Happy Valentine's Day!

LOVE

Happy Valentine's Day from us to you! Chris and I won't be doing anything especially romantic, and I sure as heck WILL be wearing my pj's all day, but we have a house that is overflowing with love and if that's not worth celebrating I don't know what is!

xo Tanis 

What does this skein want to become?

Hello friends! I have had a rough weekend (I know it's Tuesday but I'm still recovering!) I haven't talked about my pregnancy a tonne here and part of the reason why is because I'm still trying to figure out how much personal stuff I should share, how much I'm comfortable with and how much you really want to know. Years ago, when my audience was smaller, I shared more. I think I'd like to go back to that because I love having this online journal of mine to come back to. I've recently been looking back over blog posts from when I was expecting Rowan and Micah and I love being able to revisit those precious times. 

The second reason why I haven't been talking about the pregnancy much is because I don't want to complain, and I feel like if I'm being honest about how I'm feeling then I'm going to have to complain a bit, because I feel lousy! It's been so different this time around. My pregnancy with Micah was very different from my pregnancy with Rowan, and this one has been different again! These kiddos really like to keep me on my toes right from the get go. I've been suffering from SPD for the past few months and it's made everything (sitting, standing, lying down, rolling over, walking... literally everything!) difficult and painful. The fact that it is winter and the ground is icy and uneven has made things even worse since it's very hard for me to go out on my own - I will fall, and even if it's not a major fall, just a little slip, it's excruciating and I pay for it for days after. I'm told that it will all go away after the baby is born but for the past few months I've just had to deal with it. I think that I've been managing ok. The baby is healthy and happy and I will soon forget all about this discomfort.

This past weekend I got what I can only assume was the flu. I'm still crossing my fingers that rather than a conventional flu it was actually signs of early labour (I read one article online that said it's common for women to experience flu-like symptoms a few days before going into labour and I am clinging to it!!!) however I am mostly on the mend now and still no signs of actual labour so... maybe it was just the flu. I am ready for our little lady to arrive! I am full term, bags are packed, grandparents are on call for the boys, let's do this! The baby could arrive anytime from 0-21 days from now, but I'm really hoping that it's sooner rather than later! Rowan was right on time, Micah was late, she's got to be the one who comes early right!? Send good vibes!

Kama Sutra colourway by Must Stash Yarn

Kama Sutra colourway by Must Stash Yarn

So, back to business, I have this gorgeous skein of self striping sock yarn in the Kama Sutra colourway by Must Stash Yarn. The photo above makes it look like 2 skeins, and that's because it actually is... the yarn comes in two identical 50g skeins so if you were to knit a pair of socks with it you'd have perfectly matching socks. Clever right? I fell hard for this pastel rainbow after watching Jenn's progress on Instagram. I purchased a skein as soon as it was in stock and totally intended to knit a pair of socks with speckled heels, toes and cuffs just like Jenn's. But then... it arrived yesterday and it's just so freeking gorgeous and I can't help but think that it would make a really great baby sweater, right!?!? I immediately thought of doing up a little Tin Can Knits Playdate cardigan but wanted to see if anyone had any other suggestions for self striping fingering weight yarn sweaters. The struggle with taking self striping yarn intended for socks and using it for a sweater is that when the stitch counts change in the sweater the stripe width will change in the yarn... socks are essentially tubes, so the stripes stay the same width throughout, but a sweater is a bit trickier. 

I'm also hoping that as soon as I get invested in knitting just one more baby knit that Murphy's Law will strike and the baby will arrive before the sweater is done, foiling all my plans! That's always the way isn't it?

What do you think? Any favourite sweater patterns for self striping sock yarn?

All You Need Scarf

I've added a All You Need Scarf Kits to the shop! I highly recommend this knit. ;)

I've also restocked a bunch of other kits, so go have a look in the Kits & Gifts section, k?

All You Need

Pattern: All You Need by Heidi Kirrmaier. 

Yarn: TFA All You Need yarn bundle

Ravelry Project page here.

