Holiday Gift Bundles + All Bases Dyed-To-Order Update!!!

Big week here at TFA Headquarters! Here’s what you need to know: On Friday, November 16th the 2018 Gift Bundles will be available! I have already made the listings and you can check out all the details here. They say ‘sold out’ but that’s only because I don’t have the option of listing them as ‘not yet available’. On Friday at about 8am ET they will be available.

Next on the list of exciting things that are happening this week is a BIG Dyed-To-Order Update that will conveniently also be happing on Friday, November 16th. I have purposefully scheduled the update for the same day as the Gift Bundles drop so you can combine shipping and I’m purposefully telling you all about it a few days in advance so you can do all your planning!

The Dyed-To-Order update will be for ALL of our permanent collection colourways on ALMOST ALL OF OUR BASES! - Red Label will not be included unfortunately.

After literally years of consideration I have decided to retire all of our non-PureWash bases after our annual Boxing Day Etsy Update. We are so passionate about our PureWash line of yarns, it’s where our hearts are and it’s what we want to focus on. We’re going in whole hog! It was an incredibly difficult decision, purely for selfish reasons since I love so many of our first generation bases and I’ll miss them! Retiring them completely feels a little sad, but I keep reminding myself that this free’s up space for me to continue developing more PureWash yarns! The truth is our current model of only having some yarns available full time and the rest available in the occasional update has made things overly complicated. I received an email just this morning from a customer inquiring about how to purchase Orange Label and even I was confused by my response.

All that to say that Friday morning I will list all of our colourways in all of our bases for the very last time. You can order whatever you want and we will dye it up for you. The bases will remain available for about 48 hours or while quantities last! After this update we will take stock of what we have left in inventory and dye it all up for our Boxing Day Etsy Update. After that, they’re gone!

The Gift Bundles are ready-to-ship, the rest will be dyed-to-order, if you order a Gift Bundle alongside a batch of Orange Label I’ll hold off and ship them all together. Everything will be ready to ship early December to arrive in time for the holidays.

TFA Gift Bundle 2018

Let’s dive a little deeper into the Gift Bundles shall we? I LOVE this year’s bundle! I am constantly surprised and delighted by how well the Gift Bundles come together. It’s as though they were actually planned to be perfectly coordinated! Of course that’s always my hope but things go off on tangents and develop a life of their own but then somehow like magic when all these separate elements come back together they make perfect sense as a whole.

The 2018 Gift Bundle includes:

• 2019 TFA calendar.

• A beautiful note card designed by illustrator Katrinn Pelletier of Katrinn Pelletier Illustration. You will receive 1 of the 6 notecards pictured, if you have a preference for 1 design please leave a note in the comments and I’ll do my best to accommodate requests while supplies last.

• A set of 21 Gold Geometric Stitch Markers.  

• 1 skein of the custom Gift Bundle colourway Reflection on PureWash Fingering Weight yarn (if you need more than 1 skein in your life you can select more from the drop down menu!) 

TFA Boxy Bag - Hand made BY MY MOM!!! Bag is 9.5" long x 4" wide x 4" tall. Perfect for socks, accessories or even smaller sweater projects. Features a light grey exterior (show off your enamel pin collection!) with a pop of colour and metallic accents on the inside. It has a bright TFA turquoise zipper and our signature TFA star zipper pull! I have bags lined in seafoam green and bags lined in magenta. If you have a preference for 1 over the other please leave a note with your order and I will do my best to accommodate while supplies last. TFA Star zipper pull is removable and can be used as a key chain or you can clip it to your purse, or your belt or anywhere else you may want to clip a star. Get creative! ;)

I love everything in this year’s bundle, but I obviously have a soft spot for those projects bags made by my mom Noreen with help from her friend Andrea. They are awesome! (‘They’ refers both to the bags and the dynamic duo who made them!) I love the understated but impactful use of colourful accents we chose. It feels quintessentially TFA to me. Mom has mastered the art of production boxy bag making, and I’m hoping to continue to put her skills to good use going forward. 3 cheers for my mom!

