Friday, 31 July 2009

Moving madness

We thought that since we were staying in the same building, just moving to a new apartment, this move would be easy-peasy... turns out moving two peoples lives, a dog and a business is a really big job no matter how short the distance! Chris did all the major stuff, he must have done a couple hundred trips up and down 3 flights of stairs over the past week. This move was supposed to make our life more organized and less cluttered.

I guess things always have to get worse before they get better. For now, we're leaving our apartment in disarray and are heading out East for a well deserved week of total relaxation. See you when I get back! Maybe someone will sneak into my apartment and clean and organize it while I'm gone!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Nightsongs shawl

I finished my Nightsongs shawl on Friday. Today I took advantage of the amazing light in my new apartment to take some FO shots. I got 8 repeats of the pattern, I had 10 grams of my beautiful yarn leftover, not enough for another repeat, I'm glad I made it as big as I could. It's not that I really wanted a big shawl, it's just that I didn't want to waste any yarn!

The finished shawl has a lovely sheen to it, that was of course very difficult to capture in photographs, I guess you'll just have to take my word for it.

Though this pattern has it's flaws, once I figured it out I really enjoyed it. I like that it has an organic leaf shape. It's kind of funny, because back when I knit my Adamas shawl, one of the things that I liked about it was the linear, geometric pattern. It seems that right now I lean more towards fluid lines in my lace, we're all aloud to change our minds right? I am particularly fond of the border, all those little yarn overs that form a v-shaped grid. I like that it doesn't have a million little points, but fewer exaggerated points that flow out from the leaves. If I knit this shawl again, which I think I will, I would omit the double yarn-overs in the center and instead just do a single, I'm not sure the double really adds anything other then a really big hole!

It has a lovely drape doesn't it?

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Temporary chaos

Things certainly have been keeping me busy these days, which I'm quite happy about. I love when my drying racks look like this:

It makes me feel very productive. Also, when my racks are full it usually means that I've got orders, which is always a good thing!

Other then dyeing, I've been painting and cleaning my new apartment. Moving is always so much work! I've been knitting in the evenings to help me unwind after long days of dyeing and painting. I'm currently spending all of my knitting time working on Gale (aka: Nightsongs):
The pattern is lovely, though not very clearly written, I had to do a bit of research on Ravelry before figuring out how the chart worked, but once I did, it's really very simple. I'm knitting it in a lovely 100% tussah silk yarn from a Silk & Shine on Etsy. I've never knit with a yarn like this, and I think I love it. I can't wait to get it blocked. It is super shiny, the colours are deep and rich, really beautiful. You can see the shine better in this photo from the Esty listing:

It's no wonder I was drawn to this colour, it looks so much like my new favorite bird!

Have you seen the latest issue of knitscene? There are a couple great sweaters in there! I don't have a copy yet, but I plan on getting one soon because I really want to cast on for this in my Yellow Label DK weight yarn, maybe in Sand? or Moss... or maybe I'll make this in my Green Label Aran... I guess I should get moved into my new place first, but I'd really rather be knitting.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Baby Shane Blanket

After spending a bit of time with a couple of good friends and their adorable 3 month old, blue eyed baby, I was inspired to cast on for a baby blanket that I'd been thinking about designing for a while now. I could picture baby Shane's mother spreading this blanket out on the hard wood floor and laying him on it and then watching him giggle and wiggle with his little toys. I knew that I wanted to use my Yellow Label DK weight yarn, I knew that I wanted to incorporate stripes in an interesting way, and I knew that I wanted a garter stitch border. I also knew that I wanted to use a very "Tanis" palette.

A little bit of planning, a little bit of sketching, a week's worth of knitting, and I had this:

The Baby Shane Blanket! This blanket pattern is knit almost entirely in 1 piece with only 1 seem to sew at the end. It is now available as a free download, and there are also Baby Shane Blanket kits available in 8 fun colour palettes in the TFA shop. Happy knitting!

There are a couple of things about the Baby Shane Blanket that I am particularly fond of/proud of. I love that it's all knit in one piece. I love the garter stitch border and neat mitered corners. I love how the row of decreases creates a really neat diagonal line where the center panel meets the border.

And I love that the wrong side of the blanket looks almost just as neat as the right side because, when done carefully, the seams are all very tidy.