Now this was a fun knit. I knew it would be - the clever modular construction (you can see a snippet of the construction in this pic) made it interesting and the bright colours kept it fun! You could obviously knit this scarf in any number of colour combos. I was seriously considered doing mine in black and white with just a single red letter but then my brilliant mother suggested the Hudson Bay palette and I was sold. I've wanted to knit a Hudson Bay inspired project for ages but couldn't decide what exactly I wanted. This scarf is unique and special enough to carry the weight of this iconic colour palette. I'm thrilled at how it all came together and the good news is Chris likes it too! 

Though the kit was inspired by this scarf pattern it would be useful for so many other projects too - baby blankets, a Hudson Bay striped Gramps cardigan! Hats and mitts. I love the scarf, but I also just love this classic colour combo on just about anything so don’t let the “scarf kit” title deter you if you have other ideas for this yarn bundle!

Designer Crush :: Heidi Kirrmaier + A New Kit Coming!

I'm sure that you are all already familiar with the beautiful design portfolio of Heidi Kirrmaier. Her esthethic is clean and fresh, with perfectly executed simple details that make each and every piece an instant wardrobe staple. She designs the type of garments that you will reach for time and time again. I have so many favourites. 

Her latest release, All You Need, is no exception. In theory it's a simple garter stitch scarf, but in reality it's so much more than that. The construction is very cool, the colour possibilities are endless and the finished scarf is just... well, for me it was love at first sight. I'll be casting on for my own All You Need scarf asap and hope to have kits up for you all within the next week. I have a few colourway ideas featuring a combination of solids and speckles (I'll be making 5 colour kits - 1 MC and 1 contrasting colours for each letter).

The kits will be yarn packs only as I always prefer to direct you to purchase your patterns directly from the designer. Bonus: Right now Heidi has a promo code for this pattern!

Use coupon code LOVE to receive a 20% discount until end of day Feb 14 (PST).

50% of the proceeds from this pattern until the end of February 2108 will be donated to Days for Girls.

So, have you knit any Heidi Kirrmaier patterns yet? One of my favourite sweaters ever and the one that I've probably worn the most over the past 6 years is my Nanook. I am currently working on a Buttercup and won't be able to resist casting on for a Sunset Coast soon... 

Any requests/suggestions for All You Need kit colourways? They'll be ready just in time for Valentine's Day. Have a great weekend!

Sometimes I Swatch

swatch

Ah, would ya just look at that swatch!? Isn't it gorgeous? It's the type of swatch that makes me really happy about the fact that I keep all of my swatches in a basket and one day I'll have enough that make sense together to sew into a beautiful patchwork blanket. It makes me want to swatch a few more cable motifs just so I can add them to my swatch basket because the more I think about it the more I really want that blanket... but I want it to be authentic, so I won't knit fake swatches for it, I'll have to just plan more cabled projects. 

Anyways. So the swatch! It's one of two swatches that I knit in preparation for casting on my latest sweater project, the Plattsburg Pullover by Whitney Hayward. I've loved this design ever since it first popped up on my Instagram feed close to a year ago. I had planned on knitting it in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in the Faded Quilt colourway left over from Chris' Cordova and even packed the yarn, pattern and needles with me on vacation last summer but never got around to casting on. I think that in my heart of hearts I knew that I wanted this sweater to be white, but I feared that my lifestyle wasn't white-sweater friendly. I've decided to throw caution to the wind and use some long-hoarded Elsa Wool Cormo for this project. The yarn is beautiful, the sweater will be exactly what I wanted and I will just have to grow up already and not spill coffee on myself/not wear this sweater whilst making spaghetti sauce. 

swatch

And now for the swatch talk. I don't always swatch - I knit with my own yarns so often that I am very familiar with how they knit up under different circumstances. That's probably not a good enough reason not to swatch though, for me the real kicker is that I am usually not that picky about fit. If I know that I want a finished project to be within a certain size range and I know that I'll be happy with it regardless of the exact finished measurement and that I'll be able to get within that range with a certain TFA yarn/needle combo, then I just jump right in and go for it. A good example would be when I knit Indian Summer. I knew that I wanted it to have positive ease but wether it had 6"-10" didn't bother me so much. The drapey fabric made by the fingering weight yarn and the drop shoulder silhouette are very forgiving so it wasn't that risky a move. I just went for it and knew that I would achieve something within the range that I was going for. And it all worked out! 

