Thursday, 31 October 2013


I've got a few things to share with you today. I'm all business, so I've stuck a pretty yarn photo up there in case you just want to look at something colourful. That's Chris Grey, Poppy, Spruce and Gold. I used them together in a sweater for Rowan, he's wearing it here.

1) Memberships for the 2014 Year In Colour Club will open on Monday, November 4th. On Monday the 2013 memberships will no longer be available, so if you love this years yarns and patterns you've still got a few more days to jump on in and collect them all!

2) The 2014 Year In Colour Club will be the exact same price as this year. There will be some changes, I'm subbing in a few new bases and have a very specific colour plan in mind, I'll share all the details on Monday.

3) I am discontinuing the Four Seasons Hat Kits to make room for a few other things I'm working on and hope to add to the website soon. Monday the hat kits will come down off the website, nab one this weekend if you'd like one! The patterns will remain available.

4) I've got a new hat pattern ready to be released tomorrow. I'm excited about it. It's crisp and clean and classic.

5) I'm working on another new hat pattern that I hope to have ready for you next week.

6) Cosmic Blue Label will officially be added to my permanent collection in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned for that!

7) Happy Halloween! I'm not a fan of anything scary or gross. But I am a big fan of adorable kids in cute costumes. I am also a very big fan of tine chocolate bars and candy. :)

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

future supermodel

Thanks so much to everyone who left lovely and supportive comments on my last blog post. I'm feeling very energized about the future of TFA. 

I've got a new hat pattern almost ready to be released. I took some photos of Chris and Rowan modeling their hats and after getting a few good shots I decided that it might be nice to get some of Rowan with the bright blanket behind him on the sofa. I propped him up, looked through the lens, and this is what he was giving me. This is baby modeling at it's finest. Good job Rowan, you're hired. 

Monday, 28 October 2013

The new normal for TFA

Tanis Fiber Arts has been in business for six years now. Man how things have changed! I knew I should have taken photo evidence of my first TFA setup. It didn't seem photo-worthy at the time, but I'd like to have them now. In our tiny apartment, on the weekends, I'd dye yarn in our kitchen and hang my skeins to dry on our doorknobs. I opened an etsy shop and slowly but surely things started to sell. Soon after I started getting wholesale accounts. Selling my yarns to LYS's around the country was a huge thrill and a big step for tiny TFA. I used to borrow Chris' skateboard to push my big boxes of yarn to the post office. That is what I really wish I had a photo of. I used the skateboard-as-dolly method for years! 

For a few years we were eagerly taking on any new stores that would have us, but now, as you may have noticed, TFA has scaled back and we are a mainly online business, with only 4 shops currently stocking our yarns. A while back, When Chris and I made the decision to stay small and build our studio in the back yard, rather than expand into a rental space and hire staff, we knew that meant that we were limiting the volume we would be able to produce. We do not want to be production dyers, never having time to do anything creative because we are always struggling just to keep up. The past few years have been bananas. It felt like we had lost sight of our goals. We kept looking for ways to find more time to be creative without taking time away from working on orders for our customers but it just didn't work. 

So here we are now. Still working hard, dyeing as much yarn as we can, but trying to do so in a way that works for us as a family. We build in time to work on Club colourways, Etsy updates, patterns and kits. All aspects of the business that I love the most but have found it difficult to find time for when it felt as though we were always treading water. This transition to a more scaled back production approach has gradually been happening over the past year or so. When we found out that we had a baby on the way we started planning accordingly. It's been a tough change, I hate disappointing the knitter's who can no longer find my yarns on the shelves of their LYS's, but I know that it was the right decision for us. 

I took that photo of Chris and Rowan the other day, Chris was taking pictures of me in my Oshima and Rowan was doing his best to knock the camera out of his hands. Rowan certainly adds his own brand of challenge to our daily tasks at TFA, but knowing that we've built our family business around our life as a family makes me feel good about the tough decisions that come with it.   

I get the occasional email from a knitter asking if we're still in business since their LYS no longer stocks our yarns, so I thought that it was about time that I address the changes that have gradually been happening behind the scenes. Thanks to everyone for bearing with us during this transition. We're working on lots of new and exciting projects these days, so it seems as though my plan for a more creative life is working!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

fall knits a plenty

My babies. I love them, they love me, they love each other and we all love our hand knits! 

