Drea Renee Knits


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.



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!!


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

// Yarn Babies // Julie Asselin Yarns // Giveaway

giveaway, knitting, yarn, yarn babiesAndrea Mowry131 Comments

I was so lucky to meet this amazing duo while I was at Rhinebeck - Julie and Jean-Francois of Julie Asselin Yarns. Their enthusiasm is infectious, and their commitment to their craft is admirable. If you were one of the lucky ones to take their course thru Knit Stars, then you know exactly what I'm talking about! Their gorgeous line of yarns are the sort that make you feel really good about what you are working with. Perfect for knitting up a treasure of your own, or better yet, something special for the one you love. Read on to learn more!

Nurtured Base

Nurtured Base

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

I have been a knitter for all my life, starting at a young age coming from a very crafty family. Growing up I was, and am still, very much into learning new things and understanding how things work. Coming from knitting and loving to know about things I was curious about fibers, yarns and dyeing so that’s how the business came to be.

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

I have to say that the business came naturally in a way.I was making small batch of yarn and dyeing for myself and friends and then it translated into stores wanting to purchase from me and it led to making this our every day job. We are very thankful to the knitting community for trusting us with making yarns and colors, as we get to have an amazing job!

What inspires your colors? 

Whenever I think up new colors I always think about wearability and purpose of colors as what we knit, someone will wear. I draw inspiration from nature, food, also feelings and emotions in the sense that some colors will translate a state of mind.

What inspires the yarn you use for Julie Asselin Yarns?

We are interested in yarn making as much as we love creating colors. We make it a point to work with Mills and people that are close to us and with fibers that are local when possible or that come from a source that we want to support because of the good work they do for the fiber industry. We are also very conscious about everything that we do and decide on making it as responsible as we can. Choosing sources, procedures and materials that make the most sense environmentally and that promote growth for the great industry that is yarn making. Wanting to make a difference, ever so little, in helping it grow.

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

We have two main line, a 90%Merino 10% Silk (Leizu Fingering,DK,Worsted) that we love for basics and baby knits and a 75/15/10 Merino/Cashmere/Silk that makes for luxurious gift or special garments and accessories.

We are also very happy to be working on a yarn with our good friends at the Green Mountain Spinnery, Nurtured. It is a Woolen Spun, 3 ply worsted weight that we are trilled about as it is durable yet lofty and soft, it only gets better with time and wear!

We have just introduced a Mohair/Silk lace weight that is great for pairing with one of our other bases for extra fun.

We are now working on a new sock yarn and a bulky weight that we hope will be available soon.

I don’t have a favorite, its like choosing a favorite child

What is the most unexpected thing that has happened since creating Julie Asselin yarns?

As I said before, we are amazed and very thankful to the response we have received from the knitting community and to be able to do what we do is a dream come true.

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

Do it! Be authentic, always trying to think outside the box to bring something new to the table to make your business unique.

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

It is easy when you work from home to think you can do it another day. You must have a schedule and I learned that fast in the beginning, other wise you can’t keep up!

What is the soundtrack you have playing while dyeing yarn?

It is very difficult to answer as we love music all genres for different reasons! I don’t think I could name 1 song/genre or artist but lets say that if we want to have fun and groove in the studio it will probably be the Jacksons Five or Michael Jackson as it is closely tied to memories for me and very much my kind of beat for dancing.

Where can we find your yarn?

We mostly sell our yarns through yarn shops, an updated list is always available on our website. We also sometimes do Pop Up Updates when a pattern using our yarns come out, knitters can be on the look out for those.

What is your favorite thing to knit?

HATS!!!!! OR SWEATERS!!!! Can’t choose!

What is your spirit animal?

12 years ago, Lonely, our Chihuahua came to me. Jean-Francois, my husband, always says that the belief that a dog and its master are somewhat alike really applies in our case.

What is your favorite noise?

Our Chihuahua makes the cutest noises when dreaming. Or wind blowing by a river on a summer”s night, precise and poetic but true. lol

The beautiful photography in this post was shared by Julie Asselin!

The beautiful photography in this post was shared by Julie Asselin!

Julie, thank you so much for taking the time to share with us!

Would you like the chance to try out some amazing Julie Asselin yarn?? Leave a comment below telling us about your favorite gift to knit for others, and you will be entered for a chance to win a Wanderers: Modern Mukluks kit, complete with digital pattern and yarn from Julie Asselin! The giveaway will end 11/20/2016! MAKER SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE BODY OF THE COMMENT SO I HAVE A WAY TO CONTACT YOU :)

You guys - I can't even tell you how much I loved reading your Christmas memories on last weeks giveaway post!! I can't wait to make memories like those with my own children! Congratulations to last weeks winner of the Comfort & Joy e-book, Mary!


Let's knit some love // 50% off Sale

knitting, saleAndrea Mowry17 Comments

I know there are a lot of us feeling pretty emotional today. I am finding it hard to even find the words. Mostly, I feel very sad.
What tends to offer me comfort in times when my mind is in so much turmoil is knitting. I am wondering if I might be able to offer a little bit of comfort to some of you. Keeping our hands busy with something that is so positive. Maybe knitting for someone you love. Or knitting to give yourself some much needed love. I'm hoping to do a little of both as I work through this flood of feelings.
If you are wanting to do the same - please feel free to use coupon code KNITLOVE to save 50% on all of my self-published patterns.

Wishing us all some light and love. <3

Sale ends 11/13/16 at midnight EST.

New Patterns // The Wanderlust Collection & Mae Pullover

knitting, new pattern, saleAndrea Mowry2 Comments
The Wanderlust Collection: Ramble Shawl, Drift Hat, Take Flight MItts

The Wanderlust Collection: Ramble Shawl, Drift Hat, Take Flight MItts

Knitting season has arrived, and I can think of no better way to celebrate than a slew of new patterns! All of which are fun to knit, and great for gifts or selfish knitting! Above is my Wanderlust Collection that I designed in collaboration with KnitPurl PDX and North Light Fibers. This shawl, hat and mitt set is dreamy knit up in Water Street - a stunning cashmere/merino yarn from North Light Fibers, available in gorgeous heathered shades! You can read all about my inspiration for this collection over on the Knit Purl Blog where I did a guest post!

The Mae Pullover knit up in YOTH Father

The Mae Pullover knit up in YOTH Father

Today's pattern release is the MAE pullover, designed with YOTH's dreamy Father yarn. This sweater is incredibly quick to knit, and uses only a few skeins of yarn. The result is a double v-neck, oversized tunic that is fabulous dressed up or down! Some of my favorite details are the exposed shoulder "seams", broken stockinette texture and of course - the v-neck in both the front and back. I love this new addition to my handmade wardrobe, and I hope that you will, too!

So to get things into full swing - how about a sale?! You can save 25% on my Wanderlust Collection when you by the entire collection, until 10/8/16 - no coupon code needed. The discount will automatically be applied at checkout!

To save 15% on the Mae pullover, use coupon code FALLKNITTING until 10/7/16 at midnight EST!

