Rowan's Striped R&R Hoodie - Mixing Bases!

PatternR&R Hoodie by Tanis Lavallee

Yarn: TFA PureWash Worsted in Deep Sea/Ravine and lots of leftover bits of Green Label and a few other random bases as well. 

Ravelry project pages here.

This gorgeous hoodie is the very first thing that I knit with the few sample skeins of PureWash Worsted that I got my hands on last year. Before committing to order boat loads of it and making it our new signature yarn line I had to pick the perfect test colour and the perfect test pattern to try it out with my own two needles. We decided to test a deep, saturated teal blue shade and I was immediately thrilled with how the yarn took the dye, success! For the pattern, I picked a favourite, my R&R Hoodie. To add a bit of personality to the knit and also to test out how our new PureWash would work with our old Green Label I added rainbow stripes using a whole bunch of leftover odds and ends of Green Label and to round out my rainbow I ended up using one or two colours of Orange Label and even Yellow Label leftovers. Bet you can't guess what colour stripe was knit using DK weight yarn! 

Since announcing yesterday that PureWash DK and Worsted will be replacing Yellow Label and Green Label in our permanent collection I've gotten quite a few questions from knitters wondering how well the two bases work together. I guess there is a reason why it's taken me a year to blog about this sweater... because it's the perfect case study to answer that question for you all! The bases work together beautifully. They do feel slightly different, and they take the dye differently, but in stripes or colour work, you will have no trouble. They are both washable and are comparable gauges, care instructions are the same, it should be a very easy transition. I wouldn't try and combine Green Label with PureWash in the same colour for a large project (like if you already had 3 skeins of Green Label in Chestnut and decide to pick up 3 more skeins of PureWash Worsted in Chestnut to knit a sweater - you'd know that the two yarns were different since they take the dye differently) but for stripes or colourwork, the bases work beautifully together. 

This sweater is, hands down, without a doubt, the most worn hand knit in our house at the moment. Chris and I have a few sweaters that we wear often, but none of us has worn a sweater as devoutly as Rowan has worn this beauty over the past year. For months, every single time he left the house he was wearing this hoodie under a puffy vest (sneak peek here and then again but with the boots! my favourite outfit), and then as it warmed up he dropped the puffy vest (proof here and here!), and then summer rolled around and we all forgot about it, but with the return of fall and crisp weather came the return of Rowan's favourite outfit (he even wore it on Halloween!). Needless to say, I am THRILLED by how much he loves it. I recently posted a photo of this sweater, freshly washed, after almost a year of very solid wear by a toddler to Instagram and I think that it's a very good example of how well the PureWash holds up with careful washing and the occasional Gleening

And, just because we're on the topic of mixing bases, below is a shot of the Fly Away blanket I knit for the TFA Blanket KAL last summer. It's knit almost exclusively in PureWash DK with 2 colours of Yellow Label added in.

I plan on adding PureWash and removing Yellow Label and Green Label my the middle of next week - I've got a few more colours to photograph and a bit more admit work to do before then, but we're getting there! 

TFA Notions + PureWash News!

I'm excited to announce that we are now selling all of our super cool TFA notions in our webshop here. On top of the custom notions (that were previously only available as part of the now sold out Gift Bundles) we're also offering these lovely TFA notebooks as well as my all time favourite sweater de-piller, the Gleener, in the really beautiful light aqua colourway. I'm on the hunt for the perfect wool wash, in fact, full disclosure, I'm actually on the hunt for the perfect wool wash recipe since I think it would be a pretty fun thing to really customize with some hands on DIY-ing. I'll be in touch if that works out! In the meantime, shop our notions here!

In other big news, I know that a lot of you have been very patiently waiting for me to make PureWash more permanently available and I'm happy to report that I'm gearing up to add ALL OF OUR PUREWASH BASES permanently to the website - That's PureWash Fingering, DK, Worsted & Chunky. As if that weren't enough, I'm also going to be adding our Red Label Cashmere/Silk Single ply yarn back as one of our permanent collection bases because after dealing with it so much over the holidays and the Boxing Day Etsy Update I've realized that I just can't live without more regular access to it. Good news right?

