Modification Monday: Worth Two in the Bush Gloves

Modification Monday: Worth Two in the Bush Gloves| knitted bliss.com

Original Patterns: Endpaper MittsBird and Vine Mitts

Knitter Extraordinaire: Maria (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Using two different fingerless mitt charts, Maria made these one-of-a-kid full gloves, with the bird and vine design on the palm of one glove only. Project page can be found here.

What Makes This Awesome: I have never made full gloves before. but these look amazing. I love that Maria used a different chart on the inside/palm of one glove, and even carrie dthe inside design on the pinky, as wel. When she was weaving in all the ends, she found a way to do it that helped keep her fingers extra warm and reduce the risk of fingers catching on any of the floats from the stranded part of the design that is on the top of each finger. The result is incredible!

Modification Monday: Worth Two in the Bush Gloves| knitted bliss.com

Pin Ups: My Favourite Things on Pinterest This Week

Pin Ups: Banana Breakfast Bars | knittedbliss.com

I’m sort of obsessed with these banana breakfast bars- they are a bit sweet for actual breakfast (for me, anyway) but are a great little low sugar treat that taste sooo good. And you could easily substitute the chocolate chips for nuts, if you wanted to make it even healthier. I recommend!

Pin Ups: Mexican One Pot Quinoa | knittedbliss.com

Hate doing dishes? Like healthy easy suppers? Then this is for you. One pot Mexican Quinoa is an easy weeknight supper that’s got lots of healthy stuff, and doesn’t leave you with loads of dishes when you’re done. I’m always really happy when I come across an easy, fast low-maintenance supper idea.

Pin Ups: Stencilled shirts | knittedbliss.com

I love this idea to use stencils and fabric paint to give old tops a new lease on life. especially in this silvery fabric paint, it looks really modern.

Pin Ups: INstead of Kitchener Stitch | knittedbliss.com

For those of you looking to upgrade your knitting skills, I love this video tutorial for doing a crochet bind off in place of where you would use kitchner stitch- it wouldn’t work for everything, but it would be a nice detail on booties or at the toe of socks.

Pin Ups: Perfect Mug | knittedbliss.com

This mug says it all. I want it!

Indie Business Interview: Tanis Fiber Arts

Come and Meet Tanis Lavallee, of Tanis Fiber Arts, as she chats about how she started her company, and what advice has helped her most along the way.

Indie Business Interview: Tanis Fiber Arts | knittedbliss.com

Q: Why did you decide to start your own shop? 

