Tag Archives: Tanis Fiber Arts

Colour therapy

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I finished my rainbow socks on Tuesday and they are awesome! Which is to say, the colours are awesome (thank you Three Irish Girls!) and they make these otherwise plain socks sing.

sochi4

I’m not sure good lighting even exists at this time of year, so I’ll refrain from posting any shadowy pictures of my feet. These were just plain 64-stitch socks, with my usual heel and toe. I was pretty sure I’d need contrast toes to stretch the yarn, but when I got to the toe of my first sock, the skein still weighed almost 60g, so I just chugged right along with same colours all the way through. I actually have a bit leftover, which is a nice surprise. It’s not really enough to do anything with on its own, but it would be perfect for adding a bright stripe to another pair of socks, or (heaven forbid) darning these ones in the future.

For scale, it's already 14 inches deep, with another six or seven garter ridges to go, plus the border. This is going to be a big shawl.

For scale, it’s already 14 inches deep, with another six or seven garter ridges to go, plus the border. This is going to be a big shawl.

Socks finished, I turned to my neglected shawl (so neglected I haven’t even mentioned it here). I originally bought this yarn for Ysolda’s Follow Your Arrow KAL, but partway through Clue 1 I lost my nerve. I like the idea of an MKAL, but I realized that, in practice, I prefer to know how all the pieces will fit together before I start knitting them. So I followed my arrow to another pattern. I’m knitting Flukra by Gudrun Johnson. I’ve been coveting this shawl for quite some time now (even more so when I saw these examples of the shawl knit with garter stitch edging). I was originally going to knit it up in this, but it’s winter, and there’s enough white/grey around.

flukra1

I’m knitting it in Sweet Fiber Cashmerino Luxe and wow. This is a blend of merino/cashmere/silk and it is so, so soft. It’s like the downy fur on a kitten’s tummy. I can’t wait to wrap myself up in it. The colourway is Mystery (which would have been perfect for Ysolda’s KAL) and the colour of slate: mostly blue/grey, but with hints of rust running throughout. It’s not a bright colour, but it is a warm one, and I’m really enjoying the way it’s presenting in garter stitch. I’m almost done the body and I am pretty excited to get to the lace, which is all-action all the time, with no rest rows, which makes me think it’ll speed right along.

As if that wasn’t enough, I got home after a long day of work to find a very fun package on my doorstep. A few weeks ago Tanis Fiber Arts did an Etsy update, but instead of it being the usual grab-and-go madness they decided to dye to order, offering six colourways in three different bases. I don’t normally enter the fray of the Etsy update, but this was a really nice way to do it – not nearly as overwhelming or frustrating.

Clockwise from the top: Fjord, Rock, and Aurora

Clockwise from the top: Fjord, Rock, and Aurora

Anyway, I thought long and hard and picked up three skeins: Two skeins of the Purple Label Cashmere Sock, one in Rock and one in Aurora, and a Green Label Aran Weight in Fjord. I didn’t have any particular plans when I bought them, but when I saw them in person the wheels started turning. Rock, especially grabbed me. It looked much more grey-green in the photos Tanis posted, so I was surprised and delighted to see that, in person, it was the most delicate and subtle green, with just a hint of grey and gold in the background. I’m not locked in yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to become a Bakau shawl, which is another pattern I’ve been crushing on for a while.

AND, as if that wasn’t enough, let’s talk about knitted skirts. Remember the other day when I said I got the New Girl pattern for finishing my mittens? Well, Cassy commented that she thought was should do an informal KAL, since she loved the skirt too. We got to talking, and it’s official: in mid-March we’re going to cast on for New Girl. The pattern is half price at the moment, so if you’d like to join us, this is a good time to buy. There’s no pressure (and no prizes), but it’s nice to knit the same pattern at the same time as others: it’s good for encouragement, helpful if you run into problems, and an excellent way to narrow down your colour choices.

The perils of the best laid plans

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Sometimes I guess it’s possible to both plan too well and not quite well enough. This was the case of the Leftover Socks, which were originally intended (as the name suggests) to use up some of the leftovers from my Colour Affection shawl. That was the original plan. I weighed a pair of socks I had recently knit and then weighed the wool I had left, and happily discovered that I had enough to knit proper socks (that is, not short socks, which I don’t like to wear).

