Drea Renee Knits

Handmade Wardrobe // Metamorphic Dress

Finished objects, knitting, sewing, handmade wardrobeAndrea Mowry11 Comments
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This post is a wee bit different than my usual, but it's one I hope you will enjoy and maybe even resonate with!

I have had big dreams of learning to sew over the past few years, and I keep setting intentions to do it. But being a one-woman business and a mama to two babes under 4, doesn't leave much "me" time. Sewing a garment for myself felt selfish and I just couldn't justify taking the time for it.

But if I can get really honest here - I know that is not a healthy way to think. After a year of struggling with postpartum depression I have begun to take self care a lot more seriously. How can I take care of my loved ones, when I am struggling to care for myself? I've started small by prioritizing a 30 minute walk or run every workday. I've also been trying to get back into the kitchen, as I love to cook and know I feel so much better when I am eating food cooked at home. These little everyday things completely change my outlook on life. 

Well, after traveling, teaching, and designing - I got home and was feeling pretty drained. Thankfully, I had Meg McEwee's new pattern - the Metamorphic Dress, ready and waiting for me. I knew I just needed to push aside all of my excuses and schedule in my sewing time. As I washed, ironed and cut my fabric, I could feel the stress start to melt away. Excitement built as I began sewing, and I realized I was completely filled with joy. The joy of making just to make. The awe of watching my own hands create something beautiful to wear.

I will be the first to tell you - I am a total novice when it comes to sewing! But even for a newbie like me, I never felt in over my head. This pattern was clear, easy to read, and I love the "Burrito Role Method" tutorial! Any terms that were new to me, a quick google search clarified. (Yes, when I ready "clip the curves" my first inclination was to grab my sewing clips and actually put plastic clips on the curved neckline - LOL!)

It was pure glee when trying it on for the first time and realizing IT FITS! But wait, not only does it fit - but I LOVE IT!!! Y'all - I have worn this dress every day since I finished it! And each of those days I felt confident, proud, and totally filled up. I am so grateful that I finally took these precious moments, and even more so to the other artists out there that inspire me to create!

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I've already cast on a new oversized cardi design to pair with my Metamorphic dress! In these photos (snapped by my amazing husband, Peter Mowry (@petermowryphotography) while out playing with my kiddos), I paired my dress with my Kingsley hat and Raina Shawl (from the current issue of Making).

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A few pattern details: I chose to sew a Size 6 and it fits perfectly as a loose drapey dress, perfect for layering! I'm thinking about sewing up a second in a size down for summertime! I am a total newbie at buying fabric but if memory serves, I used Robert Kaufman Rayon/Linen blend for the top layer and the under layer is Technicolor- A Dream Weaves Collection by Kathy Hall Q-Tip Grey, and I purchased both at Dry Goods Design in Seattle :)

A Whirlwind Trip and THREE New Patterns!!

knitting, new pattern, sale, techniques, yarnAndrea Mowry2 Comments

Hello everyone!

I have just gotten home after almost 3 weeks of traveling in the PNW! I can't wait to share more about my trips in the next few weeks, but today I am so excited to share the release of not one, not two, but THREE new patterns!!

The Weekender

First up - my perfect pullover! When Brooklyn Tweed came out with their line of marls for Shelter, I knew I needed a marled sweater (or three ;) . I have been living in this sweater since it came off of my needles! It is perfect dressed up or down - whether going out to dinner with friends, or hiking in the woods this flattering sweater is fun to knit and even better to wear!!  The Weekender is knit from the bottom up seamlessly, with a three needle bind off to close the shoulders. The sleeves are then picked up around the armholes and knit down to the cuffs. You begin with a tubular cast on and end with tubular bind offs! If you have never tried any of the tubular techniques, now is the time! This was my first time playing with them, and I have to say - now I totally get what all the fuss is about! I love how they turned out!!

Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Shelter Marls in Narwhal

Photograph by my lovely and insanely talented friend Jonna Hietala (Editor in Chief of Laine Magazine)

Photograph by my lovely and insanely talented friend Jonna Hietala (Editor in Chief of Laine Magazine)

I loved my long sleeve version so much, I immediately cast on a sleeveless version! This modification is SO easy!! Just don't add the sleeves - that's it!

Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Shelter Marls in Newspaper

Both samples were knit up in the size Small, with a finished bust circumference of 44"/112 cm for 10"/25.5 cm positive ease on my 34"/86 cm bust.

A very special thank you to Kjerste of Wax and Wool, etc. for helping me name this pattern!!


Hoarfrost Shawl

Next is my current go-to shawl - Hoarfrost.

I chose the super bouncy Lakes Yarn and Fibers Organic Targhee worsted weight yarn for this super cozy shawl. I love using heavier weight yarns for lace projects! It amplifies the look of my project while providing instant gratification! This asymmetrical shawl is worked sideways, casting on at the corner and using the bind off edge to form the last side of the triangle. I find that working this shape in a worsted weight yarn, creates an incredibly wearable and cozy shawl that is also pretty quick to knit! I began this shawl with my favorite knit and purl texture that is totally reversible, and ended it with my favorite fir cone lace pattern, enclosing the entire shawl in the super neat i-cord edging!

Yarn: Lakes Yarn & Fiber Worsted Targhee in Hoarfrost

This and all other images, aside from Jonna's, are by my incredibly talented husband - Peter Mowry! You can find more of his photography on Instagram under @petermowryphotography

This and all other images, aside from Jonna's, are by my incredibly talented husband - Peter Mowry! You can find more of his photography on Instagram under @petermowryphotography


Tincture Hat

Last, but certainly not least is my new hat Tincture! As I was developing my brand new mosaic knitting class for Vogue Knitting Live, I wanted to create an extra special project for my students! It was so fun to surprise them last Friday with this brand new pattern that we all knit together! This super cute toque combines my favorite mosaic pattern with Brooklyn Tweed's Arbor for a gorgeous and modern hat that looks way more complicated than it is! If you have never tried mosaic knitting (coined by one of my heroes- Barbara Walker), I highly recommend it!! It is a great introduction into colorwork, without having to worry about tight floats or managing more than one color at at time!

Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Arbor in Thaw & Tincture

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What’s better than fall knitting?! To celebrate this huge November multi-pattern release, if you purchase Hoarfrost and The Weekender, you will receive Tincture as your free gift! Simply head on over to Ravelry and add ALL 3 PATTERNS to your basket and enter the coupon code NOVEMBER to receive Tincture for free! Coupon code must be entered before transaction is completed and is good through Friday, 11/10/17 at midnight EST! (Please note that all 3 patterns - Hoarfrost, The Weekender and Tincture must be in your basket before checkout or you will not receive the free pattern. The discount cannot be applied retroactively. Thank you!)

These patterns will be available on DreaReneeKnits.com next week sans promotion.

What the Fade // Revealed!

Andrea Mowry2 Comments
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Hosting my first Mystery Fade-along has been such an amazing journey and I am so grateful to everyone who participated!!

My goal for this KAL was for people to come together to knit, chat, make new friends and maybe play with color in a way that they hadn’t before! I wanted the pattern to be accessible for a wide range of knitters - beginner to advanced. I included brioche for those that already love it, or that want to push themselves to learn something new. I put together little tutorials in hopes that it would help the beginners among us to get going.

My hope is that knitters will end up with a shawl that is more of a painting - a work of art to wrap around you. A project that maybe pushes you out of your comfort zone and empowers you to play with a new technique or way of combining color, but also offers a relaxing and joyful knit to balance that out.

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Seeing the finished shawls popping up on Ravelry and Instagram is second only to watching the support that knitters offered each other in the forums. In my heart I believe that knitters are some of the best people around, and I am so honored to be part of this amazing community!!

For lots more photos, you can head over to Ravelry!

Comfort Fade Cardi - A Very Special Collaboration with La Bien Aimée

KNIT in COLOR, knitting, new pattern, sale, yarn, yarn babies, fadeAndrea Mowry25 Comments
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Today's post is extra special! I feel so honored that I was able to work with Aimée of La Bien Aimée to create a new colorway - Drea!! Talk about fun! I put together a fun mood board with some of my favorite colors right now, and Aimée and Hiro brought them to life as gorgeous speckles on my very own colorway. Seriously, a dream come true! Never did I think I would have my very own colorway!

These inspirational photographs were found on Pinterest.com.

These inspirational photographs were found on Pinterest.com.

Once I was holding a skein of Drea in my hands, I knew it was the perfect yarn to build a fade for the cardigan I had been dreaming up! With the help of Aimée, we put together a 4 color fade in her the amazing LBA DK base! It is such a dream to knit with, and I am thrilled that they will be offering kits, curated for your specific size this Friday the 13th on labienaimee.com!!

