Wednesday, 16 August 2017

WIP Wednesday: Convolution Hat, Take Two

**This Post Contains Affiliate Links**

I started work on the Convolution Hat last December, and . . . well, lets just say that it needed a second try.  While I love how the pattern's working out, what you can't tell from the previous photo is that it didn't turn out quite right. 

I tried fixing the flaring of the ribbing by hemming my prototype, which kind of worked.  But not enough that I was happy with it, so, it was clearly a time for as second prototype:


A worsted-weight hat knit in red yarn with spiralling cables and a flared ribbed brim.

I'm just working along the beginning of the crown decreases.  Even though I altered the ribbing, it's still flaring, but I think this time it will work better hemmed.  And, if not, I'll alter the ribbing again and try again with a third prototype! (Third time's the charm, if it comes to it!)


The yarn is Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash, in "Rose", and I'm not sure if the colour is still available or not.   The needles are my inherited Aero needles, with their thick circular cord (I love the Aero needles, but the cords on the Aero circulars are always a pain-in-the-behind).  And you can find the rose stitch marker I'm using in EfficientSense's Etsy Store. (and, as always, I have to say that I absolutely love her stitch markers.)

I originally planned to have this up for testing a while ago, but the ribbing is definitely refusing to cooperate.  If this prototype does what I want, I'm hoping to have it up for testing in September/October, so, stay tuned here!

My intent is to make WIP Wed a weekly feature here on the blog, so, stay tuned for more posts about what's on my needles and what I'm working on. Wish me luck, and thanks for tuning in!

Monday, 14 August 2017

Patreon Update: New Goals, New Rewards!

Well, here's an update to my Patreon Page!

Two updates, really, but they're related enough I figure they can be a single blog post.

Update Number One:

I've adjusted my rewards around, and I now have a new $10 reward tier! If you follow me on Patreon or other social media, you'll be seeing the details of this soon, if you haven't already.
A yellow box wrapped with silver ribbon and tied with a bow.

The simple version is: my $10 Pattern Muses get a say in some of patterns I'll be releasing. It's a 6 month production cycle, and I just posted the first poll (for a Jan 2018 release).  The next poll (for an April 2018 release) will go up in October 2017.

In addition, I might solicit more feedback, depending on the type and style of the pattern I end up working on.  And finally, the pattern will be free to the Pattern Muses, until the next pattern in the cycle is released.


Update Number Two:

I've posted a new goal -- I'd love to be able to have a Coworking Membership.

A notebook, pen and cup of coffee on a desk. As I think I've mentioned on the blog before, I work from home, which is great, until it's not.  It's hard to focus on work when I know the bathtub needs to be cleaned, or if my roommate is home or others are over. I don't have a private work space (I work in our living room/kitchen), so it can be a challenge to get things done if there's other stuff going on. Plus, despite my best efforts, the cats do get into my work.   It's not a problem for me, but it is a problem if I'm trying to keep cat hair off a sample knit.

Plus, I got the chance to try out a co-working space on International Co-working day (yes, that exists), and I loved it.  I got a lot done, far more then I thought I would (though I was overly optimistic about how much knitting I'd have to bring with me, but isn't that always the way?  Better to have too much knitting then not enough!)

Also, the co-working membership gets me access to health insurance (very important!), networking and advertising opportunities, teaching space, and more.  It'll be amazing, if I can make it work!

So, I figured, it deserved a goal on Patreon.

As always, thoughts, feedback, and comments are all welcome -- I'm still new to Patreon, so letting me know what you'd like to see (or not like to see) would be amazingly helpful!

Until next time!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

August Featured Pattern: Spiralling Star Fingerless Mitts

Well, here's the continuation of my featured patterns!

What does being a featured pattern mean?  Well, each time I feature a pattern, it will be half-off for that month!  It's a chance to bring forward patterns that might not get as much attention, or show off something that is super-popular.  

The featured patterns will be chosen from my self-published patterns, and if there's something you're just desperate to see be featured, drop me a line with a compelling reason!  I can't guarantee that I'll feature all requested patterns, but I'll definitely take a look!

For the month of August, my half-price featured pattern is my Spiralling Star Fingerless Mitts Pattern.
Someone wearing a pair of fingerless mittens. The mittens are knit in a dark green fingering-yarn and use a textured star stitch over the body of the mitten.
Photography: Stephanie Wallace

  http://www.ravelry.com/redeem/sarah-dawn-designs?sale=89625

You can buy the pattern through Ravelry or Etsy, the discount is available on both platforms.  The discount should be applied automatically on Ravelry, or already be visible on Etsy.   As always, let me know if something doesn't work!

And, for the month of August, any finished objects using the Spiralling Star Fingerless Mittens linked in the comments of this blog post, have a chance to win a pattern from any of my self-published patterns!  To enter on the blog, simply post a link to your completed Spiralling Star Fingerless Mittens in the comments of this post by Aug 31, 2017.  Please note that the Mittens don't have to have been started in August, just finished in August.

You can also win by posting to the giveaway on Facebook, and in my Ravelry Group, giving 3 chances to win in total!*

I always look forward to seeing your Finished Objects! Please post them to various social media with #SarahDawnsDesigns, and/or to my Ravelry Group if you're on Ravelry.  That way, I can see the awesome that you folks make!

*One entry per person per platform (three entries total). Winners will be drawn at random using random number generation. Winners must have a valid e-mail address to receive the patterns. Participants may enter the same project on more then one platform, but may only enter each project once per platform.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

I'm on Patreon!