Happy knitting everyone! I hope those of you in climates experiencing fall are enjoying every bit of it! I know I am!!

Sync Cowl // A New Pattern for MadelineTosh

brioche, knitting, new patternAndrea MowryComment

Happy Autumn everyone!! I don't know about you, but I am thrilled with the shift in weather. Bring on the cozy knits, warm bevies and crisp fall smells! Are you ready for some cool weather knitting and the gift knitting season?

I am thrilled that my new pattern with MadelineTosh was released just in time for the change in seasons! The Sync Cowl is an awesome beginners brioche project that is totally customizable and unisex! (Perfect for gifts!!)

The Sync Cowl utilizes marling your yarns (holding 2 strands together) along with 2 color syncopated brioche (which is much easier than it sounds) and is available in 2 sizes! The Single Loop version uses 2 strand of DK for a bulky knit and a cowl that stands up tall to protect you from the wind. The Double Loop version uses 2 strands of fingering weight yarn and is long enough to loop around your neck twice for the ultimate snuggle factor. The color combination possibilities are ENDLESS! I can't wait to see what you all come up with! You can get your pattern now in my Pattern Shop!

What will you be knitting this fall? Selfish knitting or gift knitting? Maybe a bit of both??

Spin Raglan // A New Pattern

knitting, new pattern, saleAndrea Mowry4 Comments

Can you feel it? That little bit of a change happening?? The mornings are a bit more crisp, the leaves are already showing signs of changing, and everything just feels a bit - wonderful! I love love love LOVE autumn. I wish it lasted for 6 months of the year (I am fine with the other seasons taking up 2 months each ;)

I am so ready. Give me all the woolly wools, the crunchy leaves, the socks, shawls and hats! And this sweater. This sweater is my perfect raglan. Spin is easy, fast, and has just a little something to make it special. Worked from the top down and completely seamless, some of my pattern testers finished it in less than a week! A number of them knit two! It fits well and is oh so cozy. Layered over thermals and flannels, or just pulled on over your jammies on those chilly mornings, it is just what every handmade wardrobe needs.

Knit up in Independence from Spincycle, it flies off the needles. Which is just what I needed to get Rhinebeck ready!! Are you going to Rhinebeck this year? It is my first time going, and I am so excited! So excited, in fact, that I thought we needed a KAL to get ready for it! Even if you aren't going, come on over and knit with us! Let's celebrate the best season of the year together :)

Don't forget to save 15% on your Spin Raglan pattern purchase with the code SPIN until 9/14/16 at midnight EST!

// Yarn Babies // Tanis Fiber Arts // Giveaway!

giveaway, knitting, yarn, yarn babiesAndrea Mowry170 Comments

In this day and age of electronic communication, many of the people I "meet" in my industry are thru Instagram and email. This allows us to put forward whatever version of ourselves we choose, in whatever amount we feel comfortable with. Some of us our vague, only giving away a little bit of who we are, and others are an open book, letting it all hang out. Every once in a while, I get to "meet" someone whose true self shines thru in their written word and photographs. I immediately feel like I know them, and we could easily talk for ages over a cup of coffee and our knitting! Tanis, of Tanis Fiber Arts, is one of those people that I would love to take to my favorite bakery for croissants, coffee, and hours of yarn talk! (And maybe a little kid talk, too ;) I love that she runs her independent business with her husband in a studio behind their house. And I certainly connect with juggling your own business and two small children! I'll let Tanis take it away, so you can get to know her a little better, too!

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

I started dyeing yarn purely for my own selfish knitting. I studied fine arts in university and knew a little bit about dyeing textiles but learnt mainly from experimenting in the tiny kitchen of my first apartment. I was getting seriously into knitting and didn't have the budget to buy all the gorgeous hand dyed yarns I wanted to be knitting with so I thought that it might be fun to experiment with dyeing some myself. I started with kool-aid and quickly moved on to more professional acid dyes. I opened an Etsy shop and things just kinda went from there. It was a very organic process from enthusiastic knitter to yarn dyeing entrepreneur.

You have a wide range of really gorgeous colorways. Can you tell us what inspires you? 

I have a background in watercolour and I think that it translates really well into hand dyed yarn. I love watching the different coloured dyes overlap to create new translucent layers of colour. At the end of the day, I think that's my greatest motivator, I have a very deep, very sincere love of colour! I would say that my biggest inspiration is our palette. As soon as we start mixing dyes and applying them to yarn, magic happens and we never know what direction it's going to take us in. Some of our strongest colourways are the ones that resulted from the most experimental layering of colours. It's something that I still find very exciting and am amazed at the variety that can be achieved by combining the same colours in different ways.

Can you tell us about a few of the the different yarns you carry? Do you have a favorite?

We carry a variety of bases from our classic Blue Label Merino/Nylon sock yarn to our more luxurious Silver Label Mulberry Silk. I love them all for different reasons! It's impossible to pick a favourite, but there are a few yarns that I've developed myself working with mills and obviously those are extra special for me since I was able to tailor them to my exact preferences. I really love our Grey Label Merino/Alpaca Chunky yarn because, well, chunky yarns are awesome! And it takes the dye so beautifully. Literally each stitch can be a different colour. It's such a fun yarn to knit with. 

You have a new line called Purewash, that a lot of us are really excited about! Can you tell us about, and what made you decide to add this line?

Our new line of PureWash yarns is, hands down, the most exciting thing we've ever done as a small business. Just over a year ago when I learnt about the impact the super washing process has on the environment, I started looking into alternatives and quickly realized that there weren't any! There are a few large yarn companies that cater to the hand dyer and offer a catalogue of lovely merino's and merino/cashmere blends, but when I went looking for an organic, eco-friendly, washable wool option I came back empty handed. It was initially very frustrating because I had realized that as a knitter, that's what I wanted to be knitting with, which obviously led to the next step being that as a dyer, that's what I wanted to be dying and offering to my customers! I felt so strongly about it that I set out to create it myself. It was a completely new process for me and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. It's a dream come true to be able to offer this yarn to our customers. I'm so proud of it!

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

I truly believe that the best way to be successful in any creative milieu is to be completely authentic. To be the best expression of your own creative vision. If you're producing something that you love and can stand behind 100%, people can tell. You'll find the right audience for you and you will love your work every single day!

Where can we find your yarn?

We are exclusively available online. Our permanent collection of colourways are available on our website at www.tanisfiberarts.com and we do frequent Etsy updates featuring one of a kind colourways and bases: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/tanisfiberarts

What is your spirit animal?

I have no idea... I asked my husband and he said squirrel, so... squirrel? He says it's because I'm small and quick and I'm always running around. I think it must be because I'm cute and perky. ;)

What is your favorite noise?

I was going to say that my favourite noise was the sound of ocean waves lapping against the shore. Or the sound of the rain on a tin roof... but then my baby laughed and that definitely won out. My 13 month old son giggling is pretty much as good as it gets!