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Aimée graciously agreed to an interview so we could hear more about La Bien Aimée, which I know many of you adore!!

What inspires your gorgeous colors?

I find a lot of inspiration in nature and my surroundings. I live in a busy city so nature isn't always very present but through my travels, I draw a lot of inspiration from the places I visit. I have recently traveled to Patagonia and Portugal where the light is different in each place. The city colors of Portugal are so light versus the rich earth tones of the Patagonia wilderness, these colors offer us an endless palette of colors to work with. Paris is a beautiful city I call my home and I have to say that the light here can be magical. The golden hour is this perfect rose gold hour of beauty and I always look forward to seeing my city bask in this light. 

I know it is probably so hard to pick, but if you had a first timer coming into try your yarn - what base would you suggest? 

It depends on what the knitter wants to make.... if it's a shawl, I would say try our Merino Singles base. It's a smooth, round and endlessly soft merino fingering which is amazing for shawls. If you are trying your hand at knitting socks, I'd say give our Merino Twist base a go. Try one of our speckled colorways like Pop Grunge or our new color Drea where the speckles have such high definitions on our Merino Twist base. 

I am over the moon to have been able to work with you to create the new colorway - Drea! I would love to hear about the process from your perspective!

We have been trying to work with Andrea for a while now but our schedules were not lining up and I felt like after watching her knit and produce her designs that we could develop a special colorway for her. She had once told me that she loved Namu, one of our first speckle colorways and I felt like we could create something whimsical and special for her. I asked her to put together a mood board for us with colors that inspired her. Andrea did a fantastic job of bringing together a palette of sophisticated and modern colors for her board. From there we were able to  make some custom speckles for her colorway, Drea.  We are thrilled to see what Andrea will make with Drea!

For those of us still dreaming of the day we get to visit your shop in person, what is the best way to find your yarn? 

We have a brick and mortar shop in Paris, France. Our shop hours can be found here: 

https://www.labienaimee.com/pages/loisivethe

We have monthly updates through our website: labienaimee.com. Also, follow us on Instagram for our insta-updates. We schedule regular updates but also update the website as stock becomes available. 

If you want a custom order (4 skeins or more of one color): you can write us at labienaimeeyarn@gmail.com to set up a custom order of our current colors we are dyeing. 

What advice would you give to people out there wanting to follow their creative dreams?

Go for it! Keep positive. If you are wanting to start your own business of a yarn shop or dye shop, get organized and research the materials and investments that need to be made but in the meantime, play in your kitchen and hone your skills be it as a dyer or knitter.  Let your voice be heard in whatever creative media you choose. 

I am often asked how I started my first business, l'OisiveThé. It was nine years ago this year that I opened the doors to my tea house/yarn shop.  It was a risk leaving my office job and good pay to open this new concept shop but a risk I took because I knew if I waited any longer I wouldn't have done it.  I spent many years working without pay,  working very long hours and working every weekend to get my business off the ground. I interacted with as many creative minds, knitters, and crocheters as I could. I found my voice through social media and I started a weekly knit group that I hosted at L'OisiveThé. Nine years later, this group is still going strong and I have a café that hosts knitters from all over the world. 

What is your spirit animal?

My husband says that I am a Puma. I agree that I have cat like personality, especially when it comes to sleeping during the day and being up all night long. I like to work at night. It seems to be the time I get the most work done.

Team LBA Yarn!! - Francesco, Aimée & Hiro

Team LBA Yarn!! - Francesco, Aimée & Hiro

Thank you, Aimée for sharing with us!!


And now - back to the sweater!! I am so excited to introduce the Comfort Fade Cardi!!!

Last spring when I released the So Faded pullover, I immediately began receiving emails from knitters who really wanted to knit a faded sweater, but they felt much more comfortable in a cardigan! For me, a cardigan does double duty in my wardrobe - it signifies ultimate cozy comfort, but also is the perfect layer and makes my outfits feel complete. I couldn't wait to start designing a faded cardigan that I could wear ALL. THE. TIME!

I have found that Reverse Stockinette is the perfect canvas for fading and I knew I wanted a super cozy Garter shawl collar! The cuff fade is my favorite little detail of the Comfort Fade Cardi, and it's open style and slim sleeves make it incredibly flattering and the most unique sweater in my handmade wardrobe!

I really hope you love this sweater as much as I do! Please enjoy 15% off of this pattern with the coupon code DREA until Friday, 10/13/2017 at midnight EST!

If you are interested in snagging one of the custom kits from La Bien Aimée, make sure to set a reminder for yourself that pre-orders will go live this Friday, 10/13 at 5pm EST (11pm Paris)!! Each kit will be customized to your specific size!


Faded cuffs - my favorite detail ;)

Faded cuffs - my favorite detail ;)

Psst...keep an eye out for a new shawl pattern with LBA Drea & new colorways from Magpie Fibers coming in the next few months!! If you want to be the first to know when a new pattern goes live, make sure to subscribe over there in the right panel, and blog posts will be delivered right to your inbox!

New Pattern // Marluks

knitting, new pattern, sale, slippers, techniques, yarnAndrea Mowry1 Comment
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One of my earliest patterns was a pair of mukluks (which I still adore!) The generous cuff length and afterthought heel make this style of slipper my most knit and (maybe more importantly) worn house sock! They are so comfortable and I love the look - they feel like a compliment to my outfit and I may have worn them in public more than once (although, my poor slippers didn't appreciate the jaunt on pavement!)

When A Verb for Keeping Warm told me they were getting ready to launch a new marled version of their amazing Pioneer line, I couldn't wait to try it out! If you have never knit with Pioneer, I cannot recommend it enough! This 100% Organic California Merino is woolly, but not scratchy - think sturdy but cozy, and great stitch definition! It is one of my all time favorite organic yarns! I'd been dying to get some new slippers on my needles and was so excited to cast on!

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With holiday knitting upon us, I wanted a fun relaxing knit that would double as the perfect selfish or gift knit! The mukluks are offered in 3 adult sizes and can be adjusted to fit different foot lengths. The textured panel keep this knit engaging, without being too complicated. I hope you love these new Marluks (Marled + Mukluks ;) as much as I do! Please enjoy 15% off with the coupon code MARL until 10/4/17 at midnight EST! You can also purchase a ready to go kit from A Verb for Keeping Warm HERE!

I also had a major "Aha!" moment with these slippers. I love an afterthought heel (as you may have guessed if you have knit any of my slipper patterns. An afterthought heel is awesome as it is pretty easy to execute, and if you ever wear out the heel, you can simply remove it and knit a new one! The trickiest part is probably the removal of waste yarn and slipping your stitches back on your needle. So while knitting these I realized I could place a lifeline in the rows of stitches on either side of my waste yarn, so that when my waste yarn is removed when I am ready to knit my heel, the stitches are safe and secure on my lifelines until I slip them back on to my needles! This also takes all the guess work out of if you are getting all of the necessary stitches back on your needles. I filmed a fun little video to show how I do this (below) and there is a handy link in the pattern as well!

For more fun tutorials you can head over to my Youtube channel and subscribe! I've also just updated my Interviews page with some fun new podcasts and blog interviews! If you hoping to attend one of my workshops, you'll want to keep an eye on my events page!

"Countdown To My Birthday!!" SALE!!

brioche, KNIT in COLOR, knitting, saleAndrea Mowry7 Comments

Hello everyone!!

I hope you have been enjoying your summer!

It’s that time of year for my annual birthday sale! I am kicking it off a bit early, as I’ve got a really fun surprise to share on my actual birthday (so stay tuned for that on August 1 ;)

Until then, please enjoy 34% off of all independently released DRK patterns with the coupon code KNIT until 7/31/17 at midnight EST! And THANK YOU so much for all of your support over these past few years!!

xoxo,
Andrea

Knit Stars 2.0!! Early enrollment ends in 2 days- 7/7/17!!

knitting, teaching, techniques, workshop, knit starsAndrea Mowry1 Comment

I am SO THRILLED to announce that I will be one of the instructors for Knit Stars 2.0!!

Enrollment for Knit Stars 2.0 is open (but only for 2 more days)! It's all online, with instruction from 10 amazing pros from all around the world - and you don't need to leave your home. The Knit Stars 2.0 online summit is happening in October, and this is your chance to get in at a special earlybird rate (save $50!!!) and get special access to the exclusive Knit Stars yarns. Click here for all the information and to enroll!

You get access to the workshops from all 10 instructors and they never expire! I attended Knit Stars 1.0 last year, and I still reference my classes for helpful tips and inspiration! It was such an amazing experience for me that when they asked me to teach this year the answer was a resounding YES!

I am so excited to pass on some of the tips and techniques that have helped me to be a more creative and efficient knitter. Let's get our fade on together!!

