Duo Chrome! + A Pattern Sale

Duo Chrome

So, first the big news: Duo Chrome is live! AND to celebrate the launch of a new pattern I've got a coupon code for you! Enter coupon code THANKS at checkout to receive 20% off any of my self published patterns in my Ravelry shop.

Rowan's Duo Chrome featuring Hummingbird and Poolside with Midnight hems.

Rowan's Duo Chrome featuring Hummingbird and Poolside with Midnight hems.

Thank goodness I have knitwear as an excuse to take photos of my kids. I swear, 75% of all of my photos are originally taken because I needed a shot of a knit. Though the knit is my excuse for getting out my camera, those precious faces are really the star of the show. I know you all came here for the sweater, but come on! As I was working on my own adult version of Duo Chrome I opened up my test pattern, which had been formatted exclusively with photos of Rowan, and when I saw this shot above I got misty eyed. That's my big boy! I love him so much.

Ok, back to the knit. :) I coulda/shoulda had this pattern ready weeks ago, but I’ve been delaying it’s launch because I really wanted to have kits ready to go with it. Alas, kits haven’t happened yet - this time of year is just too chaotic! The kits will have to wait until we’ve got a bit more time on our hands, but in the mean time, feel free to pick your own colour combos - I swear, you really cannot go wrong. I love the magical effect that the slim stripes have on the colours, taking 2 distinct colourways and bringing them together to create something completely unique. Every combination I’ve seen is beautiful. 

duo chrome

Duo Chrome is knit seamlessly, in the round, from the top down. Two colours are striped throughout the body with a third colour used for contrasting hems. Featuring cool invisible yoke increases and no waist shaping, this is your new favourite sweatshirt!

And now for a bit of fun, I was about 25 weeks pregnant when we took these photos. I'm not new to "hiding" a pregnancy for pattern shots. Since this isn't a maternity pattern I was sort of trying to de-emphasise the fact that I am pregnant in the photos, without much success! The last time I did it I was only 22 weeks pregnant, and apparently that's my cut-off! Rowan pitched in to help with the belly camouflage, here are a few of his casual attempts to distract from the bump:

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These poses really crack me up. He was being so sincere! And for anyone who thinks that Rowan is always a cooperative little knitwear model, proof that he's really just a monkey in a sweater. 

duo chrome

Duo Chrome is a really fun knit and I should mention that it's sized from baby to big. I have a pretty speckled skein set aside that I just might combine with a few other colours to knit a Duo Chrome for the baby. Have you picked your colours yet? I can’t wait to see what colour combos you come up with!

Ricochet Hat & Mitts Set! + Shop Updates

Ricochet Hat and Mitts

The Ricochet Hat & Mitts

I am super excited to announce that I have brand new hat and mitt patterns available! Not only that but they happen to be a matching set. And as if that weren't enough I've also timed the release of the pattern to conveniently coincide with a Mitten Kit Shop Update! The shop is currently stocked with 5 different mitten kit colourway options and 3 different mitten pattern options. I'll be doing my best to keep an assortment of mitten kits available in the shop between now and the holidays. They really do make the perfect gift!

The Ricochet Mitts are fully lined (kits include a cashmere liner in a fun pop of colour - always line with a fun pop of colour!) and the pattern includes charts for either a vertical chevron option (shown here in Slate and Gold) or a chevron that's been turned on it's side (shown here in Ravine and Seabreeze). Who doesn't love a two-for-one!? The hat features a cushy and cozy double brim. Paired with the extra layers provided by the stranded knitting of the body of the hat that makes this one of the warmest and definitely coziest hats I own. On the coldest of winter days this is the hat that I'll be reaching for.  

TFA enamel pins

In other shop news, I've added a third enamel pin to our quickly expanding collection! The TFA Star pin features 16 saturated triangles of glorious colour and I've pinned one to the plain black t-shirt I'm wearing today and instantly feel a hundred times better. They are colourful, they are shiny, they are everything I never knew I always wanted. :) 

Gift Bundles!!!