Reflections

The Gift Bundle exclusive Reflections colourway is a dream. It reminds me of Lotus, one of my favourite permanent collection colorulways, but it stands on it’s own as a dynamic speckle. With bits of gold, amber, turquoise and jade green over a veil aqua and grey, it’s my dream colourway. I will be casting on for a tiny Flax in this colourway pronto.

It’s an exciting week indeed! I love this time of year. See you Friday!

Five Things

 New  Gold Geometric Stitch Markers  in the shop! These will be featured in our Gift Bundle dropping next week so if that’s already on your Christmas list you won’t need to pick these up separately. :)

New Gold Geometric Stitch Markers in the shop! These will be featured in our Gift Bundle dropping next week so if that’s already on your Christmas list you won’t need to pick these up separately. :)

 I’ve completed the front, back and both sleeves of of my  Tensile Sweater . I’ve started the seaming and was having trouble getting a nice shoulder seam so I totally winged it and sewed it in such a way so the cast off edge is actually on the outside (hard to explain!) and I LOVE the way it turned out!

I’ve completed the front, back and both sleeves of of my Tensile Sweater. I’ve started the seaming and was having trouble getting a nice shoulder seam so I totally winged it and sewed it in such a way so the cast off edge is actually on the outside (hard to explain!) and I LOVE the way it turned out!

 Sweet little  baby cardiga n in Gauge Dyeworks Small batch sweater yarn. I based the stitch counts off of the Flax Light pattern but it’s more or less improvised. I only had 4 of these buttons but 6 button holes… very good chance I never get around to adding 2 more.  

Sweet little baby cardigan in Gauge Dyeworks Small batch sweater yarn. I based the stitch counts off of the Flax Light pattern but it’s more or less improvised. I only had 4 of these buttons but 6 button holes… very good chance I never get around to adding 2 more.  

 Putting together colour options for customers. Love these schemes!

Putting together colour options for customers. Love these schemes!

 If you’ve ever wondered wether it’s worth the extra 10 minutes it takes to slip your stitches onto a long spare circular needle after completing a colour work yoke just so you can admire it in all it’s glory… it is definitely worth it. Take the 10 minutes! It’s magic!

If you’ve ever wondered wether it’s worth the extra 10 minutes it takes to slip your stitches onto a long spare circular needle after completing a colour work yoke just so you can admire it in all it’s glory… it is definitely worth it. Take the 10 minutes! It’s magic!

Linden Sweatshirt & Some Thoughts On Slow Fashion

Linden Sweatshirt

Pattern: Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studio

Fabric: Some pretty sparkly grey sweatshirt fabric that I picked up at Club Tissue… that’s all I got. Fabric should come with ball bands like yarn!

So this was a fun and super satisfying project. Every single sewer that I follow on Instagram has posted at least one version of this pattern. It’s not something that I had been planning on making mostly because a) I don’t sew that much and b) I have so many knit sweaters, do I need a sweatshirt? Well, this is the thing: I have exactly one sweatshirt that I love. It’s authentic 80’s vintage and I’ve been wearing it since I was probably 12. It was too big for me then but now it fits me perfectly. It’s old and worn and has a ripped seem that needs to be mended and I love it. I was out shopping for fabric for another top when I spotted this sparkly sweatshirt material and I was suddenly struck! I could make a new version of my favourite old sweatshirt! The thing that I love the most about that old St-FX sweatshirt is that it’s small and thin. Most sweatshirts are big and bulky - and if you’re looking for something extra cozy and plush that’s great, but I like a smaller layering piece. This fabric paired with this pattern hit the mark perfectly! I have a new made-by-me favourite sweatshirt. I don’t plan on retiring the old classic in favour of this one exclusively, but it’s nice to have options and I hope that will help to prolong the life of my original sweatshirt too since I now have two grey sweatshirts to jump between when I’m in the mood to be casual cool.

So, what does this have to do with Slow Fashion? Well, that part comes into play when considering the rest of my outfit, namely, that cool black holographic backpack and those faux-leather leggings. Both are recent purchases (and by recent I mean acquired in the last 6 month) and both were impulse buys that I regret yet they have taught me a major lesson about the way that I should, and shouldn’t shop, going forward.

