Drea Renee Knits

Birthday Sale!!!

knitting, saleAndrea Mowry5 Comments

YAY!!! It’s time for my annual Birthday Sale!!! Please join me in celebrating with the coupon code BIRTHDAY35 thru 8/8/18 at midnight EST! You will save 25% off of all of my self published patterns! Shop HERE or HERE!!

To make this birthday even more special - all of my patterns from my book, A Sense of Place, are now available for individual purchase!! (They also happen to be perfect for gift knitting with most of them sized for the entire family!) You can find them all in my DRK shop or on Ravelry!!

The Golden Hour // A New Pattern

Andrea Mowry6 Comments
untitled-70.jpg

The day is finally here!! I shared a sneak peek of this pretty new shawl over a month ago in my weekly DRK Newsletter! I am so excited to finally release The Golden Hour Shawl so that you can all knit your own! This is the shawl of my dreams - loads of texture (hello BOBBLES!), fun color play that is easy enough for a newbie, and it knits up super quick thanks to worsted weight yarn!! I had so much fun with this one that I knit a second one in less than a week!!

Full disclosure - y'all, naming patterns can be HARD! LOL! Sometimes the name will come to me as soon as the idea of the design does, but if not - wowza. It can end up being the hardest part! So I've gone through about a dozen different names for this shawl, and just kept changing my mind. But as my husband and I raced out for the photo shoot last night, at that breathtaking hour of glowy summer sunlight - it all fell into place.

You see, we pretty much ONLY do photo shoots on over cast days. Any of my fellow photographers will probably agree that when it is overcast - magic happens! The photos look beautiful, and the stitch definition - woah mama! Sunny days on the other hand can be very tough. Things get washed out, funky shadows show up everywhere and it's hard to show the true colors of the yarn. The good news? We live in Michigan! So if you wait a day or two, you'll get the necessary gloom for the perfect photos. Until now. We waited for over a week, and day after day was bold sun with ne'er a cloud to be seen. We finally came to the last day we could take photos and we knew we just had to go for it, and hopefully learn how to take some bright light pictures that we love!

Well, thanks to that magical hour before the sun dips below the horizon, my husband was able to capture some pictures that we think are pretty special. It was also the best reminder that we should always push ourselves to learn new things, even when we feel doubtful or scared!

Maybe this pattern will give you that same opportunity for learning! Are you new to bobbles? Check out my video here for how to do them without needing to turn your work! May the garter tab cast on has felt intimidating?? I've got a video to help you through that one, too!

No matter where you are in your crafting journey - I hope it is filled with joy and learning!

You can snag your copy of The Golden Hour Shawl HERE or HERE !!

P.S. Save 10% on The Golden Hour Shawl with coupon code GOLDENHOUR through 7/11/18 at midnight EST!

untitled-34.jpg

I'd also like to give a big congratulations to Kaitlin, the winner of the Woolberry giveaway!! Thank you to everyone who left comments - they were so much fun to read! Happy summer knitting!

Yarn Babies // An Interview with Bethany of Woolberry

giveaway, knitting, yarn babies, yarnAndrea Mowry465 Comments

Well Hello!
It's been a minute over here on the blog :) I've just returned from a gorgeous trip to Australia, where I got to teach and speak at the Soul Craft Festival in Melbourne. I am still processing what an amazing trip and moment in my life it was. So while I soak up some time with my family and get through those early brain fog/jet lag days, I thought - why not check out some super gorgeous yarn and the woman behind it??

Without further ado - here is an interview I got to do with the super lovely, Bethany of Woolberry!
PS - fun fact: We both lived in New Zealand!

Rose Cardigan Giveaway.png

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

It came on a bit of a whim, actually. My husband and I had just moved back to the States from New Zealand and I really had no clue what to do with my life - I think I was experiencing a quarter-life crisis haha. I wanted to do something totally different than what I had been doing for the past few years (nannying) and wanted to incorporate my love for knitting into it. I started brainstorming and remembered how much I loved seeing the different colorways dyers like A Homespun House or Voolenvine Yarns were coming up with and thought why not! I had tried dyeing yarn a few times before (which usually ended in disaster....but that’s a whole other story), so I figured with a bit more research and help from YouTube I could figure it out. So that’s all to say, I basically started out by calling my husband at work one day and asking him if I could can I open a little Etsy shop selling hand-dyed yarn and 1 1/2 years later, here we are!

What inspires your gorgeous colors?

Mostly nature! I lived in New Zealand for a few years with my husband and became more of an outdoor person haha. I began the business using photographs I’d taken while we lived there and transforming them into colorways. Now a lot of my inspiration comes from walks we take on the trail behind our house or our visits to our local botanical gardens.

