Friday, September 26, 2014

Indie Designer Revisit

Designer: Holly Chayes
Blog: Holly Chayes
Rav ID: hollychayes
Some Great Designs: hollychayes's Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: November 5, 2010

Four years ago (wow!), when I first profiled hollychayes, I highlighted her lace design.
It's great to see she's still working with this strength, and I've a few goodies to show you:

The show-stopping shawl pictured is Tumbling Deco, and I don't think I even have to tell you why this is such a great design. I love that shape: it looks like it'll hug around your shoulders and neck perfectly. I love that structured, geometric pattern: it's refreshing to see in a lace shawl, which are generally much more organic and "feminine". And the name?: Fantastic!

Yuki, part of the collection Shawls to Play With, is both interesting to knit and look at.
The collection is described as simple shawl patterns, "designed to open up a new world of shawl knitting possibilities". And I have to agree! Other pieces include Gratia, Xylia, and Idril.

Asymmetrical Bluebells is one of those very wearable shawls, with its long, narrow, triangular shape and fun, garter texture as background. You don't see that enough!

Looking at her work, you can see that hollychayes takes the traditional lace shawl and has the talent to mix it up.

ps: I had to add in Birds of a Feather Tam because, well, feathers!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New-to-Me Yarnny Beauties

The other week when I visited the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair I had my yarn-scanny goggles on for new-to-me products.

I had a limited amount of time to look around the many vendors, but it didn't take me long to locate two who had to come home with me AND who I knew I'd have to mention on this here bloggy.

The first is Yarn Indulgences.
Why it caught my eye: Their booth had an attractive array of multi-colour yarns in a few different weights. There were a few solids/semi-solids, but this may not have been representative of their true offerings as I made it there in the afternoon, after they had most likely been picked-over.

What came home with me: As you see in this pic, I brought home two hanks of their fingering weight (because I can't resist this weight, dammit!) in Peach Rose. I have visions of fringed shawls dancing in my head. Because I feel that fringe is my New Big Thing.

The second yarn that called to me was Georgian Bay Fibre Co.
Why it caught my eye: Just look at that photo! Beautiful solids in the best range of colours. Classic neutrals and exciting brights. One of my favourite things about this yarn company is the creator's colour sensibility. Each one is thoughtfully presented to you as a package of beautiful yarn, and inspiration.
Maybe it's my soft-spot for Ontario, and even that particular part of it, but I thought it was the best of finishing touches when, upon my four different colour purchase, matching postcards explaining and illustrating the colour inspiration were presented to me.
(checking out her Instagram will show you some of this same colour thoughtfulness. @gbfibreco)

What came home with me: See here my four colours. Don't you want them too! What they will become is a mystery, but I'm thoroughly in love with these sheepy-smelling (yet soft) hanks. I hope you'll see a finished design with this impressive yarn in the coming months!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Wedding Prep: Chocolate Spoons and Two Weeks to Go!

I've spoken briefly about my upcoming wedding before, but with LESS THAN TWO WEEKS, I thought I'd give you an update from Wedding Prep HQ.
(FYI, linky to pinterest wedding board. Just in case you're interested).

It's a cavalcade of fun stuff happening over here.

There's the raw materials for the corsages and boutonnieres.
Hopefully more to come on them soon. I have plans involving sewing machines.

There's the Thank You sign from this cute photo idea.
How did I make that?
Years ago, for some unknown and uninspired reason, I cut stiff felt into a pile of circles and glued scrap fabric from this costume dress. They sat around unloved until I had a light bulb idea, spurred on by my determination to maintain budget and a low-level of extra effort (read: laziness).
I purchased the pack of glittery letters from Michaels and just hot glued them on, along with a backing of jute twine.
Just: remember to place the letters face down and in reverse order. Or else you'll glue them all down, hold it up, and have a great sign that says ! U O Y K N A N T

The favours will consist of edible yums, including the above pictured extra gingery gingerbread, and pre- and post-chocolate covered spoons below.