Thank you so much for sharing some of your story with us, Tanis! Tanis Fiber Arts is having an update tomorrow - Monday, August 15 at 12pm EST!! Make sure you don't miss it, so you can enhance your stash with some of this amazing yarn!

Tanis and I have teamed up to create a super fun knit kit as a giveaway! She is generously offering a skein of her PureWash Worsted in the Stratus colorway to go with my Chevy hat pattern! (And let me tell you, her new PureWash line is such a delight to work with, and a yarn you can really feel good about having on your needles!!) Check out how amazing that texture is!

To enter to win, leave a comment below telling us what different art mediums in your life influence each other! Don't forget to include your email address in the body of the comment so I have a way to contact you if you win! The giveaway will be open until Thursday 8/18/16 at midnight EST!

Om & Yoga Shawls KAL Wrap up!!

Finished objects, giveaway, knittingAndrea Mowry2 Comments
Sarah 's Yoga shawl makes me want one in gray!

Sarah's Yoga shawl makes me want one in gray!

I am so blown away by all of the beautiful Om Shawls and Yoga Shawls created this summer by all of you!! Here is just a few of them, and the beautiful people that created them with their own two hands. By far, the best thing about designing knitting patterns, is seeing how all of YOU knit them up and make them your own! I hope you all stay super cozy in your new shawls in the coming months (and years!)

You can check out more projects over on Ravelry, and we would love to have you join our next KAL - the Anniversary KNIT in COLOR KAL!!

Congratulations to Karen Stocks - the winner of the KAL giveaway prize!!

Brittany's  beautiful neutral and marled Om shawl!

Brittany's beautiful neutral and marled Om shawl!

Anne's  bright Om Shawl knit with Plucky is amazing!

Anne's bright Om Shawl knit with Plucky is amazing!

Julie 's Plucky Knitter Om Shawl is beautifully unique!

Julie's Plucky Knitter Om Shawl is beautifully unique!

Love this Navy Blue with pops of color by  Amber ! Wow!

Love this Navy Blue with pops of color by Amber! Wow!

Absolutely loving these pinks by  ArsinoeLaCrapaude

Absolutely loving these pinks by ArsinoeLaCrapaude

Katharina  also knit up a Yoga Shawl!

Katharina also knit up a Yoga Shawl!

Beautiful Yoga shawl by  ARockandaTree  using yarn she dyed herself!

Beautiful Yoga shawl by ARockandaTree using yarn she dyed herself!

I love  Rebecca's  Hinterland Om Shawl!!

I love Rebecca's Hinterland Om Shawl!!

Dana 's multicolored Yoga Shawl is so inspiring!

Dana's multicolored Yoga Shawl is so inspiring!

Katharina 's beautiful Om shawl!

Katharina's beautiful Om shawl!

Alexa  is such a cutie in her Om Shawl!

Alexa is such a cutie in her Om Shawl!

Briochealuscious // A New KNIT in COLOR Pattern!

brioche, KNIT in COLOR, knitting, new pattern, sale, yarnAndrea Mowry2 Comments

Briochealuscious is why I LOVE SHAWLS!!! They are just SO. MUCH. FUN. TO. KNIT!!! For this new KNIT in COLOR pattern, I grabbed up some of my all time favorite Hedgehog Fibres yarns and they told me exactly what they needed to be. A crescent shawl that hugs the shoulders so perfectly, that it's reminiscent of the sweet touch of someone you love. Enough length to wear it in a multitude of different styles. Stripes and short rows, which always make for a fabulous shawl, plus garter stitch, seed stitch, and my favorite - brioche! I took this shawl over the top with a really amazing applied brioche border - Oh yes, you read that right!

This is the shawl for those coveted single skeins from your favorite dyer! I've included weights, so it is an awesome stash buster. You can use as many (or as few) different colors as you'd like! And the best part??? This shawl is part of my huge birthday sale!! So use the coupon code bday33 to save 33% on this, and all of my patterns until 8.7.16!!

And don't forget to check out my awesome SIL/KNIT in COLOR partner Knitgraffiti and her new shawl Sonnen!!

I am hosting an Anniversary KAL for KNIT in COLOR over on Ravelry! Come join the fun and cast on something bright, bold and beautiful!!

Birthday Sale!!

knitting, saleAndrea Mowry3 Comments

Today is my 33rd birthday - and what better way to celebrate than with my biggest sale yet!! Save 33% on all of my self-published patterns here and here with the coupon code bday33 until Sunday, August 7 at midnight EST!!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the overwhelming support of my little knitting business! There is not a moment that goes by that I am not endlessly grateful for every like, heart, comment, email, and pattern purchase!

Happy Knitting!!

PS - stay tuned for a new pattern release tomorrow that will also be part of this huge sale!!

Congratulations to Lisa - winner of the last week's Republic of Wool giveaway!!! I've emailed you!

//Yarn Babies// Republic of Wool // Giveaway!

giveaway, KNIT in COLOR, knitting, yarn, yarn babiesAndrea Mowry80 Comments
Somersault, Atmosphere, Demolition

Somersault, Atmosphere, Demolition

Today's Yarn Babies post is super special. Michele from Republic of Wool helped spark in me a new found passion for using color in my designs. Her impeccable use of the much coveted speckle combined with her bold color mash-ups put me on a full-blown yarn hoarding bender and I hunted down her yarns anywhere and everywhere that I could find them! Michele inspires me to be bold and reach beyond what feels safe when choosing colors. It's like being given an entire new palette to work with. I know you will find her work just as inspiring as I do, so I made sure to time this post with one of her shop updates! She is planning an update for Wednesday 7/27, and you'll want to be quick so you don't miss out!

One of my forever favorites - Cameo

One of my forever favorites - Cameo

Take it away, Michele!!

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

What brought me to dyeing was a love of playing with color, and all the various combinations. I started playing with color in my knitting, and got such great responses that I thought "Why not put these colors together for other people to use in their knitting!?".

You have a special magic when it comes to color, and always seem to find ways to combine unexpected color combinations. Can you tell us what inspires you? 

Most combinations just kind of pop into my head. I am constantly thinking about color, and often at night before falling asleep an idea for color pairings will pop into my head, so I have to write it down or text myself so that I remember it in the morning.

There are times though when I am out around town and colors will jump out at me from random places, like chipping paint on a building, or a mural.

Seriously, what is more fun - dyeing or naming the color ways?

Naming my color ways actually is not an easy thing for me. I over think it, and then second guess it, and it ends up being stressful, so I would have to say that dyeing is where the most fun is had! ands down!

Can you tell us about a few of the the different yarns you carry? Do you have a favorite?

I have tried to keep it pretty simple with bases. It has been Twist Fingering and DK for quite some time. Twist Fingering is a high twist SW Merino/Nylon blend, and DK is 100% SW Merino. I recently added a new base to the mix though. Mighty Merino is a hefty skein of 100% SW Merino Fingering weight yarn that is currently my new favorite. Its soft and has a nice drape to it!

