Friday, 30 March 2012

Club - March 2012

psst... don't forget to enter this weeks giveaway for your chance to win an arm-full of gorgeous yarn!


The March shipment of the TFA Year in Colour Club featured an exciting new yarn base that is, for the meantime at least, exclusive to Club members. This yarn is 75% merino, 25% silk and has that awesome combination of squishy and shiny that can only be found in a yarn of this blend. 


The Sprout colourway is a mossy, moody green that I'm just loving right now. Julie is the featured designer for March, and she's all about this kind of complicated green shade. I say "complicated" because it's not just a crisp and clean green, it's got lots of undertones of yellow and brown, it's dynamic! Can you tell from the photo's that I really love this scarf? The Sencha scarf is the kind of thing that really makes an outfit. And that fringe! I'm obsessed with the fringe. It made me want to dance.  

Sencha Scarf dancing
It's not too late to sign up for the Year in Colour Club! If you sign up now you'll receive the January and March kits along with the May shipment. 

Wednesday, 28 March 2012


Is it possible that I haven't done a giveaway since October? Shame on me. Let's fix that right now!

baby shane giveaway

Recently I've been looking at my Baby Shane Blanket kits in a whole new light. I've had these kits available in my shop for a few years now, and suddenly I find them completely inspiring! I think that most people buy the kits with the intention of knitting my Baby Shane Blanket pattern (duh) but there are so many possibilities. I'm considering crocheting a ripple blanket, maybe knitting a simple striped blanket like this... I've started viewing these kits almost like sampler palettes that I can play around with, I've got a few more palettes in mind, I might refresh some of my currently available colour options and add some new ones too in the future. 

Which brings us to today's giveaway! Leave a comment to enter to win the Baby Shane Blanket kit of your choice. In your comment, let me know:

1) What is your favorite palette? Or, is there's a palette that you'd love to see but that I don't yet have available, let me know! 

2) What would you make with your kit? 

3) Be sure to leave an e-mail address or Ravelry username so I can get in touch with you should you win! 

As usual, for bonus entries:

Mention this giveaway on your blog and include a link to this giveaway post - be sure to come back and leave another comment here telling me that you blogged about it so I know!

Post a link to this blog post on your facebook page (be sure to tag TFA in the post so I can see it!)
Tweet about the giveaway on twitter!

A winner will be chosen and announced on Monday, April 2nd. Good luck!

Comments are now closed, thanks to all who entered!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Wonderful Weekend

Hello Monday! I am officially a dork, I am the type of person who enjoys getting back to work on Monday. In my defense I also really look forward to the weekends, but I woke up this morning and was excited about getting to my desk, catching up on e-mails, packing orders, printing mailing slips... Yup, I'm a dork. 

It helps that I had a really great weekend. I saw the Hunger Games yesterday, and LOVED it!

I painted my nails this awesome new shade of green (blue?). It's gorgeous. 
Club Privé - L'Oreal nail polish. yes.
L'Oreal nail colour in Club Privé via Tanis on Pinterest, originally from Cosmopolitan.

I worked a bit on this springy little Blank Canvas Baby sweater. I'm knitting it in all sorts of sweet pastel shades, it's coming along really nicely. It's the sort of thing that makes me really happy. :)


The thing I'm probably the most happy about from this past weekend? I finished and blocked a new shawl design I've been working on, and the good news is... it worked out exactly how I had envisioned it! I'm really pleased, I love it and I'm really excited to share it with you. 

blocking a new pattern

Another bonus from this past weekend... I had a really good hair day yesterday. And I'm wearing my Ombré cardigan in the photo above, I love that sweater. Hand knits make me happy. 

Happy Monday all! 

Friday, 23 March 2012

Confit Tomatoes - cooking with Chris

Today I'm doing something a little different. I'm sharing a simple recipe. Before Chris found his calling as a professional yarn dyer he worked for years as a professional cook. Having a chef in the house is amazing. Chris showed me how to make confit tomatoes and now I'm hooked. I like to cook as well, but mostly on the weekends when I've got lots of time and energy. This recipe for confits tomatoes is something that I like to do on a Sunday when I've got nowhere to be. The tomatoes last for weeks in the fridge and are so incredibly delicious. You could compare them to sun dried tomatoes, but the flavour is much more intense and vibrant. They are precious little bites of heaven.  


