Found my knitting mojo with the help of my favourite colour

Rocket knits

Hi guys! I haven't blogged about a new project in ages and part of the reason why is because I haven't been feeling especially inspired as of late. Post-holiday burnout perhaps? Perhaps. Regardless of why it happens, it happens. It happens to all of us. And it never worries me because I know that my knitting mojo will always find it's way back to me. I think that I was stumped for the right project. At this point in my knitting life, I've knit everything. I've knit multiples of everything. To be honest, I do not need any more knits. I have more sweaters than any reasonable wardrobe should have and though I tell myself that knitting is part of (a big part of) my job and that I can't stop knitting myself sweaters just because I don't technically need any new sweaters at the moment, sometimes it can be hard to find the motivation to knit something that I don't need. The second part of my specific conundrum has to do with the fact that I am super pregnant and that even though we are in the middle of one of the coldest winters on record here in Montreal I am always overheating. It's definitely a pregnancy thing because I am not usually an overly hot person, but I haven't been able to wear a sweater all winter! 

Having said that... this week I got my groove back baby! I started thinking long and hard about what my sweater wardrobe is lacking and what sort of knits I wear the most. Basically I gave my hand knit wardrobe a critical once over. What I concluded I need in my life right now is loose fitting, flowy, lighter weight knits. I have shied away from lighter weight knits because I saw myself as more of a warm wooly knit-wearer. I was also scared of fingering weight sweaters for some reason. I had a mental block that convinced me that tackling a fingering weight sweater was crazy. Which is completely ridiculous. I know that now. Sure it's a bit more knitting than a worsted weight sweater, but it's so worth it!

So, what have I cast on? A Buttercup sweater/tee by Heidi Kirrmaier. I'm not sure how long I'll end up going with the sleeves, which is why I'm not sure if this will technically end up being a tee or more of a sweater in the end. I am particularly inspired by the fit of this version and am hoping that mine ends up fitting me like that rather than like the sample in the pattern shots. I'm optimistic but I won't know for sure for a few more months... after I've had the baby and then given my body a bit of time to stabilize. By the spring I'll be wearing this sweater for sure, though the final fit will likely fluctuate a lot as my bust size changes over the next year or two of nursing... So much to look forward to! I'll report back on the fit in 2020. ;)

The colour I'm using is a pale version of our Rocket colourway. I had set a few skeins aside that didn't quite meet my standards in terms of consistency but that I thought were very beautiful nonetheless. It's a perfect colour for a lightweight feminine top like this. Maybe too perfect? Too pastel and sweet paired with an already sweet and feminine pattern? We shall see. I'm hoping that a slouchy, tucked in hem (I plan on doing ribbing at the bottom hem rather than the lace detail option) will help balance out the overall cuteness of the look. I'm picturing it with jean shorts and in my mind it's super cool. 

I am loving every stitch of it so far! Full disclosure, I have another Rocket knit on the needles (sneak peek in the top photo) but I'll blog about that another day. Turns out our Rocket colourway is exactly what I needed to pull me out of a January funk. Thank goodness for happy blue speckled yarn, am I right!?

Last call for 2018 calendars!

TFA speckles

Hi guys! I've had a few appointments and deadlines to write in my calendar today and it reminded me of, frankly, just how much I love my TFA calendar! I've got a few left and since 2018 calendar buying season is coming to an end I think now would be a good time to offer a 20% coupon code for your last minute calendar purchases. Use code HELLO2018 for 20% off your 2018 TFA calendar

Aquarelle - Blue Label

Aquarelle - Blue Label

January has certainly started off with a bang for us. I am working day and night to get all of the Boxing Day orders in the mail! It's no joke, we received over a thousand orders on Boxing Day and that makes for a heck of a lot of packages to ship! To be clear, 1 order could be for anything from a single skein to 20 skeins, and 1 person could have placed a single order or, as is often the case, multiple orders (I think the record so far is 19 separate orders!) I felt I should clarify since boasting about over a thousand orders can be kinda misleading, I won't actually be mailing one thousand packages but still... it's a lot to process but I'm making good progress!

I'm giving myself a short break from packing and shipping orders this afternoon so I can A) order more shipping supplies (done!) and B) pop in with this quick little blog post for you. I actually happen to love mailing out orders for a number of reasons, one of which is the fact that nothing makes me feel more productive and like I've really accomplished something than seeing a giant pile of packages with our TFA stickers on them headed to the post office. But the main reason I love it is because I get to fondle all the yarn! Despite the fact that I am surrounded by it every single day I never get tired of it. I literally gasp every time I grab a skein of Aquarelle - which is very cool, to still have this much passion for what I do. I truly love colourful skeins of yarn and though I actually don't love parting with them (it never gets easier, I would hoard every single skein if I could!) I adore being able to share my craft with so many knitters. 