A few of you have probably seen the "become a patron" button on the blog sidebar, or noticed that there's now a Pages Tab called "Patreon Sponsors"

Because, yep, I'm now on Patreon!

Patreon Logo

Ok, wait, what is Patreon?

Patreon is a simple way for my followers and fans to contribute to my work creating patterns, knitwear, and teaching content, by pledging their support once a month! And, you'll get great rewards in return. There's a list of (hopefully awesome) rewards; from your name and website mentioned in credits on my blog, sneak peeks of my work, access to a live-chat with me, up to free patterns from my collections! (Oh, and if you think of an awesome reward I'm not offering that you think I could, let me know!)

So why should anyone become my patron?

Ok.  I'll be honest and say that money is a consideration.  But it's not the primary one.  The primary reason is because this is a way for me to give away exclusive awesome content to people who are really willing to work with me on this amazing fiber stuff!   And, Patreon will help fund the resources what I do do for free within that community community, stuff like free patterns, and an upcoming Youtube Channel full of free tutorials! (More on that later!)

Also, as a business tool, Patreon allows for stability in funding.  Most small artists, myself included, don't have the luxury of being able to court any kind of larger investors or big financial backing to cover our expenses, so expenses vary wildly month-to-month.  And, I will say, it's hard to focus on knitting when I'm worried I won't be able to make rent.  Patreon is a form of stable crowdfunding that takes way those fears, and lets me focus on making awesome things.

But, that said, please don't feel like you're obligated to become a patron.  If you're not comfortable doing so, I completely understand.  Not everyone has the money; or is comfortable with crowdfunding, or any number of other reasons; why you might not become a patron.  Please, don't worry about it.

And, if you're looking for other ways to support my work (for which you are awesome, and thank you!) you can buy my patterns, purchase classes from me, follow me on Social Media,  or, use my affiliate links to purchase something -- I'll get a varying commission if you do.   Even knitting up a project and posting it to Ravelry, or tagging it with #SarahDawnsDesigns on Facebook or Instagram is a help!

Well, as always, any questions, comments, concerns or thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments below, or send me a quick e-mail.

Thanks for reading, folks!

Monday, 31 July 2017

Last Day: Can-Con Sock Along at The Purple Purl!

**This blog post contains Affiliate Links**

Well, as usual for me, my knitting goals were a bit too ambitious.

I was knitting up these socks for The Purple Purl's Can-Con Sock Along.  But, deadline is today (July 31, 2017), and, alas, I haven't even finished knitting one sock.   
A gradient sock running from brown at the cuffs to yellow along the heel.  The foot is incomplete and still live on the needle.  There are slipped stitches spiralling along the leg of the sock and the top of the foot.
WIP as of July 31, 2017
 I am, however, further along then I was the last time I talked about these, at least now the gradient colour change is clearly visible! 
[Image Description: The leg of a sock being worked on circular needles. There's a spiralling slipped-stitch cable going around the work.]
WIP as of July 11, 2017

I do have to say, The Blue Brick yarns have wonderful gradients, and I really want to design a shawl in this yarn to see how the colours play out that way!

For this sock, I'm actually working from a single ball, so I'm curious how this is going to turn out too, since the colour changes won't be identical for each sock.  They'll be a fraternal pair, rather then an identical pair, of socks. 

And,  you can see, I've gotten a new set of stitch markers since then too:

 A close up near the live stitches of the sock.  A silver stitch marker in the shape of a feather is locked into the knitting by a lobster clasp.
The previous marker I was using was a closed stitch marker you slipped along the needles, and it drove me batty, since the loop of it was wide enough I'd keep accidentally knitting it into my work!  So when I got these locking stitch markers from Efficient Sense, well, that package definitely qualified as happy mail!  Her Silver Feather Stitch Markers are light enough to not drag down my knitting, but big enough that I can't accidentally knit past them!  (No, seriously, if you're looking for locking stitch markers, her shop is amazing!)

Anyway,  even though I didn't finish these for the Sock-Along, I am going to try and finish them for the end of August.  So, stay tuned to this space for more on this pattern!


Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Pattern Release: Spiralling Star Fingerless Mittens!

**This Blog Post Contains Affiliate Links**

Well, my Spiralling Star Fingerless Mittens pattern is now live on Ravelry and Etsy!
Someone wearing a pair of fingerless mittens.  The mittens are knit in a dark green fingering-yarn and use a textured star stitch over the body of the mitten.
Photography: Stephanie Wallace
The idea for these came from an online knit-along run by EatSleepKnit which challenged participants to create something using the Star Stitch pattern. While swatching, I found a particular version of the Star Stitch that created a spiral effect, and these mittens were born from that!

A pair of fingerless mittens laying flat and slightly overlapping.
Photography: Stephanie Wallace
These fingerless mittens in four sizes (Adult XS to Adult L) are worked from the cuff-up in the round, with the Star Stitch pattern continuing onto the thumb gusset. The top cuff, bottom cuff, and thumb are edged with 1 by 1 ribbing. The yarn used for the sample is MadelineTosh Eyre Light, shown in the colourway “Mill Pond”, but any fingering-weight yarn should work up fine.

To purchase the pattern, you can visit the Ravelry Download Page or my Etsy Shop Listing.

http://www.ravelry.com/purchase/sarah-dawn-designs/407557
CAD $5.50
On a brief closing note, I really want to express my huge thanks for the folks who helped me with this pattern, including all my awesome test-knitters.  For those who were unaware, there were some issues during the test knit, so again, thank you all, both for your help and your patience!