Tanis Fiber Arts Gift Bundle

Today is the day my friends! I am beyond excited to announce this year's TFA Holiday Gift Bundle!  I've done things slightly differently this year in that I've set it up as a pre-order item. That just means that you can order it any time between now and when it sells out (I've got loads, don't worry!) but they won't start shipping until around the first week of December. Basically it's just more practical for me to bundle the shipping as much as possible, so, hopefully this system works for you too.   

tannenbaum by Tanis Fiber Arts

OK, so let's get down to the knitty gritty shall we? This year's bundle is cool. I love it! I don't know what to talk about first... how about we start with the yarn? That's actually the last thing that came together for this bundle. I had all the other elements and we kept experimenting with colourways and nothing felt right. I'd put all the items together and then I'd look at Chris and I'd yell: "MORE FESTIVE!!!" This year's bundle is truly festive. Like, literally snowflakes and ornaments and mittens and Christmas lights festive. The colourway had to tie it all together, and friends, I really think that it does! Dyed on our Cosmic Blue Label fingering weight base (sparkles = festive!) we dyed up a colourway that captures all the colours of vintage Christmas lights and in honour of that we've called it Tannenbaum. This is what the greenery on the outside of my house looks like around the holidays. This is the holidays embodied in a sparkly skein and I LOVE it! 

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Of course we've got the annual TFA Calendar included in the bundle and this year's tote bag, which I'm very proud of Chris for designing. We brainstormed quite a bit before coming up with this design idea. It's fun and knitterly and wintery and when I attempted the design myself it was a total flop. I was ready to move on but Chris decided to give it a go on his own and the results are stunning, it's exactly what I wanted! Kudos to Chris for having mad skills. ;) As far as tote bags go this one is a goodie. It's 100% certified organic cotton, it's big enough without being too big (15 x 14 x 3") it has a gusseted bottom so it can sit up straight AND it has a zipper! The zipper is the kicker for me. I'm going to get a lot of use out of this tote. 

And finally we have the wee gems that make this bundle truly special. The little extras that will make you squeal when you open your box. A beautiful wood ornament featuring a custom watercolour print of my Snowfling Mittens designed and handmade by Wild Canary Studio. The ornament is exclusive to the bundle and it's very special. Amy, the artist behind Wild Canary Studio, is a friend of mine from way back in my art school days. I'm a big fan of her work and follow her closely on Instagram (you should too!) and earlier this fall she posted about her wooden ornaments and dared any Christmas keeners to start their Christmas shopping early! Well, I'm nothing if not a Christmas keener so I immediately bought a set of ornaments and when they arrived I did exactly what I'm predicting you're going to do when you open your bundles, I squealed and clapped and called my mom. I reached out to her with the idea of collaborating on an ornament for the bundle and not only was she game, she was amazing to work with. She painted a custom watercolour of the mitts and produced all the ornaments I needed incredibly quickly. She's a good egg and I will treasure my Snowfling ornament for years to come. 

And last but not least, I have ventured into a new territory of design and I think I may have fallen in love. Enamel pins. They have been all the rage for a few years now and I don't know why it's taken me so long to jump on the bandwagon but I am now very firmly on it. I've got 2 designs in the shop right now and plan on adding more as inspiration strikes. Keeping with the Snowfling theme this bundle includes an enamel pin design based on my mittens (again, thanks to Chris for the design work!). Spruce up your knitting bag, your jean jacket, your lunch box, heck, spruce up your life with these fun new pins!

Tanis Fiber Arts Gift Bundle

So, there you have it gang, the 2017 Holiday Gift Bundle. Your Christmas wish list is now complete. You are welcome. :)

A Blue Dragon Hat For Micah

Blue Dragon Hat knit by Tanis Fiber Arts

Pattern: wee balaclava by mama cerise.

Yarn: TFA PureWash Worsted in OOAK Ravine left over from Rowan's rainbow R&R Hoodie.

Ravelry Project page here.

These hats are simply the best thing ever for my little dudes. They are happy to wear them when the weather gets cold (which is half the battle with winter accessories, am I right moms?) and from a moms point of view they are just so perfect because they stay put and cover everything that needs to stay covered on chilly winter days spent playing outside. They are super cozy and cute to boot and my boys love them. I knit Rowan's hat last year and this year Micah has shown interest in looking/acting like a dragon so I happily obliged. It's not quite cold enough to be wearing these hats on a regular basis, but it will be soon, and when the weather turns, we will be ready! Or at least we'll have hats... mitts are another story. 