The Baby Shane Blanket Ravelry pattern page can be found here.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Another post about colours

I didn't realize until recently what a major role colour plays in many aspects of my life. Obviously I'm a fan of colour, I make a living by adding colour to yarns that have none. But more and more I've noticed that some major decisions are made based on colour. Chris and I chose our wedding reception venue, our church and our wedding date all based on colour! We were seriously considering a fall wedding, but when push came to shove I couldn't imagine a fall colour scheme working for me, reds, oranges, ochres are just so not me, so instead we chose a spring date where we would surround our day with blues and and greens.

My friend Katie is knitting this blanket with my Green Label yarn, and this is her colour palette:

See some of her work in progress shots here. I really like it, especially for her, these colours together really remind me of her, orange, moss, brown, very Katie. You may have noticed a new colour in the mix, that's a chartreuse, yet to be properly named, Katie requested it, and since it really makes the palette work, I complied. I think it may become a new regular.

Then there's me, working on a baby blanket design, this is my colour palette:

I have a feeling I'm about due to get into one of those moods where I think that everything I ever do is blue, so I make an effort to use colours that I wouldn't normally choose, and then everything I do for a month is orange. The blanket is coming along nicely, I'll have it finished by the end of the weekend I think. It's a fun simple way to show off whatever colour palette you happen to like!

Isn't my orchid lovely? Nothing to do with knitting, but still pretty.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Apartment, staged.

Remember a while back when I said that my apartment was being taken over by Tanis Fiber Arts yarn? Well, we've decided to do something about it, we're moving to a bigger space, with more room to spread out the fiber stuff, and some actual doors that we can pull shut to block out the mess! So, I had to make myself familiar with Craigslist again and get my current apartment rented. This is what my apartment looks like tidy.

Keep in mind all the boxes of yarn, drying racks and other fiber paraphernalia is still in the apartment, just crammed into corners and out of the frame of the picture! I'm looking forward to this move, but I think I'll miss this place. Chris and I really worked hard to make it a home for us. The new place will surely be great, but it doesn't have the charming floors that we've grown to love, but it does have closets! And a really big bathroom! It'll be fun to spend some time and make our new place a real home too.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

New shop look

I don't know what happened, but I've suddenly been hit by a huge wave of inspiration and motivation! I'm working on 3 Tanis Fiber Arts original designs, none of which are finished, but all of which are showing promise. I decided that my shop needed to look more professional, so I got Chris to make me a real banner with my logo on it to replace my original "temporary" photoshopped image.

While he was at it he made a little avatar for me, in case you don't speak etsy-lingo (which I don't really), your avatar is the little image that pops up next to your name, it's the visual representation of you on Etsy, so I thought it should look polished too.

Now I've let him take a short break to go for a bike ride, and when he gets back we're going to work on creating a few more custom TFA items to spruce up my packaging. I'm thinking a TFA post card, a return address stamp, some stickers, maybe a coupon...

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is a special day for 2 of my best friends. First of all, it's my Dad's birthday. He's the best dad ever and I love him! I wanted to put a picture of him here on the blog, but apparently I only ever take pictures of knitting and Stella, I'll have to work on that.

Today also marks one exact year since we brought Stella home! Best decision we ever made.

And for a little knitting content, I use and love my mitered square blanket a lot. Stella loves it too and the other night I found her all wrapped up in it dozing on the couch.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Whispers in the wind

Way back in October, before I even began to plan my spinning wheel purchase, I started hoarding hand dyed fibers. I bought this lovely little number from DK Knits, it's romantically called Whispers in the Wind.

Last week I began spinning it and ended up with this great 4 oz skein of dk weight handspun yarn!

Finally! I spun very carefully this time and managed to get 270yds! That's 100yds more than I was getting in my previous attempts.

This is enough yarn to really make something out of. Because of it's soft, subtle, muted rainbow shades I think that it would make a really cute baby sweater. I'm thinking a Baby Surprise Jacket, and in case I don't have enough yarn, I'll just trim it out in a coordinating skein of my own Yellow Label DK weight yarn. I've made a vow to not spin any more yarn until I cast on for at least one project from my current stash of handspun. We'll see if I stick to it...

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Lace Ribbon Scarf

Finally all done and blocked. Lovely isn't it?

The colour in the top photo is really off, the photo below is more accurate, it's my Plum colourway in my fingering weight yarn. I love using a yarn that is mainly considered a sock yarn for other projects. I love it when other people dare to use it for non-sock projects too! See these great examples of what I'm talking about.

