Saturday, 30 October 2010


Trellis for Elliot

Trellis, knit in Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label Aran weight yarn in the Amber colourway. Currently drying after a nice long soak. Buttons have been purchased, once they are sewn on and this wee sweater is ready for its photo shoot, an FO post will follow.

I have a confession to make. I kind of hate Halloween. I keep hearing from friends and bloggers that Halloween is their favorite holiday ever... but the truth is, though I do love candy and am looking forward to seeing cute little kids trick-or-treating, I hate spiders, creepy things, spooky things and especially gross things. Halloween is just not for me.

Having said that, I am perfectly capable of putting my feelings aside to carve some cute pumpkins. Chris and I each picked a pumpkin. Mine will be a sweet, happy pumpkin. Don't worry, those perfect tiny pumpkins shown above are not our carving pumpkins, they are our cute indoor pumpkins. And that's pretty much as Halloween-y as I get.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Velvet Sunset

Hooray for my new favorite sweater! I finished knitting this sweater last weekend, have worn it without the buttons all week, and finally bought some buttons and sewed them on today just in time for an afternoon walk in the forest with Chris and Stella. This forest is right at the end of our street, literally about 100 paces from our front door. It has beautifully maintained paths and lovely little streams running through it, I expect you'll be seeing a lot of it popping up in the back ground of FO shots. It's one of the many things we love about living in our new house.

Pretty lighting

I knit this sweater in TFA Yellow Label DK Weight yarn in the Sunset and Velvet colourways. I've been in love with the way these two colours feel together for months now, and am really relieved to say that now that I've worked with them together they did not disappoint!

Chris gets artsy

As we all know, this is not my usual cool blue colour scheme. It seems as though I'm branching out. Perhaps it's the cooler weather, perhaps it's personal growth; more and more these days I'm finding myself drawn to these warm, comforting tones of rusts and rubies.

a tree, with buttons

I knit this sweater in one piece, knitting back and forth for the body, switching colours every two inches, then knitting the sleeves on DPN's, joining and continuing knitting back and forth for the yoke. At about the 1 1/2" mark after joining the pieces together I began doing raglan-style decreases and at the same time decreased every 6th row at the neck edge to make a v-neck cardigan.

button band

I then picked up stitches along the button band and neck edge and worked k2, p2 ribbing for 2" before binding off. To determine the sizing I first knit a gauge swatch, after having determined my gauge I used Elizabeth Zimmermann's percentage system to get the perfect fit. This system has never let me down! I used the same method here and here and achieved exactly the results I was looking for.

over the shoulder "hello!"

This cardigan is comfy and cozy without being oversized or frumpy. I had very high hopes for this knit. I wanted it to be the sweater that I grabbed when I wanted something easy to throw on, no small task! Sometimes you can knit the most beautiful sweater but end up rarely wearing it. I find it all really comes down to a feeling. You can't fake comfort and on a cold winter morning, when I crawl out of bed and need to grab a cardigan to throw on over my pj's, I don't care how lovely the sweater is, if it doesn't have that feeling, I wont grab it. I never really know if I will feel that way about a sweater until it's done and sitting in my closet with my other sweaters. Well, this one has been grabbed almost every morning this week! It looks great with jeans and a neutral top (my uniform!) and provides plenty of warmth and knitterly/wooly comfort without being stifling.

Tripping on Stella's leash

The sun was starting to go down as we were taking these pictures. Chris didn't have much time, but don't you think he did a great job? I think it's fair to say that his photography skills are improving. I didn't crop any of these shots, he's just getting artsy with his close ups, I like it!

negative space

What a perfect fall day, leaves carpeting the trails in the forest, warm sun shining through the sparse branches and a new knit to keep me warm, what more could a girl ask for on a Wednesday?

Perfect afternoon for a walk

Ravelry project page here.

