"Imagine getting a box brimming with beautiful, specialty yarn delivered straight to your doorstep--a box of yarn that you didn't pay for....."
So began the (almost) too-good-to-be-true Instagram post seeking sample knitters for @woolandhoney.
Yeah, pretty much my dream job. And, yeah, I was 99.9% certain I didn't have a chance. They'll get a bazillion applicants. They'll never choose you. Why would they choose you? You don't have enough social media followers. You're Canadian; they won't want to deal with shipping logistics. And on and on went that irritating little voice in my head.
However, since making stuff with sticks and string is kinda what I do, I decided to ignore that little buzz-kill of a voice, and went straight to work preparing my knitty resume.
And then, a few weeks later, wait for it...
They picked me. THEY PICKED ME!!! OMG OMG OMG!!!
And let me tell ya', once I picked myself up off the floor, I was pretty damn ecstatic!
My first sample was the #treadhat by fellow Canadian @soveryshannon, knit using a gorgeous skein of light and lofty Stone Wool from Twig & Horn. 'Twas like I'd died and gone to knitty heaven.
Between the super-soft wool and the addictive pattern, I churned this baby out in no time...like less than a day. Then, I kinda wished I hadn't. I mean, I know the whole point of sample knitting is to be quick (and accurate, obvs), but when I pulled that tail through the final loop, it was actually kind of a let down. What do you mean it's over already?! :(
Luckily the two bodacious fibre bosses behind Wool & Honey, Melissa & Liz, have graciously invited me to knit another sample. But what will it be? What WILL it be??? Dear readers, the moment I know, you'll know, but until then I guess the suspense will have to kill us together!!!
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
You can now get an extra helping of cold comfort, in OML Make Book, Volume 2, the latest and greatest publication from Our Maker Life.
When the @ourmakerlife dream team of Kelly (@knitbrooks) and Jewell (@northknits) approached me to be part of this inspirational project, it was a no-brainer. I was thrilled to contribute a pattern, and even more thrilled to be included alongside some of the most talented makers I already faithfully followed and loved. What an honour!
The book features 30 Top Makers, and is divided into three sections, Maker Stories, Visual Lifestyle, and Patterns. Inside these inspiring pages, you'll find stories of creativity, perseverance, and sooooo much love for fibre crafts. If you're looking for the perfect book to kick back and relax with this summer, look no further my friends!
Naturally, all the makers were approached about the book long before it's final publication date. At the time I found it SO hard to choose a pattern to contribute--I'm a Libra; decision-making isn't exactly a 'strength'. Ultimately, I chose The Trafalgar Hat, and am I ever glad I did!
The OML Make Book, Volume 2 began in the Summer of 2017. In October 2017, I published The Trafalgar Hat on Ravelry...where it went on to become my most popular pattern to date! 5000+ knitters can't be wrong ;)
Now you can get the pattern, PLUS SO MUCH EXTRA FIBRE-Y GOODNESS, in this amazing book. Yay!
I'm very excited to announce that my newest pattern, The Water Shawl, is now available on Ravelry. Hooray for easy, breezy summertime knitting!!!
If you read my last post, you'll know that this shawl was designed to be a relaxing knit, a calming project to help escape life's stresses.
The inspiration for The Water Shawl came to me earlier this spring, during a walk along the shores of a cold and churned up Lake Ontario. Life was throwing me some curveballs at the time, in the form of moving stress, purging and packing. SO. MUCH. PACKING.
The thought of being without my yarn, even for a short time, was also pretty stressful--yet inevitable. But wait, it didn't ALL have to be packed, right? Surely I could save a few skeins from cardboard box hell, right? Right!
Honestly, it felt like Sophie's Choice at the time, yet somehow I managed to select four lucky skeins, and then quickly pack away the rest of my yarn babies, reassuring them (and myself) that it was only goodbye for now, not goodbye forever.
In retrospect, I'm not sure why I had such a tough time selecting those beautiful skeins from the stash. Alpaca + linen + silk + local + hand dyed = no brainer. I mean, seriously, what was there to think about???
To be fair, I have a lot of pretty yarn. Still, I'm embarrassed to admit that these beauties from Yarn Indulgences had been languishing in my stash for over a year! But with summer coming, and a big move in progress, I was sure these 437-yard lovelies were the skeins to guarantee my survival.
