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indie dyer

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.

‘Bout Time!!! Pansyland Cowl Release!!!!

Pansyland Cowl pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life.

HeeellllooooooooOOOOOO, Spring!

AKA welcome endless days of rain and rain and rain on my delicate, little flower buds. And mud puddles. LOTS of mud puddles.

It’s such a tease.

I want to go outside, but then I stick my little toe out the door and quickly realize: actually knitting on the sofa will do just fine.

Call me when it hits 70 degrees (21 C). Then and only then, I will go outside.

Pansyland Cowl pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life.

I am so proud of the new Pansyland Cowl, not just because it is amazing (it is!) and long overdue (uh, yep), but because it is the first of (hopefully many) collaborations with indie dyers this year. This special yarn was dyed by the talented Allison Barnes. It is a SUPER squishy 4-ply merino worsted in the Alpine Pansy colorway. Allison clearly has an apt for naming colors!

This has been my favorite pattern ever to design because it felt like I was part of a TEAM. So much more fun and inspiring than working in isolation! Plus, Allison’s yarn was really a treat to work with.

Pansyland Cowl pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life.

This is also the first time I have made videos to go along with a new pattern. It was so scary and I am honestly quite bad at it. They are fairly dorky AND clunky, but I figured I would check the ol’ ego at the door and simply do my best.

The first video is a quick tutorial demonstrating how to work the main stitch pattern in this cowl. I love the texture from this stitch, and it is actually a fairly easy technique. I hope this video will give newer knitters a bit of confidence to try this stitch! You can do this! All you need is a double pointed needle.

Pansyland Cowl pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life.

The second video is an overview of the pattern itself. Still photography has it’s limits, and this video really let’s me show you the cowl, how it moves, and better explain why I love it. Please take a look and let me know what you think.*

Pansyland Cowl pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life.

The Pansyland Cowl is a tube-shaped cowl. Tall and narrow. The twist stitch gives it great texture, although really this is primarily a stockinette project (hello, Knitflix!!!).

The pattern includes an option for a tapered neckline that is achieved by working short rows. As a result, the back of the cowl is gently taller than the front. If you are not up for knitting short rows, just skip this part and cast off for a standard tube-shaped cowl. I personally love the shaped collar and feel like it makes this cowl unique and even more functional without being weird. Pansyland Cowl pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life.

The Pansyland Cowl is now available on Ravelry for $5.00 USD.** If you aren’t ready to knit this project quite yet, please add it to your Ravelry favorites (click the little heart near the upper right corner) so you can more easily find it in the future.

Okay knitters, off I go to do my sunshine dance. Wish me luck!

*Obviously my YouTube channel is BRAND NEW, but I would love it if you would subscribe. I hope to bring you more video fun throughout the year.  Videography isn’t exactly my strongest skill, but I hope to get better! Or at least embarrass myself less.

**Subscribers: check your inboxes (spam and junk folders) for an email with a special discount code.

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