Good Luck Sam!

If you watched the latest TFA podcast episode you'll have heard the news that Sam is moving to Toronto. We will miss her dearly. I'll miss her help around the office obviously, but I'll also miss her company! Knitters of Toronto, welcome her with arms wide open, she's a gem! She has been such a valuable addition to the TFA family this past year. Tomorrow is her last day and there will be tears!

We love you Sam!!!

Mimosa Flower Cardigan

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Pattern: Flower Cardigan by Evelina Murach. 

Yarn: TFA PureWash DK in Mimosa (ooak speckle - repeatable!)

Ravelry Project page here.

This is a classic Tanis story: On Wednesday I was supposed to go to the mall in the afternoon to do some gift shopping. My niece Eloise had just turned 1 and I was going to be seeing her over the weekend and wanted to pick up a gift for her. But because I'd rather stay home and knit than go to the mall and buy something that she definitely didn't need (she has 2 older sisters, she doesn't need anything!) I decided that I'd knit her a sweater instead! I had a few skeins of fun speckled yarn set aside and chose the beautiful and cheerful Mimosa colourway for Eloise. She has the loveliest peaches and cream colouring and could wear anything, but as I said, she has 2 older sisters, so there's already loads of pink in her household (these days I love knitting with pink for little girls if only because I don't knit with it often for myself). Also, yellow is her mom's favourite colour and is not a colour that I would typically choose for myself, it was meant to be. I love knitting for others because it gives me the opportunity to knit with colours and patterns that I might not normally choose. 

This cardigan is just the sweetest little thing. I originally intended to knit it with long sleeves but since I was on a deadline I opted for the short sleeve option. I'm thrilled that I made that call since A) it allowed me to finish the cardigan in time to gift to Eloise on Sunday B) I was able to get the whole sweater out of a single skein of DK weight yarn and C) I think that the short sleeves really suit the design! This sweater is so springy with the flower motif and the curved hem. The short sleeves just make sense. Imagine it worn over a sun dress? Adorable! 

I found these iridescent cream/pink butterfly buttons in my stash and love them on this sweater. When they catch the light they really bring out the pink speckles in the yarn.

I used a new-to-me bind off for all the ribbing, the Extra Stretchy, No Flare Bind Off and it is a game changer for me! I always struggle to do a loose bind off on ribbing and this method is fool proof and also kinda fun. My new go-to bind off for ribbing I think. 

The pattern is 12 pages long! It's no joke. The construction is quite complicated and is shaped almost entirely using short rows. You have to just trust the pattern, it will look crazy and you'll have to do a ton of provisional cast ons but in the end it will all come together before your very eyes like magic! I love knitting a complex little gem like this from time to time. It makes me feel clever even though I didn't have to figure anything out on my own!

As a mother of 2 boys I always relish the opportunity to knit for girls. For me, there's no question that it's just more fun. I hate to admit it. I'm the first person to argue that boys can wear pink too and that there are no rules when it comes to fashion, but the reality is I wouldn't knit this sweater for Rowan, I'd like to be able to say that I would, but that would be a lie. I'd knit a sweater in this colour for either of my boys, but not this pattern. It's so much fun for me to get to knit super feminine details on wee little sweaters once in a while. Big thanks to my brother for facilitating that by having 3 daughters! 

Nine Gorgeous Crazyheart Sweaters

There are over 100 Crazyheart's uploaded to Ravelry already and that makes me just giddy! To be fair, 5 of them are my own... but still, it's incredibly cool to see what talented knitters all over the world have done with my pattern. I've selected just a handful to showcase in the gorgeous collage above. I tried to pick projects that showcase a variety of colour combos, sizes and genders, because after all, that's the beauty of this pattern right? The possibilities! We are just over a week away from wrapping up our CrazyCamaroKAL over in the Ravelry group. There are so many inspiring projects over there, aren't KAL's fun?

Perfect Slouchy Grey-dient Hat

Pattern: No pattern. 

