Tuesday, 31 May 2011

TFA Tuesday: Moch Cardi

This gorgeous cardigan is the Moch Cardi pattern done up in Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label aran weight, in 'stormy'.The cardigan is beautifully done, with lots of stockinette and a lovely Shetland lace yoke, and Laura did an amazing job picking this lovely and moody colourway for her cardigan- Stormy is actually one of the more popular TFA colourways, because it's so easy to wear, looks good on a variety of skin tomes, and matches so many other wardrobe items. The finished result is so pretty and perfect!
Photos courtesy of Christopher Lewis

Monday, 30 May 2011

Super Duper Double Giveaway!

St-Denis Magazine giveaway

Today I have not one, but two very exciting giveaways for you all to enter! Back in the Fall I was extremely flattered to be asked by Veronik Avery to be a model for her wonderful St-Denis magazine. Issue 3, Spring 2011, is officially available, and her brand new website has launched and I am pleased as punch to have an extra copy of the magazine to giveaway to one lucky winner. But that's not all! With the magazine I am also including a Four Seasons Hat kit in the Autumn colourway. I don't know if you all know me well enough to recognize the back of my head, but that lovely cover girl on the front of the magazine... it's me! 

Lucky Seven Beret

I'm modeling the Lucky Seven Beret designed by Robin Melanson. I think that the yarn in the Four Seasons Hat kit would substitute very nicely in this pattern. There are a few other stranded knitting patterns in the magazine as well that would look lovely in TFA Blue Label yarn. 

Gleener giveaway

Today I'm doing a double giveaway, so with each entry you are entered to win one of two fabulous prizes. Double the chance to win, double the fun! The second prize is for one skein of yarn and one awesome knitting tool: the Gleener! You may remember me going on and on about how wonderful it is after I "gleened" my blanket earlier this spring. Well, that blog post caught the attention of "the Gleener girl" and she so generously offered a Gleener for me to giveaway to a lucky reader. Along with the Gleener I'm throwing in a skein of my Purple Label Cashmere sock yarn in Teal. I'm currently knitting a pair of socks with this very colourway and it's lovely. Since cashmere tends to be a bit more prone to pilling than my hardier superwash merino's it seems like the perfect skein to go hand in hand with this de-fuzzing tool. This skein would make a lovely little Sunnyside baby sweater don't ya think?

One comment enters you in both giveaways. Be sure to include your e-mail address or Ravelry username so I can get a hold of you should you win. You can get additional entries if you post about the contest  on Twitter or your blog (so if you post on both Twitter AND your blog, AND comment here, you'll get three chances to win!) If you do Tweet or blog about it, please leave another comment here to let me know. Two winners will be chosen at random and announced on Friday, June 3rd. Good luck! 

Comments are now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Friday, 27 May 2011


Pretty Lily of the Valley

Earlier this week my mom stopped by with a handful of lily of the valley from her garden for us. They are such pretty little flowers and the scent is amazing. 

Very focused!

Our bathroom reno is almost complete, we're now getting down to the finishing touches. I work with colour everyday at TFA, so the artist in me is very satisfied. I was inspired this week to pull out my watercolours and inks and start playing around with shapes and colour. I forgot how much I love watercolour. It's not unlike dyeing, the colours are so fluid and easily blended. I love the marks the water leaves on the page. I've been a very happy little painter. 

Rainbow herringbone

My goal was to create colourful art for our pale, serene bathroom. The herringbone pattern of the painting above mimics the herringbone installation of our floor tile. This piece turned out brighter than I had envisioned, it's so easy for me to get carried away in the fun and excitement of bright colours! I'm using a leftover tile from our tub surround as my palette, very appropriate since I'm working on art for the bathroom.

overlapping circles in a soothing palette.

For my second piece I certainly kept it colourful, but used calmer tones. I really like this one.

Love the feathered edges of the watercolour

I love the feathered edges of the painting. I'm feeling very inspired by geometric shapes, I'm sure it's from looking at so many gorgeous tiles over the past couple of months. I love how the crisp geometry pairs with the subtle softness of watercolour. My head is spinning with ideas of ways to combine my love of TFA colourways with watercolour paintings. I think that the soothing colours in my Meadow colourway would lend themselves really well to this sort of application... oh the possibilities!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Flowers in the Snow Afghan

Mmmm... depth of field.

