Wednesday, 27 April 2016

tops, tanks, & tees knit along 2016

last year's tttkal project was this version of faultline. ashtyn walker has a great back, and leif norman took a sexy photo of it.
it's time for shannon's annual tops, tanks, & tees knit along! or the #tttkal, for those of you following along on social media. i've participated for the past two years - the first year, i knit up vasa by dianna walla, and then last year i used the kal as an opportunity to knit up faultline

awwww, look at my lack of tattoos! also, i think my arms were less toned. i blame the amount of knitting and dyeing i do these days for the increased muscle mass.

this year, i'm aiming to take advantage of the kal again and get two designs on and off my needles before the deadline of may 27. the first will be a tank design using lichen & lace's 80/20 sock yarn. i've had this yarn for months and just haven't settled my brain on the exact design, having just the general shape in my mind the whole time. time to fix that issue! then, depending on whether i have time, i'm going to try and get a summery layering top done using shibui knits' cima. it's a (heavy) lace weight, which is totally not my comfort zone, but i have a very specific idea in my brain of what i want with this, and it does call for the cloud-like feel of lace weight yarn.

my colour palette is definitely a muted one.

i'll post the test knitting calls as i get the patterns ready, of course. but if you're interested in calling dibs right now, give me a shout so i can keep track of you! garment sizes will go from 30-52" chest circumferences.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

flotsam & jetsam sneak peek

for those of you who missed my announcement this morning, i've posted a video sneak peek of flotsam & jetsam! the video is short and sweet, featuring some photos from the shoot i did last month in nova scotia with samson, and a bit of the collection's inspiration and story up to this point. take a look, and head over to my patreon page to continue helping with the financial side of my first ever printed book!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

batik schemes

i took a 3-day workshop in batik dyeing techniques from karen clark last weekend through mawa. it was absolutely fantastic, and on top of meeting some really lovely folks (i am collecting other fibre nerds and witches as much as possible these days), it really got me thinking about the possibilities for batik with natural dyes. we used acid dyes in the workshop, and as per my usual green witchy self, i stuck with dark colours, using only blue and black baths. i also knew i wanted to come out of the workshop with some fabric i would actually use afterwards, so i made two pieces with a relatively simple repeated motif that i will eventually stitch into a cushion. hurrah for practical pieces of handmade beauty!

on the last day, we were just boiling off the wax, and so i was quickly looking for another project to start. mawa is a block away from mitchell fabrics, so i ran over and grabbed three yards of a silk/cotton blend (30/70), completely forgetting that i of course need to scour and dry the fabric before starting any batik or dyeing process on it. luckily, i did remember that before i started applying the wax. kelly and i were discussing how to do the batik with natural dyes, since the majority of natural dyes are set with heat, which would of course melt the wax. (kelly also brought me a loom on the weekend, and i'm going to start learning how to weave as part of my neurocraft project.) i'm planning on doing another simple, small repeating motif on the fabric with beeswax, after dyeing it with the remainder of my madder stash, and then dip it into my indigo vat. i pre-mordanted with a bunch of acorns for their tannin. i also took advantage of the dye bath and dyed up some more mermaid hair too. i'm re-releasing double scoop later this summer after knitting it up in my mermaid hair base, but all my dyed stash is currently over at wolseley wool for sale. so, here we go. a shawl to match the fabric.

vogue 1410.
one of my new lovely folks, carly, was very clever and brought doilies to batik on, which got me thinking about what you could do with batik on vintage lace trim. of course, that wouldn't make a huge difference for this particular project, because i'm planning on sewing this dress. it's got three different hem length options thanks to buttons on the inside, but my favourite is this mid-length. there's an end-of-season party coming up, which i may or may not end up bailing on, but i figure if i aim to make the dress for that, i will have more incentive to actually go to the party and also will get a dress out of it. i also have upcoming schemes for making tinctures, and i need to get my ass in gear with neurocraft, and i have three new designs on the needles that need to come off by's all fine and dandy though. i am keeping busy and learning new skills and meeting new people and enjoying life. i just need to figure out how to get a bit more sleep through it all...

Friday, 15 April 2016

stowe bag

i sewed myself a stowe bag last thursday before heading off for the wolseley wool retreat. then my patches came in from trashedy, and i knew the rewild patch needed to get in on the fun! this bag is the large sized version, and i made a few modifications - i opted to skip the inner pockets and instead create a fully lined interior (i'm tough on bags, as we've established by this point), and i couldn't actually figure out the instructions for the bottom structure of the bag, so there is none (my sewing skills are still beginner in a lot of ways). i'm still totally in love with the bag, which fills in my need for a larger knitting project bag. now i just need to do an in-between - larger than the single skein that my other two bags are perfect for, and smaller than this sweater-sized bag. i need a two-skein-sized bag, methinks. 

the next four design projects in my queue all fit into this beauty! it was very sunny in my studio when i took this photo.

the fabric i used is a remnant of cotton chambray that i picked up at patch halifax for the outer side, and the interior fabric is an old stash remnant that i picked up when i used to live in london. i think they look fantastic together, and the bag is actually fully reversible thanks to the lining construction i did. originally i was going to handstitch the patch on, but then i realized that machine stitching would a) save me time and b) probably result in fewer snagged needles. it's the perfect finishing touch to this baby. i whipped it up in a few hours, and probably would be able to do it much quicker next time by remembering how to stitch the handles together before turning the piece right-side-out...

Thursday, 14 April 2016

another rotation around the sun

happy birthday to me! it's my birthday, and i am another year older, and to celebrate i'm sharing the birthday fun with all of you. use the code CAKE to get 30% off any of my self-published patterns. the code will expire at 11:59pm on sunday, april 17th, so you have a few days to use it!