And I was right. Oh man, was I right. The yarn was positively sublime to knit with. Soft, silky, soothing, natural, earthy, drapey, and ga-ga-ga-gorgeous!
Of course, one of the perks of being a knitwear designer is being able to create patterns that meet your own specific goals. I designed The Water Shawl to be engaging, so my fingers could stay interested, yet repetitive, so I could relax into the rhythm of the needles. Thanks to the silky-soft fingering-weight yarn, the portability requirement took care of itself.
In addition, The Water Shawl was intended to be big. Like big BIG. I wanted a project I could rely on to be there any time I wanted (NEEDED) to get in a few calming rows.
Now, I know this probably won't come as a surprise to most of you--although it took me a while to figure out! But it seems that the patterns I design for my own personal knitting enjoyment also end up being the patterns my fellow knitters enjoy the most. Well fancy that.
If you would like to knit The Water Shawl yourself, good news! The pattern is on sale on Ravelry until the of May! Simply add the pattern to your basket, then use promo code LOVEWATER20 during checkout to Save 20%. Happy knitting!
PS: I love seeing your cold comfort WIPs and FOs on social media. Use the tags #thewatershawl and/or #coldcomfortknits and let the whole world admire your beautiful knits!
Guilty. Totally guilty.
It's been 2 months since my last blog post, and it seems like F O R E V E R.
They say "Life is what happens while you're making other plans", and I'm inclined to agree. While I was making plans for blogging, life was keeping me busy with, um, not-blogging.
If you follow me on Instagram (@coldcomfortknits) you probably know that I recently went through one of life's most stressful events; moving. Ugh. And downsizing. Double-ugh.
My yarn and needles were destined to be packed away....the thought of which caused a not-so-mild sense of panic. What do you mean I have to put my yarn (my life) in a box for a month (might as well be a year)?! It was just too much to ask. I would opt out. Yes, that's what I'd do.
And for a while, in my own way, I did exactly that. Until finally one day it hit me: No amount of escape-sleeping, potato-chip-eating, or frantic-denial-knitting would make the move come any faster, be over any sooner, or not happen at all.
And in that space--that logical, mindful, zen kind of space--radical acceptance happened, ie. the adult in my brain gave the child in my brain a good talking to, and we all calmed the f down. I made a conscious decision to make the best of a bad situation, and make the best of it I damn well did. Evidence, The Water Shawl.
If you'll allow me to digress for a sec, I think that moving is so stressful because it's so protracted. It's not a job interview or minor medical procedure you can psych yourself up for--painful, but over fast. No, instead moving is this crazy-long process. Listing, staging, selling, buying, packing, moving, unpacking, adjusting--sometimes it seems like it will never end. And let's not forget all the ridiculous and unforeseen stuff. If you follow me on IG you're probably aware that a wind storm caused a giant tree to fall on the house, three weeks before closing. Good times. Good times.
Anyways, part of the point of this lengthy blog post is to let y'all know that I'm sorry for being ABWOL (Absent from Blog WithOut Leave) for so long. The other part is to demonstrate that beautiful things can happen when we choose to accept the situations in our lives for what they are, not what we want them to be.
I chose to accept that my life would packed up in boxes for a couple of months, that I would feel uncomfortable about it, AND that I could do something to positive despite it all. That something positive was The Water Shawl.
Since this post is now on the verge of becoming a dissertation, I'll wrap up by saying that the move is now over, all my yarn babies have been freed from their cardboard box hell, and me? I'm more convinced than ever that knitting is a legit survival skill!
Introducing Sprung, a decadent pair of fingerless mittens to welcome Spring in the warmest, most prettiest of ways. The inspiration for these mittens started with a humble skein of yarn. Well, perhaps not so humble. Baby Alpaca plus Silk plus Camel plus Cashmere. OMG, are you kidding me?
Seriously....have you ever held a skein of The Fibre Co.'s Road to China Light in your hands? It's beautiful. Like, dangerously beautiful. Really, there should be some kind of warning. Because once you lift that gorgeous silky skein off that lucky yarn store shelf, your ability to think rationally will go right out the window...your brain rendered totally and completely powerless against the force of extreme squishability. Well, that's what happened to me at least.
