Monday, 30 July 2012

Me and my Stella


Last evening Chris and I braved the sweltering heat to take some FO shots of my recently finished Nanook. It was almost 30 degrees out there and I'm parading around in jeans and a cashmere blend sweater. The crazy things we do for knitting! 

At the end of our shoot Chris snapped a few close ups of me and Stella, and they just might be the best shots he's ever taken of us. Look at how bright her big brown eyes are! I love these. 

Nanook FO post coming son! 

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Ravellenic Games

The Olympic Games start tomorrow! And you know what that means... the Ravellenic Games also start tomorrow! This is a time where athletes and knitters all over the world challenge themselves to accomplish something awesome. This year we've set up an unofficial TFA Ravellenic Games team, you can sign up in the TFA Ravelry group here. To qualify all you need to do is work on a project in either TFA yarn or a TFA pattern (or both of course!) 

I am going to be very busy over the next few weeks, working hard so I can take some time off to go to a friends wedding, so challenging myself with a massive project just isn't realistic. Instead, my goal is to finish as many WIP's as I can. I've had these two projects nearly completed for a long time now, it's time for them to cross the finish line! This is my Watercolour Blank Canvas Baby Sweater and my Deep Blue V neck sweater


The reason my Watercolour sweater is still incomplete is because I was using up little bits of leftover sock yarn to achieve the pastel gradient look, and I started running out of lots of colours! I needed more of that pastel-purple shade in the center of the sweater to feature on the sleeves, but I ran out. Luckily, I have a skein of Hedgehog Fibres yarn in a lovely pastel purple shade called Carousel that will substitute nicely. I cast on for a Clara Dress in this yarn yesterday and will finish it up as soon as I can so I can move forward and use the leftovers to finish the Watercolour sweater. I could have just used what I needed for the Watercolour sweater and then knit the Clara dress after, but I remember from my other Clara dresses (here, here and here... wow! I've gotten a lot of mileage out of this pattern!) that it takes very close to full skein of sock yarn to complete, and I didn't want to risk running short.  

Clara dress

Knocking a few languishing WIP's off my list will feel great. Are you participating in the Game this year? What are you working on?

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Tour De Fleece Wrap Up

Week 1 of the Tour de Fleece was a huge success in my books. I spun 3 skeins, over a thousand yards, and was feeling great! I had high hopes that I could maintain that pace throughout the 3 week Tour. But... Ah, life. Stuff happened. A baby was born, weekends were occupied with day trips to visit her, my parents were helping out and that meant that Chris and I moved over to my parents house to take care of the dogs and the cat. I was away from my wheel for too long and production slowed down. Actually, production pretty much stopped. 

Week 2 got off to an ok start. I spun this gorgeous Coloured Denim roving into this beautiful skein; 100g = 350yds. 

coloured denim

Then I started working on this braid of Jazz Hands, unfortunately I only made it half way through the singles before life got busy. 

jazz hands

Even though the Tour is now over, I still plan on finishing up that last skein as soon as I can. I think that it just might end up being me favourite skein yet. With lots of variety in colours, it could either be really cool, or really weird, either way, I can't wait to find out!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Almost done!

nanook at 90%

Y'know, I don't know what I was thinking when I used the say that beige was boring or that Sand was my most blah colourway... it's fabulous! Obviously I've taken some liberties with the photo above (cool, sketchy photo frame) but doesn't it look like it's just glowing!? 

This sweater is so close to the finish line I can taste it! Half a sleeve left and then it'll be time for a blocking party. Those are my weekend plans... what are you up to?

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

First home-grown tomatoes!

first home grown tomatoes!

Chris and I desperately wish that we were good gardeners... but we just aren't. Every year we start off really enthusiastic, but then things get busy, we forget about our gardens, things get overgrown, weedy, they die, it's all very sad. This year we've worked a little extra hard at maintaining the few plants that we chose, and it seems to be paying off. Who knew, if you water them, they will grow! Today for lunch we had our first meal of home grown tomatoes (a few different varieties) basil and parsley, all form our very own garden. The bocconcini, prosciutto, lettuce, olive oil and balsamic vinegar were from the grocery store. It was all delicious!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Annika - my niece

Here she is! My beautiful new niece Annika. Chris and I made the trip to Ottawa yesterday to meet her and fell head over heals in love. She's 4 days old and just the cutest little chickadee I've ever seen. 
Hello baby!
Annika's funny faces
Babies make the craziest faces! 
We love our new niece!
Chris and I are completely smitten with our new goddaughter.
Annika's feet!
Would you just look at those feet! Remember these booties?
My brother is a dad! Crazy.
I can't believe my brother is a dad. And a great dad! They're wearing matching outfits!
The Happy Family
The happy family. Beautiful.
Everyone is doing well. Luke and Amanda are settling right in to parenthood, they're naturals! Baby Annika sleeps like a champ and spends most of the day just dosing and making the most ridiculously adorable faces. 