With that said, making room for the PureWash bases means saying farewell to 2 of our current staples; our Yellow Label DK Weight and Green Label Aran Weight yarns will no longer be permanent features, but will certainly be making a few more appearances in Etsy Updates as we work through our current inventory. (Blue Label will remain since it's our workhorse yarn for socks).

Look for the changes to occur in the next week or two. Are you excited? 

Alpine Trail Hat

PatternAlpine Trail by Jill Zielinski

Yarn: TFA PureWash Chunky in Natural. The pompom is a recycled fur pompom kit by Harricana.  

Ravelry project pages here.

I've loved this hat since the very first time I laid eyes on it last year. I don't know what took me so long to cast on. It's really the perfect chunky, slouchy hat. I ended up making mine a hair shorter than the pattern recommends only because it meant that I could squeeze the entire hat out of a single skein of Chunky. It came down to the last yard, but it worked! 

I've had this pompom kit from Montreal company Harricana for a while just waiting for the right hat to top. It was a match made in heaven, I love it on this hat! I'm not sure that Harricana even makes these pompom kits anymore as I couldn't fine them on their website, but I don't think that I'll be rushing out to purchase more anyway. It's a kit, so you get the batting, the needle and thread and the recycled fur round to stuff and sew together and my fingers suffered their way through the whole thing. I should have had a thimble, it was rough work. But the pompom is cool and I like that I supported a Montreal company with an interesting mission. 

I would definitely knit this pattern again. Maybe I'll do it soon and stash it away in the Gift drawer because it would be the perfect gift for a number of people on my list. Is mid-January too early to start hoarding Christmas gifts? I always leave it too late... safe to say I'm not making the same mistake this year!

TFA Tuesday - Maya-Elizabeth's Cordova

Maya-Elizabeth's Cordova. Ravelry project page here. Knit in TFA Orange Label in Chris Grey.

This sweater is so good! Clearly I'm a big fan of the pattern since I knitted it in man-sized for Chris. Maya's version is stunning knit in our super lux Orange Label cashmere/silk worsted weight yarn in my favourite light blue/grey shade Chris Grey. Check out her Ravelry project page for a few detailed mods that she made in order for the sweater to be the wardrobe staple that she was dreaming of. She totally nailed it. The fit, the colour, the cozy factor... every time I see a beautiful feminine Cordova pop-up on my feed I wonder if it would be too much to knit myself one. His and hers Cordova's? Cute? Too much? Just right? 

Mood Board Monday - Gold

apple, nails, door, shoes, TFA Cosmic Blue Label in Gold, egg, bokeh, teacups, glitter eye.

applenails, door, shoes, TFA Cosmic Blue Label in Goldeggbokehteacups, glitter eye.

Sometimes I deliberate for ages before landing on what theme or colourway to focus on for a mood board. Other times I sit down at my computer, open Pinterest and the universe just cheers GOLD! On those days I listen and do as the universe bids me and make a stunning, shiny, bright and decadent Gold mood board to kick off your Monday morning with a reminder to treat yo-self!

Don't you just want to cradle that apple or that egg in the palms of your hands and never let them go? So shiny and smooth!

Interesting side note - I've done two past mood boards featuring Gold, Gold & Turquoise and Gold & Grey... but until today, never just Gold. Hmmm.

Thoughts on the old year and the new

So, that photo up there is kinda how I feel about my thoughts on 2016... I've never been good at wrapping things up and when I look back on last year, trying to make an organized collage of projects completed or goals met, well, it's just never that simple is it? I like to at least acknowledge the turning of a new page, but I always think I'm going to be able to wrap up an entire year all neatly and tie it with a bow and that's just never possible for me! 

