Drea Renee Knits


//Yarn Babies// Part 6 - Feel Good Yarn Co. Silver Spun & a Giveaway!!

giveaway, knitting, yarn, yarn babiesAndrea Mowry49 Comments

As some of you know, I taught at the Lantern Moon Retreat a few weeks ago. I met an amazing group of women, and learned so much as a teacher! Two of these women really opened my eyes to something that I think can be easily forgotten - they can't use any animal fibers. They both happen to have really bad animal allergies, and even yarns that should be okay (i.e. Alpaca), cause a reaction. This was such a great reminder on how important it is to remember we are all different, and have different needs! I'll be the first to admit that plant & man-made fibers take a back seat in my stash to wool and other animal fibers. I am so happy that they reminded me how useful, fun, and interesting other yarns can be, and that we all have different preferences for what we put on our needles - whether it be due to allergies, ethics, climate, or what just feels good in our hands!

So it was rather serendipitous that just a week earlier, I got to emailing with Laurie Gonyea, the creator of Silverspun yarn! This yarn is truly unique - American made cotton spun up with pure silver! The silver in the yarn adds some amazing thermal, conductive and therapeutic properties. Much to my surprise, the yarn is incredibly soft and springy. Such a treat to knit with!

~Silver inhibits the growth of bacteria (including those that cause odor), thus SilverSpun is an excellent choice for socks!
~Those who suffer from diabetes, arthritis, or sensitive skin will enjoy the thermal and non-toxic properties of the yarn. The anti-microbial properties of the yarn help to prevent infection.
~ ... because of the thermal properties of the yarn it is warm as wool without the itch. Great for people who have an aversion to animal fibers!
— Feel Good Yarn Company
The conductivity of the silver means you can use them with your touch screen!

The conductivity of the silver means you can use them with your touch screen!

My very good friend, Annie Rowden of by Annie Claire, just happens to be finishing up the sweetest collection of baby knits with Silverspun! This yarn is great for baby knits as the anti-bacterial properties of the yarn inhibits the growth of germs! Keep an eye for the collection mid-April! You can find Annie and her amazing patterns on Ravelry, Instagram and Ello as byAnnieClaire !

I highly recommend listening to Ashley and Laurie chat more in depth about the Feel Good Yarn Co. and Silverspun yarn on the Woolful podcast!  Laurie's story is truly inspiring!

Do you want to try out this amazing yarn for yourself? Leave a comment below telling me about your favorite non-animal fibers and you will be entered for a chance to win a Tumnus Hat kit! The kit will include Silverspun yarn and the Tumnus Hat pattern designed by Courtney Spainhower of Pink Brutus Knits! Don't forget to include your email address in the body of your comment!

Congratulations to the winner of the Ancient Arts giveaway - Mary Jo!! I've emailed you :)

//Yarn Babies// Part 5 - Ancient Arts Yarns & a Giveaway!

giveaway, knitting, yarn, yarn babiesAndrea Mowry90 Comments

One of the best parts about my job is being introduced to new yarns! Being the shawl lover that I am, I especially love a yarn that has been hand dyed with care, and that offers unique colorways to inspire my designs!

Ancient Arts Yarns combines interesting fibers with low impact, environmentally friendly dyes to create some truly unique skeins! I love how they talk about the inspiration for dyeing their yarns:

Here at Ancient Arts we use only the best quality yarns in order to ensure your creative journey is superior. We draw our inspiration for our beautiful colours from three places: nature, art, and stories of everyday life. Our colours begin with primary pigments, and are dyed using an immersion style dye process, which draws on the principles of water colour painting in order to give each colour way luminosity, character, and light, no matter how saturated the hue. Colour is gently applied in layer after layer, building exquisite tones that present a story in each skein of yarn, and allow us to capture the complexity of the world around us.
— Anicent Arts Fibre

You can really see the depth of color they have added to the yarn, and it gets even better as you knit it up! I love this "Where the Coho Go" colorway, that reminds me of Torch Lake, where we have a cabin up north. I plan to use my skein in a summery lace shawl, knit up lake side, while I dip my toes in the cool, spring-fed water. Even better? I get to give a skein to one of you!

Leave a comment below telling me what you would knit up with your own skein of Ancient Arts fingering weight yarn and don't forget to include your email address in the body of the comment! They giveaway will be open until 3/26/2016 at midnight EST!

Head on over to Ancient Arts Fibres to check out their amazing selection of colorways, and interesting fiber blends. I hope to try their Blue Faced Leicester next! And for all of you animal lovers - they even have to yarn collections based on our four legged friends, with a portion of the proceeds going to help stray and abandoned dogs and cats: Meow & Woof! I love supporting companies with a heart!

Congratulations to the winner of the Fringe Supply Co. giveaway - Hannah!! Want to make sure you don't miss any blog posts? Subscribe using the form in the left hand sidebar and they will arrive directly to your inbox!

