Why Reading This Post Will Make Your Day Better: It’s Cocktail Knitting Night!!!!

Heelllooo weeekkkkendddd!

It’s time for our new monthly cocktail date!

For a very long time now, I have been aspiring to start a monthly cocktail-knitting series on This Knitted Life. Why drink alone, when we can drink together!?!?

If I am going to go to the trouble to make an actual cocktail*, I always include fresh fruit. Otherwise, it’s not worth the effort and calorie consumption (in my opinion). Cherries are making their brief appearance in the market, so I’ve mixed them up with some champagne, which always lifts my spirits at least a little, and other fancy stuff. These fizzy pretties are the perfect Survival Reward for a post-work Friday wind-down or simple weekend brunch with friends and family.

I love it when girlfriends stop by for a cocktail (or tea) and a visit. If you were here right now, sipping fizzes with me and stitching away, I’d show you the progress Reed and I have been making in our new garden. It’s (slightly) less overgrown and slowly coming around. We went to the nursery after school earlier this week, and Reed picked out some fresh herbs and a few flowers to fill some holes in the beds.

He was particularly adamant that we buy a new “rosemary with green leaves” to replace the humongous overgrown rosemary** I recently ripped out from one of his favorite hiding spots. He planted the new, itty bitty rosemary back in the exact same spot and still holds a grudge that I dared to remove the original specimen.

We traveled quite a bit in May, enjoying two separate weekends up in the Oregon homeland with friends and family, catching up. We plan to stay closer to home in June, although we’re planning to camp a bit now that summer is Finally Here.

Reed has new neighbors that are close to his age and has been enjoying sharing his swing and generally racing about, squealing and making messes. We’ve never lived near sidewalks before (or quite so close to other kids), so we are enjoying exploring on our scooters and brightening up the block with immense sidewalk chalk murals. Aw, the joys of the urban lifestyle!

I’m still squeezing in a bit of knitting every day. Mostly a couple of hours between 8:00 and 10:00 each evening, cat nearby, and tv on. I’ve been working on reworking my Twist Shawl pattern to make sure it’s absolutely perfect and am using The Fibre Company’s Cumbria for the first time (Cowberry colorway). It’s been a good way to end the day. I hope I can do a better job squeezing in more daylight knitting once we’re a bit more settled and caught up on the yard and other chores.

Now that the weekend’s here, I plan to spend at least one day at the river to soak in the sun, knitting in hand. Summer lawn chair (or beach towel) knitting is one of my favorite joys. I probably won’t pack my champagne cherry fizzes, but I will make sure I drag along lots of cold ice water.

I sure have enjoyed our first cocktail date, although of course it would be better if you were actually HERE in real life. Someday! Until then, find a friend, make yourselves a fresh, fruity cocktail, grab your knitting, and put your feet up.

Champagne-Framboise Fizzes with Fresh Cherries

Ingredients:

½ oz. framboise (raspberry liquor) or susbstitute with ½ oz. of chambord for a “kir royale”

6 cherries, pitted

Champagne***

To make:

Pour framboise into a champagne flute. Add several cherries and muddle gently. Pour champagne and watch it fizz! Top with remaining cherries. Enjoy!

*Disclaimer: This recipe is for adults that meet the legal drinking age requirements of their respective nations. Always drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Alcoholism is a very serious disease. Please seek support if you need it. Drinking is very likely to impact your stitch count and may generally result in extensive frogging, so go easy.

**It always amazes me how rosemary can start out so small and grow so MUCH over the course of a decade.

***If you choose not to consume alcohol (good for you!), substitute with fizzy water and a squirt of fresh lime juice.

****Do you already follow me on Instragram? If not, please do. I am here.

We’re Accomplishing Things Like Crazy Over Here! Twist Cowl Pattern Update

Hold on to your needles, folks!

I have begun systematically reworking all my earliest pre-tech editor patterns to make sure my Ravelry catalog is absolutely perfect, knitter-friendly, and as clearly written as possible. After months of work, the Twist Cowl pattern has been updated on Ravelry!

