Monday, 28 February 2011

Toe up knee high's

I finished knitting my first pair toe up socks while watching the Oscars last night. 

One of the reasons I wanted to try toe up knitting was because I could use up every last bit of yarn, it seams like whenever I knit myself a pair of socks I have tons of yarn left over... well, there is a very good reason for this, I have teeny tiny little feet. I wear a size 5 shoe, and though I don't think of my feet as unusually small, people do often comment on the cuteness of my little shoes! Anyways, using up every last yard of yarn resulted in knee high's! I'm still glad that I learnt a new skill, but I don't think I'm going to be applying my every last yard approach to all of my socks from now on. 

I didn't add in any extra shaping for the knee high's. These socks were knit on 2.5mm needles in Prism's Merino Mia yarn in the very lovely Harvest colourway. The yarn comes in 50g skeins and I used exactly one whole skein per sock. I did lots of 1x1 ribbing and the socks fit very comfortably around my calfs. I did a short row toe and heel  using Wendy's pattern as my guide, and used Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind off, which is, needless to say, surprisingly stretchy.

Knee high's turned down

And when I don't feel like wearing them pulled all the way up to my knee's I'll just turn them dow, it's like a sock and an ankle warmer all in one!

knee high details.
(I'm doing something weird with my toes in this shot on the left, but I like the pretty rainbow colours.)

Stella approves!

Stella with knee highs

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Silks drying on a rack

Silks drying on a rack

I don't think I will ever get over how beautiful this is. It gets me every time, every single time!

Monday, 21 February 2011

I Heart Aran - still a WIP

I Heart Aran

I honestly do heart this sweater. I love lots of things about it, and at the risk of sounding very self-congratulatory, I'll elaborate. I love that I took a cable that I think is really pretty and re-engineered it to work for my sweater. As I mentioned before, the cable in the sweetheart socks that inspired this project was knit top down, and was on a background of reverse stockinette stitch. I wanted to knit my sweater from the bottom up, and I wanted the cable to be on a background of stockinette stitch, just because that's a look that I'm into right now. Once the heart cable was established, I decided that I wanted to really go with the love theme and picked a cable pattern that looks like x's and o's to border the central hearts. Then, another smaller scale cable was added to the outside to balance out the proportions and I was all set. The shawl collar was Chris's idea and I think that it's one of the best parts of this sweater! I had originally wanted to knit a sweater with a big cowl turtleneck, but once I had decided on the cables I changed my mind about that. Chris suggested the shawl collar, I took it one step further and added a button. 

Working with the undyed Green Label Aran weight yarn was really neat. I'm so used to working with my colourful yarns, and usually it's the colour that I'm focussing on, not the yarn itself. But this project was really all about the yarn, and it's made me love the aran weight base even more than I already did. It really is lovely to work with.  

I Heart Aran

Now comes the WIP part. Though I am thrilled with this sweater and I have already gotten a ton of wear out of it, I still consider it a WIP. I want this pattern to be my first sweater pattern, but before that can happen it has to be perfect, and unfortunately, it's just not there yet. I have one issue with this sweater, and that's the way that the cables just kind of end at the shoulders, I don't like the way that the x's and o's cable fades away at the top, it seems unresolved to me. I need to figure out how to fix that before this pattern will be officially done. I have a plan and I'm working on it, hopefully I'm clever enough to get it done!

I Heart Aran

Saturday, 19 February 2011

I'm in sock mode

Sometimes when everything is going great and I'm feeling super excited and motivated about my knitting I need to have challenging and interesting projects on the needles. Other times, when things are busy and hectic and it's all I can do to keep up I need to have simple and easy projects on the go. Like socks. I just sit and knit around and around without thinking, almost trance like, it helps to keep me balanced. It's all very zen. I'm in one of these moods these days. I cast on for one pair of toe up socks, it's going well, so I cast on for another. This second pair is being knit is Zitron Trekking xxl in a very pretty green/blue rainbow type colourway. It brings me tons of happiness.

Toe up socks.

Before I hit my sock groove, I was in a hat and mitt groove. I knit two pairs of mitts and coordinating hats using my Grammy's Hats and Mitts pattern and I love them both. The heart hat obviously had a few mods, I knit the ribbing shorter and instead of knitting the main part of the hat in a wide 6 x 2 rib I knit it plain and added a few cutesy hearts. I love both sets. 

