Thursday, 28 June 2012


Over at luvinthemommyhood Shannon is hosting her annual Summer Sweater KAL and I am a sponsor! Coincidentally the hostess herself happens to be knitting her KAL project in TFA yarn! Pretty cool. She's even made this lovely button featuring the Yellow Label DK weight yarn in Pink Grapefruit that she's using for her knit:

The whole thing sounds like a ton of fun. I love a KAL! We've hosted a few TFA KAL's recently and they are always so inspiring. I'm the first to admit that I don't have the best track record when it comes to completing my project on time. I tend to view KAL's more as motivation/inspiration, it's not a test or a race, nothing bad will happen if you don't finish on time! 

Yesterday was cast on day and I had yet to pick a project. I had something simple in mind, then I wondered if maybe I should use the KAL as an excuse to work on a design... In the end I decided that I should use this as an opportunity to pick a pattern that I loved and do some completely selfish knitting. I looked through my favourites on Ravelry and the sweaters I had pinned on Pinterest but nothing was jumping out at me. So I turned to the KAL Yarn/Pattern chat thread on Ravelry and browsed through what other participants were planning. Isn't that part of the beauty of a KAL! A community of knitters all chatting, supporting and inspiring. And right there is where I found it, the best thing I've see in ages! Nanook, by Heidi Kirrmaier.

I've seen the Bear Track stitch pattern (the one featured on the collar) before, but was never really struck by it until I saw this cardigan. I love how it's used to work the collar, how it creates that gorgeous scalloped edging and how it looks fantastic from both sides. I also love that the pattern features really neat yoke increases, not just your standard raglans or set in sleeves. I'm really into the style and the fit of this casual layering piece. Is there anything not to love!? 

I've chosen to knit this cardigan in my Orange Label Cashmere/Silk Worsted weight yarn because A) it will be fabulous! and B) the silk in this yarn adds a nice little bit of extra drape (as compared to my Green Label 100% merino Aran weight yarn) and I think that the drape will work really well for this pattern. Typically I opt for a bright, saturated colour, but after falling in love with several really pretty, serene versions of this on Ravelry I decided to go with my palest, calmest colourway: Sand

I cast on last night and I'm already well into the yoke. The yarn knits up like butter and the pattern is coming together beautifully so it's hard to put down! 

Nanook WIP

I am really enjoying knitting this and it got me thinking a bit about my knitting habits. Since I started designing I've been knitting a lot more of my own patterns and a lot less of other designers patterns. That's all fine but I've realized that as a designer it can be extremely helpful, insightful and educational to work from other's designs from time to time. For me at least, it's so nice to take a break from my own head, not have to be super critical about every stitch I make, and instead knit for the pure enjoyment of it. I can't tell you how happy I am just stitching away on this sweater, reading the pattern and not taking notes after every row, just merrily following directions and doing what I'm told. I've already learnt a new slipped stitch edging that I think is really pretty and neat, so even though this knit won't result in another TFA pattern for me to sell, the experience isn't any less valuable to me. 

I think I've just had a an aha! moment. 

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Stella Collection Summer Tour

The Stella Collection is about to embark on a Blog Tour! This means that each week, the collection will be reviewed on the blogs scheduled below, and there will be an opportunity to win the collection each week:

The reviews/giveaways might not take place on the exact date listed above, but definitely in those weeks that begin with the date. A big thank you to our blogging friends for taking the time to review the patterns and host giveaways on their awesome blogs. If you see a blog on this list that you aren't familair with, you should really check it out- all these ladies have great blogs that are worth following.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Successes and failures

Things have been cruising along here at TFA. It's hot, hot, hot! But thank goodness we've got AC so I can still spend my evenings sitting inside with my knitting. Most of the time things turn out well. I finished a pair of plain old stockinette socks. They'll be gifted to either my brother or my dad this Christmas. A few details can be found on my Ravelry project page here.

socks for dad

I also managed to finish up some spinning that I've had on the go for quite a while. This 2-ply was spun from a batt I got a few years ago. I'm slowly spinning my way through all the colourful batts. This yarn ended up with a really pretty heathery look. It's less crazy-multicolour and more classy-turquoise-tweed looking. I've got 97g, 267yds. Plenty for a nice little project. 


It's not all good news around here. I finished this sweater that I've been casually working on for a few weeks. It's supposed to be a nice deep v-neck sweater.... yeah, not so much. The v-neck fits more like a high mock-neck! I clearly made some very big miscalculations... I really like the colour though, so I'll figure something out. To be revisited when I get in the mood to do some problem solving!