I made a few visits to my local Value Village and picked up these spoons. The chocolate was melted in a double boiler (important to get it the right consistency) and dipping them was actually way more fun than you might think.
They're actually sitting on their wax paper rests, drying as I type.

I didn't have much of a clue about the (cup)cake toppers. I knew I wanted something cute, but not a fortune. Particularly as I had so damn many bits of crafting crap that I've accumulated over many years.
So, you'll recognize these glitterly letters from the Thank You sign above. Again, my good friend the hot glue gun strikes. Just stuck down some round sticks and I'm done.

Well, for now. I still have banners and signs and corsages and bouquets and centrepieces and....

Friday, September 19, 2014


Hey every people! It's my birthday!
Me, centre, wanting cake.
I'm off enjoying it. Having a birthday in September has its great advantages, especially when it comes to being a knitwear designer; I can celebrate by sharing with you a coupon code to enable your autumn wardrobe enhancement!

Today through the 22nd, take 32% off any pattern available in my Ravelry shop with the code: Tis32


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Podcast Panel; Or, I Got all Embarrassed n Stuff

Last weekend, I participated in a podcaster's panel at the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair.

I was highly flattered to be included in the company of the Knit 1 Geek 2 ladies and Sasha Torres of The Spin Doctor.

It was fun!, if, you know, a bit embarrassing. Which surprised me, as I thought I had psyched myself up into believing it was "the same thing" as touring visitors in the museum where I work. Something I do all the time! So, I thought the skill might be transferable. But apparently not!

It was also really cool to meet the faces attached to the voices I've become so used to listening to over the last few months. Some of the emotion was that star-struck feeling, but some of it was a bit of embarrassment. And upon reflection, I think that embarrassment is because of the intimacy of radio (well, podcasting, but they're in essence the same thing). Radio/podcasting is a voice, invited into your home. Listened to closely. And in some way other minds must likely have dwelt on to a great extent, it's not quite the same thing as video. There's a presence to the voice that there isn't with the visual of a video. Maybe it's just more clear to our brain that a video is artificial, whereas a voice can be somehow more present?
I'll stop myself there, because wow, I'm going down a too-steep path there.

Anyhows, the panel was recorded, and I'll have it up here on the blog as well as a special podcast episode in the near future.

One of the questions they asked was about how the podcast/blog has affected my knitting.
So I'm throwing that one out to you: Do you have a blog? Do you feel that it affects your knitting/crafting?

Monday, September 15, 2014


I first encountered Baah Yarns at TNNA last year.

If any of you have been to a large knitting convention, you'll know the feeling of wandering the aisles and being both excited and overstimulated, almost immediately. It's candy land! It's everything you've dreamed of, times twenty! But where to go first?

Where to go? Where to turn? Those are THE questions. There's so much amazingness that you start to scan. You start to realize, quite quickly, your yarnny preferences. Even if you didn't walk in there with a list or clear ideas, if you take a moment after the frenetic energy of the day subsides, you'll see that there were certain booths that you kept seeing first and returning to most. And there's certain reasons for it, too.

Baah Yarns was one of those booths. It was laid out wonderfully. It was draped in an enticing array of colours, with an attractive number of bases. It was filled with extremely friendly staff. And Mira Cole, the wonderful head over at Baah, kindly gave me a bag full of La Jolla in Obsidian and Sage to create a simple, cozy, autumn cardigan.

I've had the grand pleasure of working with this yarn over the summer, and I'm rounding the corner on release time for this pattern.

One of the things I've noticed while working with these colours is the fantastically earthy, stoic, harmony that they create together. Mira herself picked them off the rack as a great pairing, and I have to agree. Individually one might think the Obsidian would overpower the seemingly delicate Sage, but each colour has a strength and depth that work together to create a garment that recalls the quiteness of the outdoors in autumn. Of the last few days of the season, before any snow has fallen, and the rock and their mossy tops are still visible, stalwart in the face of the cold to come.

Romantic, but not untrue.
Whenever I've picked up this project I've had these late-autumn thoughts running through my head.

I can't wait to show you the finished cardigan!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Holla Knits Fall/Winter 2014 Blog Tour

I might not look it here, but I loves me this cardi!
The joy of samples and swatches, and the sadness of knitting out of season.