I also can't wait to reveal the awesome yarn dyer I've been working with to create some super special colorways only available to those who sign up! Eek!!!

Don't delay - sign up today and get ready for a really amazing experience that will take your knitting to the next level!

New Pattern // Free Your Fade

KNIT in COLOR, knitting, new patternAndrea Mowry5 Comments

Some of you amazing and generous knitters have been asking if there is anyway you can give a little more to help with Michele’s medical costs. Seriously, you are all just beyond kind and generous! Michele’s sweet friend, Mara (many of you know her as Orangeknits) has set up a GoFundMe campaign! Here is a link if you are willing and able. No matter if you can give financially, or just by sending Michele all of your healing thoughts and love - it just means so much. Thank you!!!

Adaptability. This word kept spinning around my head as this shawl grew on my needles. I wanted a shawl I could cast on with any weight of yarn, as many (or few) colors as inspired me, and I wanted to keep on knitting until I felt like stopping, no more and no less.

I am so excited to say, that Free Your Fade checked off everything on my list - and more! As a busy mama of two young children, I want my knits to be enjoyable, relaxing and just engaging enough to fill me up, but not wear me out!

My dreams came to life for this new pattern as I grabbed 3 of my favorite skeins of Republic of Wool - Metal Heart, Ripple, and a Misfit skein that sweet Michele dyed up for me! Everything else just fell into place and I love that this gradient shows how you can really play with mashing up colors together in unexpected ways! I tweaked the faded sections in this shawl a bit to extend the melt, and I love how it turned out!

Free Your Fade mixes two of my favorite textures- garter stitch and eyelets. It is the perfect canvas for all of my color craving from speckles to solids!  I've got plans for a one color summery version knit up in Brooklyn Tweed's new Vale yarn, and come this fall, you bet I'll be knitting up a super chunky one with Hedgehog Fibre's Chubby. I'm also dreaming about using different weights within one shawl (think skinny singles and fuzzy mohair ;) ! The possibilities are truly endless!

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of Republic of Wool. I was thrilled when Michele participated in Yarn Babies last year and then when she agreed to help with my new fade - you better believe I was doing a happy dance! She has been such a big inspiration to me with the way she uses color. It has really motivated me to push past my comfort zone to start exploring more, and I am so happy I have!

Sadly, Michele is going through a very scary time right now, as she has been having difficulty with her eyes. From what she knows at this point, her doctors think she has Secondary Angle Closure Glaucoma being caused by cysts within her eyes. Her doctors have never seen anything like this in someone so young, but they do know she will need to have an operation to prevent vision loss. Most likely then followed by some other laser procedures. As you can imagine, this is incredibly stressful for her.

Michele has made our world so much brighter and more colorful with her gorgeous yarn, and I can think of no better way to thank her than to donate some of the proceeds of this shawl pattern to her surgery fund! I will be donating 15% off all Free Your Fade pattern sales through June 6, 2017. I hope we can all rally around her as she gets better. She has been so generous in dyeing up a few kits for Free Your Fade, all of which are unique. But please keep in mind, they will be very limited as she focuses on healing!

Yarn Babies // Hue Loco

giveaway, knitting, yarn, yarn babiesAndrea Mowry462 Comments
Rainbow Brite

Rainbow Brite

This past March I had the good fortune to be able to spend a weekend in Fort Collins, Colorado, teaching at My Sister Knits. It was such an amazing weekend and I got to meet some truly beautiful people! One of those people was the extremely talented Nicole of Hue Loco. What stood out to me the most about Nicole is how incredibly generous and supportive she is. If you check out her Instagram feed (which you should), you will notice that she regularly shares yarn from other dyers. Instead of viewing them as competitors, she sees us as a large community and puts her efforts into supporting her fellow dyers! She told me how she wants to share her creative knowledge with everyone that she can, and this just filled my heart! I LOVE this mentality. We are all in this awesome knitting family together, so let's inspire each other and help each other to learn, grow and share what we create!

Read on to learn more about Nicole and Hue Loco! And bonus - Nicole also has a fabulous video podcast!


Could you tell us a little bit about what brought you to dyeing your own yarn line?

I taught myself how to knit in 2010 shortly after my first son was born. Soon after I stumbled upon the amazing world of hand-dyed yarn and was smitten! I began to dabble in dyeing purely for selfish reasons, eventually opening an etsy shop in 2015. The rest is history! I have been blown away by this amazingly supportive community.

Was there a pivotal moment that made you start your business?

Here was that pivotal moment: “I need to find something to do that doesn’t involve changing diapers, cooking meals and nursing or I'll go nuts.” Answering this question totally made me laugh! Our family of four, soon to be 5, moved to California early 2014; landing right outside of Los Angeles. My husband was working on a show for Discovery so he was completely devoted to and involved in his career. I was a full time stay-at-home mom and absolutely loved the job! We spent most of our days outside catching lizards, going on bike rides and playing at the pool. While I felt very fulfilled as a mother I knew my creativity had come to a complete halt. My husband and I both agreed that we would start to enact something we so affectionately named Dadderday. Every Saturday morning John would take over all the parenting responsibilities while I dabbled in whatever creative process I was into at the time. This eventually led me to dyeing and present day I find fulfillment in both being a mother and an artist. The best of both worlds!

Lucky Charm

Lucky Charm

What inspires your colors? 

I've been in a long-term, romantic relationship with color for most of my life. What inspires my colors? The list could go on and on...I’m not kidding, it totally could! For me, the best part about dyeing is seeing how colors harmonize and layer on top of one another. Every time I get to create a new colorway it brightens my day, especially when it turns out just like what was in my head. I tend to create colorways that I gravitate toward...I love all shades of green, purple and teal. You’ll notice I have plenty of those to choose from in my shop!

Can you tell us about some of the different bases you offer and if you have a favorite?

I offer a range of fingering weight blends, sport, DK and worsted that are exceptionally lovely. I absolutely adore my 50/50 merino silk blend called Opal Sock. It has a beautiful shine and drape that looks drop dead gorgeous on shawls! Definitely the most popular blends are a high twist MCN (Spun Sock) and a traditional 75/25 blend of merino and nylon (Phyllis Sock). I also regularly stock singles, glitter and tweed blends. 

What is the most unexpected thing that has happened since creating Hue Loco?

This community of knitters has been completely unexpected! I discovered Ravelry late 2010 but wasn’t fully utilizing the shared threads, groups, etc. I was primarily using it as a resource for patterns. Little did I know that this community would play a crucial part in supporting and encourage me in making my creative dreams come true. I have been a recipient of such generosity and kindness in the last two years. A big hug and thank you to each and every one of you that has supported Hue Loco. It means so much to me, truly. 

You have 4 little ones at home - any tips to other work at home mamas about how you manage to run your own business while raising children?

Owning a business means you have to juggle a lot and it’s imperative to not lose focus on what’s most important to you. My family is my first priority. There’s never an end to the demands of my business and there are times when I feel completely overwhelmed by tasks. I’ve found that this is when it’s most important for me to come back to my number one. I have to brag on my children a bit because they totally make entrepreneurship a possibility for me. They are the best kids! I keep them on a pretty tight schedule when it comes to sleep. All of my kiddos (4 months - 7 years) go to bed at 7pm. It sounds early but it’s really a matter of personal sanity. Early bedtime gives my husband and I enough time to talk about the day, ship packages and finish up left over work; don’t forget all those household chores too. Sleeping kids for the win!

What advice would you give to people out there wanting to follow their creative dreams?

Go for it! Absolutely run with your dreams, there’s nothing better you could do with your life than step into your passion. Even if nothing makes sense and you can’t possibly fathom how taking this leap could affect your present life it’s SO important to just start. Whether a bible believer or not, take the story of Moses and the Red Sea. God didn’t part the waters and let Moses walk through. NO! Way too easy! He waited for Moses to step into the sea out of faith before he parted the water. Sometimes all you need is that first step and a little faith! That forward motion! 

Minis in a variety of colorways

Minis in a variety of colorways


What is the most important thing you have learned since starting your business?

One word comes to mind and that's balance. Owning a business is absolutely the best. I love it but It can be difficult to manage alongside all of my other responsibilites as a mother and wife. I’ve had to work extremely hard to be in every moment and not be distracted with the next task. Hue Loco has enriched my life in so many ways and I am so extremely grateful to be learning more about who I am through it. 

What is the soundtrack you have playing while dyeing yarn?

It would have to be Brandi Carlile’s Firewatcher’s Daughter album. I’m such a fan of hers. Loud Harp is another favorite of mine. Really any music that’s genuine and soulful, I’m sold. 

Where can we find your yarn?