Hats and Mitts

I will fully admit that the pom-pom on the turquoise hat is bordering on the ridiculously huge. Chris thinks it's too much and got a very good laugh out of me hitting my pop-pom on the door frame when I was trying to get into the car, and getting my scarf caught up in my pom-pom when I was wrapping up to face the cold. It may not be the most practical of proportions, but it's just so darn cute.

I'm thinking of using the leftovers from my turquoise set (deep sea, peacock, seabreeze and shadow all Green Label) to make Stella a sporty striped sweater. She could use a good dose of stripes in her wardrobe.

Leftovers from a hat and mitt set.

I did abother little Etsy shop update yesterday. A few of these precious ooak skeins are very difficult for me to part with... but Chris tells me I have to, sigh...

Blue ooak for the Etsy shop

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

My new favorite picture

My new favorite picture

Sometimes I can spend all morning trying to take the perfect photo and nothing seems to work. Yet other times, I snap one quick shot, and it's perfect! That's what happened with this one. I was photographing all these little skeins of yarn for my new hat kits and when I was done I just scooped them all up. I looked at them and thought "how pretty, this looks like a bouquet of skeins." And since my mom was over helping me out I got her to grab the camera and take one shot, I didn't even move from where I was standing, she didn't move either, she just took the camera from where she was standing next to the table and clicked. I love how the light from the window behind me blurs the sides of my shirt, I love that I was conveniently wearing a clean white shirt that day rather then a messy plaid one like I am today. And I love that I didn't plan it, I just grabbed the skeins, the colours weren't placed in any special rainbow formation or anything. Just a perfect, happy accident.

I did a mini shop update today, I plan on adding more on Friday too.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The Four Seasons Hat pattern & Kits

The Four Seasons Hat with Stella

Wow, coding and formating a website is sooo not my strong suit. I think I'll stick to the knitting! Chris and I made a few updates to the website today, including changing a few photos and correcting a few typos, but the exciting part was adding a new pattern and kit! Yay!

Without further ado The Four Seasons Hat pattern is now available along with 4 kit colourways. 

Snapshot hat kits

This is my first for sale pattern and I am very excited about it. The pattern includes one set of instructions to  knit a lovely, slouchy hat, and four chart options, each inspired by a season. So, really, it's like four patterns in one! Each kit contains enough yarn to knit any of the patterns, so if you like one season's motif's, but prefer another season's colours, no problem! Just use the colour palette of your choice to knit the pattern you want.

The Four Seasons Hat collage


Yarn: Tanis Fiber Arts The Four Seasons Hats kit or approx. 85 yds of 5 different colours of fingering weight yarn.
Needles: 16” 3.25 mm circular needles, 1 set of 3.25mm double pointed needles.
Stitch marker (1 to mark the beginning of the round and 6 more in a contrasting colour to mark the beginning of each repeat should you chose to do so.)
Tapestry needle
Gauge: 28 sts and 32 rows in colourwork pattern.
Size: to fit an average adult woman’s head.
Finished measurement: 20 inches in circumference, approx. 10” long from cast on edge to top.

Pattern details here.
Kit details here.
The Four Seasons Hat pattern is also available on Ravelry here.

$6.00 CAD

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Business as usual

I've got a couple little bits of info to share with you today. Chris and I have been very busy working on formating all of our patterns into easy to download pdf's. Now when you click on a pattern on my sidebar you will be able to download straight from the blog, or if you visit my Ravelry patterns page you can add the pdf's to your Ravelry library. It's so much easier than trying to print a pattern off of a blog, it's neat and tidy and makes the journey from finding the pattern to actually knitting the pattern that much easier.

Speaking of Ravelry, a while ago a lovely knitter set up a Tanis Fiber Arts Appreciation Society group on Ravelry and I am just tickled that so many people have already joined! It seems to have become the perfect place for knitters to talk about the inaugural shipment of the TFA Year in Colour Club. Gotta love Ravelry, it makes me feel like I have so many knitting friends!

And there has been knitting, I'm working on my first pair of toe up socks. I am using this pattern from Wendy Knits. I have become so comfortable with my basic top down sock that it never occurred to me to try anything else. But I've got two 60g skeins of Prism Merino Mia in the very pretty Harvest colourway and I want to make a pair of socks, each sock using exactly one skein. Toe up seemed like the way to go, I'll knit until I run out of yarn and then start the next. I am not typically a huge fan of short row heels, I just don't find that they fit as well as a slip stitch heel, but when I'm working with really variegated yarns I like the fact that a short row heel doesn't change the striping like the added stitches in a gusset do. A couple years ago I knit these socks with a short row heel specifically for that reason and I really like the way it worked out. I'm hoping to have the same pretty result with this current pair.