The swatch for Geo Delight really did delight me in a way unlike any other swatch I've ever completed. For real! I have it pinned up in a place of honour on my incredibly over-crowded inspiration corkboard.

I figured if I was that tickled about the swatch, the finished sample would put me over the moon with the dish and the spoon. And it did!

I've been bursting with excitement, keeping this pattern under wraps! I've wanted to share it as soon as it was off the blocking mat and on my back.

Here you see my sample, off and away at a photo shoot!

But the only sadness (and really, there's only one!) of knitting up samples is the extended lead time. Which you of course need, what with tech editing, second sample knitting, pattern formatting and layout, not to mention photographs and all the other bits of collaboration that go into creating a finished collection.

So you end up always knitting out of season, and sending off your little wee knit babies to the Land of Pattern Photographs and Promos.

Really, this post is to say how very glad I am that this cat is out of the bag, and how very glad I am that my Geo Delight sample will be heading its way back to me!

Sept 8: Launch
Sept 9: The Sweatshop of Love - pattern giveaway, SEG: 6 skeins KP WotA Tweed in Brass Heather
Sept 10: Klever Knits - pattern and skein of Rowan Kid Classic giveaway, SEG: 6 skeins KP City Tweed Aran in Jacquard
Sept 11: Berroco - review and pattern giveaway
Sept 12: Canary Knits - pattern giveaway, SEG: 1 500 yard skein of Mountain Colors 4/8’s Wool in Harmony Ice

Sept 15: Mountain Colors Facebook Page - SEG: Mountain Colors Perspectives Twizzle in Blue/Turq
Sept 16: Life on Laffer - review and pattern giveaway
Sept 17: Knits in Class - SEG: 1 skein of Knit in Class
Sept 18: Makewise Designs - review and pattern giveaway
Sept 19: Anzula - SEG all the Anzula yarn needed for the vest

Sept 22: Ruby Submarine - SEG: 3 skeins KP WofA Tweed in Thirst Heather
Sept 23: BoKnits - SEG: 8 skeins KP Swish DK in Indigo Heather
Sept 24: Under the Red Umbrella - review and pattern giveaway
Sept 25: DoogKnits - review and pattern giveaway
Sept 26: Cosmos and Cashmere - review and pattern giveaway

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Carol E. Herman
Rav ID: cehermanator
Some Great Designs: cehermanator's Rav Designer Page

Texture! This week's designer has texture that speaks of autumn. Something about it gets me in the knitty, chilly, sittin-by-the-fireplace mood.

First up is the pictured Hood River Cowl. Its densely ribbed edge creates a firm fabric, that surrounds a brocade-looking stitch texture of X and O decorating the inner panel of the cowl. A very handsome accessory!

I love the way texture is used on this very cute I ♥ Oregon Dishcloth. I don't generally go weak at the knees for dishcloths, but I love this idea and can imagine that plenty of YOU would like to have one of each state (or province!) you've ever lived in or visited. Cool, eh?

Her Topiary Fingerless Mitts demonstrates how texture can be created through colour, and not only the real physicality of the fabric. The rhythmic patterns dancing across these colourwork mitts do indeed create a visual texture of their own.

Check out her latest designs: Route 66 Driving Mitts (love that texture! So cozy!) and My Sense of Direction Mitts.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Newsletter Subscriber Exclusive Giveaway

Geo Delight is one of my proudest designs.
Sometimes you have ones you're just really attached to, and this is one of them!

It's almost never left my side so far this season, and that's because it's such an easy wardrobe staple. It adds a bit of pizzazz to almost any outfit.
(I love how it was styled with a skirt in the pattern photoshoot!)

I usually wear mine with jeans and a cami (I usually run a bit warmer than most other folks!)

Are you interested in knitting up a Geo Delight of your very own?
You can hop on over to Holla Knits to purchase a copy, or you could become a Canary Knits Newsletter Subscriber for your chance to win your own copy!
This giveaway ends on Wednesday, September 17, so sign up before then for your chance to win!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rock Owl Rock On

I had this idea. From Pinterest, naturally. There was a seductively lovely image of a smooth rock, painted with a charming wee critter. Of course the first thought that occurred to me was: I have to do this too!