Previously blogged here, here.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

TFA Tuesday - Greenerknits' Tanis Annis

Happy Tuesday everyone! This week's TFA Tuesday inspirational knit makes my mouth water, it's just so lovely, squooshy, pretty, teal-y, gorgeous! I love it! It's Greenerknit's Annis Shawl knit in TFA Purple Label Cashmere Sock yarn in Teal. Mmmm. Perfection!

According to her project page, Greenerknits knit this shawl with only one skein of yarn! The pattern calls for 400 yds and this yarn is 375 yds per skein, so it must have been a close call! But definitely worth it, I love a one skein wonder, especially now that the Christmas knitting season is starting to weigh down on me, high impact, low yardage projects are always high on the list!

I have yet to knit with Teal myself, but this beautiful specimen makes me want to cast on for some Teal coloured goodness right away! I love the pops of purple in this colourway, it really shows up nicely in the Cashmere base. Perfect pattern, very snuggly yarn, a match made in heaven! And isn't Greenerknits photography beautiful!? The inspiration never ends...

Sunday, 24 October 2010

DIY Headboard

I have wanted to make an upholstered headboard for years! I never got around to doing it in any of our apartments because they always seemed too temporary for me. I didn't want to commit to the work and the fabric for a space that I wasn't going to be in for that long. I wanted to wait until we had our house, a place that we would stay in for years, and then do the master bedroom up in style! Our home is by no means fully decorated, but we do like to tackle little DIY jobs here and there (like our DIY china cabinet!) I have a very long list of projects to keep us busy, this weekend we finally tackled the headboard. 

I am doing everything in my power to make sure that our master bedroom is not blue. Its honestly a problem I have. The main floor of our house is all whites, greys and blues. I love it, they are definitely my favorite colours for interior spaces, but even I think that doing every single room in our house in the same three shades is a bit much. So, I have committed to doing the bedroom in colours taken from our beautiful wedding quilt. I just just realized that I never blogged about this gem, my awesome cousin and aunt joint forces to make Chris and I this beautiful quilt for our wedding. I absolutely love it and though it's not blue, it's still very much within my comfort zone of cool greens and purples.

The fabric we chose for the headboard is Joel Dewberry's Tile print in Celery, from his Ginseng collection. I love this print. It's graphic and geometric and interesting, but still calming and easy to live with. The green was a real stretch for me, I was very tempted to go the grey/beige route, (this same print in Stone is really pretty) but when I saw this colourway on sale and pictured it working with the green in the quilt and bringing some life to the space I decided to go for it! Chris loves the green, I still need to get used to it, Stella had no problem making herself right at home with it.

I am undecided about the Drawing Room pillows with it, sometimes I look at the bed and think that the pillows create just enough tension to make the whole thing work without being too matchy-matchy, and other times I think that they just don't go... we'll live with it for a while until I can make up my mind, what do you think? Eclectic good? or clashing bad?

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Vintage Locket

Did you know that I am super sentimental and nostalgic? No day in my life has ever been filled to the brim with more sentimental nostalgic goodness then my wedding day. I wore my mom's beautiful tennis bracelet, the same bracelet my cousin borrowed for her wedding day, so now it carries family wedding day significance. I wore my cousin's veil, perfect, beautiful and sentimental. My flower girl wore the same smocked dress that my mother had made for her own flower girl in her wedding. Literally THE dress, my mom had made it for her niece/flower girl to wear in her wedding to my dad in 1975, when my mom's niece outgrew the dress she got it back and I wore it as a little girl (I just discovered that I was wearing the dress in some family portraits my mom had done of us kids when I was about 3 1/2) then my god-daughter Abby wore it in my wedding! Love that, so special. 

What else... well, I bought the earrings I wore at the jewelry store where Chris bought me my first ever gift, and several gifts since, it's become our favorite jewelry store. Chris and I drank sparkling water out of silver glasses that my parents received as wedding gifts. It was super important to me to have my hair at least partially french braided on my wedding day because as girls my sister and I always had our hair french braided on special occasions, my sister braided my hair on my wedding day and it was absolutely perfect! My wedding dress was borrowed from a knitter, we cut the cake with my grandmother's carving knife, we registered for wedding china for very sentimental reasons... I love objects with a story!