Last year was a good year for us. My boys are growing and thriving. The business continues to challenge us and allow us to push ourselves creatively. I designed and knit several new patterns last year, most of which won't be released until this year, which I'm really looking forward to. I want 2017 to be the year that I follow through on all my design ideas! I'm so good at conceptualizing a design, knitting it, heck, I'll even sit down and write it all out. But then it sits there, stuck in my computer until I finally muster up the energy for the final push. This year I'm going to get better at following through. Promise. ;)

I'm going to try and implement a bit more structure into my work days. With the kids at home/work with me so much these past few years I've been in survival mode when it comes to work. I'm ok with that, you do what you gotta do to keep everything moving and to keep everyone happy, but this year, now that the boys are both in daycare 3 days a week I'm going to try and organize those three days better. In 2016 I started getting dressed, putting on makeup and even making my bed every morning. So that's already huge win right!?

I'm excited for 2017, but to be fair to 2016 let's do a quick run through the highlight reel shall we?

In 2016 we launched 4 new TFA exclusive PureWash bases. In 2017 you'll be seeing a lot more of them a lot more regularly as they merge onto the website permanently. They are our TFA staples and we can't get enough of them!

2016 also saw us take on our first full time employee Sam! Sam has made a world of difference in our lives. We consider ourselves very lucky to have found such a great match. 

I knit 2 beautiful Fly Away baby blankets this year (the one pictured above and this one). I really love them both but that one up there holds a special place in my heart not only because it was knit for my best friend but also because it was the jumping off point for our new TFA logo (seen here hanging above our studio doors and here on our notions branding.) I love that the design is clearly crafty and colourful, without being overtly knitterly. It makes me happy. 

It wouldn't be right to look back on the year without mentioning our foray into dyeing speckled colourways! This is where dyeing yarn goes from a pseudo-science to a real art. We've always been a bit relaxed with our approach, but speckles take it to a whole new level of wild experimentation. It's been fun!

Honourable mentions: 

  • I really enjoyed participating in Slow Fashion October this year. It was a new type of challenge for me to commit to a weekly blog post that involved so much forethought and critical thinking. I'll be the first to admit that most of my blog posts are more along the lines of "check out these cool socks!" so having to sit down and really flesh out my thoughts on the subject of slow fashion felt good. I'd like to do more of that.
  • Being a guest on the Woolful podcast. That made me feel like a star.   
  • KAL's! We did a few KAL's last year - the big one being the TFA Summer Blanket KAL - and I hope to do lots more this year. There is nothing like the comradely of us all knitting together to make a project really feel special!
  • Kits! Kits! Kits! - Thanks to lots of help from Sam we were able to offer more custom yarn packs (palette's, mitten kits, mini sock yarn skein sets) then ever before. They are so much fun to put together and everybody loves a good mini skein set so we intend to continue making more and more forever and ever! I'm also really jazzed that this year we were able to put together Weaving Kits (some still available!) and a pretty awesome Gift Bundle featuring loads of customized TFA notions that I love. Now that the Gift bundles are sold out I'm looking into alternate ways of selling the notions. Would you be interested in buying them separately? Or all together as a set?   

Wishing you all a wonderful 2017! I can't wait to see what the year has in store for us. 

Happy stitching!

Tanis xo

Christmas Sweaters For The Boys!

PatternFlax by tincanknits

Yarn: (left) TFA Green Label in Ravine with Peacock, Seabreeze, Mallard, Lemongrass and Highlighter and (right) TFA Green Label in Chris Grey with Passion, Pink Grapefruit, Highlighter, Seabreeze and Peacock.

Ravelry project pages here and here.