Yarn: The Blue Brick Escarpment DK in Feather.

Ravelry Project page here.

Say hello to my new favourite hat! I intended to knit this hat for my Gift Bin. It's the perfect gift, neutral colour, easy to wear slouchy fit, fun pompom... I can think of loads of people whom this hat would be perfect for. Including me! I put it on "just for fun" and am having a hard time taking it off. I have plenty of grey hats in my collection, but what's one more!? 

I knit this hat top down because I wanted to maximize the gradient. The skein is predominantly dark grey and I definitely didn't want to miss out on using any of the white on the top. I used about 85% of the skein and the part that I didn't use was all dark grey. Had I knit it bottom up starting with the grey I would have ended before getting through most of the gradient. 

Working with gradient yarns requires special attention to details like that. It's not hard, you just have to give it a bit of thought. Or, if you don't want to think about it, work from a pattern specifically designed for gradient yarns! Shireen, the mastermind behind the Blue Brick Yarns has just released a whole collection of patterns specifically for her hand dyed gradient yarns. Check it out!

I think that we may have just turned the page from winter to spring. I'm glad for the extra Vitamin D but I'm already missing my wooly hats! 

Life Update

These kids! Oh boy. These kids fill our days right up to the point of overflowing every single day. I love them so much. We celebrated Rowan's 4th birthday this week and he really had a great day. He gets it. He knew that it was his day and relished every single song and well wish that came his way. It was awesome. He's growing into such a beautiful, sweet, thoughtful and theatrical kid. He's such a little ham and I love hearing the crazy songs and stories that he comes up with.

Micah continues to be the most easy going toddler, yet at the same time he's totally a handful! We've gone beyond the point of just removing the kitchen stools to prevent him from climbing up onto the counter, he now just moves whatever furniture is handy and gets wherever he feels he needs to be. He's a climber. And a jumper. And a digger. But he also loves to colour and read books and is happy playing on his own for decent stretches of time. He also loves knitwear and shoes. Anybody's knitwear and shoes. The bigger the better! Micah wearing his Chris' boots is probably one of my favourite things about this age. He's almost 2 but still looks like a baby to me. 

I'm so lucky that both of my boys are very snuggly! Not always, but given the right circumstances I can gets loads of snuggles from either of them, sometimes even at the same time, though that's rare. 

They make our lives feel busy and full and I am so thankful for the way they've made me assess my priorities and re-evaluate what really matters. Spending time with them is always time well spent. They do make work tricky... but I'm learning little tricks to make it all work. A valuable trick I learnt last night: Don't schedule an Etsy Update too close to bedtime! Rowan requested that I read him his books last night, which he NEVER does. Chris puts Rowan to bed 99% of the time, so I jumped at the opportunity! I read him 2 books and then he asked if I would sleep with him for just a minute and of course I said yes because no matter how busy I am I can always spare 5 minutes of snuggles for my 4 year old. I completely lost track of time and was 15 minutes late listing the palettes for last night's update. I know that many of you set alarms and rearrange your own kid's bedtime routines in order to try and snag one, so I feel really awful about it. I know that you understand, but I'm going to try hard to not over schedule myself. 

We're heading into another period of change for TFA, I'll fill you in on all the details soon, its nothing drastic and you probably won't notice a difference. Through it all I'm going to keep reminding myself that enjoying my time with these guys is all that really maters. My work matters to me too, it maters to me a lot! and if I don't feel motivated, challenged and successful in work than I won't be able to truly enjoy my time with the boys away from work. It's all connected. The happier I am in my personal life, the more motivated I am to work, and the better I feel about my work, the happier I am about taking precious time away from it. It's a constant struggle, but it's something that I feel is definitely worth the effort. 

April 1st

When putting together the TFA Calendar there are a few things I always try to do - and one of them is to pick the most "Tanis" photo I can find for the month of April, which is my birthday month! It also happens to be Rowan's birthday month, which is clearly much more important these days. Nevertheless, when I look over at my calendar it's like a blue speckled birthday celebration every day!