So thanks for being so awesome and for supporting my family, and thanks also for being so understanding with me when it takes a few weeks to process your order. Normally I'm pretty swift when it comes to getting orders in the mail (at least I like to think so) but this year, with the number of orders we received and the state I'm in (33 weeks and counting!) it's probably going to take me a bit longer than I'd like. I'm not used to having to take breaks, but sometimes I need to sit and catch my breath. I advertised a 4-6 week shipping window for all the boxing day orders and I'm confident that I can meet that, I'm pretty sure I'll have everything in the mail by the end of the month but it still feels a little long... thank you for not giving me a hard time about it! 

Happy New Year!

In the above photo Rowan is helping me to undecorated the Christmas tree. It's such a weird feeling. The kids were asking me why we were doing it and I told them that Christmas was over, which was hard for them to wrap their minds around because every day kinda feels the same to them I think. What makes yesterday "the holidays" and today just a regular day? Rowan also keeps impatiently asking me when his baby sister will be born. She's due in February and all fall I've been telling him "in the winter" and "after Christmas" and now that we are very much in deep winter and it is officially after Christmas he is ready to meet her. We all are but we have several weeks to go still. 

The timing does feel a little odd to me as well, just because it's a New Year and a part of me feels like it's a good opportunity to do a bit of reflecting followed by goal making and planning, but I've done it and all that I've come up with is that this is probably my last year with a newborn and therefore my only goal is to slow down and enjoy it as much as possible. Relish in every single magical newborn moment and not worry out about anything else. Of course I'll have to keep the business afloat, but I've come to love the distraction and purpose that running my business gives me while I'm spending all of my time caring for a new baby. I don't know what exactly the year has in store for us, I have made zero plans, but I know that it will be full of slow days and simple pleasures. I can't wait!

We had a terrific holiday season this year. The boys are at such great ages to really make the most of it. The boys are back at daycare today and I already miss them. I'm going to take this week to ease myself back into work. Our annual Boxing Day Update was a whirlwind of fun and I've got loads of orders to ship, bit by bit I'm going to start packing up orders and shipping out yarn (I'll probably start next week, though it will take me a few weeks to get through all the orders). I have handmade Christmas gifts to blog about and new WIP's to share with you, all in good time! To get the ball rolling here is a quick rundown of the gifts I made:

handmade gifts!

1) scrappy socks for my brother. I love how these turned out! Ravelry project page here. 2) also for my brother (I drew his name in our gift exchange this year) a woven scarf, Ravelry project page here. 3) Vanilla is the New Black socks for Chris, Ravelry project page here. 4) gorgeous socks for my mom, Ravelry project page here. 5) Oh! And I somehow missed the socks I knit for Dad in this collage, Ravelry project page here

handmade gifts!

And a few more fun things for the boys! 1) matching Christmas pj's (opened on Christmas Eve!) and cardboard houses (a huge hit!). 2) Rainbow mitts for the them (and me!) Ravelry project page here. 3) A set of nesting dolls personalized for Rowan. I'm really proud of these. I completely copied this pin and love how they came out! 4) You can barely see it because that unicorn kinda steals the show, but there is a denim whale tucked under Rowan's arm in that last shot, made using this tutorial

I had a ton of fun making some non-knit handmade gifts this year. It's a weird thing to admit, but I feel like for the past 12 years all I've done by way of arts/crafts is knit! Knitting is such a part of my everyday life and it satisfying my creative itch so I haven't missed exploring other crafty interests, but painting that little set of nesting dolls, and playing around on my sewing machine has reminded me of how deep and varied my love of craft is. I will never not knit, but maybe taking a night off here or there to paint or sew or stitch in some other way will happen more often in the future. But don't worry, knitting will always be my one true crafting love. ;)

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

It's Christmas Eve! We're all so excited. Family is arriving today, the festivities are officially in full swing! I'm really proud of the gifts I made for the boys this year and can't wait to see their little faces light up when they open them, starting with their pj's tonight! Magic!

From our family to you and yours,   

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and the very best of everything for 2018!
Tanis, Chris, Rowan & Micah xox

Boxing Day Etsy Update Extravaganza!!!