Anyways, all that just to say that I am sentimental, I'm not sure why I thought that it was important to relay all that info to you... but there you go, now you know! 

I recently purchased a vintage locket from a lovely Etsy seller and I think that it too will become one of those beloved, sentimental objects in my life. 

I loved it as soon as I saw it! I love the colour, the whimsical birds, the vintage quality... and I especially love it now that it contains photos of my loved ones.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

cabled hat with earflaps

Chris wanted to knit himself a new hat with earflaps. We discussed what he wanted, Chris is very particular. Sometimes I really don't understand how he can set his mind so firmly on a specific concept, but my soul, when he decides he wants to make something, there is just no stopping him. He told me what he wanted, how he wanted it to fit, what he wanted it to look like, we came up with a plan and off he went. He chose a lovely skein of Green Label Aran weight yarn in Stormy and after a couple nights of knitting he had this:

Stormy cabled earflap hat

He has now mastered the art of cabling. I helped quite a bit along the way, since we were improvising the pattern I did the decreases myself, just kind of making it up as I went along. I also did the simple crochet edge, Chris may be a talented new knitter, but he's not interested in learning how to crochet yet. All it's missing is a couple braids coming down off of the earflaps and potentially a pom-pom and I'll be all set!

Wait a second, you caught me, I said I'll be all set, but isn't this Chris' hat? Yes, it was Chris' hat, until my making up the decreases resulted in a slightly too small hat for Chris, however, it fits me perfectly! I swear I didn't plan it that way, just got lucky I guess. Chris isn't too devastated. He's already well on his way to finishing another one for himself. This time he's knitting it in Lemongrass.

Lemongrass cabled earflap hat

Like I said, I don't understand his whims sometimes. First he was dead set on a Stormy hat, and now he's chosen one of the brightest colourways in our entire collection? Full of surprises that boy, he certainly keeps me on my toes. 

As for me, when I'm not helping Chris plot new hat ideas I'm typically knitting away on my Sunset and  velvet DK striped cardigan. I've got the body done up to the armpits, I'll definitely finish one sleeve tonight and start the second. So far so good! I still love these two colours together.

Striped Cardigan

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

TFA Tuesday - Hoffco's Twisted Argyle Scarf Pillow

When I first saw this knit, I thought for sure that there had been a mistake... This super cool argyle swatch was being knit with my yarn!? No way. How come it never acted like that when I knit with my Prism colourway. Maybe because I've never knit a scarf with it, if I just knit back and forth to make a scarf will it turn out like this!? Am I a genius dyer who has accidentally come up with something amazing! Um, no. Turns out Hoffco (blog) has done all the work and can take all the credit for this one. It involves some swatching, some math (all explained here on his ravelry project page) and is called "planned pooling". 

Planned pooling is totally new to me. I had never heard of it before I saw this pillow, and I think that it is such a wonderful way to deal with the very often frustrating experience of working with multicoloured yarns that pool. Sometimes they pool beautifully, sometimes they pool really unfortunately, but with some planning, you can be the boss of your yarn, and not the other way around. 

Very inspirational indeed! I'll have to try this some day.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

perfect lazy weekend

I haven't had a weekend all to myself in a long time. Most weekends I spend dividing up my time between TFA work and house work. Both are pass times that I love and get a lot of satisfaction out of, but every once in a while it's really nice to have a weekend with no to-do lists and lots of me time! And of course, for me, that translates into lots of time playing around with fibery goodness! 

After months away from my wheel, I dug it out, along with some roving, and started spinning. 

Isn't it amazing how these two bobbins, so different from one another, came from the same braid of roving? Spinning certainly hasn't lost any of it's magic in my eyes.