I then weighed the two colours of wool separately and found that I had a bit more of the green than the grey, so I decided to knit green socks with grey cuffs, heels, and toes. Very cute, I thought. And the first one was, see:

Leftover sock 1 all finished and nice looking, and leftover sock 2 just before the heel with a deceptive amount of yarn still in the ball.

The thing is, I should have actually thought about the math a little. The amounts of yarn I had in green and grey were only different by about 20 grams, and together equaled a pair of socks. If I had thought about what this meant, I might have been able to foresee what would happen if I tried to actually knit socks that were almost entirely in one colour. You can see where this is going can’t you?

Sigh.

I got just past the heel in sock number 2 (not even entirely through the gusset! but I will say that knitting on a dock in Tobermory made me feel a little better) when I realized I was in trouble. I switched to grey, hoping to save enough of the green to the toe. I figured that this way, at least, the tops would match when I was wearing shoes/boots, and the feet would just look reversed if I was wearing pants and sock feet. Sadly, it just wasn’t meant to be.

These are perhaps the most ridiculous socks I have ever knit. What was I thinking? Why didn’t I stripe them? Clearly I knit with the philosophy that if I don’t acknowledge the yarn is running out, it won’t run out. That belief was dashed this weekend. Don’t get me wrong, these are warm socks knit in lovely wool, and they will keep my feet warm even if they are unforgivingly fraternal and clearly knit on the fly. I know this, but would it have been too much to ask for a little symmetry? It’s the stupid toe that really kills me.

Leftovers of the leftovers.

To take the edge off the disappointment I’m sure you’re all feeling on my behalf, enjoy some Tobermory photos. It was a glorious weekend with good friends, nonsense socks (which are ravelled here, if you’re interested) notwithstanding.

We stayed in a different cottage this time around. Here’s the view from the deck (I spent some lovely time knitting on that dock.)

It was overcast and grey on the second night, but as you can see, the first night more than made up for it. Spectacular, it was.

The rocks at Half-Way Log Dump (in the Bruce Peninsula National Park) are pretty fantastic.

You can’t quite tell, but the water is tropical to look at. Even though it was cold, because you can jump in I did a lot swimming. I love swimming.

Stripes on stripes: Colour Affection is finished

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I was going to wait, and blog about Baku before anything else (it was the last stop on my trip and I swear I’ll get something up about it in the next couple of days – it was gorgeous), but then I finished Colour Affection on the weekend and I’m just too pleased to wait.

Behold:

So summery. So soft. So stripy.

It really worked out so much better than I ever thought it would. As I mentioned, I started it just before I left because I hate casting on in public. I was only a few rows in, though, when I left for the airport. It was about 24 hours door-to-door on the way to Tbilisi, and although that included switching planes several times (and this lots of security lines), as well as, in theory, some sleeping, I still had lots of knitting time. By the time we got into Tbilisi, I was only a couple of rows shy of having the first two pattern sections finished.

I finished the two-stripe section in Tbilisi and began the three-stripe short-rows in the car to Yerevan, but then, I got sick and couldn’t do anything but sit with my eyes closed and try to sleep. I got through a couple of pattern repeats in the short-rows before I realized I’d made a mistake. Each repeat is six bands of colour (12 rows), and I had knit 24 rows before I decided my short rows were really looking too short and something must be up. I went back to the pattern and, sure enough, I was one stitch short. For the next 12 rows I knit the way Veera intended, and then I added another stitch to my short rows and carried on that way for the rest of the section, which I finished on the flight from London to Halifax. (From Halifax to Toronto, 24-hours into travelling, I couldn’t knit any more and instead just slept. It was glorious.) It then took me a week to finish the two-inch border, which I attribute to the fact that a) those border rows are stupidly long, and b) I was back in my real life, and had other things to do.

I bound off (using a 5 mm needle) on Saturday and then blocked it (I bought blocking wires for the occasion), and on Sunday, after going for a photo shoot/walk with L, I brought it to work, because my office is a fridge. I am quite pleased.

Inspection.