This skein of Grey Pearl...the one used to design/create Sprung...was my very first. Now, I am in love...and not ashamed to admit that I went back for Carnelian pink, plus half a dozen skeins of the warmest, most glowiest shade of yellow. Yes, I made that word up.
To touch a skein of Road to China Light is to understand the desire to never stop touching it...so making fingerless mittens was an obvious design choice.
For Sprung, I chose a minimalist design with clean lines to showcase the natural perfection of the yarn...no need for fussy patterning. Then, in classic Alexis Adrienne style, I embroidered the living daylights out of them.
Basic or blossomed, the choice is yours. The pattern is now live on Ravelry, just in time for the first knitting weekend of Spring. Happy Spring Knitting, friends!
It was a long and grumpy winter. With a Spring move on the horizon--plus an army of realtors, stagers, photographers and perfect strangers marching though our house on an almost daily basis--February was a uniquely irritating month.
I'll be the first to admit that I don't handle change well...especially a big change like moving. So it should come as no surprise that the prospect of boxing up all my yarn, needles, and notions...the tools I use to bring meaning and purpose to my life every day...pretty much killed my knitty mojo.
But guess what? I got my mojo back!!! And in the coming days I'll be celebrating its return with the release of a brand new pattern for Spring!
"Sprung" is a pair of silky-soft fingerless mitts that truly define decadence. I can't wait to release the pattern...now that I finally managed to capture outdoor photos without the risk of frostbite!
I guess one's personal knitty mojo is like any other natural force in wintertime...asleep, but not gone ;)
inspired by the light
The Frosted Lily Hat was inspired by the hope and beauty of light. The lustrous sheen of silk. The subtle sparkle of a glass bead as it catches the light. Designed for the frosty days of early Spring, this light-weight, feminine beanie features a timeless Lily-of-the-Valley motif, plus a delicate seed border to remind that frost is not an end, but simply a rest...followed by the light of new beginnings.
I'm pleased to announce that The Frosted Lily Hat pattern is now available for your knitting pleasure on both Ravelry & Etsy...woohoo!
Without a doubt, this hat is my new favourite. Delicate and feminine, yet equally at home with a pretty dress & heels, or jeans and a classic tee (a.k.a. my uniform of Life).
I thought it would be nice to provide a little surprise February pick-me-up, so guess what? The pattern is Free on Ravelry **all day long! Happy Fri-yay!
**When I say "all day long", I mean until 11pm EST 02/09/17, because 11pm is my pathetic sorry-ass Friday night bedtime. Just like this hat, I'm a bit of a delicate flower ;)
I hope they don't revoke my "Canadian" status for saying this, but here it is: "I'm sick of winter".
Normally, I'm a big fan of the season (cold snowy weather + warm cozy hand-knits = a match made in heaven), but for some reason January 2018 is kicking my butt, and I can't help but find myself longing for the freedom of brighter, warmer days. Not coincidentally, this longing seems to be showing up in my most recent designs.
The Winter Wonderland Collection (December 2017) was inspired by some of the best things Winter has to offer--Winter markets, snow days, rosy cheeks and pure, 100% coziness. But now, I'm dreaming of Spring, and dreaming up new designs inspired by some of the best things Spring has to offer--buds, blossoms, rainy days, and new beginnings. I've got three new patterns nearing completion; here's a sneak peek at one of them...
These soft and silky fingerless mitts were knit from two skeins of The Fibre Co.'s Road to China Light, a uniquely indulgent blend of baby alpaca, silk, camel & cashmere that just begs to be touched (um, constantly).
The pattern will be available in the coming weeks; follow @coldcomfortknits on Instagram for the most up-to-date info on all pattern releases/promotions :)
the serotonin scarf
They say that the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year, and whoever "they" are, I think they might be on to something.
Mid-January days are short and cold, the nights are long and dark; Spring seems a lifetime away. The holidays are a distant memory; the holiday bills, not so much. And, in Canada at least, a whole nation of people are feeling pretty darn tired and grouchy...we're all Vitamin D deficient by now.