As I patiently wait for this big skein of handspun to dry I've cast on for that sweater I've been dreaming about for a while now.

 I'm not sure yet what this handspun will become. It's roughly 200g, 275 yards. Kind of a chunky gauge, maybe a sweater for Stella?

Friday, 15 October 2010

Chris Knits

This summer, Chris and I spent a very enjoyable afternoon at Lismore Sheep Farm. At the end of the day we each came home with a sweater's worth of yarn. Chris chose a beautiful dark charcoal, I chose a very pretty heathery brown, flecked with reds, greens and blues. 

It took a couple of months, but that pile of yarn has become this pile of sweaters!

Chris knew exactly what he wanted to knit with his charcoal yarn. Apparently he had a very favorite sweater when he was a kid, it was charcoal grey, it had a rolled cuff and neck, perfectly plain sweater with raglan decreases. He wanted to reproduce it exactly. So, he swatched, he learnt all about the genius that is the Elizabeth Zimmerman percentage system and within about a month or so he had his perfect sweater!

First sweater and first scarf!

Sure, I helped him along the way when he ran into trouble, but Chris knit this entire sweater himself! It's only his second knit, his first was the hat he knit this summer which taught him how to knit in the round on circulars and on dpn's and how to increase and decrease, all techniques that he used in this sweater. Honestly, I was a little skeptical when Chris said that he wanted to knit himself a sweater. I was worried that it was too big a project to tackle so early in his knitting career. That if it didn't turn out perfectly that he would be discouraged and never knit again! Not to mention the miles and miles of boring stockinette stitch. He had been nagging me to knit him a sweater like this for years, but he's 6'3" and has really long gorilla arms, the thought of knitting this sweater was just too much for me. He accomplished it like a champ. The sweater is perfect! Honestly, I think that Chris is a natural. He is meticulous and obsessive, both very good qualities to have in a knitter. He did admit to finding it a little boring at times and I think that his next sweater might have some stripes to keep things interesting.

first hat and scarf

The great thing about Chris is that when he finds an article of clothing that he likes, he wears it literally every... single... day! He's like a kid that way. It's very cute, he loves his sweater.

But the knitting didn't stop there! Somewhere around the second sleeve, Chris got a little tried of knitting monogamy (we've all been there) and he was tempted by the urge to cast on for something different. He wanted a grey striped scarf with fringe. He dyed two custom colourways in TFA Yellow Label DK weight yarn, a dark almost-black and a medium grey, and then started knitting a plain garter stitch scarf. I have to admit, this scarf is awesome. I haven't knit a plain old scarf like this for a while. When I was teenager it seemed to be the only thing I knit, now I'm always looking for fancy lace or cables, but this thing is just so squishy and comfy and cozy. It really is the perfect scarf! I think I'm going to get Chris to knit me one.

custom dyed scarf

I'm very proud of my new knitter. I am trying to keep my cool about it, I don't want to be too in his face about how truly excited I am about this. He's been talking a bit about his next project, I think he wants a new ear-flap hat, he's also mentioned knitting his mom a scarf... such a sweetie! 

It is grey and dreary here today, raining and windy. Perfect day to stay indoors and craft. I think I'm going to do some spinning this evening. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Happy Birthday little Sister!

Today is my little sister, Lilia's, birthday. She's my best friend and I love her very much. I already gave her the birthday socks I knit for her and I am about to leave to meet her for a birthday lunch. She's just the best. Can you believe this little beauty is on her way to becoming a doctor? What a girl.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

TFA Tuesday - Patti's Esme Shawl

Check out this beautiful shawl, the Esme Shawl by Patti Waters

Knit and designed by Patti to feature TFA Pink Label lace weight yarn in Poppy. I love the graphic geometry of the lace motif, paired with a bold, striking colour, it's a real eye catcher.