For this sweater however, I'm using a new to me yarn and I think that the fit in the shoulder is pretty critical to my overall satisfaction with the finished garment. The pattern gives lots of information about swatching, recommending 2 swatches and specific cast on numbers and measurement goals for each swatch. It also includes specific fit information based on the sample shown on the model, in this case the model is wearing the size 35.5" with 2" of positive ease. This type of info is super helpful because now I can really picture how the sweater will fit me and I have a much narrower specific finished dimension in mind compared to what I had when I knit Indian Summer. 

The swatch was super helpful for several reasons. First off it gave me an idea of how I liked the yarn, how I liked knitting with the yarn on this particular needle size and also how I liked knitting the motif. It has happened in the past that I've knit a swatch, got gauge, but really didn't like the way the fabric created by the specific yarn/needle combo behaved, maybe it was to gauge but it was too stiff for me. It's also happened that I've knit a swatch, everything looked hunky dory, but I hated the actually knitting process, maybe the design featured a specific stitch that I just really didn't enjoy knitting. (That happened when I swatches for Chris' Cordova, I hated knitting the bobble motif that is featured in the pattern). 

For this specific gauge swatch my stockinette stitch gauge was spot on, the fabric created was lovely, the cable looked great and was a pleasure to knit BUT my gauge across the cable panel was off by 1/2 an inch. Which is a big deal! The cable panel is worked four times around the body of the sweater, so I'd be off by 2" if I didn't make adjustments. Luckily, the necessary adjustments were simple enough to make (I omitted a stitch from the centre of the cable panel and that pulled everything in tight enough to make up the difference) and now I'm on my way!

This pattern is so far such a joy to knit. Seriously. It's very clearly written and the results are just so darn crisp and clean. I'm completely into it. The construction is interesting and at this gauge this sweater is knitting up in a flash. 

I'll have more to say about the yarn in a future post because it's really special. It's my first time knitting with cormo and it's unlike any yarn I've ever knit with before. I soaked my swatches for well over an hour and they were still not completely saturated with water, which is just so cool. This is pure wooly wool but still super soft and magical. I can see why people fall hard for cormo, it's very special. 

5 Things

The boys each got a spatula for Christmas this year (Micah was gifted multiple spatula's actually because he is obsessed!) and they love them. We bake cookies together most Friday's and they are legit little helpers. 

The boys each got a spatula for Christmas this year (Micah was gifted multiple spatula's actually because he is obsessed!) and they love them. We bake cookies together most Friday's and they are legit little helpers. 

Aquarelle, Stratus, Hummingbird, Mona Lisa, Silent Movie - another very real contender for the So Faded sweater I will inevitably knit one day. 

Aquarelle, Stratus, Hummingbird, Mona Lisa, Silent Movie - another very real contender for the So Faded sweater I will inevitably knit one day. 

The most beautiful hand sewn baby clothes for my baby girl!! Made by the very talented Laura. I can't get over them. They are currently nursery decoration until our baby is born and big enough to wear them. 

The most beautiful hand sewn baby clothes for my baby girl!! Made by the very talented Laura. I can't get over them. They are currently nursery decoration until our baby is born and big enough to wear them. 

I have been searching for a good all natural deodorant for my entire life!!! I found it. It's the small things in life... finding a natural deodorant that actually works has made me unreasonably happy. 

I have been searching for a good all natural deodorant for my entire life!!! I found it. It's the small things in life... finding a natural deodorant that actually works has made me unreasonably happy. 

Even though I work from home and often go days without really seeing anybody I still take 15-20 minutes to get clean, dressed and made up almost every morning. It's something that I love to do and makes me feel more productive somehow. Today I am wearing sweatpants, a flannel shirt and glamorous blue sparkly eyeshadow because I can. Also - I painted my nails last Friday and 7 days later they are still in great shape - it's a miracle!

Even though I work from home and often go days without really seeing anybody I still take 15-20 minutes to get clean, dressed and made up almost every morning. It's something that I love to do and makes me feel more productive somehow. Today I am wearing sweatpants, a flannel shirt and glamorous blue sparkly eyeshadow because I can. Also - I painted my nails last Friday and 7 days later they are still in great shape - it's a miracle!

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