As always, I look forward to seeing what you make, and please, tag your creations on Social Media with #SarahDawnsDesigns, so I can find your awesome things! If you've got feedback, comments, or  questions about the pattern, you can comment here, send me a PM on Ravelry, or e-mail me at sarahdawnsdesigns@gmail.com. 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Updates to my Etsy Shop -- Stretchy Knitted Bag!

Well, here's exciting news!

I've updated my Etsy shop with my first-ever knit goods! (Can you tell I'm still rather nervous?)

A knit ribbed drawstring bag, knit in pale blue yarn. There is a twisted cord drawstring at the top of the bag
$70 CAD -- Stretchy Drawstring Bag
It's a stretchy ribbed bag, perfect for storing dice, small headphones or other small objects.  It's made from 100% Peruvian Pima Cotton, and the drawstring at the top lets you tie it completely closed.  It measures 8 inches by 4.5 inches (measurements taken while flat), and has an approximate circumference of 13 inches, with a lot of stretch.

Shipping is a flat rate of CAD 15 to both US and Canada, with delivery confirmation, for any number of items purchased.

This bag was made from my Ribbed Bag of Many Things pattern.  The pattern is a free pattern, and can be downloaded from Ravelry, or by clicking here.


As always, any questions, please feel free to reach out -- you can comment below, find me on Facebook, Etsy, or e-mail me at sarahdawnsdesigns@gmail.com.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

WIP Wednesday: Sneak Peek of the Spiralling Star Fingerless Mittens

**This post contains affiliate links**


Well, here it is, another look at the Spiralling Star Fingerless Mitts!

An image of textured mittens.  They're half-completed on dpns, and being worn on the left hand.  The yarn is varigated green/black/blue, and there's a locking stitch marker with a silver celtic knot visible.

For those of you who've been following the test of this pattern on Ravelry, you know that there was some hiccoughs in the testing process.   For those of you who weren't following, my apologies for the delay in releasing this pattern, since it became clear my original prototype didn't work as well when I created the additional sizes.

So, I did a second (and third) sample, and it seems like I've fixed the problem! The pattern's with my Tech Editor now, so I'm hopeful to have it published before the end of the month.

Anyway, this is try number three, and my first try of these mittens with variegated yarn.   The yarn is Fleece Artist Merino Slim, and it's a colourway from the Canada Parks Collection, which was dyed up specifically for the Canada 150 celebrations.  This particular yarn was inspired by the Aurora Borealis in the Yukon Territory, and while I was originally concerned that it would look wonky, I'm actually really happy with how the colour's pooling! 

The stitch marker you can see came from Cindy of Efficient Sense, and if you're ever short for stitch markers, her Etsy Store is like a treasure trove! Plus, she's a fellow Torontonian, so shipping was superbly fast.  If you're curious, the specific marker you can see above is from her Celtic Knot set of stitch markers, and I'm definitely in love.

So, to close, here's my contribution to WIP Wednesday,  and I'll be writing again here soon!

Until next time!
 

Friday, 7 July 2017

Free Pattern With Newsletter Signup!

Yes, absolutely, you read that title right!

Everyone who signs up for my e-mail newsletter will now get a coupon code for a free pattern!

A gold box, wraped with silver ribbon and tied with a bow on top.
Here's how this works.

After signing up, check your e-mail inbox. You should have a welcome e-mail.  It lays out the types of things I'll send you; and, it has a coupon code.    If you didn't get the e-mail, check your spam filter.  If you still didn't get the e-mail, contact me and I'll sort things out.

That coupon code is valid on Ravelry for any of my self-published patterns!  And you don't have to be a Ravelry.com member to use the coupon code (though, if you are, the pattern you choose will be stored in your Ravelry Library).


How to sign up?  You can click this link, or, there's a signup box in the sidebar of my blog.

But wait, what about current newsletter subscribers?

Well, stay tuned to your inboxes if you're already a subscriber.  There will be a coupon code for a free pattern heading your way, as well!

As usual, let me know if you have questions, comments, concerns, or if something isn't working! 


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

E-mail Newsletter Updates and Changes

Well, I'd like to announce some updates to my E-mail Newsletter.

An image of the front page of a newspaper.  The Headline reads: Newsletter

Starting very soon, my e-mail newsletter will be monthly, coming out near the first of each month.  Each newsletter will feature that month's Featured Pattern, a round-up of new additions to my Fiber Arts Resource List, any upcoming or ongoing events I'm involved in, and any other new and interesting news I hope to share.  E-mails will still also go out for pattern releases and test-knit calls.

I'm really hoping for feedback (both good and bad) on the monthly e-mail format, so if you have any thoughts, concerns, or things you'd like to see, please let me know.  You can comment here, or you can send me an e-mail, or, you can get in contact with me on Ravelry.  Whatever works out for you!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

July Featured Pattern: Mitered Drawstring Project Bag

As usual for many of my blog posts, the title says it all.

So, I've had the idea of doing monthly featured patterns. Each month, a pattern will go on sale for half-price.   And, that's basically the entire idea.  Simple, I hope!

For the month of July, my half-price featured pattern is my Mitered Drawstring Project Bag!

This shows a drawstring bag made primarily of joined mitered squares. The top has eyelets with a twisted cord threaded through them, and a skein of yarn is partially out of the open bag.
Photography: Stephanie Wallace
  http://www.ravelry.com/redeem/sarah-dawn-designs?sale=89625

You can buy the pattern through Ravelry or Etsy, the discount is available on both platforms.  The discount should be applied automatically on Ravelry, or already be visible on Etsy.   As always, let me know if something doesn't work!

