Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Preppy socks

Preppy faux-argyle socks in progress.

I'm knitting these socks for my dad for Christmas this year. He loves hand knit socks, and I love knitting them for him. I couldn't decide on a pattern so instead I just made one up. These preppy faux-argyle socks will add just the right touch of class to any outfit. I plan on writing up the pattern because these socks are just so cute and smart looking!

I'm knitting these in TFA Blue Label Fingering Weight yarn in Atlantic. I just can't get enough of this colourway, and though I hate to pick favorites, I love all my colourways the same, but I might love Atlantic the most. That's true for today at least, my favorite colour seems to change with every new project I knit!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

TFA Tuesday: Royale

Pattern: Royale

TFA Yarn and Colourway: Green Label Aran Weight in 'Olive'

Top Tier Knitter: Gretchen (Ravelry ID)

Totally Awesome Because: I love this sweater! It's a perfect mix- the shape and texture is classic and never out of style, and the Olive colourway always seems spot on for fall and winter (not to mention the perfect compliment to Gretchen's lovely red hair!). This is the kind of sweater that does warm AND stylish, which is hard to get in the cooler months. Great job, Gretchen!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Year In Colour Club - November

Asteroidea Hat

The November installment of the TFA Year In Colour Club featured this gorgeous hat pattern, the Asteroidea Hat, designed by Kirsten Kapur. I'm crazy about the combination of lace, cables and slouch! 


The November colourway was a real challenge for me. I happen to hate dyeing reds! They are so hard to get right. But this Cranberry colourway... well, I love it! It's deep, rich, red. Perfect for this festive time of year!

Memberships for the 2012 Year In Colour Club are now available, be sure to sign up before Dec. 15th in order to get the reduced rate (the Club price will increase by $15 on Dec. 15th).  

To see what we've been up to all year check out the Year in Colour Club blog page here.

Year in Colour Club 2011

And with that, the inaugural year of the TFA Year in Colour club has officially come to an end. It's been a fantastic experience and I'm really looking forward to next year! Above is a photo that I snapped of all the 2011 colourways together, don't they make a pretty collection? 

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

TFA Tuesday: Little Paris Scarf

Pattern: Stockholm Scarf

TFA Yarn and Colourway: Yellow Label in 'Plum'

Top Tier Knitter: Jennifer (Ravelry Id)

Totally Awesome Because:  Okay, I'm a wee bit biased on this one, but I love how the Plum colourway looks in this high-texture infinity scarf. The rich colour looks so great with almost any coloured coat, and a big, beautiful infinity scarf is a great accessory for the colder weather. I love that she called it the 'Little Paris Scarf', it really does look like something chic enough for the City of Lights. Project page can be found here.

Monday, 21 November 2011


Cobalt Julissa

My Cobalt Julissa is coming along nicely. I honestly did think that there was a possibility that I would be able to finish this sweater in one weekend, but alas, no such luck. I cast on enthusiastically, and I worked on it exclusively all weekend. It's not finished yet, but I'm well on my way. I've tried it on and it fits exactly like it should. So far, so good!

The studio reno is moving along nicely. Most of last week was spent working on invisible parts of the project, things like burying pipes underground. Then they poured the foundation, the most beautiful, smooth, shiny slab of concrete I've ever seen. Chris filled in the trench and put the grass back, that was one of the reasons that we opted to dig the trench by hand, Chris carefully removed the top layer of soil and grass and put it aside, when the work was done and the trench was back filled he then replaced all the grass and now we have our yard back! Friday the magic happened, I looked out my window in the afternoon and there was a building in my yard!

studio, week 1 progress

This part is really exciting. See that big 9 foot wide window opening on the side? That's going to be so nice to work under. French doors, a vaulted ceiling, the studio is going to be the nicest room in our house!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Love at first sight

Cobalt - Green Label

I was just minding my own business, going about my day as usual, when I stumbled upon this blog post. Just another lovely blog post about another lovely FO, exactly what I've come to expect from the Celtic Cast On blog. Nothing unusual right? Wrong! As soon as I laid eyes on that sweater I fell head over heals. The pattern is Julissa by Vanessa Smith and I completely love it. I love the fit, I love the cable combined with the lace, I love that it would work up perfectly in my Green Label Aran Weight yarn. I've purchased the pattern, I've chosen the colourway (Cobalt) and I'm gearing up to spend my entire weekend knitting this sweater. Who wants to bet that I'll have a new sweater by the end of the weekend? I'll be back Monday with a full progress report!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

pattern excitement

timbali shawl

The Winter Issue of Twist Collective has launched and it features a beautiful shawl pattern knit in TFA yarns! The Timbali shawl designed by Wendy Neal, photographs by Jamie Dixon offers two options, a triangular shawl knit in Silver Label Mulberry Silk or rectangular stole knit in Purple Label Cashmere Sock. The pattern is gorgeous, I'll take one of each please!


