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

Modification Monday: Fliptops 2

Modification Monday: Fliptop Mitts | knittedbliss.com

Original Pattern: Nalu Mitts 

Knitter Extraordinaire: Asa (Ravelry ID, blog)

Mods: Added a flip top to the fingerless mitt pattern, and twisted ribbing to the palm and thumb gusset. More details can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome:  I don’t see too many fliptop conversions, and I’m a bit of a sucker for the great texture of twisted ribbing. I’m actually amazed at how different it looks with the extra twisted ribbing!  Asa’s clever modification is a perfect example of how if it’s something that you want to have (flip top mitts) knitting your perfect pair is going to be the best thing ever, because not only will you have made them yourself (way to go you!), they will be exactly how you want them to be- and in your favourite colour.

Modification Monday: Fliptop Mitts | knittedbliss.com

The Resources that Helped When I Most Needed It

Some of you asked to know a bit more about the books that helped me with the depression I felt in 2014.  I’m a little nervous about sharing them all with you, because so many of them talk about things like your inner guide, high power/God, miracles, quantum fields of energy, etc. The kind of stuff that if you overheard someone going on about at a cocktail party, you’d probably steer clear. This isn’t stuff I thought I had any stomach for either. But when you feel like you are are drowning, you’ll pretty much grasp at any life preserver you can find, so I read without judgment. I read, and I read, and I listened to my life coach and did the exercises that she created for me and that the books suggested and I was lucky enough that it worked for me. I know a lot of people aren’t so lucky, or their depression goes deeper, to a stronger chemical level. So if you think that you need something more than some books and a life coach, it’s best to go to see a psychiatrist or your doctor and get whatever help you need. That’s the funny thing about when you go looking for help- once you really say it clearly and out loud that you need it (which is pretty much the hardest part, or is it realizing that you need help in the first place that is the hardest part?), people are usually there to help you find what you need.  These were the ones that helped me the most:

disclaimer: I’m not a mental health professional, this is just me as a friend chatting about what worked for me. Also, this is the first post I’m trying out Amazon’s affiliate program, which means that if you click the links for the books and decide to buy something, I think I get a teeny-tiny percentage of Amazon’s profit via Amazon store credit (no additional charges to you at all). I’m not sure if this is something I’ll keep doing, but I’ve linked to a fair number of books recently, and some people suggested it would be worth checking out. So hey, let’s see what happens.

Workbooks

book Collage | knittedbliss.com
I’m a fan of workbook-style guides, because the exercises made me feel like I was getting some control over my thoughts and my feelings, and they often start in small ways that are really doable. May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness was the one that had the biggest impact, because the daily exercises really were small enough that I could do them even on busy days. Miracles Now: 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow, and Finding Your True Purpose is a good book to read after it, as it covers similar territory but in a smaller way, more as a reminder of what you are working on. I’m a convert to the Gabby Bernstein way of thinking, and a large part of it is her pretty awesome youtube channel (which is all free, so if you are considering checking out the books, you should totally go listen/watch some of her videos and get a feel for her perspective). I found that if I was at work or walking around and felt like I needed some reminding of how I wanted to be feeling, I could fire up one of her videos and just listen, and it often helped. The last book on the far right is The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul by Danielle Laporte. The key point of this workbook is that often we are chasing goals that we think we want, but when we achieve them they feel hollow or somehow off the mark. Her theory is that this is because we aren’t clear on how we want to feel, and that if we start by figuring out what our core desired feelings are, it’s much easier to make choices and set goals that align with how we want to feel. There is a great sound bite on her website, if you want to have a listen to her talk about it.

Books

book 2 Collage| knittedbliss.com

All three of these books deal in different ways with how your brain, and the habits of your own negative thinking, keep you from feeling happy and feeling good, and often those thoughts crop up once you recognize feeling good- they sneak into your brain and turn you attention to negativity once again. The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level talks a lot about getting into your Zone of Genius, but ultimately this book is about identifying all the multitude of ways negative thinking holds you back. Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One is very similar in the ideology of The Big Leap, but is more science-y in it’s apporach. If you have a hard time reading these kinds of books because they seem too airy-fairy, this one is written by a neuroscientist with a background in biochemistry and all sorts of brain science stuff. So if the only way you’ll belive the power of negtive and postive thinking on your overall being is if it’s backed by scientific facts, this one is for you. And the last one is a classic- A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles” is perfect for you if you like to read about love, self-forgiveness and God in a non-denominational way (A Course in Miracles, which I haven’t read, has a Christian belief through it, but the author of A Return to Love is Jewish). Williamson is extremely insightful, and this is the kind of book that begs to have you underline bits of it so you can refer back to when feeling blue.

I hope that helps! And if anyone else has other books to recommend, please let me know in the comments!

Pin Ups: My Favourite Things on Pinterest This Week

I know we’re supposed to be all eating healthy and getting fit now that we ticked over into 2015, but I’m still feeling pyjamas and leftover Christmas chocolate.  So I’m all about easing into the healthy eating, like this smoothie recipe:

Pin Ups: Cinnamon Bun Smoothie| knittedbliss.com

This smoothie tastes like a cinnamon bun, but is actually good for you. So really, you should drink this all the time.

Pin Ups: beet and kale chocolate cupcakes | knittedbliss.com

Those of you who have been hanging out with me here on the blog a little while know how much I love to hide veggies in baked goods. Behold! A beet and kale chocolate cupcake recipe. I know beets and chocolate play nicely together, but now that there is new recipe that also has kale, I’m most intrigued. Does this mean my toddler will eat kale?! Holy smokes, people.

Pin Ups: Mediterranean flatbread | knittedbliss.com

And if you don’t want to hide your veggies, you can’t go wrong with slicing, dicing, and making this super easy Mediterranean flat bread.

Pin Ups: Printable 2015 Calendar | knittedbliss.com

I love how this time of year really brings out our cravings for new calendars, and this free printable one is so chic. I’d happily look at it all year long.

Pin Ups: New Ending | knittedbliss.com

I don’t really buy into the idea that because it’s a new year, it’s a new you. But I do believe that the things we do every day become what our lives are about. And it’s never to late to make changes.