Patti is a new to me designer, and I am thrilled that she will be contributing a design for my Year in Colour yarn club. Take a sec to peruse her designs, she's got some great sock and scarf patterns that I'm eager to try. I think I might cast on for Aphasia for my mother in law's birthday. 

Monday, 11 October 2010


What a wonderful weekend! Chris, Stella and I spent Thanksgiving weekend with my family. We missed my brothers terribly, but at least we had my aunt and uncle, three cousins, and two kids in town to keep our weekend busy and festive!

On Saturday we went apple picking! What a fun Thanksgiving treat. 

Though we originally planned the apple picking adventure as a treat for the kids, I think that Chris was the one who enjoyed it the most.... I love this picture, he's is eating an apple, holding an apple and picking an apple all at the same time! He's also modeling some very lovely hand knits... more on that another day!

We rode on a cart with benches made of hay, fun!

We stood on stacks of hay, which really seemed to be the high-light! When Abby (almost 5 years old) was asked if she wanted to go apple picking she wasn't particularly interested in it, but when we mentioned climbing on hay stacks her face lit up and she was instantly thrilled!

Lilia also got in on the excitement over hay and did some stack jumping, it was very entertaining.

We also had some Fall fun in the back yard raking piles of leaves and then, of course, jumping in them! 

Mom makes the best turkey dinner in town, we ate like royalty (she baked three kinds of pie for desert, including apple pie of course!) We had beautiful weather all weekend and had such a good time! We have much to be thankful for. 

The only thing I am not thankful for is our run-in with a skunk on Saturday night... Stella and I got sprayed by a skunk right on our front porch! I was traumatized, so was Stella. Right now I am not thankful for skunks.

Thursday, 7 October 2010


I'm sure you all saw it, the launch of Brooklyn Tweed's new yarn collection that is. He is brilliant. What more is there to say really. I find his designs, his photographs, his whole esthetic to be completely mesmerizing. I know I'm not the only one, and I'm certainly not the first to go on about how great he is, but it seemed appropriate to do today since I've got 2 new things to show you, and both are sort of BT related! First, here is my current sweater in progress.

I'm knitting the Stilwell Sweater from the made in Brooklyn booklet using Lismore Sheep Farm wool in Brown Heather as the main colour and Elann Peruvian Highland Wool in colourway Oatmeal Heather for the contrast. I love Lismore Sheep Farm! I bought this yarn on a visit there this summer and am thrilled to have found the perfect project for it. So far, so good. The yarn and pattern are working together beautifully. I very happy with it. I'm also thrilled that this project is knit completely from stash yarn. So satisfying. 

And second, I suppose you could say that Brooklyn Tweed is a constant source of motivation for me to work on stepping up my game when it comes to photography for the blog. I've taken one giant step. I've finally purchased a sweeeeeeeet camera!

Until recently, all my photo's were taken with this little beauty. A cute little Canon Powershot. It did the trick, but certainly had it's limits. 

Then, in the interest of research I borrowed my friend Christine's camera and started experimenting. It didn't take long for me to notice a world of difference, I hope that you all noticed too! I have been trying hard to take better quality, more interesting shots. I think that my photo's have improved, and I was convinced to take the leap and invest in some real quality equipment. 

Here is my new kit. A thing of beauty is it not? I am soooo excited about this. It's a Canon Rebel XTi with 3 lenses, 2 flashes some sort of fliter (and lots of literature for me to read to figure out haw to make it all work!) Best part is, I got it all for a bargain! I stalked ebay and had one of the most adrenaline pumping moments of my life waiting for the last seconds of the count-down to enter my winning bid on this gear. I won the auction and was beside myself. I won't divulge what I paid for it, because my mom wouldn't approve of me talking about money, but I will say that I saved thousands of dollars by buying on ebay vs. buying the whole kit separately in a store. 

It arrived on my doorstep this morning and I just can't wait to play around with it this weekend. My cousin and her two very photogenic kids will be in town for Thanksgiving, so I'll hopefully have lots of opportunity to play paparazzi!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Club memberships are available!