Oh, and she loves her booties. ;)

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Smooth Sailing

Well, I could not be more excited right now. We just heard the news that my brother's wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl this morning, Annika! You can call me Auntie Tanis from now on. :)

Smooth Sailing Baby Blanket

I designed the Smooth Sailing baby blanket for them when I heard that they were expecting, and now it's officially time to share it. The blanket had to be unisex, since I didn't know the gender until today. I also wanted something relatively reversible, and wanted it to feature some sort of openwork motif (lacy without being too girly) because I knew that it would help it to block out to the finished dimensions I was aiming for without eating up too much yarn. I'm thrilled with the results. It features just the right combination of knit and purl stitches adding lots of texture. And those soothing waves that meander all the way down the blanket are so beachy and fresh. Love it!

Smooth Sailing Baby Blanket

I knit mine in the super lux Orange Label Cashmere/Silk Worsted weight yarn in a one of a kind colourway that is very close to Atantic, but with a little extra Seabreeze thrown in. This blanket blocks out to a generous 30" wide by 32" tall and uses just 3 skeins of yarn. Green Label Aran Weight would be a perfect substitute, though I have to admit, the softness and cushiness of the Orange Label makes for a dreamy blanket! I can't wait to wrap my new niece up in this! 

Smooth Sailing Baby Blanket

Though not identical on the front and back this lace pattern is equally attractive from every angle, definitely a bonus for a blanket.

Size30" wide by 32" tall.
Yarn: 3 skeins Tanis Fiber Arts Orange Label Cashmere/Silk Worsted Weight yarn, 75% merino, 15% cashmere, 10% silk, 115g (4oz) = 187m (205yds).

Needles: 5mm (US 8) 32" circular needle. 
Gauge1 repeat of chart = 3" wide and 3.5" tall.
Additional Tools and MaterialsTapestry needle.

Ravelry Pattern Page here.

Smooth Sailing Baby Blanket

Congrats to Luke, Amanda and their baby girl Annika!!! We love you all!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

A swatch

reverse swatchy!

My brother's baby was due on Friday... but the little joker has yet to arrive. In the family pool I predicted that the baby would come tomorrow, July 11th. I picked that date because it's my dad's birthday, so it's a special day already, why not make it super duper special? At this point it looks like there is a pretty good chance that it will be tomorrow, in which case I think that this baby and I will get a long very well. :)

I have been working on a secret baby blanket project for him/her... they don't know what they're having, it's going to be such a thrill to find out if this baby we've been waiting for is a he or a she! I have been predicting a boy all along (I know, apparently I consider myself quite the baby whisperer, I'm making predictions left and right!) Above is my swatch, the right side and the wrong side. Both sides are lovely, which is exactly what I was going for. A summer baby deserves a wavy, summer beachy blanket. I'm working on the pattern layout today and will hopefully have it ready to share by the time the baby comes! 

Monday, 9 July 2012

Club thoughts

It's already time to start planning for next year's Year In Colour Club. There has been some talk about it in the TFA Ravelry group, and I'm considering doing something a little bit different for 2013.

So far I've focused on fingering weight yarns for the Club, with the idea being that each skein is so versatile that the possibilities are really endless. However I'm thinking that next year we'll branch out and feature a different TFA yarn base each month, so you'd get to sample 6 different bases throughout the year. Pretty cool right?

I'd really love to hear your thoughts on this. Would you like to see a more diverse yarn Club, or do you like the versatility of fingering weight skeins? Are the patterns a deal breaker for you, or would you be interested in a yarn only Club? If you do want patterns, must they be printed, or would you prefer to receive digital copies? And what about price point, so far I've done my best to keep the price down by focussing on more affordable bases (mainly blue label) but by diversifying and including more expensive yarns (like Orange Label, Pink Label and Silver Label) I'd have to increase the price.

All ideas, suggestions, opinions are welcome! I really need your help!

Oh, and I should mention, I have considered running two Clubs simultaneously, however I'm pretty confident that it's more than I could manage... I've got other ideas about how to make more one of a kind skeins and patterns available but for now I'm focussing on one Club at a time.

Looking forward to hearing what you all think!
baby blanket yarn
Pretty yarn shot!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Tour de Fleece week 1

Handspun! Tour de Fleece week 1

This has, without a doubt, been the most productive spinning week of my life! Of course, that means that it has not been the most productive knitting, working or housekeeping week of my life, but I'm ok with that trade off. The 3 skeins pictured above make me literally squeal with delight at the fact that I made them! I spun a little bit every day (and a lotta bit on some days) and spun about 300g and 1100yds! It's been fun and I plan to keep up the momentum this week. 