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

Ohhh! I would say my Berry Merino which is a 2-ply 100% Superwash Merino fingering weight yarn. It is so soft, plump, and knits up beautifully. I could knit my entire wardrobe with that base.

What is your favorite type of pattern to knit?

Lately, I’ve really been enjoying making garments. I can’t seem to stop putting sweaters and cardigans on my needles.

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

I would say, don’t start your business with the intent of making it big because you’ll just end up trying to please all the people around you. Create with what’s already inside of you, find that thing that burns a fire in your soul, and take a leap of faith in yourself because chances are it is just the thing the world needs to see.

What is your favorite noise?

Waterfalls. My husband and I were married close to a waterfall and the sound always reminds me of our wedding day.

What is your spirit animal?

Hmm...I think a dove. It reminds me of peace and hope which is something I always try to carry with me.

IMG_0254.JPG

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Bethany!

You can find Bethany and her yarn at the following places:

The Woolberry Fiber Co. Website

Instagram

The Woolberry Fiber Video Podcast!

 


Bethany and I have teamed up for a super fun giveaway! Leaving a comment below telling us what your favorite summer knit is, and you will be entered to win a Birds of a Feather Shawl kit!! The giveaway will close Wednesday, 6/20/18 at midnight EST.

//Mix & Mingle// The Perfect Shawl For Color-play

brioche, fade, KNIT in COLOR, knitting, new pattern, sale, techniquesAndrea Mowry3 Comments
untitled-36.jpg

If you follow my work, then you know that I love to play with color! But I really didn't start out that way. I used to be terrified of picking out colors, full of self doubt and feeling like I just wasn't born with the "color gene."

Fast forward a few years and now one of my favorite classes to teach is Color Confidence! Now that color has entered my life, it brings me so much joy! I will always equally love a neutral palette (hey - neutrals are colors too!), but I love pushing my color comfort zone so that I am continuously exploring new color combinations and bringing new hues into my life!

If you have taken my class, then you will already be familiar with my favorite ways to play with color - Marling, Fading and Two-color Brioche!! These techniques helped to open up a whole new world of color-play. And the more we play (aka practice) the more our confidence grows!

So this sweet little crescent shaped shawl combines my favorite techniques all in one and is a super fun way to boost your own Color Confidence! Mix & Mingle is knit from the top down and finished off with my favorite edge treatment - an applied brioche border. Knit up in 4 colors, the possibilities are endless. I knit mine out of Hedgehog Fibre's Cashmere Merino - because who doesn't love to drape their shoulders in cashmere?? I am already planning a second, larger version. This shawl is so easy to adapt to different sizes by just adjusting the yarn weight you are using! The original is knit up in lace weight, but next on my needles I am going to use fingering weight yarn!

I hope Mix & Mingle inspires you to explore color and techniques in a new way, for a truly joyful knitting experience!! You can snag your copy of Here or Here! Enjoy 10% off your pattern purchase with the coupon code MIX thru 4/11/18 at midnight EST! Don't forget to use #mixandmingleshawl when you post on social media so I can see all of your gorgeous shawls!

If you love the ease of using a knit kit - head on over to Kitterly to check out their beautifully curated Mix & Mingle kits!!

P.S. As a thank you to my newsletter subscribers for being a part of my community, they receive a larger discount when I publish my new patterns! Interested?? Sign up today! It's full of video tutorials, the latest DRK news, behind the scenes photos and a special section dedicated to sharing things I think you'll love!!

//Tuku Honey Socks// Pattern Release!

Andrea Mowry13 Comments
untitled-1.jpg

It's pattern release day!!! (Which happens to be my favorite day of the month ;)

I am SO excited to finally share these sweet little socks I have been knitting on - Tuku Honey! I've really been trying to look at my wardrobe when getting inspiration for new designs, so I can see what I could really use. Well, when I opened my sock drawer that became glaringly obvious! I only have a couple pairs of hand knit socks, all of which have seen better days and one of which shrunk after an accidental trip through the dryer.

Last year, my friend Shannon introduced to me to Blundstones - HELLO new favorite boots! They dress up or down and are my absolute go to, and I knew they would be even better with a pair of hand knit socks peeking out the top. It was time to get knitting to bulk up that sad little sock collection!

I had recently acquired some Tuku Wool in two of my favorite colors (mustard yellow and dusty grey pink). I decided to begin with my favorite Turkish cast on, so I could knit them from the toe up. I am a huge sucker for texture, but wanted the pattern to be one I could memorize for when I was traveling. Garter stitch and honeycomb cables for the win! I ditched my cable needle for the small cables, so that they were really portable without needing a lot of notions bumping around in my project bag.