I have to say, though, that I am surprised by how much I like it. I was really worried there for a while. The thing is, when you start with dark colours, you get used to how that palette looks. I like the grey, I like the green, and together, they played of each other nicely. Then, when I got to the short rows and introduced the yellow, I felt like everything was suddenly off. Somehow, the nice greyish tones in the yellow disappeared, the subtly colour changes in the green were gone, and what I was left with was garish and, I thought, a little too tropical for my wardrobe. I was seriously afraid that after hours and hours and hours of knitting, I was never going to wear the thing. I couldn’t figure out how I’d gone so wrong – I mean, the colours had looked so nice all stacked up.

Thank goodness I persevered. That two-inch border at the bottom saved it for me. The trouble is, when you’re knitting top-down, it’s hard to see how it will all come together, and for most of the knitting, the dominant colour seems to be the one you started with (in my case, grey). In the end, though, the short-row stripes are stronger than the other sections, and the band of colour along the bottom balances everything out.

It was really hard to get the whole thing in, but here it is (can you imagine it with an extra 40-inches of length? It was be huge!).

Details
Pattern: Colour Affection by Veera Välimäki
Yarn: Tosh Sock in Charcoal and Candlewick, and Tanis Fiber Arts blue label fingering weight in Mallard (Aside: Tosh Sock is like butter, and I would knit with it forever is that was practical.)
Needles: 4mm addi turbos
Modifications: I listed them above, and it’s ravelled here (if you’re into that sort of thing). I’ll say also that I didn’t check my gauge because, well, how is a shawl not going to fit? Somehow, though, this means I’m about 40 inches shorter than I should be, according to the pattern (only 2 inches shallow, though). I have no idea how that’s possible, but there you go.

This was perfect, perfect travel knitting. The next time I have a big trip, I would absolutely consider knitting another one, or at least something similar. As a bonus, I have enough wool left over for a pair of multi-coloured socks, which might be fun to knit up in the winter, when I could use some bursts of bold colour. (Full disclosure: I never did start those Monkeys. I will soon, though.)

The yarn wants what it wants

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About a week and a half ago I went into Lettuce Knit and picked up a ball of Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering Weight in the colourway Mallard. I had just finished my mirror-cabled socks and, even though I knew I had my mum’s scarf to start, I just wanted to have a little something in the stash to look forward to. Every once in a while I click over to Tanis’ website and just drool over the colourways, so it seemed like a good choice. I didn’t really have a pattern in mind, but that wasn’t the point. So I bought it, brought it home, and ever since then I’ve been thinking about it.

Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label fingering weight 80% superwash merino, 20% nylon in Mallard. (Yes, that’s Ganymede in the background. She refused to give up her window seat just because I wanted to do a photo shoot. Cheeky cat.)

The thing is, even though I was thinking socks when I bought it, this yarn just doesn’t want to be socks. Now, in the past I have sort of rolled my eyes when I heard a knitter say that about wool. I mean, come on, right? You’re the knitter, it’s the wool, it’ll be whatever you want it to be. But no. I have come to see the error in my ways. I love this wool. I love this colourway. I love knitting socks. But somehow these three parts weren’t adding up to a whole.

And then it hit me – just the way it’s probably hit thousands of other knitters – this yarn wanted to be worn somewhere visible, set off by two other contrasting by complimentary colours. Yes, this yarn wanted to be the Colour Affection by Veera Välimäki. I have been pretty in love with this shawl since I first saw it, but I just don’t think of myself as a shawl person, so I didn’t buy the pattern or obsess over colours. But lately, as the weather has been getting nicer, I’ve been thinking about it more and more. It’s not a triangular shawl, I told myself, so I can wear it as a scarf if I want to, with the option of draping it pashmina-like around my shoulders when the sun goes down. I am picturing this as a patio shawl (Patio Affection?), and the more I imagine myself wearing it, the more I want it.

So, this morning I called Lettuce Knit. I had been browsing Tanis’ colourways and picked my ideal three and I wanted to know if Lettuce Knit had them. They didn’t, but then Megan said they had Madeline Tosh sock in too, and some other sock yarns, and I figured what they heck, I’ll just go check it out. It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous day today, and I don’t have to work, so I hopped on my bike and rode down. After much deliberation (and there was a lot – another woman who was in the store had never heard of Colour Affection, but after helping me pick my colours and then looking at the pattern, she too decided she must knit it and then we picked her colours; this is why I love Lettuce Knit so, so much, but I digress), this is what I picked to go with Mallard:

Madeline Tosh Sock, 100% superwash merino, in Charcoal.