My first crochet project is officially finished and I am pleased as punch with the results. The Flowers in the Snow afghan is absolutely beautiful, clearly it doesn't take much to make me happy as a clam, but I'm just so mesmerized with how the multicoloured circles are wrapped in a perfect square. Simple, but so charming.


I used almost exclusively leftover bits of yarn for this project, which is extremely satisfying. It's all TFA Yellow Label DK Weight yarn and I used a 3mm hook. I had to pull out full skeins of natural for all the "snow" and the border used up a lot of yarn (between 1/3 and 1/2 skein of each of the colours) requiring me to break into Baby Shane Blanket kit stash. 

On a double bed for scale.

My finished afghan is 12 x 16 squares. I had no idea how big that was going to be, but as it turns out it's very big! The above photo shows the blanket on a double bed, it almost covers it entirely. It measures approx. 4.5' x 6'. Definitely large enough for Stella and I to snuggle under. 

crocheted blanket, airy goodness.

I learnt a lot about crochet with this project. I'm still far from being an expert, but I'm much more comfortable with a hook than a I used to be. I did as the pattern suggested and attached the squares together as I was making them, which I think is a lot faster than sewing them together at the end, however since the squares are only attached at 12 key spots around the motif, it results in a very lacey blanket. I don't mind it since the motif is airy and light, but it's easy to get fingers and toes (and whippet noses) stuck in the large holes between the squares.

The border is a little ruffly - but I don't mind.

I originally set out to make the craziest colour combo's I could think of, and all together I think that this blanket is pretty wild! The white "snow" between the multicoloured flowers helps to ground the craziness of it all. I usually find that when you use this many colours together they have a way of blending and reading as random and pleasant as opposed to jarring and overwhelming. The colours all just fade into one giant scattering of multicoloured sprinkles. 

Pretty border

For the border I did what I think is just Granny stripes. I may have crocheted into too many spots along the edge because my border seems to be a bit bigger than the center panel, resulting in a slight ruffling of the edges. The scalloped edging is from the pot holder pattern I used last year when I was taking a break from this blanket and making quick and satisfying pot holders instead. 

crocheted blanket in it's new home on the blanket ladder.

Though the weather is warming up and it's not exactly wool blanket season anymore, I'm still able to thoroughly enjoy my work as this blanket now lives very comfortably on my blanket ladder along with my other hand made treasures. It makes me smile every time I look at it.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

TFA Tuesday: Shadow Charades

These beautiful Charade Socks were knit up by Claudia in sumptuous Purple Label Cashmere Yarn in the Shadow colourway. I love how the colours really enhance the stitches- seriously, I've been just staring at the screen looking at that second photo, just loving the texture and colours. Claudia pointed out in her project notes that the cashmere yarn was really great for her hands when she gets a bit of arthritis. The healing powers of cashmere!!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

My Favorite colour in the world... right now.

My gorgeous Hydrangea

This is the absolutely breathtaking hydrangea that lives on my front stoop, right by my front door. You saw snippets of it here on my mother's day post. I didn't think that it was possible, but the colours seem to be getting richer, darker, brighter, more magnificent with each passing day. 

My gorgeous Hydrangea

I'm doing my absolutely best to take very good care of it. It's currently in a big pot and my plan is to transplant it into my front garden at the end of the summer, hoping it will come back next spring just as beautiful. 

My gorgeous Hydrangea

Friday, 20 May 2011

Weekend plans

Flowers in the Snow afghan

My Flowers in the Snow afghan is officially finished. I love it, Stella loves it, it's a hit! We've had a very dreary, rainy week, I'm hoping for beautiful spring weather this weekend so I can give it the FO photo shoot it deserves!

Garter stitch scarf

Since finishing up the huge undertaking that was my first crochet project (the above gorgeous afghan) I felt like whipping off a quick and super simple garter stitch scarf using leftover blues and greys. Similar to Chris' Fall scarf, but more blue of course. FO posts to come.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

TFA Tuesday: Gail Nightsong Shawl

Rachel did a wonderful job knitting this stunning shawl, using the Pink Label laceweight yarn in 'Amber' colourway. It's a beautiful free pattern,  and the colour she chose is perfect for fall. This is easily the most wearable shade of orange: a deep, rust tone. And just look at that stitch definition- simply gorgeous. If I saw someone walking down the street wearing this, I'd be blown away- I absolutely love her version.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Chris' Brownstone

Chris in his gorgeous Brownstone pullover

Voila Chris' most recent FO!