On one of my trips up to a cottage last month I collected a couple likely specimens for the purpose. These rocks, as you see, were not the smooth-as-a-canvas ones from the pin.
Oh no, certainly not.

These are chunks of the Canadian Shield, and are rough and jaggedy as you can imagine.

The challenge was on: I dug out my high school art materials and set to work. Really, it wasn't all that labour intensive. I had a general idea of what I wanted to paint, and gessoed a silhouette on each rock.

After several layers of that, it was oil paint time! Those, of course, took their sweet time in drying. But now they're all set, and are currently sitting pretty on my mantle.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Geo Delight

I'm so excited to say that one of my favourite patterns ever has been released today.

Holla Knits has published their Fall/Winter 2015 collection, and in it is my Geo Delight. (see it on Ravelry).

Stay tuned to see a bit more about the pattern on the blog tour that'll be stopping hereabouts on the 12th.

But for now, I shall gush and say WHEEE! It's here!

I love this pattern (and think you will too) because:
  • it's versatile
  • it's fun to knit
  • it's got that great pop of twisted rib
  • it's something you can throw on to make an outfit stand out
  • despite it being knit in stages, it's seamless! Love the seamless!

Sample 1 with two different contrasting colours.

Sample 2 with exciting ombre of blue-to-teal!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Todd Gocken
Blog: Todd Gocken Designs
Rav ID: ToddG
Some Great Designs: ToddG's Rav Designer Page

Yay! Fantastic men's patterns! Get your needles out, folks. This review has something different for you.

I've gone a little giddy, and not sure which of the so very many fantastically classic, interesting, and handsome men's sweaters to feature. They all share those qualities; if you're looking for a pattern for a man this autumn, go here!

It was difficult to choose a favourite to feature in the image above, but after much debate I went with Huddle. I don't think I have to tell you why this is such a fantastic piece. (but I will squee about that great shawl collar. Niiiiice!)

You many have seen some of his work in Knitty from last year, Streymoy. It's a cozy colourwork cardigan, as is the zippered Duncan. I really like Duncan; the strong colours and geometric patterns seem like fun updated retro winter-wear.

There is certainly a lot to see from this designer, but I'll just point out one more: Marshall. A great use of saddle shoulders, this form fitting ribbed sweater is very classic and flattering.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Wedding Prep: Arts and Crafts Attack

Crap! Where did time go? It's only one month until my wedding and I need to get my ass in gear if I'm going to complete any of my fantasized crafty... thingys.
I've lost my words. Anyhows, I'm hoping I can hand-create a not insignificant amount of the stuffs for this party.

There's bouquets and corsages of pom poms, fabric, and wildflowers (weeds, really), there's boutonnieres of the same materials, there's centrepieces of hoards of glass jars and wood slices and tea lights, and there's the trickiest of them all, my feathery wedding cape.

There's chocolate-dipped spoon, cookie, and hot chocolate favours. There's cupcake tree stands.  There's seating plans and table numbers and cute photo ideas. And clearly there's cakes toppers, too. Hell, there's even music playlists from pre-ceremony to super fun dance mix. (I've got no fun link for that one, they're still a-brewin').
And if  I can fit it in, there's the stupid throwback Wedding Day sign for the car. I'm undecided about that one.

Can you tell I'm using this post as a to-do list?

See my pinterest wedding board. Cause I know you wanna.

Acorns, hopefully to dry out and use for acorny goodness.
Feathers, for a feathery cape.
Wee bees that will go on hair pins.

Monday, September 01, 2014

The 80s Come to Roost

A short while ago, a friend of mine had a mini party wherein she busted out her fantastic collection of 80s toys and we played. We played like the five year old version of ourselves that we've always been.

Pony circle of power!


Did you know there was a SHEEP My Little Pony?
And it had balls of yarn as its symbol!
Remember these guys?

Do you collect anything? Yarn stash totally counts!