Madeline Tosh Sock, 100% superwash merino, in Candlewick.

Now, of course, comes the tricky part: what order do I want them in. Basically, I have three options (not counting the flipped versions of these, just picture them in the other order (They’re stacked with mc at the top, then cc1, then cc2).

Option A

Option B

Option C

Personally, I am leaning toward Option A, because I like the idea of the neutral as the anchor and then having a bright band of that yellow at the bottom. I haven’t cast on yet (it’s sweater day, remember? Torture!) so you still have time to change my mind or bolster my decision – foolishly I thought buying the yarn was going to be the hard part!

A Trio of Socks

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From left to right, three pairs of hand-knitted socks, in chronological order. These are all based on the same pattern, with a few variations. (The pair on the right looks skinny because of the rib, but I assure you it stretches out nicely).

The grey and purple pair (knit with Berroco Vintage) were the first pair of socks I ever knit. They took me almost six months to knit – well, two weeks for the first sock, and then I got distracted and then summer came – but they came out pretty well all things considered.

The middle pair, knit on Tanis Fiber Arts Yellow Label DK weight 100% superwash merino, which, let me just say, is a gorgeous yarn to knit with. I used olive and sand and got that pair finished in a week over the Christmas holidays. They turned out much better than my first pair (go figure) and are both warm and light-weight. The pattern is pretty basic, but look at how nicely it shows off the hand-painted yarn. Gorgeous.

Tanis Fiber Arts in Olive

Tanis Fiber Arts in Olive

The third pair are for my mom. They’re also knit with the other half of my Tanis Fibre Arts yarn, but with a 2×1 rib down the leg, because my mom found the leg on the green pair a little too tight. I went back and forth about knitting the heels in olive as well, but was worried I wouldn’t have enough; as it turns out, though, I certainly would have, so that’s something to keep in mind if you plan to knit these socks.

Tanis Fiber Arts in Sand

Tanis Fiber Arts in Sand

So, here are the basic details:

Boot Sock
(This assumes you have some knowledge of sock knitting, if that is not the case, e-mail me for a more detailed pattern)

These were knit on 3.75 mm needles, using worsted weight yarn. For the grey pair I cast on 40 stitches, for the olive pair 46 and for the sand pair 48. The cuff is 8 rows of 1×1 rib, after which I just knit until the leg was 7-inches long. Divide, knit 17 rows, and turn the heel as follows (written out for 40-stitch cast on, thus 20-stitch heel):

Row 1 – sl 1, k 10, ssk, k 1, turn
Row 2 – sl 1, p 3, p2tog, p 1, turn
Row 3 – sl 1, k 4, ssk, k1, turn
Row 4 – sl 1, p 5, p2tog, p 1, turn
Row 5 – sl 1, k 6, ssk, k 1, turn
Row 6 – sl 1, p7, p2tog, p 1, turn
Row 7 – sl 1, k 8, ssk, k1, turn
Row 8 – sl 1, p 9, p2tog, p2tog, turn

Pick up 12 stitches along both sides of the heel flap and work the following decrease rounds until you’re back to your original number of stitches:

Round 1:
Needle 1 – k to within 3 sts of the end of the needle, k2tog, k 1
Needle 2 – knit
Needle 3 – k 1, ssk, knit to the end of the needle
Round 2: Knit

The middle of your round is now in the middle of the heel.Knit up foot until you’re 3 inches from the total length (to measure gauge length, measure your foot on a piece of paper and then add 1/4 inch). Decrease for toe as follows:

Round 1:
Needle 1 – k to within 3 sts of the end of the needle, k2tog, k 1
Needle 2 – k1, ssk, k to within 3 sts from end of needle, k2tog, k1
Needle 3 – k 1, ssk, knit to the end of the needle
Round 2: Knit
Knit these two rounds until you’ve decreased half the stitches (that is, there are 20 remaining). Now work only round 1 until a total of 8 stitches are left. Break yarn and, using a darning needle, thread tail through remaining stitches and pull tight. Weave in ends.