Pretty Corners - Vol. 8

I wasn't sure if the above photo qualified as a pretty corner, typically I would have gone in closer and cropped out the vacuum cleaner, but at this moment I'm digging' it. Kinda weird, but having the vacuum laying around the office waiting to be put away is not an uncommon sight around here and apparently it's one that I've come to love!

This week's podcast episode is live! This week is all about COLOUR!!! And boy do we love it. ;)

What To Knit Next. The Struggle Is Real...

Oh boy. I'm really in a tough spot with my knitting this week. I'm dying to cast on for a new sweater but I can't for the life of me make a decision about what to knit next. As I was putting together the collages for today's post I think that I might have a bit of a better idea of what direction to go in... but I'm not sure. 

Plattsburgh Pullover image 

So, first on my list is a sweater I've loved since the day I saw it and I know I will knit and I'm even pretty confident that I know what yarn I'll knit it in, but I don't think that it's the right thing to cast on at this particular moment since I'd rather be working on a lighter weight knit going in to spring. This is the Plattsburg Pullover by Stone Wool and I think that it's the perfect casual knit that I would love to wear for years and years. I have just enough Brooklyn Tween Shelter in Faded Quilt leftover from Chris' Cordova to knit this (I really overbought!) and if I can't make a decision about anything else by the end of the day then this is what I'll cast on. I really love it. 

Next up is the one that I feel I should cast on for because it's been on my hit list for years now and I'm getting closer to knowing exactly what I want it to look like. I want to knit a DK weight sweater version of my Seaboard Tank design. I actually cast on for this earlier this week but I chose the wrong colour. It's just not me and I don't think I'll wear it. Last night I was convinced that I should start over in Mint, because I think that a lacy top in Mint would be beautiful, but then I started thinking that I might prefer it striped! Make it super nautical and stripe Midnight with Natural, I'd do the stockinette stitch in Natural and the lace panels in Midnight. I'm getting pretty sold on that option... I think that's the one!

But then that brings us to Indian Summer by Amy Miller. I love this design and can't believe that there aren't more projects for it on Ravelry! It calls for sport weight but at a pretty tight gauge that I know I could achieve with fingering weight yarn which would result in a really beautiful and lightweight sweater. Right now I'm leaning towards using PureWash Fingering in a solid colourway and striping it with Red Label in a speckled colourway, then I'd knit the lace in PureWash Fingering in a coordinating solid. I think that the Red Label speckle would add a really soft texture to the stripes and it would be dreamy! This is the one that I want to cast on for the most because I have a real lack of fingering weight sweaters in my wardrobe and I just LOVE stripes. I just can't for the life of me pick a colour combo. There are so many options and they are all so good! The sweater is knit from the bottom up, so I really have to nail down my colour palette before starting since the lace panel is the first thing to cast on. 

So, I know I started this blog post saying that I had a better idea of what I wanted to do now, but I was wrong. I'm still completely floundering. The struggle is real people. So much to knit, so many colours, how's a girl to choose?

March Club Colourway & Pattern - Floe Mitts

PatternFloe

Yarn: March Year In Colour Club - Forest Floor on PureWash DK.

Floe is the March TFA Year In Colour Club pattern and continues exploring what seems to have inadvertently become the theme of this year's Club patterns... texture! Squishy, lush woollen goodness is one of the best things about our craft, so why not embrace it! This mitts are full of that cushy texture I love, and the lighter DK weight yarn keeps them trim and practical. These mitts make holding hands even more cozy. ;)

Available in three sizes, child (adult small, adult large). We were able to get a child's pair (expertly modelled by Rowan) and an adult small (modelled by me!) out of a single skein. 

I love our March colourway. Forest Floor is overall green, but with lots of earthy browns mixed in with brighter pops of lime and turquoise as well. 

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 and March skeins along with the next batch of shipments in March.