I first published the Twist Cowl almost two years ago, and it has been a solid pattern. I’m particularly proud of this design. I worked hard on it, it’s been places with me (on so many levels!), and, most importantly, it’s a gorgeous, timeless knit. Unlike other early patterns I have revisited, I didn’t encounter any mistakes but still did some tweaking. I tightened up the gauge, added a small number of cast on stitches to rebalance the finished width, and increased the recommended length.

And…

…The whopper update is the new two-side option. The pattern now includes instructions for knitting a double sided Twist Cowl! This means no wrong side (which I REALLY love). Extra warmth.

The pattern is very wearable and knit-able either way.

The Twist Cowl is knit back and forth, similar to a standard scarf, before grafting to join with the kitchener stitch (search YouTube if that’s a new technique for you, but I KNOW you can do it!). The two-sided option is worked in the round.

I’ve also made a quick video tutorial showing how to work the main twist stitch, available here, in addition to the video overview embedded in the top of this post.

Like the original, the updated Twist Cowl pattern is knit in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light (Rose colorway). The one-side option requires about one skein. Dig out two skeins for the double sided option. Substitutions with fingering and sock weight yarns should work up just fine.  If you’ve already purchased this pattern, you should have received an auto-alert from Ravelry with a link to the downloaded pattern at no additional cost. If you haven’t already purchased this pattern, well, what are you waiting for?!?!?  (Subscribers, check your inbox for a Super Special discount code!). 

The updated Twist Cowl pattern is available on Ravelry for $5 USD here. Enjoy and thank you!

A few quick administrative notes for new readers:

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In Solidarity with Mothers Everywhere

I am scurrying to write this before my own mother comes by for a little early Mother’s day dinner. We both abhor the throngs of people brunching on holidays such as this and tend to schedule our own celebrations slightly a kilter from the masses. Given my mother doesn’t follow this site, I am safe to share with the infinite kniteratti  found here on the Internet that I am going to knit her a shawl. Thousands of people will know it is coming, yet she will be surprised.* Amazing how that works.

The yarn is The Fibre Company Cumbria fingering in Cowberry. This is my first time working with The Fibre Company yarn, and I’ve been making an attempt to try new brands in addition to my commitment to supporting indie dyers this year. I plan to update my Twist Shawl pattern, as I work through my entire older catalog to make sure it is as perfect as can be.** I nearly went with the original tried and true Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light but couldn’t settle on a satisfactory colorway at my place of commerce. Alas, Cowberry is much more my mom’s shade.

What can I say, we’re mixing things up over here.

As you read this, I will be scurrying out the door to reunite with my own dear child for an afternoon of fun. The snacks have been packed and the extra changes of clothes are at the ready. Sunscreen too. Reed is a fruit-eating, laundry generating kind of a kid. I can’t wait to hear his voice and see his sticky little face. Spending time with Reed is the best gift I could possibly ask for.

Mothering isn’t always easy work, but of course it’s the most important work we do. Or at least it’s the most important work I do. There’s no right way, although there seem to be lots of wrong ways. Each day, we just do our best, love our kids, and clean up the messes (hopefully teaching them to clean up their own messes along the way). We give the hugs and wipe the tears (and the butts). All in a day’s work! Being a mother is a constant dance of putting someone else before you. All through life.

Even my own mother still does it, and I am nearly 40. She’s my biggest fan, even through my mistakes. Earlier this week, I caught her wearing what must have been the very first (incredibly ugly) itchy, scratchy, tweedy scarf I ever knit. Seed stitch. TWENTY YEARS LATER, SHE STILL POSSESSES AND WEARS THIS HORRENDOUS MONSTROSITY OF KNITTING! I am fairly certain it is even skinnier at one end than the other.

Go Mom!

To the moms out there, I truly hope you’re casually reading this as you sip your tea in your pajamas, bathed in sunlight and warmth, surrounded by those you love and who love you back. Knitting at your side. Even if you are not a mother (perhaps not yet or perhaps never to be), I know you can appreciate mothering as you pause to remember your own mother, as perfect or flawed as she may have been–possibly a little bit of both.

Happy Mothers’ Day!

*If I were a better daughter, I would have ALREADY knit the shawl. (Although this way, I am likely to finish by next May and am just getting an early start for 2018!)

**I just finished updating my Twist Cowl pattern. There were just a few little tweaks, but the final version is amazing. Keep your eyes posted for a release in the next week or two, although it’s already live on Ravelry.