Pattern: Brownstone by Jared Flood (Ravelry link).
Yarn: TFA Green Label Aran Weight in Chris' very own One Of A Kind colourway.

Chris and I collaborated on this knit and it worked out really well. As soon as I saw this pattern on the Brooklyn Tweed blog I knew that Chris would love it. Towards the end of March he enthusiastically cast on for version 1 of this sweater (the sweater pictured here is actually version 2) and with very little help from me, he knit the entire thing in roughly one month. Sounds great right? Wrong, that sweater unfortunately turned out excessively humungous! I don't know where he/we went wrong! Chris is tall and slender, he's just shy of 6'3" and based on his measurements, the measurements of his favorite sweaters, and the measurements on the pattern schematic, we opted to knit him the size medium. His gauge was bang on, and his finished sweater matched exactly what the schematic said it should, but once he put it on it was clear that it was way too big. It fit him much more like an XL than the trim medium we were going for. It's nobody's fault, there's nothing wrong with the pattern or the knitter, but together we just made a bad call when choosing what size to knit...

Chris in his gorgeous Brownstone pullover

Because there is nothing worse than working on a sweater for a month only to have it be unwearable, and I was worried that this catastrophe would ruin knitting for Chris forever, I offered to help him knit version 2, this time following the instructions for the size small. I knit the sleeves while he worked on the body, I then joined the sleeves to the body and got him started on the yoke, I worked on it while he wasn't looking, and in about 8 days we had a completed sweater! It's amazing, we must knit very similarly because you really can't tell what parts he knit and where I took over. We're a good match ;)

Chris in his gorgeous Brownstone pullover

Chris dyed this custom colourway specifically for this sweater and I'm crazy for it! It's sort of a very subtle, soft version of Shadow. It's grey, but sometimes looks pale blue... it's dreamy. We didn't alternate skeins and though there is minimal pooling it's so subtle that it's not distracting and Chris doesn't mind it. In fact, he finds that the subtle shifts in colour really add to the hand dyed/hand made look. 

Chris in his gorgeous Brownstone pullover
Even though he doesn't look very happy here, trust me, he's thrilled with his new sweater!

The sweater is gorgeous and looks really good on him. It was definitely worth knitting twice in order to get it just right. Now that he's got the recipe for his perfect shawl collar pullover perfected, he says he just might knit a few more. We did a few simple mods, lengthened the body and sleeves by a couple of inches in order to accommodate Chris' tall frame. We also omitted the first set of short rows (since in the first big sweater we did both sets of short rows and the finished sweater really drooped in the back, there was just way too much material for Chris, this version sits just right.) And I made up my own way of making the tabs that loop over the toggles. I did a crocheted chain with the yarn held double to make it nice and sturdy and I sewed them to the wrong side rather than the right side. The collar lays perfectly flat and worked out really well. Lastly, I knit the collar on larger needles than the pattern called for (the pattern said to use 4mm and 4.5mm needles for the collar, I used 4.5mm and 5mm needles) I like a pretty generous collar and became a shawl collar pro when working out the details of my I Heart Aran sweater!

Chris lovin' his new Brownstone Pullover!

This sweater is awesome. I think that Chris looks incredibly handsome in it, and I couldn't be prouder of him for having knit it (at least most of it) himself. Go Chris!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

TFA Tuesday: Roebling hat

This pretty hat was designed by Kirsten Kapur, one of the most-loved knitwear designers today!  The pattern is Roebling, and features a pretty lace design. The beautiful bright pop of blue is the Yellow Label DK weight, in the 'Cobalt' colourway.The pattern was designed to use a bit less than one skein, which makes it a wonderful quick knit. I just can't get over how pretty it is! And I love accessories knit in bright colours, it's a perfect pop of colour in cooler weather.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Though I'm not yet a mother in the traditional sense, I love my baby girl Stella more than anything! 