And yes, I purposefully coordinated Rowan's blanket with his sweater and Stella's sweater with him. I'm upset that I didn't wear a red hat. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


Pattern: Oshima by Jared Flood
Yarn: TFA Blue Label in Atlantic and Red Label in Stained Glass (one of a kind) held together throughout.
Ravelry project page here
A sweater is a big commitment. It's not often that I see a pattern, fall head over heels, and then cast on and cast off within a month. But this sweater really grabbed ahold of my knitting mojo and wouldn't let go. It's perfection. What I fell for when I saw this pattern was the unique shoulder shaping and the crisp  diagonal lines created by it. Of course the texture and the cowl are obvious features to love, but it is those diagonal lines along the back shoulders that I'm obsessed with. They are just so neat. 
Jared didn't skip a single detail in designing this garment. The beautiful increases on the shoulders done in brioche stitch, the decreases on the sleeve cap done a few stitches inside the edge of the fabric to created yet another place of interest. Now that I spend a fair deal of time working on my own designs I have a renewed appreciation for other designers work. Knitting from one of Jared's patterns is always a learning experience. It makes me want to be a better designer, a better graphic artist, a better photographer, heck, I'll say it, a better person! It's always worth it. 
Now a word about the yarn selection. As you know, this was not an easy choice for me to make, but man, do I think I made the right one. I could not be any happier with the colour of this sweater. From a distance, it looks like a pretty, tweedy atlantic blue sweater, but up close you get those hits of shiny watercolour greens and purples from the Stained Glass colourway. They work together like magic. Absolutely stunning. Knitting with two strands held together is great because you get to knit a sweater on 6mm needles, which means that it works up fast! It also opens up a whole new world of possibilities in terms of colour. This is not the last you'll see of two colour knitting on this blog! I am overflowing with new colour pairing possibilities. 
The brioche stitch is another aspect of this sweater that I have yet to get enough of. The texture is beautiful and would not be possible to duplicate with any other stitch. It is at the same time super crisp yet really fluffy. An impossible to achieve combination, yet somehow it works. 

So really, I have nothing but love for this sweater. It is warm and cozy and perfect and blue. And I really, really love it. 

Friday, 18 October 2013

Not over it

This has been a bit of a crazy week here at TFA headquarters. With Monday having been a holiday and the big Etsy Update to keep me busy these past few days I fee like I've been the busiest of bees all week! I love it though. I'm a huge dork and there is nothing I like more than organizing, stacking, sorting, labeling, packaging and shipping off orders. I get such a high from seeing piles of yarn turn into piles of completed orders all ready to be shipped off to their new homes! 

Anyways, so a busy week, but a great week. Here is what I've been up to on the knitting front:
Finished Aberdeen ave hat! #TFAUrbanCollectionKAL
Pattern: Aberdeen Ave. Hat by Glenna C.
Yarn: TFA Green Label Aran Weight yarn in Natural and ooak Perfect Pink
Ravelry project page here.

This was my second TFA Urban Collection KAL project. It's the compliment to my Aberdeen Ave. Mitts. It fits just like a cute little beanie should and along with the mitts will make someone on my Christmas list very happy. 
And, because I'm not over my new Cosmic Blue Label yarn, nor am I quite finished with Glenna's Urban Collection, I've cast on for another project. The Queen St. Mitts were one of my favourite designs from the first Urban Collection, I even mentioned them in this post I did about it over a year ago. These mitts feature a fancier cable and bobble motif than I typically go for, but there is just something about them that has stuck with me. I always figured I'd knit them in the super soft Purple Label that the pattern calls for, but the thought of walking around with a bit of sparkle peeking out from underneath my cuffs makes me really happy. So I've cast on in Cosmic Blue Label in Lucky Penny. It is so hard to capture the sparkles in photo's, but trust me, when I'm working away on these in the evening and the light from my lamp catches them, it's brilliant!

Monday, 14 October 2013


Chris and Rowan spend a lot of time outside together. Rowan loves the fresh air and instantly goes from fussy baby to happy camper when he makes the transition from cooped up inside to hanging out on the back deck. Yesterday morning, as usual, Chris laid down on the bench on our back deck and hung out with Rowan. Like any 6 month old, Rowan doesn't usually just lay still and calm, he's all about wiggling and squirming and looking around. But yesterday he just lay there on Chris for a minute, cheek to cheek. It lasted long enough for me to grab the camera and take a photo. They both even looked right at me and my poor little heart almost couldn't take it. Those two are the loves of my life and seeing them so in love with each other makes me melt. I'm a puddle.

I have so much to be thankful for, and I swear, I really do remember that every single day, not just today. Though it is nice to have an entire day to be reminded of all the blessing in your life and take a moment to be happy and grateful.

I'm thankful for my health, my yarn, my dog and most of all for my boys.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Cosmic Etsy Update on Monday!


TFA's One Of A Kind Etsy shop will be jam packed with sparkly yarn goodness on Monday, October 14th at 12:00pm EST (noon Eastern Standard Time). We've dyed up this new base in many of our permanent collection colourways as well as several One Of A Kind's including the Tartan that I used for my Glitz at the Ritz shawl. There will also be a whole bunch of the coveted Stained Glass colourway dyed up in Red Label Cashmere Silk Single ply yarn. 

