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

Thank You! Pattern Sale + Giveaway!

Smitten by Tanis Fiber Arts

To say that Chris and I were touched by the outpouring of support and positivity that we've received from the knitting community since our big announcement on Tuesday would be a major understatement. It is such an incredible feeling to know that there are well wishes coming at us from all directions. We're elated! As a very tiny way of expressing our gratitude we're doing a giveaway! That photo above is misleading because there are really only 3 skeins of Smitten available. I took all these pretty shots of 4 skeins all lined up but then realized that 1 was from a different dye lot so I'm keeping it! The giveaway is for 3 skeins of TFA PureWash DK in Smitten. A fun and flirty colour that really embodies happiness. To enter, simply leave me a comment below letting me know what (or who) you'd use these skeins for if you won. Bonus points for including a baby girl name suggestion. I've got no ideas and I need help! I'll announce a winner on Tuesday, September 5th. 

Also worth celebrating? We just passed the 30K followers mark on Instagram, which is BANANAS! As a small token of my appreciation I'm offering all of my self published patterns at 30% off until Friday, September 1st at midnight EST with coupon code "Insta30". Coupon code is valid in both my pattern store here and on Ravelry

Thanks for being such an awesome group of knitters! 

Love, Tanis

Some Exciting News

We're having a baby!!! -Tanis Fiber Arts

Hey guys, guess what.... can you guess? I'll give you three tries. Give up? WE'RE HAVING ANOTHER BABY!!! And guess what else... we know the gender!!!

IT'S. A. GIRL!

I can't believe it. We're pinching ourselves. We have gotten so used to having a house full of boys so the fact that we'll be adding a wee baby girl to the mix is just blowing my mind. We are over the moon! 

Sock Blank Thoughts

Hello friends, I'm knitting my first pair of sock blank socks! I've always loved the idea of sock blanks but somehow managed to go my entire knitting career without purchasing a blank. I recently received a few sample blanks and decided to give dyeing them a go. The dyeing was fun, though certainly more labour intensive than our usual procedure, but the results are worth it I think. The blank looks super cool right? So, naturally, I snapped a few pictures and then started knitting right away. When thinking about sock blanks and the possibility of selling some TFA blanks, it was important to me that they be double knit so that you could get 2 totally matching socks out of one blank. However, I now realize that it makes the process of preparing the blank for knitting quite tedious. It's a 2 person job. Chris and I each pulled one strand of yarn and unravelled the blank into 2 balls ready for knitting. If it were a single layer of knitted fabric you could knit directly from the blank if you wanted to, or wind it off on a ball winder much faster. As far as I can tell so far, the nuisance of having to wind the 2 balls is the only downside to the double blank. What do you think? 

Knitting these socks also feels like knitting with frogged yarn (which it essentially is since it's already been knit into a blank, then unwound and now knit again). It doesn't really bother me, but it's not as enjoyable a knitting experience as knitting from a fresh skein would be. I could have wound my balls into skeins, soaked and dried them to get out the kinks before I begun knitting if it really bothered me, but it doesn't seem worth that much extra effort. Despite what may be coming off as a lukewarm review so far I'm actually completely in love with how the socks are knitting up! Because I had the 2 balls it seemed like a really good opportunity to try knitting this pair of socks 2 at a time using magic loop, and I totally would have (I even read through a tutorial and it seemed manageable!) but I didn't have the right size needles and I was to impatient to cast on so instead I'm knitting 2 socks simultaneously and it's oddly satisfying! I knit 2 lovely little toes, and then a few inches on one, next a few inches on the next. Last night I knit 2 heels. It definitely makes these socks feel like they are flying off the needles!

Sock Blank Socks by Tanis Fiber Arts

So, I need to know, how do you all feel about sock blanks? Are you interested in TFA blanks? Do you like double knit for matching socks or single knit because you just don't care about matching and/or you'd want to use the yarn for a shawl or something else?  

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!