My yarn is primarily sold on hueloco.com. Here you’ll find the biggest selection as I’m always doing my very best to keep the shop stocked with signature colorways and fresh new combos. You can also find Hue Loco yarn at a number of local shops as well. To name a few: Wildfiber Studio of Santa Monica, Colorful Yarns & My Sister Knits of Colorado and Simply Socks of Indiana.

What is your favorite thing to knit?

My favorite thing to knit on right now is my cozy memories blanket. My life is crazy busy but it’s always a knit that I can come back to at the end of a long day. I don’t have to think, my hands move and something is accomplished. I love seeing each square and remembering each moment that it's attached to. I also love knitting sweaters, it’s so much fun to see the construction come together and completely rewarding to wear. I’m working on an Alicia Plummer design right now called In Stillness with Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage, one of my absolute favorites!

What is your spirit animal?

I’d have to pick the stingray. I come from a long line of strong, independent woman in my family which I’m very proud of. The stingray isn’t naturally aggressive but can be very calculated and strategic. I can relate to many characteristics of this majestic creature. 

What is your favorite noise?
There are a few obvious favorites for me; my children laughing, early morning sounds in the mountains and the ocean. Grasshoppers in the evening take me back to my childhood. My father was an avid bird watcher so I can’t help but love the sound of birds as well.

Nicole

Nicole


I am SO excited to team up with Nicole to offer an awesome giveaway this week! We will be giving one lucky ready both of my newly released patterns - So Faded and So Faded Pint Sized, along with a 5-skein Fade Kit of Hue Loco yarn!! (Pictured below.)

To enter, simply leave us a comment telling us your favorite way to wear your handknit sweaters! Remember to include your email address or Ravelry name in the body of the comment so we have a way to contact you if you win! The giveaway will close Friday, 4/28/17 at midnight EST!

All images in this post were provided by Nicole of Hue Loco.

New Patterns // So Faded & So Faded Pint Sized

Finished objects, KNIT in COLOR, knitting, new pattern, saleAndrea Mowry40 Comments
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Good morning, knitters!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend! We are kicking this week off with such an exciting pattern release! Ever since I finished my Find Your Fade shawl, I knew I needed a faded sweater! I was so inspired by some gorgeous yarn I had bought from Primrose Yarn Co a few months ago, and the So Faded sweater jumped on my needles and pretty much knit itself!

The first (of 3!!!) that I knit, I opted for a cropped fit. It is perfect for layering over collared shirts and dresses or worn with high rise jeans and (my personal favorite) overalls! I knit the sleeves to just about the elbow which is perfect for transitional seasons - hello Spring!!!

The day I bound off my cropped version I immediately grabbed some gorgeous Woolen Boon and cast on another! I wanted a more classic style - hip length with 3/4 length sleeves. Halfway thru, I KNEW I HAD to knit one for my daughter! I reversed the colors I used for my classic fit and had hers finished in just a few days! The changing colors make this sweater so exciting to knit, I just couldn't put it down! One of my favorite details is definitely the garter shoulders. I love that it makes this perfect everyday raglan stand out from the crowd. Because it is knit seamlessly from the top down, it is super easy to customize! Knit it the length you want for the both the body and sleeves! (I am crossing my fingers someone will decide to do a short sleeved version, binding off after the garter shoulders ;)

To celebrate this pattern release I am offering 15% off of all of my Faded patterns! Use the coupon code FADED on So Faded, So Faded Pint Sized and the Find Your Fade shawl until this Friday, 4/21/17 at midnight EST!

Keep your eyes out for amazing So Faded kits from awesome indie dyers! Custom kits will be available thru Kitterly.com, Hue Loco and Woolen Boon - just to name a few!

Psssttt...later this week I will be sharing a very special interview and giveaway with Nicole from Hue Loco!

stEEK-along! Let's take the EEK out of steeking!!

knitting, techniquesAndrea Mowry2 Comments

Happy Monday! This week I am teaming up with two amazing designers - Shannon Cook of So Very Shannon and Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks - to challenge ourselves to explore Steeking with a little Instagram stEEk-along!

Have you every steeked? Do you know what steeking is? Do you want to join us?!

In a nutshell, steeking is a method that allows you to knit your project entirely in the round (always a bonus in my book!), and then by reinforcing the stitches on either side of your cutting line (usually with crochet or a sewing machine), you then take the scissors to your knit, and snip snip snip! Perfect for cardigans, armholes, and even bonnets! This is especially useful for colorwork, as it is a lot easier to knit and follow a colorwork chart on the right side (or front) of your work, then on the wrong side (or back.)

I've done my homework and sketched up a little color chart I plan to follow for my swatch. I am going to use Brooklyn Tweed's new DK yarn, Arbor, in Humpback and Thaw. I have been dying to get these colors on my needles together! From what I have read, it is best to use a stickier yarn - so non-superwash wool is ideal. I think Shelter or Loft would be even better! I think for the first time around, avoiding super slick superwash yarns seems to be a good idea.

I am referencing this tutorial from Tin Can Knits, for when I am ready to do my cutting. There are lots of tutorials out there - so pick whichever speaks to you!

So here are the details if you want to join in on the fun!!

Beginning on Monday, April 3: Pick your yarn and start your swatch! Remember that you are knitting in the round ;) Not a fan of colorwork - no problem! You can swatch in one color, or choose stripes, or whatever fits your fancy! Make sure to post a picture of your yarn and scissors on Instagram and use the tag #stEEKal and #swatchnsteek, so we can all follow along and support each other!

4/3-4/10: Post a picture of your finished swatch before cutting it and tag it with #stEEKal #preop #beforethesteek

Monday, April 10: Snip day!! We will take the fear out of cutting into our knits and snip snip snip! Post a video or before and after pictures on Instagram with the tags #stEEKal and #snipyourknits!

Are you a seasoned steeker?? Tell us your favorite tips or share links to your favorite tutorials in the comments below! <3 <3 <3


Congratulations to the winner of Circus Tonic Handmade giveaway - Chris Hindle!! I've messaged you :)

 

Yarn Babies // Circus Tonic Handmade

giveaway, KNIT in COLOR, knitting, yarn, yarn babiesAndrea Mowry168 Comments

I have to say that one of the best things that has happened since the Find Your Fade shawl went live, was how many new-to-me and AMAZING independent yarn dyers I have discovered! Shortly after it's release, I began seeing gorgeous gradients pop up in my Instagram feed created by these talented artists. It immediately made me want to cast on another, and also to get to know the people dyeing them!

Hannah from Circus Tonic Handmade is one of those delightful people. It has been such an honor getting to know her - and oh my goodness, is her yarn just stunning!! I am so excited to share her interview today! And lucky for us - I get to give away one of her beautiful skeins to a lucky winner!!


Could you tell us a little bit about what brought you to dyeing your own yarn line?

Soon after learning to knit at the end of 2013 I found hand dyed yarn. I quickly became absolutely obsessed…to such a point that my stash grew rather alarmingly! Even the mailman was wondering what on Earth was going on! I was still working as a scientist and up until that point had been a quilter drawn to the riot of colour in modern quilting. Once the kids came along and sitting with my back to them at a sewing machine became impractical (and have you ever tried to baste a quilt with toddlers around?!!) I knew I needed to switch to knitting and yarn. I just couldn’t get over how beautiful hand dyed yarn could be….and I loved being able to actually wear items handmade by me…so the love of knitting and yarn came hand in hand. Throughout the years of maternity leave, going back and forth to work and struggling with daycare, work and family balance I remember trying to come up with ideas that could allow me to work in what I loved which could also involve less crazy rushing around and expense! I enjoyed my previous science life, I had studied well over ten years for that position but with three kids in four years the lifestyle was just not practical anymore and as soon as the enjoyment goes it just makes it hard work.

Was there a pivotal moment that made you start your business?

I resigned from my career! From the day I realised everything had to change it was all done within a few short weeks. All the kids were at a University daycare where I worked, so they were all pulled out and we were home. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I was totally lost. I remember looking down at my hands…holding some magnificent Lemonade Shop yarn…. It took about 8 days before I had hotplates, yarn, dye and a mask ordered! I opened an Instagram account and started….the only way I knew how….studying!! I practiced and practiced….I dreamt yarn, I lived and breathed it…and still do. Obviously my kids and husband were top priority….but as far as I was concerned then and there I was so afraid not to be also “working” I had to throw myself head on into soly launched the business about five months later.

What inspires your colors?