I started dyeing yarns for my own personal use simply because I loved to knit! I had a degree in fine arts and knew a bit about fiber dyeing, so dyeing yarn was a natural step to take. One thing led to another and I set up an Etsy shop and then got a couple LYS customers. It all happened very organically.
Q: Is this business your full time gig, or do you have another job as well?
TFA is my full time gig, as well as my husband’s. I started off doing it part time on my own. As the business grew I took a leap and quit my job to commit myself to it full time. I eventually got to the point where I needed to hire outside help but instead managed to convince my husband (then boyfriend) to join me in the business! It all happened when we were at a point in our lives where we were young, we didn’t have any major responsibilities (like kids or a mortgage) to worry about, so the timing was right for us to take a chance on ourselves and really give it a go. Luckily it worked out!
  Indie Business Interview: Tanis Fiber Arts | knittedbliss.com
Q: What is the most difficult part of running your own business?
In general I love almost everything about running my own business. I love that I get to wear 12 different hats in the run of a day, from designer to photographer to dyer to product developer and blogger. I love that my job demands that I do a little bit of all kinds of things. However, on a daily basis I would say that for me the hardest part is juggling all of the behind the scenes / no fun aspects of running a business. The things that have nothing to do with yarn or dyeing or colour, but that every business has to deal with. Things like bookkeeping, accounting, inventory, taxes! Dealing with all the very important, but very lame parts of running a creative business is challenging, but without that side, there would be no “business” at all.
Q: What is the piece of advice you wish you could give yourself when you were just starting out?
This is a tough question for me because I’m actually very happy with the way that I started out and there is not much that I would change. My dad gave me a great piece of advice in the early days that I’m glad I took. That advice was simply to manage our growth. We never bit more off than we could chew, so though we certainly challenged ourselves we never put ourselves in a situation that we couldn’t recover from. I think that steady and manageable growth was key for us. Every year we try and do a bit more and have been able to build something out of nothing without too many growing pains.
  Indie Business Interview: Tanis Fiber Arts | knittedbliss.com
Q. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of turning their hobby into a part time (or full time) business?
I don’t feel super qualified to give a ton of business advice, but I do feel very strongly that in creative businesses, it’s all about the individual. In yarn dyeing specifically (but I’m sure the same is true for many different artistic milieus) there are lots of wonderful hand dyed yarn companies out there dyeing beautiful colourways and producing a great product. Comparing yourself to others is a total waste of time because what really sets your product apart is the fact that you made it. I believe that the artists hand is present in their work and that people can see that. Staying true to your vision is the best way to set yourself apart and ultimately be successful.
Q: What is the most satisfying part of Tanis Fiber Arts?
Running such a small company (it’s just me and Chris!) is extremely rewarding every single day. While there may be no one to blame if things don’t work out quite as planned, there is also no one else to take the credit when things go well! All of the good days that we have are a direct product of how hard we work and that is incredibly satisfying as well as motivating. Another thing that I really love about being my own boss is the fact that I never have to jump through hoops or wait for approval from someone else to run with an idea. If I come up with a design idea or a kit idea that I’m really excited about I can drop everything and make it happen. Having that type of creative freedom is awesome.
Thanks for participating, Tanis!
(Curious about where that dyeing happens? It’s all in their backyard dying studio, which they had built about 4 years ago:)

Meet the Sponsors, January Edition!

Starting tomorrow, there will be a semi- regular new feature! It’s called Indie Business Interviews (wildly clever, I know) and will be a Q & A with behind-the-scenes photos and information of the level 1 sponsors. Each one will talk about how they got started, what their biggest challenges are, and how they are making it work. If you have ever considered starting your own  knitting-related indie business, then you are going to love it.

Let’s look at what’s new with the sponsors! Look out for the brand new one, too:
TFA Collage | knittedbliss.com

Name: Tanis Fiber Arts

What She is All About: What isn’t she about! Tanis has an amazing range of hand dyed yarns in variegated and tonal colourways and a variety of weights and bases, lots of great patterns, and some fun swag like tote bags and calendars.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: Amber Label (Merino/Casmere/Silk DK) in the ‘Iris’ colourway is a perfect example of one her variegated yarns- lot sof depth and stunning blends of colour.  Who doesn’t want a tote bag with a beautiful rainbow circle of yarn on it? I want a TFA tote bag!, And the newly available for purchase Tantramar hat pattern- fun and graphic colourwork to keep the winter blahs away.

Sweet sheep Collage| knittedbliss.com

Name: Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe

What She is All About: Alicia makes amazing all-natural lotion bars and lip balms is a great range of seasonal and classic scents. Fruity, floral, spicy, sweet or unscented- whatever your preference, it’s here.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right:  Jingleberry lotion bar came out just before the holidays (she had a contest on her blog to help name it!),  Ribbon Candy lotion bar  (her newest!) is so tempting, and in case you are sick of winter already and are dreaming of a tropical getaway, then this Toasted Coconut lip balm will fuel those travel fantasies.

Zenitude Collage| knittedbliss.com

Name: Zenitude

What She is All About: Lise dyes her own yarn and roving, specializes in thrummed kits and self striping sock yarns, and has an alpaca farm.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right:  Purple & Lavender Thrummed slipper sock kit, merino and tencel top roving in a beautiful rose to grey gradient, and 100% natural alpaca yarn (sport weight), from one of the alpacas on her farm- you seriously have to click on over and check it out, because on the listing there is even a photo of the super cute alpaca who it came from!