I have been so excited for this day for months, nay, years! Ever since I started TFA (almost 3 years ago now) I dreamed of the day I would be organized enough, creative enough and resourceful enough to start my own TFA yarn club. Well, that day has finally come, memberships can now be purchased on my website. Go now, shop away!

A club is such a fun way to explore colours and designs. I am going to do my very best to come up with original club colourways that are fun and dynamic and that will hopefully bring a moment of glee to members when they receive their club kits in the mail.

I've got some very talented and exciting designers lined up for the year. It's all come together very nicely.

TFA Tuesday - battlefieldchick's The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Ah fall is definitely here! My yard is littered with red leaves, there are potted mums popping up absolutely everywhere, neighbours are starting to decorate their stoops with pumpkins and best of all, their is an unmistakable chill in the air... it's sweater weather! Scarf weather! Shawl weather! Hooray!

To kick off the season I thought I'd feature a lovely little shawl that would be just the right accessory to wrap around your shoulders this fall to keep away the chill. This is Battlefieldchick's version of the very popular Daybreak Shawl by Stephen West knit in TFA Blue Label Fingering Weight yarn in Buttercup and Midnight. Ravelry project page here, blog post here.

My favorite thing about this shawl pattern is, naturally, the graphic use of colour.  And I particularly like how Battlefieldchick chose such a punchy, primary duo. This shawl would definitely jazz up any outfit, which is exactly what any good accessory should do.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Autumn Roses Hat

This new hat design was inspired by two things; I loved my Fall Flowers hat so much that I was eager to try and design my own version - and second, I really wanted to branch out, step out of my comfort zone and work with colours that don't come naturally to me.

Autumn Rose Hat

I love all colours, however, I am drawn to cool shades of blues, greens, purples. Working with reds and oranges isn't me; a very beautiful scheme, but an unfamiliar one for me. I am learning that when I stretch my limits and push myself to design a pattern or colour scheme that is a challenge, I often end up with a more beautiful and satisfying result than if I had kept my head down and coloured with my old reliable shades. This point was illustrated for me last year with my Dipped Infinity Reds colourway. In the interest of expanding my palette I put together a red kit that quickly became my favorite. I think that colours, and certain combinations of colours, have the ability to stir up specific feelings or emotions. Reds and ambers evoke warmth and comfort, while cool blues are refreshing and soothing. So when I push myself to develop colour schemes that challenge me, it's always rewarding, because not only do I feel like I've met the challenge, but I'm also left with a different kind of colour therapy than I'm used to.

All that to say that these warm shades of sunset, plum and garnet, the colours of fall foliage, have left me feeling comforted and happy. If this hat had a scent, I think that it would smell like my new favorite candle - this super cute, acorn shaped, warm pomegranate candle. Mmmm.... Like a sweet hug from a good friend.

In designing this hat, I took what I learnt from knitting my Fall Flowers hat and expanded upon it. I made it just the right size for me, did my favorite kind of crown decreases and incorporated some fun motifs.

Here are some stats:
*needle size: 3.5mm, 16" circular needle

Autumn Rose Hat

I love the corrugated rib and the pops of yellow (buttercup). The colour palette worked without it, but once added, it really made the three main colours (garnet, plum and sunset) come alive.

Autumn Rose Hat

Sunset was a tough colour for me to get used to. Don't get me wrong (I love it!), but since it's slightly more variegated I had to make sure it played well with the colours surrounding it. I think that by pairing it with the neutral sand colourway in the leafy section, both colours shine without fighting for the spotlight.

Autumn Rose Hat

I'm excited about this pattern. I'm really pleased with how it turned out and I've definitely gotten the design bug. I have several more hat plans hatching and as soon as they've all been worked out I will be publishing the patterns for sale. Stay tuned for more info about their release.

Autumn Rose Hat

Ravelry project page here.