Toe up socks

I've also been doing some hat and mitten knitting, but more on that another day.

Grammy's Mitts and Hat

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Braided Headband and A Winner!

First things first, the winner of the Buttons giveaway as chosen by a random number generator is..... Sauceyjill! She wrote: "Love that cowl! And that lavender is awesome! Pretty! I'm also excited about your aran sweater! Who doesn't love a good cable pattern?!"

Yay! Congrats Jill!

Braid detail

I made myself this lovely Anthropology inspired plaited head wrap last week, but I just call it my braided headband. I love a good braid, so when I saw this free pattern I downloaded it immediately. It as perfect timing as I stumbled upon it right after my favorite ear-muffs broke. Sometimes in the winter, when I have my hair in a ponytail or in a bun, as I tend to do, wearing a hat is just not that practical, but I need to keep my ears warm! So, I used to turn to my ear-muffs, but now that those are gone I needed a new solution. The headband is it!

Braided headband

I looked at a couple of different braided headbands before officially settling on this one. There are several out there that use a braid-style cable to achieve a similar look, but what really drew me to this pattern is that it is actually braided! The construction is really interesting. You knit a long tube, then do some looping and weaving, graft the ends together and the result is a continuous braid!


This project was awesome. It took me a while (and I mean a long while!) to get the hang of the braided construction. In the end I abandoned the directions and just braided it the way that came naturally to me and it worked out great. I grafted the ends together and now it is totally seamless, like the most awesome mobius ever. I love it and it is super warm.
I knit mine on 5mm instead of the recommended 6mm needles, I did it on dpn’s and it was a bit fiddly but nothing I couldn’t handle. I CO 18 sts to make up for the smaller sized needles. It took more yarn then I expected, nearly half a skein in total. 
I also steam blocked my long tube before braiding in hopes that the braid would lay flatter on my head, and it worked. Love it! I think I'll make one in thinner yarn, maybe fingering weight, to wear as a regular headband to keep my hair out of my face. 
My mom took these FO shots for me yesterday and somehow managed to get this totally wild, super freaky faceless shot. This has not been photoshopped, after she took the picture and we saw this on the monitor we were both a little disturbed...
Awesome/super freaky faceless shot... thanks mom!

Isn't that weird!? At least the braid looks good.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

What a fun day!

I've been working on these slouchy hat designs for months! I started with my Autumn Rose hat back in September and haven't really stopped since. Next came Winter Snowflakes, then Spring Sparrows. Now that all four seasons are done and looking good, it was time for a super fun photo shoot.

I called on some of my best girlfriends to come over on Saturday for pancakes followed by a walk in the woods to take some photos. We lucked out and got absolutely beautiful weather. The shoot was tons of fun and ended on a high note when we decided to get an action shot. I would count to 3, they would all jump up at the same time, it would be fantastic! After about 15 attempts I think we finally got it right.

Here they are waiting for me to yell 1-2-3!

Woohoo! All 4 ladies mid air all at once!

The landing, I love how all their hair is flying around their heads. So much fun! These girls are the best!

If all goes well patterns and kits should be ready by the end of the week.

Hope you're having a great weekend! Don't forget, it's not too late to enter the giveaway!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Buttons Giveaway

Lots of exciting action going on over here these days. Between the dyeing, the designing and the knitting I am all a-flutter with the pure joy that I get from making things. Being able to spend my days making, I get such a high from it!

So, first the part you guys are all interested in, the giveaway! Pictured below is a lovely one of a kind colourway (actually, it was 4 of a kind, I dyed 4 skeins of this lovely lavender grey shade, 2 blue label's which have already found a new home thanks to my Etsy shop, and 2 green label's, one of which I'm giving away and the other which I am very greedily hoarding because I just love it so!) 

To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment on this post, the winner will be announced on Wednesday February 9th, and will be sent this lovely skein of Green Label Aran weight yarn in Lavender Grey and 5 pretty pearly buttons to knit their very own Buttons Cowl. Please remember to leave your e-mail address in the comments so I can get a hold of you if you're the winner.

Remember that little swatch that I showed you last week? Well, it is now a fully finished sweater!

