Sunday, January 31, 2016

I almost kept this...part 1...

I mentioned in my last post that it has been such a long time since the last etsy shop update. Crikey, it's been since November!! It's no wonder I'm looking forward to it so much (I always love etsy update time; I love seeing which yarns and colours are paired up, and where they go. I sound so nosy, but I'm just looking out for my little yarn kids)

I realized a few days ago that I want to keep quite a bit from the coming update. More than usual, that is! And so, this is part 1 of "I almost kept this". That's right, it's a 2-parter this update. I am out of control!

At last, the delightful Polwarth + Alpaca is back in the shop. This super light 4 ply yarn is a blend of 15% Natural Brown Alpaca, 15% Natural White Alpaca and 70% Polwarth. Because this yarn is naturally a light brown colour, the dyes combine with it is no so many interesting ways. Some of the regular Viola colourways look amazing on this base, and some just don't really work. I've done a lot of playing around with the colours this time round and really like the palette I've come up with. I am working on developing repeatable colourways on this base, but at the moment everything is one of a kind!

Sea Storm



Dew Drop


 I've been sure to include sweater quantities in most of the colours, so there should be lots to go round. One skein goes a very long way as well, with 500 meters per 100 grams, this yarn is bordering on a heavy lace weight!

 Recently I have felt quite drawn to warm and spicy colours. I'm sure that it's a reaction to the cool wintery palette outside my window AND the fact that a very good friend of mine talks about spicy pink colours all the time. It's as if I've been listening to a tape as I sleep at night telling me that I should dye everything in a warm, rich pink...which I seem have done.

These four together have been my favourites this week, and that pink is front and center. It's on it's way to becoming a Viola staple colourway...

Sunflower, Bluegrass, Whisper, Amaranth

I finished a Quill Shawl over the summer in Polwarth + Alpaca that has served me very well indeed this winter. It was truly lovely to knit the pattern and yarn together and is just the ticket for long winter walks...must take some more photos of it in action...

Tuesday's update also features the return of Mohair Lace! I go on about Mohair more than enough in my last post, so I'll just share my favourite colourways. Promise I am NOT keeping them...

Giant Peach


Dew Drop
Ok, but there is just this one SINGLE skein that I am going to keep...for an exciting project I'm about to cast on. Slightly secret at the moment...

Another yarn that I can't seem to shut up about these days is my beloved Sock yarn. I'll lave lots of that coming your way on Tuesday as well and here are my top picks...



Ghost...oldie, but a goody!
Phew, and now you can see why I've made this a 2 part post. More coming your way tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

shop update!

At long last it is time for a SHOP UPDATE! 

Click over the the VIOLA etsy shop next TUESDAY, FEBRUARY the 2nd @ 3pm EST for the latest and greatest!

I know, it's been a while. The past few months at Viola HQ have been action packed, and the time has flown by since the last shop update. I'm really excited about the yarns and colours that are lined up for next Tuesday. I think They're well worth the wait, hope you do too...

Polwarth + Alpaca is back at last! It's been away for a while, so for those of you who do not remember, Powarth + Alpaca is spun by my lovely friends at John Arbon Textiles. It's a blend of 70% Polwarth 15% Brown Alpaca and 15% White Alpaca. The natural hint of colour in the undyed yarn gives the finished colours such richness and depth. The yarn itself is light as air, soft, squishy and warm. It's good stuff!

I knit myself a Quill shawl in Polwarth + Alpaca and it has seen a LOT of action this autumn/winter. It was a perfect yarn and project pairing! Recently, I've been dreaming of a fair isle garment knit in this delightful stuff. Still in the dreaming/planning stages with that project...

Perhaps the best bit of news, however, is that MOHAIR LACE is returning! In the olden days of Viola (pre England) I dyed a very similar base, and it was so dreamy. When I took up dyeing again last year, I struggled to get the same base again. Just when I thought all hope was lost, this stunningly beautiful yarn appeared! Talk about good fortune, I'm still jumping for joy! 
The new Mohair Lace is almost exactly the same yarn as it's predecessor. It is a blend of 72% Kid Mohair and 28% Silk. Each 50g skein is 420 meters long.

I've just finished up a shawl (a very late birthday present for my mum) using Mohair Lace doubled with Merino Lace. The Mohair is in Twig (light golden brown) and Merino is in Ghost. I cannot even say how pleased I am with this project. I often find it really difficult to knit something so simple...always wanting to throw in some crazy detail, cable, stripe, lace, all of the above. Keeping it simple really paid off this time round!

It's a standard garter stitch triangle with this picot bind off. I'm going to be borrowing this shawl ALL THE TIME...I'll have to knit another one...that's ok. For anyone interested in knitting their own Mohair Cloud Shawl (that's what I'm calling it) I'll have lots of Mohair Lace coming up in the update, as well as Merino Lace to team it up with.