Start with a bunch of roma tomatoes. We go to a local produce store that sells produce at ridiculously low prices. These 32 tomatoes cost less than $5. 


With a very sharp knife, score the tops of the tomatoes with an X. In small batches of 5 or 6 tomatoes at a time, submerge them in a pot of rapidly boiling water for about 25 seconds, or until you see the skin just starting to pull away from the flesh. At that point, scoop out the tomatoes with a sieve and dunk into an ice bath. You'll see the skin start to peel back.


If the tomatoes have been blanched correctly the skin will peel off very easily. Just start at one of the points of the X and pull back. 


Cut the tomatoes in half and lay, cut side up, on a pan lightly coated in olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and the secret ingredient, a little bit of icing sugar! For all these tomatoes I sprinkled about 3 tbsp of icing sugar over top. 

tomates confits

Place pans in a very low oven and walk away. I put them in at about 225 F and leave them there all day. I would say a good 8 hours. You could probably even do this in the evening and leave them in overnight. I usually do this in the morning and take them out before I go to bed. You are basically dehydrating the tomatoes, and we all know tomatoes hold a ton of liquid, that's why it takes so long. 


When they are done they are these delicious, extremely flavourful, sweet, explosions of the best tomatoey goodness you've ever tasted. :) 

They are fantastic in pasta, salad, vinaigrette, quiche, pizza.... you name it! 


Have a great weekend! Take some time to eat something delicious.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Enjoying the sunshine

Stella in the sun

We have been working very, very hard getting all the Club kits mailed this week (and last week!) This morning as I made the final run to the post office, with a giant bag full of Club shipments slung over my shoulder Santa Clause style, I felt very relieved to have all the kits out of my office and out in the world. 

Stella and I went for a long walk and are spending the afternoon soaking up as much sun as we can on this beautiful spring day. This weather feels like it's too good to be true... so I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts. 

Stella has picked the sunniest spot on the sofa to lounge. I'm about to go sit with her and work on a new shawl design. I knit a mini shawl as a prototype to see how if my plan would work. Stella is, of course, lying on top of it...

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

French Braid Sneak Peek!

French Braid detail1

I've had this cardigan design in my head for a few months. It just kind of hung out in there, I'd think of it every once in a while, maybe even consider picking up a skein of yarn and knitting a quick swatch... but then I'd get distracted, start something else, and forget about it until this sweater popped into my head again. Then, all of a sudden, I had a vision of this sweater (not an unusual thing, I have visions of sweaters all the time) but this time I was just compelled to get on it. I dyed up the yarn (Green Label Aran Weight in a Frost, *coming soon!*) and cast on. It wasn't all smooth sailing, but it was worth it. The sweater is complete, it's exactly what I wanted and I've been living in it.  

Chris and I ventured out yesterday and took some FO shots. I'm working on the pattern now and hope to have it ready soon!

Can we talk about how awesome the weather has been? And it's supposed to stay nice all week, amazing. It's hard to pick a favorite season, but I think that if I was forced to, I'd say spring. I know, most knitter's go with fall, but I love the first taste of warm sun, the excitement of seeing things start to bloom, finally being able to leave the house without it being a major production involving multiple layers and winter accessories. Yup, spring is pretty much the best. 

Happy spring! 

Friday, 16 March 2012

Sheep! and Oh Stella...


I've admired this Sheep Yoke Cardigan pattern for a while now and the other day, while routing around in my non-TFA stash I stumbled upon the perfect yarn for this project. I'm not sure why I initially bought this bag of Dale of Norway Falk yarn, but I have a few skeins of grey and several contrasting pastels, including blue, green and yellow, a perfect match for this pattern! It feels so good to use up stash yarn! My non-TFA stash isn't huge, I've given away most of what I don't love. My stash doesn't weigh on me very heavily (I know that some knitters have major stash anxiety! I get it, but I don't have it) nevertheless I'm still happy to put a few skeins of languishing yarn to good use. I have enough of all of these colours left to make a second cardigan, and I think that someday I just might. 


