Meet the Sponsors: June Edition

I’m so excited by the wonderful goodies from this month’s sponsors- perfect for summer!

Meet the Sponsors: Biscotte Yarns |

Name: Biscotte Yarns

Where You Can Follow Them: Blog, Facebook, Twitter, InstagramPinterestTumblr, Google +

What They Are All About: Biscotte Yarns specializes in self-striping yarns with lots of fun inspiration, but they have all sorts of goodies on offer- fabrics, project bags and kits, patterns, and tonal single ply yarns, as well as a mystery club that you can purchase by individual months, instead of just a whole year- much more affordable. Also, they are looking for product reviews- enter here to win some beautiful free yarn!

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: This beautiful poolside colourway ‘Sur la Plage’ is perfect for some summer sock knitting, with easy self striping doing all the work for you.  If you are a cat love like me, then you need this adorable tote that says “Knit 1, Purr 2”. I love it! And you guys know how much I love palettes- this is the ‘Watermelon’ colourway, all fingering weight.

Meet the Sponsors: Madbird |

Name: Madbird 

Where You Can Follow Them: Facebook, Instagram

What They are all about: Alecia makes wonderful project bags, project clutches, totes, spindle bags, needle and hook rolls (even for dpns and interchangeables), and zip pouches. With a wide variety of fabrics, you’re sure to find the right size you need in a print you love. If you haven’t tried one of their bags, you are missing out- every detail is perfection and you will have this bag forever. I recommend following them on Facebook to get the updates on new items as well as the flash sales they sometimes have- like right now they have their summer sale going on until June 19th!   While you can’t use two coupon codes at the same time, if you miss the sale, you can still get 10% off everything with the code KNITTEDBLISS.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: This adorable (and sturdy!) nighttime forest print project bag is reversible, with a great wood grain fabric on the inside. This large project bag  with a great seahorse print (gotta love summer project bags!) has a zip close and an interior yarn guide that snaps shut, so the yarn feeds through smoothly but you can switch out the projects easily. If you have an interchangeable needle set, there’s no need to keep it in the blah plastic that it came in. This perfect needle roll has 16 pockets, sized to fit needles and cables, as well as a zippered pouch in the side seam for notions.

Meet the Sponsors| Artesano |

Name: Artesano

Where You Can Follow Them: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, RavelryPinterest

What They Are All About: Jennifer and Tom run Artesano, which specializes in alpaca, merino, and silk blends of varying weights, as well as a variety of needles, and links to free patterns. UK and European readers, I think you’ll be excited about this- Artesano is based in the UK! And my fellow North Americans, don’t rule it out because it’s the UK- shipping is about $8.50 US for orders under $65. For my fellow Canadians, that’s often way better than shipping from the US! If you sign up for the emails, you get a coupon for 20% off, too.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right:  This lovely 100% alpaca laceweight in ‘Duck Egg’ would be a stunning shawl for summer, don’t you think? Then there’s the 70% alpaca and 30% silk blend fingering weight (4-ply, as they call it in the UK) in ‘Foxglove‘, which would be wonderful for a knitted tank top or tee. Now, I’m bet you are wondering about those needles up there. That’s an asymmetrical circular needle, available in sizes from 2 mm – 6mm. The asymmetrical needles are designed to help prevent laddering (which I have a big problem with), and the join swivels, for greater ease in knitting.

Meet the Sponsors: Spirit Fiber Trail |

Name: Spirit Trail Fiber Works

Where You Can Follow Them: Ravelry, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, blog

What She is All About: Jennifer has a variety of her hand dyed yarns in a variety of weights and fibers, as well as beautiful (and some very rare breed!) roving and spinning fibers. She produces her colours in small batches with artisanal dye techniques, and really shines at tonals which have incredible depth.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: Rich, vibrant greens are in this ‘Malachite’ inspired skein of  75% superwash merino, 15% cashmere and 10% bombyx silk DK weight. Then there is this beautiful variegated blend of blues, grey, and gold in ‘Solace’, a  fingering weight 75% Superwash Merino, 15% Cashmere, 10% Silk. The complexity of ‘Afterglow’ is full of peachy reds, burnt orange, and bright carnelian; and is a 100% superwash bluefaced leicester light fingering weight.