Favorite Tools // Fringe Supply Co. Giveaway

giveaway, knitting, toolsAndrea Mowry89 Comments

When it comes to the tools I use everyday - I get pretty passionate (and opinionated). If I find something I like, and that works well for me, I want to tell everyone about it! So I figured, it was time for a blog post, so all of you can check out some of the items that make my work life better!

Let's start with something that has been near and dear to my heart since I was a wee one. I use to use my allowance every week to buy school supplies. What can I say - I've just got a thing (or what some would call - an obsession) with pens and notebooks. I find it so satisfying to have a shelf lined with notebooks that I have filled with notes, recipes, journal entries, patterns - all in my own handwriting. I also have at least one notebook and one pen with me at all times. (Okay, if I am being honest - more like 3 notebooks and an entire pack of pens.)

So, my current faves??

1. Frixion Erasable Pens - I am the kind of person who had a "messy" notebook and a "tidy" notebook in high school. I couldn't stand bad handwriting, or crossed out lines - so I would rewrite everything nice, neat and organized into my tidy notebook after taking speedy notes in class in my messy book. These pens solve that. They are truly erasable - but still good quality pens that write smoothly! Major bonus - you can get a pack with 24 different colors! Whoop whoop! (Thank you for introducing these to me Melynda!!)

2. Dot Grid Notebooks - Woah Mama. In love. So tidy. So fun. Perfect for knitters! Without the confines of lines (horizontal or in grids) you can make each page what you want it. Perfect for sketching, writing, graphing - whatever you need. I am also a huge Bullet Journaling fan (thanks to Annie!), and these are ideal for that. (Again- thanks for introducing these to me Melynda!!)

3. Knitter's Graph Paper Journal - as many of you already know, knit stitches are not a perfect square - they are more like a rectangle. So when it comes to charting out designs for color, cables, lace and texture - if you don't want it to be distorted, you need knitters graph paper! These journals from Fringe Supply Co., are perfect! Not only are they affordable - they also have super handy hand drawn notes in the front and back covers (needle charts, graph keys, ect.)

4. Fashionary Sketchbook - My drawing skills aren't quite as advanced as my knitting skills. But that whole "I like my notebooks tidy" issue, means I want tidy sketches, as well! Enter the Fashionary Sketchbook. Each page has 3 faint dot-lined female figures. They are faint enough that you can easily write over them, otherwise they are perfect to use as a guide to draw out garments and accessories on a model. Perfect for designers, but also great for those of us who desire a handmade wardrobe, or plotting out outfits.

The infamous and highly-coveted Fringe Field Bag

The infamous and highly-coveted Fringe Field Bag

Let's talk project bags. I love to keep all of my individual projects tucked away in their own special bag. That way I don't lose anything, I've got everything I need for that project and I can just grab and go! I am not a monogamous knitter - I tend to have 2 to 4 projects on my needles at all times. When I am heading to my knitting group, I just pick the easiest one to work on while chatting and I am out the door. At home in my studio - having everything in their own bag, helps me keep organized! I also usually keep a row counter in each bag, that way I don't get them mixed up and end up on the wrong row in my project!

My absolute favorite bag is the Field Bag by Fringe Supply Co. This is a seriously well made bag. It is sturdy, stylish, and functional. I love the simplistic design, and useful details. It has a sturdy bottom and sits upright on the table, so I can utilize it like a yarn bowl. It has a drawstring and handle for easy portability. Pockets!! I've mentioned how I like to keep everything I need for a project all together in one bag - now I have space for pens, pencils, stitch holders, scissors, stitch markers, row counter, notebook, scrap yarn and spare needles. Seriously - I just can't say enough good things (which is why I own four - no joke.)

My "I use these for every single project" notions.

1. Lantern Moon Sheep Measuring Tape- I've had this little guy for probably 14 years. I love him. He brings me joy every time I use him. Every knitter needs a tape measure - might as well make it a cute one! (You can probably find this at your LYS! Support small business if you can!)

2. Clover Row Counter - There are all kinds of row counters out there and this one is by far my favorite. Again, I began using it way back when I first started knitting. I have tried others. Simpler ones, and fancier ones - and I just find this is the best for me. The "click" helps remind me that I pushed it so I know I am not forgetting rows, and it's sturdy. I have a couple so I can have one for each project. (You can probably find this at your LYS! Support small business if you can!)

3. Chibi Tapestry Needles and Holder - As you can tell from the wear and tear, I also got this when I was a relatively new knitter. Nostalgia and functionality holds its place in my top fave tools. It does exactly as it is suppose to, and I like its now worn look. There are some much more modern holders available these days, so go with what fits your style - but for me, this guy is perfect! (You can probably find this at your LYS! Support small business if you can!)