Enter The Serotonin Scarf, my "prescription" for the winter blues. The not-clinically-significant winter blues, that is. If you're depressed, see your doctor--for real, I'm not kidding. Otherwise, keep reading...
The Serotonin Scarf is not just a joy to wear (soooo soft and warm), it's also a joy to knit! I could wax poetic about Malabrigo's "Merino Worsted". If you've knit with this yarn, you know what I mean. If you haven't, consider this your "prescription". Seriously...go get some now. You'll feel better immediately!**
**This prescription should not be filled by knitters sticking to a strict yarn diet (self-imposed, or otherwise). Nor should it be filled by knitters who are following any other type of rigorous de-stashing program.**
If this includes you, I've got great news: The Serotonin Scarf was designed to easily accommodate any de-stashing expedition. Simply select approx. 570 yards / 270 grams of any worsted weight yarn, in any colour palette that makes you smile (I used eight colours in the sample), then simply add or remove stripes in 2-row increments to create your own stash-busting superstar!
spreading the knitty love
Still not feeling chipper? Not in a scarf-y kind of place right now? Why not use your knitting powers (and your stash) to help those in need? It might be 'just what the doctor ordered'.
You can get started by checking out the latest blog post from the Our Maker Life team, "The New Year De-Stash", for inspiration and helpful links. Happy knitting!
a moment of reflection
It's the last day of 2017 and all I can think about is knitting (I know, you're shocked, right?).
Seriously, though, there's a unique kind of energy in the air today, and it's got me feeling discombobulated. Today feels almost supercharged--the intersection of past, present, and future. 2017 is begging for reflection. 2018 is begging for contemplation. And my mind? It's swirling with knitty thoughts.
Luckily, I've come to understand that this kind of anxiety is a natural result of looking back and evaluating, looking forward and planning, growing and changing. And, while I can't say that I welcome this annual feeling of nausea-joy-hope-dread, I've finally made peace with it. Some people ring in the New Year with a party, some people celebrate with a peaceful evening of knitting and Netflix. I don't judge ;)
a year of expansion
For me, 2017 was definitely a year of expansion--my knowledge base, my social network, my comfort zone--they all grew this year. So did my waistline, but that's another story.
Speaking of expansion, it's hard to believe that cold comfort knits didn't even exist last year! The concept came to me in the Spring; a way to merge my life's story with my life's work. Thankfully, it has been lovingly embraced by the handmade community, serving as a powerful reminder that "By doing what you love, you inspire and awaken the hearts of others". Check out my 2017 #bestnine Instagram posts (below). It's hard to believe that all of these posts happened in one just one year!
2017 #bestnine Instagram posts
14 brand new patterns
Speaking of things that are hard to believe, I published fourteen patterns this year, and more than half of them made Ravelry's Hot Right Now Top 20! Now that's expansion.
spreading the knitty joy
Attaining a wider audience for my patterns was certainly the highlight of my year as a designer, but the highlight of my year as a person was convincing my local hospital to create a new volunteer role: Knitting Instructor. Now, one of the most uncomfortable risks I've ever taken has become one of the most rewarding. Every week patients eagerly await the arrival of "the knitting lady". Spreading the knitty joy kind of agrees with me :)
adding and subtracting
2017 wasn't just about designing and volunteering. I also created 60+ luxury natural-fibre hand-knits for cold comfort, enjoyed a new retail partnership, and participated in two festive holiday handmade markets. It was a wooly good year!
And, finally, the elephant in the room. When the year began, I was part of the staff at my LYS, and now I'm not. The third staff member to resign in as many months, I worked my last shift just two weeks ago.
I will miss helping customers choose the perfect yarns for their dreamy knitting projects, and being the "rescuer" of dropped stitches (new knitters are the cutest!). But, after learning some valuable lessons about trust and loyalty the hard way, through disappointment and empty promises, it's now time to move on, with a conscious decision to embrace an attitude of gratitude, for the opportunity to become a stronger, wiser person, and an even more passionate knitter and designer.
warm wooly wishes
I design modern, feminine hand-knits from decadent natural fibres. Also:
My spirit animal is a sheep.
My primary knitting fuel is vanilla-hazelnut coffee.
& My inner child is actually an inner senior-citizen :)