Plume &lt;3 &lt;3 &lt;3

Plume <3 <3 <3

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

Just do it! Dive in with all of your heart and make it happen! The internet is an amazing tool for putting yourself and your creations out there, and the worst that can happen is you end up with a bunch of lovely things you have made!

Where can we find your yarn?

My online shop (www.republicofwool.com

The Knitting Bee in Portland OR

Twisted in Portland OR

StevenBe in Minneapolis MN

The Altered Stitch in Valley Village CA

What is your spirit animal?

A sea horse!

What is your favorite noise?

The clicking of knitting needles!

Anything else you would like to include?

If you don't already play with color... Try it! You will surprise yourself!

Well hello there Speckles - How you doin'?? (Another favorite colorway - Grand Budapest!)

Well hello there Speckles - How you doin'?? (Another favorite colorway - Grand Budapest!)

To see some of the outstanding creations Michele has knit out of her yarn, I highly recommend following her on Instagram! She also posts new colorways and shop updates there, as well, from time to time. Summer is the perfect time for color inspiration, and a few of Michele's skeins will help carry you right thru the darker and more monochrome days of winter!

One lucky winner will receive a skein of Heat Wave - one of my all time favorite Republic of Wool colorways! (It looks great paired with so many other colors!! Think turquoise ;) To enter, leave a comment below with a new way you would add color into your life and don't forget to include your email address in the body of the comment! Giveaway ends Sunday, 7/31/16 at midnight EST. And don't forget to check out Michele's shop update on Wednesday!

A big congratulations to Hannah - winner of the Lily Jade bag!! I've emailed you :)

Sheltered Poncho // A New Pattern

knitting, new pattern, sale, ponchoAndrea Mowry7 Comments

Oh. My. It is hard to find the words to express how excited I am for today's pattern release - the Sheltered Poncho. "Why?" You might ask...

Well - I finished this poncho back in January, but I don't allow myself to wear my designs until they are photographed and all ready to publish. And well, in January, I was already pretty "rounded" with a baby in my belly. Annnnd I tend to spill things. So yes, much better to wait until after there are plenty of pretty pictures to document the new design before it has truly had a day in the life of Andrea. (I would love to blame those messes on my kids - but let's be honest, I'm usually the culprit.)

This poncho folks - this is my "perfect wardrobe staple." I am all about layering, and really all about flattering garments to any body shape and size. Ponchos and drapey capey's - they're my jam. And this - well, this is the king of the crop, in my not so humble opinion (insert blushing emoji here.) And now I am so excited to finally be able to wear it! (I don't care if it is 90 degrees here right now - that's what early morning walks and AC are for!)

So let's talk about this poncho! It is a breeze to knit up in worsted weight. If you choose a nice lofty woolen spun yarn (like Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter) it is still incredibly light weight, while also cozy. Most importantly, it fits in perfectly to a modern wardrobe with faux seams, subtle texture and a cowl neck. The back hem is a bit longer (perfect for wearing over leggings), and let's not forget the hood!

So are you ready to get your favorite fall wardrobe staple on your needles? (Hello Rhinebeck sweater!) How about a little discount to celebrate? Use the coupon code SHELTERED to save 15% thru 7/20/16 at midnight EST!

Seriously folks, I really do hope you love this pattern as much as me!


Magpie Fiber Yoga Shawl Giveaway Winner & Your Questions Answered!

giveaway, knitting, yarn, yarn babiesAndrea Mowry1 Comment
Swish Domestic Worsted

Swish Domestic Worsted

Y'all left so many great suggestions for questions you would like answered! Sweet Dami of Magpie Fibers has kindly answered some more questions for us! So, without further ado...

“What are you knitting now?”

Right now I’m working on a new shawl pattern in the Domestic fingering, hopefully it will be ready for release next month. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll already know I’m about to start a colorwork project, again with the new Domestic, I’m thinking a Fair Isle hat.

“What are your favorite things to knit?”

My favorite things to knit are sweaters and hats! I’m also a bit of an A.D.D. knitter, endless stockinette and I are not friends, so I love anything that keeps my attention, the more cables and colorwork the better!

"Can you share some more about your history and getting started?"

I was a jewelry designer for the 15 years before I started dyeing and before that I was a color consultant and decorative painter. Starting a new business is never easy, but it wasn’t foreign to me either. I was also incredibly lucky to have the support of my LYS, The Knot House, from day one. They really helped me understand the business side of things as well as hone my colors and select my bases.

I have some amazing friends too. My Mom and my girlfriends have been incredible; always willing to help out when I need it, the pre-Stitches tagging parties are becoming a ritual! And when I need help or advice or just someone to complain to, Veronika from YOTH Yarns is always there for me. I am so blessed to have so much support from so many wonderful people.

 "What music do you listen to while working?"

I like just about everything, but I love old school R & B. If you’ve checked out the website “About” page you’ll know the Magpie Fibers “Girl Friday” Tracey Lambert, when we’re working together you’ll most often find us listening to ‘80s rock on Apple Radio’s “The Mixtape”, “David Bowie Radio” or “Depeche Mode” radio. When I’m working alone I’ve also been known to listen to books on tape, yes, I’m an Urban Fantasy geek :)

"Let's talk tattoos!"

Yup... I got ‘em! The most recent are the feathers on my shoulder and back. I’m not sure they are Magpie feathers exactly, but close enough. Somewhere along the line I realized that, completely by accident, all my tattoos had been done by women, even the really awful one I got when I was 18. So now it’s become a bit of a thing and I go out of my way to find amazing female tattoo artists when I’m traveling who can add to the feather collection. Lindsey Lawson at Slave to the Needle in Seattle, Angela de Rosette at Graceland Tattoo in Brooklyn and Dana Jones at 717 Tattoo in Pennsylvania have all added to the collection.

Thank you so much for sharing some more insight into your life and your business, Dami! And thank you again for the incredibly generous giveaway! And the winner is....

Sara (SallyHP)!! I've emailed you :)

Goldfinch Shawl Pattern Release (& new patterns available in the shop!)

knitting, new pattern, sale, yarnAndrea Mowry2 Comments
Knit up in O-wool O-wash Sport in Paw Paw, Devil's Pool, &amp; Watermill

Knit up in O-wool O-wash Sport in Paw Paw, Devil's Pool, & Watermill

I am thrilled to be releasing my Goldfinch shawl today! This shawl came out of the pure necessity of having a fun shawl on my needles! I wanted something super enjoyable to knit - the kind of pattern that you just can't put down!

Originally, I had hat plans for these beautiful yarns from O-wool, but as they lay there all snuggled up together, I just couldn't bare to separate them! This is one of those designs that I did very little preparation for - instead choosing to let the yarn tell me what it wanted to be. Short rows just felt right! And then stripes, yes stripes. How about some simple lace? Yup, perfect! I hope you have as much fun with this shawl as I did! And I can't wait to see all of the amazing colors everyone chooses to use! So what are you waiting for?? Save 15% with the coupon code Goldfinch until 7/6/16 at midnight EST! And don't forget to share your progress and finished pictures with us all by using the tags #goldfinchshawl and #dreareneeknits!!