The backpack is cool. I actually really love it. I saw it in a boutique, loved it, didn’t buy it, then was in the same boutique again a few weeks later, saw it again, still loved it and felt that the double moments of love meant that I was justified in buying it. I thought that it would be a super practical diaper bag. The thing is, it’s not. I find it much more annoying to have to pull a backpack off of my back and open it and then dig around inside to find what I’m looking for with a baby in my arms then to just reach into the messenger bag/diaper bag that I am currently using. Sidebar - the messenger bag that I have used as a diaper bag for all three of my kids is one that I bought in high school and have used on and off for the past 20 years. THAT was a good slow fashion purchase! So, back to the backpack, not only has it proven impractical for me as a diaper bag but it’s also made completely with synthetic materials. There is probably not a single biodegradable thing on this bag. Which is a bummer. So, yeah, I regret this purchase. I don’t loose sleep over it and I will get use out of it from time to time, but the next time I will pass on something like this.

Next up: those “pants”. I use the term pants loosely because these are leggings and I have always been dubious of the “leggings as legitimate pants” trend. Here’s the thing about these pants, I thought I wanted to add a bit more edge to my wardrobe and I have always loved the rock n’ roll vibe of these biker style faux-leather leggings. But… I don’t wear leggings! Like ever. I am a devoted jeans girl to the end of my days. I’ve owned them for about a month now and I wore them the day I bought them and then the day I took these photos and that’s it. They just aren’t something that I reach for and I think that a huge part of slow fashion and making smart purchases is knowing yourself. I will wear these from time to time but mostly out of obligation. As I’m writing this I’m thinking that maybe these pants aren’t exactly the worst thing ever, because though I do love my denim it is nice to have something other than denim to wear from time to time, but the truth for me is that my lifestyle just doesn’t feature that many non-denim appropriate days and given the choice, I feel better in my jeans. The lesson here is Know Thyself! If you don’t wear leggings, don’t buy leggings.

Lessons learnt. I am not perfect, but I do try to think about what I’m spending my money on. Not only to be thrifty, because who wants to spend money on items they don’t value? but also to be conscious of the fact that every item I buy has an impact and I should use my spending power wisely.

I love that last shot because it really looks like I’m either bird watching or maybe taking a scenic hike in the most inappropriate outfit ever. Hikers would make fun of me if they saw me out on the trails in these pants and that backpack!

And the photo below is the only shot I have that captures the metallic thread in the sweatshirt fabric. It’s not super in your face sparkly, but it adds a little somethin’ somethin’.

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Hello Old Friend - Ombré Cardigan

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PatternOmbré Cardigan - originally published in September of 2011. 

Yarn: TFA Pink Label Lace Weight.

Ravelry pattern page here and original blog post here.

I designed my Ombré Cardigan back before “fades” were called fades. It’s not quite as subtle a fade as we’re seeing these days, but it’s still a cool look. This little cardigan is still a favourite of mine. I love everything about it. The colour, the 3/4 sleeves, the wide ribbing at the hem… All good choices that I would do again. My favourite thing, other than the colour, is the knit-as-you-go seed stitch button band! Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem picking up stitches and knitting a neat little button band, but there is something so satisfying about a project that is actually done as soon as you cast off. I have several patterns with this sort of button band and I guess there’s a reason for it! I would totally knit this again, but maybe in a fingering weight fade with one of our 5 Skein Fade sets rather than lace weight held double, and probably with a bit more of a relaxed fit - this mom of 3 likes a bit more room around the tummy these days… Having said that, since this cardigan is designed to be a bit more trim fitting it’s great for layering and I find that whenever I wear it I feel really put together. I always wanted to knit one in green, maybe that will be next on my list!

Five Things

 Playing around with colour and landed on this pretty palette the other day.

Playing around with colour and landed on this pretty palette the other day.

 This is a OOAK colourway from a while ago that is a lot like a colourway we once did called Canyon. Details on this project next week!

This is a OOAK colourway from a while ago that is a lot like a colourway we once did called Canyon. Details on this project next week!

 Perfect crown decreases get me every time!

Perfect crown decreases get me every time!

 Yes, my knees are cold. I wear these jeans all the time because they are one of the only pairs that fit me postpartum but I think I need to get some patches on them sooner than later!