Not-so-deep blue V

Oh well, in knitting, you win some and you lose some. Maybe that yarn is just destined to be something better!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Colourwork KAL Wrap Up

The Tanis Fiber Arts Colourwork KAL has wrapped up! This KAL had a prize: a palette pack in the colour of the winner's choice. Out of the 29 projects completed in time, Rhonda and her Cashmere Affection were chosen (hooray for the random number generator- otherwise it would have been too hard to choose myself!). Congratulations, Rhonda!

There were lots of amazing projects, and those that finished their projects by June 17th have some stunning work to show for it:
 (Horizontal, Above) Row 1: Lesley's Jaffa Cakes shawl, Christine's Plume shawl, Andrea's Color Spectrum Cardigan. Row 2: Katie's BSJ 3, Shireen's Neopolitan Ice Cream ShawlYvette's Sunflower Socks. Row 3:  Shelley's Little Striped Hat, Lesley's All of Time and Space Socks, Mary's Four Seasons Summer Hat.

 (Horizontal, Above) Row 1: Debbie's Affectionately Colorful, Dee's Citrus Color Affection, Evelien's Four Season Spring Hat. Row 2: Christine's Nightlock shawl, Sarah's Fiddlehead Mittens, Laura's Golf Head Covers. Row 3: Thormoo's Purple Affection, Tanya's Velvet Morning, Jolene's Summer Color Affection.
(Horizontal, Above) Row 1: Rhonda's Cashmere Affection, Evelien's Ombre Cardigan, Sarah's Rainbow Taffy Sweater. Row 2: Yen's Four Season's Autumn Hat, Duncanch's Honeytree Vest, Jamie's Fiddleheads One and Fiddleheads Two. Row 3:  Sarah's Suggestibility Shawl, Denise's Think Outside the Box, Sweetheart , Noreen's  Pastel Baby Shane and Blue Hats.

It's so amazing to see all the wonderful colour combinations that people came up with, it's definitely got me thinking about new combinations for future projects. Even the great WIPs that didn't quite get done in time have been beautiful and inspiring. A big congrats to everyone who participated!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Nashira Stole

Sigh, is our week of Stella Collection blog posts already over? I'm sad to see them go, this has been such a fun project to work on with Julie. Maybe the first of many collaborations?


We close out the e-book with the Nashira Stole by Julie Crawford. This elegant pattern is kicked up a notch done in the luxurious Silver Label Mulberry Silk yarn. Julie has kept the motif simple by using a graphic geometric design for the body of the stole and adding flair and impact with the gorgeous petal shapes that cap off the ends. I love the balance of simple modern lines combined with feminine lacy details. This is definitely one of those perfect accessories to take you from day to night, casually-chic to evening-elegant!

Size11” wide and 55” long after blocking.
Yarn1 skein of Tanis Fiber Arts Silver Label Mulberry Silk, 100% mulberry silk 115g (4oz) = 500m (550yds) sample shown in Dove.
Needles3.25 mm (US 3) straight or circular.
Gauge23 stitches and 22 rows of main body (rows 1 and 2) on 3.25mm needles = 4” squareafter blocking.
Additional Tools and MaterialsTapestry needle.

Ravelry Pattern Page here.
The Stella Collection Details Page here


Wednesday, 20 June 2012


Suncrest Shawl

The Suncrest Shawl is my second contribution to the Stella Collection. Though it is completely different from my first design (Adhara) in lots of ways, the link for me is in the texture. I was clearly going through a texture phase! This shawl came together rather quickly for me as I had a very clear vision of what I wanted when I set out on to design Suncrest. I wanted to explore multi-directional knitting, texture and the idea of reversibility. I love how cushy and soft garter stitch is in the luscious Red Label yarn, so a garter stitch body was a no brainer. I paired it with a beautiful, scalloped, Fan Shell border that, though not identical on both sides, is equally beautiful from every angle. I'm currently in love with the arc shape of this shawl, it's just so wearable! I predict I'll be knitting many more of these in the future (I may have already cast on for a second!)

Suncrest Shawl
Suncrest Shawl

Size54” across top edge, 13” from center back to bottom point.
Yarn1 skein Tanis Fiber Arts Red Label Cashmere/Silk Single, 75% merino, 15% cashmere, 10% silk 115g (4oz) = 385m (420yds) sample shown in Sunset.
Needles4mm (US 6) 32" circular needle. 
Gauge24 sts and 24 rows = 4” in garter stitch after blocking.
Additional Tools and MaterialsTapestry needle.