There is very little that gives me more joy in life than going over to my stash(es) of leftover odds and ends of yarn from past projects and using up bits and pieces. NOTHING better than a stash busting project! For this hat I used a whole bunch of leftovers for the spikes: 

Highlighter - 2 strands of PureWash Fingering held together. 
Lemongrass - Orange Label. 
Mallard - Green Label. 
Seabreeze - 2 strands of PureWash Fingering held together. 
Peacock - 2 strands of Blue Label held together. 
Concord - Green Label.

I cannot emphasize enough how much I love holding 2 strands of fingering weight yarn together to work at a thicker gauge. Don't ask me why, it just makes me feel so clever. :) I have an urge to knit all kids of multicoloured stash busting project now. Striped socks! Mittens! Hats! Which is perfect timing since we're right smack dab in the middle of the TFA Fall Colour KAL and multicoloured projects are what we're all about. I'm also getting the itch to get started on some holiday knits... maybe a personal stash busting holiday challenge is in order! 

Comfort Fade Cardi Kits!

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It's about time I finally made Comfort Fade Cardi Kits for the shop, am I right? Here they are folks! Scoop one up for a limited time only right here. We won't be doing these forever, but it's always fun to have a new little something in the shop this time of year. Below are bigger shots of the 4 colourways we currently have available - each one built around a stand out speckle. Which one is your fave? I know myself and I would almost definitely end up picking the blue one (Rocket!) but honestly, I could make a very strong argument for why I need a sweater in each of these palettes. I really love them. 

I had a lot of fun putting together palettes for this sweater with colourways from our permanent collection and have been posting a few combo's to my Instagram. The combos below are not available to purchase as a "Kit" per say, but since they are made up of colourways that are always available as part of our permanent collection you could easily purchase the skeins separately and put together your own sweater kit! 

Colourways starting from the top: 1) Shadow, Slate, Stormy, Charcoal 2) Truffle, Chestnut, Brick, Sunset 3) Fig, Velvet, Garnet, Poppy* 4) Ravine, Aurora, Truffle, Chestnut. *Ok, so in the photo I've actually used a skein of Cabin Fever in this palette, but Poppy would be the perfect substitute for a great hot red-to-purple fade! 

As much as I love the kits I've put together featuring the speckles, these palettes are definitely... what's the word... richer... deeper. Equally beautiful, but more saturated. I am not a red gal but I love that purple-to-red palette and that bottom one with the Aurora is really speaking to me. 

So, there ya go! If you weren't planning on knitting yourself a faded cardigan, well, maybe now you're reconsidering? 2017 is officially the year of the Fade, why try and fight it?

Shop News

Hi Gang! A few bits of business first:

Mini Sock Yarn Skein Sets have been restocked and the plan is to keep restocking as regularly as I need to in order to have them available as frequently as possible between now and the holidays - I'll be aiming for weekly restocks, which I think oughta do it.

• The 2018 Calendars are now available in the shop! They will also be included as part of our holiday Gift Bundle which will be available mid-November. Stay tuned for lots more about that!

• There are still a handful of White Light Skein Sets available.

Mitten kits are next on my list! I'll be restocking lots of colourways and I'll even have a new pattern coming soon!

Things in the TFA studio are as busy as they ever get and it's all lots of fun. This time of year is always very inspiring - but it can certainly weigh on me and start to feel like there just aren't enough hours in the day. So many kits I'd love to make available, but just never enough time! I've accepted it. I like this pace. I like to be busy and to be striving forward and making plans. I do sometimes/often wish that I had an extra pair of hands to help me wind all those mini skeins and that Chris had a helper out in the studio to dye twice the yarn in half the time! And the truth is those are very realistic dreams. There is absolutely nothing stopping us from expanding our business to include an out-of-house studio space where we can accommodate staff and produce more. But here's the catch... I love our life! I love that we do it all ourselves. That we can leave early to pick up a child at daycare should the need arise, that I can take a long weekend to go visit family out of town without worrying about what's happening at the studio while I'm away. That I can have my kids home with me if I choose to (since I'm being honest, I choose to have my kids at daycare 4 days a week... but the fact that I can keep them at home with me until I feel that they are ready to start daycare and that I have that choice is so important to me.) 