I used a 5mm needle, 2 full skeins of Mohair Lace and just over 1 skein of Merino Lace. It's big enough to wrap every which way, and light soft and cozy to boot! I wore it the other day layered over my favourite Mohair sweater (knit a very long time ago, and worn all the time!) Wearing all those layers of Mohair, whilst sorting Mohair Lace was a great treat.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

January Sky

January is almost gone (already!) It went by in a flash for me, likely because there were so many big and exciting things going on...shed building, fabric printing, sticker painting, yarn dyeing, mini skein making, pattern writing and book printing get the idea. I worked like a maniac on Kickstarter rewards, and had a blast doing it! Amongst those rewards is the first ever Viola yarn club.

I am really excited about this club- it's very close to my heart. Members will receive 4 lots of yarn throughout 2016. Each package will contain 3 skeins of Mooresburg DK in a completely exclusive club colourway! Each of the four colourways will be inspired by the season in Mooresburg. The first installment was sent out just this week, a few of those packages may have even reached their new homes by now!

I've called this colourway January Sky, and I'm sure you've figured out why. When I returned to Canada last winter, my first memories of Mooresburg and Canada were silvery blue skies, full of snow and ice and wind and beautiful clouds. I love winter sunrises, when the night's frost sparkles in a hint of warm low light. Golden, pink and peach fading into mauve. Mooresburg has great big skies and amazing sunrises!

And so I set about putting all of those colours onto some yarn. There are tiny mauve and golden hints on a greyed out icy blue colour. January Sky is very subtle and soft, but just like a grey winter sky, is full of colour upon closer inspection. Hope all the club members out there enjoy it!

Next up will be Spring. I have a few ideas, but have to wait for the season to arrive before I will know what comes next. I'm having loads of fun with this club, what took me so long to get round to this?!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

socks socks socks...

With the way I go on about socks these days, I sometimes feel like a broken record. On the other hand, I THINK about socks even more than I mention that's saying something. I have come to refer to my condition as a 'sockness'. Think I'm going to make it an official thing...'sockness'.

Anyhow, the sock news today is that I've been busy assembling sock kits for Viola meets Mooresburg Kickstarter backers. I've loved every minute of it, because making the kits has involved lots of creative problem solving, colour combining, drawing, painting and mini skein making. All things (except problem solving, which is a constant!) I do not get to do enough of. It's been a really fun excercise for me, and this is just the beginning!

All Kickstarter sock kits will be headed to the post office on Monday. I hope they find their way to their new homes swiftly indeed! The new sock pattern accompanying these kits will also be released next week, and will be available on Ravelry. I am really proud of this pattern, it's just a simple sock but it's my favourite sock. I had some excellent help from a friend in editing and test knitting as well, thank you Tracey! I am so pleased that I can share my favourite knitting project, and can't wait to see more pairs of my Favourite Socks cropping up around the interwebs (and in real life too!)

In other sock news, There is a Viola Sock KAL ticking along in the Viola Ravelry group. With all the excitement and frenzy of Kickstartering, I have not been as present as I would like with our lovely sock KAL. I also have been thinking that those sock kits might want a chance to participate in the KAL too...and so I propose that we extend our KAL deadline from the end of January to March 31st. Visit the Ravelry group to join in, I can't wait to see the Viola socks popping up!

For those of you who are still keen to get your hands on some Viola sock yarn (kit or no) you won't have to wait long. The next etsy update is scheduled for the first week of February! I will post more details soon, but there will most certainly be sock yarn in there (and it will reach you with lots of time to join in the KAL)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

HAPPY 2016!!!

After a lovely holiday in Mooresburg, I've spent the past couple of days settling back into Toronto and work and the recent cold spell we're experiencing. My holiday time in Mooresburg seemed to happen in slow motion, and my return to reality has been even more jarring as a result. It's taken me the past 2 days to jump back in, but I'm here now!

My long and luxurious break provided lots of opportunity for exploring (yay!) and knitting (the best!)

 All the pairs of my Favourite Socks are finished. Ends woven in, photographed and ready to be given to their various recipients (not one single pair is for me this time, which feels pretty good I must say). If you can believe it, I still love knitting these socks. I've even got the yarn all ready for my next pair!


There was, unavoidable, a lag in studio productivity over Christmas and the New Year, but it was not completely without progress. The insulation is in, the insulation is in!!! Wahoo! I KNOW that if you had tried to talk to me about spray foam insulation a year ago I would have glazed over and thought about mermaids instead. All that has changed now. It's so cozy, so toasty and (my favourite bit) so PINK! I'm going to be sad to cover up that lovely colour...

As the weather in Mooresburg turned quite blustery and cold, my little shed remained warm and comfy even without the heat connected! I have my eye on a teeny little woodburner that should be just the right thing to heat this space. 

Next week a few local Amish carpenters are putting up these lovely wall boards. Can't wait!

Happily, I was able to explore a couple of new (to me) trails that are very close to the store. Both run through abandoned farms, sugar shacks and fields and are now protected land. Miles of beautiful stone walls, the remains of tiny cottages and old forest seemed to be everywhere.


I could go on with the pictures...forever...but I will stop there. It was so nice to take the time for long walks, fresh air and beautiful scenery. Back in Toronto, I'm jumping back into work feeling reinvigorated and ready to face the long to do list that is 2016. 

Happy New year to all!!