I always look forward to seeing your Finished Objects! Please post them to various social media with #SarahDawnsDesigns, and/or to my Ravelry Group if you're on Ravelry.  That way, I can see the awesome that you folks make!

Monday, 26 June 2017

Me Made May Weeks 3 and 4

**This post contains affiliate links**

I made it!

It took me a while to compile the photographs; and for that, I apologize.    Anyway, onto the last two weeks of Me Made May 2017!
A single fingering-weight blue sock, with lace and texture, being worn on someone's foot.
#MMMay17: Day 15
 These are my Cadence Socks, by VeryBusyMonkey. Yarn is Tanis Fiber Arts Purple Label, in the "Jean Jacket" colourway. And despite having cashmere in the blend, these socks have held up well for over half-a-year now despite many trips through the washer/dryer.

A hand wearing a fair-isle fingerless mitten. MC is pastel turquoise, CC is close to Sky Blue
#MMMay17: Day 16
 For Day 16, here's another picture of my (tentatively titled) Fair Isle Fingerless Mitts that I wore. The pattern is still in the draft stages, but I'm hoping for a September release for these.  Yarn is Juniper Moon Farms Moonshine in "Azure Skies" and "Seaside"

A woman facing the camera. There is a shawl wrapped around her shoulders. The main body of the shawl is off-white, but there is a gradient stripe across the shawl, going from purple to green.
#MMMay17: Day 17, 19, 27, and 28
Once again, I had the chance to knit out on the balcony, which was great! But at the time, it still wasn't just t-shirt weather. So here I am, still wearing my First Point of Libra Shawl (pattern is by Laura Aylor).

A hand wearing a fingerless mitten. The mitten is in Entrelac, knit in a green gradient yarn. Edging at the top and around the thumb is a contrasting bright blue.
#MMMay17: Day 20, 21 and 26
 Well, here is another sneak peak, this one inspired by the Ravelry Designer's Challenge!

These are my Entrelac Mitts (another working title) worked in a gradient from Freia Fine Handpaint Fibers. Because they're made from a single skein of gradient yarn, they're fraternal, not identical fingerless mitts (Scroll down for a picture of the other mitt and you can see the difference).

They're a lot of fun to make and to wear (even if I did puzzle over Entrelac in the Round, at first!).

For the curious, I'm hoping to have these up for testing end of June/Early July 2017, and I'll post my test-knit calls here, as always.


A short-sleeved cardigan laying flat. Most of the cardigan is open, but there are 6 buttons at the top yoke. The yoke is lace, while the rest of the cardigan is stocking stitch.
#MMMay17: Day18, 22 and 23

So for Day 22 and 23, here's a full picture of my Low Tide Cardigan by TinCanKnits. I've been loving this ever since I finished it, but I realized that (along with having to finish my updates to MMMay), that folks hadn't seen the full picture of it!

 A sky blue open cardigan with ribbed front bands and eyelets along the bottom edge. It's laying flat on a wooden surface
#MMMay17: Day 24 and 25
So it's a repeat of an earlier photo, but it's still accurate! My Staring at Stars Sweater (pattern by Alica Plummer) makes really good 'house clothes' for being warm, thick and fuzzy. The reason I don't wear it out as much is because it has a tendency to gape open at the front. Lesson Learned: any cardigan for me needs at least one button!  


A woman faceing the camera. She is wearing a blue felted hat with a brim
#mmmay17 Day 29
Day 29 is an older project (but something I still wear often!)  It was originally done as part of a knit-along by EatSleepKnit, but I still wear it often.  
Anyway, this is my Felted Hat. Yarn is Malabrigo Worsted in "Azul Bolita", and the hat is a Ravelry Freebie and can be found here.

Despite it being wool, it's actually really good for keeping my head cool. It keeps the sun out of my eyes, and my hair doesn't get nearly as sweaty as when I wore baseball caps and such. 


#MMMay17: Day 30
While not the best picture, these are my Gox Socks by Valerie Wagoner! Yarn is Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label in "Frost".  I made these quite some time ago, and they've held up well! Admittedly, this is an older picture (I didn't get a picture when I was wearing them on May 30th), but I promise I was!
 
Two entrelac gloves knit in a blue-green gradient
#MMMay17: Day 31.  Photography: Stephanie Wallace

 Day 31 is another sneak peek at my own Entrelac Mitts. This is actually a behind-the-scenes from our photo shoot for this pattern, so I'm hopeful that it will be up for testing very soon!

Yarn is Freia Fine Handpaint Fibers, Merino Sport Silk blend, in the colourway "Atlantis".



And that should now be all of my Me Made May posts caught up!  I really enjoyed it, actually, despite my inability to post timely photos (to which I thank you all for your patience).
I'm already looking forward to next year, and wish me luck!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

WWKiP Day Recap, and sneak peeks for Canada 150!

Well, I'm back from Leslie Grove Park, folks, and I had a blast!

Sadly, I didn't do a lot of (ok, any) photo taking. I was too busy chattering and knitting.

I was a bit late getting there, since part of the Subway was down for maintenance over the weekend.  But, I made it in the long run, which is the important part.   Originally the weather looked like we might get rained out, but, nope, it was actually perfect weather. Underneath the trees in the shade, we were quite comfortable!

Since it was about knitting in public, I brought with me a new WIP I've started up recently.  Though I didn't get photos while there, I've taken some now so you folks can see!

This is a prototype of my Zig Zag Lace Tank Top (as usual, working title)!  This particular photograph is the beginning of the back panel.

