage that I was at at the time I would write it down and make a mental note to "get to it when Micah starts daycare". Oof. It's a long list, which I guess is really quite exciting right? 

The past few years have been incredibly fulfilling for me and I know that they have taught me a ton about balancing work and life. For me, the two will always be incredibly intertwined, but I have gotten much better at realizing that there is life outside of my yarn filled office and that spending one on one time with my boys is something that I'll never regret. It's terrible that it's taken me this long to really have that sink in, but I guess I'm just a slow learner. 

Hmm, this is turning into quite a long and rambling blog post isn't it? At the end of the day, I think that what I'm trying to say is, bear with me ok? 

Since this is a random blog post I've included a selection of random images from my Instagram account. Yarn, colour, knitting and boys. That's my life. Above is my project for the TFA Blanket KAL that technically wrapped up yesterday but which I'm thinking of extending for another week since I haven't finished the border on my blanket yet! It's nice though. I love it. 

Alright, so that just about wraps up my super scatter-brained blog post for the day. Hopefully I'll be back soon with a few more coherent thoughts. As my girl CaterpillarGreen said today "Things got real Septembery around here..." So maybe it's not just me, maybe life is just wild this time of year for all of us? 

September 1st

Happy September everyone! Such a big day for us in the TFA household. Micah has officially started daycare. The drop off went really well this morning and I'm confident he's having a great time. I'll be picking him up right after lunch because I don't think that I could go a full day without him just yet, but by next week we'll both be ready.

Anyways, in my mind I'm working on a big post about transitions. But it's a lot for my little brain to organize and I'm just not quite there yet. So instead today I'll leave you with this beautiful image from our 2016 TFA calendar! This is Kaleidoscope, our January 2015 Club colourway. It's such a showstopper! I designed the Wex shawl in this colourway and love the way it knit up. 

Ah September, so many feelings!

Micah's cuddle blanket

Micah will start daycare next week and I'm not ready! He, on the other hand, is totally ready. He's been going with Chris to drop off/pick up Rowan for some time now and he loves it. When Rowan started daycare I remember being excited for him. We had reached a point where I could tell that he would really benefit from more structure, playtime with other kids, more stimulation in general. But Micah is such a content little kid, and he's got a big brother to play with and be stimulated by, so I don't have that same sense of urgency to get him started as I did with Rowan.

Confession: he was actually supposed to start daycare this week and I pushed it back! Like I said, I'm having a hard time letting go of my baby. I worked on a little project this week that has helped me feel ready to let him spread his wings. Our daycare requires us to supply a cuddle blanket for nap time. Chris laughed out loud at me when I said that we didn't have one, we who have 1 million knit baby blankets! But I can't send him with a hand knit blanket. I've learnt from Rowan that these blankets go through a lot and are washed much more often then a hand knit blanket should be. So I set out to sew him a cuddle blanket.

I've had these squares of my favourite blue fabrics for ages and decided that this was finally the perfect project to use them in. I sewed them together, backed them with a super soft minky fabric and voila! I introduced him to it with a quick game peek-a-boo and it was love at first sight. Micah is smitten! Knowing that Micah will have this blanket that his mama made just for him when he's away from me at daycare goes a long way towards comforting me. Wait... isn't this blanket supposed to be to comfort him? That's the thing about being a maker, right? You get as much as you give when you put your heart into a project for a loved one.