PicMonkey Collage.jpg

Here we go guys! We have been super busy behind the scenes dyeing up as many one of a kind colourways in as many bases as we possibly can squeeze in to one giant Etsy Update! Here are the details:

Boxing Day Etsy Update on December 26th at 12pm (noon) ET! Link to Etsy shop here. The shop will appear empty until exactly noon on the 26th at which point it will be overflowing with yarn! 

This update will feature $1 a skein shipping ($2 for overseas orders). I always do my best to catch any multiple orders and bundle them together to save on packaging and trips to the post office. With $1 a skein shipping there are no overcharges to refund so it saves me a lot of time in administrative tasks. Win-win! I am marking each item as being ready to ship in 4-6 weeks. I expect to have things out the door and on their way to their loving homes much sooner than that but I won't be starting to ship immediately as I'll be taking some time off to chill with family after the 26th and I think it's wise to build in a little wiggle room. 

This year's update will feature just about every single one of our bases (see the full run down on our yarns page). Lots of sweater quantities and lots of colourways! Solids, speckles, the works! This style of update is a bit of a mad dash since quantities are limited and you have to act quick. It's fast and furious and fun! 

I'm working hard to get all of the images of available yarns into one somewhat organized Flickr Album. Check it out here to see high-res shots of all the yarns that will be available. I'll be adding to it almost daily right up until the last minute!

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Also back by popular demand we've made up a whole bunch of Mystery Skein Sets! These are 3-colour skein sets of fingering weight yarns in gorgeous groupings. Each set will include a skein of Cosmic Blue Label, Purple Label and Red Label - one of each base and each base a different colour (each set features 2 of our permanent collection colourways and one knock-out speckle!). Each set will be a surprise, but each will be made up of colourways that I would personally use in a shawl together. I’m envisioning these sets being awesome for shawls since there are so many beautiful 3 colour shawl patterns out there, or, you could of course knit 3 separate projects with them.

So Faded Cool: Poolside, Atlas, Hummingbird, Luna, Silent Movie.

So Faded Cool: Poolside, Atlas, Hummingbird, Luna, Silent Movie.

So Faded Pink: Silent Movie, Crystal, Smitten, Paisley, Laurel.

So Faded Pink: Silent Movie, Crystal, Smitten, Paisley, Laurel.

We'll have a bunch of So Faded palettes in the update. Our most popular Cool Palette as well as this really beautiful Pink Palette featuring my very favourite colourway Crystal!

Gift Bundle

We will also be selling the Gift Bundles as part of the Etsy Update - stock is dwindling but there are still a few left and with $1 shipping it's a great deal! The option of purchasing multiple skeins will be available in a drop down menu within the listing. 

Lastly, On January 1st I'll be raising the price of all of our PureWash bases by $1 a skein to reflect the climb in cost of fibres. It's something I hate to do, but I'd rather raise the price in small increments than sit on it until it's too late and I have to hit you with a big jump in price all at once!

Chris' Christmas Socks

Mona Lisa Socks

Pattern: Vanilla is the New Black by Anneh Fletcher. 

Yarn: TFA Blue Label Fingering in Warmer Mona Lisa (available on Boxing Day!)

Ravelry Project page here.

As you all know, I've been on a bit of a sock knitting kick lately. I took a brief break to knit a few pairs of mitts for the kids, but I'm back at it with the socks again! I cast on these socks with the intention of giving them to my dad for Christmas. My dad loves hand knit socks so I make it my mission to knit him a pair every year. This pattern has been on my "must-knit" list for ages and this project, featuring this really pretty speckled colourway (more on it next) seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a go. And I love it. I really, really love it! After completing the first sock I realized that I had overshot the length and these were going to be a bit too long for my dad... but conveniently just the right length for Chris! The very cool heel construction also makes these socks perfect for people with a high arch, which Chris has. The second he slipped them on he said that they fit like a dream. This just might be my new go to heel style for Chris' socks. 

The colourway I used is a rogue batch of Mona Lisa Blue Label that came out a bit more warm/brown than the true Mona Lisa is supposed to be. I've had this batch set aside for some time and I pulled a skein for these socks. It's really lovely and the remainder of the batch will be included in our Boxing Day Etsy Update! 

Can we take a moment to talk about how committed Chris is to being a foot model? Pointed toes, feet crossed just so. He nails every angle! Also, can we also agree that every sock FO shot should be taken in front of the magical glowing lights of the Christmas tree? I swear that glow makes everything better. 