New Essential Rules for Knitters

In direct contradiction to the title of this post, let me first offer an obvious disclaimer: there are no ACTUAL rules for knitting, or knitters. It’s a lawless land out there, just so long as you don’t stab anyone to death with your knitting needles. Unless of course it’s self-defense, but we’ll all just hope you never find yourself in that particular situation.

Knit however you like. Whenever you like.

Lawlessness aside, I offer some, well, guidelines for happier knitting. I’ve found myself in a new chapter in my life, providing me with the space to redefine my knitting habit addiction process in a way that works best.

Rule 1: Knit Always and Often

I would be remiss if I did not first disclose that the first rule of knitting is obviously to knit. Whenever you can. Or, whenever you want.

Rule 2: Chill and Knit by 7:00 p.m.

I have a new rule I am trying to keep for myself: chill by 7:00 p.m.

Yes, I know you are probably rolling your eyes and thinking wouldn’t that be nice. Like me, you are surely on your feet until the last possible hour of the day. Dishes. Laundry. Lunches for the next day. Steadfastly working off an extra 10 lousy calories in a grimy gym somewhere (that’s actually not me AT ALL…) Or, possibly, still at work.

It’s hard to find balance between ACHIEVING (which requires a large investment of time) and living, which sometimes requires doing next to nothing. Now, as I am overwhelmed by all there is to do be done, I find it helpful to set limits for myself. By 7:00, I’d like to be winding down my day and relaxing, needles nearby.

Will I still parent after 7:00? Of course. I aim for 7:00 bedtime, but it doesn’t always happen… Especially if Reed has had a nap or is happily doing his own thing. There’s no hard and fast rules. Just goals for healthy living.

I am setting boundaries for myself.

Rule 3: Seek the Company of Other Knitters

For the large majority of my knitting life, I’ve been a solitary knitter. That works for me. I enjoy sitting quietly alone with my needles, recharging after long days. This is the path of the introvert.

Every night, across the vast planet, knitters everywhere sit alone on the sofa with tea (or wine) and Knitflix. Some among us are more coordinated or erudite and instead elect to read or listen to podcasts while knitting. Even though we are all alone, some of us with trashier tastes than others, we are somehow together.

But really we’re alone.

However…in a way, knitting can be like drinking. Knitting alone isn’t always advisable. A wise knitter monk (yes, that’s a thing now) once said: one must always seek balance.

For a long time now, I’ve aspired to start a monthly knitting group, and I’m planning to move that toward the top of my to-do list.

Rule 4: Maintain a Small Yet Manageable Stash

Yes, that’s ALL of my yarn. Mostly scraps. Very respectably (or horrifyingly) small stash. I try to keep things simple! No clutter. Considering all of my yarn fit in that basket on the floor for more than a decade, I think the slight expansion to another couple baskets is reasonable. For the most part, I only keep yarn on hand for projects on the immediate (three to six month) horizon. I see photos of stashes blipping about the internet that look nothing short of an in-home yarn store and am equal parts envious and overwhelmed. I of course wish my stash was a little more substantial, but I also wish I had jeans that fit comfortably (although the answer to that one might be less chocolate and more exercise).

I have set up a temporary knitting studio in an extra bedroom. It’s mostly empty and the walls are still bare. I haven’t actually spent much time working in here, but perhaps someday I will. I hope to make it cozier, just as soon as I find time to decorate and nest before 7:00.

Do you have any new knitting rules you’d like to share?

P.S. Do you already follow me on Instagram? If not, I’m over here.

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Garden Party Cowl Pattern Release

Like all good things in life, this new Garden Party Cowl design has been a long time coming. It was a quick and delightful knit–one of those designs that just flew off my needles. No problems. Completely cooperative. No frogging. No cussing. No crying.

That’s how I like to knit.

And then this dear cowl just hung around while I moved. Waiting.

Well, knit-universe, wait no longer.

This is the second time I’ve experimented with making videos to support a pattern launch. Fun+Terrifying+Kind of Goofy! There’s a second video here that’s actually a tutorial for working the smocked rib in this design.

Yes, I still have boxes to unpack and that latest cozy buzzword hygge is utterly and truly missing from my life at the present…BUT, I know (hope) I will get there. Besides, who said cardboard boxes laying about weren’t cozy? It’s all a matter of perspective.