I studied genetics, not colour and so I could only start with what I liked and I went with that. I actually turned…again….to books. I collect antique science and natural history books. Colour plates within books on Australian native birds became a huge focus and there is so much scope there I have yet to move on! There are even a lot of incredible birds to spot just around and about at home and on our travels. I have amazing books from the early 1900’s on gemstones, insects and flora. There is so much to pull from so that is where I am at the moment. I have become far more confident with new colourways lately, as I really explore the craft as there is a lot to learn!! There are so many ways to achieve fascinating speckles and highlights which are such a joy to knit in a skein and make wonderful fabric. Even in quilting, I fell in love with the whole “Low Volume” movement….and you can see that in a lot of my yarns lie Galah, Skylark, Wattlebird and Southern Cassowary. There is something so magical though about the depth a good semi solid tonal can lend to a garment. I’m totally hooked! I hope to continue on and on!

Can you tell us about some of the different bases you offer and if you have a favorite?

We offer local fingering, DK and Aran weight Australian merino bases which are extremely soft and delicious. Our 80/20 Australian merino nylon Revelry Sock base is the most popular…my favourite to dye and of course the most difficult and unreliable to source! As my shawl knitting obsession has expanded, we now carry a single ply merino fingering base, a higher twist merino cashmere silk blend, a stunning merino silk lace, a BFL sock and stellina fingering yarns. We try to offer a good sized range for sock, accessory, garment and shawl knitters.

What is the most unexpected thing that has happened since creating Circus Tonic Handmade?

The biggest surprise has been the incredibly generous and encouraging knit community!! Designers, yarn dyers, vendors, publishers, podcasters and makers all interconnecting and lifting each other. It is incredible and I truly think unique to our community. Never have I seen such kind acts on such a consistent and inspiring level….it’s been the icing on the cake! I’m really looking forward to building the business into a situation where I can start meeting up with online friends at faraway fibre festivals!!!!

What is the inspiration behind the name - Circus Tonic?

When people enter our home I’ve always said “Welcome to the Circus!” Knitting and making and yarn and fabric have been my survival strategy since having kids….my tonic. Tonic is also a play on words as our surname is Ginn, which is often mispronounced Gin like the spirit!

What advice would you give to people out there wanting to follow their creative dreams?

My top pointer would be to focus on something you really really LOVE as you should be prepared to work really REALLY hard!! The commitment needed to make a small business succeed is massive…..which is lucky for us as I do believe it’s easier for creative people to live, dream and sleep their business. There is that saying “The right time and the right place”. Once you think you are there you need to pull out all the stops and go for it!

What is the most important thing you have learned since starting your business?

I worked in many many different types of jobs while I studied…..florist, waitress, maître di, bartender, clothing retail, making hummus and tabbouleh in a Lebanese restaurant, librarian, tutor, lab demonstrator and research assistant. All of those involved customer service face to face. You could gauge situations in person most of the time and act accordingly. With almost 100% of my interactions now online I have really had to learn this new way of life…..and I believe it has unique customer service related challenges. I’m still learning but I really do enjoy having the odd live event, or Trunk Show….as meeting customers in real life and seeing their knits made from my yarn is a true thrill!

What is the soundtrack you have playing while dyeing yarn?

Bonobo mainly, with Air, Royksopp, Tame Impala, Fat Freddy’s Drop and then old school Basement Jaxx, Beastie Boys and Fatboy Slim if things need lifting a bit!!

Where can we find your yarn?

I currently sell on Etsy at etsy.com/shop/circustonichandmade and the best form of communication and keeping up with what is going on is to follow me on Instagram @circustonichandmade We have a thriving Ravelry group Circus Tonic Handmade Yarns and there are a whole lot of really fantastic projects to have a look at there.

What is your favorite thing to knit?

I started out knitting baby jumpers and cardigans and love how quickly they come together! It was shawls that really got me addicted to knitting larger projects....and now I have recently learned how to knit socks they are super fun to showcase my yarns. So I love those…but in 2017 I will be striving to attempt several sweaters and cardigans for myself! I have at least eight projects I would dearly love to make….most with colourwork yokes…and with our very short winter and knit wear season here in Sydney, those should last me quite some years! So I completely failed to answer that question…..but as I’m still a relatively new knitter I really can’t say yet!!

What is your spirit animal?

Can it be mythical? If so, Sphinx, for sure. But the benevolent Egyptian kind, not the monstrous Greek kind.

What is your favorite noise?

A champagne cork popping….daaaarling! No seriously!! It means there are friends, it’s the weekend, there’s great food…..family are happy and there are more adults around than just me…..and the mailman!!

Anything else you would like to include?

JUST THANK YOU ANDREA!!!!

Thank YOU Hannah for letting us peek behind the scenes of Circus Tonic Handmade!


To enter the giveaway to win a skein of Hannah's gorgeous yarn, please leave a comment below telling us what in nature inspires you? Remember to leave your email address or Ravelry name in the body of the comment so that I have a way to contact you!! The giveaway will close 4/1/17 at midnight EST.

All the images in this post were provided by and used with permission from Hannah Ginn.

New Pattern // Across the Pond Cowl

knitting, new pattern, saleAndrea Mowry2 Comments

I am so excited to share my collaboration with Spincycle Yarns and Loop in London!! The Across the Pond cowl was released this past weekend at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. I am thrilled to bring it to all of you today!

As I began dreaming up a cowl design for Spincycle’s gorgeous yarn, I knew I wanted to create a mash up using two different techniques, and that at least one of the techniques involved colorwork. Spincycle’s Dyed in the Wool yarn takes colorwork to the next level with the way it melts from one tone to the next. I love it! A cowl is the perfect canvas for trying out some new techniques, and mosaic knitting is a favorite of mine! My love for knitting drew me to the graphic herringbone stitch pattern you see in “Across the Pond.” I love that it looks like big knit stitches! Mosaic knitting is also an awesome introduction to colorwork, as you are only ever dealing with one strand of yarn at a time. I also really love eyelets, and add them into patterns whenever I can! I found that the angles of the mosaic pattern balance out the round polka dots of the eyelets. Utilizing some different techniques and styles in this cowl also felt like a way to represent the colliding of two really awesome businesses - Spincycle Yarns & Loop London! The resulting cowl is so easy to wear. I love to thrown it on with jeans and a t-shirt, or dressed up with my favorite jacket. I hope you love it, too!!

To celebrate Across the Pond's cyber release, please enjoy 15% off of your pattern purchase with the code POND until 3/15/2017 at midnight EST!

New Pattern // Boho Blush Shawl for AVFKW & Naturally Straight Forward

brioche, Finished objects, knitting, NaturallyStraightForward, new pattern, sale, yarnAndrea Mowry6 Comments
Boho Blush Shawl

Boho Blush Shawl

Almost 2 years ago, my dear friend, Annie Rowden and I, got together and began working on a project that focused on naturally dyed yarns and enjoyable patterns that were engaging, but still relaxing to knit!

At the 2016 Stitches West we were lucky enough to snag some of the most breathtaking, naturally dyed yarn from Kristine Vejar at her gorgeous A Verb for Keeping Warm booth! If you've never had a chance to work with AVFKW yarn, I cannot recommend it highly enough!

Entwined in Mesa, that was soon to become Boho Blush!

Entwined in Mesa, that was soon to become Boho Blush!

I am always drawn to blush pinks, and I think that this Mesa colorway may be the perfect hue! I knew I wanted to knit up something flirty and romantic. As I ran the yarn through my fingers, its bouncy texture whispered garter stitch, with a little texture thrown in to keep it engaging. Some designs take a lot of contemplating, sketching, swatching and trial and error to get it just right. Boho Blush - was not one of those designs. This shawl was destined to be. I cast on and the stitches just flew off my needles, everything just falling into place! The brioche and lace bands add a balance of squishy texture and delicate openness to the shawl. Its crescent shape hugs your shoulders and the fringe is just. SO. FUN!!!

I know you all will love knitting this shawl! I can't wait to wear it all year round :) Make sure to also check out Annie's perfect new pullover, Menhir, also knit up in lovely AVFKW yarn!

Help me celebrate Boho Blush by saving 15% on your pattern with the coupon code BOHOBLUSH until 3/1/17 at midnight EST!!

xx

New Pattern // Rose Gold Shawl

brioche, KNIT in COLOR, knitting, new pattern, sale, yarnAndrea Mowry6 Comments

Good morning, Knitters!! I hope your week is treating you well! We are having some surprisingly balmy Michigan weather (yes, 50+ degrees in February is very balmy!!) But winter is far from over and when I want some major squishy and cozy knits to wrap up in - I always reach for brioche!

Rose Gold is my newest shawl and is worked in two color brioche from side to side to form what I like to call a peaked asymmetrical crescent! This shawl is one of my favorite shapes because it creates a long wingspan and a fairly shallow depth, so it is very wearable! The brioche begs to hug the curves of your shoulders while the remaining length of the wings dance in a cascading spiral.

I teamed up with Black Trillium Fibres and used two of their gorgeous gradient sets. The effect is a soft melting from light to dark that is mirrored on both sides. I love how bold the final border is with the deepest pigments and brioche lace.