I have a vision of our future that involves a big studio with high ceilings and exposed brick walls, with shelves upon shelves of always well stocked yarn and kits. Of a dedicated spot for shipping supplies, a spot for photography and a maybe even a shopfront where people can visit us in person. Maybe one day, but not today. Today I'm happy to be making kits in my home office in my pyjamas. I'm content to never be more than 12 feel away from my office and yarn stash so I can pounce on a project the second inspiration strikes. And I'm happiest of all to be doing it surrounded by those I love the most. 

White Light Blanket

White Light blanket by Tanis Fiber Arts

Pattern: Super Easy Baby Blanket by Purl Soho.

Yarn: TFA Green Label Aran Weight in the White Light Skein Set.

Ravelry Project page here.

Last month, for an Etsy Update, we came up with the idea of doing this White Light Rainbow Skein Set as an exercise for Chris. His usual approach to dyeing speckles for updates is to go out to the studio without a plan and then just see what happens. I love being able to offer up complete sets of colours during updates, so this time I gave him a bit of direction. The goal was to achieve a full rainbow of speckles where each colourway was distinct and dynamic in it's own right but also related back to all of the other colours in the palette for a cohesive overall look. Each colourway has a white base peeking through, they all have a tiny smattering of dark grey speckles and they each stay pretty closely within they're own colour family. I love how the colours turned out! I had to keep one set for myself and I cast on right away for the world's simplest blanket. I had intended to work on it casual here and there for a few months, but it quickly took over my knitting time as I just couldn't put it down!

We found one last stray box of Green Label Aran Weight Yarn in our garage (I had thought that we had used the last of our inventory during our last Etsy Update) so we've dyed up our remaining Green Label skeins into a few more White Light Skein Sets for the shop! 

The next month or two leading up to Christmas will hopefully see lots more kits being added to the shop. Mitten Kits, Mini Sock Yarn Skein Sets, maybe even Comfort Fade Cardi Kits and more... all of those awesome and incredibly labour intensive things that we all love so much! I'm going to try and enlist the help of my mom for a bit of kit making because the truth is I'm past the half way mark in my pregnancy and though I'm feeling great I'm also feeling more and more, well, pregnant! and these days and I have to pace myself. 

I don't have a ton to say about this blanket other than the obvious, it's super simple, it's all about the colours and it's really awesome! It's soft and squishy and fun and I've wanted to knit a version of this pattern forever and I think that I was just waiting for this skein set to exist so I could cast on. I love how the colours knit up and though I think it's fantastic as a blanket I also think that this palette would be just as lovely in a multitude of projects - striped hats, sweaters, mitts, scarves - you've got lots of yarn to play with in one set so the sky is the limit! I can't wait to see what you do with yours. It would make a terrific striped Sunday Drive Cardigan! With Natural used for the collar and hems? Stunning! Somebody do that please. ;)

my boys!

Bonus: the boys love it too!

My Rose Grey Dreams

Centre photo of the wee dress is by Espace Tricot, Ravelry project page here

Bottom photo is of my Duo Chrome in progress, pattern to be released soon!

As you may have noticed, the blog has been pretty quiet lately. I'm confident that my blogging mojo will come back! My life these days is full and busy and wonderful, but I don't have a ton of quiet time to sit at my computer and reflect upon my knitting in a coherent and productive way. I'm doing lots of knitting, I'm working on a ton of new projects for TFA and work is invigorating, so don't let my lack of posts make you think otherwise. I'm just too busy doing to make time to document said doing. We've all been there right?

Right now I am so into this cool rose grey palette. I keep finding myself drawn to it. I think that deep down I've always loved this palette but generally when I'm looking at cool grey tones I end up favouring a bluer option, but yesterday that all changed when I cast on for a new sweater in Graphite, Rose Grey and Dove. It's the 3rd colour palette I've attempted for my Duo Chrome sample (pattern to be released in the coming weeks!) and it's the one I've been waiting for. Neither of my other two palettes got me really excited, but this one I can't wait to get back to! 

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!