The Garden Party Cowl is my second collaboration with an indie yarn dyer. I know you all were able to meet Stephanie from Knitley Road  last month. I loved using her yarn for this design. It was a single spun rustic fingering (three cheers for Canadian Wool!) that reminded me a lot of Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter. You can tell it comes from a sheep (a plus) but it isn’t itchy and has a ton of loft, especially after blocking (double plus check!). Stephanie sent over (down?) a speckled colorway, which have been super popular lately. I get the speckled craze after working up this design–all the flecks of color really are a lot of fun.

The cowl is knit in the round. Wear long or loop twice for warmth, coziness, or reducing your risk of getting hung up on a foreign object. #SnagsHappen. The design is nearly reversible (I am not a fan of the “wrong side,” to be honest) and is a good balance of knits and purls. This means there’s no folding, rolling, or general misbehavior of this cowl. It just works.

The Garden Party cowl is now available on Ravelry for $5 USD. (Subscribers, check your inbox for a 20% off coupon code!). As with all my patterns these days, this design was independently reviewed by a qualified tech editor and is available in a professional format with measurements in both English and metric.

This is a perfect project for those single skeins of sock and fingering weight yarn, and the gauge is flexible.

You can totally knit this.

Or, at least hit the little heart on Ravelry to add it to your favorites.

A few quick administrative notes:

  1. I have a new You Tube channel! Subscribe here to see all my future videos! More laughs to come.
  2. Do you already follow me on Instragram? If not, please do. I am here.
  3. You can find Knitley Road’s shop over here. It’s awesome!
  4. Remember, subscribers receive special discounts on my patterns. If you aren’t already a subscriber, just enter your email in the box in the upper right hand corner of this page. I won’t blast you with nonsense, and I will NEVER share your email address.

Hatching Plans-The Key to Every Knitter’s True Success

The Birthday Sale is live through the end of the weekend. In case you missed it, the details are here! 38% off with the code  Birthday38.


I will say this: lists are everywhere. I have lists. Reed has lists (slightly less legible).

We are plotting. And planning.

Some items are simple. Take a shower. Brush teeth. Watch a cartoon. (That one’s on Reed’s list, anyway).

Others are more complicated. Go here. Do this. Make that happen.

Even the lists have lists.

It’s overwhelming and thrilling all at the same time.

I want so desperately for everything to happen all at once, but I am wise enough to know that is not how the world works. Things take time. Perseverance. Hard work. And eventually the pieces fall into place.

I am reminding myself to be forgiving. Patient. Slightly more organized.

In the end, the hours in each day don’t change. No matter what, there’s only 24. (Someone really oughta get on that problem.) I can only knit as fast as I can knit, and of course I secretly wish I had an army of knitters (and gardeners and window washers) at my disposal to speed things up a bit. Or more hands. (At least a self-driving car…)

My post-Reed bedtime plans are always ambitious, and I’ve honestly vacillated between feeling like I need to work into the wee hours…to make progress and generally catch up…and to just sit and knit and simply BE.

Now, I know you KNOW me by now and of course already have guessed which path I’ve chosen. Especially given I’m working with this AMAZING!!!! silk/merino blend from Beloved Yarn in the sunniest of colors. There’s just no other option.

(If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably been noticing my feed’s been extra cheery and yellow lately.)

Thus, the list waits. (Except for the item related to finishing the bright, sunny shawl…good progress there!).

And, as always, I knit on.

I so hope to finish the shawl this weekend, although I don’t want to jinx myself. We all know a poorly-time frogging can unravel (pun intended) even the best hatched plans. Some problems even ambition can’t fix. That’s the beauty and plague of knitting all at once: you can only work one stitch at a time.

It’s Time for the Super Duper Birthday Sale

This year whizzed by. It’s honestly a bit of a fog. I would like to say thank you to all the knitters out there who have supported me this past year, stopping by this space to read and say hello.  Because I’m turning 38 this year (Whoa! Shockingly close to 40!), all patterns released during the last year or so will be 38% off one week only, starting May 1 through the end of the day on May 8.

This includes the newly-released Pansyland Cowl, plus eight other patterns (photos below). Simply use the code Birthday38 when you check out on Ravelry.