I hope you all love it, too! If you are one of the lucky heading to Stitches West this weekend, make sure to stop by the Black Trillium booth to snag some yummy yarn!

To celebrate Rose Gold, please enjoy 15% off of the pattern with the coupon code ROSEGOLD until Sunday 2/26/2017 at midnight EST :)

Book Review & Giveaway! // Maine Knits by Beatrice Perron Dahlen

giveaway, knittingAndrea Mowry109 Comments

Happy Sunday everyone! I've been spending mine curled up with a cup of tea and this stunner of a book, Maine Knits, created by Beatrice Perron Dahlen, who you might know as Thread & Ladle.

I was lucky enough to spend time with Bea this past fall during our trip to Rhinebeck. She is someone that you immediately want to be friends with, and her passion for a handmade life with her family is infectious!

Her book is such a labor of love, and you can feel it in every single page. Bea, along with her contributors, really transport you to Maine and all of its wild beauty. The photographs are just as delicious as the patterns, and it is definitely a book to keep out for inspiration, instead of tucked away on a book shelf. I look forward to many more mornings getting lost in its beautiful pages!

So let's jump right in - I would love to share with you my favorites from the book!

Astrantia Pullover by Beatrice Perron Dahlen

Astrantia Pullover by Beatrice Perron Dahlen

Oh my gosh, y'all!! This lace yoke pullover is just so beautiful! Bea wore this while at Rhinebeck, and it has jumped to the top of my selfish knitting queue! I absolutely adore it!!

Quarry Shawl by Bristol Ivy

Quarry Shawl by Bristol Ivy

It's no surprise that I love the Quarry shawl by Bristol Ivy. You had me at shawls and speckles ;)

Mountainside Pullover by Alicia Plummer

Mountainside Pullover by Alicia Plummer

I always love a good textured motif, like the center panel in Alicia Plummer's Mountainside Pullover. I especially love it layered over a collared shirt like she has it here!


The book also includes patterns from Carrie Bostick Hoge, Cecily Glowik MacDonald, Mary Jane Mucklestone, Leila Raabe, Elizabeth Smith, Kristen TenDyke, and Leah B. Thibault! Such a talented group of Maine designers!!


The best part?? I get to give away 2 autographed copies of this amazing book! I will be giving one away here on the blog, and one more on Instagram! So make sure to enter both to double your chances to win!! To enter here, leave a comment below telling me which pattern you can't wait to cast on! Remember to leave either your email address or your Ravelry ID in the body of the comment so that I have a way to contact you!! The giveaways will close Friday, 2/24/17 at midnight EST.


A big congratulations to last weeks winner - Megan!!

New Pattern // Kingston // PLUS Interview & Giveaway with Wool Days!!

giveaway, knitting, new pattern, sale, yarn babiesAndrea Mowry179 Comments

Hey everyone!! I am SO thrilled for today's post! Not only do I have a new pattern to show all of you (eek!!), I also get to share an interview with Megan from Wool Days, whose gorgeous yarn you see above in the photograph of my new Kingston Tunic! (And...a giveaway and sale!! Ah!!!)

I used Wool Days luxurious Scout yarn to knit up this super cozy and flattering sweater! Ever since I designed the Kingsley Hat (one of my very first patterns!) I have been itching to use the same stitch pattern in a larger piece. When Megan sent me this stunning Blueberry colorway, I knew I had finally found the perfect project for one of my favorite textured stitch patterns! Kingston is perfect over slim jeans or leggings and is incredibly flattering on all different figures, thanks to slim sleeves and a cozy cowl neck!

So let's jump right in to Megan's interview!


Could you tell us a little bit about what brought you to creating your own yarn line?

Wool is a fibre that ticks ALL the boxes and I'm just a wee bit obsessed. It is nothing short of brilliant in its simplicity. A renewable and regenerative resource when managed with care, wool has virtually unlimited uses – not least of all to delight the hearts & minds of those who love creating with good wool. My love of good wool has grown out of my thirst for knowing where things come from and how processes can be simplified. Which goes hand-in-hand with knitting. Creating practical, beautiful and enduring items with my own two hands for those I love is one of my most treasured skills. Knitting is such a richly fulfilling and creatively inspiring part of my story - introducing me to joy, patience, ambition and connection in a way I never could have imagined. And knitting with wool, good wool, is one of my absotule favoruite things. Wool, gently spun into yarn designed to be held by loving hands; yarn that responds well to direction and is full of character - lively, forgiving and buttery soft. Wool from happy sheep and caring farmers, wool that has not been stripped of its natural goodness or treated with chemicals. I love good wool. 

I waited such a long time for someone create a business that celebrated the incredible history, diversity, passion, strength and community that surrounds Australian wool. Because I think it's such an important story to explore and I wanted to support it - the story of the farmers and their land; the story of sheep and their breeds; the story of mills and their mix of traditional & modern practices; the story of dreamers and doers. The story of the things we make & the things we hold dear. It needed to introduce transparency into an 'old fashioned' industry by exploring fresh ideas and sustainable thinking. 

But no one ever did. So, along with my handsome blue-eyed man, I started the business I didn't want to wait any longer for. Neither of us have done anything like this before, but we do both have incredibly varied work (& play) backgrounds. So we took what we knew, learnt what we needed to and dived in. Wool days took 3 years of solid work by the two of us to build before we launched in April this year. 

Was there a pivotal moment that made you start your business?

No moment as such, more of a slow but strong realisation that I was spending more and more time exploring & enjoying my absolute passion for good wool, and that I wanted to create something more with the energy and drive I had. I thought by moving from passion to business I could create a space and a product to inspire, educate and facilitate the most beautiful conversations. 

What inspired the palette of your yarns? 

We want our yarns to be practical, beautiful & enduring. So our colours needed to stand alone, play well together, be suitable for garments & accessories, work for boys & girls, kids & adults. Our first batch of yarn has 5 colour ways, and an undyed yarn was a must (because it's my absolute favourite!) and then I picked my 4 favourite colours to create with. Simple really ;) 

Megan holding a basket full of Scout!

Megan holding a basket full of Scout!

Can you tell us the story of your yarn?

I spent so long perfecting Scout's design structure - softness, adaptability, forgiving - but more than anything it's the character of the wool that I wanted to highlight. And it's without a doubt that the wool is the true star of the show of our yarn. 

Scout wool comes from Eden Valley Farm in Dumbleyung, Western Australia. The 2000 hectare property was settled in 1905, and has been in the Lloyd family since 1945, with Ross and Terri Lloyd as the current owners (sheepdogs Jeff & Dot help out too). The property has been certified Demeter Biodynamic since 1988, a system that supports and develops world class ecological & sustainable production of food and natural fibres. As well as raising sheep, Ross and Terri also grow grain crops which they process into grain flour and stockfeeds.

Eden Valley is home to 4,500 Merino sheep (originally descendants of Collinsville Merino). Since 1950 the family have been breeding their own Stud Merino Rams to do well in their Biodynamic farming system, with a quiet temperament and natural resistance to parasites, they thrive in the low rainfall environment, producing a bright white wool with a soft handle (the fibre is 21 microns).

Shearing takes place mid August when the weather starts to warm – it takes 4 shearers 8 days to shear all 4,500 sheep. Ross and Terri do all of the sheep handling & management themselves – sheep classing, feeding, lamb marking, crutching, pregnancy testing etc. They feel that avoiding outside contractors for stock handling (except shearing) benefits the sheep’s wellbeing and enables them to treat each animal as an individual. It has been an absolute pleasure and a wonderful education sourcing our wool from Eden Valley. 

From here Scout is minimally processed in New Zealand, then packed with care by us and sent off to its new home for wool lovers to make it their own. We design knit & crochet patterns to work with our yarn - beautiful, practical & enduring patterns. They delight on first sight, inspire the making process and bring endless joy as a finished item - whether you are picking up your needles / hook for the first time, looking to progress your skills or searching for a particular technique to explore. 

What advice would you give to people out there wanting to follow their creative dreams?

Believe in yourself & what you are doing. Don't ask permission, don't follow and don't compromise. Do it for the love of it and be kind to yourself. 

What is the most important thing you have learned since creating your business?

I am incredibly passionate about what we're doing and so by far the greatest expectations and pressures come from myself. I am constantly needing to remind myself to slow down and take care of my little family (my man and I) otherwise we would work 24/7 and burn out! 

Where can we find your yarn?

You can purchase our yarn from our gorgeous (if I do say so myself!) online store wooldays.com 

What is your spirit animal?

It's not a spirit animal, but when I was a little person my nickname was wombat. Because I plodded along doing things in my own time, I always got there in the end but I never wanted any help .. I just wanted to keep on plodding at my own pace! 