Tuesday, 12 April 2016


i released a new shawl yesterday called fiddlehead, and it's getting some lovely responses from folks already! i've been wearing it because our spring weather has decided that -20 windchills are appropriate (it's supposed to be +20 within the week...i give up). i've always thought that lopi would be the bane of my sensitive skin (i've knit with it several times before, but never for something worn close to the face). i'm not sure if it's just that my face is so happy to be surrounded by warmth or what, but it's not itchy for me at all! which is a bit of a miracle. of course, you can totally knit it in a different yarn if you're nervous about the lopi. 

this design was inspired by tolt's icelandic wool month, which took place in march. me being the clever (not) nut that i am, i decided that whipping out a new design in celebration of it was a great idea. really, i just wanted an excuse to work with a gradient of létt-lopi because seeing them every week at knit night was too distracting. the knit night crew at wolseley wool helped me settle on the green gradient, and i was off! well, almost. i had a couple of other projects i also had to finish first. but this was a relatively quick knit, considering the pile of other things i had on my plate, and i'm very happy with how it turned out.

i took the photos during the wolseley wool fibre arts retreat in the whiteshell this past weekend. i get very tired very quickly when i'm surrounded by large groups of people, and after teaching my own workshop and then attending another, i needed to spend some time by myself. so i went out into the cold (very cold...don't do photoshoots in negative degree weather with metal tripods and no mitts) and snapped the shots. i was happy with how the birch trees and snow helped to show off the green in the shawl! 

the shawl pin used in the photos is one of the moons that kristan macintyre made for me for the when nature fought back photoshoot. you might recognize it from harvest moon. copper and green are just meant to go together...

Sunday, 10 April 2016

starry starry night

i designed a new shawl for the annual wolseley wool fibre arts retreat using my friend hilori's matrix yarn. hilori does fantastic gradients using acid dyes (she created a custom colourway for flotsam & jetsam!), and when i saw this particular one, called kara thrace & her special destiny, my immediate thought was, "oh my goodness, it looks like van gogh's starry night!" so i decided to design a shawl to show off the gradient, full of stars. meet starry starry night!

the 5-into-5 stitch isn't too complicated once you get used to it, but it's definitely one that i would strongly suggest calls for metal lace-tip needles. it's an easy repeat, so if you wanted a bigger shawl, you could definitely just keep going into a second skein! as is, i think it's the perfect size for summer wear. not that summer is anywhere on our horizon here in the canadian prairies...i hold out hope though. 

the pattern was exclusive for retreat participants, which took place this weekend, but now it's available for everyone!

i took the photos selfie-style in my studio, and sylvia edited them for me with her magical touch (p.s. you can totally commission sylvia to use that magical touch on your photos too)! i think these are some of my favourites, just because the colours are so bright (not my usual) and my tattoos manage to play such a big role in the photos. yay! 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

drool-worthy #21 - shawl month

stephen west has declared april to be shawl month, and i am 100% ok with that. there have been a bunch of beautiful shawl releases in the past couple of days, and i'll be releasing two shawl patterns within the next week (surprise!), and i also have some really beautiful new yarn destined for a shawl release. also, april is my birth month and i love shawls. so there we go! it was meant to be. let's start with the beauties made by other folks. 

shannon cook just released this absolutely stunning shawl using julie asselin's nurtured yarn. i am more than mildly biased in my drooling here, because i think both of these ladies are spectacular, and also because i have a stack of nurtured myself that's destined for a shawl design (set to release late summer, but we'll see whether i bump that up or not). also, one of the patterns in flotsam & jetsam also uses this yarn. can you tell it's one of my absolute favourites?


next up, veronika jobe (another one of my favourite fibre folks) just released a new design using her yoth yarn's mother base. i am a huge fan of the eyelet buttonholes when it comes to a shawl (i used a similar technique with the bootstrap lace on deconstruction), and the beautiful warmth and lightness of yoth's laceweight yarn is just so lovely to imagine wrapping up in. perfect for that temperamental april weather. cast in point - it's currently snowing. sigh.


joji created a gorgeous shawl with a different shape for sundara's petal collection. i really enjoy shawls that take construction in a different direction, and this definitely falls in that category. also, it's huge!

starry starry night.
i designed starry starry night for the wolseley wool retreat this weekend. it'll be available to everyone on sunday after the retreat, and i'll have a full blog post for it around then as well. but i just love how the photos turned out for it. it's so bright and cheery, which is totally not my usual tone haha. sylvia did some magical photo editing for me once i took the pics selfie-style in my studio last weekend. 

crybaby on skinny singles.

i have another pattern to be released right after (monday is the goal!), but i haven't got photos of it yet. in fact, i'm still knitting the sample. my test knitter and tech editor have both dealt with the pattern, so it's just a matter of finishing the sample and taking photos out in the whiteshell this weekend. and i just got yarn from hedgehog fibres! i'll be designing a shawl using their crybaby colourway on skinny singles for this collaboration, and originally i'd planned on making it a later project and release date. but i'm so in love with it, and i think it would be a nice project to take with me for the weekend. (i'm bringing other projects too, of course. other shawls, in fact.) i have some other yarn from hedgehog as well, which would maybe make a great companion shawl or maybe will just be a standalone design. i haven't decided yet. so it will be a month full of shawls, and i should have this crybaby pattern ready for test knitters later this month, unless i decide to hold onto it while i develop a companion piece. we'll see. keep an eye on my social media for updates, as always.