For the first sample, I opted for a short row heel. I really like how they look and they are fun to knit! But....I began to worry about their stability. I asked my tech editor, Meaghan (who also happens to be a sock knitting guru!) what her favorite heels were for fit and stability. She turned me on to the Fleegle heel, and I cannot thank her enough!!

To make today's pattern release even MORE exciting - I have completely revamped my pattern layout! This has been a huge undertaking that I couldn't have done without the help of 2 amazing women - Katie (who happens to be my sister ;) and Brittany of Kaba Creative. They are the geniuses behind my logo and now they have helped me take my patterns to the next level! I am learning In Design (whew!) and I really hope you love this new format. I would love to hear what you think about it in the comments below if you check it out on my new Tuku Honey pattern!

untitled-57.jpg

Plum Dandi // An Interview with Alicia & Melissa

giveawayAndrea Mowry404 Comments
 Photo Credit: Interweave Press

Photo Credit: Interweave Press

I am so excited to share an interview today with Alicia Plummer and Melissa Schaschwary - the two incredibly talented and hard working mamas behind Plum Dandi Knits - Simple Designs for Luxury Yarns! (Interweave Press, $24.99, 2017)

Let's jump in!


How did you get started as a designer?

Alicia: I jumped right into knitting, but after a little while I just found that the things I was making didn't quite suit my personality or my lifestyle up here in Maine! I realized that I had the tools to make things that were truly "me", and Melissa encouraged me so much. Right from the beginning of our friendship she encouraged me and supported me, sending me my first stitch book and telling me I should go for it. We were talking so much on Ravelry that we moved it over to facebook...then, we decided to collaborate on a submission for Petite Purls-- I ended up having to call her on the phone for the first time about a piece of math. I was nervous to talk to her--but we spent 5 minutes talking math, and then 45 minutes chatting after that. From there we have talked daily since then! Soon we were bouncing all our ideas off each other, so in a way all of our designs have been very collaborative. Even though they're fully our own, they have a piece of each other in all of them.

Melissa: I started designing not long after learning to knit in 2009.  While I loved working from other published patterns, there was something so exciting about trying my own thing.  I had a LOT of failed attempts at projects (sometimes they seem so easy in my head lol), but I also successes too and those things kept me going.  Putting my first written pattern out there in the world was really nerve wracking and that initial experience of dealing with constructive (and sometimes not so constructive) criticism was something that really helped me to grow as a person.

You are both prolific designers with gorgeous patterns!  Where do you find your inspiration?

Alicia: My inspiration comes mostly from life--memories, feelings. I'm a very emotional person and I want to feel something when I'm making. Even if it's grief (like in the Campside Shawl), it's a good way to pour out emotions. Other times it's that certain colors will bring back memories or fleeting moments that I treasure. The Thunderstorm MKAL clues follow the cycle of an actual thunderstorm, with each clue relating to a different phase. It really helps me pause in the moment and soak up the beauty that life has to offer.

Melissa:  For inspiration, I get this question so often and never really now how to properly answer it, mostly because there are SO many things that inspire me.  Sometimes it’s a song, or a movie, the color of the sky, or the way a campfire smells.  Other times it’s simply wanting something… an actual knitted piece or a piece with a certain feature….

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

Alicia: That’s a tough one! I think my unfortunate night-owl personality has been a big contributor. I try to make myself sleep earlier at night but most nights I am wired until around midnight. So I make use of that. The other huge factor has definitely been my friendship with Melissa. From consulting on this cable or that, shooting in this scenario or that one, her input, encouragement, and friendship has kept this job fun for me! I don't think I would be anywhere close to where I am without her.

Melissa: Hands down the most important factor in pushing my design career forward has been having a best friend to tackle things with.  As the saying goes, 2 heads is better than one.

You both have children. I'd love to ask you one of the main questions I get asked: How do you balance work and family?