What is your favorite noise?

We have been living on our beautiful bush property for almost a year now, and every morning I wake to the sound of kookaburras laughing away in the gum trees. It's such a joyful start to my day and I have come to love it dearly. 

Anything else you would like to include?

Just a massive THANK YOU to you Andrea. I have been a long time lover of your story, your passion, your patterns and voice within this incredible community of wool lovers. I can't get enough of your blog posts, and feel incredibly honoured to be here in this space with my own yarn baby. Also, in May this year we are launching our new yarn - a 100% Aussie grown and processed biodynamic single source beauty. Very exciting!


So, are you dying to get your own Kingston Tunic on the needles??? Great! Let's have a sale and a giveaway!!

Thanks to Wool Day's incredible generosity, I get to give one of you lucky readers a Kingston Tunic Kit, complete with the pattern .pdf and Scout yarn in the color of your choice! To enter, leave a comment below telling us what you look for in a good sweater! Please remember to include your email address in the body of the comment so that I have a way to contact you! The giveaway will be open until Friday, 2/10/17 at midnight EST.

For those of you who just can't wait:

  • Receive 15% off of your pattern in my shop or on Ravelry with the coupon KINGSTON until Friday, 2/10/27 at midnight EST!
  • Receive free worldwide shipping when you order your Kingston yarn at wooldays.com before February 21!

Interview & Giveaway // WITHIN by Jane Richmond & Shannon Cook

giveaway, knittingAndrea Mowry93 Comments
For all of you who have had to take “the journey.” May you stay strong and true.
— Journey, by Jane Richmond & Shannon Cook

Back in 2013, I bought a knitting book that would change the course of my future. That book was Journey, by Jane Richmond and Shannon Cook. Journey is stunning. The photographs, the words, and of course the patterns. I found myself flipping thru those pages again and again. Every single pattern was one that I wanted to knit, and I wanted to be on that Journey. I wanted a suitcase full of hand knits as I set off on one of life's great adventures. In my own way - I did just that. I had been longing to design my own patterns and to submerse myself deeper into a creative life, and that book was like a whisper in my ear "what are you waiting for??" I set off on my own Journey and have never looked back. I am so grateful to Jane and Shannon for putting something so beautiful and inspiring out into the world. I have often wondered if they know how much they have impacted myself and others.

Life is a journey, not a destination.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

I was thrilled when they released Within, another collection of 6 breathtaking patterns, submersed in the pages of an inspiring book full of gorgeous photographs and a story of a strong, independent woman that I think speaks to many of us. Yet again, I want to knit EVERY. SINGLE. PATTERN! This is never the case for me, and I think a massive accomplishment on the part of these two talented women. Their work is truly admirable. I thought it would be amazing to gain a little more insight into Shannon & Jane and who they are, and I am happy to be able to share this little interview with them today!

Fireside Pullover by Jane Richmond

Fireside Pullover by Jane Richmond


How did you come to knit design?

Shannon: I started blogging after my daughter was born in 2007 about what I was making, sewing, knitting & so on and once that began to take off I started some themed knit alongs hosted on my blog. For one of the knit alongs in 2011 I decided to make up my own design to knit, and after that a cowl for my daughter. During all that I got bit real bad by the design bug! I was in love. I had already been designing sewing tutorials & patterns by this time so starting in knitting seemed really natural for me. I now design way more knitting patterns than sewing which is funny how things work out!

Jane: During my pregnancy and afterwards I found myself knitting a lot more than I ever had in the past. While on maternity leave I discovered Ravelry and that opened up an entire world of knitters to me. Although I'd been knitting since I was young, I had never had any knitting friends before. Creating my own patterns was just a natural progression and the encouragement from knitting friends and this newfound online community gave me the courage to share my work.

What is your comfort knit?

Shannon: My comfort knit is always shawls. I love them. They represent blank canvases to me. Fun open spaces to explore stitch patterns, texture and movement. I never get tired of them.

Jane: Sweaters are definitely my go to -- they are my knitting happy place. I love the process of knitting a sweater and the sense of accomplishment once it's finished. A hand knit sweater that fits well and is flattering is very rewarding.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

Shannon: I find myself inspired for designs by music the most. I will hear notes in a song, or a special lyric and bam - inspired! I'm also inspired by tv/movie & book characters. There's always something so fun in the "story" behind the knits and I love designing things I adore that are inspired this way. I'm also lucky enough to live in a breathtaking city on Vancouver Island that provides an endless backdrop for inspiration.

Jane: I really just design for my wardrobe (or my daughters wardrobe!). My designs are just things I'd like to have and wear.

Can you tell us a bit about your design process?

Shannon: For my design process I usually always start with some sort of texture/movement that is representative of what inspired it. I then sketch and find the drool worthy yarn to make the project with and begin to swatch. After I'm happy with my swatch I formulate a plan and what I call a "loose pattern". I've found that as I've grown as a designer I love the freedom of thinking of my pieces as canvases to design on. Growing up I spent my days in school in art class and the darkroom and I think I work best thinking of each pattern as it's own blank canvas. I like to be able to knit what I feel if that makes sense, almost like sketching but instead with needle/yarn. I like to see how the fabric is making me feel, the movement in the stitches etc. Sometimes a swatch is not enough for me and I like to just go with it when working on the pattern design. I take copious notes and after following my "loose pattern" (this is for stitch counts, gauge, etc) I then type up the final copy after which then gets tech edited and then tested before release.

Jane: Inormally begin with lots of swatching! I will swatch to determine the general fabric and stitch pattern as well as to practice and test design elementsI plan to use. From there I'll work through the math using enormous spreadsheets. Once I have the numbers firmed up, I begin the written pattern. From there I can knit the sample. I like to work from a finalized pattern because it puts me in the shoes of the knitter and I can tweak the writing and format based on my experience during the process. The pattern also goes through professional technical editing and test knitting before being published.

What do you feel has been the most important factor in pushing your design career forward?

Shannon: Believing in myself and having confidence that there are people who also love what I love. I only design things that I'm passionate about and thoroughly enjoy making/wearing and I feel so blessed that other knitters/sewers have embraced my patterns and feel the same way. Without them I wouldn't be doing what I am lucky enough to do each day. They truly allow me to live out my dreams and to grow as a designer. I pinch myself each day that this get's to be my job.

Jane: I’m not sure if I can name one particular factor, it's felt very gradual to me as I've built and developed my portfolio over the years.

Within is absolutely stunning! How did you arrive at the focus for this book?

Shannon: Thank you! I'm so glad you are enjoying it! This is a tricky question..that doesn't actually have an easy quick answer....lol. Jane and I both have different ways that we approach design and when we put together new collections we have to marry our two styles and design processes. Within organically took shape based on what we were both going through in our lives over the past few years and also the story we wanted to show in the photo essay. We really wanted "Gryffin" to represent that one can truly be comfortable and at peace with oneself and in doing so - can then feel the same with that special person in her life. We wanted the pieces in Within to be cozy and comfortable - those key pieces you turn to again and again that are effortless to wear and relaxing/fun to make. They make you confident and comfortable in your own skin so to speak.

Jane: The focus for Within was on warmth and coziness -- deep winter and bundling up. That was our starting point, from there, is where I feel most of our decisions stemmed. We chose suitable yarns that were warm, woolly, and hard wearing. Our mood boards were full of snowy, deep winter scenes. The styling and photo shoot was a bit moodier and more seasonal. I think all of the pieces certainly work outside of deep blustery winter weather but it was fun to design with woolly warmth in mind, daydreaming of snow days and cozying up near a crackling fire.    

If you could give one skein from your stash to a new knitter, which would it be?

Shannon: Brooklyn Tweed Shelter or Arbor. I would want to start a new knitter off with a wooly texture. I feel like as I've grown as a knitter this is my happy place. I love wool. I feel like sometimes new knitters get swayed by the "softness" factor and then don't appreciate the special nuances of wool as they get turned off by it or scared to work with it. I'd throw them in right off the start with wool and I think Shelter and Arbor would be great places to actually have them feel and experience both things. Wool, texture and softness and lightness.

Jane: I love this question! Quite honestly I would give the knitter a skein of Cascade 220! I love wool, pure wool, and this yarn is a work horse! It's smooth and soft for 100% wool, it's durable and hard wearing, economical and generous in yardage, and it comes in the most amazing heathered colourwars, Mustard is one of my faves but they're all lovely! It's a really versatile yarn suitable for so many projects (hats, mitts, sweaters, you name it).

You are both mamas - how do you balance motherhood and your work?