Don't get me wrong, I do love to use my Blue Label yarn for socks as well. Remember when I said I was working on a sock pattern? I've got one sock finished and blocked, now I'll knit the next one, check back with my notes, and hope to have a fool proof pattern available soon.

I just can't get enough of textured knits! The reason I haven't finished the second sock yet is because I've been distracted working on a textured baby sweater with my Yellow Label DK weight yarn, which I also hope to make available as a free pattern. I'll have pics of that soon.

Monday, 6 July 2009


Yesterday I made a trip back out to parents house, with my camera this time, to take photo's of my finished and blocked Girasole.

I blocked the blanket on their king size bed, as you can tell from the photo below, this is a very generously proportioned blanket.

I don't know where I would have blocked it if they didn't have such an enormous bed! I don't have carpet in my apartment, I would have had to rig some sort of mattress and box spring apparatus!

I love this blanket! It's wooly and cozy, fun to knit and fun to look at. I would definitely knit another one. I think I'll take a cue from Connie and knit my next one in TFA yarn, something a little bolder. I really enjoyed discovering the Cascade Eco Wool that I used for this project. I definitely have future projects in mind for this yarn.

For me, one of the neatest parts of this project was the knitted on border. I'd never done one before and was really delighted to discover that it was easy, satisfying, seamless and oh so pretty.

Even when it's not in use this blanket makes a lovely accessory draped over the back of a rocking chair. It kind of looks like the hem of a fancy skirt.

I'm pretty sure I have a crush on Jared. Such a smart, talented, artistc, male knitter! Those aren't words that I often string together. Sigh...

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Not blue

Vince said that I should dye more oranges. So the other day I dyed the complementary spectrum to my usual blues, greens and purples. And I'm glad I did.

I'm working on establishing "recipes" to recreate my yarn colourways on roving. From left to right we have Buttercup, Orange Blossom, Amber, Garnet and Royal Flush. I'm particularly fond of Garnet...

Friday, 3 July 2009

Bright Blue Eyes

This weeks winner is Hope! Congratulations Hope, you suggested that I name that colourway Bright Blue Eyes, and now you've got two skeins of it coming your way. Please just send me an e-mail with your address, and I'll pop it right in the mail (my e-mail address is on the blog under my profile.)

Kelsey suggested that I name that colourway Grackle, after the bird, and thankfully sent me a link to this photo to illustrate why:

Isn't it stunning!? Grackle is kind of a funny word, but the colour of that birds feathers is unbelievable. So gorgeous, I could go on for days about how much I love that colour. Thanks Kelsey!

I have been knitting this week, I finished one sock for the pattern I'm working on. I really like it and will work out the kinks while I knit the second sock, and will hopefully have a finished pattern to share with you by next week! I've also been working on the lace ribbon scarf, I don't know why I can't just sit down and finish that thing! I ordered lace blocking wires last week, they should get here early next week, at which point I'll be really excited to use them and hopefully that'll be all the incentive I need to get this scarf finished so I can block it.

I've also been spinning. My knitting blog is starting to look like a spinning blog! It's just that it's still so new to me and every time I spin roving into yarn I learn so much that I want to start all over again to see if I can build upon what I learnt the last time. It probably would have been much easier to find someone to teach me how to spin, but this self-taught thing is really working out for me. Every time I figure something out for myself I feel so proud and motivated.

The past couple of days I worked on this beautiful BFL roving from theytoldmesew:

Lovely isn't it? It's called 'Plum Crumble'.

Spinning with different fibers and with rovings dyed by other people has proven to be extremely educational. And that's exactly why I had to learn how to spin before I felt totally comfortable selling my hand dyed rovings. The colours change so much from roving to yarn and learning how they behave is changing the way that I apply the dye.

This skein is roughly 100g and came out at 161 yards. Totally usable. And pretty. It's subtler then the bright stuff I've been spinning lately, but still very pretty.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Blue and Green

Yesterday's drafting turned into last night's spinning, then last night's spinning turned into this:

144 yards. A bit better than last time. Here's another view:

It goes very nicely with my last skein of handspun. Maybe instead of a hat I'll make a striped scarf?

I dyed some roving yesterday too, which I'm finding very enjoyable. I don't have a set plan for when I dye roving yet, I'm still in the experimental stage. I just put down colours that I like and that I think will go well together. I really love this one and can't wait to spin it.

I've realized something that I've probably always know, I really like cool shades of blue and green, purple too. My brother Vince thinks I need to branch out and dye more orange. I think I'll try that next, because left to my own devices, there's a lot of blue and green going on around here.