Monday, 30 September 2013

Club - September 2013

The September installment on the 2013 Year In Colour Club was the first time we've featured a worsted weight yarn. This month the packages contained one luscious skein of Orange Label Cashmere/Silk Worsted weight yarn in the Mosaic colourway. Until now our focus has been on featuring bases with lots of yardage, but this time of year, when everyone is so busy, a quick worsted weight project is just the ticket! 
I've been experimenting with unexpected layers of colour recently. I'm fascinated by what happens when you layer blue over orange or yellow. In normal watercolour rules, yellow plus blue would equal green, but when you add in a wool/cashmere/silk yarn base and then experiment with setting the dye instantly upon application you can get some pretty rad results. The Mosaic colourway is one of those really neat colours that has a little bit of everything and can't be boxed into one category. 
I designed the Framed Slouched for this skein. The combination of crisp twisted stitches and cushy cables is both flattering and extremely comfortable. The perfect thing to knit going into fall!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Never too much of a good thing

I've talked before about how I tend to be very monogamous with my knitting. I think it's because I'm obsessive. I start one project and then get fixated on it until it's finished. Usually, that results in always finishing up my WIP's pretty speedily. When you've got a one track mind and are goal oriented you can turn a WIP into an FO in a flash! I rarely get bored or tired of my projects, probably partly due to the fact that I don't let them linger. A languishing WIP is the worst. 

However, sometimes even a clever girl like me throws all reason aside and casts on for every project she can think of! See that sparkly skein up there? Well, despite already having 2 other projects on the needles I cast on for a gorgeous shawl with that beauty last night. I've been giving lots of sneak peeks at this new sparkly base that we've been experimenting with, and I couldn't just keep fawning over it without knitting something with it. You may recognize that colourway as one of my faves from the last Etsy Update, it's Tartan! And it's beautiful. I'm still not over it, it's still a fave. So as you can see, I've got a new yarn in a new colour, both that I'm crazy about and both that I can't wait to share with you all soon. I'm cooking up some exciting stuff for October. It's no big secret, there will be a big glitzy Etsy update in October. More details to come. 
This is my Oshima in progress. To be honest, it's kind of a toss up between this project and my new sparkly project. I love them both dearly. If I could knit on them simultaneously I would. I've got 2 sleeves and a few inches of body done on my Oshima. The fabric is dreamy. This sweater will be fabulous and has inspired me to come up with more projects featuring this yarn combination. 1 strand Blue Label + 1 strand Red Label = heavenly. 
And then there is this hat. It's my Aberdeen Ave. Hat, my second project in the TFA Urban Collection KAL. With my mitts completed last week I cast on for the coordinating hat. This project comes in the car with me, gets a few rows knit while Rowan is otherwise occupied in his jolly jumper, and is a quick and satisfying knit. The pink colourway is a OOAK from an Etsy update long ago. It's very pretty. I think it was Perfect Pink. I like it. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Sparkly Rainbow Magic

Sparkly rainbow power! #nofilter

I posted this shot of yarn drying in my office over on Instagram yesterday and it only seems fair that I share it on the blog too. Who doesn't need a sprinkling of cosmic rainbow magic on a Tuesday?

Monday, 23 September 2013

Aberdeen Ave. Mitts

Pattern: Aberdeen Ave. Mitts by Glenna C.
Yarn: TFA Green Label Aran Weight yarn in Seabreeze and Natural.
Ravelry Project Page here.

I've finished my project for the TFA Urban Collection KAL. With a few more weeks left and the coordinating hat already cast on I'm sure I'll have 2 FO's to enjoy by the end of this KAL. Gotta love worsted weight accessories for their quick-knit-punch!

I made a few mods to this lovely pattern. I knit them using a contrasting colour for the cuff, but that's barely a mod. Also, completely by accident, I think that I did an extra cable cross in the cuff of my first mitt, so I duplicated it on the second, no biggy. The last mod was to adjust the decreases at the top of the mitt. The pattern has instructions about what row to start decreasing on in order to close off your mitt in a way that makes sense with the cable, but I just couldn't make it work for me. Maybe it's my small hands, maybe it was my row gauge. Whatever it was, I was ending up having to chop cables in half and had a really wonky looking mitten top, so I re-jigged the top of the mitt to close things off in a way that I liked. 

I should have an Aberdeen Ave. Hat FO to share with you soon! I'm loving a good cabled hat and mitt set, it makes me feel so polished!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Stained Glass for the win!

Stained Glass - Red Label
When I posted a photo of my lovely swatch on Monday and asked the blog how you all thought I should solve my dilemma, one very clever reader left a comment that really hit home. 