I am beside myself with excitement about this one. It turned out exactly how I wanted it to. I swatched, I re-swatched, I washed and dried my swatch, I measured, I counted, I did lots and lots of math, took lots and lots of notes, knit, ripped, re-knit and am so glad that I put in the extra effort and took the extra time to do this sweater the right way. I am so proud of it that I am going to write up the pattern. It will be my first time sizing a sweater, so I am going to do it slowly and properly. Look for the pattern to be ready some time this spring, maybe I'll time it to be released around the time of the Knitter's Frolic since that's always good motivation. I'm hoping that I can con my mom into test knitting this for me. She's usually very compliant and happy to help, and I actually think that this sweater style would suit her really well, so hopefully she'll be gung-ho!

I'm calling this pattern I Heart Aran because that's what I kept saying to myself as I was knitting it, and because it has a very romantic hearts and x's and o's cable pattern. Plus my version is knit in my aran weight yarn in it's natural state, so it really is all about the yarn and I do love it. As several people guessed when I posted the swatch this cable pattern was totally inspired by my sweetheart socks. I re-worked the cable to be knit from the bottom up rather than top down and did it on a plain stockinette stitch background rather than reverse stockinette since I like the look better for this project. Yay, look for more details about this project soon!

Ok, a few more little details I wanted to mention. I had been struggling for a while with the blogger comments set-up. Basically, there isn't a way to respond directly by e-mail or a more personal venue to the comments. I would get questions in the comments and when I would want to answer them directly I wouldn't be able to send an e-mail because you don't need an e-mail account to leave a comment... anyways, I want everyone to know that I read all the comments and have just recently figured out that the best way to respond to them is in the comments section directly. So, if you have a question and you leave it in the comments I will respond by leaving my answer in the comments too, so check back after asking a question! Hopefully that makes sense.

And lastly, I've added a few new sweater quantities of yarn to my Etsy Shop. So hop on over and peruse if you're interested!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Buttons Cowl Pattern

Buttons Cowl

The Buttons Cowl is officially ready for prime time! My mom did a wonderful job of test knitting for me and knit this gorgeous version in Chestnut with natural wooden buttons as a lovely contrast to my original bright Peacock and pearly buttons version.

The cowl uses just one skein of TFA Green Label Aran Weight yarn and can easily be knit in just two short nights of casual knitting. A quick and satisfying project indeed! The fit is more like a face snuggling neck-warmer rather than a slouchy cowl, it's really designed to keep you toasty warm during the coldest of winter months.

Buttons cowl

To download the Buttons Cowl pattern simply click the link below:

Ravelry Pattern page can be found here.

Come back tomorrow for a buttons cowl inspired giveaway!

Buttons Cowl

Tuesday, 1 February 2011


I'm working on lot of projects these days. Well, actually, not lots of knitting projects really, more like lots of ideas. I've suddenly been hit by a huge surge of creative inspiration. I don't know where it came from, but all of a sudden I've got lots of ideas for sweaters and designs that I want to work out. Up until recently I've been very happy to knit great patterns designed by others and perhaps modify them slightly to fit me, but that was it. I never had a huge desire to design myself, but now, I've got so many ideas that I'm excited about and I wish I had more knitting time in the day to work them all out!

Lately I've been working mostly on a cable-y aran weight sweater. My swatch above was knit in sand, but I'm knitting my sweater in a groundbreaking new colourway I'm developing for spring called - wait for it - Natural. Yup, it's undyed, natural coloured yarn. And I'm really into it right now. For a hand dyer obsessed with colour this is very strange indeed. But, I can't fight it. I'm more than half way done my sweater and I am very excited about it. It's 100% my own design and if all works out as planned, and there is absolutely no guaranteeing that it will, this sweater will be awesome. 

I've also been slowly but steadily plugging along at all the re-photographing of our yarns for the website. Today I tackled a bunch of lace weight yarn and I am so smitten with the resulting photos. Doesn't this skein of seabreeze just make you want to eat it!? It looks like a dollop of seabreese coloured whipped cream.

And this skein of teal, it really reminds me of a happy little Buddha. Something about the way it's twisted reminds me of crossed arms. Scrumptious.

I don't knit with lace weight yarn often, but after having played with it all afternoon I'm seriously wondering why. I've added a few new ooak skeins of lace weight yarn to the etsy shop today in honour of my newly renewed love of lace.