Here is another sneak peek at the pullover design that I've been wearing all fall. My test knitter (mom) has just finished knitting her version and it looks terrific! Can't wait to share the finished product.  I hope to have ready to release in the next week or two. 

hat designs in progress

Also on the verge of being released, two new hat patterns! A zigzag lace hat in Yellow Label DK weight (I mentioned it here in an earlier post) and a richly cabled hat in Green Label Aran weight. I hope to have both hat patterns ready soon as they will make for great holiday gift knitting.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

TFA Tuesday: Velvet Peacock

 Pattern: Peacock Feathers Shawl

TFA Yarn and Colourway: Silver Label Mulberry Silk in 'Velvet'

Top Tier Knitter: Glenna (Ravelry ID, Blog)

Totally Awesome Because:  You can't beat the 100% silk for a special hit of luxury, and this shawl is perfect for that- the lace is jaw-droppingly beautiful, and the colours look amazing. I love the top photo for the detail of the colour variations, since Velvet is a colourway that has a lot of big shifts between the tones. Glenna did an amazing job on this- it's such a stunning knit! Check out more gorgeous photos on her project page, here.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

How I spent my weekend

I spent my weekend digging up my backyard! 

Just diggin'

Do I look like I'm having fun? I tried to keep a positive attitude and cheer on the boys (Chris and my dad did the majority of the work) but trust me, digging a trench, 4 feet deep and 40 feet long is no fun at all! Luckily the weather cooperated, and considering we're doing this project mid-November we are extremely lucky.

So, now the big question, why are we digging up our yard? Up until now we've been dyeing the yarn in the laundry room in our basement. Our basement is only semi-finished, so it's worked out really well so far. However, over the past couple of months it's become clear that the laundry room/dye studio is not going to cut it for much longer. We looked into every single possibility, renovating the basement to accommodate us, renting a space to work from, and in the end we decided that we love working from home and aren't ready to give that up yet, plus the added expense of renting a space and all the extra costs associated with it made me nervous. So though we wanted to continue working from home we also wanted to reclaim our basement for ourselves (we have big plans to make the basement into a rec-room one day.) 

What we've decided to do is tear down the little old shed that lived in the corner of our back yard and build a dye studio in it's place. The shed was very old and rickety, I did my best to cutesy it up (this photo was taken before the door was painted turquoise) but the truth is it wasn't very useful. We have a garage where we are able to store the lawnmower and gardening tools that this little shed used to house. I don't think we'll miss it much. 

Our cute little old shed

So, Chris tore down the shed and we spent the weekend preparing the yard for the work that will begin today! It shouldn't be that big of a project, we're working with the same great contractor who helped renovate our bathroom earlier this year. The most complicated part is running water and electricity from the house out to the new studio, hence the 4 foot trench. 

Chris - brute strength

To put that into perspective for you, I'm just over 5 feet tall, 4 feet is deep!

The team

Friday, 11 November 2011

Boy socks

Boy socks for Christmas

I know I said that I wasn't going to drive myself crazy knitting Christmas gifts this year, and I meant it, but there are a few people on my list who love hand knit socks, and I simply can't deny them. My brother Luke is one such person. He wears his knit socks all the time and loves them, so he'll get another pair this year. I knit this pair in a one of a kind TFA colourway, it's kind of like a combination of Midnight and Teal, navy, but with a twist. This is one of my favorite boy sock patterns. I cast on 72 sts, work in k2, p1 ribbing and throw in a cable wherever I feel like it. In this case I did two mirrored cables down the outside (or inside, depending how you put your socks on). They are very heavily inspired by this pattern, which I've knit several times already. They're stretchy, comfortable and cute. Chris is modeling the socks for me in the photo above, they're too small for him, they should fit Luke better. I've cast on a pair for my dad next. 

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Blocking Lace, my way.

psst: I've done a little update in my One of a Kind Etsy shop, check it out!

My mom recently knit her own Fairview Scarf in TFA Red Label in the Garnet colourway. It turned out beautifully! I occasionally get asked about my blocking method, and though I don't think that I do anything particularly groundbreaking, I decided to take this opportunity to document exactly how I do it.

Mom's Fairview Shawl in Red Label Garnet

First, I take my finished, lumpy, bumpy lace and soak it in a bowl of cool water with a little bit of Soak wool wash. It adds a nice sent and ensures that your finished knit will be nice and clean. I sometimes do this step in the sink, or even in the bathtub if I'm blocking something massive.

Blocking Fairview Scarf - set up

I let it soak for at least 20 minutes.