Ravelry Pattern Page here.
The Stella Collection Details Page here
Suncrest Shawl

Suncrest blocking

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Solaria Cowl


The Solaria Cowl, designed by Julie Crawford, is the second pattern in our Stella Collection e-book. Julie designed this cowl to feature lots of texture and a really cool round lace motif. It's strikingly original and my favourite thing about it is the unique caplet shape which makes it a very versatile wardrobe piece.  It can be worn pulled down over the shoulders like in the photo above, or draped casually around your neck like in the photo below. Either way, the incredibly soft Purple Label Cashmere Sock yarn and awesome lacy texture of this cowl are just the thing to dress up any outfit.

Yarn1 skein of Tanis Fiber Arts Purple Label Cashmere Sock, 70% merino, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon 115g (4oz) = 365m (400yds) sample shown in Gold.
Needles 3.5 mm (US 5) 24” circular needle. 
Gauge24 sts and 30 rows = 4” in star cluster pattern after blocking.
Additional Tools and MaterialsOne stitch marker, tapestry needle.

Ravelry Pattern Page here.
The Stella Collection Details Page here.


Monday, 18 June 2012

The Stella Collection - Adhara

I am so excited to finally introduce you to a project that Julie and I have been collaborating on for the past couple of months. A collection of four shawl designs inspired by the stars called, appropriately, The Stella Collection! Stella is the latin word for 'star' and coincidentally, also the name of TFA's hardest working mascot! Each pattern in the collection is available as an individual download on Ravelry, or as part of the collection as a whole in e-book format.

The Stella Collection
Clockwise from top left: Nashira, Adhara, Solaria and Suncrest
Each design features a different TFA Fingering Weight yarn base. The designs also represent 4 different shapes, sizes, textures, colours; each one is truly unique! This week I'll be highlighting each design in a series of blog posts starting with:


You may recognize this shawl from the banner on my websites home page. I've been teasing you with a sneak peak for months! This shawl is my interpretation of a 2 colour design with an emphasis on texture. Just like the colours subtly shift from one to the next, I wanted the shawl to graduate from a textured center, to a leafy border, to the lightest, airiest crocheted cast off. 



Size60” across top edge, 28” from center back to bottom point.
YarnTanis Fiber Arts Blue Label fingering weight yarn, 80% merino, 20% nylon 115g (4oz) = 385m (420yds).
Colour A: Shadow, 1 skein (colour A is used for the cast on, the body of the shawl and the leafy border).
Colour B: Atlantic, 1 skein (colour B is used for the body of the shawl and the crocheted cast off, ½ skein would be enough).
Needles4mm (US 6) 32" circular needle. 
Gauge24 sts and 30 rows = 4” in star cluster pattern after blocking.
Additional Tools and MaterialsTapestry needle, crochet hook, waste yarn, stitch marker.

Ravelry Pattern Page here.
The Stella Collection Details Page here


Saturday, 16 June 2012


good times

Since my knitting didn't seem to be particularly cooperative this week we decided that an evening of playing frisbee was in order. 

cj and stella playin' frisbee
cj and stella bonding over the frisbee

It's hard to say who had more fun, both Stella and Chris were completely tuckered out by the end of it. 

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

A winner and a portrait!

And the winner is..... MelissaHB! Yay! Congrats Melissa, send me an e-mail so I can hook you up with your awesome new pattern collection.

And another big thanks to Glenna for A) creating this masterpeice, and B) sponsoring this giveaway!

In other news, since yesterday was our 2 year wedding anniversary, it was time to dig out the tripod and try and get Stella to pose for a picture.... Our final collage is more of a blooper reel then a proper anniversary photo. But it's so true to life, we're not perfect, and neither are our family portraits!

Clockwise from top left: Stella trying to jump down, Stella sticking out her tongue, Stella giving mommy kisses, Stella in the middle of a massive yawn. 

Here is last year's photo in case you want to see how much we've grown since then. ;)

June 12, 2011

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Happy Anniversary Chris

Oh How I love him!

Two years ago today I married the love of my life. It was the best decision I ever made. 

Oh, how I love him!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Giveaway! The Urban Collection by Glenna C.

Have you all seen the latest collection from the awesome and talented Crazy Knitting Lady, Glenna C? She has been introducing the patterns in a staggered release since February, now they are all out, the collection is complete, and she's given us a masterpiece! I am only slightly biased because this collection features exclusively TFA yarns, which is amazing.

The Urban Collection truly features something for everyone, from sweaters to smaller accessories, lace to cables... Glenna has covered all of our knitting needs. Glenna has mastered effortless, classic style. All of these pieces could become wardrobe staples for years to come.

For all the details about each individual design click on the Ravelry links under the photos. 