Gina wrote: "For what it's worth, I think you should try to recreate the OOAK. After all, I would have to imagine that creating your own custom colourways on a whim to be one of the greatest perks of your career ;)"

And you know what? Gina is totally right, and I needed to be reminded of that. I got into dyeing in the first place because I am obsessed with colour. Creating new colourways that I am excited about brings me more joy than is probably reasonable. I spend way too much time these days worrying about the business end of TFA. And though it's obviously very important, equally so is the creative side of things. One of my hesitations about going forward with the Stained Glass option was that it would take a few batches to recreate the colourway just right, and since we can only dye and dry a finite amount of yarn each day, dyeing for selfish projects always gets de-prioritized. Once in a while though, I'm going to allow myself to dye purely for my own entertainment! Have no fear, I'm happy to share my selfish dyeing with you all too. We've nailed down a recipe for Stained Glass, so stay tuned to find out how to get yourself a skein. 

Next up, maybe I'll work on recreating this beauty?

Delightful - Red Label

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

TFA Tuesday - Warm-Hearted Mittens

Top Tier Knitter/designer: Rose Hiver
Ravelry Pattern page here
Yarn: TFA Purple Label in Velvet & Gold and Royal Flush & Frost.

I am a big fan of Rose Hiver's gorgeous colourwork designs. Her Ravelry patterns store is full of stunning sock and mitten stranded knitting patterns. Her latest design, her Warm-Hearted Mittens is published in the most recent edition of Knitty and they are a knockout. My favourite design in this issue for sure. I love the crisp geometric patterning, and the colours she's chosen... both versions are beautiful. I can't decide which I like best. It kind of feels like the sort of pattern that I should knit as a gift. How nice would it be for someone I love to open a box containing these awesome cashmere sweetheart mitts? 

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The swatch that changed everything

Did I mention last week that I had swatched for my Oshima? Well, I did. I grabbed a few skeins of yarn and started knitting. The top of this swatch (that blurry splotchy section) was knit using 1 strand of Blue Label sock yarn and 1 strand of Purple Label Cashmere sock yarn, disregard that section please. That was my original plan for this sweater, I thought that cashmere would be a nice touch. Then I decided to up the anti and try swatching with 1 strand of Blue Label and 1 strand of Red Label Cashmere/Silk single ply yarn. I just grabbed a leftover ball from my remnant basket and joined it to the Blue Label from the first part of the swatch. And, well... I fell in love. The fabric is soft and lush and beautiful. But what really surprised me, was the colour! The yarns I ended up using, completely by accident because this swatch wasn't about the colour it was about the fabric characteristics and gauge, were Atlantic and Stained Glass (a one of a kind colourway from an Etsy update last year). The thing is, I love the way that these two colourways work together in that swatch. Of course the photo doesn't really do it justice, it's soft and nuanced and magical.

I thought that I wanted something more subtle, and that I wanted to knit a dark sweater. So I opted for the Stormy and Charcoal options that I pictured in my post last week. Well, I cast on today, knit my way through the cuff and part of the sleeve, knitting as quickly as I could during two nap periods, and... I've changed my mind. I don't like the Charcoal/Stormy mix. I was so sure that it was going to be amazing, but there just doesn't seem to be enough play between the two colourways. The dark parts of Stormy just disappear in the Charcoal, making the brighter parts stick out and just look wrong. So I've frogged it. Of course I should have taken a picture but I didn't. I asked Chris what he thought, he said that I wouldn't like it, and that was it. I thought it best to just unravel my days work as fast as I could and start fresh with a new palette. 


So, now I'm back to the drawing board. Do I try and reproduce the magic of Stained Glass in order to get my sweater looking exactly like the swatch that I've fallen in love with? Maybe no other pairing will live up to it for me. Maybe it's my only option... I'm considering Atlantic/Dove as a compromise. Dove has lots of the same tones as Stained Glass and should give a similar effect. Or maybe I want a lighter sweater and I should consider something like Shadow/Dove? Or maybe I just need to do a lot more swatching and then commit. I'm really excited about this sweater, so I'm going to make a decision quickly and live with it. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Knitting Plans