Alicia: Hmmm…I honestly don't think I do! haha. My house is often messy because when I'm homeschooling and we're doing activities and extracurriculars, that's what gets left to the wayside! Sometimes I feel defeated, like I can't do it all. Striking a balance is a hard thing, but I think one of the most important things we can do is give ourselves what God gives us--grace! Not everything is going to be in balance all the time, not all the shoes will be lined up in the entry, not all the paper scraps from when your kids make "snow" will always get sucked into the vacuum. Sometimes their dirty socks are lying in the middle of the kitchen. But being gentle with ourselves and realizing we are doing the best we can is important. And I'm not perfect, nowhere near it. So I don't balance it all always. Sometimes I run to the farmstand and buy a pre-made chicken pot pie so my family can still have a warm, homecooked meal without the extra effort. And that's okay. :)

Melissa: This is something that has changed throughout the last 7 years, since my youngest was born.  At the that time 7 years ago, my oldest was 5 and still taking nice long naps. lol I had a lot of time available during the day to research things, crunch numbers and be involved online making friendships and growing my brand.  But as the girls have grown, I’m finding that I have less and less time for designing and all of the wonderful things that come along with it.  At the moment my oldest is in 6th grade and my youngest is in 1st.  We homeschool and both girls are heavily involved in music as well as competitive dance.  Any time I had for designing is now spent teaching and then driving 4-5 days a week into the city for dance and, or music.  It’s an exhausting, crazy fun time of life and I know that if I don’t enjoy every second of it I’ll regret it because it’ll be gone too soon.   The knitting, however, will be here for me, like an old friend, when they are grown and have lives of their own.  On days when I get a little down that I might not be doing all I used to, I remind myself of that.

The book is stunning! Can you tell us about your inspiration for it's focus?

Alicia: The biggest inspiration for us both I think was those little moments of rest, moments of finding beauty in the life around you. The times that you take pause to admire the way the golden late winter sun streams in through the windows, or the coffee (tea, in my case, decaf black with milk!) steaming from a warm mug as the daybreaks and the house is silent... (again, I often miss those moments because I'm not a morning person!), a solitary walk through the woods as the smell of fallen leaves and rich earth rises on a balmy autumn day. We wanted to capture those feelings and put them into a book the best we could!

Melissa: Thank you so much! Our primary focus for the book was creating beautiful knits that worked up easily; low stress, comfort kinds of projects that you end up living in and loving. We wanted the overall mood to feel relaxed and luxurious and we incorporated gorgeous yarns that we love and believe in.

Where can we find your patterns?
Alicia: www.ravelry.com/designers/alicia-plummer
Melissa: www.ravelry.com/designers/melissa-schaschwary

What is your spirit animal?
Alicia: Hmmm! Wild or tame? (we're studying both in first grade science right now!) I can identify with a yellow lab. Not the most exciting animal, but loyal, warm, trusting to a fault and always ready to have fun. Can be a lazy bum in the right circumstances! For a wild animal, I'd love to say a deer but I'm really not graceful. Maybe a fox?

Melissa:  A coffee bean.

What is your favorite noise?
Alicia: That’s a tough one! The sound of my girls belly laughing, the sound of a strong midsummer rainstorm on the roof of our little camp, the sound of peepers (frogs) in early spring heralding the arrival of warmer weather!

Melissa: Big belly laughs from my kids, and also crazy wind whipping around outside when I’m super cozy under all of my blankets.

What is your dream yarn to work with?
Alicia: That is always changing! Right now it's rustic, airy and light, but also chunky. Sticky enough to do colorwork easily and so reminiscent of life straight off a farm, straight from the source.

Melissa: I LOVE bulky/chunky weight yarns.  If it’s super soft, knits up quickly….I’m there.  

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

Alicia: Don’t be afraid of your mistakes. Not everything has to be perfect all the time! Let your creativity take you where it will, and enjoy that process. When you focus too much on perfect stitches or designing something everyone will love, you lose the one thing that makes your work so special—you!

Melissa: Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to fail! Some of my biggest failures have given way to my greatest accomplishments.  Following dreams always has some scary parts,…some “what ifs” but knowing you did what you dreamed is worth the risk.


Thank you so much Alicia and Melissa!! It is always so great to hear about other people's creative process and how they have achieved their dreams!


Do you want to win a copy of Plum Dandi??? Leave a comment below! I will pick a winner on Friday, 2/16/18!

ETA: Congratulations to Kim W!! I've emailed you :)

Handmade Wardrobe // Metamorphic Dress

Finished objects, knitting, sewing, handmade wardrobeAndrea Mowry18 Comments
IMG_0128.JPG

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!

IMG_0112.JPG

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).

IMG_0123.JPG

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 Mowry3 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

Hat-11.jpg

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 Mowry5 Comments
wtf6.jpg

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.

wtf.jpg

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 Mowry28 Comments
1-143.jpg

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!!

drea.jpg

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 Mowry2 Comments
Photo Sep 09, 10 48 18 AM.jpg

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!

Photo Sep 09, 10 49 38 AM.jpg

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 Mowry463 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
SFboth.jpg

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 Mowry3 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