I am also thrilled to announce that I have 2 more of my favorite patterns up in the shop!

This is Nascha - the perfect layering piece to knit up in preparation for fall! If you have yet to try your hand at brioche, this is the perfect beginner pattern. Even better? The two-color brioche gives you a completely reversible fabric, making it a versatile piece in your handmade wardrobe! Knit up in Quince & Co. Owl & Owl Tweet, it is pure, woolly heaven!

This is the Om Shawl! This large shawl can be worn in so many different ways, and is SO.MUCH.FUN to knit! Squishy texture, colorwork, relaxing garter stripes - what more could you ask for? How about worsted weight yarn that results in a surprisingly quick knit?? It's not too late to join the Om & Yoga Shawl knitalong taking place in my Ravelry group! We will be knitting together until August! And once you have bound yours off, make sure to check out this video for a peek at a few of my favorite ways to wear this style shawl!

//Yarn Babies// Magpie Fibers

giveaway, knitting, yarn, yarn babiesAndrea Mowry121 Comments
Swish Domestic Worsted in Shocking

Swish Domestic Worsted in Shocking

Hello sweet friends! After taking a wee break to focus on the newest member of our family, Yarn Babies is back and I am so excited about the beautiful fibers I will be sharing here in the coming months. I couldn't be more thrilled to kick off this new season with Magpie Fibers and the woman behind the scenes - Dami Hunter!

I was incredibly lucky to meet Dami at Stitches West this past winter. Dami's enthusiasm for her beautiful yarns is infectious, as I am sure you will soon see why! I am especially excited about her new line of "sheep to needle" Domestic Yarn (I love a good woolly yarn just as much as an ultra-soft yarn!) Let's hear more about Magpie Fibers from Dami!

Swish Domestic Fingering in Tidepool

Swish Domestic Fingering in Tidepool

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

I learned to knit a few years ago during a turbulent time in my life. I had moved to a new town that had great LYS (The Knot House) that coincidentally opened the same day I moved in. I had always wanted to learn to knit and they were offering beginner classes. I was hooked from the first day, the joke at the shop is that I was in there every single day for the next few months.

At some point, not too long after, it occurred to me that I could combine my new passion for knitting and my lifelong obsession with color… and that there were people out there actually making a living doing it! I had tons of support from The Knot House and our amazing local knitting community and in December 2014 Magpie Fibers was launched with a trunk show at the shop.

I am truly blessed to have found this amazing community of fiber folk, their encouragement and support has allowed me to create a new life full of wonderful things and fabulous people that I could not have even imagined a few years ago.

Where do you find inspiration for your amazing colorways?

Inspiration comes from all over the place, but mostly from nature. I love deeply saturated colors, like those intense dark pink peonies, but also the subtle shades you see in the sky at dawn. Usually new colors happen by accident, one of the regular colors comes out of the pot wrong for some reason, which can be frustrating when you’re on a dead line, but I try to embrace it and make it an opportunity to play freely. Sometimes I just need to fill a gap in my colors (yes, I hear you all you Hunter Green people!).

Swish Domestic Fingering in Alloy, Amber Waves, &amp; Tidepool

Swish Domestic Fingering in Alloy, Amber Waves, & Tidepool

Seriously, what is more fun - dyeing or naming the colorways?

Naming can be really fun, I try to come up with clever names or at least fun ones, but sometimes, forced cleverness doesn’t work out so well for me. When I get stumped I’ll shout out to my friends for help, some of the resulting text/email threads are pretty entertaining. Dyeing is a lot of hard work and can definitely get tedious, but there is a little bit of Christmas morning every time you pull a batch out of a pot and again when its dried and skeined up. There are lots of mornings I run to the studio to see how the yarn I hung up to dry the night before looks in the daylight.

Can you tell us about a few of the different yarns you carry? Do you have a favorite?

I think I’m best known for my Swanky yarns. They’re a Merino, Cashmere &amp; Nylon blend in fingering, DK and worsted weights and are incredibly soft and silky. They have great drape and sheen, and take color beautifully too, so it’s hard not to love them… a lot!

Recently though I’ve been totally obsessed with the new line of Domestic yarns I’ve just released. Right now there is a fingering and a worsted weight available in selected colors. They are 100% domestic Merino and are nice and round with tons of bounce and spring. I love my soft yarns, but nothing makes cables pop like this new worsted!

I’m really proud to have a fully “sheep to needle” domestic yarn and have had a great time developing it. I’m a little nervous because people do identify my brand so much with all that Swanky softness, but I’m hopeful people will love these new yarns just as much.

My favorite new accessory! Stitch marker bracelet!

My favorite new accessory! Stitch marker bracelet!

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

DO IT! Trust yourself, trust your vision and surround yourself with supportive creative people. Get out there and meet people doing what you’re doing and become part of that community. Amazing opportunities can present themselves if you’re at the right place at the right time. Don’t ignore the boring stuff either… sorry! Creating a brand, building a social media presence, and dealing with all the paperwork… are all essential too.

Where can we find your yarn?

The biggest selection will always be on the Magpie Fibers website: www.magpiefibers.com, also check my events page for upcoming conventions and trunk shows. I have recently begun expanding my list of stockists, Magpie Fibers could be at an LYS near you!

The Knot House – Frederick, MD

The Loopy Ewe – Ft. Collins, CO

Gauge – Austin, TX

Black Mountain Yarn Shop – Black Mountain, NC

Loop – Philadelphia, PA

Brooklyn General Store – Brooklyn, NY

In The Loop – Plainville, MA

Nido – Burlington, VT

What is your spirit animal?

Think I have to go with a Magpie on this one!

What is your favorite noise?

Definitely water… ocean waves, running streams, the little lapping noise of ponds and lakes. I find them all very soothing, maybe its my water logged Scorpio-ness coming through :)

Anything else you would like to include?

Just a great big huge “THANK YOU!!” For including me in your blog!!

Swish Domestic Fingering in Castaway

Swish Domestic Fingering in Castaway

Isn't Dami awesome?? On top of sharing some of her story with us today, she has also offered a super generous giveaway! We have teamed up to put together a Yoga Shawl Kit for one lucky winner! Included in the kit is my Yoga Shawl pattern and 5 skeins of her amazing new Domestic Fingering in Castaway! So if you have been thinking about joining the Om & Yoga Shawl KAL I am hosting on Ravelry - it's not too late!

To enter the giveaway, I would love to hear what other questions you would like me to ask in these interviews to these amazing artists! So leave a comment below, and don't forget to include your email in the body of the comment! The giveaway will be open until Thursday, July 7 at midnight EST! Good Luck!