Holiday Schedule - Maybe

Tanenbaum

Hello friends, so I probably should have written this post last week and given everyone a warning that the "delivered in time for the holidays" deadline was looming... but now it's officially passed and I thought I should let you know. I don't think that this is shocking news to anyone, we all know how the postal service works, but here is my official blog post about it. :)

Having said that - shipping between Montreal and many major East coast cities is usually only 1-2 days, so if I have an item in stock there is still a very good chance that you could get it in time. Things like the Gift Bundles are ready to ship, all of the notions, enamel pins and pompoms (including just restocked rainbow pompom!) 

knitting - always

We are currently working really hard to have a ton of awesome OOAK colorulways and old favourites ready for our big annual Boxing Day Etsy Update. The update, as always, will be December 26th at 12pm ET. I'll be giving you another heads up/reminder before then, don't worry! 

I'm not entirely sure what the new year will look like for us here at TFA. Here's the thing, I don't intend to shut down the shop officially at any point, but I might just have to for a few weeks at the beginning of the new year while I focus on processing the Boxing Day yarn. I generally consider myself to be a busy bee and am a master multitasker, but right now, that lady staring lovingly at you from inside that photo up there, she's pretty pregnant and has started slowing down quite a bit. I'm experiencing a rather unfortunate pregnancy symptom that is taking it's toll. It's not dangerous, the baby and I are fine, I'm just kind of in a constant state of discomfort and, sometimes, agonizing pain. So... needless to say I'm not exactly my usual sprightly self. If I need a break I'm going to take it. So though I don't have anything specific planned (I'd really rather take my break after the baby is born) I just might have to take a bit of time off and I'll fill you in when we get there. 

5 things

I don't usually blog like this, but I have a bunch of random things I wanted to share and this felt like a quick and easy way to do it! 

I just about made his day today when I said that he could wear a TFA Star pin on his plain white T. This kid loves his flair!

I just about made his day today when I said that he could wear a TFA Star pin on his plain white T. This kid loves his flair!

Chris is killing it with his sweater knitting! Every time I post a photo of his WIP on Instagram people go wild. I love that you're all so supportive! He's making the Daddy-sized version of this sweater. 

Chris is killing it with his sweater knitting! Every time I post a photo of his WIP on Instagram people go wild. I love that you're all so supportive! He's making the Daddy-sized version of this sweater

I never wear dangly earrings, but I might start if I got these for Christmas! I have this bracelet and really love it. I'm a new fan, but a big fan of this Canadian company. Photo from www.Jenny-bird.ca

I never wear dangly earrings, but I might start if I got these for Christmas! I have this bracelet and really love it. I'm a new fan, but a big fan of this Canadian company. Photo from www.Jenny-bird.ca

I'm almost done another pair of socks! This was a fun knit - more details to come when I blog about them officially but you can get a bit more info from my Ravelry project page here. Yarn is a Gauge Dyeworks Club colourway from earlier this year. 

I'm almost done another pair of socks! This was a fun knit - more details to come when I blog about them officially but you can get a bit more info from my Ravelry project page here. Yarn is a Gauge Dyeworks Club colourway from earlier this year. 

I've been burning this advent candle from Swell Made Co since the 1st of the month and am loving the ritual. The scent is perfection (we have a real Christmas tree, but this just ups the scent factor by a bit) and crossing off the days makes me feel like a kid again!

I've been burning this advent candle from Swell Made Co since the 1st of the month and am loving the ritual. The scent is perfection (we have a real Christmas tree, but this just ups the scent factor by a bit) and crossing off the days makes me feel like a kid again!

Lavanderia Sock Pattern - Introductory Sale!

Lavanderia

Available on Ravelry HERE for the introductory price of $4 CAD! No coupon code needed. Price will be raised to it’s regular cost of $6 CAD on Dec. 10th. Happy Stitching!

Is there anything better than a pretty lacy sock? I think not. Wearing these lovely socks puts that extra pep in my step on dull winter days. The lovely meandering lace pattern takes a laundry basic and elevates it to a whole new level. I welcome the cold when it gives me an excuse to wear something so pretty on my feet!

I have been on a major sock knitting kick lately. And despite the fact that I feel like I knit tons of socks, it's actually been ages since I've knit a pretty, lacy, fancy sock like this pair. I love taking an unglamorous item like the humble sock and elevating it into something special with a few well placed yo's and k2tog's. 