Me & Stella on mother's day - 2011

She makes Chris and I feel needed and loved every day. She made us into a real family. 

Me & Stella on mother's day - 2011

Happy mother's day to all the mom's out there, including the pet mom's! 

With love, from Tanis and Stella xoxo

Friday, 6 May 2011

Bathroom Reno - Before & During

Bathroom demo!

Before Chris and I loaded up the van and headed off to Toronto for the weekend for the DKC Knitter's Frolic, Chris had one last major job to do... he had to completely demolish our main bathroom so our contractor could start renovating on Monday. So, Chris took Thursday to work on the bathroom, we were gone Friday to Sunday evening, Sunday when we got home Chris and my dad spent a few hours tearing down what was left of the walls, and then Monday morning the contractor started working towards putting the place back together. 

I helped demo too!

Demo sounds like fun right? Picture a man, a sledge hammer, welcomed destruction. Turns out, not so much. It was really hard work. I pitched in for about 2 minutes and made sure that mom was there to snap a picture of me in action (that's one of the perks of renovating a small space, there's only room for one person to work in there at a time!) Hat's off to Chris for being such a trooper.   

Here is a before picture of the bathroom. Small, beige, weird vanity, lots of medicine cabinets, strange brown flower tiles, grungy floor, a baseboard heater that doesn't work... lovely.

Bathroom before - Vanity view

And here is the tub view from the door. Very shallow chipped beige tub (I never took a single bath in that tub). Since we had no storage in the vanity we put a temporary little shelf in the bathroom that ended up being a junk collector for my hair elastics and toiletry products.

Bathroom before - Tub view from the door

Chris and I like to consider ourselves pretty enthusiastic DIYers. We paint, change the occasional light fixture, make curtains, do minor woodworking. We originally thought that this bathroom reno would be a very hands on project, but in the end we found a great contractor who is willing to let us help when we can (like demo) but is taking care of all the hard stuff himself; electrical, plumbing, ventilation, heating, moving a wall... all stuff that is way out of our comfort zone. Seeing as how this bathroom is our family bath and guest bath, it needs to be done right. 

The first week of renovating is almost done and things are finally starting to look like they're actually going to come together. The wall has been moved, plumbing and electrical have been sorted out, the tub went in yesterday, drywall should be going up today... exciting!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

2011 DKC Knitter's Frolic!

Still organizing the shelves

This years Frolic has already come and gone and I can't believe it. It goes by in such a flash! This year was awesome as usual. 

I don't have any photo's of the van this year, but trust me when I say it looked a lot like it did last year. Chris did, however, take a few shots of us setting up the booth. 

Organizing the shelves

After putting together the shelves and the gridwall, and putting the tables where we want them, we always spend a lot of time organizing all the yarn in rainbow formation. Luckily it's one of my favorite things to do!


The gridwall looked terrific and worked like a charm. It really freed up a lot of space in the booth and allowed all the yarn to really be seen. I love the ikea cubby shelves, but with all the yarn stuffed in you can only see the butt end of the skein sticking out, the gridwall makes everything really clear and easy to see. 

Printed I Heart Aran patterns

I was very happy to be able to bring really nice printed copies of the I Heart Aran pattern with me. They are printed on glossy card stock and look pretty sleek and professional, if I do say so myself. Thanks to everyone for all the lovely feedback you've been giving me about my first sweater pattern (both online and in person!) It's been very encouraging to have the pattern be so well received. 

Tan and Julie! Team TFA

The other major addition to this year's Frolic booth was Julie! Julie was there all day to lend a helping hand to shoppers who needed a second opinion on a yarn or colour decision. Julie was awesome, so very helpful and fun to have in the booth!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hi, events like this are so much fun for me. They are the one time I get out of my online world and actually get to meet customers in person! 

TFA Tuesday: Rick Socks

These wonderful socks are the Rick pattern from Cookie A., knitted up in Blue Label fingering weight in the colourway 'Lilac'. Lilac is one of the more subtle tonals, and it's perfect for emphasizing the gorgeous lines of this brilliant pattern. Amanda did such a great job- the pattern looks fantastic with the varying shades of lilac in the yarn, and how wonderful it must be to have a pair of lilac coloured socks! These look amazing.