Blocking Fairview Scarf - soak

Then I gently squeeze out (not ring out, you've got to be gentle) as much excess water as possible (I often enlist Chris' help for this step) and then place it on a clean dark towel, role it up and squeeze out bit more water. At this point the scarf is still damp, but not soaking wet. I then lay my clean towel on the floor in my office and start threading my blocking wires. Blocking wires are key for any lace that needs a nice straight edge. Mine are from knitpicks and I couldn't live without them.

Blocking Fairview Scarf - thread blocking wires

When threading the wires along the side of the lace, it doesn't really matter how you thread them, as long as you thread it exactly the same way all along the edge. Notice in the photo below how I've picked up every single loop from front to back, exactly the same way, all along the edge. This is the "hardest" part of blocking, it takes a little bit of patience, but it's so worth it! You can see a beautiful example of what this technique does to garter stitch here.

Blocking Fairview Scarf - blocking wires, picked up all the same way makes a pretty edge.

When both sides are threaded I start pinning the scarf down. I pin directly into my office carpet, but a mattress, couch cushions, a blocking board all work equally well. I pin out one side first, and then I pull the second side very tight and start pinning it. There is a lot of pinning and then re-pinning in this step to get the scarf as straight and open as possible. This is what I mean when I say that I block lace "aggressively", that I pin it as open as I can, without compromising the fiber of course. The yarn will let you know how much it can be stretched.

Blocking Fairview Scarf - stretch it out!

Lastly, I pin out the end points and then walk away and wait for it to dry completely. I usually block in the afternoon/evening and let it dry overnight.

Blocking Fairview Scarf - pin out the points

When it's dry I remove the pins, then the blocking wires slide out easily leaving you with a perfect, crisp lacy scarf! It's always kind of a magical moment, there's really nothing like it.

Mom's Fairview Shawl in Red Label Garnet

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

TFA Tuesday: Ready for Rhinebeck

Pattern: Leaves Long Beanie

TFA Yarn and Colourway: Green Label Aran Weight, in 'Teal'

Top Tier Knitter: Jess (Ravelry Id)

Totally Awesome Because: This is such a beautiful and cleverly designed hat, full of rich texture and the perfect thing for the chilly weather. I love how Jess has styled it with the contrasting yellow scarf- teal and yellow always look so amazing together! See all the details on her project page, here.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Happy Birthday Stella!


Today my little puppy Stella turns 4 years old. She'll spend today doing what she does most days; sleeping in bed until noon or so, then lazily making the move from our bed upstairs to her dog bed in my office. She'll stir around in her dog bed until I tuck her in under her blanket. Oh Stella, she's peculiar, but she's all ours! Happy birthday girl!

Last week I came down with a terrible cold. I was knocked off of my feet for days. After lots of rest and several bowls of delicious homemade soup I finally started to feel better yesterday. I barely knit at all when I was sick. But yesterday I finished a pair of socks and a hat. It felt very good to have accomplished something after such a slow week.

zigzag hat

The hat is my own pattern. I've actually knit 2 in this pattern already, one slouchy and one beenie. Pattern and more photo's to come!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

2012 Year In Colour Club now open!

Having the first year of the TFA Year In Colour Club under my belt feels great. This year has far surpassed my wildest dreams in so many ways. The support from the members, the amazing designs provided by the designers, and the fact that it all went off without a hitch!

The 2012 Year In Colour Club memberships are now available! This year is going to be even bigger and better. The designers are amazing!

Julie Crawford of KnittedBliss (and TFA!)
Hannah Fettig of Knitbot
Alana Dakos of Never Not Knitting
Hilary Smith Callis of the Yarniad
Kirsten Kapur of Through the Loops
and Jared Flood of BrooklynTweed!

To read about all the juicy details of the 2012 Club and to take advantage of the reduced rate for early sign-ups, visit the Clubs page on my website. To see all the fun projects that the 2011 Club has featured so far this year, see the new tab I've added to the blog featuring all the Club projects. 

I really hope you'll join us to celebrate another year full of glorious colour!

Red Label Rainbow

This photo has nothing to do with the Club, it's just a lovely shot of the Red Label Rainbow that I was fooling around with the other day. :)

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

TFA Tuesday: Vitamin Lilac

Pattern: Vitamin D

TFA Yarn and Colourway: Purple Label Cashmere Sock, in 'Lilac'

Top Tier Knitter: Meredith (Ravelry ID)

Totally Awesome Because: This must be the most heavenly soft cardigan to wear! I love the drape-y styling of this pattern, and sweaters with a lot of drape are extra lovely when knitted in a super soft yarn. Plus, they are perfect for throwing on over anything for a little extra warmth and a lot of extra polish. I want one just like this- the pattern, the yarn, the colourway- everything is perfect. More details on her project page, here.