Flat Knitted lace on two wooden needles, with a bottom edge of ribbing. The yarn is a fingering weight, and varigated blue-green-brown.

The yarn is Fleece Artists' Canada 150 Yarn, in the New Brunswick Colourway, and the needles are Maple needles from Turn of the Century.

And oh my goodness, this yarn is gorgeous!  I picked up a few different colours while I was The Purple Purl last time, and I'm -so- glad I did, it's selling out all over the place!  I have plans to make my second sample of this tank in the Northwest Territories colourway; and I've also got a skein of the Yukon colourway as well that I have different ideas for.

But that wasn't the only excitement.  The wonderful staff of The Purple Purl were doing giveaways, and I ended up with this wonderful bag!

A bag striped in Purple, Turquoise, and Black.  It has two handles and a zippered top.
I managed to remember the various KAL's that the store's done over time (after stammering for a moment, because I forgot the names of the patterns) so I that's how I won this bag. It's got a zippered top and an interior zippered pocket that defied photography, and it's actually quite sturdy. So, a huge thank you to The Purple Purl for the awesome new project bag!

Anyway, that's my update from WWKiP 2017.  It was a lot of fun, and I'm already looking forward to next year's KiP!

Thursday, 8 June 2017

World Wide Knit In Public Day!


Yep, you read that right!

WWKIP day Logo: Image is two needles crossed over an image of the globe  Text around the globe reads: World Wide Knit in Public Day.
For those who are unfamiliar, please let me explain.  Every year, on World Wide Knit in Public Day, people gather together in public places to knit.  There's lots of reasons, which the website enumerates better then I ever could.  But, at it's most basic level, it's all about community.

So, I'll be out for WWKiP day this year.  I'm heading to Leslie Grove Park this Saturday, as The Purple Purl is running an event!  For the Toronto locals, the landmark for the park is Queen Street East and Jones Ave (which is 1 block west of Queen and Leslie). It's 1 to 4 pm, and it's going to be a sort of picnic, so bring blankets!   They'll have prizes, and a trunk show from The Blue Brick Yarns (who I have to confess I know very little about, but I'm suspecting that will change on Saturday)!

And, they'll also have some of the folks from Knitted Knockers there too!

It's going to be a busy weekend, but I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, 5 June 2017

2017 Toronto Knitter's Frolic Haul!

**This post contains affiliate links**

It's taken me longer then I'd like to write this, considering the Frolic was over a month ago.  My apologies.

To those who aren't familiar with the Toronto Knitter Frolic, I promise, my delay is solely because of the sheer amount of awesomeness there is to write about!

The big questions are always: "what did you get!?"  "Who did you visit?"

And well, here is my answer to that question!  Those of you on Facebook may have already seen these photos (I'm more active on Facebook then other social media, I think it's because it's the most familiar to me!), so if you've already seen these, then you're ahead of everyone else, and I ask for your patience once again!

My first find was from the wonderful folks at The Woodlot, who've been coming to the Frolic for a number of years now.  The buttons are all reclaimed wood, which is awesome.  I'm not entirely sure what exactly these will be used for, but they've been tucked away safely in my button jar for now!
A small plastic package containing wooden buttons. At the top, there is a cardboard foldover with an image of trees and the text: Wood Buttons.

It's not just wooden buttons, either, but bigger tools, as well!  Courtesy of AB Originals, I finally got myself a nostepinne.  (And yes, I had to look up how to pronounce that!) 
I've already put it to use winding up tag-ends and half skeins for a scrap blanket.   It did take some exploring on Youtube to make it work, (you can find the video tutorial I used on my Fiber Arts Resource Page, scroll down to Nostepinne to find it!)

Wooden Nosterpinne. A wooden dowl with a carved handle, and a notch around the other end.

Next find is from Stix and Stones.  I first got introduced to these wonderful folks when they came into Toronto as vendors for a Toronto Knitter's Guild Meeting, and I was excited to see them as vendors at the Frolic, as well.   I picked up two skeins of Dragon Strings Siren Hair.  The colour is "Froggie in the Pond" which was another hard one to photograph.  Despite my best attempts, I'm not sure the colour is completely true-to-life, but it should still give an idea of the awesomeness that is this yarn.

Two twisted skeins of turquoise variegated yarn

My random lucky find at the Frolic was two skeins of Truffula, which is a limited-edition base from Red Sock Blue Sock.  I stopped at their booth on a whim (I was distracted by the pretty colours!) and ended up with this.  It's called "Blue Jay", and it's gorgeous.  It feels a bit rough in hand, so I'm curious to see how it behaves when I wash it.
Two skeins of varigated blue-white yarn on a wooden surface.

Every time I go to the Frolic, I hit up Dye-Version. Jane is a total sweetheart, and I always end up chattering to her at the booth. Plus, I really do love their yarns, especially their BFL Sock!  This is possibly the hardest-wearing sock yarn I've found; and the colours are amazing.  This particular batch is called "Neptune".

A skein of deep turquoise yarn laying flat.


Sadly, this isn't their BFL Sock, but it is another favorite, of their 100% Bamboo! They do a Fingering Weight and a Sport Weight Bamboo, and this is the Sport Weight.  The colour is "Nymph", and I have plans for it to be a shawl, I think.

A skein of deep turquoise yarn laying flat.

And it's only now in typing this that I realize I missed photographing one of my finds!  Arg!  The yarn in question is now nicely stored away in my big plastic bin of lace-weight yarn, so I don't want to go digging to fish it out. That said, here goes: 
I got two skeins of the special Frolic Blend from Cottage Craft Angora. It's a gorgeous yarn, a blend of a number of fibers, including 10% Qiviut.  I've never worked with Qiviut before, so that's going to be exciting for me!