Swanky Sock in Amber Waves

Swanky Sock in Amber Waves

Knitting with Yak Down, Fiber Wash for Fine Fibers, & the Importance of Blocking Your Swatches

knitting, techniques, yarnAndrea Mowry4 Comments
Bijou Bliss 50/50 Yak Down &amp; Cormo Blend

Bijou Bliss 50/50 Yak Down & Cormo Blend

Let's start with the yarn, Bijou Basin Ranch Bijou Bliss - because without the yarn, there would be no swatch. This yarn was an unexpected treat for me. I had never knit with Yak Down, but I knew I loved Cormo. Cormo is so springy and soft, and I highly recommend it! Blended with the Yak Down, you get a yarn that is supple and soft enough to wear next to your skin, but that feels sturdy enough to be sweater worthy. The kind of sweater you adore and that can be lovingly handed down thru generations. This bouncy yarn was was telling me it wanted to be cables, and with my new stitch dictionary at hand, I happily agreed.

Cable Fabric knit up from  The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary  by Wendy Bernard

Cable Fabric knit up from The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary by Wendy Bernard

I would love to knit a cabled Fishermen's sweater out of this yarn. I love both the cream and brown natural colors, but I also think the cream would be a delight for any natural dyer to work their magic on!

Allure Fine Fiber Wash

Allure Fine Fiber Wash

After knitting up my swatch I gave it a soak in Allure Fine Fiber Wash. This fiber wash is amazing for any of your specialty fibers, including cashmere! It is a no-rinse wash, which if you read my last post on blocking, you know I highly prefer, especially for delicate fibers! I then squeezed out the extra moisture, gently, using a hand towel, and pinned it on a blocking mat to open up the cables while it dried.

So youmight be thinking to yourself - "Ugh! I already avoid swatching like the plague, and now you want me to block my swatch as well?!?! I just want to cast on!" I feel ya. But let's take a look at my swatches before and after blocking.

My swatch  BEFORE  blocking.

My swatch BEFORE blocking.

My swatch  AFTER  blocking.

My swatch AFTER blocking.

My swatch before blocking was 5 x 4.5 inches, after blocking it grew to 5.5 x 4.75 inches. Think about the difference in gauge! If you are knitting a sweater and try to go by your unblocked swatch, once you block your finished garment, it will be way too big. The nice thing about swatches - lay them in a sunny spot, and they only take afew hours to dry. It is so worth that extra bit of time to ensure that whatever you are knitting, will turn out just how you had hoped! This will also tell you what sort of drape can be expected of your finished fabric. Depending on what you are knitting, this may lead you to want to change needle sizes. And as you can imagine - when it comes to cables and lace, you have to block to open them up! Swatching has become a part of the process that I really enjoy now. I like to think of them as quick little "palette cleansers" between projects. Its my first opportunity to get to know the yarn and stitches that I will be using for my project, and I can't help but love my little basket full of swatches. Each one a memory of that time in my life and the project I was working on!

I highly recommend this yarn, especially for all of you breed-specific yarn fans! And now you know which fiber wash to get for your more delicate blends! Get swatching and blocking my friends, you won't regret it (and some of you may even come to love it!)

Congratulations to Meg on winning last week's giveaway!! I've emailed you!

Gather Shawl // A New Pattern

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

I designed this shawl for Gather DTLA and the LA yarn crawl using gorgeous hand dyed yarn from Stimpy Lab and Quince & Co. Tern! Shawls are a year round wardrobe essential for me. I love trying to wear one of my handknits everyday of the year, and shawls make that easy!

Gather wears well thru out all of the seasons and in any climate with its open lace, great drape and generous size. Pair your favorite fun sock yarn with a solid, and the color combinations are endless! I am always looking for ways to use my coveted hand dyed yarns that I tend to hoard in my stash. I think a lot of us keep them as little trophies, as they are so beautiful all skeined up. But they are even better knit up - and such a delight to watch the color changes as we knit stitch by stitch! That being said, this shawl would be just as gorgeous knit up in neutrals - or even in a single color, really allowing the texture to shine!

I hope it will become a wardrobe staple for you, just as it has for me! The techniques used (even the lace!) are simple enough that any level of knitter should have no problem with this project. Using different colors and textures, it is such a fun knit that it just flies off the needles!

To celebrate the release of this shawl, I am offering the coupon code GATHER for 15% off of this shawl pattern until Wednesday, May 4 at midnight EST!

Gather DTLA still has a limited supply of the yarn that was hand-dyed by Stimpy Lab for this pattern! I believe there are just 5 kits left, and she can ship anywhere! And if you are in the Los Angeles area, they are hosting a KAL for this pattern beginning on Wednesday!!

//Yarn Babies// Hedgehog Fibres & a Briochealicious Kit Giveaway!!

giveaway, KNIT in COLOR, knitting, yarn babies, yarnAndrea Mowry422 Comments

Photographs from Beata Jezek and her beautiful Instagram.

#Specklesaresohotrightnow - Need I say more? Good - because I could talk about yarn, color and speckles all day!

If anyone has mastered the art of the speckle yarn, it is Beata of Hedgehog Fibres. Even my sister (a non-knitter) was blown away by the depth of each skein, and all of the little surprises hidden among the layers of color! Hedgehog Fibres yarns are so stunning, you could easily leave them skeined up in a bowl in your living and be done decorating. Although, then you would miss out on how fun they are to knit with! Even plane jane stockinette and garter stitch become exciting as you encounter every little pop of color! And don't even get me started on brioche! Brioche is so beautiful with bold yarns like these. Not to mention, if adding a little more color into your yarn diet feels a little intimidating - brioche is a great way to do that. Use a more neutral yarn as your dominant color, and then add a color that is new for you (but that you have a sneaking suspicion is actually the perfect color/s to express the real you) as your secondary color.  Trust me, once you start playing with color in your knitting - it is really hard to stop! Blending yarns using techniques such as brioche and marling feels to me like mixing paint, and allows a whole new avenue for your creativity!

Colorways include: Fool's Gold, Zephyr, Crybaby, Urchin, Pine, Ghost, Whisper

Colorways include: Fool's Gold, Zephyr, Crybaby, Urchin, Pine, Ghost, Whisper

We all have different avenues that inspire us, and that is what yarn, in all of it's many different forms and colors, does for me. I know what you are thinking - "well, duh. That's no surprise!" But seriously, I keep my entire stash out on shelves in my studio\ so that I am constantly looking at it. I love being able to touch the different fibers, all spun differently, and dyed (or not!) by different amazing artists. We are SO LUCKY to have such talented people in our community who put their hearts and souls into their work. You can really see Beata's personality shine thru her yarn, and that is such a gift. You can find her yarns thru her online shop where they do updates (subscribe to her mailing list so you don't miss them! You can find the form at the bottom of any page on her website.) Or at yarn shops all around the world! I joined her Yarn Sock Club this past Autumn and loved it. You receive 2 skeins of yarn for 3 consecutive months. Each skein is unique and never to be repeated. So. Much. Fun. It's like Christmas for 3 months straight!

So let's hear from Beata herself about her inspiration, naming colourways, and her love for our 4-legged furry friends!