I'm all set to cast on for my TFA/Urban Collection KAL project. I'm going to be knitting the Aberdeen Ave. Mitts in Green Label Natural and Seabreeze (left over from my Modified Beatnik). I'll do Natural cuffs and Seabreeze mitts, they'll be fabulous! If all goes well I might try and sneak in a coordinating Aberdeen Ave. Hat too. If I do the hat I'll use a different main colour though, Natural ribbing and maybe a bright Lemongrass hat? I'm not sure who I'm knitting these for... maybe me, maybe a gift? 
And because I fell madly in love with this pattern the moment I saw, it I'll also be casting on for a new sweater in the near future. Jared Flood's new Oshima pattern from BT Fall 13. I love everything about it. The casual fit, the amazing shoulder construction, the fact that it's knit on 6.5m needles (yes!) using two strands of fingering weight yarn held together. To mix things up a bit I'm going to knit mine using one strand of Blue Label in Charcoal and one strand of Red Label in Stormy. Yup, it's going to be lush and awesome. I swatched with the two yarns held together and the resulting fabric is amazing. The Blue Label lends brawn and the Red Label lends beauty. I wouldn't usually recommend using Red Label for a sweater, but I think that this combination is just the ticket!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

And the winner is..... Rav id: cynjackson! I've sent you a Ravelry message and look forward to hearing from you so I can send you your prize!

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway and to everyone who plans on participating in the Urban Collection KAL. I've excited about it. I haven't nailed down what exactly I'll be knitting yet. I'm really loving all three mitt options, so now I have to decide wether I want some lighter fingerless mitts (charlotte st mitts / queen st mitts) or some warmer cabled aran mitts (aberdeen ave mitts)... Oh such tough decisions! I'm leaning towards the Aberdeen Ave mitts because I think that this project will likely end up in the gift basket, and with the potential for a matching hat that's one awesome gift crossed off my list. So now it's down to picking a colour! Maybe I've got a great one of a kind skein stashed somewhere. 

I've got so much on the go right now but despite the fact that I have zero free time I think I'm going to go ahead and cast on for several projects that will all likely be lingering WIP's for a long time. Socks for dad, a shawl, a sweater... I've already swatched for the sweater. More on that one soon!

Monday, 9 September 2013

A KAL and a Giveaway - Urban Collection, Vol. 2


As many of you probably already know, Glenna (aka: Crazy Knitting Lady) has done it again! She's 
come out with an awesome sequel to her Urban Collection. Appropriately named The Urban Collection vol. 2. Like the first Urban Collection, there is a little something for everyone here. Accessories, pullovers and cardigans, cables and lace. All the designs also happen to feature TFA yarns! Green Label, Red Label, Yellow Label, Purple Label and Orange Label are all featured. There is something for everyone!  

To celebrate such an awesome collection, I am hosting an Urban Collection KAL over in the TFA Ravelry Group. Head on over to sign up, let us know what you'll be knitting and join in the KAL fun!

In case you don't already have this awesome collection, Glenna has generously donated one copy of the Urban Collection, vol. 2 to one lucky blog reader. Leave a comment here for your chance to win the collection plus one lovely skein of TFA Purple Label Cashmere Sock yarn in the perfectly autumnal Brick colourway.  

To enter the giveaway just leave me a comment. A winner will be randomly chosen on Wednesday, Sept. 11th. 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Sweater Weather!

We are ready for fall and pretty excited about it! Hats & boots! #sweaterweather

This is my favourite Instagram moment of the week! We are ready for fall and pretty excited about it. Wearing our matching Coolbreeze Hats and plenty of stripes our fall wardrobes are coming together! That boy is too much. He loves his hat and boots!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

white chocolate brazil nut heaven


I think I've died and gone to cookie heaven. I am addicted to these cookies. So much so that I've had to limit myself to only baking one batch a week, and then Chris and I both have to try extremely hard to make each batch last more than 24 hours. When they are gone, we pout. It's not easy. We have a serious cookie addiction, but I'm ok with that. Yarn and cookies, things could be much worse for us. 

This is the delicious white chocolate macadamia nut cookie recipe, but I'm too cheap to splurge for the pricey macadamia nuts, so I've substituted brazil nuts, which roomer has it are some kind of super food. So it's a win-win really. This week I was running low on white chocolate so I tossed in a little bit of everything that I had - white chocolate, brazil nut, dark chocolate, skor bits cookies. They were awesome. 

So here ya go. A little cookie tip from me to you. Bake them and enjoy. Good luck getting them to last the weekend though... I know mine won't!


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Etsy Update!

Big One Of A Kind Etsy Update on Tuesday, Sept. 3rd at 12 noon EST!!!

This might be a tad overwhelming, but I thought it might be neat to showcase almost all of the yarns that will be featured in Tuesday's big Etsy Update. This way you can get an idea ahead of time of what your favourites are and how to plan your shopping. I've got several skeins of most of these, the ones that are pictured as single skeins are just that, total o.o.a.k. single skeins, but most of them have between 6 and 9 skeins per colourway. 








See you on Tuesday!