I used 2 strands of a mystery mohair yarn that I also found tucked away in the stash to knit the sheep, the extra fuzziness just makes me so happy! I rarely add embroidery to my knits, I have a vague recollection of having embroidered a stem onto an apple on a baby cardigan years ago... But after embroidering the faces and feet onto these sheep I'm a total convert. This sweater went from "oh, sweet" (above) to "OMG s h e e p !!! This is the cutest thing I've ever seen!" with the addition of the embroidery (below). 


This sweater is probably somewhere in the size 6 months range, I think I'm going to stash it away and save it for my brothers baby who is due in July and will be roughly the right size around Christmas. 

Remember this wee little number I knit last year?

Sunnyside Baby Sweater in Moss

It was a sample knit of my Sunnyside Baby Cardigan that I knit in the Moss colourway that has since been discontinued. Since I can't use it as a sample anymore I washed and re-blocked it, thinking that I'd probably give it to my brother (he's going to have one very well knitted-for baby!) After a soak I lay the sweater down in my office in front of the baseboard heater to dry, and of course of all places to park her behind Stella chose to sit squarely on top of the sweater to gaze out the window. Picture me walking into the room, seeing her sitting there and sighing: "Oh Stella..."  

oh Stella!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012



Today is my friend Jo's due date. She's expecting her first little bundle of joy! I spoke to her over the weekend and I know that she is definitely ready to meet her little girl or boy. I've been checking facebook regularly to see if she posts any updates! 

She shared photo's of her nursery a while back, and as soon as I saw it I knew exactly what I'd be knitting for her. Her nursery has an owl motif, and one of the standout features are gorgeous golden drapes. We have talked about how awesome her drapes are and about how cute owls are, so the choice was obvious... I would knit her an Owlet sweater in TFA Green Label Aran Weight yarn in Gold


I knit the smallest size, I figure it will fit the baby when it's about 3 months old. I opted to only sew a pair of green buttons on one owl, it's gets the point across that there are owls on the yoke without being overwhelming. If I had knit a larger size I would possibly have sewn buttons on all the eyes, but for such a wee little sweater I thought this was enough. And I do think that I will knit a larger size at some point. This sweater is just too cute!

Ravelry project page here

Monday, 12 March 2012

Julie's Wildflower Tank

DSC_1378 (2)-9

Our very own Julie has a pattern in the most recent issue of Interweave Knits (Spring 2012). She designed this gorgeous light weight tank, complete with drawstring detail and lace placket insert knit in TFA Silver Label Mulberry Silk yarn. Ravelry pattern page for the Wildflower Tank can be found here

Julie is known for her awesome modeled FO shots. I happened to have the privilege of visiting her and her husband at their family cottage last summer when they did the shoot for this tank, I loved seeing them in action. 

Yay Julie!


Friday, 9 March 2012

Blank Canvas Baby Sweater Pattern

4 Seasons Baby Sweater

Once I started knitting these adorable little baby sweaters, I just couldn't stop (I'm currently working on my third!) I knit the striped version below first. I used leftover skeins of Purple Label Cashmere Sock yarn and because I wanted it to be a pullover I designed it to feature a wide boat neck so it would be extra easy to pull over a wiggly baby head. It became extremely evident to me that this little sweater was the perfect canvas for loads of fun colourwork that would take this simple shape and elevate it to a work of art!

Blank Canvas infant sweater

With that in mind I designed this sweater to work with my 4 Seasons Hat pattern. I chose to knit up a sample using the Spring motifs, but wouldn't the Summer kit make the best baby girl sweater ever? I'll admit, the colourwork version takes this super simple project and elevates it to be a bit more of an investment of time and skill, but the results are well worth it in my opinion. Any mother lucky enough to receive a sweater this precious is sure to cherish it forever.

4 Seasons Baby Sweater

This pattern is available for free! I've written it up in one size to fit a 0-3 month old baby. One hat kit is enough to make one sweater. Or, dig through your stash of leftover sock yarn and knit an adorable striped version!

Blank Canvas infant sweater

Ravelry pattern page here.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Yarn House

I spent a good part of the day on Tuesday taking yarn portraits. This is my super pro set up:

Photo station

It involves a dining room table, an empty flower pot, a piece of white bristol board, piles and piles of yarn and *hopefully* really good natural light streaming in the sliding glass doors at the end of the dining room. Today I got lucky, the photo's came out really well, the yarn all looks great. What do you think?