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

As soon as I got sucked into the knitting world I knew I wanted to create my own line of hand-dyed, soft, squishy yarns. I was always very visual and colour obsessive and I felt that none of the yarns on the market really catered to what I was interested in at the time. I love creating new colours, changing things up and staying current. I think Hedgehog Fibres really reflects that attitude as an extension of my personal style. 

Your yarns are truly unique. Where do you find inspiration for your amazing colorways? 

I love coming up with new colours, techniques and applications. I'm always thinking of the next thing, trying new ways of laying the dye on yarn, new colour combos. It's always the colours I'm into at the moment, or in another words it' a collection carefully curated by me as the creative director. 

Sometimes I think of a great name and then create a colourway to match (like Teacup) or sometimes I realize there's something missing in the line and then get completely obsessed with a colour (I had to have lilac, so we have 'Birthday Cake’). But some colours are definitely happy accidents! Crybaby was such a great potluck that we added it to the line.

I also paint, well it's more like just putting colours on paper, but it's a great way of getting inspired and playing with colour. I use big brushes and thick acrylic paint, I like how quickly I can visualise ideas.

Photograph credit: Beata Jezek

Photograph credit: Beata Jezek

Seriously, what is more fun - dyeing or naming the colorways?

We have colour naming parties at work! I like to gather everybody and brainstorm when we have new colours coming out, it's a ton of fun. We also keep a list of potential colourway names to which everybody can add their suggestions. 

Dyeing is fun too, I'm still a head dyer and hopefully I'll always be, but it can be challenging balancing the admin side of things as well as being in the dyerooms.

Can you tell us about a few of the the different yarns you carry? Do you have a favorite?

I’m very picky about our bases. I want the most buttery soft sock yarn, the shiniest silk blends, the squishiest singles. As a knitter, I will only sell something I am happy to use. I love our fingering weight yarns - Sock Yarn and Skinny Singles, mainly because of versatility - you can knit shawls and accessories holding a single strand, or you can hold it double (the Sock Yarn fabric in particular is lovely held double). Even 2 different strands together for marled or gradient effect... so many possibilities!

I also adore our Kidsilk Lace too. Nobody does colour on mohair like HHF!
I must admit though, for me it's colour that draws me in. I'm really into speckles on white base and bright pastels combined with a good strong contrast like Graphite or Electric at the moment. 2016 will be a big year for pastels and mohair I think!

Pollen, Pine &amp; Damp Skinny Singles

Pollen, Pine & Damp Skinny Singles

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

I started full time from the beginning, no messing around. I was pretty broke for a while. Staying motivated and working hard on perfecting your craft are crucial and having a clear vision definitely helps!

Where can we find your yarn?

All over the world! Our full list of retailers is here http://shop.hedgehogfibres.com/retailers

We sell directly through the website as well (http://shop.hedgehogfibres.com/) but stock levels can be limited and shop updates are a bit of a frenzy. We also run 3 different clubs at the moment, which are so much fun! More info: http://shop.hedgehogfibres.com/category/clubs


Photograph credit: Beata Jezek

Photograph credit: Beata Jezek

What is your spirit animal?

I guess I should say a hedgehog, but that's just my surname. My spirit animal is my rescue terrier Lola - she's old, grumpy, missing teeth and looks like a gremlin hairy potato. She's perfect, love her to bits!

What is your favorite noise?

My dogs sleeping, so I guess quiet? Or maybe ice cubes in a glass of G&T that's pretty soothing too :D

Anything else you would like to include?

I love my dog babies and I work sometimes with our local dog shelter as a foster home. My boyfriend and I have fostered over 20 dogs in the last couple of years, all of which have found wonderful permanent homes. We have taken a break from fostering recently as a blind kitten found us and is now part of the family - adding new dogs to the mix wouldn’t be fair to her at this point. I often share pictures of our weird pack on my Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/hedgehogfibres/?hl=en

Photograph credit: Beata Jezek

Photograph credit: Beata Jezek

I am so excited about this week's giveaway - Beata has very generously sent me 5 skeins of skinny singles to giveaway to a lucky winner paired with my Briochealicious Shawl pattern!!

What colors inspire you? Tell me about it in the comments along with your email address to enter for a chance to win the Briochealicious Shawl kit!! The giveaway will end midnight May 7!

Congratulations to Keri - the winner of last week's giveaway!!

//Yarn Babies// & Yarn Ladies! Spincycle Yarns

giveaway, KNIT in COLOR, knitting, yarn, yarn babiesAndrea Mowry59 Comments
I loved this wall art at  Drygoods Design  in Seattle, where I took my sewing class!

I loved this wall art at Drygoods Design in Seattle, where I took my sewing class!

I loved reading the amazing comments on last weeks post about creativity! Thank you all so much for sharing your dreams! I hope you continue to find inspiration and joy in all of your pursuits - whether it is trying out a new knitting technique, making more time and space for your crafts, or taking the leap in building your career around your passions! I hope this space can continue to help motivate all of you in this amazing community and we can be each others cheerleaders in living creative lives!!

I am so thrilled to be able to continue the conversation this week with two amazing women, Rachel Price & Kate Burge, who have turned their dreams into a thriving business that provides the rest of us with stunning, American - sourced yarns! These two hard working mamas are such an inspiration to me and I've loved learning more about their story and Spincycle Yarns - I think you will love it, too!

The Spinsters - Rachel Price &amp; Kate Burge!!

The Spinsters - Rachel Price & Kate Burge!!

Could you tell us a little bit about what brought you two together and to owning your own yarn company?

We met in 2004, when we were both working at the local co-op. I - Rachel here, doing the storytelling - had just landed in Bellingham rather accidentally, when my then-boyfriend and I ran out of money after spending a couple of years traveling around the US and England. Among the few possessions I owned was an Ashford Kiwi spinning wheel and a huge bag of mohair locks. How Kate wound up living in Bellingham is an equally roundabout and accidental story, but the short version is that, having grown up in Ohio but spending one very lovely summer on Salt Spring Island in BC, she knew that the PNW was for her.

We started hanging out as soon as we discovered each other's love of spinning, dyeing and knitting. Kate had had a booth at our local farmers' market the year before I moved here and she was reluctant to sign on for another year solo, so she invited me to join. Thus was Spincycle Yarns born.

Congratulations on your success! It had to have been a big move to go from spinning your yarns to finding a mill to help boost production. Can you tell us more about that and the amazing mother-daughter team you found?

Yes! It was huge! When I think back on the timing of the whole thing, the shift that really reinvented our business, I'm still surprised at how it all came together. The early years of Spincycle, when we were exclusively a hand-spinnery, corresponded nicely with our young, free and (mostly) single years. We lived with lots of housemates, paid a pittance for rent, and somehow had loads of free time while still making enough handspun yarn to support ourselves. But there is a very finite number of skeins that can be made by hand every week, and we hit that wall hard when we had our kids, back to back. (Hank is my son, and he's ten months older than Kate's daughter, Iona. They're five and four now.) The business plateaued, then took a dive. We were at a crossroads. I was looking for other work. It was grim.