Meet the Sponsors: The Blue Brick |

Name: The Blue Brick 

Where You Can Follow Them:  BlogFacebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Ravelry, Flickr, and Crawftgawker

What She is All About: Shireen is a professional photographer, taking her yarn inspiration straight from the images she captures. These yarns are all hand-dyed in small batches by Shireen and her husband Tito on a variety of bases and weights (the Neutrals and Ombres are all available on a wide variety of options), based on her photographic inspiration (you can read more about the yarn here). Each skein is sent out with a copy of the photo that inspired it- a really beautiful detail that makes me marvel even more at how she can dye the yarn to so closely resemble the photos! Shireen also designs beautiful patterns, as well.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: The Longbeach pattern is a perfect summer shawl and works beautifully with any of the ombre skeins. Aurora is a stunning Ombre with long run gradients that are perfect for shawls, sweaters, or cowls- basically anything on the bigger side so  that you can full appreciate the colour shifts. Would this be a stunning knitted tee? Powder is one of the wonderful neutrals available– you never realize how well a good neutral light blue goes with such a wide variety of colours, but it pairs beautifully with most of the ombres.

I made a decision to choose products or yarns that are all DK weight or lighter, since i know most of us want to lighten our knitting up a bit in the warmer weather. Did you see anything that caught your eye? Anything that you suddenly have to have?

More Progress: Mini Stockings

Mini Stockings |

This is my progress on my mini stocking advent calendar. I’m a bit behind, but this is exactly why I wanted to start early with the goal of knitting two a month- so it wouldn’t ever get too overwhelming.  The top four stockings are the newest ones, they represent March and April’s contributions. I haven’t knit the ones that are supposed to be knit in May and June, but I will get to them soon! I have 12 different colours (plus the contrasting white), which would mean there will be two of each colour when I’m all finished. I so love the idea of having an advent calendar for the kids, it’s a tradition I always adored but we didn’t really do when I was a child- except for those fun little chocolate advent calendars! There’s the secret, of course- I say I’m knitting an advent calendar for the kids, but clearly I’m doing it for myself. I mean, just look at them:

Mini Stockings |

I haven’t wet blocked them yet, they are all going to get a bath together when they are done and be pinned out properly, so I anticipate a bit of growth and evening out of the stranded designs.

The stockings are all knit in Tanis Fiber Arts blue label, as part of a mini skein set. The new colours are Pink Grapefruit, Royal Flush, Garnet, and Grape; Knit Picks Stroll the contrasting white.  I’ve also been knitting little loops to attach to the stockings, but I need to source some tiny white buttons for them.

Although it’s strange to knit these flat and seam them up the back, it’s very fast going. I’m so please with how many little charts the pattern has, too- it adds to the joy of making these tiny stockings, which are so fun that I am actually looking forward to Christmas this year already! Wait, can I even say that when it’s June? Maybe I’ll enjoy summer first.

Modification Monday: Toor Toor Baa Baa

Modification Monday: Toor Toor Baa Baa |

Original Patterns: Toor Toor and Baa-ble Hat 

Knitter Extraordinaire: Tanya (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Using the Toor Toor sweater as the base, Tanya incorporated the sheep from the baa-ble hat pattern, and lengthened the striped sections on the sleeves. Plus, she got creative with the colours! Details can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: I can’t think of any other chart that has sparked so many creative mods as the Baa-ble hat! Tanya loved the sheep pattern, but wanted to incorporate it into a garment. The placement of the sheep is excellent, providing a great band of contrast before moving into the deep charcoal of the sweater body. I love how she used the bright turquoise for the sheep, then echoed the colour at the sleeve cuffs. She deliberately did not want to place the sheep on the sleeves, so worked a subtle round design to echo the style and add balance- I almost want to call them sheep ghosts. The extra stripes on the sleeves help balance out the design. She did an incredible job!

Modification Monday: Toor Toor Baa Baa |

Tanya has been featured before for her amazing Laika- check it out!

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

This was a fascinating essay on how the internet has given fans the idea that they deserve to shape the art they love.