Orange Label Chestnut

Lovely right? The yarn that I was photographing is a new base... it's amazing and I love it and I'll be sharing all the details very soon!

I've been thinking long and hard about some changes that I want to make to my office. I need more yarn storage, however it's quite difficult to plan since piles of yarn are always coming in and going out. It's never constant! Every single day we dye yarn, I organize it, put it in piles and label it, then ship it out. At the beginning of the day the shelves may be empty, then they fill up, then they empty again, it's impossible to keep track of. I don't really mind since I love being surrounded by piles of yarn, and it's kind of fun to have an ever changing decor. 

the view from my desk

Above was the view from my desk last week, below was the view this morning. I set up a small shelving unit that I'm going to put in my closet to store packaging materials and labels, but I have to clean out the closet first... so while the shelving unit is sitting in the middle of the room you better believe it's gonna get filled with yarn! Now all that yarn has been labeled and bagged, ready to be shipped, and the shelves now house a new assortment of colourful skeins. Things are never dull around here!

the view from my desk

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Backwards Progress

Last night I settled in by the fire for a bit of knitting. I've been working on a new sweater design for about a week or so and I had made some very good progress. There were a few little design decisions I had made early on that I was beginning to question. Last night I realized that I just couldn't live with it the way it was. It would be way better if I just tweaked it a little bit.

Sweater in progress - pre frog...

10 minutes later and my sweater looked like this:

Sweater after a night at the frog pond.

It wasn't easy, but now I'm back on track and I think that I'll be much happier with the finished results this time around. 

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Etsy Shop Update!

I've listed a bunch of new yarns in the One of a Kind Etsy shop today. I think that Chris and I had a particularly successful day last week when we dyed all of these gems. I love them so much that I've been postponing listing them because I don't want to have to part with them... I may have squirreled one or two skeins away for myself to reduce the sting of parting with these beauties. 

Here are a few favorites:

Delightful - Red Label
Red Label in Delightful - Need I say more, this is so my colour!

Stained Glass - Red Label
Red Label in Stained Glass - this was a bit of a happy accident, I'm so happy with how it came out.

Blue Lime - Purple Label
Purple Label in Blue Lime - I love this bright colour for accessories, a Rae knit up in this colour would rock! 
Bright Grapefruit - Purple Label
Purple Label in Bright Grapefruit - Another great bright,  I would knit a Sunnyside, or the worlds happiest socks with this colour.

Watercolour - Blue Label
Blue Label in Watercolour - This would make a beautiful Clara Dress, it's got lots of pastel tones but without being too "baby". I't demure and I love it!
Green Ink - Silver Label

Silver Label in 
Green Ink - The Silver Label Mulberry Silk yarn is notoriously difficult to get dark and green, Getting really saturated rich results like this is a real treat. 

Friday, 2 March 2012

Our warm and cozy fireplace

Last Friday I mentioned that we were having a gas fireplace installed in our living room. The installers did their work like the pro's that they are. The left Friday afternoon and we had a fully functioning gas fireplace... but that was it, just a big black unit, propped up on a couple of visible shims, protruding from a hole in the wall. It was not pretty. Chris and I spent the next 5 days working on prettying it up! I am very proud of us and all that we were able to figure out on our own. We did everything from the designing, the framing to the tiling and the finishing. We even built those doors, with arched detail and all! I didn't know we were capable of all this, but now that I do, there is no limit to the amount of household improvements I want to tackle on our own!

Here are a few sneak peeks at the details of our new fireplace and built ins. 

Fireplace built-ins

The fireplace surround is tiled in a beautiful light glass mosaic. It's reminiscent of marble but is extra glossy and sparkly and has a bit more of a modern feel. To the left of the fireplace we built a shelving unit with one open shelf on the top and closed storage behind the doors on the bottom. 

Fireplace built-ins

To the right of the unit we have two open shelves that continue all the way to the wall. The unit is asymmetrical, but still balanced. We combined sparkly glass, mid-toned woods and bright white to hopefully create an overall look that is modern and streamlined but still classic and warm. My mission this weekend is to hang art above the mantle and put all the storage space to good use! Oh, and also to spend lots of time relaxing in front of the fire. :)