Then one day, I was in our local yarn shop and a woman came in to drop off some flyers for the mill she was opening on Camano Island. Her plan was to spin yarn from her beautiful alpacas and to take in custom work to work the mill at capacity. Kate and I had a light bulb moment.

After a few visits and conversations with Cheryl, the mill boss and the most patient person we know, we began to bring her our dyelots. We changed absolutely nothing about our dye process except the size of our dye pots - we went from 3 gallons to 16 - so that our yarns would maintain the look that our customers associated with a Spincycle yarn. But those spinning frames - holy crap! - surely do make handspinning look slow by comparison. Our mill, though still small by some spinning factory standards - can crank out in a day what would have taken Kate and me two weeks to spin together!

We did have a few growing pains along the way. Working with a new mill and bringing them a variety of wool fibers with instructions like "make it look just like this handspun" can be challenging for all parties. We knew nothing about the equipment; they knew nothing about handspinning. Trying to find the equivalent terminology to talk about something like a drafting triangle with people who are essentially machinists... Well, we all had to take a lot of deep breaths. Then Cheryl brought in her daughter, Audrey, to run the machinery. Audrey is the most detail-oriented, hard-working and troubleshooting person we know. Finally we all found our groove.

Do you still spin any of the yarns you sell?

We still ply each skein of Knit Fast, Die Young by hand. The mill makes the singles, but their equipment can't handle the thickness of it once plied. So we ply it old school. That's why our turnaround time on that line is so slow. (Sorry, stockists! We love y'all! We're spinning as fast as we can!) We also have a line called Feral, which we handspin 100% and which we are almost never stocked in. It's so time consuming to make and sells out immediately.

Can you tell us more about "dyeing in the wool" and why you chose to go this route?

A "dyed in the wool" yarn is named after its dyeing process. Quite simply, it means that the fiber is dyed before it is spun. It differs quite a bit from the other, more common, hand dyeing methods of "painting" or "dip dyeing" in which a skein is dyed after being spun. Our method could also be called the "pain in the ass" method, which is probably how our mill refers to it behind our backs. We dye many, MANY pounds of fiber in each lot, and it's quite a challenge to keep the colorways consistent throughout. We're up against temperature variations in the kettle as it gets fuller and fuller, as well as having to remix our dye blends halfway through if we miscalculate volume. And then our mill has to deal with the insanity, making sure that the yarns end up as consistent as possible and that any knots in the skeins don't cause a sudden break in the color transition!

But the results are worth all the trouble! The colors shift and transition slowly, sunsetting into one another in unpredictable ways. Each skein is unique. They look like handspun skeins, which is just exactly, precisely what we are going for!

Can you tell us about a few of the the different yarns you carry? Do you have a favorite?

Well, Dyed In The Wool, our first mill-spun line, is probably the one that we tend to favor. It's so perfect for garment knitting. I bet I have no less than a dozen sweaters alone knit with DITW, not to mention my obsession for cowls. It shows off that slow color progression the best, and I just cannot stop using it for fair isle projects. And stripes. Dyed In The Wool plus a solid color for a striped cardigan? Forget about it. It's insanely beautiful.

I have to say, though, that I'm knitting my first sweater project from our heavy worsted weight line, Independence. I've used it a lot for accessories, but then I got kind of obsessed with the Arrowhead Cardigan, a pattern released by and featuring Imperial Yarn. I paired their Columbia 2-ply in a gorgeous chocolate with a colorway of ours called Grumpy Birds. I'm dying to finish. It's gonna be a stunner.

We also have a tonal lace weight, Debauchery, which I'm just getting into. Because, you know, lace knitting. It is slow. On the other end of the spectrum is Knit Fast, Die Young, our super bulky 2-ply. All of our yarns, incidentally, are dyed in the wool.

Where can we find your yarn?

All over! We have an ever-expanding list of stockists, which you can find on our website, www.spincycleyarns.com, or you can come shop it up in person at Stitches West every February, the TNNA summer show (for shops only), and a number of craft fairs and trunk shows in the Pacific Northwest. Oh, and we will be at the Indie Pop-Up that will be taking place at The Knot House in Frederick, Maryland, during Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in May!

I love that you keep your yarns US made from sheep to skein. What prompted you to go that route, and has it been challenging?

Initially, sourcing the wool was difficult. The decision was easy; it just felt right and we called it. Then we had to seek out a source that could provide us with a consistent blend and at the tons per year that we require. It was challenging and a little scary! Instead of buying a couple hundred pounds per month of, say, our superwash American wool, we had to agree to buy over a thousand pounds at one time. Suddenly, we were using freight shipping and had to figure out what a bill of lading was and how to rent a pallet lifter for a day! It was a different scene from the old days!

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

Hmmmm, I really love to tell people what to knit and in what colors... But business and dream-following advice? I will say this: There are a lot of ways to start living your dream. We definitely turn a little greenish with envy when we see companies who have just gone all in and have the most beautiful websites and top notch marketing and travel to every retail and trade show. But we had a very humble beginning and have grown slowly. Sweat equity has been our friend. We've paid for everything outright and never gone into any business debt. It's been slow, but it's always felt safe. Our energies go into yarn development and relationships with designers and collaborations with other yarn companies, rather than losing sleep over paying our bills.

One other thing: Love your product. Live in your product. Put your personality into your marketing and social media. Be your tattooed, rap-music-listening, weirdo self at shows when you meet your customers. (Ok, that's sort of specifically us, but you get it.)

What are your spirit animals?

Besides sheep?! I guess maybe I am the possum. I get a lot of work done in the middle of the night and have been known to play dead when stressed. Kate - and I'm speaking for her now, so she may object - is the rabbit. She's all over the place. She talks really fast, never sits down, is a non-stop fountain of ideas.

What are your favorite noises?

Kate can't really focus unless she's listening to the Notorious B.I.G. Me, I am really, really into this app on my phone called Extreme Rain Pouring. I cannot sleep unless I'm blasting it.

Stitches West 2016

Stitches West 2016

I was lucky enough to get to meet Kate & Rachel at their booth at Stitches West this past February. Their Independence yarn in the colorway Greed immediately drew me in, and I've already got a new pattern planned out for it! It is the perfect tones of yellow, which I have been obsessing over lately!

Lucky for all of us, I was just over - ahem, shopping - at the Spincycle Yarns Online Shop, and they recently did an update, so there is plenty of yarn for us all! They are also so generously giving away a knit kit to one lucky winner!! Just leave a comment below (with your email address!) telling us how you would use these beautifully unique yarns!! I will pick a winner next weekend ;)

Don't forget our Range Shawl KAL starts in a week!! We will be casting on May 1 - so you still have plenty of time to get your yarn!! Head over to Ravelry for all of the info! Congratulations to Ryan - the winner of last week's giveaway!! I've emailed you about your prize!  And don't forget to tag your Instagram pictures with #rangekal so we can watch your progress!