Pansyland 

It’s truly something to pause and look back on all that I have created this past year. I guess that flurry of clicking needles added up to quite the pattern portfolio!

Stormland Poncho

I’m still trying to work out what the next year will bring…I’m busy making lists and hatching plans, all while trying to be slow and methodical. Strategic.

A year always sounds so long, yet blows by so quickly.

A year ago, I never thought I’d be sitting here. Working in this new space, looking out this new window. An unexpected lens on life.

Stoneland Poncho

The generosity and kindness of the global knitting community never ceases to amaze me. Rare are the criticisms. Plentiful are the compliments. As far as a demographic goes, knitters are a kind one. Maybe it’s a side effect of the wool.

Or the silk.

Ari’s Wish

I sometimes ask myself if I knit too much (I know you are scoffing out loud with an exasperated NEVER!!!!). At the expense of other things in life. In essence, have I been knitting away my life? Will I look back at all these projects, decades from now, hands arthritic, and laugh at myself? Or worse, feel regret?

I truly don’t know.

Trintara Hat

But I do know this: knitting has given me a lot of solace this past year. It’s held me together, as best it could anyway. My knitting has made me laugh (and cry a few times too). I’ve worked hard and missed goals. And I’ve been pleasantly surprised as well.
It’s all part of the Big Adventure.

Rainland Shawlette

I think of all the friends and family who have helped me snap photographs and am grateful. I think of my dear Reed, who has sometimes watched me knit (although I am aim to do most of it while he sleeps), and am touched by his interest, already aware of my love for the craft, always reminding me to pack my knitting when we are about to take a trip the way I remind him to pack his favorite stuffie.

When it comes down to it, I am blessed. So thank you for that.

Linto Creek Cowl

I plan to spend my birthday making cupcakes with Reed before having a playdate with his little BFF. I am going to let Reed pick the flavor, and I have a hunch he’ll pick chocolate.

I’ve taught him well.

And nothing could bring me more joy on my birthday than my sweet child.

Tulipland Scarf

I look back on all these projects and remember where I was when I knit them. Some of them feel like ancient history. Others feel like just yesterday.

Metamorphosis Cowl

Like all of us, I am curious where I might find myself a year from now. There’s only one way to find out: one foot in front of the other!

Transitions, Knitting and Otherwise

Knitting, like life, is full of transitions. We switch from knit to purl. Purl to knit. We cable left. Then we cable right. At first, as we learn and make our way, it’s awkward. Sometimes it gets better, and we find our groove. Sometimes it just stays awkward. And, sometimes, a project doesn’t work out at all. The yarn is wrong. The pattern is wrong. The needles are wrong. Or maybe they even break.

So we transition to a new project, hopefully learning from our mistakes along the way.

I have to say, when I bought my first house almost exactly 14 years ago at the ripe old age of 23, I never thought I would someday move back into that very same house, a mother, more than a decade later. An older version of my younger self.

Way back then (truly, I can hardly even remember, it feels so long ago), I don’t think I ever even paused to consider that I would someday be a mother. I was busy doing all the things young people do–going to grad school, working, talking on the phone (a landline, tsk!) with my friends at great length, and generally seeking out my path in the world. The internet was barely invented. Hek, blogs were barely invented.

And then life happened, setting me on a path that oddly lead me right back to where I started in a way I never really saw coming or imagined for myself at any point along the way.

The universe is funny that way. I have always found that the outcome that comes to fruition is the one possibility I never even considered. Not for lack of thinking or wondering (because I am a thinker and wonderer, typically over-examining all possible routes to the point of nausea…), but because that’s how life works. We set our course as best we can, but the winds of change–forces greater than our best intentions–sometimes blow us in other directions. New directions. For better or worse.

The path before me is unclear, and really I am just trying to settle in to my new (old) home, overgrown garden and all. When I decided to move, the first thing I loaded in the car was my stash of yarn. I don’t know why. Maybe that just made it feel real to me. If the yarn was moving, I was going with it. Now, weeks later, it was one of the last things to be unpacked. (And it still isn’t organized.)

I wasn’t sure where to put it.

It has a spot now. It’s on a shelf in a bedroom that long ago was home to my old roommates, two of which are still lifelong friends. It’s weird to see the yarn there, in their rooms. It seems misplaced somehow.