Here are the yarn new yarn details:

Cosmic Blue Label Fingering Weight Yarn:
84% Superwash Merino Wool, 16% Nylon Sparkle
115g. (4 oz.) = 365m. (400yds) Enough for one pair of socks for almost any size foot.
gauge: 8-10 stitches per inch on 2.25mm needles (US size 1)
Machine washable and dryable.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Purple Punch Ombre Cardigan

Pattern: Ombré Cardigan by Tanis Lavallée (me!)
Yarn: TFA Pink Label Lace weight yarn in Jewel and Grape.
Ravelry Project page here.

So, back in April 2012 I knit this sweater for my little sister Lilia because she's awesome and also as a thank you for helping me out in my booth at the Knitter's Frolic. And now, just a short year and half later, I've finally gotten FO shots! Lilia wears this cardigan all the time, and there is absolutely nothing that makes a knitter happier than seeing a well loved knit. She was wearing it the other day and I put my foot down and insisted that we take FO shots. And I'm glad that we did because they are adorable! She's the cutest.
I'm not sure she realizes it, but Lilia loves purple the way that I love blue. Growing up, we painted my room a bright turquoise and hers a vivid purple. I can often be spotted wearing head to toe blue accessories. It is not unusual for Lilia to be wearing purple nail polish that matches the purple sweater and socks that she is wearing. She's a purple girl, that's just the way she is, and I love her for it. 
So, doesn't she look awesome in her Ombré? And aren't we all thrilled to see how well it has stood up over a year and a half of regular wear? Looking good little sister, rocking the purple punch like it's your job. Oh, and Rowan loves you. 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

TFA Tuesday - Brocade Cardi

Top Tier Knitter - Juls

Ravelry Project Page here

Pattern: Grellow Cardigan by Amy Gunderson
Yarn: TFA Blue Label Fingering Weight yarn in Brick and Velvet

Hello beautiful! This sweater is an absolute stunner. My jaw is officially dropped. I've never tackled a fingering weight, all-over stranded colourwork sweater before, but this one makes me want to. The shawl collar and the curved hem-line make this cardigan feel like a total classic to me, while I think the graphic flower motif lends a really modern feel. I just love it. Julia chose two beautiful autumnal colourways for this project, Brick and Velvet. The colours work together so nicely. I used a similar colour combo (Sunset and Velvet) in a sweater a few years ago and I'm still crazy about how the tones play off of each other. Beautiful, inspiring work Julia!


Monday, 7 October 2013

Moodboard Monday - Velvet

Clockwise from top left: TFA Orange Label Cashmere/Silk Worsted in Velvetdress backshoesnailsrosescherries.

Romance. High heels, lipstick, nail polish and roses. Rich, lux, fashion.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Glitz at TFA

I posted this photo at the end of my ode to a beautiful autumn day on Tuesday and man, did I ever pique your curiosity! So, without further ado, here are the details.
Pattern: Glitz at the Ritz by Helen Stewart.
Yarn: TFA Cosmic Blue Label in Tartan.
Ravelry Project Page here.

I've been teasing you for a while now with images of sparkly yarns. I plan on having this yarn available for everyone soon, I promise! It won't be all teaser shots forever! I wanted to knit a sample with this sparkly new base (called Cosmic Blue Label since it's basically Blue Label but with shimmer!) before I made it available so I could A) give you all an example of what it looks like knitted up, B) make 100% certain that I loved it enough to add it to the collection, and C) show off my new favourite colourway all at the same time! 
I chose the Glitz at the Ritz pattern because it's a beautiful free pattern and because I thought that it would highlight both the yarn and the colourway perfectly. I has a good mix of open lace and stockinette stitch, with just a touch of garter stitch thrown in. It's a very good sampling of how this yarn performs with different stitches. I also happen to love the shape. That rounded triangle is so lovely. The picot edging, fabulous. I love this one. 
There were a few very exciting things about this sample knit for me. The most obvious good news is that I love the base! The sparkles add a hint of luxury without being overly glittery, which I was afraid of. It's just the right amount of shimmery glam. It's also very soft and wearable. I was worried that the sparkling threads would be scratchy, but they are not. So the base is a winner, yes! And then there is the colour! Conceptualizing these rich, multi-tonal, non-striping colourways are sometimes better in my head then they are in reality. There is always the risk that something that looks dynamite in the skein will knit up to look like messy pools of chaos. But Tartan, Tartan is beautiful. It would work for anything from socks to sweaters to gorgeous sparkly accessories like this. 
Chris and I are working hard behind the scenes to try and get enough of this yarn and colourway died up, along with a few other treats, to put together an October Etsy update. I do intend to add both the yarn and the colourway to my permanent collection, but that will take a bit more time, so in order to make this available to you as soon as possible Etsy is the way to go this month. Be sure to sign up for the TFA Newsletter to stay in the loop about the updates!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

October 1


What a perfect fall day we've had. Chris, Rowan, Stella and I go for walks in the wooded park near our house almost every day. I always think that I should bring my camera because it is just so beautiful. The woods and fields change with every season and fall just might be natures very best light. Today we went for our walk and I remembered to grab the camera. Happy October 1 everyone!