Another exciting find for me this year was the Upper Canada FiberShed. I'd seen their booth in previous years, but not really checked it out (which, I admit, was foolish)!   I got 4 skeins of 100% Alpaca from Nuevo Norte Alpacas at their booth, and the pictures don't do the yarn justice.   I'm planning for this to become a cabled tunic.
4 skeins of marled yarn

Last but not least was the awesome yarn that was tucked into the Gift Baskets from the Spring Social! It was hard to get a picture that photographed true-to-colour, so this was the best one I could find. The yarn is a sport-weight cotton from Universal Yarns, who were one of the sponsors for the Spring Social.

Two cakes of green/turquoise yarn


And for those of you who are wondering what this Spring Social was, you can check out the description here (scroll down), and you can see pictures on the Toronto Knitter's Guild Flickr Stream. I originally was on the fence about going, but I'm really glad I did! It was wonderful, and I very much hope they do it again next year!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

If This, Then That. (IFTTT)

Sounds like a logic puzzle, doesn't it?  Or maybe something out of your high-school programming class?

Yep, you're not far off.

IFTTT is a website.  It's a website where you can go in and automate just about anything.

For example, on their home page right now, I see little applets that will do things like "Get an e-mail if there will be rain in your area tomorrow".  And "E-mail me when there are new books on the best-seller list."   There are also more specific ones, like "Get an E-mail when X Store puts new products for sale."  The list is almost endless.  I'm incredibly thankful it's searchable.


I know I've only scratched the surface of what it can do, But in doing so, I really thought I should share.

The biggest (and currently) the only applet I'm using is RSS to E-mail.  So that takes an RSS feed, and e-mails me each time that feed has an update.  Why is that useful?

This:

Screen Capture from IFTTT, showing a number of RSS subsciptions to KAL threads.
Screen Grab from my own Applets on IFTTT
 This is a screenshot from my own IFTTT account.  I've got a bunch of the RSS to E-mail applets.  And they're incredibly useful.  They consolidate all of my feeds across a bunch of different threads places right into my e-mail account.  The biggest purpose?  To keep up-to-date on Ravelry KAL threads, chat threads, blog posts, and more!  While Ravelry's 'watch thread'  function is useful, no question, for me and my admittedly distractable mind, getting an e-mail for each new post is even better!  It insures that I don't miss a post that I actually might care about.

This also means that following blogs, no matter the host, is easy!  If there's not an easy 'follow by e-mail' option on the blog I'm looking at, I've yet to find a blog that doesn't have an RSS feed.
 
I also am looking at getting IFTTT to e-mail me when specific people I follow on Facebook/Google+ post new content.  On Facebook, it's rare to see all of someone's content unless you go right to their page, and for me, having everything one place makes sure I don't miss something! Right now I can't find an applet for that, but maybe I can make one?

Anyway, I've been wanting to share this cool piece of tech for a bit, so, here you folks go!

Have any of you used IFTTT?  How did you find it?  Did it work for you (or not)?   Please, let me know in the comments!

Monday, 29 May 2017

I'm teaching Knitting Classes!

. . . wait what?

Yep, you read the title right, I'm now officially teaching Knitting Classes!

Learn to Knit with Sarah Dawn.  In Person Knitting Class: Materials Included.  Toronto, Ontario, Canada Area

Learn to Knit with Sarah Dawn.  Knitting Class: Virtual or In-Person.  Toronto, Ontario, Canada Area.

The classes are available via my Etsy Shop (see the image links above for direct links to the listings), or you can contact me directly at sarahdawnsdesigns@gmail.com, as always, for more info.

The classes are are one-on-one, and either 2 or 3 hours long.  For those in the Toronto, Ontario, Canada area, it's an in-person class with materials included; and the meeting place will be decided on mutually.  It'll likely be an accessible public space like a coffee shop or library.  For those outside the GTA, it's a virtual/correspondence class, and materials are not included.  If you need more extensive guidance on materials, there's a class on How to Choose Yarn, which also covers choosing needles, hooks, and other tools.

In both cases, I'm customizing the class to the student. Perhaps one person works better over e-mail, while another person works via Skype or Google Hangouts; so I'll work with the student to figure out the best method for communication and teaching.

So, if you're interested, check it out and let me know.  Feedback is most definitely welcome!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

2nd Place in the Designer's Challenge Voting! Thank you!

Wow.  Thank you all so much! 

Artistic, multi-coloured text: Thank You!

Thanks to your support, interest, and votes, I took second place in the March/April Designer's Challenge Voting!

I'll admit it -- I was wondering if I'd get a single vote.  But you folks did take a moment to go check out the entries and vote, which is super-exciting!

If you're looking for the end results of the designer's challenge, I'm hoping to have the pattern for my Lace Leaf Market Bag (working title!) up for testing in mid-to-late June.  So stay tuned here for the test-knit call!

You folks are awesome.  No, seriously.
That is all. :)

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Designed in Canada KAL on Ravelry!

Hello!

So I just found the Designed in Canada Ravelry KAL.  It runs from May 27th to the Beginning of September.


An image of the Canadian Flag

I saw it briefly last year, but didn't give it much thought. This year, I actually have some patterns available, so, I'm jumping into offer prizes, and to also offer all my self-published patterns at a 25% discount to KAL participants!  All of my patterns are eligible in the KAL (including my free pattern), so feel free to jump in.   Also, anything I self-publish between now and the beginning of September (or whenever the KAL ends), will also be eligible, so long as you finish it before the KAL deadline.