Shannon: Hahaha.....I wish I had an answer to that. I'm still learning and I think this is something all mothers work on and struggle with for life. It's a constantly changing lifestyle so you're always having to learn to adapt and move along with the changes. My girls are both in school now but my days are short. I typically work from 9am to 2pm. Then try to squeeze in an hour or so before dinner while they play. Most days though I work at night. I do a lot of knitting at night etc and I've been learning to save my weekends more for me and my family where in the past I had to work on weekends. I struggle with finding the time in each day to get all the things done I'd like to and also be a good mother and wife. Life's not easy working from home and the hours are hard but I've learned to work very well in chaotic environments am and I'm an ace at multi-tasking. It's the only way I've survived up to this point.....lol....that and my microwave timer (I use this for timing tasks etc).

Jane: For me, I really struggle with multitasking, and found working around Elsie very challenging. I felt I was doing everything marginally and it was hard for me to find balance during the first few years. When we reached a point where daycare was a necessity (I went back to working a day job in addition to designing), things really shifted for me in a positive way. I was able to set regular work hours and be more productive during my work day. During my off time I felt more present as a parent and turn off work mode, it helped me feel more balanced.


Do you feel that your creativity has helped to sustain your personal identity since becoming a mama?

Shannon: A HUGE yes. I'm a very creative person and always have been. Whether it's art, dance or making- I've been doing it since I was a little girl. Without creativity you don't have me. I felt lost after I had my first daughter and really struggled being out of the "typical" work environment. I'm very social and love people so starting to blog about my creative passions and what I was making helped me to nurture, grow and turn my passions into my career. I'm so glad I woke up in the middle of the night one night and just started blogging and reaching out to other moms who were at home and looking for a sense of "community" online. It's been a dream come true and a saving grace for me.

Jane: Definitely! Especially having a creative outlet that is shared with such a warm and responsive community like the one I've found among knitters. I feel so encouraged and supported.

What advice would you give to people out there wanting to follow their creative dreams?

Shannon: Do it - you never know unless you try and seriously - life is just too darn short not to just give it a go. Also research, research and research more. Ask advice and reach out to your peers. I learned so much from other people in the industry and have always been so thankful for the online and one on one support other sewing/knitting bloggers/designers have given to me. I suggest having a plan and slowly implementing it. The biggest thing is not to set too high of an expectation for yourself. For example do not expect to be able to sustain blogging 7 days a week for life....and so on. Be reasonable and realistic with your goals and plans - and expect super long hours and tons of hard work. It takes a lot of serious dedication and sacrifice but if you love it and it's in your soul it's all worth it <3

Jane: When I began designing,  I did not have the luxury of jumping in feet first without any supplemental income or safety net. I worked full time and did design work on the side. It took years of doing both before I was finally able to leave my day job and pursue my dream job full time. Having another income while I was building my design portfolio relieved the pressure for my creative work to fully support me right away. I honestly felt that if the situation had been different, if it had been all or nothing, the pressure and obligation to succeed would have really dampened my creativity. It's hard to be creative out of necessity rather than just pure passion and love for what you're doing.

 

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING WITH US TODAY, SHANNON & JANE!!


Accept what is,
Let go of what was,
and believe in what will be.
Be you.
— Within, by Jane Richmond & Shannon Cook
Timber Cardigan by Shannon Cook

Timber Cardigan by Shannon Cook

I hope you will go check out all of Shannon & Jane's books and that you will find inspiration, friendship, and warmth within their pages! I am stoked that I get to giveaway a copy of Within to one of you lucky readers!! Please leave a comment telling me about a turning point in your own life - whether it lead you to greater self love, a new career, or even just a new haircut that made you feel awesome! Remember to include your email address in the body of the comment so that I have a way to contact you if you win!

Congratulations to last weeks winner of the West Water Tunic - Amber!!!

Happy Knitting and Happy Holidays!!

 

Squam Love & West Water Tunic Giveaway!!

teaching, workshop, giveawayAndrea Mowry23 Comments

Good morning!

Let's chat about dreams and happy places. I have always had a deep love for crafting and creative outlets. I get the most "filled up" when I get to spend time submersed in creativity with other like minded people. Which is why I love to teach knitting workshops! Getting to spend the day with other knitters, talking about my favorite thing in the whole world - what could be better?? I find that I feel most at home and with "my people" at these times.

A few years back when I was beginning to grow some real friendships with some other knitters on Instagram, one of them, Brienne, told me about Squam Art Workshops and said that I would love it. I immediately went to look it up, and it has been on my wish list ever since. If you don't know much about Squam, here is a little taste for you:

A week of pursuing creativity, filling up, exploring, relaxing and connecting with nature. Not to get too mushy - but it honestly makes me tear up! I love the idea of people coming together to create with their hands, to support each other and to share how beautiful this life is. I believe it is so important that we make space for creativity and connection in our lives.

Ever since Brienne pointed me in the direction of Squam I have been following along on Instagram and dreaming of the day I would be able to go myself. It quickly moved to top of my bucket list! So when I was given the chance to be one of the teachers at Squam for Spring 2017, you better believe there was a big yes, followed by a million exclamation points!!!

This coming Spring I will be sharing two of my favorite things to knit -shawls and brioche! I believe both inspire endless new ideas, and they are my go to comfort knitting! I hope I will get to share them with you! It is really a dream come true!

I am so honored that Elizabeth, the founder of Squam Art Workshops, asked me to chat with her on her podcast - Morning on the Dock.

So how about celebrating our creativity with a giveaway?? I am so excited that I get to share the West Water Tunic sewing pattern with one of you lucky readers! As some of you know, I have started a #sewfridaysewfun sewing day for myself. With my busy schedule juggling work and kids, I knew I wouldn't get to explore my love for sewing unless I actually scheduled it in! I can't wait to get this tunic onto my machine in the coming weeks!

West Water Tunic image from Squam Art Workshops

West Water Tunic image from Squam Art Workshops

For your chance to win, leave a comment telling me about if you have been to a retreat how it impacted you, or if you haven't, but want to - what retreat tops your list?? Don't forget to leave your email address in the body of your comment so that I have a way to contact you if you win! The giveaway ends 12/17/16 at midnight EST.

New Pattern // Find Your Fade

knitting, KNIT in COLOR, new pattern, saleAndrea Mowry4 Comments

Happy December!! For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere - we are enjoyingthe prime knitting season! (Although let's be serious - I consider every day of the year to be prime knitting time ;)

For those of you that follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a few months ago when I began a new creativity experiment. My first experiment birthed my FunFunFun Shawl, which as you can guess by the name - was all about having fun! I craved some stripes, so in they went! Next up - how about some simple lace? Check! Texture? Oh yeah! Color change? Why not?! That first experiment was like hitting refresh on my brain, and it lead to a renewed outlook, and lots of new ideas!

Well, back in July, I was really CRAVING color. I also wanted to throw out any constraints and just cast on and let my needles and yarn take me wherever felt right! I started by reorganizing my yarn collection. I love to do this! I find that pulling out all of my yarn reminds me of what I have - including lots of special skeins that are so easy to "save for the perfect project." My friends, let's use these most precious of skeins! I want to take mine off of the shelf so I can start wearing them already!

As I dove head first into my stash, I found myself gravitating towards some of my really special club colorways. I love to participate in yarn clubs with the dyers such as Hedgehog Fibres. It's like Christmas for 3 months straight! They dye up special skeins that will only ever be done for that club. Never to be repeated! So of course - they go straight to the "so special" section of my collection.

Do you belong to any yarn clubs? Do you ever wonder what to do with those special skeins??

This is my answer to that question! Propelled by my color craving and a desire to try something new to me, I cast on for a new shawl shape. This super fun asymmetrical shawl utilizes increases and decreases for the shaping. I think chose the always relaxing and super squishy garter stitch with contrasting rows of a simple garter lace. Now I had the perfect canvas with which to paint on!

I laid out lots of yarn and untwisted my skeins. Laying them side by side I began to see how I could melt from one color to the next...

Find Your Fade was born. Every section is so fun to knit, all the while excitement building for the next section and the next color! The possibilities for this shawl are endless!


Get creative - this is YOUR shawl! Use only 1 color, or 3, or 10. Need help with color selections? I highly recommend diving into your stash (or the shelves of your LYS) and untwisting the skeins and then laying them next to each other. Look for nuances that can be seen from one color to the next - if your first color has some gold (like mine), why not snag an awesome speckled skein that also has some gold and another color you love (ahem - pink), so that after the speckled skein you can start stitching up that favorite pink skein you have been hoarding! And so on and so forth! Still feeling nervous? Head on over to my Ravelry group and show some pictures of the yarn you are trying to decide between! Everyone there loves to help!!

To celebrate the release of the Find Your Fade shawl, please enjoy 15% off of this pattern with the coupon code FADE, until 12/7/16 at midnight EST!!

I hope this new shawl pattern inspires you to let loose with your own creativity <3