Productivity isn’t just about what you do- it’s what you don’t do. After reading this, I felt like I just found a missing puzzle piece on a jigsaw I’ve been trying to solve for ages.

Sometimes pausing for 3 seconds before reacting can transform the conversation you are having, and possibly turn your whole day around.

1,300 sheep terrorized (okay, they just sort of wandered about) a small Spanish city after their shepherd fell asleep. Let the counting sheep jokes begin!

I have been forgetting to link to these- I was asked by the amazing Taddle Creek magazine to read a couple poems for their podcast, and it’s always interesting to hear a poem instead of just reading it on the page. Here is a podcast of my poem that imagines a young, pre-Wizard of Oz Dorothy, seeing a tornado for the very first time.  And then here is the podcast of my reading about a tourist’s experience of going to an Irish whiskey distillery.

My Favourite Pins This Week

Pin Ups and Link Love: Spaghetti with basil and tomatoes |

A fresh summer pasta? Heck yes- full of roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. The toasted breadcrumbs are worth the effort, too! If you are watching your carbs, you could substitute half the pasts for spiralized zucchini noodles. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Blueberry and Lemon Loaf Cake|

Blueberry and Lemon Loaf- I love lemon loaf all year round, but now that blueberry season is almost upon us, and I had a nice batch from the grocery store recently. Blueberries and lemon go together so well, don’t you think? Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: DIY Summer Satchel |

This cute summer bag is made from two woven placemats, can you believe it? I love how it looks, so great for summer. Pinterest link is here, and the original DIY post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Flower Photography|

This is a very clever tutorial on how to take more dramatic photos of flowers using a flashlight… and it has me wondering what else the techniques could be applied to. I wonder how knitting of skeins of yarn would look lit like this? Pinterest link is here, tutorial is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Ugly Bridesmaid Dress Paintball|

I think this is the most fun idea for a bridal shower, birthday party, or just some random weekend- you and a bunch of friends get some of the ugliest old bridesmaid dresses you can find (hello, thrift store finds!) and then go play paintball in them. I’m totally going to do this one day, this sounds freaking awesome!! Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

What sort of plans have you got this weekend? My parents are coming to visit (Lila is so excited), and we are going to be visiting the Toronto islands again this weekend! I’m going to ask for a high chair for James this time, so he can’t get my hamburger. 😉

Outtakes: Golden Rose

This is pretty much what getting blog photos looks like, when we are doing it with the kids:

Golden Rose Outtakes |

We were on the Toronto islands for the day, one of my favourite places to visit (I prefer Ward Island, but Center Island is where all the kiddie attractions are). In the photo above, I was lying on the ground trying to recreate some of the magical composition that we had for this photo from my Pemba mitts and headband. Except Lila assumed that I needed help, lying on the ground. Such a thoughtful child, and very concerned that I be comfortable. So she wanted to assist by holding my head.

Golden Rose Outtakes |

Unfortunately, even with all the ‘help’, we couldn’t quite manage to get the sort of photo for the cowl that we were aiming for. Another time! Lila also assisted with sourcing props (which you can see in action on the ‘official’ finishing knit photos, here):

Golden Rose Outtakes |

Golden Rose Outtakes |

Lila loves that flower headband, even though it’s a bit big for her. James is 6 months old now, and thankfully can’t walk or crawl. I don’t know what I’m going to do when there’s two of them running about. But right now he is really, really into my food. If he sees me eating anything, he wants some of the action. For example:

Golden Rose Outtakes |

Do you see how his pudgy little baby hands are hanging onto the bun for dear life? Mere seconds after this shot, he had successfully ripped off most of the bottom bun, stuffed handfuls of it into his sweet little face, gummed a bit, and then spat it all out in a slimy, disgusting bread pellet.  He still has no teeth, but we have begun working on solids, and we are doing baby led weaning, which I did with Lila and worked really well for us.  I’m glad I had the foresight to take off the cowl before eating, because otherwise James would have put his burger-covered hands all over it!

Those were the outtakes! It was a lovely day, but I think next time we will try to do photos when we have childcare. Much faster, and much easier!