You do have to be a Ravelry member to participate in this KAL, but if you're not on Ravelry, I do strongly suggest it as a really good fiber resource!

For the KAL rules and sign up, go here; for the 25% off on my patterns for KAL participants, go here. (Also, I'm not the only designer giving discounts, so you can check out that thread for other Canadian designers who are giving pattern discounts for the KAL).

So, after all that's said, I'd love to see you there, and I look forward to seeing your wonderful FO's!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Me Made May Week 2!

Ok, onto Week 2 of Me Made May!

You'll see some repeat photos, so please bear with me!  And if you're following me on Facebook, a lot of this will look familiar.  
[Image Description: Someone resting their hand on their knee. There's a fair-isle fingerless mitten on their hand, done in worsted-weight yarn].
#MMMay17: Day 9 and 14
So I was out and about at different workshops on May 9th. . . so no new pictures. I've noticed that I don't take my MMMay pictures if I'm running around doing other stuff, so hopefully I can get better about getting pictures when I'm at home!

However, I was wearing the prototypes for my Fair Isle Fingerless Mittens (working name only, I promise!), and here's the repeat photo of them.

I also wore these to The Fair Trade Show on the 14th. If you have the chance and are in the Toronto Area, it's actually a great show! While there was no yarn sellers there, there were lots of people clothing and textiles, and I saw and learned many cool new things (like the fact that you can spin the stems of the Lotus Plant)!

A woman standing next to a window with her hair up around her head in braids. The braids have a purple scarf worked into them.
#MMMay17: Day 10
 I really think I'm getting better at this Selfie thing, it's another selfie that doesn't totally suck! 
Anyway, I've been tying my hair up for a while, and I've been looking into ways to do the 'braids around the head' hairstyle. Hairsticks work fine to keep my hair up and nicely contained, and aren't hard to do with long hair, but you can't wear a winter hat over them. (This is very important for a Canadian Winter!)

Well, I found out how to use scarves to put your hair up in braids, and started doing it.
Anyway, the scarf I used is the 2014 Year of Lace Scarf by Elizabeth Ravenwood. I did her KAL for this scarf when it was released, and I did it in Tanis Fiber Arts Silver Label, in "Grape".

But, I almost never wear a lot of thin scarves around my neck, so I never really knew what to do with it until I started using it as a braid scarf, and it works really well! And, the silk content of the TFA Silver Label means my hair doesn't snag on it. When my hair is fully down, it's mid-back and goes everywhwere, so I really do need to put it up or it gets in -everything-, including my knitting. Having to pull my hair out of my yarn is sometimes a reality. 


Day 11, I admit it, was when I stumbled.  I didn't wear any handknits. At least I have the excuse of not feeling so well.   But I just didn't have a lot of energy that day.

 A woman facing the camera. Her hair is in braids around her head, with a purple scarf braided into them. She is wearing a light blue t-shirt; and a buttoned short-sleeved sweater over the t-shirt. The sweater is knit, with a lace yoke and large wooden buttons
#MMMay17: Day 12 and 13
Day 12 is my first Finished Object in May! I spent the morning of Day 12 finishing and blocking the sweater I'm wearing in the photo, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out!

The pattern is Tin Can Knits Low Tide, done in baa ram ewe's Titus. Buttons are from The Woodlot's Etsy Shop!

I also wore it on Day 13, to Game Night.  This was one of the projects I worked on during Game Night, so people were curious to see what it had become!
 

 Well, I think that brings me up to speed for week two!  Again, if people have their own Me Made May projects or stories to share, please, post them to the comments below! I'd love to read them!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Varigated Yarn Tales Interview, and my thoughts on Disability.

I got interviewed!  Eeek!

http://www.knitsallfolks.com/sarah-dawn/

Actually, no, it was amazing. It wasn't 'eek' worthy at all! Monica, of Knit's All Folks, was totally sweet, even when my e-mail went weird and I only sent her half of the interview!

It's a little scary -- I've never been interviewed before for my yarn/fiber business.  And I don't often talk about my disabiliti(es) on these platforms.  Not because I'm ashamed, (far from it) but because I don't feel that my disability activism and disability pride work belong directly in my business material.  It's a business, not my personal soap box.   Sure, I'll talk about the legal or business perspectives for accessibility, and why they're important if it's relevant to topics, or direct access barriers for me attending an event and what can be done, or even to provide my knowledge to those who ask. But I'm in this particular corner of the internet to create knitting patterns and fiber-related stuff, not blog about disability.

Monica's search for diverse fiber artists hit home, though, and the two worlds collided a little.  There's almost no representation of disability in the visuals of the knitting community, and, in fact, many disabled knitters can't access parts of the knitting community. There are many yarn stores in Toronto, it's a huge place for awesome fiber people. . . . and yet only two yarn stores are wheelchair accessible.  (If someone knows more, please, let me know in the comments!)  Visually impaired knitters are locked out of a huge range of patterns, because knitting and crochet charts are impossible -- written instructions are needed!  D/deaf knitters are confronted with many, many tutorials on Youtube and other video channels that aren't captioned, or use Youtube's horrible automatic captions.  And Podcasts?  Nope.