For Christmas this year I knit my boys Flax sweaters and added a few colourful stripes to each sweater in a palette that I thought would suit each boy best. They've worn them a lot these past few days and looked cute as buttons on Christmas day in their new pants and sweaters. Micah is playing it cool and not really giving away wether or not he loves it. Rowan isn't holding back, he loves the pink! I'm thrilled that he likes it. Despite the fact that they've been wearing them with real pants the only time that I managed to get decent shots of them was this afternoon when they both spontaneously decided that it was time to strip down and get changed into pj's. They were in good moods and the light was sort of appropriate so I popped their sweaters over their heads and begged them to sit still for a second. That top photo is my favourite. Capturing sincere smiles from the two of them at the same time is a major victory. I might just frame it for my office. My boys in their colourful sweaters... sigh. I love those two!

Chris has been living in his Christmas sweater too! He looks gorgeous in it and the fit is perfect. It's really good. I'll have loads to share about it soon!

I hope that you're all enjoying this lovely quiet week between Christmas and new Years! I think that it might be one of my favourite weeks of the year. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays From Me And My Elves!

Less than a week ago, while chatting with my mom, we decided that I should knit sweaters for the boys for Christmas! I finished Chris' sweater last week and was feeling quite proud of myself. I pictured all 3 of my boys wearing their new sweaters on Christmas day and my heart just about melted. It had to happen. Thankfully these sweaters are wee and the pattern I chose (Flax by Tin Can Knits) is worsted weight and knits up quickly and it looks like I'll have them done and wrapped up in time for Christmas morning without breaking too much of a sweat. Few! Micah's is finished and Rowan's is just missing 1.5 sleeves. I got this!

We are super excited about Christmas this year. Possibly the most excited we've been in a long time. Rowan gets it. He's counting down the days until Christmas, he's decorating cookies, he's wrapping gifts, he's rearranging ornaments on the tree, he's asking lots of questions about Santa ("Can Santa's elves make toothpaste mommy?") and every day on the drive home from daycare he pretends to be Rudolf and guides our car home with the light from his shiny red nose. It's adorable and heart warming and I can't wait to see his face light up on Christmas morning when he sees that Santa has paid us a visit. 

We're hosting Christmas dinner at our house this year and that only adds to the festive excitement! We'll be adding a leaf to the dining table, pulling out the good china, arranging a veggie platter in the shape of a Christmas tree... it's a lot of work, but I'm so excited about it! That's the beauty of not hosting every year, it's fun and exciting when it's our turn!

At the risk of bombarding you with too many festive photos of my boys, here are a select few of the 100 I have of them wearing these ridiculously cute pj's and enjoying the spirit of the season!

Merry Christmas from all of us to all of you! See you on Boxing Day!

Boxing Day Etsy Update!!!

L to R, top to bottom: Highlighter on PureWash Chunky, Lime Hummingbird on PureWash Worsted, Rocket on PureWash DK, Monist on Cosmic Blue Label, Gem on PureWash Worsted, Lightning on PureWash Chunky, Cornucopia on Red Label, Prism on Red Label, Midnight Oil on Red Label.

L to R, top to bottom: Highlighter on PureWash Chunky, Lime Hummingbird on PureWash Worsted, Rocket on PureWash DK, Monist on Cosmic Blue Label, Gem on PureWash Worsted, Lightning on PureWash Chunky, Cornucopia on Red Label, Prism on Red Label, Midnight Oil on Red Label.

It's that time of year again folks! 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) EST! 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 3-4 weeks. I expect to have things out the door and on their way to their loving homes sooner than that but 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) with the exception of Silver Label Mulberry Silk. We've focused on having a lot of PureWash available, 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! 

L to R, top to bottom: Sand, Chartreuse, Aurora, Tartan, Majestic, Cherry Burst, Lotus, Chris Grey, Nightshade.

L to R, top to bottom: Sand, Chartreuse, Aurora, Tartan, Majestic, Cherry Burst, Lotus, Chris Grey, Nightshade.

We're featuring this super fun new yarn in this year's update. We're calling it: Mondo Super Skein! Because it really is just that. This yarn is super bulky and these skeins are super huge. Most of them are about 250 g and 130 yards. Massive yarn! Grab your 10mm needles and whip up a hat, cowl, scarf or even a blanket in no time! Since there is a bit of discrepancy in the weight of the skeins we've created separate listings for the different weight brackets that we've labeled as small, medium and large batches.