Knit Circus Collage| knittedbliss.com

Name: Knit Circus

What She is All About: beautiful long gradient colours, striping gradient sock kits, and  some gorgeous cowl and shawl kits in her Etsy shop. 

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: April Skies Cowl kit, full of great texture and which has all sorts of colour options when you follow the link, a beautiful Autumn Forest gradient skein- wouldn’t that be amazing as a shawl! And some awesome gradient striping socks- I love this Brave at Heart combo.

Andrea Sanchez Collage| knittedbliss.com

Name: Andrea Sanchez Knits

What She is all about: Andrea designs all sorts of patterns for women, men, kids and babies- all the patterns have great size ranges, and classic-with-a-twist details.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: the just-released Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend pullover with a great lace diamond design and fun colour blocking, the super sweet baby and kid sized ( the pattern fits kids up to 6) Little Fisher Pullover, and the unisex adult Navajo pullover, which is actually a free pattern!

Fuzzy Mitten Collage| knittedbliss.com

Name: Fuzzy Mitten 

What She is All About: Barbara designs the cutest knitted toys, and has clothing patterns for them, too!

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: Easter is not that far away, people- don’t you know someone who would be super excited to find this little bunny and his smart outfit tucked away with some candy?   This mama and baby owl are so cute, and that owl and baby could be a million different colour combos, and I’m quite in love this charming puppy with his little white paws and sweater.

Muki Crafts Collage|knittedbliss.com

Name: Muki Crafts

What She is All About: Super cute accessories for babies, toddlers, kids and adults- all the patterns come in a size range from the littlest people to full grown adults. Everyone is cuter when they are wearing hats and hoods with ears!

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: That adorable fox hoodie also includes a built in cowl! talk about keep your little one extra warm. I love the button up cowl in the center and would totally wear it (don’t forget the pattern includes the adult size too) , and that super sweet polar bear hood is so precious.

FO: London Bridges Cardigan

FO: London Bridges Cardigan| knittedbliss.com

Doesn’t my mother in law look awesome in her new sweater? I was very hush-hush about this knit, as it was a Christmas gift- there was only one tiny little peek on Instagram!

Pattern: London Bridges Cardigan 

Yarn: Ella Rae Seasons in ‘Grey’ 

Needles: 5 mm (US 8)

Mods: None

London Bridges Cardigan | knittedbliss.com

This sweater was not a total  surprise for her, though- she did choose the pattern. And the yarn + colourway. This was my first time using the Ella Rae Seasons yarn, and I really enjoyed it- it was very comfortable in my hands, and the fabric it creates is beautiful. The pattern is great, too- it’s simple and easy to follow, and would be very suitable for a new-ish knitter who i s looking to tackle a big, beautiful cardigan.  That is the only challenge with this sweater- it’s a heck of a lot of knitting! Huge swathes of stockinette, and is it just me or does moss stitch take forever to knit?  But having the moss stitch in the small doses is a great hit of texture and add lovely details. I realize know how rarely I knit a sweater that has zero ribbing. The back section, with it’s lovely pleat and small cable and moss stitch, is great detail without being too busy.

London Bridges Cardigan | knittedbliss.com

I  accidentally made the sleeves a bit long, but they still look good folded back. I have short arms, so I assume everyone has arms that are at least  a couple inches longer than mine (my husband teases me about having T-rex arms . I can never be the one to hold the camera when we’re trying to take a selfie together, otherwise I can’t get both of our heads in the shot!). But next time I’ll know that she has arms the same length as I do.  I only wish I had wet blocked the collar/front edges a bit better, I was worried about them being too long, and in the photos they look like they are a tiny bit short- but I’ll tell her to tug on them, and they’ll even out, right? ;)

London Bridges Cardigan | knittedbliss.com