Everything seems misplaced somehow.

But then I remind myself that it’s a transition. And it’s only yarn.

Eventually, everything (and everyone) will find its proper place, which may, from time to time, move to a new proper place.

And that’s life.

FO: Riverton Tee + MAJOR PATTERN DISCOUNT

[Hey all. Big News! The designer of this tee, Sheila Toy Stromberg, has generously provided a 50% off coupon code for Riverton! This deal ends on May 13th. This is not an affiliate link. I simply love this tee and am grateful to Sheila for a perfect design. Use the code Andrea_Riverton when you check out on Ravelry! $2.50 for this pattern is really a TREMENDOUS deal! It includes two killer video tutorials, so you’ll be all set for smooth knitting. Also, Happy Easter/Passover!]


Dear Lord,

It’s been about a year since I knitted my last top. At the time, it was the Rosemont cardigan by Hannah Fettig and I was having some SSS issues (you remember, Second Sleeve Syndrome).

Anyway.

Here I am, a year later, sick of working on cowls and working up a (somewhat) unplanned and generally impromptu Riverton Tee by Sheila Toy Stromberg. And it’s going marvelously.

For a while, I thought I might run out of yarn or something dramatic like that. But after weeks of fairly monogamous knitting, I crossed that threshold and realized all would be fine. I had faith. Maybe not in you (that’s a more complicated tale for another day), but at least in the amount of yarn (I was using Swan’s Island Fingering in Fig, by the way…good stuff).

So. There I am. Around and around. Bottom to top. I split for the front and back. Worked those up. Easy peasy. Joined the shoulders. Minimal seaming (thank you for that one, Lord…and Sheila). Not to mention, bless Sheila’s heart…she created these FABULOUS video tutorials that come with the pattern. They cleared up any confusion about the tricky bits.

Truly a miracle.

I trimmed out the neckline, skipping the button hole bit and simply joining in the round. What can I say, Lord, I have a small head so it worked. And I have this thing with buttons and buttonholes. Too fussy for me. One more thing to fiddle with and lose, or to generally go wrong. And I think we both know how the universe already has a tendency to lean toward Things Going Wrong, so let’s just minimize that whenever we can, right?

I worked up one sleeve. It went quickly. The end was in sight. The stray bits of yarn were already woven in and there was just one sleeve left to go.

The angels were harking, if you know what I mean. (I think you know what I mean.)

I ignored my family for an entire afternoon and worked up the second sleeve. Excited. Nearly done. A knitter with momentum should always stick with said momentum. It’s like a Law of Physics for knitters. When the going’s good, don’t stop. Remember that one, Lord. It’ll get you places. Or, at least, it’ll get you a sweater.

Do you wear sweaters?

Here’s the thing, Lord: I finished that second sleeve. I looked at it. Then I looked back to the first sleeve.

You know where I’m going with this, right?

They didn’t look quite the same. One was a bit smaller (the first), and one was a bit smaller (the last). I measured to be sure my eyes weren’t fooling me. (They weren’t fooling me.) The hopeful knitter in denial can sometimes un-see actual mistakes so they can just move on to the next project without having to GO BACK and fix the mistake.  It’s not uncommon. Trust me on that one.

My problem was thus: I didn’t know which sleeve I had screwed up. Was the first too small, or was the second too large? Which to fix?

You’d be proud of me on this one. I went with my gut. You’ll call that, faith, right? (I had a vague recollection of a seemingly out of place stitch marker near the end of working the second sleeve, so maybe we can split the difference and call this one an educated hunch…).

This is where a possibly sordid tale gets a happy ending.

I unraveled that second too-big sleeve and reknit it. That’s the good thing about knitting tees: the sleeves are small and knitting them doesn’t take nearly as long as working up an entire sweater sleeve.

Trade-offs. That’s where it’s at.

You know what?

It worked!

The sleeves matched. The tee blocked. It fit (I’ve goofed that one before, too, but no one’s perfect…have mercy on thy self, right?).

I love my Riverton. In fact, I’m wondering if you can have a word of two with the weather gods and see if something can be done about this ceaseless rain? I’d like the sun to come out so I can wear my new tee. Please.

I’ll owe ya one.