4. Stitch Markers and Pouch - I got this as a gift from my friend, Marlee, and I adore it! The brass stitch markers are perfect for many different needle sizes, and the pouch is just so special. Little pieces like this (especially when received from friends) add so much joy to my work days.

5. Sharp, Small Scissors - (not pictured) I use small, gold handled embroidery scissors that I keep in my notion bag. They are probably about 10 years old, and still sharp and easily portable. And pretty - very pretty. I don't think you can get that particular set anymore, but there are sooo many options out there for all different kinds of styles. You can find them at your LYS, Fringe Supply Co., and any craft store.

So there you have it! Some of my all time, and most used, favorite tools. These are the workhorses of my collection, that I am utilizing every single day. I really like to "use" my tools - I am not gentle. So to have high quality, durable items, is really important to me. I hope you found this useful!!

To help you build up your own hard working tool set I am SO excited to announce that Karen of Fringe Supply Co. has offered a $50 gift certificate to her shop (does not include shipping costs)  for one lucky winner!!! To enter, simply leave me a comment below carrying on the discussion! What are you favorite tools? Are their items you want to see a post about? Let me know! And don't forget to include your email address in the body of the comment so I have a way to reach you if you win! Giveaway is open until March 13 at midnight.

//Yarn Babies// Part 4 - Blacker Yarns Tamar & a Giveaway!!

giveaway, knitting, yarn, yarn babiesAndrea Mowry43 Comments

I am so excited about today's yarn chat! Blacker Yarns is getting ready to launch their new yarn line - Tamar Lustre Blend on March 3, and I got an early sneak peek - and a skein to give away! First, let's talk about this stunning new yarn. I'll let Blacker Yarns tell us a bit in their own words...

Tamar is a lustre blend yarn with a fluid sheen, reminiscent of flowing water and the river which gives this blend its name. This luxurious lustre yarn has been worsted spun to enhance the fibre’s inherent drape and shine.

Tamar is made from historic Wensleydale, Teeswater, Cotswold and Black Leicester Longwool, which are amongst the most distinctive British breeds. Tall and elegant with long lustrous ringlets of wavy fleece, their fibre is smooth and sleek with a distinctive silken sheen.

Pure lustre blend yarns may be rather lean and lack ‘give’, so we’ve added 30% Cornish Mule to Tamar, helping the yarn retain that characteristic woolly bounce. Mules are a crossbred sheep and can be found on most British farms. For Tamar, we’ve hand selected only the finest local Cornish lambs’ fleece. The baby-soft Cornish Mule creates a fine cloud of delicate fibre which perfectly complements the long staple of the lustre breeds creating a yarn which is durable, yet velvet soft. Due to the long fibre length this yarn will get softer and softer with every wash.

Using different ratios of Black Leicester Longwool, we’ve hand blended two natural shades and added a modern colour palette with fifteen dyed shades. Tamar is available in both DK and 4-ply.

Despite their glorious fibre Teeswater, Wensleydale, Cotswold and Black Leicester Longwool are all listed as either ‘at risk’ or ‘vulnerable’ by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. These breeds are an important part of our heritage, with Cotswold and Leicester Longwool dating back to the 13th and 17th centuries respectively. The fibre used in Tamar has been bought directly from UK based small producers, who are working to preserve these lustre breeds.
Tamar DK in Valency

Tamar DK in Valency

I couldn't wait to get my samples on my needles and began swatching up some of my favorite stitch patterns! After a bath, my swatches blocked out beautifully. Great drape, perfect amount of shine, and beautiful stitch definition. I am already dreaming up a cardigan with the DK and a shawl with the 4-ply!

Tamar 4-ply in Trevella

Tamar 4-ply in Trevella

This is the yarn that you want people to ask you about, because it so special! I love the care that went into creating Tamar, and how there is such a beautiful story to go with it. Blacker Yarns is invested in keeping their environmental impact low, growing their local economy, and focusing on sheep breeds that may otherwise die out. This is a yarn company I want to support. When wrapping up garments and accessories made from their beautiful yarns, I know I am helping to support abusiness I can believe in, and one that is so very important to our fiber community. Blacker Yarns is a company with a soul - and we need more of those in our world today.

Blacker Yarns believes it is wrong to use oil-based or high energy input fibres when wool and other natural fibres are sustainable high-performance raw materials providing warmth, insulation and comfort. For the sake of the people living on the planet in future, we believe in doing as little damage as possible...
— http://www.blackeryarns.co.uk/about/our-values

For your chance to win this beautiful skein of Tamar DK, just leave me a comment below, joining in on the discussion! I want to hear your thoughts on everything - fiber preferences, how you feel about woolly yarns, companies that care...And don't forget to include your email address in the actual comment so I can contact you if you win!!

Congratulations to Kate - the winner of the Mushy Vest Giveaway!