Yes, my knees are cold. I wear these jeans all the time because they are one of the only pairs that fit me postpartum but I think I need to get some patches on them sooner than later!

A New Way Of Making Things

Edited November 6th to add: Wow! What a week. I was not prepared for the response - which I take responsibility for because perhaps a bit more research on my part would have led to a different decision about wether or not to have my patterns featured. My patterns will no longer be available on the Making Things App. I apologize to anyone who felt pressure to sign up because of this post. I signed on to this experiment with a “let’s see what happens” attitude, knowing that if it didn’t work out I could have my patterns removed and walk away. So many good questions and comments came up after I posted this last week and when I didn’t have the answers to them it just didn’t feel right. This experience has taught me a valuable lesson about not associating my name with anything that I’m not able to stand behind 100%.

Making Things

Up until very recently I was the type of knitter who printed out her patterns. I only worked from paper copies. Mostly because I am a creature of habit, but also because I am terrified of technology and we are probably among the least hi-tech households you’ve ever met! Slowly but surely I transitioned to working from patterns that I had downloaded onto my cell phone (we don’t have a tablet). It was kind of a game changer for me! I was hesitant to move away from paper patterns but even I will admit that working from my phone really works for me. Why am I mentioning this? Well, because I have a brand new knitting app to tell you about and it’s going to revolutionize the way we interact with our knitting patterns. It’s called Making Things and it just launched today! I just signed up, and if you’re a new knitter or an old pro, I think you should seriously consider doing it too.

There are so many very cool things to say about this app but first things first you should just head right on over there and check it out for yourself and then come back here for me to finish my little chat about it ok? I’ll wait.

Alright, so now that you’ve checked it out, what do you think!? The way I see it there are two major components to the app, the first being the technical aspects that you can read about here. The app includes so many very cool features like a highlighting tool, a notes section, a split screen for charts. It also includes in-app pattern support, which is amazing for you as a knitter but also for me as a designer. Instead of sending me an email if you run into trouble with a pattern and waiting for me to get back to you (I answer questions as quickly as I can but still, you’ll likely have to put down your knitting and wait for my reply) you have immediate assistance. That’s amazing!

The second aspect, and if I’m being honest I think this is the part that has me the most excited, is the incredible pattern library that is available on the Making Things app. Every single one of my self published patterns will soon be available on the app. There are so many incredible designers involved in the launch and I am so thrilled to be a part of it! The apps tagline is “Netflix for Knitting” which is a really great way to think about it. One monthly subscription gives you access to over 1000 patterns! Every pattern in the curated library has been tech edited, has high quality photographs and is of professional quality.

As a designer, I think that the payment plan is super interesting and is a completely new way of thinking about how we as designers make money from knitting patterns. Before now, we would sell individual pdf’s for a few dollars, needing to sell hundreds (thousands?) of patterns every month to make a decent living. With the app, designers are given a portion of the monthly subscription cost every single time a user interacts with one of our patterns. If, for example, you have a favourite sock pattern and you knit it 4 times in a year, the designer will get compensated 4 times as well! It’s revolutionary! I think of it kind of like royalties, an artist makes money every time their song is played on the radio, the designer makes money every time their pattern is knit on the app. Neat right? Groundbreaking really! I’m mentioning all this financial stuff so you know where your $11.99 is going, you know that you are still supporting your favourite designers when using the app instead of buying directly from them and also because I think it’s just so interesting to think about paying for patterns in a completely new way, I way I had never even considered before I heard from the creators of the app, but a way that makes so much sense.

Is it competing with our beloved Ravelry? No. Ravelry is a community with groups, project pages, a completely different infrastructure and I think that the Making Things app only complements it. Though I’ll be using the app to knit my patterns, I’ll still be adding my projects to my project page and chatting about them in my group.

The app brings our amazing community of knitters and designers into the 21st century and re-imagines how we interact with our patterns. The makers behind the app are, well, actual makers. As in it was designed by knitters for knitters! They also happen to be incredibly kind, smart, motivated and committed to their work. Chatting with Megan left me feeling inspired and also really excited about the future of our industry.

So, there you go. An exciting day for our industry. I can’t wait to see where Making Things takes us next!