I wouldn’t mind a whole bunch of Rivertons in various shades in fibers. This tee is that perfect and all-purpose. I know wardrobe issues probably aren’t your biggest priority. (I get it. And, I agree. Poverty and misery should definitely come first. Let’s get on those, for sure). Maybe after we solve world hunger, we can get back to that Riverton issue, okay?

Thanks.

(And thanks to Sheila for an AWESOME design.)

Don’t forget to take advantage of Sheila’s 50% discount code. Use Andrea_Riverton when you check out on Ravelry. Good through May 13th. 

Introducing Knitley Road

So far, the Year of the Indie Dyer has brought me nothing but amazing things. This pursuit has turned a formerly one-woman show into a team effort, and that is truly much more fun. 

Last month, I shared my first sneak peak of one of my more recent projects featuring yarn from Knitley Road. I was lucky enough to work up a new cowl design in Stephanie’s all-Canadian rustic fingering in the Garden Party colorway.

There are just so many reasons that makes me smile.

Today, hailing from Edmonton, Canada, I am proud to introduce indie dyer–and a talented fiber artist in her own right–Stephanie of Knitley Road. In her own words. 

I learned to knit when I was very young from my Italian grandmother. My tension was so tight I could barely squeak the metal needles through the yarn, and I couldn’t cast on or purl to save my life.  I put the needles down for a long time, and picked them up again about 10 years ago.  By this time I had graduated University and was living 600 kms away from my knitting relatives, and realized I was going to have to learn how to cast-on, by myself, for real. I went to my local box craft store and got a little kit; it had bright metal painted needles, (US size 8), and a book “Teach yourself to knit” or something to that effect. I got pretty good at scarves and flat things; I started watching You Tube videos and learned how to knit cables. I was exhausting weekly coupons on inexpensive, readily available yarn.

Christmas gifts were hand knit, and my poor cousin was gifted my first pair of knit gloves, complete with ladders (remember I had only knit flat things to this point), and uneven fingers.  I jumped from scarves and gloves to knit my first adult sweater, (for myself)- a fir lace, knee length cardigan with a hood. It was a big jump. The pattern was found in a library book and I discovered a proper local yarn shop, which soon became a regular haunt, and learned about the wonderful world of wool and yarn outside of a box craft store.

Eventually there were too many knits to give away or to wear and I opened Knitley Road on Etsy in 2012, having sold my handmade greeting cards on Etsy since 2009.  I sold at local  art fairs, started writing simple patterns. When I moved from Ontario to New Brunswick last year, I intended for Knitley Road to continue along the path of knit items and patterns.  At a weekend getaway, a fibre retreat of sorts, a friend brought her acid dyes and told us to bring some bare yarn. After having experimented with dyeing my own yarn with food-colouring gels, using the acid dyes was a whole new world of colour for me to play in.

Soon after the retreat, I bought some acid dyes of my own, found a local small business selling bare yarn and started listing the hand-dyed yarns in my Etsy shop.  I love the process and surprise of creating a new colourway; at the beginning, many were single skeins so I could keep experimenting.

We moved from New Brunswick to Alberta last summer, and I’ve been lucky enough to find a local mill that processes Canadian wool, which has become the KR Rustic line.  Other bases are sourced from Canadian, American and UK suppliers; I’ll be introducing some new bases over the coming weeks, including New Zealand Polworth.  Knitley Road bases are those that I would personally knit with, and we will continue to offer both superwash and non-superwash, as available.

I’m gradually building a list of standard colourways, but I will always offer some one-of-a-kind skeins so that I can keep playing with colour.  My inspiration varies.Some of it is colour theory, and experience from making my greeting cards. Other times it’s from nature, or photography. Most recently, I’ve been working on my Canadiana collection, inspired by all things Canadian (accurate or stereotypical, we’re pretty good at laughing at ourselves, eh?).

My education and career is in health care. Knitting and now dyeing yarn, has become my creative outlet and my therapy, which I’m very proud and happy to share with the fibre community. I’m looking forward to seeing how this chapter of Knitley Road is written, and am so grateful to the support, collaboration and friendship of the fibre community. For as long as you let me play and experiment with colour, and be part of your fibre art, I’ll be here.

Stephanie

You can find Stephanie on Etsy here.

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