I am not the worlds fastest spinner, and I'm not 100% certain that I'm doing it right because when I do it I end up getting a bit of a leg workout, which I'm thrilled by because it makes me feel like I'm exercising, but I don't think that it's supposed to feel like that... I could not spin a skein a day even if I tried. At most I can sit at my wheel for an hour, maybe an hour and a half at a time before I need a break and in that amount of time I've usually just made a small dent in my singles. I figure that each skein probably takes me between 6-8 hours to complete. Between spinning the singles, then the plying, it's not for the faint of heart, but to me it's oh so worth it! Just look at those gorgeous skeins!

TDF week1 collage
That last skein is something that I've never tried before, it's my first time spinning a single ply yarn. With the long graduating colour shifts I plan on knitting it up into a beautiful simple shawl like this.

Details about these handspun yarns (yardage etc.) can be found on my Ravelry Stash page here

Friday, 6 July 2012



My Nanook sweater for the Summer Sweater KAL is coming along nicely. I ran into a bit of a snag when I ended up ripping back about 5" of the body because I thought I knew better and wanted to shorten the length of the yoke, but then after trying it on (5" into the body) I found that the underarms were going to be too tight so I ripped it back and added some length to the yoke. This was totally my fault, I shortened the yoke too much and then ended up lengthening it to exactly the dimensions the pattern called for. I'm really looking forward to blocking this sweater because I know that it's going to change the fabric considerably. Right now it's quite bouncy and squishy, which is awesome, but after wet blocking it's going to have the added element of drape, which is what I'm really looking for, especially for the garter stitch fronts. 

9 to 5 socks in Viola yarn

Last week I also cast on for a new sock in a special skein of Viola sock yarn that was gifted to me in a trade with Emily a few years ago. Since Emily has taken a break from dyeing her lovely yarns, this skein may be my only chance to knit with it! Actually, that's a lie, I have one more skein of Viola sock yarn, but still... it's not something I won't be able to buy again. I've had this skein wound into a cake and ready to go for over a year, I had it with me last summer while on vacation but couldn't decide on the right pattern for it. I think it's because it's just a bit finer than my Blue Label yarn, which is what I'm used to, so it never felt quite right. After several false starts throughout the year I finally landed on the 9 to 5 sock pattern by Nicole Hindes and it's looking great!

I've been doing lots of spinning this week to, in honour of the Tour de Fleece. I don't have a real game plan, I'm just trying to make sure that I spin a bit every day. I should have my third completed skein of handspun by the end of the day, 3 skeins in 1 week is a lot for me! 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Tour de Fleece

psst :: Etsy Update tonight at 7pm EST! Lotsa goodies!

July 2012 Etsy Update

Chris and I spent Saturday morning dyeing up a whole bunch of roving for tonight's Etsy Update (a few of my favourites from the day pictured above!) After having worked with the roving all morning I got myself pretty worked up about how much I love it! So I got out my spinning wheel and spent some quality time with it all weekend. Then I remembered that the Tour de France, and more importantly, the Tour de Fleece was coming up. After a quick google search I found out that it actually started on Saturday, the very day that a wave of spinning enthusiasm swept over me. I don't have any set goals for the Tour de Fleece, only to make a conscious effort to spin more than usual between now and July 22nd. I'll let you know how I do!  

Monday, 2 July 2012

Etsy Update!

There will be a pretty big Etsy Update tomorrow night, July 3rd, at 7pm EST. I'll be listing a whole lot of Blue, Purple and Red Label (maybe you want to pick something up for a special Stella Collection project!?) There will also be more of the March merino/silk Club base, some Orange Label and lots of amazing roving. Chris and I spent Saturday in the studio dyeing roving and we cranked out some real gems. Honestly, I might just keep them all for myself, so forget what I just said about lots of roving... there may only be a few braids left to spare! 

July 2012 Etsy update

Above are a bunch of the Blue Label colourways in this update, and what I think is super cool is that they all started out as the same orange colour! I was experimenting with oranges, trying to get something earthy and pumpkiny, and I ended up with a few batches of not-quite-right orange. So I tossed them all into a few different colours (brighter orange, pink, blue and green) and got all those awesome layered shades. Isn't that so fun? 

In other news Kelly over at the lovely CelticCastOn blog is doing a review and a giveaway of the Stella Collection this week, so go check that out and leave a comment for your chance to win! 

Also, I've shared a knitting nightmare story in the most recent Never Not Knitting podcast. Go take a listen and find out how I made my cousin's life miserable by knitting for her baby! There's also a chance to win a few special skeins of yarn there too! So much excitement going on!