And that's only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

That said, I want to give a huge shout-out to Monica for her interview questions and style!  Quite often interviews of this nature end up focusing solely on my disabilities, and the "tragedy" of what I can't do or my perceived shortcomings.  Monica's questions were about being a fiber artist/knitter, which allowed me to acknowledge where my disabilities mattered, without making it an overshadowing/overwhelming part of the interview.  It showed that I'm also a nerd, that I have way too many WIPs, that I forget to take pictures of my work, and that I'm horrible at naming patterns!

So while I don't usually talk about disability directly on this blog or on Sarah Dawn's Designs social media channels, it is a part of who I am and has shaped how I am, and I can't (and won't) deny that.  I wanted to show that there are fiber artists with disabilities out there, and that we're part of this community too, and we should have proper representation in the publications, and at the events: after all, people with disabilities are actually the largest minority in the world!

Finally, I know that some people with disabilities are afraid to come to events, because they're worried about access needs, and to that I say, make your needs known, advocate for what you need until you get it, and please, come out and join the community of fiber people. They are generally awesome folks!  Yes, you're still going to encounter bias and ableism. I'm not going to put on rose-coloured glasses and say it will be perfect. But most fiber people are honestly willing to try and learn, and most of them really do try and make things right.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Me Made May, Week 1!

Well, welcome to my roundup of my Me Made May Attempt.

I've been chronicling my attempt on Facebook with the #MMMay17 hashtag, (hopefully the search link works, let me know if it doesn't!)

But, I also said I'd post it here as well, so; here we go!

A shawl wrapped around the shoulders and neck of a person. The shawl is a number of various colours and stripes of various thickness, and the bottom edge of the shawl is fringed.
#MMMay17: Days 1 and 3
 This is me wearing my Freestyle Shawl. The pattern is from a pattern book I bought in 2004, and it really is just a scrap shawl. This particular shawl is mostly acrylic scraps, old stash I bought when I didn't really know much about fiber.  However, it is thick and warm, which was needed since we were under a thunderstorm watch; and it was windy, cold, and generally dismal. 
Someone sitting with their feet tucked up on a chair. On their feet is a pair of worsted-weight knitted socks done in a Sky Blue colour. The socks have textured ribbing.
#MMMay17: Day 2




So what do you do when your feet get cold? Grab a pair of heavy socks, that's what!

These are my Textured Socks, knit up in 100% Superwash Worsted Merino Wool. (Pattern is a Ravelry Freebie, you can find it at the link!)


Day 3 was a repeat of the Freestyle Shawl.  The weather's been dismal, and there hasn't been really any sunshine until today (Monday). 

A sky blue open cardigan with ribbed front bands and eyelets along the bottom edge. It's laying flat on a wooden surface.
#MMMay17: Day 4
 And the weather continued, and I wanted something else warm to wear about the house.  Shawls are great to snuggle under, but not so practical when you have to do housework. 

 So this is my Staring At Stars Sweater, (pattern by Alicia Plummer) done in 2016 as part of a Knit-Along run by Eat.Sleep.Knit.. It came out a teeny bit too big for me, but it's another thing that I'll reach for on a cooler day (and since it's still raining, today definitely qualifies!)

 Also,  I think I've mentioned before that my selfie taking skills leave much to be desired. While I was wearing this, I couldn't get it to photograph remotely right (and the one time it did, I looked so -angry- because I was concentrating so hard)!  So, here's a picture instead, of it spread out. I was wearing it most of May 4th, I promise!

A blue textured fingerless mitten done in fingering-weight yarn
#MMMay17: Day 5
 Those of you who follow this blog have probably seen these before.  They're my Spiralling Star Fingerless Mittens, and the testing for them is almost done. Yarn for these is a gorgeous Merino/Silk Blend from SweetGeorgia Yarns, and look for the pattern late May/early June, if all goes well!


Someone resting their hand on their knee. There's a fair-isle fingerless mitten on their hand, done in worsted-weight yarn.
#MMMay17: Day 6 and 7
Well, the weather was still horrible, but this was taken while I was enroute to the St Lawrence Market (seriously, if you get the chance to go to the Farmer's Market, it's amazing, if crowded)!  I also wore them a day later, on the Sunday morning to church (we had a frost warning, so I was glad I had them!)

I knew I needed something warm, so, I chose something I knew was warm -- these are made from Juniper Moon Farm Moonshine, so they're Alpaca/Wool/Silk, and really nice next to the skin.

These are a prototype of one of my own patterns -- my working title is "Fair Isle Fingerless Mittens", which is descriptive; but not what I'm going to publish under! Pattern is still in draft stage, but I'm hoping to get this one out by September at the latest. So keep your eyes peeled here, on Facebook, or on Google for the test knit call. 

 
Image Description: A woman smiling at the camera, waving her hand. There's a shawl wrapped around her shoulders, neck and chest. The shawl is cream with 5 colour stripes, the stripes are a gradient from purple to green.
#MMMay17 Day 8
Wow, a selfie that isn't horrible!  Maybe I'm learning something?

Well, here I am. I decided to knit outside on our balcony today, since it's actually nice out! But it was cool enough to need a shawl while I worked, especially when the sun went in. 

So, the shawl I'm wearing is my First Point Of Libra, by Laura Aylor. I knit it as part of a knit-along hosted by The Purple Purl (even if, as usual for me, I finished late)! The yarn was chosen for the KAL, and it's SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock. The stripes are their Mini-Skein Party of Five Set. 

  
Well, that's the first week of Me Made May!  Here's hoping I can continue through!  I've got a vest that's off the needles, it just needs ends woven in and blocking.  And there's a second sweater I might finish up as well before the month's end.  

If anyone has any awesome Me Made May stories/photos, I'd love to hear them!  Please, post them in the comments here!