It’s a deceptively quick knit as the pattern is a pleasure to work and the stitches flow nicely. Myself and my testers all completed at least 1 sock (several completed the pair) in a week! Plenty of time to get a pair done in time for gift giving season. ;)

Scrappy Socks

socks!

Pattern: A basic toe-up sock recipe. See this post for a few links. 

Yarn: TFA Blue Label Fingering in Chris Grey and Peacock, TFA Purple Label Cashmere Sock in Charcoal.

Ravelry Project page here.

I've been on a real sock kick lately. I think I knit 3 pairs of socks in the month of November, including a new design that will be released later this week! I'm in the zone. This is the pair that got the ball rolling. A very simple toe up sock, spiced up with a few stripes inspired by a pair of Micah's wee socks. After not having had a pair of socks on the needles for a while this pair reminded me of how much I love small portable projects and using odds and ends of yarn! 

Cute right? I'm actually quite smitten with these. So simple, but quite graphic and striking! Never underestimate the power of a high contrast stripe. :)

Mood Board Monday - Blaze

I haven't made a mood board in ages but our latest Club colourway, November's Blaze, just begged to be celebrated! I really love this colour, which is very surprising since I am typically exclusively a cool-toned person. I truly favour my blues and greys so I was pleasantly pleased - albeit slightly confused - by how well this warm glowing colourway suits me. 

The official rule about Club colourways is that they are exclusive to Club members for the duration of the Club calendar year. This year I've made the executive decision to release all our 2017 Club colourways a few days early as part of our Boxing Day Etsy Update on December 26th at 12pm ET. 

Etsy Update Tomorrow At 12pm ET!

Hummingbird Chunky

Etsy Update on Wednesday, November 29th at 12pm ET!

(TIME ZONE CONVERTER)

I think that I can safely say that we have officially entered the Holiday Season. I for one, am thrilled about it! It's my favourite time of year. Despite my best intentions I still spend a lot of time working on "last minute gifts" because, well, sometimes it's just more fun to actually make the gift you're giving during the season in which you'll be giving it. Right? There is still loads of time to whip up a few quick knits for the lucky knit-worthy people on your holiday lists. Especially if those gifts are knit in CHUNKY YARN! Tomorrow at 12pm (noon) ET the Etsy shop will be full of ready to ship skeins of glorious PureWash Chunky. All orders from tomorrow's update will be in the mail by Monday December, 4th. Unless you combine it with dyed-to-order items from our permanent collection on our website, that would add a few days of processing, but you'll definitely still get your yarn before the holidays I'm certain.  

Silent Movie, Luna, Life's A Peach, Bisou. Mona Lisa, Blue Opal, Rocket, Hummingbird. Misbehaving', Purple Purl, Flamenco, Kaleidoscope. 

Silent Movie, Luna, Life's A Peach, Bisou.

Mona Lisa, Blue Opal, Rocket, Hummingbird.

Misbehaving', Purple Purl, Flamenco, Kaleidoscope. 

Above is a selection of most of what I'll have available tomorrow. A bunch of speckles and a few fun multi/tonals thrown in the mix too. Add a pompom (which are also ready to ship!) and you've got yourself one amazing hat.

Below is a little collage I just threw together featuring some of my favourite quick chunky projects - most that I've knit myself and a couple that are still on my must knit list. I'd highly recommend any of these patterns for a quick yet gorgeous gift!  

GAP-tastic Cowl by Jen Geigley, my project page - Rove Cowl - Fidra by Gudrun Johnston, project photo by ahickman - Alpine Trail by Jill Zielinski, my project page - Heira - Arika Cowl by Jane Richmond, my project page - Fairy Mist by Julie Crawford - pattern photo by knittedblissjc -  Betsy by Jane Richmond - my project page.

GAP-tastic Cowl by Jen Geigley, my project page - Rove Cowl - Fidra by Gudrun Johnston, project photo by ahickman - Alpine Trail by Jill Zielinski, my project pageHeira - Arika Cowl by Jane Richmond, my project pageFairy Mist by Julie Crawford - pattern photo by knittedblissjc -  Betsy by Jane Richmond - my project page.

This week is a fun one here at TFA headquarters! I've got literally boxes and boxes of boxes (gold boxes!) and mailers (gold mailers!) arriving tomorrow so I can assemble all your Gift Bundle's and get them in the mail! There's ribbon and tissue and so much golden goodness. I live for this sort of thing!

Gift Bundles