Hello Old Friend - I Heart Aran

I Love Aran

PatternI Heart Aran - originally published in April of 2011. 

Yarn: TFA Fingering.

Ravelry pattern page here and original blog post here.

This sweater pattern will always hold a very special place in my heart. I worked on it so hard for so long and I still love it! I Heart Aran was my first adult sweater pattern and that means I learnt a lot in the process of designing and writing it up. I remember when it came time to grade the pattern for all the sizes I sent an email to a designer friend of mine and asked “Is there a program where I can just put in my pattern and it pops out graded? Do I seriously have to sit there and do all that math for every size? What am I missing?” She replied with the email equivalent of a gentle pat on the head and an “aw honey, yes, you really do have to sit there and work out all that math for every size. There is no secret shortcut.” Hmmm. This designing thing really is hard work!

Experienced designers and people who are more clever than me have developed elaborate spreadsheets to grade their patterns (still involves lots of work though) but I am less of a spreadsheet kinda gal and more of a pencil and paper kinda gal, that’s just how my mind works. Anyways, I survived! And I had this beautiful pattern to show for it. Publishing this pattern was a big moment for me.

Sidebar - I did fine in high school math but I certainly wasn’t especially enthusiastic about it. However! Had math been taught with a more practical approach rather than purely theoretical I bet I would have resented it less. You know how when you’re an artsy teen and you’re learning complicated math and you say “I’m never going to use this in my real life” well… if you become a knitwear designer you’ll actually use it (some of it at least). Food for thought! :)

Gosh I love those cables! That cushy cozy collar! Dove was a brand new colourway when this pattern was released, I don’t know how I ever lived without it.

Five Things

 I’m making great progress on my  Tensile Pullover . I’m taking a very short break from it currently to work on a quick gift for a friend’s new baby (born yesterday!) but I’ll get right back to it when that’s done.

I’m making great progress on my Tensile Pullover. I’m taking a very short break from it currently to work on a quick gift for a friend’s new baby (born yesterday!) but I’ll get right back to it when that’s done.

 The office was full of this gorgeous Mona Lisa colour way this week as we worked on shipping  of the  Dyed-To-Order update  and I am not complaining!

The office was full of this gorgeous Mona Lisa colour way this week as we worked on shipping of the Dyed-To-Order update and I am not complaining!

 A gorgeous order mailed earlier this week. I’m really hoping that this is destined to become a Camaro! Spruce, Mallard, Spearmint, Lemongrass, Gold, Caramel, Rose Grey, Plum & Sand.

A gorgeous order mailed earlier this week. I’m really hoping that this is destined to become a Camaro! Spruce, Mallard, Spearmint, Lemongrass, Gold, Caramel, Rose Grey, Plum & Sand.

 Assembling our stitch marker sets is oddly meditative.

Assembling our stitch marker sets is oddly meditative.

 Baby it’s cold outside!

Baby it’s cold outside!

Golden Hour Shawl

Golden Hour Shawl

Pattern: The Golden Hour by Andrea Mowry.

Yarn: TFA Dusty Rose Palette featuring PureWash DK in velvet, pink grapefruit, trinity, rose grey, smoke, natural, sand, stone.

Ravelry Project page here.

I initially sat down with this beautiful Dusty Rose Palette and my stitch dictionaries all set to design my own shawl featuring texture and colour. I was thinking some stripes, some lace, some colourwork, maybe even some bobbles! As the wheels started turning I realized that the reason I had such a specific idea of what I wanted this shawl to look like was because I had seen this shawl before. What I really wanted was this, the Golden Hour Shawl by Andrea Mowry is exactly the look I was after. So I set aside my design plans and embarked on a relaxing and enjoyable knit following somebody else perfectly written pattern. And I am so happy with the results!

The fact that this shawl features exactly 8 bands of motifs and the Palettes include exactly 8 colourways means it was meant to be! I knit this worsted weight pattern with DK weight yarn without any trouble at all. I did run short on the last colourway (the stone stripe with the eyelets) but just stopped when I ran out of yarn and proceeded to the border, easy peasy. I love the size of the shawl - though smaller than the original worsted weight sample it’s plenty cozy for me.