The Urban Collection - Sweaters
The Urban Collection - Winter Warmers!
Aberdeen Ave. Hat & Mitts

The Urban Collection - Pretties
Lakeshore Shawl & Hunter St. Cowl

The Urban Collection - Accessories
Queen St. Mitts & Armour Rd. Socks

Glenna has very kindly agreed to sponsor a giveaway this week! The winner will receive the entire Urban Collection pdf!  To enter, leave a me a comment telling me which pattern you would cast on for first. A winner will be announced on Wednesday, June 13.

I know, it is impossible to pick a favourite, I'd like one of each please! The Lakeshore Shawl in Silver Label Mulberry Silk is off the charts gorgeous, but there is something about the Queen St. Mitts done in Purple Label Cashmere Sock in my brightest Lemongrass colourway that really tempts me. 

Source: Thanks to Glenna for letting me borrow all of these lovely photo's!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Hardly working

The studio

This was me on Wednesday afternoon, working on a new pattern. This is how I know we made the right decision when we chose to stay small and build our own little studio in the back yarn instead of going big and renting a space. Chris was dyeing in the studio, I was keeping him company and working on a swatch. Life is good. 

My new desk chair

This is how I plan on spending my weekend, minus the part where Chris is working... and maybe instead of enjoying my little patio I'll take my knitting to the park for World Wide Knit in Public day!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Pretty New Toys

While shopping for my *almost here* new niece or nephew I spotted a very cool toy. It's more of a pretty objext than a toy, though maybe it's really fun for babies to play with, for me, it's just really fun to look at!
New toy!
Just a bunch of beautifully colourful wooden balls on a string. I've been admiring it all week. It's such a nice change from all the loud plastic toys I've been seeing. So simple. 

Ever since we brought Stella home with us I've kept my eyes open for whippet paraphernalia. I don't plan on having whippet art and whippet statues all over the house, but one nice whippet bookend does the job nicely. It's been very hard to find just the right thing, greyhound stuff is easier to come across, but finding something that was as soft and pretty as Stella has been tough. This guy is definitely more muscular than our petite girl, but he's still pretty. :)
Stella new buddy
Stella keeping a close eye on her new buddy.

I love my new Stella bookend. 

Monday, 4 June 2012

Handspun Hat

And.... another new hat! This time I'll let the photo's do the talking (mostly). I had a gorgeous skein of handspun, so I knit a simple, slouchy hat to make the most of it. Pattern adapted from my Grammy's hat pattern, I just omitted the ribbing on the body. Love.

Kelp, handspun hat
kelp roving
Kelp Handspun
Kelp, handspun hat

Sometimes it's the simplest things that bring the biggest smiles. :)

Friday, 1 June 2012

Etsy Shop Update Tomorrow!

Set the alarms on your cell phones! There will be an Etsy shop update tomorrow, Saturday June 2, at 12pm (that's noon!) Eastern Standard Time. This update will feature a bunch of almost everything, Green Label, Orange Label, Purple Label, Red Label, Blue Label a teensie bit of Pink Label and Yellow Label and a few batches of the March Club base, a gorgeous merino silk fingering weight blend dyed in One of a Kind colourways. Below are a few of my favorites from this update: 

Etsy Update - June 2, 2012
Mmmmmm so pretty! Dyeing One of a Kind colourways makes me soooo happy.

People often say to me: "Tan, since you love the ooak's so much, why don't you just make them permanent colourways in your collection?" To that I say: very good question, here is the answer:

A) A lot of these colourways are not exactly reproducible. What makes them so awesome is that they are layered in such a way that I just couldn't achieve the same look in my production dyeing. Sometimes I'll try a combination of colours and it just doesn't work, so I mix up some more dye and throw in "a little bit of this and a little bit of that", I pour it on, swirl it around, take the yarn out, look at it in natural light and then put it back into something else until the colours come together to create something beautiful. By the time I'm finished I have no idea what I've done, I just know that the colourway is awesome and truly One of a Kind!

B) Hopefully some of these colourways will eventually make it to the permanent collection! It's a great way for me to experiment, think outside the box and try new things, if they work, and they fit in to my vision for the TFA colour collection, then there is a good chance they could. Or maybe become a future Club colourway...

For now, I'm very happy to just play around in my dye studio from time to time with complete reckless abandon, not worrying about writing things down or taking careful notes. It's dyeing at it's most fun, most carefree. I love being able to do it, I hate having to part with them, but I appreciate so much that I live in a world where there are other knitter's who love the One of a Kind's as much as I do!

Don't forget, tomorrow, Saturday, June 2 at noon for the update!