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 (mostly our permanent collection colourways). 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.

And lastly, we'll be selling the Gift Bundles that remain 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. This will be your last chance to nab this year's bundle!

Find Your Fade

scheme #1: Midnight, Cosmic Night, Iris, Jewel, Orchid, Pink Grapefruit, Moon Dust (OOAK)

scheme #1: Midnight, Cosmic Night, Iris, Jewel, Orchid, Pink Grapefruit, Moon Dust (OOAK)

scheme #2: Tartan, Brick, Sunset, Orange Blossom, Saffron, Gold, Sand

scheme #2: Tartan, Brick, Sunset, Orange Blossom, Saffron, Gold, Sand

scheme #3: Ravine, OOAK, Peacock, Seabreeze, Frost, Hummingbird (OOAK) Gold

scheme #3: Ravine, OOAK, Peacock, Seabreeze, Frost, Hummingbird (OOAK) Gold

scheme #4: Fig, Velvet, Garnet, Lightning (OOAK), Papaya, Saffron, Gold

scheme #4: Fig, Velvet, Garnet, Lightning (OOAK), Papaya, Saffron, Gold

Andrea Mowry recently released a stunning new shawl pattern, Find Your Fade and Instagram is abuzz! My feed is full of gorgeous gradient inspiration and I couldn't help but join in on the fun and pull a few colour combos off my shelves. It's a slippery slope. I was only going to pull together 2 palettes, but couldn't stop... and now I wish that I had done a green palette and also a grey one, maybe grey with a pop of purple? Stay tuned, there might be a part 2 to this blog post. Which scheme is your favourite? I want to say that my favourite is the blue one, but I'm oddly drawn to all 4. I love the Tartan in scheme #2 but then also love the Fig in scheme #4. Maybe I can figure out a way to work in Tartan, Fig and some blue!

In other news: I've been wanting to officially acknowledge the fact that the holidays are very quickly approaching and though we are continuing to work and intend to fulfil orders right up until the end of next week we have passed the deadline for shipping in order to guarantee delivery before the holidays. We don't have a firm holiday schedule this year but we will be taking time off over the next few weeks to relax and to celebrate the season with our families. Towards the end of next week we'll slow down and then pick right back up again in the new year. If you need more specific details than that, send me an email to

Happy holiday! 

Chris' Christmas Sweater Palette

I've finally gotten to the good part on Chris' Christmas sweater!!! Yesterday Rowan and I wound all the balls I'm going to need for the exciting yoke I have planned. Chris' sweater is actually a minor hack on a design of mine that you haven't seen yet. It's going to be published in the new year so you'll have to be patient while I secretly work away on it behind the scenes. It's going to be good. I'm so excited!

The star of the show is that grey/multi speckled skein in the middle up there. When Rowan and I were picking colours for the yoke he kept insisting that it needed MORE PINK! Pink is his favourite colour, but it's not exactly what I had in mind for Chris' sweater. I managed to convince Rowan that the spots of pink in the grey speckled skein were enough and that since we were using pink sparingly that it would really pop! So now he calls this "Daddy's pink sweater" and I love that. Oh my gosh 3.5 years old's are funny! Sure, he pushes my buttons and I sometimes snap, but it never lasts long because he's always just seconds away from saying/doing the next hilarious thing. 

Mood Board Monday - an aqua holiday party!

I've never been one to stick to a colour scheme, unless that colour scheme is rainbow - in which case I'm very good at staying on task. ;) If I did have to pick a scheme for the holidays, this is one that I would seriously consider. You know that I love aqua, and that touch of red is just enough warmth to make it feel really festive but not too traditional. 

Do you decorate for the holidays? Do you have a theme or are you all over the place? I love walking into a room that is full of holiday decorations and I really wonder why I don't do more seasonal decorating. It's just so cheery!