When I posted some photos of this shawl to Instagram I received a few requests to see the backside since it can be weird to picture what the backside of stranded knitting looks like. This shawl actually features mosaic knitting, which is different from stranded knitting in that it uses only 1 colour per row. You still have floats, but they are the result of slipped stitches. From the backside, the two techniques look very similar though I think that it would be easier to ensure tidy floats with mosaic knitting.

My bobbles aren’t quite as bobblelicious as I would like, but I guess that’s just because I did them as written and as written they were intended for worsted weight and would be bigger. I could have modified the bobble instructions. I’m happy with them as is, but y’know, if you’re going to do bobbles then DO BOBBLES!

This was a very fun knit. Shawls are just the best. I feel like DK weight shawls are underrated and they deserve to be in the spotlight more often! For my climate they are pretty perfect. They are still light and airy yet provide the extra cush and coziness that are always welcome on a cold winter’s day.

Hello Old Friend - Sunnyside Baby Sweater

Baby Sunnyside

PatternSunnyside - originally published in April of 2011. 

Yarn: TFA Fingering.

Ravelry pattern page here and original blog post here.

My Sunnyside Baby Cardigan is far and away my most popular pattern ever. With over 4000 projects uploaded to Ravelry my heart skips a beat to think of all the babies that have worn their own little Sunnysides! All the momma’s who knit Sunnyside’s in anticipation of their little one’s arrival… it’s all just so lovely. I love this pattern and wouldn’t change a thing. Expect for maybe the layout… which I finally managed to find a bit up time to do over the weekend! I didn’t make any critical changes, I just updated the layout and added a few notes to some of the instructions to hopefully make them a bit clearer.

This sweater pattern includes a few customizable options like the garter stitch or picot hems and the cable or lace accents. Other than the obvious design elements that I think are cute, my favourite thing about this pattern is the knit-at-the-same-time button band. There is zero finishing required! Looking at it now I would probably have mirrored the cables/lace rather than having them all go in the same direction, but it’s not something that really bothers me. It certainly makes the pattern a heck of a lot simpler to do the same cable/lace between each set of markers. Adding in a mirrored motif would complicate the writing and make it potentially more confusing for newer knitters. That was my rational at the time. More advanced knitters could mirror the motifs on their own if it bothered them.

A classic basic baby sweater that is sure to be a staple in any discerning baby’s wardrobe. What’s better than that?

Five Things

 Super excited to have launched my  Seaboard Sweater pattern  this week along with  sweater kits !

Super excited to have launched my Seaboard Sweater pattern this week along with sweater kits!

 So ready for hat season!

So ready for hat season!

 Twinning and loving life!

Twinning and loving life!

Club Shipments

We shipped all the October Club skeins this week and I LOVE the colourway. Also trying my best to cut down on the amount of plastic we use in our packaging and am using paper bags over plastic bags as much as I can.

 I pre-ordered  this book  by Katrina Rodabaugh   months ago and it arrived this week! Totally fantastic. I love it. I’m going to put a patch on a pair of jeans this weekend.

I pre-ordered this book by Katrina Rodabaugh months ago and it arrived this week! Totally fantastic. I love it. I’m going to put a patch on a pair of jeans this weekend.

Seaboard Sweater Pattern

Seaboard Sweater

Introducing the Seaboard Sweater! This pattern is available for sale on Ravelry here

Enjoy this pattern at 25% off for the first week! No coupon code needed, discount is automatically applied. Sale ends Oct. 23!

In 2014 I designed the Seaboard Tank as part of our Year In Colour Club and I became slightly obsessed with the punchwork lace stripes. I used the lacey stripes as a jumping off point for this sweater but then took it to the next level by adding colour blocked stripes (in 2 widths) and a subtle cable detail up the sides that really floats my boat. It took a few years for the tank to morph into a sweater but now that it’s here I’m so happy to have it as part of my sweater collection.

See that cable detail??? Cute, right? I love it. This was such a fun design for me. The shape is simple so it’s all about the details. I designed this sweater to be worn with 8-12” of positive ease, which I find super flattering. The lace panels really add to the drape and easy-breezy fit.

Happy Tuesday friends! Can’t wait to see your Seaboard Sweater colour combos. ;)